When we hear this word, our thoughts may turn to a courtroom replete with judge and jury.
But to the Greek philosophers and to those thinkers who came after them, the cardinal virtue of justice meant much more than a legal system. To them, justice meant righteousness and the equity we show to our loved ones and neighbors, treating them with respect and as we ourselves wish to be treated.
When we act righteously and with equanimity to all around us—giving a raise to a deserving employee, listening to those with whom we disagree, seeking to understand rather than to condemn—we promote harmony and strengthen the often-frail foundations of our culture and our civilization.
Most of the world’s great religions encourage their followers to adhere to some version of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
In that ancient aphorism is the beating heart of true justice.