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Post No. 105

March 15, 2013

For some reason, random words appear as links. I don’t know if this is the case with you too. The only phrase I have deliberately used as a link is the “fair archipelago” in the first sentence. Forewarned is forearmed …

I was watching telly the other day and I caught the tail end of a discussion about some sort of amnesty to convicted criminals in prison because of the election of a different party to the government of our fair archipelago 🙂

I’d rather not say what I think about the tragic fate that seems to have descended upon us like a kettle of vultures circling a particularly corpulent specimen of wildebeest set to kick the bucket … oops … I must have been thinking aloud there. Never mind.

Back to amnesties.

I won’t – can’t, really – comment on the validity of the positions presented. One thing stuck to my mind, though, and that’s what made me write this. People were bandying the words “fair” and “justice” like there was a deadline on their use in talk shows.

Justice. Now that’s a loaded one. It implies “fair” retribution – at least the popular and modern understanding of the word. Society cannot function without justice, it was said. In other words if you fail me I need to have acceptable means to get back at you.

Hidden somewhere in this concept lies a yearning – a craving, even – for that which is of itself and in itself right. It means that there are things that you can do to me that are objectively punishable. I may justifiably invoke the wrath of he law upon you for your offence. I can call your action in my regard an offence because in the rule book by which we both play your action is listed under the “Offences” section.

The problem with laws governing interaction in and among societies is that they are generally a collection of rules agreed upon by specific groups of people and based directly on human experience. In other words our laws come from “within us”.

This points, at least to my understanding, to another “level” of justice  – the sort of justice where failure to abide by the rules is retribution in itself. It’s not a matter of somebody breaking a law and the consequence is forced upon the perpetrator (e.g. prison). I’m thinking of something along the lines of “unsatisfied hunger” i.e. you’re hungry but you don’t eat. The “ugly feeling of hunger” is not something that is forced on you because you did not eat. Hunger is an inevitable consequence of not eating. Hunger is simply not eating. Dark is the absence of light and cold is the absence of heat.  They’re not entities themselves they’re just the absence of something. Same as the idea of justice I’m trying to portray. There’s justice and there’s everything else outside of it. Being outside justice would be “punishment” in itself.

This is what we try to emulate – IMHO – when we inextricably link retribution with justice.


From → The Elephant

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