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Justice vs Revenge Essay

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Submitted By Zyfaran364
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Justice versus Revenge

If you feel betrayed by another person, what would you do?

Some people in the world seek justice. Other people seek revenge. We do not need revenge; what we need is justice. We need to promote justice to create a better world; if we promote revenge, it would have a catastrophic effect on our world.

Why is there revenge? Revenge exists for our own selfish reasons. It is driven by our personal motives and the belief that there will be balance and stability afterwards. Many factors contribute to one’s lust for revenge. One could feel they have been attacked and suffered some unjust loss or injury; as a result, they feel many negative emotions and wish to make the perpetrator suffer and feel their pain. Perhaps one feels they have to “defend the honor” of themselves, their family, ancestors, or some other group they identify with by avenging the shame that the perpetrator inflicted. Revenge could be caused by a combination of pain and anger. It is not easy to counteract these feelings because if you feel vengeful, you are already in a certain state of mind that is immersed in emotion and lacks reason. Revenge could be driven by anger, driven by betrayal, driven by depression, driven by hate, hurt, jealousy, shame… The victims wish to restore their dignity and increase their pride or stature; remember someone they lost; ensure that the perpetrator is remorseful for their actions; or transform themselves from prey to predator, from powerless to powerful, and from shamed to proud.

Revenge has its many consequences, however. Like hate, revenge is something that takes a toll on the victim, as well as victim’s enemy. It is inherently unhealthy because it takes a psychological and physical toll on the victim. Venting those feelings of anger and hostility does not decrease those feelings. It may give a cathartic feeling, but it does not last for long. People who seek revenge are driven by anger and violence and have not thought about how to channel their negative feelings into something positive. They have not considered how they could use their negative experience—the injustice they suffered—to bring about change.

Then there is justice. Justice is, to an extent, a form of revenge, but it is rational. Whereas revenge itself is usually violent, justice is a formal approach to revenge under the law. It has common standards and is usually decided by multiple people rather than just a single person, as in revenge. Justice, according to Plato, is not the right of the stronger but the effective harmony of the whole (Paideia Project). It is a proper, congruous relationship between the warring parts of the person or city. A just man is a man in just the right place, doing his best and giving the precise equivalent of what he has received.

How do we ensure justice instead of revenge? If there were no system of justice, acts of revenge would occur one after another. If one kills another, then someone who is close to the latter will go out and kill the former to avenge the death of the latter. Then someone who is close to the former will go out and kill the one who is close to the latter to avenge the death of the former…and so on and so forth. Putting a legal system in place lessens these acts of revenge; if one kills another, then someone who is close to the latter can simply report the crime to the police. The perpetrator will be caught by the police and taken to a trial, where a judge can determine him or her, guilty or innocent. When someone feels like they are being treated unfairly, they can voice their complaints, and the complaints can be heard. Justice can be carried out, regardless of the person’s side.

We need justice, not revenge. Revenge only leads to more catastrophes; justice approaches revenge rationally and usually ends well. It is proper and harmonious, and is the fairest way to stop those negative feelings of payback.

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