I ended my last blog with thoughts about the way the American Government represented itself in various actions around the world, after the Twin Towers. I wanted to emphasise, with this example, how we can all behave when we want revenge for acts committed against us and how we damage our own interests when we retaliate. I am opening this blog with a look at why behaving in an equivalent way to those we condemn, backfires on avengers.
If we look at a small scale situation we can immediately see how revenge/punishment is counter productive. Say we smack our children when they are "naughty", yes, we teach them the negative behaviour that punishment is the way to handle relationships, but we also show them that we ourselves are not capable of rightful behaviour. Some people seem to view this sort of enforcement in respect of children, as a way to instill respect in the child for the parent, but in fact it facilitates the opposite.
If we take any of these fairly normal parent behaviours towards children, whether they be smacking, withdrawal of pocket money or the imposing of some kind of sanction for behaviour we find unacceptable, all are things that we would not like our child to do to us, and likely if they did, more such punishment would ensue !!!!!! All we do in reality when we punish children is to teach them the power of our position over them and their having to comply. Like I said previously, children learn from this a power-based example of relationship and the wish to exert this over someone else and we merely store up their resentment of us for the future. How often do we hear a child behaving back to the parent in exactly the way the parent behaves towards the child and, boy oh boy, how angry the parent is to be on the receiving end!
When a parent, no less a country, wants to punish for acts against itself, this revenge requires there to be someone weaker than themselves to inflict revenge upon and in the act of retribution, there is personal loss of moral standards in the pursuit of the desire to gain back power.
The problem with this is that whomsoever deals out punishment in the name of right or justice or democracy, diminishes their own cause. They lose. Anyone who punishes others using the very tactics that they condemn their adversary for, loses totally their credibility and their respect in the eyes of all (example Guantanamo). Not just outwardly though, deep down, just as parents or courts or countries, behave unjustly towards others, deep down within themselves they lose their own self to an inner enemy that consumes them.
A parent retaliating for a child`s unwanted behaviour may not realise that the child remembers always the inequitability that the parent displays, still less that their own behaviour shoots themselves in the foot, yet for every unjust act, every ethical slide, the parent`s position is weakened. Likewise, when we degrade ourselves with cruel, unjust, or less than compassionate responses to the world around us, our position becomes weaker all the while. It`s strange, really, because we may discharge actions that we feel are justified (such as in the Venables/Thompsom case or the Twin Towers), that we feel protect our position and even that uphold right, but our emotions delude us into thinking that these are gains, when in fact we lose position, power and credibility.
This is why, no matter what our feelings are regarding Venables and Thompson and their desperately depraved murder of Jamie Bulger, we must not sink to that level when we deliver justice. The moment we seek revenge we degrade ourselves and diminish our society. This may be very hard to swallow, I know that, but when we know that Venables and Thompson were products of an animal environment, without proper nurturing and guidance, we know that we must not ourselves behave in this way because our fight, for Jamie Bulger and all our children, must be to raise social standards, to raise ourselves and our fellows above such base and depraved behaviours. The moment that we take upon ourselves revenge to deal with heinous crime, we lessen respect for each other and weaken the ability of all the world`s inhabitants to raise their spiritual level.