Taking Justice Personally


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!


I haven’t seen this episode of IJW; I’m sure it was rich, and it’s a great subject. The most personal and profound experience of justice I have had was at the time of my father’s death a couple of decades ago about this time of year. I wrote about it in this poem.


The only word for the golden impartiality
I was when I grew large, filling the universe
at my father’s funeral.

Penetrating the years, the past, the present,
all possible tomorrows,
the radiance of Justice was crystalline,
like the garnets he mined from rocky walls
lining the creek,
garnets he gave to my mother as valentines,
to me as birthstone.

Justice is a transcendental rightness,
a grace actually, transforming and equalizing
in ways we often fail to appreciate.
When the Real in him moved on, advanced,
the unreal in me receded.

While resonant, beautiful, deeply harmonious,
Justice is essentially soundless. Just.Silence
Never buried by any grievance or weeping.


I love your enthusiasm Corey.
You seem to comprehend quite well the two upper quadrant, and has been quite impressed by your wording of the upper left one.
I would say that Justice is beyond learning, you are either born for it or not.
It is due to what you are describing about the direct perception of what is just or unjust. This direct perception is innate and can not be learned. You probably have a high quality of innate justice, that is probably why you are so inclined to talk about Justice with such fervour.

All my love,