The concepts of harmony, justice and virtue play an important role in understanding how the modern society operates and develops. Justice is one of the central ideas in social and political theories. It fulfills the requirement of compliance in terms of action and retribution. Harmony should be regarded as a universal concept that combines the values of humanism, peace, love, justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and organization of social life. Virtue refers to the inherent human will to fulfill the moral law. These three concepts form a basis for the harmonious organization of the society. Only in the society that embodies them, the prerequisites for the implementation of the principle “beauty will save the world” occur. After all, beauty is harmony, justice and virtue. This paper will examine the concepts of harmony, justice and virtue as the phenomena of a developed society.
Justice is the concept of the proper life order that implies the requirement to comply with the rules of action and reward (the rights and duties, employment and remuneration, achievements and recognition, crime and punishment, the respective roles of different social strata, groups and individuals in a society as well as their social status) (McLean and Alistair 45). Lack of proper correspondence between these entities is referred to as injustice. In terms of morality, justice consists primarily in the recognition of another person as an equal in regard to human dignity, including the requirement to act fairly in relation to people, their rights and interests. This means that justice is always based on reciprocity promoting the development of communication in human society. Thus, the concept of justice includes equal treatment and mutual obligations (Magagna).
Justice is one of the basic principles governing the relationship among people in the society. Therefore, it is considered as a social virtue. Following this virtue, people need to create the social structures to maintain the functions of a society and obey the law that must be equal for everybody. Justice is not only a basic principle for the assessment of human behavior and activities of public institutions, but also the moral guide for an appropriate behavior. As truth is the main virtue of thought, so justice is the first virtue of social institutions. Thus, only from the standpoint of justice a society can judge what is good and bad.
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Justice can be measured by correct human feelings (Magagna). The social ethics allocate several types of justice measurements. These particularly include:
1) The commutative justice between individuals and groups that means the fair exchange and agreements, etc.;
2) Distributive justice. Justice of a society in respect to the allocation of justice among individuals (honors, property, etc.);
3) Legalist justice of individuals and groups in their relationship to the social community (the state) that defines the border between loyalty (the citizens’ obligations to the community) and the right to civil disobedience (Boisen and Murray 67).
There are various approaches toward the implementation of the principle of equity in real people’s lives. They are associated with different views and interpretations of the concept of justice. The main subject of controversy in the debates on justice is the problem of combining the principle of equality of people (in terms of human dignity) with the existing inequality in real life (in terms of differences in abilities, property, etc.) (McLean and Alistair 51).
It is considered indisputable that justice should promote the common good and ensure that each person is involved in pursuing it. However, the extent of this participation is understood in different ways. Thus, proponents of egalitarianism deny the possibility of unequal distribution of materials and other benefits within a society. They believe that there is no difference among people and all are equal and therefore, all the benefits and burdens should be shared equally among them. In contrast to this, the theory of “capitalist” (market) justice proceeds from the idea that states that the distribution of benefits should take into account an individual contribution to the common good. From the perspective of the “communist” justice, job duties should be distributed in accordance with the abilities, while benefits – according to the needs (Boisen and Murray 72-73).
Harmony, as well as justice, is another important concept in social and political theories. The idea of harmony is a priority in the Eastern culture and philosophy, especially in Confucianism and Buddhism. However, it is not aligned to the Western mentality. As a value, harmony has existed since ancient times. It involves a sustainable and dynamic balance in the social spheres and corresponding classes of the population. Thus, social harmony is a coexistence of all the elements of a social community. In society there are universal laws of life, which regulate the social system and allow its representatives to survive. The positive nature of harmony can be expressed in the laws of dynamic equilibrium of the social system and balance of differences (Magagna).
In the most general form, social harmony can be realized through the highest degree of organizational order and reproduction of social systems. The harmony of the social system is composed of different social practices, methods of organization and restoration of the social system. The stability of social institutions is relative. On this basis, the harmony is seen as the brisk condition that requires effort to maintain it (the Equilibrium) (Adams et al 89). At the same time, harmony can not be defined as something random and the transient. It is a natural and reasonable state of a constantly rotating society. In fact it is a point of perfection, which society aspires to achieve.
The increasing level of social harmony is related to the concept of “social progress” (Adams et al. 90). Harmony is characterized by the uniform and equitable distribution and exchange of resources between different spheres and classes of a society. It eliminates the extremes: on the one hand, mechanical equalization; on the other hand, poverty and luxury, setting reasonable upper and lower limits.
The main forms of harmony are the social and individual. The social form is related to the harmonious development of the spheres and classes of a society, whereas the individual form – to the harmonious development of human spheres. Both forms of harmony are inevitably linked and contribute to each other. They cannot exist separately (Adams et al 92).
The law of social harmony states that a stable life and development of a society are provided by a balance of four spheres: social reproduction, which is constantly violated by the deviations of various industries, enterprises, regions and social groups. The number of deviations determines the level of disharmony in a society (Adams et al 93). When the balance of harmony is upset, society begins to die.
However, harmony does not mean a social paradise and absence of conflicts. It entails a sustainable and dynamic approach to organizing the spheres of a society and human lives. This does not exclude conflicts, but they are resolved in the least painful and most effective way not turning into such social encounters as war, violent revolution, terrorism, etc.
The procedure eliminates the clash of civilizations. It creates a harmonious and sustainable peace in the world without wars, terror and poverty. A new world begins with the harmony of genders (mothers and fathers) and generations (parents and children) in the family and continues to build harmony among the classes of population establishing their partnerships. The order of harmony is the best and most effective way of existence of human society.
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Virtue is a moral concept, which indicates the development of the moral values of the individual. In a simple and obvious form, the interpretation of virtue as an auxiliary moral phenomenon represents it as a strong desire to act according to the principles of righteousness and familiar settings, which guide us toward the right based on the principle of action. Virtue is always correlated with a higher self-sufficient purpose. It occurs at the intersection of natural and affective states of the cognitive mind and can be considered as a qualitative characteristic of the human temperament. Virtue is realized through individual’s actions and it actively resists wickedness.
Virtue points to the special quality of a person that is one’s moral purpose or certain property of an identity, without which he/she can not be considered morally perfect. It also refers to the concept of moral consciousness, which expresses positive qualities of an individual. Man as a moral creature has a number of virtues, each of which may be developed to different degrees and can not be absent entirely due to the relationship between various moral characteristics.
Virtue is a core value of the human. It should be referred to as a social obligation rather than a self-sacrifice (Magagna). As the social value and obligation, it can be understood as a responsibility to the family or oneself (Magagna). Moreover, virtue can be considered as the means of establishing and maintaining the balance between the self-interests of an individual and interests of other people.
In addition, acquiring virtue allows achieving the benefits that are the parts of human life. Thus, understanding the concept of virtue not only as a good theoretical description of moral practice, but also as a means of modeling the behavior, provides resources for more effective decision-making in various situations. People who are virtuous and familiar with all the details of a situation usually make right decisions.
There are three possible answers to the question of the relationship between a happy life and virtues. The first involves their full identification. In this case, maintaining a virtuous life is understood as the only justifiable purpose and any suffering or loss do not deserve the attention of a man. The second answer implies that virtue is an essential, but not mandatory component of a happy life. Virtue is judged upon the same scale as any other external good. There is a possibility that a large amount of material wealth, sensual pleasure and aesthetic enjoyment can make a man happy without acquiring a virtue. According to the lecturer’s third answer, virtue and the availability of external goods are considered as equally necessary conditions for a happy life. However, in a real life the excellence of virtue brings higher fulfillment (Magagna).
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Only now social and political sciences are able to formulate and solve practical problems of creating the harmony, justice and virtue on the levels of both society and individuals. In a future society, the concepts of harmony, justice and virtue will become the accepted norms of moral. All imbalanced aspects such as poverty and wealth, injustice, hatred, violence and war, etc. will be considered immoral. The society built on these values (harmony, justice and virtue) does not reject the values and moral norms of past societies; it incorporates and rebuilds them changing their priorities. Harmony, justice, and virtue play an ideological role in respect to morality, spiritual ideals and cultural values.