The Nature of Justice

Unlike truth, which is absolute and universal, justice is not found in nature; rather, it is a concept that exists solely in the human mind. For this reason, the definition of justice is influenced by one's culture, religion, philosophy, socioeconomic status and political affiliation and its enforcement is often uneven and arbitrary. To some, justice is merely a synonym for revenge while, for others, it represents the heart of morality.

The concept of justice fuels religious belief, offering hope that the suffering, discrimination and cruelty of this life will be remedied in the next. Indeed, the prospect of an eternal reward encourages self-imposed martyrdom, whether adopted by monks or terrorists. Such mysticism, widespread in human culture, soothes the mind, assuring us that a divine purpose underlies the death of children, the hardships imposed by natural disaster or the sudden calamities of accidents and illness.

Experience teaches us that life is not fair and that justice, however we may define it, does not always prevail. While many rely on an afterlife to even the score, many of us would rather focus on ridding this world of injustice; kindness, tolerance, freedom, education and generosity are the essential tools.