A young man from outside the golden gates of the Shining City stole a purse. His people refused to give him up.

“You want him so you can dispense your justice. We will be happy to give him to you when you return all that has been stolen from us.” said an Elder.

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Image: voanews.com

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” said an angry man with a flushed face, wagging his finger.

“Two!” replied the Elder. He turned to look at the lands beyond the gates. “Can you return the dead to life?”

“Of course not!” said the angry man. “We are addressing your concerns.” His face relaxed. “You understand there is a lot of paperwork to be done.”

“When justice is understood, we all shall have it.” said the Elder, walking away.

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Image: Vato Bob (found at elephantjournal.com)

We all know what happened next.

Does anyone know what justice is? It surely isn’t blame. Punishment based on individual responsibility for individual actions is injustice, denying history and science. Yet if we could untangle all the forces responsible for an action we would surely end up at the big bang.

Do we have a deep need for punitive reparative justice that cannot be unseated? Do we need lies about justice to live and if so is this sustainable in the future? Is it not an infinite injustice to deprive anyone of liberty? Can suffering be audited?

I desire to understand justice. I have witnessed the depths of depravity and communed with gods. I have thrown inhabited planets into stars. I have set loved ones on fire and marvelled at the beauty. Guilt has eaten away at my flesh.

I especially want to know because my ego was in that purse.

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