Is “An Eye for an Eye” Philosophy Making Our World Blind? #FridayReflections

Last year, when a rape case shook the whole country, I remember having a conversation with two of my colleagues/friends about the same topic. As we were pondering over what should be the best punishment for these cruel rapists, I could not control my temperament and declared that they should be buried alive or handed over to the parents of the victims. I thought this was the best punishment as it would teach a lesson to all other morons who are thinking of going down the same road. However, my friend was far from impressed with my suggestion. His response came as a shock to me, and , at that particular moment, I thought that he was not considering the gravity of this crime; nevertheless, the more I reflected on his suggestion, the more I was convinced that there is something interesting in his advice. He said that “an eye for an eye” philosophy can never demolish this crime; I think they should be imprisoned but, at the same time, they should go through a psychiatric assessment on an ongoing basis. According to him, this practice would help understand what caused them to commit this heinous crime. He continued that a close study of these culprits and an open conversation about the mayhem that they have caused would not only help the culprits but also the society. He added that although the law has become stricter than it was a few years ago, nothing much has changed because, perhaps, we are not understanding the cause and acting on finding its solution.

I wouldn’t lie by saying that I completely agree with him, but his opinion deserves a little appreciation. Although what measures should be taken to put a stop to the disgusting crime of rape needs a serious discussion and I don’t know whether his suggestion would solve the problem or not, I do believe that his advice could be implemented in our daily lives. When there is darkness all around us, do we switch off every source of light and hope that there would be light? No, we turn on our flashlights to see what lies around us. We do not try to get rid of the darkness by adding more darkness, but when it comes to everything else, we try to eliminate a problem by following the same elements that are the attributes of the problem. For instance, if one person is shouting, we tend to shout back. The flaw in this picture is that when both of you are shouting, none of you are actually listening. Some people may be an exception, but my observation is that when I’m in an argument with someone, I am not listening to their logic; in fact, while that person is presenting his side of the case, my brain is busy searching for a counterattack to win the argument. A few kind words, on the other hand, could help me calm down.Of course, it’s easier said than done, but it’s true.

There are times when I begin hating a person only because I observed his less than amicable behavior towards me — and I have hated a few people because of this. However, the problem with this equation is that while I was busy hating them, I was getting more affected by my own hatred than they were. Sure, I managed to throw them off-balance with my sarcasm — and this might have shown them not to mess with me 😉 , but this behavior became an integral part of my personality. Soon, I observed that I began using the same tools with the people I love. If they did or said something I don’t like, I used the same sarcasm to show them the flaw in their deed or comment. The problem with using hatred to drive out the hatred is that you are left with only hatred and your capability to love slowly dies.

Every time I narrate something related to being compassionate to the one who took advantage of you, I remember an incident that occurred with Mother Teresa. I read it somewhere and wish to quote it here as well. Once Mother Teresa provided shelter to a prostitute in her house. Instead of exhibiting signs of gratitude, she stole from Mother Teresa. The normal reaction would have been throwing her behind the bars to punish her. However, Mother Teresa denied any such theft to the police and saved her from being imprisoned. Needless to say, Mother Teresa’s generosity touched her heart, and she became a reformed human being. This story is very close to my heart because it is not a fiction. This incident occurred in real life, and it resonates with a profound thought of Martin Luther King Jr,

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Do you think that one can survive in this dark world by following the hidden message of this quote? Let’s reflect on it together.

P.S.  This post is in response to the Friday Reflections prompt – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr – Use this quote in your post or to inspire your post

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