Justice

I’ve been meaning to write on this for a bit since it is another one of society’s well accepted ideas that I wonder about.

Not Fair

Is “justice” part of human nature or just a way derived from some sort of rise in rituals/ religion? When we are born do we know what is “fair” or “just?” I’m not sure. What I DO see with my own children (and saw when I worked with children)is that “It’s not FAIR!” shows up fairly early – maybe 2ish- and is a long lasting battle cry. How many wars have been escalated due to someone else “starting it?” It’s only “fair” that we retaliate right? I don’t think so, but that’s my opinion (and I’m afraid it only counts for the purposes of my writing). So I suppose I have enough evidence to conclude the ideas of “justice” are innate, but what effect has the rise of ritual and religion had on it? Since when did sex and drinking get cast into the no-no category and become a shining beacon for those intent on judging? Religion seems to have entered into “justice” due to the idea of the supreme being (whichever one was popular at the era) judging someone once they were dead and either sending them to a paradise or a inferno (thanks Dante). People then took it upon themselves to assign themselves the hat of “master of the universe” or “complete understander of God/Allah/ Yahweh’s will.” Now we don’t so much trust our instincts on what we believe is right and just but instead turn to our religious leaders to tell us what to do. What by nature makes the physical enjoyment of sex between two consenting adults wrong? I can’t find anything. What kind of Supreme Being would want us to deny the very nature appointed us? I know the argument from my 1/2 protestant upbringing. The stirrings one feels is the Devil tempting us to turn away from God and turn away from purity.

Perhaps “justice” is just something we derived from a massive recognition of things that cause trouble in the lives of individuals. I’ve never heard it argument that murder for the purpose for revenge should be legal since it would feel so damn good (death penalty might be the only case actually). Okay, then child molestation. I’ve never heard it argued that men with this mental affliction that draws them to children sexually should have free access since it occurs naturally. Despite its occurrence in nature, the majority of our society recognizes that they don’t want their children abused, and that having adults whom had been abused as children would not be a good thing for all of us as a collective. When one looks at the laws of all the world’s major religions, one sees a trend: no killing, no cheating, no lying, etc. These are things we know are bad. Why? Because when we do them we hurt others. When they are done to us, we get hurt. So really, “justice” may have began as a social context to better live in harmony with each other (when we first began to domesticate ourselves).   [ see Radiolab’s “The New Normal” bit on foxes and its implications on the development of human society:  http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2009/10/02 ]

Is “justice” something we have because of our more mature development or is it a “It’s not FAIR!” left over from our animal minds? They’ve proven dogs to have envy or jealousy towards another dog that got more “treat” than they did.  If it really truly is something we developed in response to our changing living arrangements, then the ideas of “justice” came along after the basic establishment of our nature. But then could have the drive to be just then been evolved in as a desirable trait? Then how did hypocrisy effect it? (again another topic for another time)

We all bow to the “justice” system. How is it that the majority get’s to decide what’s “right” based on what their religious leaders would have them believe? As much as we look back on our past of segregation and division with disgust, so will we look back on this time, now, with horror. We thought THAT was the right thing to do? I could list so many things (that I’m sure to write on later) that are in my view very unjust in this world.

And now my main question:

WHO SAYS IT HAS TO BE FAIR?

While I recognize no one wants to be the one sacrificed for the good of the team, I do understand that in order to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. Societies in the past raised young women to recognize that sometimes their children would die- a lot of them might actually – because this was a fact of life, and no it wasn’t FAIR  (or just, if you will) but things are the way they are. Why do we as human beings consume so much time, energy, space, and MONEY making sure our neighbor doesn’t have a bigger piece of cake than us? Than he deserves? We are so focused on what other people have or don’t have we forget what we have. We have, as long as we are breathing – time. Most of us have health, family, intellect, compassion, and our humanity. The only “justice” that can really be had is the justice accounted to us by the Universe. Perhaps the ” societal judgment system” just didn’t have the same ring to it!

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One thought on “Justice

  1. Oh Kanina. How I sometimes wish to devour your legs and see what you’d say then about “fairness” and what not.

    In the beginning passage you so eloquently wrote, I think the word “justice” needs to be replaced with “morality”. Justice is the ability to enact a system of equality and equilibrium throughout a mass continuity. In other words, everyone has the same slice of the pie in equal portions (kind of like socialism– gasp). Justice never argues whether sex is good or bad, fulfilling or inadequate, or whatever. Otherwise our Judiciary Branch would be busy up to their ears with petty violations based on sexual citations against civilians.

    Now, the evolvement of justice is a good question. I too have a theory. I think, in general, it is plausible and likely that justice came from a system of trial and error. Humanity, in general, strives for perfection, strives for things that have the greatest efficiency, least amount of problems, and greatest harmony. Really, I think at its core it’s about efficiency but all those other values that stack ontop of it are equally necessitate the existence of Justice.

    In general, we want a system that unifies us and strengthens us as a collective unit, like a tribe; however, our individual desires separate us and make us want more things for ourselves (regardless of the reasons behind it). Justice may be a system designed to protect individuals from fraud, from theft, from violence, and other harmful actions that threaten harmony and coexistence. Rules of order are necessary for organization and the reason why they exist is due to the preservation of that organization and order. If people are breaking rules left and right, if people are being violated without stipulations that apply unilaterally to all, then people will get hurt, people will get anger, and people will rebel. They will quash the system and MAKE it so their individualistic desires are fulfilled as well as those surrounding them (mostly though from their own individual concerns).

    For example, the reason why the French Revolution came into being was due to the constant negligence, abuse, and arrogance of the aristrocrats and royalty who disdained the rights of the common people. Instead of acknowledging their freedoms and liberities, the royalty and aristrocrats stomped all over it, spat on it, and marched on blatantly nonchalant of their pain and suffering.

    When suffering builds amongst the community, it escalates eventually into a wildfire that threatens to consume the entirety of that order system. When the grievances and reservations spread, they amplify with each sorrow felt by the individual thus strengthening the feelings harboured at a collective level and thus action is taken so that justice, or the protection of individual rights/liberities may be protected.

    The reason why murder out of revenge is not legal (anymore) is because it just leads to A LOT of bloodshed. You killed my friend, I’ll you. You killed my brother, I’ll kill you. You killed my son, I’ll kill you and every member of your family.

    Some retilations are truly bloody and completely unnecessary. Unlike our culture which is constructed on ethics/virtues, the Greeks had a “Shame Culture” in which every citizen followed the rights of the community or suffered the possibility of exhile and discommunication (a practice that predates Catholicism). No one wanted that so they followed it out of fear and shame. So why do the majority decide? Because if you don’t want your ass slapped with contempt/rejection, you follow the crowd or you suffer (depending on what it is you are rebeling against). Revenge was acceptable (and necessary at times) when someone was “wronged” (and there were fairly simple descriptions of what were acceptable and unacceptable actions in that community).

    The belief was those who did good received good, those who did bad received bad. Doesn’t that sound similar to an even older belief? Ah yes, karma.

    The Golden Rule isn’t always upheld (as instantly) by the Universe, contrary to what certain people believe– which is also a Justice System that is done at a divine/universal level.

    So is it “IT’S NOT FAIR” that rings in our animal minds? Probably not that. It’s more of the feelings of contempt, of envy that give rise to aggression and eventual attempts to take whatever it is by force. No one likes to be neglected and treated like poo. Not even snakes or lizards (who are thought to have no emotional stimuli). They will fight for what they feel is their right.

    So…WHO SAYS IT HAS TO BE FAIR?

    Why.. everyone. Many things do. It’s a natural tendency actually. Without justice, without equality, there are going to be a lot of unhappy critters that are going to rebel in retaliation. Bitterness, angst, hatred, aggression, and eventual malevolence towards another.

    And I’ll be devouring them all; just and unjust alike. Mwahahaha…

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