An Indispensable Moral Compass

"Leadership without an inner moral compass reliably pointing toward justice inevitably ends in the abuse of power."
Paul Bloomfield, Professor of Philosophy, Univ. of Connecticut, USA.

Definitions of Justice

We define justice as “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause; rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice; the moral principle determining just conduct, conformity to this principle as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment; the administering of deserved punishment or reward; the maintenance or administration of what is just by law, as by judicial or other proceedings: a court of justice”.

Search for Justice

History is replete with evidence of the effects of unbridled terror on human populations. They perpetuated laws with no semblance of justice on the conquered for the rich goods they might provide and enslaved to serve the conquering minority elite. Laid waste were families, societies, supporting social structures, institutions, religious edifices and cultures. Many of those who survived were removed from their homelands and forced into exile, while others were ‘lost’ or ‘forgotten’. The conquerors often had rightful rulers dethroned and their heirs marginalized or annihilated. The nineteenth century brought forth even greater magnitudes of injustice, destruction and human suffering, and even in today’s world there is continuance. Justice as leaven remains unfulfilled in human society, and true happiness a distant reality.

Characteristics of Justice

We bond justice to equity, and equity binds justice. Synonyms: Fair implies elimination of one’s own feelings, prejudices, and desires to achieve a proper balance of conflicting interests; Justice implies an exact following of standards for what is right; Equitable suggests fairness and equal treatment of all concerned; Impartial stresses the absence of favoritism or prejudice; being unbiased implies an absence of all prejudice; Dispassionate suggests freedom from the influence of strong feeling and often implies cool or even cold judgment; Objective stresses a tendency to view events or persons as apart from oneself and one’s own interest or feelings, to remain free from favor toward either or any side.

Reward and Punishment

Justice emits a powerful force for adherence to its command by which it maintains order, causing wrongdoers to restrain their natures for fear of punishment. The twin pillars that uphold justice in society are reward and punishment, as opposed to revenge. Their differences are that justice recognizes just behavior or treatment, and revenge inflicts hurt or harm on someone even for an injury or wrong done to someone else. Individuals don’t have a right to take revenge on others. The motive for punishment of a wrong is not vengeance but imposing a penalty by law for the committed offense. It is the right of society to impose punishment for criminal behavior and to protect its members.

justice walkway

Force of Attraction

Justice is a force of attraction that’s interrelated with happiness. Though elusive, justice has an abiding sense of purpose and acts as a leaven in society. It provides for the spiritual transformation of the individual, and in ways that have a positive impact on society. Together justice and happiness serve to manifest unity and build sound foundations for the collective consciousness.

Purpose of Justice

The primary purpose of justice is to unify humankind. As a fixed component, justice is the strongest foundation for securing a lasting peace for humanity; and a major challenge for all of us.

Humanity’s Challenge

The challenge we face is to institute justice as the one power that can translate the conscious awakening of humanity’s oneness into a collective will through which we can erect the structures of global community life.

In this age that sees the world’s people gaining access to information of every kind and to a diversity of ideas, soon recognizes the cry for justice that asserts itself as the ruling principle for successful social organization. An understanding is materializing that proposals aiming at improving the human condition must submit to principles of justice.

At the individual level, justice is that faculty of the human spirit that enables each person to distinguish truth from falsehood, since it permits each individual to see with his or her own eyes rather than the eyes of others, to know through his or her own knowledge rather than the knowledge of others or a group. Justice calls for fair-mindedness in one’s judgment, for equity in one’s treatment of others, and is thus a constant if demanding companion in the daily exercises of life.

At the group level, a concern for justice is the indispensable compass in collective decision-making, because it is the only means by which we can achieve unity of thought and action. Far from encouraging the punitive spirit that has often masqueraded under its name in past ages, justice is the practical expression of awareness about the interests of the individual and society. If justice becomes a guiding concern of human interaction, it encourages a consultative climate that permits viable options with courses of action. In such a climate, the perennial tendencies toward manipulation and partisanship are far less likely to deflect the decision-making process.

The implications for principles of justice as drivers for social and economic development are profound.


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