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Conceptualizing justice in the age of impatience

For those who are thinking actively, it would seem prudent not to put words like justice and impatience in the same sentence.  However, as soon as one steps out of propriety and sentence construction in theoretical settings, it is easy to see that, our practical reality puts us in precisely this undesirable position.  In the modern context of society propelled by speedy communication, justice is no longer considered so if it is not immediate.

With social revolutions and resistance to government happening on a global scale, along with possibilities of wars of different kinds emerging simultaneously we find ourselves in a time of urgency.  Yes, one possibility is, to maintain a deliberate complacency.  The conscious apathy keeps an individual shielded from the general anxiety felt in the larger society and community.  It also keeps a person from involvement in matters that would open him up to being just as anxious and perturbed as all his surrounding members of society.  So, is complacency and apathy a good thing?  In a measured way, it can be.  The proportionate response to surrounding situations, as much as is possible, keeps individuals balanced.

Why is it, one might ask, do concerns even about justice narrow down to the individual?  The answer is quite simple, and obvious.  This is the direction our world has taken, and rather quickly.  Modern inventions fueled by capitalism have empowered each individual to enjoy life like it was never possible before.  This way of living puts an “ordinary” man of today in a far better position than the monarchs that ruled over nations.  Those kings simply did not have the conveniences and technologies we have today, regardless of how much wealth and power each one of those kings and queens had at their disposal.

To contemplate whether a kingly way of life can come true for the more-than-7-billion-people-and-growing is an entirely different matter.  This is what present-day governments of developed and developing nations are aspiring for, and also promising their people.  Realistic thinking would stop us from such aspirations and promises, but hope is a powerful thing.  It does not subject itself to reason, rationality, or realism.  There might be those who say, if our hope takes us even part of the way on our journey for excellence, it is worth having such hope.

And these thoughts about hope are not disconnected from thoughts about justice.  Till the time justice in any form is accomplished, it, after all, continues to live in the security of a hope!  People aspire for justice because they hope for such justice.  When people stop hoping, neither would they aspire.

The concept of justice, one can truly hope for

The inescapable reality of our time is, justice will not be considered such, unless it satisfies individuals.  Justice will have to be accomplished and will have to succeed at the level of personal satisfaction.  This has to be expected if, we are moving toward a society where an ordinary citizen has some of the same powers as a judge, or a minister, or a policeman.  Why do we say, some of the same powers?  It is so because scientific breakthroughs and communication technology like Internet-enabled mobile devices quickly put anyone and everyone in the open playing field of the entire global community.  Either the thinking of each member of society will have to grow to encompass the world, or the weight of the entire world could fall upon the individual.  This is the direction, the concept of justice is moving in!

Language as a standard for community By KVDP (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Since it is unrealistic to expect a world of individuals where each one has such vastness of thought and discernment – quite simply beyond the reach of “except the exceptional” – we would have to deliberately shrink the world down to make it possible for the individual to survive.  What that means is, the empowered individuals of today will have to find smaller communities where their ideas and hopes of justice can be fulfilled.  By the way the Internet is designed, information could reach to all corners of the world, but the relevance of answers pertaining to justice would have to be patiently narrowed down to the local level.

By the way the Internet is designed, information could reach to all corners of the world, but the relevance of answers pertaining to justice would have to be patiently narrowed down to the local level.

Mankind has still not outgrown the phase when, individuals could sensibly put their personal empowerment in perspective.  A person connected to the Internet by means of social networking or simply as a recipient of content feels, he or she has tapped into a source of unlimited power.  The unlimited power of the Internet is real, but the concept of justice is older and just as real.  When such empowerment will successfully couple with the inner realization of responsibility, the modern, fuller conceptualization of justice will be possible.

In these things, it becomes very important to have a sense of patience.  Just because a matter can be made publicly known immediately, and it is also possible to gather opinions in a short time, does not mean the concept of justice should be devalued.  In the truest sense – the divine sense – justice happens infrequently.  Time is given to individuals to find their own satisfaction with even less than perfect solutions.  And it does happen over the course of time, our ideas of justice and the pursuits thereof degrade.  If one is in a position to do so and able, that one should not shirk his or her responsibility to appeal to the dignity of other intelligent humans by providing an example of thought and behavior.  The less conscious one is in setting an example, the better for the sake of sincerity!

A vision that can only be with time

Even at the individual level, if matters are of a significant nature, justice is known to take time.  A superficial addressing of matters never seems to satisfy justice.  It only seems to prolong injustice by modifying the problem.  To escape the prolonging of injustice, individuals would simply have to accept less than perfect solutions, while also trying to simplify matters.

We could be visionaries, but we also let our visions be less than perfect.  Why!  Why would anyone be willing to accept a less than perfect, a less than excellent vision?  For the reasons of humility and of peace!

In our present age where, a dangerous mix of individualism and impatience coexists, humility and peace are the easier to lose.  When such core values are lost, it does not matter what visions we have, they will not be fulfilled.  Each man would find himself adhering strongly to his or her own truth, his or her own reality, and the vision will be fragmented in a short time.

We also cannot determine the worth of a vision by how much it appeals to the masses.  The masses are not a worthy adjudicator of what is good and what should remain.  Individuals break masses into smaller communities that are bound by common objectives.  Accepting this reality leads to only conclusion: There have to be a number of different visions, just as many as there are communities.  Localizing the idea of justice will satisfy one community at a time, but that satisfaction cannot then be generalized and made available to the whole of society.  This is impossible!

With time, and only with time, mankind has two directions to go in:

  1. Abandon the idea of social justice, and aspire for individual justice.
  2. Create the means to achieve social justice at the level of smaller communities.

Both paths are open, and they are convergent rather than divergent.  Both are in a forward-moving direction.  Both are within the realm of possibility.  Mankind can yet move toward improvement.  It is not impossible.  The key to achieving justice is to keep a sharp focus on the individual, a less sharp focus on small communities, and keeping communities less tightly knit together by general ideas!  As-soon-as a general idea is narrowed down to be more specific, it will lead to the creation of discord, arguments, and disputes.

The concept of justice also needs to be defined in different ways, depending upon the subject – individual, small community, or larger society.  This is the balance we are seeking, and it will come about with time!

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