Why is revenge bad?

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posted on May, 31 2009 @ 06:41 AM
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Philosophical question (for the philosophy forum) .... Why is revenge bad?

You hear it all the time ..... 'that's not justice, that's just revenge' .... and the bible - 'revenge is Mine sayith the Lord' .... etc etc. But why is revenge a bad thing? Isn't it a natural thing?

I understand that revenge can get out of control.
That families can get into feuds and have revenge killings for years.
I understand that could happen.

But what I'm asking is this .... WITHIN THE LAW ... why is revenge always put forth as bad and to be avoided?

Example - if someone killed your child and you say that you want to be the one to flip the switch on the electric chair after the killer is convicted ... why is that bad?

Example - Germany invades Poland in WWII and wipes out large numbers of people. At the end of the war the Polish survivors want to witness the executions of those who mass murdered their fellow countrymen. Why is that bad?

Example - Timothy McVeigh set off a bomb that killed dozens of preschool children. The parents of the dead children want him dead and push to view the execution. Why is that bad?

Doesn't revenge give anger a place to constructively go and give closure to victims?

Or does it make things worse for the soul and that's why God says - 'revenge is Mine' and 'forgiveness is divine', etc etc ...

What do you all say?

edited to add - this thread Saudi's Crucify and Behead ... is what prompted me to start this thread.

[edit on 5/31/2009 by FlyersFan]




posted on May, 31 2009 @ 07:14 AM
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Revenge is for the lowest form of humans. Thats why society is h1t beyond belief.

Society is run by people with all these hang ups, desperately trying to murder anyone they can, when they get high profile jobs or police or something.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 07:26 AM
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That is an interesting question. Is there a difference between revenge and retaliation? The latter is more neutral (almost positive) in most cases. I think the idea of revenge came to us through movies and TV shows, and this is why we associate the word with negativity and disdain.

From a philosophical viewpoint, I would argue that "revenge" is bad. Revenge refers to an idea that is only brought forth after somebody has done something bad to you first. So in essence it is a negative characteristic. That is not to say that it is never just. It can be just, but it would not exist if somebody had not done something to you beforehand.

In short: REVENGE can be justified, but it is not positive and should not be encouraged. Besides actually fighting "fire with fire" you are likely to respond with disproportionate force, which will just result in more misery and pain.

However, if you are one who views honour and pride as the most important qualities one should uphold, then revenge might be more appealing to your mindset. I guess it comes down to the individual.


Example - if someone killed your child and you say that you want to be the one to flip the switch on the electric chair after the killer is convicted ... why is that bad?

Example - Germany invades Poland in WWII and wipes out large numbers of people. At the end of the war the Polish survivors want to witness the executions of those who mass murdered their fellow countrymen. Why is that bad?

Example - Timothy McVeigh set off a bomb that killed dozens of preschool children. The parents of the dead children want him dead and push to view the execution. Why is that bad?


I see where you are coming from in these examples. I guess the playing field also changes if you were directly involved in either (which I am not). The only thing is, no matter what level of revenge that is taken, the original victims cannot be brought back to life. Even though the victims families might feel a sense of closure, the pain of losing their relative won't just disappear.

[edit on 31/5/2009 by Dark Ghost]



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 07:37 AM
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This is one of the more intelligent questions I've read here lately. I also think it needs to be examined in more depth on an individual and political level.

My personal attitude is that Revenge is neither good nor bad in and of itself but either empowering or dis-empowering depending on context and situation.

If I`m in a position of having been oppressed since a long time (think of a woman who has been beaten by her husband since decades for example or of the polish people you mentioned) then from that particular position revenge equals freedom and empowerment.

If I´m in a position of stability and well-being then revenge equals dis-empowerment because my attack will only produce a counter-attack which then again makes me attack which produces another counter-attack, eventually wasting all my strength and resources.

From this attitude I deduce that Revenge is stupid/ineffective much of the time but not all of the time. Or seen on a scale from 1-10, 1 being a state of weakness and victimhood and 10 being a state of well-being, Revenge would be the appropriate course of action from 1-3.

[edit on 31-5-2009 by Skyfloating]



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 07:41 AM
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I think because it's pointless.

People use their children/the children as the justification for revenge, bringing back the death penalty etc.

If you did kill the person who killed your child, it would not bring you peace. It might give you a rush for a while, but you would realize that you have ultimately solved nothing and your child isn't back.

It is natural for people to want revenge, but it is pointless.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 07:52 AM
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Revenge is in fact a very high moral ideal, that it has been slandered and that this question could even be debated is repulsive.

Justice is not something that exists outside of us - we know right and wrong, and punishment of evil doers is an act of justice.

We have been lead to believe that justice is not our responsibility, that revenge (pursuit of punishment of evil men) in some way is bad. What a complete lie.

Taking justice away from common men and placing it in the hands of others is one of the most violent and vile acts that has ever been committed. Then convincing people that they have no part of justice - it is not their business - bah it disgusts me.

The whole reason that this was taken away is to make people powerless to defend themselves. To prohibit people from using force against those who provoke, threaten or literally use force against them.

It is fair to defend yourself, and to extract justice from those who use force or terror against you - in fact it is not just a right, it is a duty.

Evil gains strength when it is not challenged and stopped - nobody has more right to make justice than the individual whose life, liberty or property has been infringed - the LAW has been made to sound so important and sacred - oh wow, how can we live without it?

Simple - we ALL know the only law that really matters; Do no harm, and cause no loss.

Justice can be whatever you need it to be to make things right, and individuals should be able to pursue their own justice. Oh no! That would be anarchy! Rubbish! That is a lie propagated by people who don't want anyone to be free. The legal system is a pile of crap that defends the guilty and prosecutes the innocent - the system is designed to keep you under control, and take away your freedom and personal power.

If you let people make their own justice you would see a massive DROP in crime - because the perpetrators would suddenly realize that they would face real justice - and that no-one would shelter them. Anti-social behavior wouldn't be tolerated anymore - people would have to clean up their own place - instead of moaning that the police never do anything. Private investigators could be hired to do detective work - which they would do a lot better than the cops who don't care.

You would still need judges and council to make trials for civil disputes, or where people wanted to extract justice in property as well as violence.

You don't need law though - just sensible local judges, local law officers who KNOW EVERYONE in their community. Smaller tight communities are needed - not all this social dislocation created by large governments and powers in far away places.

[edit on 31-5-2009 by Amagnon]



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 07:54 AM
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reply to post by Donnie Darko
 


While I agree that revenge is wrong I do not look at the death penality as revenge. Sure it can be viewed as such and it can be meant as such but I personally advocate the removing of those that have proven themselves capable of being a threat *with no real reason* to others, in otherwords a threat to the innocent. I do not think that they have a right to be taken care of by society because they must be removed from it for the safety of others.

Also I find it funny that people who do not bat an eye at an "animal" being put down screams "sanctity of life" when that same idea is applied to a human. Kinda hypocritical don't you think? Rather like when that *endangered* Tiger was driven to the point that it would escape it's cage by taunting and then it was put down "for our safety".



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 07:58 AM
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"bad"? medicine is bad unless you need it.

justice and revenge, they are synonymous... if culled to perfection. ("best served cold.") timing is everything.

the moral dilemma just helps us to comfort ourselves from feeling like complete animals.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 08:00 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
reply to post by Donnie Darko
 


Also I find it funny that people who do not bat an eye at an "animal" being put down screams "sanctity of life" when that same idea is applied to a human. Kinda hypocritical don't you think? Rather like when that *endangered* Tiger was driven to the point that it would escape it's cage by taunting and then it was put down "for our safety".


I totally agree here. I get very upset when people execute (yes, execute) zoo animals simply for acting out their nature as carnivores.

However, I think even a crime to a guilty person is a tragedy. Does not a murderer or a child molester have a family that loves them?



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 08:01 AM
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There is not good or bad, only thinking makes it so. If we lived in the now we would retatiate, there would be action. If however we go off and think about it, and plan, that would be revenge. The thoughts u have about a situation are not the experience, so you would be bringing in past hurts also. Which in turn makes u more angry. The anger you feel is unbearable, we feel it has to be removed from us and we think someone else ( the one to blame ) should be made to feel as bad as we do.
It is impossible to take that feeling from us and give to another. However it is possible to make our own lives even more miserable by taking revenge and ending up hating ourselves more.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 08:22 AM
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Revenge takes you to the same level as the ones you are getting Revenge on.

To be true Revenge, it has to match the original offense in severity and damage, right? If so, you have to basically mess someone up (ie: perform somekind of act, initiate some kind of event, share some knowledge, etc...) as badly as the original instance, which requires an equivelant evil.

Revenge makes you no better than they. Revenge enjoys it. Revenge hates.

Justice makes you sad that retribution or punishment was required to discourage future behavior. Justice should be dispassionate. Justice does not hate.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 08:25 AM
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reply to post by Donnie Darko
 


Well I think this is a difference in philosophy ultimately and I will not begin to declare my perception on the subject superior. But I think once a person has proven that they can and will do certain things, especially to innocents like children, they should be removed as there are certain lines that should never be crossed. And like I said earlier why should someone who does these things deserve a life of being taken care of at anothers expense when people who have harmed no one are consigned to starving to death? We don't live in a idylic world, nothing is ever going to be like we would like it to be, we live in a savage garden *To use a term I liked from a book *Anne Rice* and I think we must live accordingly. And it does suck, but pretending otherwise is to only to fall to an illusion.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 08:27 AM
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reply to post by Ambient Sound
 


Sort of like the difference between murder *ending of a life with mallicous intent* and killing *ending of a life*. I agree.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 08:44 AM
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Perpetuation

sorry for the one liner but you did ask


makes you as bad as the person who you seek revenge on correct?




posted on May, 31 2009 @ 09:01 AM
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Is revenge good or bad?

On a personal level, if someone does me harm then I have always tried to sort it out myself.
I can not help it; I am a product of the environment which produced me and where I still live.

Is it good?

I don't think so.

Society / governments etc as a whole should be above revenge.

We have laws.
If they are broken then the punishment should fit the crime.
When they don't then the individuals need for revenge is not met thus leading to frustration and a lack of respect in the very laws / society which should be there to protect and serve.

I find it difficult to reconcile the two; my personal need for revenge whilst acknowledging that societies punishment should suffice.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 09:11 AM
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I don't think revenge puts you on the same level as those who wronged you. As an innocent victim seeking revenge, you should have righteousness and justice on your side.

I think the law is upside down on this one. Why is it ok for the Neutral party of the state to hunt down and imprison or kill someone accused of a crime against me, but it is illegal if I do the same thing?!?

The death penalty should be abolished in favor of a "state sanctioned execution by the family." Having a sterile third party kill someone for you is evil, but if my family is the victim, and I have the right to revenge, it is JUSTICE!

I don't like Superman, Spiderman, Batman......but I love The Punisher!

It just seems like Natural Law should have more influence than man-made law, and it "feels" "natural" to seek revenge. It eliminates a bad person from the society, it provides closure, it sets an example for anyone else that may want to harm your family and therefore could save future lives.

If I ever find my family a victim of rape, murder, gang violence, kidnapping, etc. I will be there posting the bail to free the suspects and get them back on the street within my reach. If it is a gang, I will declare war on gangs. In the Midwest, where I grew up, we call this responsibility, not revenge. It was common 50 or 100 years ago, and I think it prevented a lot of crime.

Devil's Advocate: The reason vigilanteism is dangerous is because there is no evidence, jury, or due process. It is very likely that innocent people could get blamed and hurt or killed. I totally understand why this is illegal, and needs to be closely controlled. For my personal experience, I would be extra certain that my revenge was enacted on the proper people, but that is not the case with everyone.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 09:23 AM
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It is all very well when we ennact revenge on the right perpitrator. However how can we be sure we are right , there has been many put to death by mistake. Unless we are there when the offence happened we can not be sure of exact circumstance. We may have been misled, or even missheard.
Justice sounds like just is. When we are aware, we see what just is.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 09:23 AM
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Because, quite simply, two wrongs don't make a right.

In enacting revenge, you're simply lowering yourself to the level of the person who has wronged you, so it doesn't really solve anything!



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 09:25 AM
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I could easily argue either side of this ... pro or con revenge.

But I pose the question to see if anyone can sway me to their side...


Originally posted by andy1033
Revenge is for the lowest form of humans.

Again I ask you - Why?


Originally posted by Dark Ghost
you are likely to respond with disproportionate force, which will just result in more misery and pain.

Okay .. there's a good answer .... disproportionate force back could happen. Like in Saudi Arabia where rape victims are the ones thrown in jail and the rapists are set free. Justice (or revenge) can get it wrong.


Originally posted by Donnie Darko
It is natural for people to want revenge, but it is pointless.

Evolutionary psychology says that revenge lightens the burden on the victims and it 'takes care' of problem people ... getting them out of society and the breeding herd so to say. Revenge serves a natural evolutionary function.


Originally posted by Amagnon
Revenge is in fact a very high moral ideal, that it has been slandered and that this question could even be debated is repulsive.

That's why the need to discuss it.
What's wrong with revenge and why is it considered such a dirty word?
Because of scripture? It's in there. But any OTHER good reasons?


Originally posted by Ambient Sound
Revenge takes you to the same level as the ones you are getting Revenge on.

Does it? I've got to think about that. Interesting statement.
At first glance I agree .. but then I"m thinking .... hmmm ....


Justice makes you sad that retribution or punishment was required to discourage future behavior. Justice should be dispassionate.

I like what you said here.
It makes the distinction between revenge and justice.


Justice does not hate.

What's wrong with hating the evil done to people and making sure that it doesn't happen again through revenge? What's wrong with hating the hate directed at you and therefore if you burn your hate up through revenge it makes it go away for you (go away for the victim)?


Originally posted by symmetricAvenger
Perpetuation

Yep. Thought of that.
Family feuds get started ... unending wars in countries.



So is revenge a natural evolutionary reaction that 'enlightened' people are supposed to rise above in order not to become like those who committed the dreadful act that you want revenge on? Rise above it so you don't become like the evil you hate so much? (tip to Ambient Sound)

Or

Is it a natural process that is actually good for society, good for evolution, and good for the victim in order to burn the hate out of him/her so they can move on?

or .. something else? hmmm ....



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
I don't think revenge puts you on the same level as those who wronged you. As an innocent victim seeking revenge, you should have righteousness and justice on your side.

Good counter discussion to the 'makes you the same as the perp' statement. I've gotta think some more on this ...



Originally posted by Itisnowagain
It is all very well when we ennact revenge on the right perpitrator.

True .. justice and revenge have nailed innocent people.
There have been people on death row who were innocent.


Originally posted by purehughness
Because, quite simply, two wrongs don't make a right.

But is revenge wrong? Show us how revenge is wrong.






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