Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.3


"Repay kindness with kindness," said Confucius, "but evil with justice."

This might be called the Brass or Brazen Rule:

Do unto others as they do unto you.

It's the lex talionis, "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," plus "one good turn deserves
another."

In actual human (and chimpanzee) behavior it's a familiar standard. "If the enemy inclines toward peace, do you also incline toward peace," President Bill Clinton quoted from the Qur'an at the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
الأنفال 61

Without having to appeal to anyone's better nature, we institute a kind of operant conditioning, rewarding them when they're nice to us and punishing them when they're not. We're not pushovers, but we're not unforgiving either. It sounds promising. Or is it true that "two wrongs don't make a right?".

-- Carl Sagan, The Rules of the Game.

The above Bronze Rule feels "just" and to me atleast feels more applicable. I have no problems subscribing to it. But does it help societies as a whole become better? let's examine that, other people will start learning that we HIT BACK, but also, that we are GOOD NEIGHBORS. This in theory should encourage all of us to refrain from bad acts, and do good.

The only snag here is CYCLES. What if someone kills someone else on the pretext that it was preceded by a previous killing. I.E. the claim is that its justified, while the victim's family don't recognize the past offense. Some offenses are so hard on our psyche that we tend not to be able to think rationally. So we can slip into a cycle of revenge (THAR) with no end in sight.

Not only that, but our response will never be accurately equal to the original kindness or offense. We tend to easily "overreact" when we are wronged.
And also "underreact" when we are done a good deed.

This is precisely how World War One escalated. A very silly and shameful affair.

So which of the Rules do YOU think is better (and more applicable) now?

2 comments:

N. said...

In today's day and age, It is better to lean towards compassion and justice, rather than revenge. Sure, justice is better defined as an eye for an eye, yet the cycle issue is the problem nowadays. To what end?

brown-suger said...

"but evil with justice."----> the kind part is no problem hehe.. bas this sa3at yid5al m3aha sha'3lat thanya mithil ma gilt t2athir on our judgements oo t5ali el wa7id efakir yin7az.. taking a side.. walla for me, i think depends on how "evil" he acted.. some evil deserve evil =P
i liked all of the rules.. kilhom can improve our way of living.. making more us civilized.. bs el sha6ir e6abiq.. thanks alot