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Love and Justice - Essay Example

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Love and Justice

The author stimulates the belief that the answer is in the reader and not the writer. The balance of love and justice is an individual tenet that is modified by reason, situation, and values.
The study of ethics is of no value if we do not apply it to our own life. Applying the contradictions of love and justice can be a difficult task when confronted by a loved one who we perceive as in need of justice. At the ends of the spectrum, justice implies the distribution of punishment based on the crime and love demands that all is forgiven. The crime need not be specific and the relationship does not need to be defined. Love, especially erotic love, will hold justice at bay and tend to make the object of one's affections immune from harm. This understanding is the beginning of putting the ethical standards to work.
There is a battle on the senses when we are conflicted between the compassionate soul and the revengeful mind. The demand for reciprocity in love is in itself an act of calculation and falls outside what Kant and others call a pure act of love. There can be no request for reciprocal action in the case of real love. As the golden rule instructs us to love only when we are loved in return, the commandment of loving God can also be seen as an evolution of the natural love we feel for a mate. We are continually ordered to love me or love God. Yet, as Ricoeur says, it is only the "expression of the tyranny of the superego over the affective sphere".1 It is in this realm that love gets metered and parceled out and in doing so becomes simply one more aspect of our overall emotion.
Bringing the nature of love and justice into a single feeling can best be shown by example. If we meet a stranger who is in need of food or housing, helping the person with no expectation of return is an act of love. Helping the person with an expectation of being paid back at a future date is the anticipation of justice. However, we may look for a return on our investment from a more spiritual plane and expect the grace of God to be returned for the act of kindness. The expectation of justice diminishes the value of love. No matter what the outcome of the act is, whether returned in direct compensation, indirectly through grace, or no acknowledgment at all, it is still an act of justice. Justice, in God's eyes is not for the observer to measure. Powles (1998) contends that it is only the whole and healthy personality that is able to evaluate these conflicts and gain a moral barometer in the context of religion.2 The fairness and the equality of the universe will always be reached through the laws of God. Love can be evaluated, and if there is a demand for return, it can not be real love. It is simply an act of kindness or sterile business deal with terms and conditions.
Finding the balance between love and justice is a balancing act only if we proceed from an idea that we deserve a quid pro quo for love. Values and reason should dictate that our search for love transcends our need for justice. If we seek equality for real spiritual love, it becomes a demand that immediately removes the spiritual quality of true love. Our senses may battle for justice and it is easy to be drawn into that arena by the material values we place on objects. Love is reduced to a demand for repayment of either kindness or grace. These conditions place an undue burden on love and relegate it to the need for ...Show more

Summary

There is no more difficult commandment to live up to than 'love thy neighbor' when your neighbor is not lovable. Paul Ricoeur (1995) eloquently points this out in his essay Love and Justice. There is a fine line that we must traverse while seeking the end point of love and the beginning of justice…
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Love and Justice essay example
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