| Lauren Schlangen
UNST 114A-001, Ways of Knowing: Humanities
Journal #5 Plato: “Crito” Page 1
In previous journals I have talked about how, as individuals, we have the right to make our own choices and believe in what we want. But who is to decide what is right and what is wrong? The simple answer is that, as individuals, we decide this too. What I consider to be “right” or “just” may be completely different than what my neighbor considers to be “right” or “just.” But is this any reason to stop believing in what I do?
I keep referring to Christianity as an example for the topics of all of these journals. This is partly because religion, along with my disbeliefs in it, is something that I could write about for pages and pages. It is also because with all the topics we’ve gone through, the example of Christianity and religion is applicable, so I continue to use it.
As a Christian, there are certain things that are considered to be “wrong.” For example, same sex couples, and, furthermore, same sex marriages. Another example would be pre-marital sex. According to the bible, these are both sins that can land you a one-way ticket to hell. On page 10 Socrates asks Crito, “Could we live, having an evil and corrupted body?” To which Crito then answers saying, “Certainly not.” However, if Socrates was asking me this question, my answer would be, “Whose definition of evil are we referring to?” Because if we are referring to a Christian’s definition of evil, sure, I could not live in this corrupted body full of sin and unholy ways. According to Christianity, I’m already on my way to hell. But according to me, and my definition of evil, I’m doing quite alright.
You see, an individual’s own definition of right and wrong is all that really matters. At least in my opinion. Socrates continues to interrogate Crito asking, “And a good life is equivalent
to a just and honourable one – that holds also?” To which Crito replies, “Yes, it does.” But again, I ask, “Whose definition are we going by?” A completely unjust man could have a “good” life. In which case a good life would not be equivalent to a just and honorable one. Similarly, a completely just man could have a bad life, in which case the same is true of the equivalence between a good life and a just life.
Throughout this reading, Plato keeps using the terms “wrong” and “evil” and it’s hard for me to take the reading seriously because there isn’t a clear definition of what this means. Too much is left up to interpretation and depends on circumstances, and there are too many different variables to simply say what is right and what is wrong. It varies from person to person, place to place, and religion to religion, or lack thereof.
Later in the passage Crito gives a response to Socrates saying, “He ought to do what he thinks right.” The context around this quote doesn’t seem to be relevant to me; I feel too strongly about what he is saying. I live my life doing what I think is right. To me, that is all that matters. I don’t care what you think is right or wrong, my decisions are not based off of you or anyone else; they are my own. I think that tattoos are amazing, so I have them. I think love is love regardless of your sex or the sex of your partner, so I support same sex couples and marriage. I believe that sex is an experience, one that is allowed to be shared with more than one in your entire lifetime, so I believe in pre-marital sex. These are all things that I believe in and so I act on them. I act on my own beliefs, not anyone else’s.