Friday, June 27, 2014
Revenge Vs. Justice
Revenge can masquerade as justice, but it often ends up perverting it. The differences between revenge and justice enumerated below generally holds true; yet, they are generalizations, so the possibility exists that some of you may be able to think of some exceptions. Nevertheless, here are two quotes that distinguishes between the two:
"Do not seek revenge and call it justice." - Cassandra Clare
"It is essential that justice be done; it is equally vital that justice not be confused with revenge, for the two are wholly different." - Oscar Arias
These 5 differences was taken from an article I read in "Psychology Today."
1. Revenge is predominantly emotional; justice primarily rational. Revenge is mostly about "acting out" negative emotions. As its worse, it expresses an overwhelming desire for bloodshed. As perverse as it may seem, there is actual pleasure experienced in causing others to suffer for the hurt they have caused.
Justice, on the other hand, is not about "getting even" or experiencing a spiteful joy in retaliation. Instead, it is about righting a wrong that most members of society would agree is morally culpable. And the unbiased unemotional moral rightness of such justice is based on cultural or community standards of fairness and equity. Whereas revenge has a certain selfish quality to it. As St. Paul John Paul II stated: "Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create." In other words, a person who uses violence, theft, or anything illegal to obtain justice is really seeking revenge.
2. Revenge is personal; justice is impersonal, impartial, and both a social and legal phenomenon. The driving impetus behind revenge is to get even, to carry out a private vendetta, or to achieve what is described as personal justice. If successful, the person experiences personal gratification that their retaliatory goal has been accomplished....the other side vanquished or brought to his knees. Just or not, the avenger feels justified.
Social justice, on the other hand, is impersonal. It revolves around moral correction in situations where certain ethical principles have been violated. When justice is successfully meted out, the particular retribution benefits or protects both the individual and society, which can operate effectively when certain acceptable behavioral guidelines are followed.
"Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both." - Eleanor Roosevelt.
3. Revenge is an act of vindictiveness; justice, of vindication. The effort to avenge oneself or others can become corrupting, morally reducing the avenger's status to that of the perpetrator. Two wrongs do not make a right and never can. Degrading another only ends up further degrading oneself. There is nothing admirable in retaliating against a wrong by committing a wrong that is the same. In other words, degrading and belittling the other because the other also degraded and belittle you does not make you a better man.
Justice, on the other hand, is grounded in honor, fairness, and virtue. It's purpose is not vindictive in which blood thirstiness has no part. It is based on established law, and its proceedings are designed to dispense to individuals precisely what the individual deserved.....nothing more and nothing less. As James Mace (a famous historian) once stated: "Only remember this: to seek justice is a good and noble thing, to seek revenge out of hatred is something that will devour your very soul."
4 Revenge is about cycles; justice about closure. Revenge has a way of relentlessly repeating itself. Revenge begets more revenge. The cycle is continuous, and it gets no satisfaction. There is no resolution and no compromise. It is like Israel and Palestine with its own agenda amd its own sense of right and wrong. Tit-for-Tat, and the cycle goes on. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians who have been fighting for over 50 years.,one has to wonder if those fighting in the war even remember the real reason for the conflict that started it in the first place.
Justice, by contrast, is designed to offer a resolution, which eventually leads to closure. When justice is done, so is the conflict that led up to it.
5. Revenge is about retaliation; justice is about restoring balance. The motive of revenge has mostly to do with expressing rage, anger, hatred, or spite. It's a protest or payback, and its intent is to harm.
Justice, on the other hand, is concerned with dispassionately restoring balance through bringing about equality or equity. It centers on proportion as it equates to fairness and is not driven by emotion, but seeks to be as objective and evenhanded as possible.
“Someone wrongs us, we rarely (if ever) want to do the same thing back. Why? Because we want to do something more harmful. Likewise, when someone insults us, our instinct is to search for words that will be more insulting. Revenge always escalates.” - Rob Bell