Is justification the root of all evil?
Justification according the Oxford Dictionary means: “The action of showing something to be right or reasonable.”
I’ll start from a position where people know what is ‘right’ from ‘wrong’ – on any particular thing, not necessarily legally wrong.
Let me take ‘interpersonal violence’ as an example – but not exclusively as any of this can apply to any situation where rules apply. It is clearly wrong to walk down the street and wilfully punch the first person who passes you in the opposite direction. I don’t need to go into laws and morality on that point. However, it is just cause to deal them some blows, in self-defence, if they threw a punch at you. So, whilst the default position is that this sort of violence is wrong, it may be justifiable on grounds of self-defence (and its full legal context, which I shall not lecture on today). It does not mean that one is right to engage in interpersonal violence; it means that it’s justifiable for one to be violent when necessary to protect one’s life.
Almost everything in everyday life, has exceptions but that doesn’t mean that the default position is incorrect for one exception. The ‘it-depends’ group of people love to pick out exceptions and pre-conditions etc. These are the people who generally sit on fences.
In this post I’m thinking about ‘criminals’ just for the moment (not forever or for any prolonged period of time). Did I say I admire criminals? I did not! Did I say I’m thinking about this from a professional perspective? I did not. Did I say I thought Obama is a criminal? I did not! What the hell – can I not just think as an ordinary person without meanings being implied into my words? This is social media for you – anything could become fact. Innit.
Criminals often find a ‘justification’ for their wrong doing. As an ordinary person you too (whoever the devil you are), can jump on Google and go check out some of the stuff they chunter about – in order to justify what they have done wrong. Examples from around the net (e.g.)
- Well I had to eat – what you expect me to starve?
- Harassment is wrong but I had no options.
- I had nothing to lose – s/he had everything to lose!
[Just to be clear, as this is social (aka unsocial) media, the above are examples. It does not mean I believe the above are correct].
And – who is a criminal? Surely, images of some axe-wielding madman comes to the minds of most people. Where are most of the people with criminal records? Driving around on the roads of this country! Eh? Yes – that’s where most people with a criminal record hangout. Yes – everybody who has committed a speeding offence has a criminal record. Ooooh.. but society does not see them as ‘criminals’. But everybody who wilfully breaks the speed limit, knows they are doing wrong – they simply justify doing ‘wrong’.
Back to the definition from Oxford Dictionary; the word ‘reasonable’ is important. What one person sees as reasonable at a point in time – in their momentary circumstances – may be quite unreasonable to a larger population of people. The ‘showing’ then becomes the means of delivering ‘violence’ for example.
What it means is that ‘an individual’ can find ‘reason’ for doing what they in fact know to be wrong as a default position, on any grounds that may come up in their minds at a point in time.
In my previous post, where I said:
Person A: “” that I wouldn’t mind as person X was so trusted by them, a professional and a trustworthy person.
Person B: “” that person Y was my “good friend” and that I would “be happy to be in contact” again.
— these are ‘reasons’ i.e. justifications in the face of those individuals knowing what they were doing is wrong and contrary to my previous clear instructions.
So, what does it all mean to me. The following:
- It is human nature to justify anything it wants, regardless of rules, clear instructions or any other thing that would contain certain prohibited actions.
- Humans are afflicted by human nature – to state the bleeding obvious.
- Ignorance and stupidity are parts of human nature.
- Humans cannot be trusted to obey rules of various types.
- Law enforcement is necessary to force human beings to respect ‘rules’.
- Pain is an essential ingredient for the humans to learn new things, or better learn what they knew but did not apply.
Now did I say that this post was about crime or criminals just because I referred by example to those matters? I did not!
Oops.. oh dear lawwwd.. here we go.
- *Stupid: So you’re saying that rules should never be broken?
- CW: No! I’ve never said anything like that! What I am trying to get across is something about human nature. The likes of you were expected to focus on ‘sexy’ issues such as crime and ‘rules’.
- Stupid: Yes – but you went on about crime and rules.
- CW: Yes – but it was only to use examples in order to pick out particular features of human nature?
- Stupid: So you’ve never broken a rule?
- CW: Let’s say I’ve broken lots of rules over many years – what would that mean for you?
- Stupid: It means you are a fake – isn’t it?!!
- CW: And let’s say I’m a fake – what next? Does that mean that everybody should find justifications for breaking the rules?
- Stupid: I didn’t say that.
- CW: Of course you didn’t. And I didn’t say that you said that. I’m putting questions back to you and you did not answer.
- Stupid: No.
- CW: So why am I seemingly on trial and you being judge and jury to define me as a fake?
- Stupid: Cuz – who are you to lecture us on rules?!
- CW: I’ve always said that ‘I’m nobody’. I’m not lecturing anybody!! Chrysst. I was pointing out my observations of human nature – did you miss it?
- Stupid: Errrh… you got me there.
- CW: ….(speechless)
[*Stupid – is an imaginary impish figure in my mind who often intrudes with doubts, questions and comments which trips me up in my thinking. However I find stupid to be useful. Just to be clear – as this is social media – I am not hallucinated!]