The Responsibilities of Gyges Ring- Personal Opinion

June 8, 2021

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We live in the world, where people bear responsibility for their actions. Acting in this or that way, people are responsible for what they do. Human actions are based on the morality of the social thinking. Morality is explained as the norm of actions; it sets the norms of good and bad, just and unjust. People always think about the consequences of their actions and the way others are going to treat their behavior. Social relations are based on morality, as human actions should be assessed by the society in order to allow people remain living in this society. What would happen if people were released from this responsibility? What would happen if people did not have to be responsible for their actions before the society? Would they still act morally correct? Gyges Ring clearly answers this question referring to the fact that if people are given an opportunity to act in whatever way they want without bearing responsibility for their actions, they will act in an immoral and unjust manner.

Short summary of Gyges Ring

Gyges Ring is closely connected to the principles of morality. Making people invisible, this thing allows them to act in accordance with their personal wishes. If everyone tried to understand what he/she wanted, it would be obvious that human desires always increase their opportunities. Some people commit crimes to get what they want, but those, who live the just lives, prefer to have what they can obtain. However, it does not mean that having a Gyges Ring they would still continue leading just lives. One of the greatest philosophers of the world once said about such a situation, Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point (Plato 35). It is difficult to contradict this position, as generally people act in accordance with social norms and rules, not because they want to, but because such behavior is accepted. The possession of a Gyges Ring would change the world dramatically. To prove this, I would like to dwell upon the situations, when I would possess a Gyges Ring. I am going to dwell upon the two situations, the first one is what I would like to do and the second one is what I ought to do according to my vision of norms in the society.

What I Would Like to Do with the Ring if I Had It

If I had the ring, it could change my life dramatically. Only imagine, I have a ring, which makes me invisible. Trying to think about my life from the very beginning, the following picture appears. I was born to grow up. When I grew up, I was sent to the kindergarten to get to know the basic knowledge to go to school. When I went to school, my goals were to learn more to be able to enter a college or university. After entering the college or University, I have to study hard to get knowledge for my future occupation. After graduating from the educational establishment, I will have to work to earn money for my life. Years are going to pass, I will become older and older and finally I will die. All people live in accordance with this scheme. Some people assure themselves that they get pleasure from working and they really do it. Others just flow without thinking of tomorrow, as they are sure that it is going to be the same as yesterday. Everything could change if I had the Gyges Ring. My whole life would change, as I would not have to live in accordance with this scheme. I do not say that I would not attend school or college as sometimes it is a real fun. I have many friends and I would like to have them if I had the ring. However, I am sure that I would spend much less time on studying the subjects I do not like. Why should I do it if I could know the correct answers beforehand? I am sure that the ring could make me a favor in the situations, when I have to get to know something without informing others of my presence. It is obvious that all these actions are unjust and immoral. Even if I had an initial desire to be helpful to others having a ring, I would anyway come up to these unjust actions. This is exactly what Plato says in his Republic:

if you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another’s, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another’s faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice. (Plato 35)

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What I Ought to Do with the Ring and Why Would This Choice Matter

Still, being brought up in a moral society and having good up-bringing with correct life principles, I understand that my actions are going to be absolutely different. I know that I ought to act in another way from what I want to and I would do it in case I had that ring. Machiavelli said in one of his books, He who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation (Machiavelli 145). I strongly disagree with this specific opinion, as there is no justification for immoral actions. I am sure that possessing the Gyges Ring I would have to hide it, to make sure that no one could find it, as even having the most fair and sincere intentions, a person would use it for personal immoral needs sooner or later. This is the only correct action. Reading the two literature works The Prince by Machiavelli and The Republic by Plato, I have understood that power is not what I need. Machiavellis The Prince describes many ways of possessing the power, and I believe that some of them are just; however, most of the actions people make to become powerful are immoral. The Gyges Ring also gives a person some power. Therefore, possessing it I would have to make sure that no one would take it. People have different thought and intentions. Some people cannot understand that their actions are illegal and may harm others. The only way out of the situation is to make sure that no one is going to have this ring. I agree with Plato in this point of view. All people are sure that their actions are just, and even committing unjust actions they still believe in their moral behavior. Therefore, being aware that in case I have this ring I will anyway act unjust sooner or later, I have to take my hands off this burden to remain free from temptation. Overall, all my actions are to be directed to my personal and social good.

What Responsibility Do I Have in the Choice I Make Personally vs. Socially?

One great philosopher of all times once said:

this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever anyone thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. (Plato 35)

The discussion of this quote may last for hours, but I would like to stress the importance of social vs. individual meaning of these words. Society consists of the actions and thought of separate people. If most people act just and their thoughts are morally correct, the society I live into is moral as well. All the thoughts I have, all the actions I perform affect the society. Looking at the society as at something not general, it is obvious that this structure consists of people. The actions of people create society. I am sure that my actions, my beliefs, and my intentions characterize the society in general. Remembering Machiavellis The Prince I would like to underline his statement that the fundamental principles of society are built by the human actions. Being a member of the society I live into, I bear responsibility for my actions and for the society in general. I have strictly defined the plan for my actions in case I would have the ring, and I am sure that this plan of actions is just and morally effective.

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Conclusion to My Decisions and Final Comment on the Subject Matter

Therefore, I want to conclude that my actions and my intentions create the world I live in. Having good thought and embodying them into life, I create a society with strong position, moral actions, and good life. I bear responsibility for living in this society. Returning to the problem of possessing the Ring of Gyges, I am sure that all the desires I may have will not confuse my intentions to lead just life. The desire to have an opportunity to remain invisible attracts; however, the idea that this possibility is going to contain illegal behavior frightens me. Therefore, I would better release from temptation than be tempted.