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Just Activity: The Importance Of Avoiding Harmful Justice
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Just Activity: The Importance Of Avoiding Harmful Justice

It might seem like a good idea to equate justice with punishment; however it is not just to harm and punishment is harm. I cannot see any situation in which to punish is not to harm. Therefore to harm if anything; is to me always an injustice. That is why I say that punishment is not justice. But if justice is not punishment; what is it?

Some will argue that without punishment; without harm; justice can never be done.  They will point out that justice is required because of harm, because of a punishment; therefore a reciprocal harm seems justified. If you harm you are harmed. That is justice. But is it?

Imagine a set of scales. Agree that justice is the condition under which those scales are balanced. Now place harm into the harm plate. That plate goes down. Now add to the harm plate. The plate goes further down. The scales, previously balanced are now deeply imbalanced. Two harms to no help or healing. If justice is the condition under which those imaginary set of scales are balanced, then we are at a point of deep injustice; not justice.

The rebuttal might be that imaginary scales are one thing; real world justice is quite another. In the real world those who are harmed often feel better when a reciprocal harm is executed; deprivation of freedom; integrity; money; even life. It is the sense of justice within the initially harmed that is paramount; not the justice of the imaginary scales.

However, reciprocity of harm for harm is surely vengeance; not justice.  This suggests that justice; whatever it is, is not vengeance. Vengeance is rage actualised and rage actualised is intuitively not a just action.

The argument could go on and on and on. Yet if we allow that justice is balance then a harm dropped into the harm plates requires a help or healing dropped into the help or healing plate. That will balance the scales.

It does of course mean that justice is essentially the act of helping or healing when harmed rather harming when harmed. This might prove difficult to the newly harmed person or the long-term resentful person; yet harm and resentment feed one another until they become so obese that justice is lies up a steep gradient for an unhealthy person to climb.

If those harmed responded initially with an activity of helping or healing, they might see justice easier to achieve than those who respond with harming or punishing intent. It is the harmers who will put justice beyond reach; not the healers.

Some might claim this is spiritual hogwash; turning the other cheek type justice. Yet if you think about it; if you really want justice then you must first do no harm to justice. Helping or healing activity is not spiritual hogwash. It is practical activity. Just Activity


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