When somebody does something bad, especially if it’s of a criminal nature, would you ask for justice or revenge?
To some people, there is no difference between justice and revenge. In fact, many people feel that justice is nothing other than a different way of saying revenge.
In reality, though, the two are different, as you will learn below.
Nevertheless, you are not wrong in believing that they mean the same thing.
What are the differences between the two?
First, revenge never offers closure. You will always be left wondering if you could have avenged the wrong done to you in a more intense or aggressive manner.
Did you hurt the wrongdoer enough?
With justice, comes closure. You can rest safe in the knowledge that everybody, especially the system, agrees with you that the person/people did you wrong and deserved punishment. That leads us to the next issue.
Revenge will always remain one-sided. It’s all about how you feel and what you want. You are the center of the focus. No other opinion matters except yours. In revenge, you are the prosecutor, jury, judge, and executioner.
The wrongdoer has no opportunity to offer reasons for the wrong done to you. In justice, the concerned people get a chance to state their case or lack thereof. Justice looks at several sides.
Revenge is not only one-sided but also propelled by self-interest.
Justice, on the other hand, is always impartial.
Emotion is at the heart of revenge. How you feel is the most important factor here. In justice, emotion has a place but doesn’t drive the agenda. Instead, justice relies on rationality and logic. A neutral party – the judge – takes charge of proceedings that seek to determine whether you need justice.
The judge looks at the facts and evidence. The judge weighs them to determine the best course of action to take.
Nevertheless, is revenge that bad? Does it have a place in modern society anywhere?
Humans are hard-wired to seek revenge.
Everybody wants something equally bad to happen to somebody who was responsible for causing hurt and pain to another person or group of people. There may be merits to seeking vengeance.
However, what sort of society will we have built if everyone were to pursue this path? Humanity can only survive if we create room for and embrace the pursuit of justice.
In revenge, the victims seek to retaliate in kind.
Confucius encouraged us to dig two graves before embarking on the journey of revenge.
Gandhi told us the whole world would soon be blind if we all believed in “an eye for an eye.”