vengeance

I’ve a few posts waiting to be put up, but they have images attached, and wordpress seems to have stopped offering me the option of doing that…

In the interim, I’ve been reading about vengeance, and came across this article this week from Monitor on Psychology. One of the most human instinctive responses to crime is the desire to seek vengeance on the perpetrator… we see it played out in the media every night when the tv cameras show victims of crime on the courthouse steps saying ‘that sentence is not enough to pay for the crime’. the trouble is, no sentence would be enough… and as the research indicates, the seeking of vengeance rarely results in happiness. It doesn’t do what we think it will do.

from the article:

The results suggest that, despite conventional wisdom, people—at least those with Westernized notions of revenge—are bad at predicting their emotional states following revenge, Carlsmith says. The reason revenge may stoke anger’s flames may lie in our ruminations, he says. When we don’t get revenge, we’re able to trivialize the event, he says. We tell ourselves that because we didn’t act on our vengeful feelings, it wasn’t a big deal, so it’s easier to forget it and move on. But when we do get revenge, we can no longer trivialize the situation. Instead, we think about it. A lot.

“Rather than providing closure, it does the opposite: It keeps the wound open and fresh,” he says.

I’m not a fan of closure, but i am a fan of being able to keep living… and I wouldn’t want to say that those who don’t seek revenge are trivialising what’s happened – but I think there’s something pretty important at the heart of this. We’re not involved in communal justice simply because we’re trying to be compassionate and offer restoration to perpetrators of crime. It’s because the alternative continues to rip apart the lives of those who are living with the effects of crime as well…