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.
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!