Love and Justice
Wise lovers who feel concern for each other will set down fair rules right from the start, but do we ever? It would be far better if we could grow up with such rules instilled in us so we understood them from long practice, followed them without pause, and accepted the humanistic reasoning behind them.
Justice, derived from rules of fair play, toleration, reciprocity and trustworthiness, does not equate with the common notion of justice as a form of revenge. Justice seeks balance, yes, but ends with that; to push it farther begets punishment, which has no place in love.
But, mercy does. When one lover sins against another, pain and blame rule in the offended lover’s thoughts. The relationship—that process which binds them—suffers from that even more than from the offense. To punish the relationship when it is innocent makes no sense. Show mercy until the offender has made it clear that it is not deserved.
Righteousness arises not from out of any edification by church or priest, but from having earned the trust and respect of those with whom we share our lives and a world. A moral life has less to do with catering to artificial gods and demons than with how well our world, and our fellow humans, have fared at our hands. Evolution favors not the most perfect nor the strongest, but favors the ones who best fit in the social environment where they reside. Why else, despite centuries of killing each other off, would the religious still outnumber atheists? It must be for the same reason that sheep outnumber goats, and that cattle outnumber those even while serving as a popular meal for the human species.
Does justice, then, decree that we must serve the needs of the power-wielders to increase our own kind upon the Earth? No—justice and love serve the same ends in roles that humans play as tested in the courts of every land. Justice conflated with vengeance unbalances: Where vengeance reigns, love ebbs; where justice rules, love increases as compassion so that a balanced state can be maintained. Balancing hurt for hurt does not satisfy: Vengeance demands that interest be charged. The relationship suffers for the excess toll of that.