The biblical concept “an eye for an eye” comes from its origins of cultural and religious sediments of “justice”, the moral characteristics of doing things “right”. We strongly believe that justice is an act of righteous, rightfulness, lawfulness and moral obligation to respect one another for peace and prosperity. But is that as simple as it sounds?
I believe we use “justice” as a connotation to attach our actions as “right” or “wrong”, simply for the fact that it makes us feel happy about ourselves and balances the scale of our actions. It does not necessarily mean emotionally satisfying ourselves but it is a purveyor that helps us rationalize our actions and our means of doing it, or receiving it. But is it wrong for us to exult for hurting someone on something they deserve, something that have done to hurt and destroy us? Does it mean our conscience is evil and that we desire who have wronged us to be punished? I think it makes as humane. It is our emotions and intuition that defines our belief that we can only be happy after our perpetrators have suffered and justice is served. For example, if my husband is having an affair, is it morally wrong for me to pack my things and leave him and file for divorce, is it not my righteous act to protect myself from the harm and treat myself fairly. Many of you will believe this justice is “right”. My perceived need for justice is outrageous by the fact that I had no control over my situation and I have been humiliated. Hence, to balance this situation I feel the desire to punish my husband and use the outrage I felt to my benefit and allow my feelings to get out of the situation as a victim.
“Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Another scenario is when we confront situations where our loved ones has been unfairly treated or we hear wrong doings on something that matters to us. For example, if we see a stranger mugging a woman or someone with less capacity to help themselves, our natural instincts is to run and help them. Our cognitive ability justifies that we need to help them and empathize but at the same time punish the mugger and get back what he/she stole. We do the morally right thing by calling the police and doing everything in our power to help the victims in these situations. We are emotionally driven to offer every help we can and most of us do check on these people later too. We feel we are morally obligated to see how well they are coping. For example; how often do we see a sickening news about perpetrators and their actions? We are emotionally driven to check and follow-up on these news, to see if justice is served. To see if the victim survived. It is not that we know who it is but the moral obligation and empathy as a human to do the right thing. We rejoice for the victims even if justice is served days, months, years or decades later.
It is also a matter of perception. We often suffer from outcome and perception bias that we fail to even acknowledge the position of the predator. We create our own subjective reality that we do not go beyond our feelings, discomfort and has an implicit attitude towards the predator without conscious knowledge. For example; the actions of Osama Bin Laden on 9/11 is cruel, evil and inhumane that no one would even think twice in punishing him and seeking justice for everyone who suffered. But if we perceive the situation from his point, can we still say clearly that he didn’t do it to bring justice for his beliefs, his people and his religion? Our stereotyping of the situation would make us liable and unethical if we thought otherwise.
So as far as I understand, “justice” is just a mere notion of legitimizing our desires for revenge. It is the radical action of honor that satisfies our beliefs, culture and conscience. The rhetoric conveying of our actions as heroic and responsible human beings fighting for peace and moral well-being. It is not time-bound and as the saying “Justice is like an orgasm. It can never come too late” as our desires are eventually fulfilled.