Seeking justice has become a national obsession, and perhaps the most dangerous addiction we face now in the United States. Every murder, every crime, every act of terrorism, every harsh word we speak is, at its root, motivated by our innate craving for justice when we’ve been wronged.
Seeking justice is the politically correct word we use when we really mean seeking revenge, retribution, or vengeance. In fact, justice has two meanings. The elevated definition, the one that we associate with spiritual masters such as Jesus or the Buddha, is the idea of love and fundamental fairness and equity among all people. Then we have the exact opposite meaning, which is what I believe our national leaders, for instance, use when they say, ‘We want to bring the terrorists to justice.’ We don’t want to bring them to love, fairness, and equity; we want revenge against them. By having two opposite meanings for the same word, we’re able to trick ourselves, or cloak our true meaning.
The retaliation path is based on the concept that happiness is a finite commodity. If somebody takes our happiness, we believe we need to take happiness from them. It’s a flawed equation because happiness is available in infinite supply. It doesn’t come from without; it comes from within.
—James P. Kimmel Jr., JD,
www.nonjustice.org, author of Suing for Peace (Hampton Roads, 2005)