Plato Violence in Socratic Examples Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Here he is talking about the same ideal of non-violence for the sake of mental purification. Yet he gives a violent example when describing how this tranquility works. He says: "Take, for example, Emperor Shun's execution of the four criminals. They themselves had committed the crimes and Shun, therefore executed them. Did Shun have any personal feeling or selfish desire in the matter?..." So it appears that the important this is not avoiding all forms of violence in the world or in action, but avoiding all forms of violence of the mind. So a martial artist in the above example may be able to intervene violently to stop a rape, and yet do so without any hate or anger in his heart.

That this is an internal peace is obvious when it is contrasted to the negative ideal of judgementalism or anger. Many people would argue that society should execute people because it will make the victims happy to see them dead, or that it is right to hate and take revenge for harms. The highest Buddhism suggests that the mind is purified by "refrain[ing] from harsh speech -- from rough speech." This further indicates that violence is defined by spirit, not by action. Of course, non-violence in the soul may be just the first step in the great ladder towards total peace and non-violence with the entire world. It is important to start, though, with non-violence of the soul.

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