As the Scales Tip

Mankind's ideas of good and evil are all subjective. They depend on the ideals and perspective of the beholder. The concept of Balance however, is Eternal. As the day fades, night takes over, only to again be replaced by the light of the sun. These continuous natural cycles also follow the ideas of balance. The existence of mankind and everything we hold dear, rest on the precipice of the scales. Our every action, every decision tips the shift of balance every so slightly. Anything to an extreme can lead to chaos, and so true enlightenment can only be reached through the understanding and acceptance of Balance. 

To me this sculpture represents an understanding of balance. You cannot have a one sided scale, there must be injustice for there to exist justice and vice versa. I believe Plato would agree with this concept. In his book the Republic, he states "Do not persons often err about good and evil; Many who are not good seem to be so". Everything is based on perspective. The act of being just or unjust are both two sides of the same coin, what is just to one may be unjust to another. This too is a form of balance.
Education is a perfect example of the effects of balance and imbalance. In book 6 of Plato's Republic he states "He must love knowledge". This quote ties in perfectly with the idea of balancing the mind as well as the body. This painting ties into the theme because the one responsible for educating someone is directly responsible for that students development and ultimately their perspectives in life. Plato's views on this subject also appear to fall in line with this perspective and in his book The Republic, he explains that one must have a balanced education in order to become a true philosopher.
To me this image epitomized the idea of the savage man in his natural habitat. Part one of Rousseau's Discourse on inequality focuses on the qualities of the "Savage Man". He states that if you were to put both the savage man and the common man naked and opposite to each other in the wild, we would see who would be more advantaged. This comment emphasizes Rousseau's view of balance. Although the savage man lacks the technology and "intelligence" of the common man, he makes up for it with strength, speed, and instinct. The common man with his dependence on sophisticated tools lacks many of these primal talents. This maintains the balance between nature and human innovation. This painting shows a balance of nature and the beginnings of technology.
A person cannot truly understand the concept of balance without, first being exposed to the toxic effects of greed. Greed is a force which can disrupt even the sturdiest of scales; It can be viewed as mankind's most detestable corruption. Rousseau, and Locke both seemed to believe in the natural goodness of man. A form of pure kindness which could only be destroyed through internal corruption. Rousseau in part two of his discourse on inequality quotes Locke as saying "Where there is no property, there can be no injury". Greed and envy both play a large role in the corruption of mankind's integrity. I chose this image because it shows how deformed and ugly man can become should he allow these evils to manifest within them.
This painting can be symbolically divided into two different ideas. The central portion of the image depicts a form of pure and natural equality. In this portion of the painting we see man live harmoniously with nature. In this portion everything appears to be at peace and man is again one with nature. The top left portion of the painting portrays an imbalance in mankind. In this part of the painting, you see men huddled together discussing various things. A ship can be seen in the background, and no animals can be seen. This painting can in a way symbolize the ideas Marx tries to explain in the communist manifesto. The portion depicting nature could be compared to the Proletarians who, when they work together can form a more peaceful and equal society. The top left segment therefore would represent the Bourgeois elite. These isolated individuals care only for their own wealth, and pay no heed to the struggles of those they deem lesser than themselves. The river symbolizes the divide between these classes and so also acts to create a rift in the balance.
There is no greater manifestation of balance that the division of Man and Women. Without both neither can exist. This picture depicts the Bible's representation of the Garden of Eden, in which, Adam and Eve both existed in harmony with nature. In Wollstonecraft's book she states how women have been "enfeebled by the books of men" who do not consider women as worthy or equal. To me this picture is a perfect representation of her words. The bible depicts Eve, a woman, as immoral, and unworthy by disobeying the word of god. As this book spread around the world it allowed men to degrade and persecute women in a religious context. The image even shows the snake, which is a representation of evil, as having the face of a woman. This falls perfectly in line with Wollstonecraft's perception of education. We educate women to feel inferior to men, and over time it becomes so ingrained in our culture that we no longer even recognize it. This inequality between men and women has shifted the balance of power. Before we can advance our society to a more perfect and balanced form, we must first identify our passed mistakes and correct them.
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