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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Sat May 16, 2015, 01:20 AM

64. great post, thought provoking, thank you!

 

From what we know of child development, there is every reason to imagine that children who grow up in a society that approves the killing of human beings will have lower inhibitions against killing than do children whose society teaches an absolute intolerance of killing.


Something is coming to mind, from Gibran, what he wrote about
crime and punishment.*

It has to do with the collective guilt and collective innocence of
us all.

Punishment, esp cruel punishment, rarely causes a person to look
within himself and examine his deeds.

Rehabilitation requires authentic remorse, and authentic understanding
of the crime. It requires feeling the pain and harm one has inflicted
on others. It also requires an opportunity for restitution.

These prisons offer none of that. They are mostly big black holes
swallowing up human lives.

*I'm still puzzling through the formless pigmy but the "god
self" I understand as the highest human potential -- not something
ethereal -- but the tangible, loving, compassionate human heart
and conscience. I also believe there are many 100% innocent
victims, but this is about the collective knowledge -- as you wrote
above. What the children grow up on: it affects the school, the
town, the state, the laws, the crime. It is absorbed through the
skin, through the food, through the sounds and smells.

Do you recall the forest which turns out to be a single tree,
although above ground it appears to be thousands of individual
trees? Underground, one root system.


Then one of the judges of the city stood forth and said,
"Speak to us of Crime and Punishment."

And he answered saying:
It is when your spirit goes wandering upon the wind,
That you, alone and unguarded,
commit a wrong unto others and therefore unto yourself.
And for that wrong committed must you knock
and wait a while unheeded at the gate of the blessed.

Like the ocean is your god-self;
It remains for ever undefiled.
And like the ether it lifts but the winged.

Even like the sun is your god-self;
It knows not the ways of the mole nor seeks it the holes of the serpent.
But your god-self does not dwell alone in your being.

Much in you is still man, and much in you is not yet man,
But a shapeless pigmy that walks asleep in the mist
searching for its own awakening.

And of the man in you would I now speak.
For it is he and not your god-self nor the pigmy in the mist,
that knows crime and the punishment of crime.

Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong
as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you
and an intruder upon your world.

But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise
beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower
than the lowest which is in you also.

And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge
of the whole tree,
So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.

Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him,
a caution against the stumbling stone.

Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him,
who though faster and surer of foot,
yet removed not the stumbling stone.

And this also, though the word lie heavy upon your hearts:
The murdered is not unaccountable for his own murder,
And the robbed is not blameless in being robbed.

The righteous is not innocent of the deeds of the wicked,
And the white-handed is not clean in the doings of the felon.

Yea, the guilty is oftentimes the victim of the injured,
And still more often the condemned is the burden-bearer
for the guiltless and unblamed.

You cannot separate the just from the unjust
and the good from the wicked;
For they stand together before the face of the sun
even as the black thread and the white are woven together.

And when the black thread breaks, the weaver shall look
into the whole cloth, and he shall examine the loom also.

If any of you would bring judgment the unfaithful wife,
Let him also weigh the heart of her husband in scales,
and measure his soul with measurements.

And let him who would lash the offender
look unto the spirit of the offended.

And if any of you would punish in the name of righteousness
and lay the ax unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots;

And verily he will find the roots of the good and the bad,
the fruitful and the fruitless, all entwined together
in the silent heart of the earth.

And you judges who would be just,
What judgment pronounce you upon him
who though honest in the flesh yet is a thief in spirit?

What penalty lay you upon him who slays in the flesh
yet is himself slain in the spirit?

And how prosecute you him who in action is a deceiver and an oppressor,
Yet who also is aggrieved and outraged?
And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already
greater than their misdeeds?

Is not remorse the justice which is administered by
that very law which you would fain serve?

Yet you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent
nor lift it from the heart of the guilty.

Unbidden shall it call in the night,
that men may wake and gaze upon themselves.

And you who would understand justice,
how shall you unless you look upon all deeds in the fullness of light?
Only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen
are but one man standing in twilight
between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self,

And that the corner-stone of the temple is not higher
than the lowest stone in its foundation.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/gibran/prophet/prophet.htm#Crime


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