Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

A Question For You:

“The freedom I mentioned would be most easily realized if both people had the power they say the ancestor of Gyges of Lydia possessed. The story goes that he was a shepherd in the service of the ruler of Lydia. There was a violent thunderstorm, and an earthquake broke open the ground and created a chasm at the place where he was tending his sheep. Seeing this, he was filled with amazement and went down into it. And there, in addition to many other wonders of which we’re told, he saw a hollow bronze horse. There were windowlike openings in it, and, peeping in, he saw a corpse, which seemed to be of more than human size, wearing nothing but a gold ring on its finger. He took the ring and came out of the chasm. He wore the ring at the usual monthly meeting that reported to the king on the state of the flocks. And as he was sitting among the others, he happened to turn the setting of the ring towards himself to the inside of his hand. When he did this, he became invisible to those sitting near him, and they went on talking as if he had gone. He wondered at this, and, fingering the ring, he turned the setting outwards again and became visible. So he experimented with the ring to test whether it indeed had this power-and it did. If he turned the setting inward, he became invisible; if he turned it outward, he became visible again. When he realized this, he at once arranged to become one of the messengers sent to report to the king. And when he arrived there, he seduced the king’s wife, attacked the king with her help, killed him, and took over the kingdom.”

-from Plato’s “Republic,” book II (read more about the context of this paragraph here).

The question that Glaucon is leading to in this paragraph is, “wouldn’t every man be unjust if he were invisible?”  I would like to think that I would do some good things if I had such a power at my disposal, but I am certain that being able to get away with anything and everything would bring even more temptations to sin than I deal with on an everyday basis.  The result of my pondering this question is that I see even more clearly how sinful I am on my own, and how sorely I need the grace of God to take even the slightest step in the direction of goodness and justice.  I also see that much of the good that I actually do is not done for the sake of goodness itself, but because I wouldn’t get away with it and/or because of “the fear of man.”

The question that I had in mind when I titled this blog was this:  how just or unjust would you be if you had a ring that had the power to make you invisible?


May 30, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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