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Gyges’ Ring

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By catdessa
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GYGES’ RING

Glaucon's initial speech in Plato’s book II of the Republic tells “The story of Gyges the Lydian”. Glaucon steps in when Thrasymachus has been silenced by Socrates and uses the story to defend the opinion that people don't practice justice for itself, but only because they fear what would happen to them if they don't. On this paper I will provide an example of a situation in which a just person may choose to do the unjust in order to get what he/she desires, if he/she would not be punished for doing so.
Maya was a great high school volleyball player, during her junior year she was invited to spend a summer in California playing volleyball with girls from all around the world. All the girls in this program were very skilled and talented, so Maya did not stand out as much as she used to. During her stay, she made a lot of friends, but she had become extremely close friends with one girl in particular, Joy. Joy was by far the most athletic girl in the program. Although her technique was not so unique, she had amazing reflexes and she could out jump and out run everyone else. Joy had no plans to play for any Division I Universities in the U.S. ; she already had a contract coming up the following year to play for a professional team in Europe, and the purpose of this program for her was only to achieve more playing time and experience, not recruitment.
Maya had become amazed by how well Joy performed every day, so one day she talked to Joy about her dreams of getting recruited by Penn State: a top institution in the sport. However, at this point Maya had lost a lot of her confidence due to her inability to stand out among the other great volleyball players looking to be recruited. On the last day of the summer, before boarding their planes, the two friends went out to lunch at a small burger joint. Joy gave Maya a pack full of pills. According to Joy they were a twenty-four month supply of athletic enhancers. These pills were made of a new substance not known in the U.S., meaning that they would not appear on any drug screening tests. This drug would increase Maya’s athletic performance; she would have better reflexes, greater stamina and accelerated muscle growth. Maya was taken by surprise, but she took the pills with her. The next few days after she arrived back in Massachusetts, her mind was in absolute chaos. Every day she would stare at the pills for hours and many questions would pop up in her head. She had been raised with certain set of values that conflicted with her wants and desires to take the athletic enhancers. After many hours and days lost on debating whether or not to take the pills, she made the decision of taking them. She began training and taking the pills every day. At first she would notice her better performance and feel guilty, but as time went on, she felt more comfortable with her decision.

Maya’s last high school volleyball season started and she was in incredible shape. Her team won every game that season, although she had turned into quite a selfish player, she did put on a show every game and the team was very successful. Towards the end of the season all Division I Universities had an eye on her for their volleyball programs. She received a great offer from Penn State University, which she did not even blink before accepting. As Joy had promised, she passed every drug screening test with no problems. The drug was really amazing, she thought.
Then Penn State’s Volleyball pre-season began. She noticed although she was on athletic enhancers, it was difficult to keep up with a couple of players. One of these players held the position she wanted, so she began to play close attention to the girl. One day she found out that a few of the returning players had found a loop hole in the program and got away with not going through drug screening. This girl was one of them, so Maya immediately brought the matter up to the sports administration; the player she accused of doping had to take the drug screening test and failed. As a result, the player was expelled and prohibited from participating in any sports program in the country. The coach needed to fill one starting spot on the court, and that was exactly the spot Maya wanted. She got the spot and played every game throughout the entire season. Maya performed extremely well throughout the season, she earned all conference honors and a lot of publicity within the sport. On that year, her picture was put up on Penn State’s Athletic Hall of Fame, as she got a hold of Joy for a new supply of the drug.
Both Gyge’s ring and Maya’s athletic enhancers serve as instruments of wrong doing, but they get rid of the consequences of such act. If under the same circumstances, the just and the unjust person were given the freedom to do whatever they like, both would choose to do so. Glaucon claims that humans desire to outdo one another and always get more of whatever is they want. Both the Story of Gyges and Maya’s story are examples of what might be humanity's greatest flaw, being unjust. Even knowing they were unfair and doing the "wrong" thing, both stories show how they still go through with it because they know it will help them succeed. It has always been that way, whether it's in a high school volleyball team, or a senate's chair in politics; people will take advantage of their resources to help themselves reach their goal, whether it's fair or not.…...

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