LOVE AND JUSTICE

I get that the world is angry, and I get that people want to rip the facades, lies and subterfuge away, across the world, to expose truth, no matter the pain it may cause - in search of a better world, one that is more just, more safe, more fair, and more ecologically sane. This can be called the Justice pole - one side of a living moral planet - and it is a pole I have often sought to visit - when I worked to express abuses of many kinds, in my editing, and writing, and publishing.

There is the twin, alternate pole, though, also - that of Love. Setting aside any snickering when you read about the Love pole, the metaphor spins bigger than the awkward appellation. On this planet, Justice calls for punishment after exposure, but Love calls for understanding, sympathy, concern, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

I'd argue you can't really have one without the other, or the global vision implodes on itself.

Too much love, and no sense of justice, and you get lost in a sort of nihilism, where all is permitted, and nothing limited by rules, regulations, law, or balance - but if it is all justice, and no love, you will ultimately find the world of summary execution, mass graves, lynching, war and genocide - because justice unleavened by love is cruelty - punishing without any compassion, whatsoever (a terrible thought) is not actually humane.

So, we try to balance the need, and wish, for truth and fairness, and right outcomes, with understanding, clarity, and concern. This is what leads to commuted sentences, and lighter sentences, for criminals whose acts occur not in a loveless void or vacuum, but in a world where they are human beings, with minds, hearts, and souls. Unless you want a lock up and throw away the key or bring out the guillotines society, you want some love with your justice.

So I get it - all the movements of our time, seeking for justice, have at their core, a drive for change, and to do what is right; but the question must be: at what cost, by what means, and with what sort of measure of compassion?

I'm imperfect, I'm human, so I don't get to dictate, to anyone, the path they want to follow. But if I may say, I feel more justice is achieved with some lightness of touch, than with cruelty.

This leads me to Twitter, and this Christmas. Like a lot of people on the planet, I took a few days off over the past Christmas week, to spend time with my family, to love, laugh, and share stories; and like most people on this planet, some of my friends and family are doing okay, but some are in hospital, or a hospice, or otherwise facing life-challenges. No two Christmases are the same, but we usually can agree that for all the fun and mulled wine, the pudding and presents, the lights and the TV, there is also sadness, for those loved ones dead or gone, and for other reasons also.

So, imagine the surprise that at least one human being decided that the 21st of December was a good time to start re-Tweeting a link to a discredited article, that has since been removed for being defamatory (that is, legally false and damaging) - a Tweet that could only deeply wound, at the most delicate time of the year.

The quest for justice is noble, but it should be tempered, I feel, by a sense of what is just and, yes, kind. It would be better to seek to heal and rebuild, than continue to tear down; the world is complex, and justice and love should go hand in hand.

Comments

Janet Vickers said…
Very wise words Todd. Thank you.