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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sophistacated Response

Consider the various responses to being wronged: revenge, retribution, reconciliation. I submit that revenge is the least sophisticated response. It serves to satiate our most base desires. It is not likely to be a long term solution, because there is no reason to believe it will not solicit a counter-counter attack from our foe. Retribution is better. Retribution as I use it implies a legal response. Rather than killing everyone in the family of the man who poked out your eye, just poke out his eye. If it is part of a broader system, the deterrent effect would be greater. It is a response that starts in your head. Reconciliation is best. Reconciliation satisfies our emotions, and by creating a mutual understand deters future bad acts. Everyone is made whole, instead of everyone being put in the same position.

Eye-for-an-eye seems to be step toward love your enemy. I wonder if one can generalize cultural responses to challenges with first base emotional response; second rule-based response; third spiritual response? Of course, I'm one to see things as spiritual, that is of a different kind that intellectual or emotional. One may well see the third phase as addressing both emotional and intellectual needs; or a mature emotional response, perhaps.

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