We often hear that “politics is personal”. Well, in many important ways, justice is too.
Which is not to say that justice is subjective. Nor is it an object, or simply a relationship between objects. In fact, justice cannot be reduced to any of the four quadrants, because all four contain some critical element that determines how we enact and enforce justice in the world:
- In the Lower Right quadrant we have our actual justice systems, legal systems, prison systems, etc.
- In the Lower Left we have our shared standards of justice that produce these sorts of systems in the first place.
- Both of these are meant to regulate our behaviors in the Upper Right by shaming and punishing unjust actions.
- And in the Upper Left we have our actual perceptions of justice — what sorts of behaviors we individually recognize as being just or unjust — which always begin in our direct and immediate consciousness.
Our perceptions of justice are constantly being filtered through our accumulated experiences, through multiple lines of cognitive, moral, ethical, spiritual, and emotional development, through our personality types and traumas and shadows and blind spots, and so forth.
In other words, our perception of justice is inseparable from our overall kosmic address. As the perceiver evolves, perceptions change. Who we are determines what we see.
As we grow and awaken in our lives, we naturally begin to extend our empathy and expand our “circle of care” to include more people, more groups, and even more species. This expansion of the mind and heart fundamentally changes our interior calculus of “right and wrong”, taking us from egocentric standards of justice (vengeance-based) to ethnocentric standards (belief-based) to worldcentric standards (evidence-based, universal rights and dignities) and even to kosmocentric standards (reducing suffering for all sentient beings).
In this episode of Integral Justice Warrior, Mark and I offer an intimate sharing of our own personal stories, reflecting on some of the most formative experiences in our own lives that influenced our interest and enactment of justice. It is a tender and heartfelt conversation that we hope not only allows you to better understand our own passions and perspectives, but also invites you to reflect in a similar way on the critical fulcrums in your own life, and how these experiences continue to shape your standards of goodness, integrity, and justice.
Let us know what you think in the comments below!