thoughts on retribution and compassion | INFJ Forum

thoughts on retribution and compassion

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by beetpoet, Apr 14, 2010.

Share This Page

More threads by beetpoet
  1. beetpoet

    beetpoet Community Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Threads:
    16
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    infj
    lately i've been having this discussion with friends about the usefullness of retribution. one friend was talking about the satisfaction of watching "dexter". that she wants the horrible killers to not only be killed, but to experience the feelings of terror and helplessness that they caused others. another friend was saying that he wishes that evil people could be summarily executed (by a superhero or super-protector type person with only good motives). also he wishes that he could be that "protector" person.

    the problem is, how does the protector know that their own intent is good? especially if they are acting from a frame of anger, which makes people brave, but also makes people singularly focused and not always recognizing their prejudice? war seems to me to be two sides who each view themselves as that honorable protector.

    but i do believe in having a police force. people who act for the common good to stop crimes.

    i've never had a lust for retribution though. (it's hard enough for me to feel or identify even anger or annoyance). i don't know why that is. to me if a murderer experienced the trauma they put another person through before they died all you would have is two traumatized people instead of the original one. and what does that serve? i mean, i believe there are consequences for violence. and that a person can't/shouldn't be in society if they act with persistent violence.

    i've also never faced someone who has killed someone i love with evil intent. so i don't know what feelings would arise for me.

    i have lived with someone who has hurt people i love with evil intent. i did that all through my childhood and adolescence. and i was hurt too and robbed of power and voice. i can remember trying to wrap my mind around jesus' teaching of "love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you" at the time. although i might have done it just because i didn't feel empowered to hate or fight it also gave me a sense of freedom. that i was master of my insides and nothing or no one could force me to choose hate.

    lately i've been reading buddhist books on the practice of compassion. i think the problem with deciding that some people and their motives are pure evil is that it's never that cut and dried. i always want to know what made the person that way. unlucky brain chemistry. experiences of helplessness and victimization. learning that this is how you survive. i'm not saying that what the person does is right. but that there is something in the person that i can hook my own humanity to. and say "life is an incredible mystery. none of us understand it and we are all brave for showing up to it each day. and you are swept up in one of those things i don't understand".

    an important balance in my practice of nonviolence is the buddhist concept of "right speech". otherwise it feels passive and helpless. but right speech reminds me to speak truthfully. to use my voice. to speak with kindness but also with integrity if i see injustice. i think my error is always wanting to fade to passivity/invisibility. instead of saying what i do see and feel. which can have incredible power.
     
  2. testing

    On Holiday

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Threads:
    37
    Messages:
    902
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    qwer
    Wow, that's a really interesting post! It's something I sometimes think about too, and as a "protector" there is something satisfying in thinking that you can deliver retribution to someone who deserves it.

    Uh-huh!

    The problems I see with retribution (when I think about it)
    • We usually don't have full information on people/institutions we consider "evildoers". Labeling something evil is overly simplistic and completely lacks nuance and understanding, and it can lead you to take action without fully understanding things. It's like taking that whole "axis of evil" thing seriously... not too bright. Sure, in movies you have completely evil characters, but in real life it is usually not that way.
    • I don't even like watching people suffer! If someone had hurt someone and really was presenting a threat to me or society, it would be better to just put them out of the way as quickly and painlessly as possible. ;-P
    • It just creates a cycle of retribution that never, ever ends. That's the biggest problem.
    But on the other hand, life is just full of logical consequences, and people who go around hurting others will find themselves on the receiving end of somebody's retribution, in consequence of their actions, no doubt.

    I guess that's why we have laws, to try and make that sort of thing as accurate and fair as possible, but nothing's perfect.
     
  3. muir

    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Threads:
    39
    Messages:
    11,076
    Likes Received:
    1,236
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I think prevention is better than cure

    Better to not create criminals in the first place
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  4. Vulcan

    Vulcan Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    Threads:
    0
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INTP
    This brings up the question: How does the criminal come into being?

    Is it his own decision (free will), or is he a pawn pushed into such a role by society/prevailing culture (determinism). If we accept that criminals' thoughts and actions are at least in part the result of society's influence, then we cannot lay all the blame on the person that does wrong. We must also hold responsible the society that aids in the creation of the criminal.

    So, I would agree with others in saying that you cannot label anyone as being completely evil because they are in part innocent themselves.
     
  5. muir

    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Threads:
    39
    Messages:
    11,076
    Likes Received:
    1,236
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Yeah i think if you create certain conditions you can create certain behaviours

    There is an experiment in criminal psychology done with rats. When you decrease the area and the amount of food available to the rats some rats turn violent; they steal other rats food, they attack other rats, they hoard food and they will even turn to cannibalism

    So it is with humans. If you have overcrowding and poverty you will get crime

    Crime isn't just among the poor though obviously. But wealth is a perception. People perceive their level of wealth by comparison to others in their social strata. So if you come from a high socio economic group you will have high expectations in order to keep level with your peers. If you fail to do this, despite being comparitively rich compared with the rest of society then you may be tempted to bend or break the law to keep up

    Another factor in play is the competitive nature of capitalism which places value on certain things such as wealth, fame and status by which people judge their success. If people want more 'success' they maybe tempted to compromise their morality to acheive it

    Corporations are concerned about the bottom line and this leads to law breaking (see Enron)

    The markets are concerned with monetary cost but are not concerned with human cost or environmental cost

    Capitalist countries are concerned with competing with other countries over resources and will break international law to do so (see Iraq conflict and lack of a UN resolution. One of the foundational rules of the UN is that you cannot attack another country unless attacked first)
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    #5 muir, Apr 16, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
Loading...

Share This Page