On Justice -- How to Cope In an Unjust World
Updated: Nov 17
Justice can be simply defined as the state or condition where at least one person or entity receives what they deserve, whether that be punishment, condemnation, reward, or appropriate treatment. For the bare minimum of justice to be applied, at least one person must receive what they deserve for their actions or being.
Because our world is imperfect and unjust, the implementation of justice is not something that can be found everywhere. Depending on one's luck, you may be rewarded for your actions or the opposite, even if you have done good overall in whatever role you fulfill in society. Additionally, it is not always in our hands. Therefore, the reception of justice depends on one's luck and the competence of the one serving justice.
Even if we do not always have the power to serve justice, there are times when we do, to others. There is no need to be a judge in a court of law in order to be thankful for something good someone has done, punish a student for not doing their homework, and so on. Justice is slippery, as well as heavily demanded, whether rightfully or with a delusional sense of entitlement.
Living in an Unjust World
How does one live in an unjust world? In a world where people live and die by things that are not their fault, such as hunger, disease, and violence? Where people can easily be bullied by their peers or trolls, to the point of having suicidal tendencies, while all their "sin" has been being slightly different from the norms?
We should still remember, however, that even in a world where justice is far from being served, it does not mean we should despair and be miserable for our inferiority against those who are more fortunate than ourselves. As Epictetus said, there are things within and outside our control.
Having vengeance or resentment for an event that is not likely to ever repeat itself again, will only damage you and your mentality.... Unless there are other benefits? I know, for sure, that I have benefits, of my own.
A positive person must first of all learn how to live with things they can't do anything about, and not let said things lead them to sorrow too much, as nothing other than living in the past will come when resenting about loss or any other kind of disservice.
We learn to believe that there are certain things that we deserve to have. However, beyond human and civil rights in countries and people that actually care about them, we don't really deserve things, even if they are basic. We are not entitled to food, water, a stable income, health, praise, and so on. Even for the most basic of things, we usually have to prove to others and to ourselves that we should have what we either want or need.
Justice as a Professional Philosopher
This is why I, as a philosopher, am not entitled to be praised by anyone who reads my content. I do not deserve to be praised. For me, being a philosopher is like doing any other kind of job, even if the main priority is not monetary gain. If I did a poor job, I'll seek to rectify it. Simple as that. I live to work, and thus serve, and when you read my articles, you deserve to find what you're looking for, if not more. That is what I learned from the wisdom of the salaryman philosophy which I covered.
Not only is the world unjust, but praise is not as imperative as air or a right. What is imperative, is philosophy itself. For saving my life from despair before, I am forever indebted to it.
Not everyone will like the fruits of my work, some might even be angry, but all-in-all, praise should come from honesty, whether you are a philosopher, a clerk at a small company, or a cashier at a fast food chain. You cannot, ultimately, force something beyond your control to happen, even if you believe that you deserve it to happen to you. You don't even deserve likes or followers on social media. You deserve to try to earn them if that is what you want, along with followers.
More Insights on Justice
Thus, if you wish for justice to occur, the sad reality is that it won't always happen to you, those you love, or those you hate. That depends on powers beyond your control and you might not have that power yourself. Money for example is power that can also be used for justice, as in the case of charity. As charity is based on funds and is towards a cause that is just. However, people might not have the funds to donate, and those who donate might not care at all, so they won't donate.
We can do whatever we can, however, to make justice happen, but there is still no guarantee. Is the world getting more just/fair/equal over the years? Whatever the answer will be, total submission to the facts will not get you anywhere, even if there are still things beyond your control that you can't do anything about them.
Because people won't necessarily care. Because apathy is deadly.
Before we wrap this up, there is also another problem about justice: Not everyone would agree about the exact execution of it when it is served. What I mean is this: there is this belief that people who are atheist don't deserve to enter paradise, but instead are destined to be in Hell. Regardless of whether these places exist or not, not everyone would agree that thinking differently from a lot of people would mean that they deserve eternal suffocation and torture.
After all, perception on the same values we recognize, is subjective.
This further complicates the execution of justice, because you can't always please everyone as the one who casts it. Justice, therefore, is more than receiving what you deserve, but dealing with the reception of those who are aware of said justice. You might think that forgiving a criminal is okay for being good at prison, but perhaps the victims of their crimes won't.
Either way, if you want justice, you need power. And "power is everything". Without it, you will be cast aside to the shadows of society, lonely and forgotten. It is only through relevance where your unfair treatment by others can be rectified.
It's only then when I can overcome my nemesis, which I did.
The John Duran Bonus
"How is it that I can understand EVERY aspect of humanity, but they/you wont/refuse to understand me?" -- John Duran
Justice is about mutuality, about giving and recieving in a way that is fair and appropiate. Empathy, for example, is about understanding other people, and compassion is about participating in their suffering. However, mutuality cannot be created if there is unfairness, and thus mutuality is connected to justice.
When you understand others, you are expected to be understood yourself. However, that might not be possible because others may lack the cognition necessary to understand you. Therefore, mutual understanding can be seen as justice, and justice also has an intellectual aspect. And yet, not all are intellects. Many few are, in fact, for we might have a decline in intellect.
Intellect isn't necessarily a source for boasting exclusively. It's also about understanding the world around you, and if you lack the ability to do so, you won't be able to get much justice for those whose situation requires more understanding than otherwise.
And those who are more misunderstood, are likelier to be lonely. Some people do not deserve to be lonely, as with the example of Eleanor Rigby in the Beatles song.
But we do not always get what we deserve in life, do we? We deserve to be understood, but we won't always. Some of us might not be understood at all. And yet, we need to understand our surroundings in order to survive.