Part 1: The initial challenge is still open. I just want to put the idea of part two out there for consideration. So feel free to continue sending your posts through Friday and I'll add the link to the list. Also feel free to continue adding comments, thoughts, etc. If you modify your original post, let me know and I'll put an UPDATED note next to your link.
Jen has reminded me that it is time for the next step. I've been chasing all of the posts and comments, trying to discern which paths are cleared, smooth and easy to travel versus which ones people are struggling to traverse.
There are several avenues we could lay for the next step...let me throw out some things I saw repeatedly, and you tell me what strikes you, interests you, etc.
I've also considered that we don't all need to follow the same road. We could each pick a path, travel it, and come back together to report what we find. Or, perhaps, the paths weave together and cross-over one another. They aren't actually mutually exclusive. Pieces of each might form a whole.
So let me know what you think of the following ideas---or add in your own idea---and let me know how you think this should go.
We can plan to do the next round next Wednesday. Or, as it happens, there are five ideas. I'm half thinking, hmm, what if I tackle one a day? (I'd probably implode, but hey, it's crossing my mind as an idea.)
IDEA 1: Rage against the machine
In comments, Mad Hatter stated, "These arguments [justice, forgiveness, and compassion] are usually framed in the notion of individual perpetrator vs individual victim. It gets so much more complex and muddy when the perpetrator is a faceless system. For most of the injustices in the world, the system is in fact the perpetrator."
Once I received a very angry email via my blog. The writer expressed fury at me...for the actions of my nation. I, too, am often angry about the decisions made or actions effected by the government or the system, but what responsibility lies with me, the individual? I know these are men's choices, but as Mad expresses, they still reflect an instituition that presents a different feel than dealing with a single person, one-on-one.
How do we consider justice and forgiveness, then, with instituitions and systems, which not only oversee the application of justice, but might also frequently be the perpetrators of injustice, either through action or inaction?
Reframe the context and discuss justice and forgiveness within something larger, a collective. The collective might be public sector, e.g. government, judicial system, military, or it might be private sector, e.g. mortgage companies, banks, cell phone companies. Then there is the wild card of health care.
Consider things such as: collective interacting with collective, system affecting individuals, individual affecting the system, etc.
IDEA 2: A Visio View
If we consider all of the concepts we've each discussed within the justice and forgiveness roundtable...consider that we've generally discussed them as a linear evolution. Reframe that context and consider them as non-linear, possibly as three-dimensional, cyclical, waves, etc.
For example, if all of the above concepts were a system within the human body, how would they work together? What could make them work better, or worse?
Or, if you created a web (flow chart) of these concepts, where would each piece fit, how would they fit together, and what information/direction would be on the lines running between?
Idea 3: Guiding principles
Jen and Bub and Pie brought up the concepts of mercy and compassion.
If we consider justice and forgiveness to be actions (more verb-y than noun-y), then what principles should guide those actions---are mercy and compassion at the heart of true justice and forgiveness?
Idea 4: A round the table post-mortem
1. Describe your entrance vehicle to this topic, e.g. personal anecdote, definition of concept, literary, current events, etc. (one sentence).
2. Pull the most representative and salient point about both concepts from your blog in the form of one sentence.
3. Pull the point from another rountabler's post that most resonated with you (in an agreement way). Write it in your own words, note the origin of it, and briefly explain why it struck you. Max 3 sentences.
4. Pull the point from another roundtabler's post that most resonated with you (in a disagreement sort of way). Write it in your own words, note the origin of it, and briefly explain your take on it. Max 3 sentences.
5. What concept do you believe logically follows this topic?
Idea 5: Break these chains...or reinforce them?
What we write and believe is governed by our own world view and experiences, In fact, you might say "limited" instead of governed. Gwen pointed out the distance she found bewteen her and her students, and atypical described the different approaches she and her husband have. Jen also mentioned discussing this with her husband, and I mentioned my Rwandan friend's perspective.
Find a way to challenge and carefully consider what you believe about forgiveness and justice---and all the concepts between and within---and see how that definition and belief might vary from another context, another view, another set of experiences. Find a different voice and take on this, and carefully consider all of the influences that shape your belief. How stable is your belief? Under a different set of circumstances, would it change? Consider socioeconomic, culture, past history, gender, personality, etc.
Idea 6 What Jen Said
I think we need to next talk about choice. You asked earlier which we would choose. But deeper, right, is how and why we choose.
And what choice really means. Do we all have the same ability to choose? Is it really a present tense concept?
How do we choose anything (forgiveness, justice, compassion)if we don't know why or how choice is really made?
Idea 7 What Gwen Said
Maybe for the next month/five weeks or so, you could make Wednesday SomethingJusticeMercySomething Day. Then we could tackle it slowly and other people could contribute or not as they find time, inclination, inspiration.
Looking forward to thoughts...
P.S. One more enormous effusive thanks to all participants, writers and commenters. This is really amazing. As Alice said, "So exhilirating to find so many powerful voices out there." Yes, so exhilirating, and still more so to have so many new ideas to ponder. Thanks! And...thanks for playing and not leaving me to look like a jackass. I swear, I was having, "Will anyone come to my birthday party?" sweats, LOL. Your RSVPs in advance and participation...it's the world, my friends.
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert