December 19

Today's quotation:

Those who surpass their fellow citizens in virtue are no
longer a part of the city.  The city's law is not for them,
since they are a law to themselves.

Aristotle

Today's Meditation:

I believe that some of us do reach this point in our lives, a point at which the laws of our society are no longer necessary for us.  After all, if we no longer have any urge whatsoever to do anything harmful to our fellow citizens, then laws become irrelevant.  Laws are made for the protection of the people of a society, and if we pose no threat at all, then what point laws?

Personally, I've always been amazed at the number of people who get nervous around police officers.  I've never been nervous myself, for I know that I have nothing to be nervous about.  Police officers are there to enforce laws that are broken, and since I'm not breaking any laws I don't feel at all intimidated by their presence.  And since the city's laws are in place to regulate the city, once we are no longer in a place in which laws affect us, we functionally are no longer a part of the city except in paying taxes and fees.

Of course, Aristotle wrote these words before the advent of the automobile, which led to many traffic laws that are easier to break--even inadvertently--than laws that protect our fellow citizens from harm.  He wrote this before we were taxed on almost everything we own, before we became subject to literally thousands of laws ranging from noise regulations to the copying of music in our own homes.

But his basic message remains intact--adopting a life of virtue gives us freedom, a freedom that we can love and appreciate.  Our lives become richer and more full when our virtue keeps us free from worry.  I never worry about the police coming to my home to conduct a raid, for I simply don't feel a need or desire to break any major laws, and therefore those who enforce and make the laws really have no influence over me.  My actions are guided by my desire to lead a good life, not by my fear of facing retribution if I break a law.

Questions to consider:

How would you define a "life of virtue"?

What kinds of laws--if any--do you break regularly?  What kinds of penalties do you face?

Are there any laws that you feel unfairly keep you from being or expressing yourself?  What might you do about those laws?

For further thought:

When people are pure, laws are useless;
when people are corrupt, laws are broken.

Benjamin Disraeli

  
  

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