Harming people is not justice

Daily Dose of Integrity

Treating other people badly is never a justified act of integrity.

You might call it “revenge” or “justice” or “punishment”. You might even think that you’re teaching somebody a lesson.

Most justice systems around the world are essentially nothing more than the ancient religious principle of an eye for an eye.

Every day, people excuse hurting others by claiming that because the other person harmed them first, it’s ok to harm them in return.

We drive up someone’s ass because they cut us off. We smack our children because they talked back to us. We refuse to tip the waiter because the food was overcooked.

But the fact is, when you isolate your behavior and let go of your heroic justifications, you’ll see that it’s just you being harmful. It doesn’t actually matter what they did because there are no scales here. You’re not balancing anything out.

What happened was: they were harmful (which is your subjective judgment), and then, in a separate event, you were harmful. Them being harmful doesn’t rule out you being harmful just because you did it in reaction to them.

Creating some narrative about “justice being served” doesn’t mean that you’re a good person, or even that you’re a helpful person (e.g. statistically speaking, imprisoning criminals increases their risk of reoffending).

All too often, what we consider to be “justice” is really justifying an excuse to be the bad guy ourselves.

When you lower and debase yourself to do the same behaviour as the person you can’t stand, you’re no better than them, even if they went first.

When you can admit to yourself that your desire to harm others comes from a dark place lacking in integrity, you’ll finally be able to learn how to manage harmful people so much more effectively.

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury”

Marcus Aurelius

For more on this topic, check out my longer video 25 things you need to be honest with yourself about here:

One Response

  1. A far more effective way to address harmful behaviour is to challenge and question their motives, make them try to justify it

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