Marcus Aurelius: Meditations
“Marcus never defines what he means by justice, and it is important to recognize what the term implies and what it does not. All human beings have a share of the logos, and all have roles to play in the vast design that is the world.
But this is not to say that all humans are equal or that the roles they are assigned are interchangeable. Marcus, like most of his contemporaries, took it for granted that human society was hierarchical, and this is borne out by the images he uses to describe it. Human society is a single organism, like an individual human body or a tree.
But the trunk of the tree is not to be confused with the leaves, or the hands and feet with the head. Our duty to act justly does not mean that we must treat others as our equals; it means that we must treat them as they deserve. And their deserts are determined in part by their position in the hierarchy.”
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