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hovering between the quest for absolute truth and the pursuit of utter nonsense
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-Ludwig Wittgenstein
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"Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And East is East and West is West and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste more like prunes than a rhubarb does. Now, uh... Now you tell me what you know."
-Groucho Marx

~ Thursday, February 05, 2009 ~

So I recently learned about a lifestyle called Christian Domestic Discipline. The basic idea is that a married couple agrees to live according to a system in which the husband makes and enforces the household rules, and if the wife disobeys, the husband beats the wife. This is intended to mirror the leadership/submission relationship between deity and church, a mirroring that Paul suggests in the NT, and so it is thought to be pleasing to God. It's also said to generate closeness between wife and husband, to emphasize their gender roles (her submissiveness and his assertiveness), to give the husband confidence and the wife security, and to strengthen the marriage. Regardless of all that, I think I should apologize to the Christians reading this for using the name of your religion in association with the practice. I don't think it's got the mark of divine approval on it, and I don't imagine anyone else reading this thinks so either.

I'm writing about it because, honestly, it scares me and I'm trying to overcome that fear by taking it apart, by working through it. Why does it scare me? First of all, it rocks my worldview. I would have thought that no one would choose such a life--that every human would prefer to answer to his or her own chosen system of rules rather than to someone else's, especially if enforced via beatings--but apparently there are women out there who encourage their husbands to adopt the lifestyle, not for the desire for pain, but rather, they say, for the results. Secondly, and more significantly, it scares me because I think I can understand the attraction. I know there are times when I've wanted to let go of the responsibility of steering my own life and instead allow myself to be carried. I can imagine the sense of being loved that would come from knowing my spouse pays attention to and cares about everything I do, even if only because he's policing me. Most compellingly for me, it might be nice to know that the world is a predictable machine and I'm entirely in charge of whether or not a bad thing happens to me--all I need do is follow a set of clearly defined rules, and if I follow them, all will go well for me (about which more later). I would gain clear direction, attention, and a sense that the world is just. I might even feel really good about myself if I think God is pleased by my lifestyle.

On the other hand, I'd be giving up some freedoms that are, I believe, dead wrong to give up. First of all I'd be failing to chart my own course in life and take responsibility for my decisions. I'm letting someone else--a human, not God--make the rules about what's right and wrong for me to do, and how I ought to be punished for disobedience. On a certain level, I'm agreeing not to challenge his leadership before having even heard what his rules are. Secondly, I'm trading in my right to be treated as an equal and in exchange receiving attention which I am probably confusing for love. Thirdly, rather than facing the injustice that exists in the world and trying to do something to remedy it, I am asking someone else to create for me the illusion of justice by setting him up as my master and having him diligently punish me whenever I disobey. It seems equivalent to choosing to remain a permanent child, and under the circumstances, I find this choice as morally problematic as the choice to remain a slave. Most adult humans have the capacity to improve the world by pursuing justice in whatever sphere they inhabit; if I never use my own capacity to right wrongs (agreeing instead to be led by my husband in all things), then I'm not contributing to the work of improving the world.

Now back to the thing about the world as a predictable machine. This is a common theme for me, so my apologies if you've heard this one already. I remember believing, when I was quite young, that my parents knew about everything bad that I did. If I lied to them or if I read a book while I was supposed to be going to sleep or if I ate in the living room instead of in the kitchen, or if I jumped up and down on their bed, I believed, they would know. This belief was partly because they *were* extremely watchful and usually did find out, and partly because for a long time, I overestimated my sneakiness. I was a kid. What did I know? But eventually I found that I *could* get away with things. This was disturbing, not because I didn't want to, e.g., jump on the bed (I most certainly did), but rather because my understanding of the world changed. If my parents weren't going to stop me, the borders of the world expanded beyond the horizon, frighteningly far. If they didn't always know to chastise me when I wasn't behaving well, who would? How far would I be allowed to drift before someone would save me from own childish lack of self-control? And if no one was going to stop *me* from behaving badly, who would stop everyone else from behaving badly? Was the world full of people who were out of control, running around like crazy, and eating in the living room? What would keep the universe from falling apart?

At some point I decided that it was ok that my parents couldn't see what I did, because God could, and did, and indeed was watching me at every moment, and would punish me for my misdeeds. I don't think this anymore (I tried, but God wasn't very consistent in punishing me either), but I still think that everything I do is recorded on the scroll of reality--that is, my deeds don't cease to have existed just because they aren't in the present anymore--and that it matters, somehow, in the grand scheme of things, what choices I make. Whether or not it's true, it seems self-evident to me, which is enough, at least for now.

Anyway, the point of all that backstory is to connect my disappointment (in discovering that I could get away with stuff) with the married lifestyle that establishes consistent, direct, and painful consequences for rule-breaking. I understand the sense of security it would offer, but I don't think it's a good thing to seek. Far better, I would say, is to participate in the work of buildling a world in which justice is fair, consistent, and ever-present. This is divine work, the role of a mature adult, a challenge to develop one's moral sense to the highest degree possible, which is, I believe, the sort of work we all ought to be doing. It's also the role given to the husband in the CDD system. It's as if the wife gives into the temptation to never have to face the ugly injustice of the world, while assigning her husband the job of maintaining the illusion for her, in exchange for which, she gives him power over her. It's not a temptation to which I am immune, but I consider the results to be morally problematic, and I think that's why it disturbs me so deeply.

~ prattled by Miriam at 8:58 p.m. [+]

* * *
I'm not clear on what sort of rules would get imposed or enforced this way. Anything the husband feels like? Anything the two agree on? Certain things prescribed by whatever branch of the church approves this sort of thing? If it's the former (i.e. somewhat arbitrary), I would have a harder time understanding it than if it was one of the latter two.

I hope someday to have a partnership in which we are each as dedicated to supporting each other's self-improvement (personally, morally, spiritually, etc.) as our own. Few people are strong enough to always do the right thing under their own willpower, so the support is important. I personally don't think physical discipline would be the right approach, but I can imagine how some people could believe it is (whether because they think it has religious meaning, because they grew up in abusive households, or because they simply think they'd find it more effective -- "for the results," as you said). So in the best-case scenario, this is what I hope would be going on in CDD. The two (or three if you count God) basically have an agreement about how life should be lived and how they'll help each other stick to it.

Of course, the model I'd envision would be two-way, which is pretty clearly not the case here so it's harder to understand this aspect of the system. You could certainly argue for the passive security that the wife gets, and I'm sure plenty of husbands think the power they get in the relationship is a good deal. (Though you don't discuss the potential flip side of that for the men -- extra responsibility, feeling hurt when your rules are broken, feeling guilty for causing pain to someone you love.)

However, I think it's also important to give these people the benefit of the doubt and look for a better motivation than simply playing with dominance and submission. You say that it's important to "participate in the work of buildling a world in which justice is fair, consistent, and ever-present.... [and] to develop one's moral sense to the highest degree possible." What if that's actually what they think they're doing? It involves different core beliefs than you and I have, of course, like the assumption that men are superior in some way that makes these roles reasonable. But if you allow that other people have their own beliefs, then the rest of it follows. Women develop morally by following the men's better judgement, who develop by consistently monitoring and enforcing the rules they set (or by following the rules set by the church). Within their family, they probably already see justice as "fair, consistent, and ever-present." And every family that embodies justice can be seen as increasing the level of justice in the world, simply by virtue of existing and setting an example for others to follow. (Change starts at home, right?) Add in the fact that they presumably believe God approves of all this and it gets rather hard to argue against it.

Anyway, I'm not actually in favor of this kind of thing myself, but if you're really trying to work through it all, then I think this is an important level to dig down to. You may be scared by your own temptation for certain aspects of this lifestyle, and that's natural, perhaps even good since you're being consciously aware of it. I think those temptations are more surface-level. When they're layered onto certain core beliefs, they can result in things like CDD. In your case they won't* because you're not starting from the same base. And you're aware enough of this sort of thing that if you do start going with temptations against your better moral sense, you'll probably notice soon enough to nip it in the bud anyway, rather than letting it turn into a lifestyle.

* Not even JDD.
Good. Now go make me a sammich!!!
I think authoritarianism is at the root of a huge number of the differences in outlook in our society. This Ted Talk, The Moral Mind, gives some numbers to back that up.

You probably have a core axiom of egalatarianism, which makes the notion of a strictly dominant spouse seem pretty abhorrent.

But it's also interesting to consider the idea of "a world in which justice is fair, consistent, and ever-present".

We just watched "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", where one of the leads is an impulsive yet loving person. She breaks rules left and right, sometimes causing harm to others, and sometimes suffering consequences. For certain definitions of ubiquitous justice, she would have been arrested a dozen times over the course of the movie.

I've often wondered what separates people like that from the more risk-averse people like us. I think a lot of it has to do with our estimations of risk of getting caught: you agonized over being caught jumping on the bed, while some people aren't really bothered by spending a few nights in jail or a few broken bones.

So, that probably has some environmental and random factors. But I think there's another very low level, fundamental personality characteristic at play that I'll call "sensitivity". Some kids will laugh off a spanking, while others will agonize for days over a disappointed sigh. It underlies empathy too: psychopaths are totally unmoved by others' suffering, whereas somebody chased my car for several blocks on a bike to let me know that I had left a small block of wood on the roof of the car before getting in.

I really think it's neat that you experimentally tested the notion of God's vigilance. It shows a real dedication to intellectual honesty.

What do you think of the idea of semi-present, more-or-less consistently fair justice? The outliers of injustice will certainly suck for the recipients, but perhaps that can only be remedied by mercy from the other parties. As a great man said:

Incidentally, when I did a search to make sure I had the quote right, I ran across this interesting machinima fan vid of a NiN song about losing faith.

I can't. My husband said no.


From what I can gather from the CDD-based websites I saw, I would guess the husband disciplines the wife for the same reasons a father would discipline a daughter--not doing assigned chores, doing them badly, resisting commands, failing to show proper deference to her husband's word, running late, being unindustrious, spending too much money, flirting with another guy, dressing improperly, eating the wrong food, failing to drop a bad habit, or whatever else seems to him to need correction. Many of the pieces I read also spoke of "maintenance" spankings, which seem to be spankings given not because the wife has done anything "wrong", but instead because it's considered desirable to have frequent and tangible reminders of the marriage's hierarchical structure. I'm not sure what it would mean for the rules to be "anything the two agree on" in a marriage like this (since it sounds like whatever he proposes she is supposed to accept...or if she doesn't, she has to voice her disagreement in a meek, gentle way that does nothing to suggest he doesn't have complete authority) and it sounds like the biblical quotes on which they base their practice speak more about who is in charge and who should submit than they do about what kind of rules should be imposed and how they should be enforced. So yeah, I'm afraid it's rather arbitrary.

I agree that a partnership dedicated to mutual improvement in addition to self-improvement would be a lovely one, though both partners would have to have done plenty of preparatory work so that they can accept their partners' support without interpreting that support as an indication that they have been judged and found wanting. On the flip side, they'd also both have to learn to offer only the unselfish sort of support--the sort of support that helps the partner grow into the person that partner wants to become--rather than the more selfish kind of guidance that tugs the partner toward what the guider wants the partner to be. It's not easy to be handed a bunch of power and to then use it only to serve someone else, nor is it easy to trust that someone who has power over you will use it in a way that affirms you rather than negating you. It would take a very spiritually advanced couple to achieve a partnership like this.

In fact, it seems like it would be so difficult that the added constraint of asymmetry--where the husband is responsible for his own growth as well as his wife's, but she is not responsible for his--would make the arrangement unworkable. I read one article by a man who practices CDD with his wife, written to help other men who were practicing CDD too, and he stressed that the husband must become perfect before he can command his wife, or else she won't respect him and the system will topple. I wanted to ask him why he imagines that men are capable of reaching perfection around the time they marry, through grace and willpower alone, but that women never reach perfection at all, needing instead to be corrected by their husbands all their lives.

That's why I was less inclined than you were (though I am impressed by your charitable reading) to give them the benefit of the doubt: you said that if they believe that men are superior, then the rest falls into place, and it makes sense for them to think that what they're doing will help establish a just world. It sounds like you see the woman's submission to the husband's guidance as a means for the woman to learn to do good things and not bad things, and to thus become better. I don't think that's the case. True, there are rules the husband imposes that are meant to teach the wife to stay in line, but from what I've read, it seems like the wife doesn't reach moral excellence as a result of what she learns to do or to not do; it sounds like moral exellence, for her, is /defined/ as "staying in line", as submission to her husband's will. That's as far as she can go. If she submits, she's good; if not, she's bad. It's his job to discern what is good to command and what isn't, but because she is female, she can never graduate to that higher law, no matter how obedient she may be.

I'm afraid I take a rather harder stance against this lifestyle than you might be comfortable with. Even if the conclusion were sound given the premises, I see the premises as demonstrably wrong, besides being unforgivably harmful. I realize both spouses might be enduring a good deal of pain for the sake of the lifestyle, and it might be done with the sincerest and purest of intentions, but I don't think that excuses their initial mistake of failing to examine their premises before building upon them.

That, and I guess I'm a lot more suspicious of their true motives than you are. :/ But I appreciate your efforts to see the good in their lifestyle. It's an approach I admire, even when I'm not doing it myself.


Thanks for the link to the TED talk. I think I have come across that before, possibly because it was linked from your blog. Yes, some of my axioms are different from those of some conservatives I know, but I try to bridge the gap of understanding when I can. Sometimes it works, but at other times I really find myself baffled. Recently I had a talk with a friend who is raising his daughter so that she learns to obey, not merely because he thinks obedience is a useful skill for functioning in society (I would agree with that), but also because he thinks there is value in obedience in itself. I don't understand this. I always think of obedience to others as an efficient means of facilitating good behavior, but not the best means, because it relies upon someone understanding what good behavior is, and it allows the rest of us to grow morally lazy. I think everyone should learn to figure out how to make moral discernments without reference to what is or isn't commanded, so that in case the authority becomes unable to rule or starts ruling badly, the rest of the society can carry on without falling apart. Now, if he were teaching his daughter to obey him so that she can grow up to learn to obey her own conscience, then I think I would be less troubled by it, but I still don't think obedience is a good in itself.

Your example from Eternal Sunshine is an interesting one. I think I understand what you mean by sensitivity, though I think sensitivity comes in two types: sensitivity to other people's feelings, and sensitivity to guilt, even when there's no clear victim. The character you mentioned is loving, you said, so she's not insensitive to the pain of others, but it sounds like she doesn't feel bound by the rules, so when she breaks them, she doesn't feel guilty. I'm not sure if this is because of a deeper understanding of what the rules are for, paired with a realization that they don't apply under the circumstances in question, or if it's because of an inability/unwillingness to consider where her actions might ultimately lead. Maybe I should see the movie. :)

Thanks for interpreting my experiments as evidence of intellectual honesty. I think some people might see them as evidence of lack of faith, though. Perhaps they are both.

What do I think of Pretty Good Justice? You mean does it satisfy me? Not really. I'm not sure perfect justice is even possible to establish when it's a bunch of humans who are doing the establishing, but whatever system of justice there is seems so easily corruptible that we have to keep struggling to improve just to stay in place. And I think maybe Pratchett was onto something there--I don't think Death-the-character brings justice, but I do think maybe Justice : Our Society :: Death-the-character : Discworld Society. Some fear it, some welcome it, but we all think about it, and it wouldn't exist as anything more than an abstract concept if people didn't believe it to be real.
It's interesting to me how obedience and authoritarianism relate. Could we have one without the other? I think we might: Asian cultures are so steeped in hierarchy that you can't even address someone without knowing their status relative to yourself. But I don't think that means they're more into obedience than westerners. I see a lot of respect, but not a dogmatic belief that you must subjugate your will to your superiors. Grandma is at the top of the org chart, but she doesn't call all the shots, and people don't always do what she asks. It's like it's more about remembering to respect age, wisdom and position, balanced with being merciful to subordinates, and less about being bound to do or believe what our superiors tell us.

Contrariwise, egalatarians are often pleasers, and are often sensitive to guilt. Perhaps you're an obedient egalatarian? But maybe I'm messing up the definition of obedience: is it more about rigidly following rules, or more about rigidly doing things superiors ask of us?
Heh, I can't not post another comment when the captcha is "aggro". :)

It's interesting to me that you speak of human-created justice. Do you think there is a non-human justice system? Is it perfectly just (and for what definition of perfectly just?)? Is it a necessary component of the divine?

Your comments about corruptible justice systems seem to be aimed at the formal criminal and civil Justice System, or perhaps the more general System s of Government. Am I reading that correctly, or do you think that justice must be aggressively pursued at a personal level?

For myself, injustice used to figure very strongly into my worldview: global injustice, injustices inflicted by others on me, dealing justly with others.

I had an epiphany when I read that feelings of injustice are a common symptom of depression. I had always considered injustice to be fully rational, but once I started observing it, I found that I was much more prone to noticing it when I was feeling depressed, or hadn't eaten for too long.

But my view had started shifting long before that, and the Death quote is helpful to me. It reminds me to stop assuming that I will be treated justly or that I can or should do anything about it. But my life WILL come to an end, so I should do as much good as I can with the time I have.

That includes being just to others, but I worry less about being just than being merciful, creating goodness, or relieving suffering.
Your Asian grandmother example reminded me of what one of my teachers at Drisha once pointed out: we are commanded to honor our parents, but nowhere are we commanded to obey them. If our parents tell us to do something that would be wrong for us to do, we are to find some way to respectfully do something else. It's a tricky thing to navigate, though, because obedience seems to naturally follow from respect.

Speaking of parents, I suppose you could call me obedient, but I think that would make my parents laugh. I'm interested in figuring out what one ought to do, and once I think I've figured it out, I either do it or feel guilty if I don't, but that doesn't mean I obey everyone else too. I do certainly pay attention to other people's assertions about what the rules are, though. I can't just dismiss them. If someone had told me, for example, that women ought to aim to marry instead of going to college, I wouldn't have obeyed for the sake of pleasing, but I wouldn't have laughed and ignored it either. Instead, I would probably have tried to get the rule changed (which is weird, because it's not like I need this random rulemaker's permission to go to college). Barring that, I'd still have gone to college, but I might have thought of myself as a rebel for doing so, even though I'd have been sure it was the better decision. Is that obedience? I'm not sure.
Oh, also, I agree about the notion of a couple trying to improve each other not being practical for most people. I think success in marriage is correlated with good boundaries: the happier couples have strong individual identities and try to limit the areas in which they have to agree with each other. It's possible to justify getting into almost any aspect of my wife's life by claiming that it affects or reflects on me, but it's almost never wise to do so. And it usually turns out to be much more about me being codependent and hypersensitive about being harmed than about significant personal inconvenience or moral injustice.
You ask great questions. :) I think there's an ideal justice system (maybe more than one), though I think it only "really" exists to the extent that we discover it and practice it. Otherwise it only exists in the realm of intangible concepts. And while my idea of the divine certainly includes it, I wouldn't say it's the whole of divinity.

I think I had the former USSR when I wrote about corruptible systems, actually--a lovely theory but unstable in practice as long as there are a few humans holding so much power. I really think significant power has a corroding effect on our ability to make moral judgements, and it takes incredible effort to resist the temptations placed in front of us, which is sort of tragic, because it's only when we have significant power that we have the opportunity to improve the system.

Perceiving injustice might be a symptom of depression, but I'm not sure that means that the injustice is an illusion. I suspect it's there anyway and we're more affected by it, or more likely to feel trapped by it, when we have less of a happiness-cushion to help us either ignore it or give us the motivation to actively deal with it.

I really like your new improved approach to life where you don't assume you'll be treated justly and instead do what good you can. I'm puzzled by the distinction you draw between justice and relieving suffering, though. I'm not sure suffering is ever just, so I wouldn't have thought you'd have to choose between relieving suffering and establishing justice.

Boundaries in relationships: I think so too. It's lovely to agree, but I don't think it works to make agreement the core of a life-long relationship. People grow and change, and if the relationship is predicated on agreement in all things, it's not going to last very long..or if it does, it seems like it'd deny the partners the opportunity of continuously rediscovering who their partners are. Harmony is more interesting than unison. Learning to accept a person without agreeing with them might be a good in itself...or if not, at least it helps overcome the some of the id-based instincts.
I think this sounds like a great idea. I love when women understand their places in the house...

I'm entirely joking, this is the single most jacked up thing I've ever heard of. I've been seeing this girl I'm with for about a year now and if I so much as suggested I dominate and have complete control over her, she'd kill me... and it's a crazy way to live anyway.

If you want a successful relationship with someone things have to be mutually controlled in ALL areas, money, kids, house decisions, etc. No one can do everything alone. Also, if these guys are Christians, they'd have read the part of the NT that says you become one. So, if I were a Christian and hit my wife, wouldn't I be hitting myself if I believed the Bible as being true? It seems like that to me... ;)

Anyway, I'm done. I'm gonna go get some food. My word verification is ousseted. Miriam, do you have a definition for me?

Interesting! So you're using a broad definition of injustice. When I think of relieving suffering, I think of things like caring for someone who's ill, listening to our counseling someone who's stressed out, kind acts and the like. Most of those things can be caused by injustice, but frequently aren't, as far as I can tell.

I totally agree about the problems of big institutions like the USSR. I think that the biggest roadblock to human progression, efficiency and happiness right now is psychology. Millions of people died because Stalin was psychotically paranoid, and because the people in a position to help were trapped by some combination of game theory, their own inhibitions and the structure of their society. But now that I list those factors separately, I really can't justify them as being separate from psychology, at least in the broad, group sense. The prisoner's dilemma is a conundrum, but only given the assumptions behind the mathematical model. Inasmuch as we can transcend selfishness as a group, the dilemma goes away.

I agree that injustice is not an illusion, and that it happens a lot, to everyone. Maybe we need a new word to distinguish the feeling of injustice from the concrete instances of it, because that is a critical distinction for me. Most of the injustices that happen to me are such that I have little chance of righting them, and doing so would be a net loss compared to what I can accomplish if I ignore them and move on.

What have you found to be effective means of relieving injustice? The most effective category I can think of is making sure that I treat others justly, which I think is an important and significant value. Political activism comes to mind, although I've found very few types of activism that seemed to make much difference. Practicing law could help. And I suppose I can stand up for people around me who are being unjustly treated; I can think of perhaps a few small instances per year when I've had the opportunity to do that effectively.
I kept thinking of the phrase "seek justice" while I was composing the last message. When I looked it up, I hoped it would turn out to be the seven laws of Noah, but alas it isn't. I kind of like these better, though:

Your hands are full of blood;
wash and make yourselves clean.

take your evil deeds out of my sight

stop doing wrong, learn to do right

seek justice, rebuke the oppressor

defend the cause of the fatherless

plead the case of the widow.

(Whoa, captcha: kessem. Hebrew: predicting, fortune telling)
L'Un Kwill,

I suppose I was thinking of the sort of justice that you might describe as fairness, wherein first of all, everyone treats everyone else humanely, and secondly, resources are sufficient and get distributed based on a mixture of need and merit: what's needed for subsistence is made available to everyone, and the extra goes to those who have contributed to [some part of] the system, or to those who pledge to contribute. According to this definition, it's pretty certain that there's going to be injustice in the world, because it's not as if Planet Earth cares how many people are starving or freezing. Humans are the ones who have to come up with some creative way to establish justice.

I suppose some definitions of justice focus more on reward and punishment tailored to the goodness or badness of a person's actions, but I'm not sure I see the importance of punishing a person unless punishment is going to change that person's future behavior. (It might be useful to publicize one person's punishment as an example to everyone else, but I don't think it's justifiable, unless that punishment is also both humane and improving.) If nothing will change someone's harmful behavior, I'd try to remove that person's ability to harm, but that can be done simply by restricting access to everything except for what's needed for subsistence. I don't see why the bad guy needs to experience pain equal to the pain he inflicted upon others if it's not going to enlighten him or help him reform. It might satisfy me, if I'm the one he hurt, and I might deserve satisfaction, but I can seek that satisfaction somewhere else. Vengeance is not the same as justice.

If I'm right that people don't deserve to suffer, then it's an act of justice to relieve suffering. Caring for the ill or giving advice or emotional support to the anguished sound like good ways of establishing justice to me. Now, it might be possible to do these things at the cost of creating more injustice somewhere else, e.g. if I'm giving to you the last available dose of life-saving medication while others around us die from the same fatal disease you have, but that doesn't negate the justice of your receiving the medication. So I agree there might be injustice tied to an act of kindness, but that wouldn't make the kindness itself unjust; it would just make it more complicated.

I like your point about the interaction between the prisoner's dilemma and selfishness. I think it's important for a system to keep selfish behavior permissible--I don't think any of us should be *forced* to sacrifice our own interests for those of the group--but if we understood how much suffering we could relieve by doing otherwise, and if we allowed ourselves to sympathize with everyone else, we might choose differently.

For the word to refer to the experience of being wronged by an injustice, I propose indignation. I was going to suggest anguish, but that's too general. If it's really bad, maybe we can call it righteous wrath?

How do I relieve injustice? What a question. Were you smirking when you typed that? Of course I try to treat others justly, but I don't think of myself as Super Justice Maker. I do think of others that way, though, such as philanthropists who devote large sums to run organizations like OxFam, or legislators who change the law system so that the government has to respond to certain injustices, or judges who make fair decisions. But the ones who impress me the most are the writers and teachers (journalists, activists, clergy, radio show hosts, etc.) who manage to gradually change public opinion. Once the social climate changes such that the large majority is persuaded that a certain thing is unacceptable, it seems like we can start to police each other more effectively because we can threaten each other with public humiliation and ruined reputation, and those are powerful motivators. I guess the role of opinion-changer is the one that's most appealing to me, too, because it seems like a combination of a lot of good things: it's part philosopher (arguing for a certain point of view) part scientist (researching and documenting whatever injustice it is) and part spiritual guide (exhorting people to be better). It's not what I do every day, but I aspire to it. :)

I like that quote about seeking justice. It reminds me of Deuteronomy 16:20, the bit saying "justice, justice, shall you pursue".

Crazy about the captcha. Doesn't kesem mean magic? And how come you know Hebrew words, anyway? Are you studying it?
No, I meant the question directly, since I wasn't coming up with many examples that fit my notion of establishing justice.

No magic in the kessem translation: I just googled for "kessem hebrew". In googlis non est, ergo non est :)

It makes a lot more sense to think of justice as a core value in the context of your sort of socialist ideal of society: we're all supposed to be doing this, so it's unjust for you *not* to be visiting the sick.
CDD is scary!! I do not think many will approve of it!!

Thanks for the post!!

This is Ibrahim from Israeli Uncensored News
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