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Author Topic: Vengeance and justice  (Read 1644 times)

MattyG

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Vengeance and justice
« on: August 10, 2013, 12:54:48 am »
So, I just finished a sci-fi novel by John Scalzi calledFuzzy Nation, and it got me thinking about the idea of vengeance and justice. To sum it up, there were a handful of characters in the novel who committed some completely unforgivable act, and I've never felt such indescribable rage against a fictional character before. All I wanted was for horrible things to happen to them, and was incredibly unsatisfied by the consequences for their actions.

All that said, I was wondering how others here feel about the ideas of vengeance as justice. I know that Christian culture emphasizes the values of forgiveness and judgement being God's domain, but pagan history is filled with characters motivated by righteous anger and quests for retribution. Essentially, I was just wondering how other pagans let these emotions effect them, and the role you allow them to take in your personal philosophy.

Personally: When it comes to law/justice, I tend to be fairly liberal. I understand the kinds of circumstances that can lead one to crime, and I think law should focus on reparations to victims first, correction of criminal behavior second, and punishment a distant third. However, some crimes (particularly crimes that affect the defenseless or are completely motivated by greed) make me just want to squeeze people's heads until they burst. Other than that, I can't really put my feelings on the matter into words yet.

So, yeah. What do you all think?

mlr52

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Re: Vengeance and justice
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2013, 01:27:35 am »
Quote from: MattyG;118563

All that said, I was wondering how others here feel about the ideas of vengeance as justice.


 
Vengeance is taking poison.  There is no such thing as justice, just unevenly applied laws.
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Jake57

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Re: Vengeance and justice
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 12:45:33 pm »
Quote from: mlr52;118565
Vengeance is taking poison.  There is no such thing as justice, just unevenly applied laws.

 
I think that you get back what you give out.  Even if you are not overtly "punished" for doing bad things, just the fact that you are doing it reflects back on you and works to your detriment, IMO.

mlr52

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Re: Vengeance and justice
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 09:47:09 pm »
Quote from: Jake57;119014
I think that you get back what you give out.  Even if you are not overtly "punished" for doing bad things, just the fact that you are doing it reflects back on you and works to your detriment, IMO.

 
I have heard that no good deed goes unpunished.

However punishment is not justice, punishment and the law together are a compromise to avoid vengeance and blood feuds.

Have you seen or read the book the Godfather?  In the opening an undertaker is asking the Don to kill the boys who raped his daughter.   The Don points out his daughter is still alive and killing the boys would not be justice. The Don then says he can have the boys hurt the same as the undertakers daughter was.

One event, two people to different ideas of what justice would be.  Notice the daughter who is the injured party has no say, and is not consulted.
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Ravyn

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Re: Vengeance and justice
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 09:40:39 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;118563
.
Personally: When it comes to law/justice, I tend to be fairly liberal. I understand the kinds of circumstances that can lead one to crime, and I think law should focus on reparations to victims first, correction of criminal behavior second, and punishment a distant third. However, some crimes (particularly crimes that affect the defenseless or are completely motivated by greed) make me just want to squeeze people's heads until they burst. Other than that, I can't really put my feelings on the matter into words yet.

So, yeah. What do you all think?

 

First of all, i think that your take on what law *should be* is delightful, and i may mull on that and possibly adopt that as the words i have been looking for for a long time when it comes to the whole question.


As to your actual question... i struggle with this a lot, as i work with pagan inmates on a regular basis.  For the most part i am all about prevention, and firm but fair, or maybe an adult version of the Logical Consequences version of dealing with children... except for certain crimes in which i instantly switch over to "Castration or death.  Or both.   What ever means suffering.  Now."  It's... not entirely a part of my personality and morals i have entirely come to understand.

i believe in forgiveness as it serves the victim, not the aggressor, and because carrying rage is usually not healthy.  i believe in the ideals of justice, but as they often fail...i... understand the concept of vengeance, tho i think vengeance usually means that justice is harder and harder to find.

candlemagic

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Re: Vengeance and justice
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 03:54:14 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;118563
So, I just finished a sci-fi novel by John Scalzi calledFuzzy Nation, and it got me thinking about the idea of vengeance and justice. To sum it up, there were a handful of characters in the novel who committed some completely unforgivable act, and I've never felt such indescribable rage against a fictional character before. All I wanted was for horrible things to happen to them, and was incredibly unsatisfied by the consequences for their actions.

All that said, I was wondering how others here feel about the ideas of vengeance as justice. I know that Christian culture emphasizes the values of forgiveness and judgement being God's domain, but pagan history is filled with characters motivated by righteous anger and quests for retribution. Essentially, I was just wondering how other pagans let these emotions effect them, and the role you allow them to take in your personal philosophy.

Personally: When it comes to law/justice, I tend to be fairly liberal. I understand the kinds of circumstances that can lead one to crime, and I think law should focus on reparations to victims first, correction of criminal behavior second, and punishment a distant third. However, some crimes (particularly crimes that affect the defenseless or are completely motivated by greed) make me just want to squeeze people's heads until they burst. Other than that, I can't really put my feelings on the matter into words yet.

So, yeah. What do you all think?

 
I believe that I'm not to judge anyone which may be remnants of my Christan upbringing. I believe that when we die and go to  where ever it is we go that we will all be judged and dealt with accordingly. Maybe this is because I haven't go through many horrible things in my life and haven't been the victim or close to a victim on a horrible crime but right now this is how I think of things.

MadZealot

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Re: Vengeance and justice
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2013, 08:48:59 pm »
Quote
Personally: When it comes to law/justice, I tend to be fairly liberal. I understand the kinds of circumstances that can lead one to crime, and I think law should focus on reparations to victims first, correction of criminal behavior second, and punishment a distant third. However, some crimes (particularly crimes that affect the defenseless or are completely motivated by greed) make me just want to squeeze people's heads until they burst. Other than that, I can't really put my feelings on the matter into words yet.

I agree with a lot of what you say, but also differ a bit.  I'm not so understanding about crime, and believe it's rarely if ever excusable.  Way I see it: one who commits a crime against another, sins against that person in every sense of the word, violating their right to life, or liberty, or personal will/agency, and so forth.  

That said, "justice" is thorny.  Even for those who would ordinarily be the forgiving "turn the other cheek" types; when it's time for justice, they're all about swift punishment and "an eye for an eye."  Is justice "vengeance?"  I believe it often is.  Is that OK?  I believe not.
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MattyG

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Re: Vengeance and justice
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 03:42:56 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;123807
I agree with a lot of what you say, but also differ a bit.  I'm not so understanding about crime, and believe it's rarely if ever excusable.

 
I should clarify. I don't mean to say that crime is excusable persay, but that it is understandable and not, generally, a consequence of a person's inherent "badness", but instead a result of their circumstances. So I'm not saying that people shouldn't face consequences for those actions, but rather that the consequences should aim to correct behavior and improve their circumstances, rather than to simply reprimand them for some perceived defect in their character.

Faemon

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Re: Vengeance and justice
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 02:33:15 am »
Quote from: MattyG;118563
Personally: When it comes to law/justice, I tend to be fairly liberal. I understand the kinds of circumstances that can lead one to crime, and I think law should focus on reparations to victims first, correction of criminal behavior second, and punishment a distant third.

However, some crimes (particularly crimes that affect the defenseless or are completely motivated by greed) make me just want to squeeze people's heads until they burst. Other than that, I can't really put my feelings on the matter into words yet.


I have the same idea. Punishment is a rudimentary function: punishment might appeal to a victim and correct criminal behaviour--but there's usually no understanding of the circumstances that lead to a crime.

Crimes against the defenseless that are totally selfish, tell me that there is absolutely no possibility of understanding of the circumstances on the perpetrator's side. Squeezing people's heads until they burst would not, to my mind, be disproportionate--there has been an additional crime, which is defying the fundamentals of justice in principle.

On another thread, it did occur that there's an arbitrary qualifier for "legitimate" harm.

Legitimacy is a convention. As Pagans, we can recognize that we live to rather unconventional faiths... so, I think the fear is that if we crush somebody's head for something we don't like, then we doom ourselves to have our own heads crushed because we are doing something that somebody else doesn't like.

On the other side of it, I have had personal grievances (alcoholic family member) dismissed as my overreacting-- that I was doing something wrong by leaving, prioritizing my physical and personal safety over the conventional bonds of family, in the eyes of people who didn't live with that person or grow up with that person.

I could have argued all I wanted, but I can't make them believe me. I believe that I was done an injustice, but they believe that I have done an injustice.

Vengeance exploits this difference in opinion. There are times where there is no way to reconcile someone's needs with another person's limits, and the pain on either side can drive people to vengeance.

True justice, I believe, can only arise in a world where everybody is in unanimous agreement of the principles of what is wrong and right (and the practice of wrong and right-- in bloodyminded detail.)

But of course, if that truly were unanimous, then justice would be achieved and unneeded.

On a completely unrelated note: I used to hate this song but now I really like it even though the lyrics rub me wrong.
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