Tag Archives: #socrates

Suum Cuique: To Each His Own!

336-stromming

I regrettably came across a Buzzfeed video the other day featuring Americans trying a Swedish delight consisting of fermented fish in a can.  I had to pop a peppermint in my mouth to ease the queasiness I felt just writing that sentence.  There is no way in HELL that I could be a member of that panel of tasters, unless they were OK with catching some live “cookie tossing” action on camera for all to see.  My thoughts upon seeing this video:  “Blech!”  “Omg….breathe….don’t throw up.”  “Deep breath…close video… ‘To Each His Own’ and certainly not for me.”  I have heard that phrase used my whole life, “To each his own”.  In context, it has always seemed to mean “do what you want”.

The phrase has been around for a very, very long time.  The Latin phrase “Suum Cuique” meaning “To each his own” or “May all get their due” describes the early Greek principle of justice. Socrates defines justice in Plato’s Republic (380 B.C.) as  “… when everyone minds his own business, and refrains from meddling in others’ affairs”.  Socrates further explains, ” Everyone should do according to his abilities and capabilities, to serve the country and the society as a whole.  Also, everyone should receive “his own” (e.g., rights) and not be deprived of “his own” (e.g., property).”  Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC), a Roman author, orator, and politician made the phrase famous when he said, “Justice renders to everyone his due (Iustitia suum cuique distribuit).” 

So, it seems the phrase has much more to do with serving justice than people’s food preferences.  Although, if you make the decision to scarf down a can of fermented fish on a dare, the gastro geyser that is sure to follow will be your just due.

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