Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Struggles with justice

Grandpa Munster and the Lonely Lumberjack have a similar resistance to making friends. They make do with very few because they have no stomach for trying to make friends outside of the limited environment of the parole community and related volunteer circles. It is obvious that this is because they are ashamed to present themselves in other circles, or perhaps sometimes – perhaps, I say – that they are angry or resentful at other circles for looking down on them or excluding them, often by official policy.

Their reputation is permanently dismantled.

In recent years I have seen many workings of the justice community; some measure of the indictment process, but more so of the transition process; the supposedly final phase. And what strikes me is how lawyers, judges, police; officials and officers of every type; institutions of every type, at every step along the way, seem to take every opportunity to see to it that offenders reputations are as thoroughly destroyed as possible.

There is a central idea that debts to society can be repaid but the truth is – we never ever ever allow that to happen. It seems essential in practice that their reputations be permanently annihilated.

The problem I wish to point out, from my point of view, is that reputation is what keeps most people out of jail, or otherwise on a “good” path by any codes or standards, legislative or otherwise, in the first place. We don’t seem to recognize that fear of being branded bad is largely what stops us from doing the selfish things which our instincts are always desiring. And this observation is easily supported: Just look at how people behave when given the privilege of anonymity such as internet spaces or the roadways. Motorists and internet commenters are by and large despicable! Anonymity protects their reputation.

When we destroy a first-time offender’s reputation more so than necessary, we are, in a way, sentencing them to life as a full-time criminal. Those who escape such a permanent transformation – I think it is much to their credit. From most insiders’ point of view, prisons are a criminal recruitment and training centre.

I think that most people do not much consider the fact that their reputation is their dearest, most coveted possession because that would lead them to ponder to what degree they are phony. And people do not enjoy pondering to what degree they might be phony.

When we destroy an offender’s reputation (or one who is determined by a court to be an offender, sometimes incorrectly) we are giving them license to turn to the only community who will not punish them for their new reputation and that is – the alliance of full-time criminals.

Please understand that I am not here making condemnations or offering solutions at this time but merely pointing out a problem. 

It is my confident thinking that the only real punishment that exists, the only punishment that is naturally just, is the inevitable self-punishment that an offender brings upon himself – and make no mistake – that includes you and me and everyone else who has never been to jail for our various "unlawful" practices from the great realm of sanctioned lying and cheating that this ill society so unwisely permits and assuages. The punishment we bring upon our self is exclusion from participation in the natural joy and freedom which the nascent burgeoning consciousness of the human species has birthed, yet seems so very uncommonly manifested in this society. Your sins haunt you. Unresolved, they hold you apart from this joyful natural reality.

So why is this dire consequence not enough to deter people from crime?

Because we are all so unaware of that reward. Because from a very early age we have been accepted into the rich human tradition of societal delusion; drawn in by the ruling structures, all of them thoroughly corrupted by communal instinct, and signed off by parents who don’t know any better or who seem not to have any choice.

When we maintain good behavior; truly good behavior: kind, generous, loving and harmonious; not the rationalized "good" behavior which is our normal mode – there are only two possibilities: We experience the joy and the freedom because we are being real and being kind for the incredible joy and wonder of it, or else we do not experience the reward because too much of our kindness has actually come from reputation mongering. In which case we are not much different than the criminals. We have placed ourselves in our own prison of the mind.

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