Audios & Videos

Socrates and Plato - Track 104

The lion worked harder, it won’t be fair, therefore shall we say: the mightier you are, greater is your share, right? No, not as yet but this was your answer because you said he worked harder. He worked harder because he had greater strength, right? So it follows, now you discuss with me………….Shall we therefore conclude that the stronger you are, the greater should be your share? No, doesn’t follow. ………. Some mistake there, some fallacy. The stronger you are, the greater is your share – this is my statement. In fact this statement is so powerful in the history of the world, you must have heard a very powerful statement, this statement you must have heard very often, ‘might is right’ and this is the argument, it is the might which gives you the power to work harder. Therefore mightier you are, the more mightier you are the more right you are. No, doesn’t follow………

Your decision was upon how much hard was the work, not the mightier, right. So your answer should have been different. You should have said both should get equal because both worked equally. The lion certainly contributed more because his strength was greater but according to his strength he worked as much as the other one worked according to his strength, so both should get half and half, – that is called justice. Might is right is not correct therefore. Justice does not depend upon your might. Justice depends upon the share that you contribute to a result. This is the correct answer. …….this is a short example of philosophical thinking. You have one notion, you start with the word justice, you take an example and apply it and then argue whether it is fair or not and many notions of fairness will come up.

A lawyer goes to the court of law and argues for five minutes, and then he turns to his client and says: give me one thousand rupees; this is what is happening every day, no? A labourer goes to a farm, toils the whole day, not five minutes, he perspires, gets fatigued and after one full day he gets only ten rupees. Is it just, is there justice in this? No. why?..........the lawyer argues, the lawyer says: I was toiling and toiling when my law examination was coming up, day and night, day and night I worked very hard after a long, long labour I got through my examination of law, which gave me the degree of law as a result of which I can go into the court of law. So although I argue only for five minutes, behind those five minutes the work that I have put to be able to go to the court of law is much greater. This labourer does not know how to read, how to write, how to think. To develop my brain power which he has never developed, I have worked so hard.  Now what is your argument? …………Is there anybody who can argue against this argument that will really become a dialogue. At present it is only one way traffic, we can have two–ways traffic, three–ways traffic, anybody to argue against this argument?

Since I had no opportunity to go to the school therefore I could not develop my brain power. Supposing I were to say: look I know this labourer very well, my father told him; my son is going to the school but this fellow said all the time: Oh! No, I don’t like studies. Therefore he remained ignorant, he didn’t develop his brain power, not that he had no opportunity, opportunity was given to him, he didn’t use the opportunity. I developed the opportunity, I took advantage of the opportunity, he didn’t. So my conclusion is – I should therefore be paid more than this labourer. That is just, right or wrong, good argument? ............now anybody can argue against it. …………..

She said: I could work better with my hands therefore I went to the labour field instead of going to the school………a new argument starts. If I can learn better with one method, you learn better through another method, why should I get less than you? You worked according to the method you wanted, I worked according to my method. Why should there be difference now? ..............

Now let us take another dimension. ………..

There is a good story in the Bible. There was a master, who had some work to be done so he wanted to employ some labourers. He went in the morning and brought three or four labourers from the market. Then these labourers said: if you want to complete the work by the evening even if four of us work together, we won’t be able to complete the work by the evening. So you should bring some more. So he went back again after one or two hours and brought some more labourers. Instead of coming at 8’o clock asking them to come at 11’o clock to work. After some time they also said that if you want the work to be finished by 5’o clock, even if all of us work together, it won’t be finished by the evening. So he went out again and 2’o clock he brought three or four more labourers. They started working. At 4’o clock they said: work is still so much pending, we won’t be able to finish by 5’o clock. So the master went again and at 4’o clock he brought again a few more labourers and by 5’o clock the work was finished. Then came the time of payment and the master told his treasurer and said: give to all the labourers’ equal amount of money. Then the ones who had come at 8’o clock in the morning, protested and said: why, we have worked from 8’o clock to 5’o clock and this fellow came at 4’o clock to 5 only, why should he be given the same amount of money as I am being given? This is exactly what the master said and he gave an argument and said: why all should be paid equal? He said the need of everybody is equal. It’s a new dimension, a new argument – the need of everybody is equal therefore each one should be paid equally. This was your argument that the need of the lawyer and the need of the labourer is the same so why should the lawyer be paid more than the labourer? Good argument, therefore justice consists in what? You give the share according to the need.  Justice consists in distributing all that you have according to the need of everybody…………….

This is the process of philosophising. We want to define what is justice and we have gone through all these arguments. Now tomorrow you should be able to give me a statement which will include all these arguments, it’s difficult, when you argue you can go on arguing but afterwards if somebody says all the steps of the argument, it is difficult. Now tomorrow at least two of you will give me the arguments.

You may work more or you may work less. You may work for one hour but intensely. Somebody may work for five hours but loosely. So how do you know, how much should he be paid? His argument was, you go to the need of the persons and pay to everybody according to the need. The lawyer will be paid according to the need and the labourer also should be paid according to the need.  Now this is where we had stopped last time. Now do you think we have reached a good point of decision that everybody should be paid according to the need. Good decision? Now let us go into the depth of this question.

There was a young man who said: I should be paid in terms of a beautiful jar. I don’t want £10 or £20, I want a jar and a jar was given to him, very costly, he said: I need a jar. He went home and broke it, next day he came again and said: give me a jar I need it that is my need. And every day he broke a jar and said: this is my need.


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