Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Question on Justice

Tonight, I accidentally came across a PBS documentary, ``Elusive Justice,'' about bringing World War II Nazi criminals into justice after many decades. Many people interviewed in the program emphasized the importance of bringing justice to those suffered the war atrocities by punishing the criminals.

Watching the program brought an interesting novel idea into my mind. It has been a while that I have observed serious self-destructive tendencies in myself. These acts of self-destruction are particularly forceful when I do things that deprive some parts of me from pleasure or expose them to hardship. What if there are some parts of me who have suffered undue hardship throughout my life and they act out like an angry victim of injustice? How can you deal with such a hypothetical situation?

A possible immediate answer is to be kind to those parts. This is what I have been thinking about for the past couple of years and, very recently, I have made good progress in it. I have been able, for the first time, to make some meaningful connections to those parts. I have found ways to please them. And more importantly, I have found useful practices, what I label acts of kindness, that I am in the process of writing down. But is ``kindness'' a replacement for ``justice''?

I am thinking that the answer is, ``No, justice is not replaced by kindness.'' I am not proficient in religious studies but it seems to me that many religions separate ``kindness'' from ``justice''. Justice is more related with a sense of closure, that something unjust has become just. But if so, then how do you makes things right for part of your psyche? How do you bring a sense of justice and closure to parts of you who have suffered undue hardship and deprivation?

It is obvious to me that parts of me have already engaged in taking revenge. The unfortunate thing is that revenge is blind and destroys both sides (which, in this case, are essentially parts of me!) These acts of revenge typically end up in sinking the ship that will drown me and may even harm people close to me. Therefore, even though these questions seem very hypothetical and abstract, in fact, they are practically important.

If you have any insight into these questions please share. I do not remember seeing anything like this in my studies of the texts on self-awareness and spiritual paths. Thanks!

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