The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Social virtue

According to Protagoras, it was Zeus who decided to distribute justice and shame among human beings. Having distributed them equally among human beings gave everyone the potential for social virtues like justice, kindness, and fairness.  This is true, even if it remains with everyone how far they develop social virtues for themselves.

As Protagoras also argued, it is a gift that enables friendship. It then also is the source of a fairly well-distributed wisdom about justice and politics. Most people will have a broad understanding of these, whereas other types of wisdom may only be accessible to smaller groups.

It shows up in society with people potentially making fun of people lacking the ability to dance, sing, or other competencies. It is considered as something that can be joked about. In contrast to this, those who are seen as not observing the law or justice will see their behavior taken much more seriously and rarely laughed about. It generates shame and prevents people from sharing behaviors that will be perceived as lacking even a minimum of social virtues.

It’s the story of a society defined by the idea to help one another. It is how social virtues like fairness, justice, and kindness make sense. It is also how it can be normal to expect them.

But the most important point here might be how much of a reminder social virtues are that we actually are here to help one another.

It’s the raison d’être of being a community.


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