Thursday, September 15, 2011

Love, Revenge and Justice

Over the past few days I have been thinking. This itself should suffice as a breaking news bulletin. However, this time the thinking managed to yield a little something useful, at least for myself. It all began with a rather lengthy conversation with a very good friend. It was an exercise in "freeing up" some space in mind's hard disk so to speak. Cutting the chase, it was about a certain issue both of us have been facing since a few months now. Although the particulars differ, the bottom line is same, its about experiences of riding emotional roller coasters. A common theme soon appeared, and that was mainly around three things - love, revenge, memory. Following is simply a screen dump of the toxic waste this created in my cerebral cavity, just free flowing thoughts resulting from that conversation. This friend I mentioned suffered from a major heart break that is stopping her from moving on in life. This followed what she prefers calling as injustice by a certain selfish individual who struck her life like a lightening, only to have left a few years later leaving behind significant damage. This led her to believe that love is fake, revenge is justified and memory (and a good memory at that) is not always a gift. This is what I have been thinking about.

Firstly, I am still not entirely sure what this thing love is all about. Of course I understand the classification, definitions, implications and consequences. Nonetheless, the thing I don't quite grasp is its relevance. Is every human being capable of love, at least in the sense this emotion is understood by the masses? Is it ever possible to love but not love at the same time? Is love possible without attachment? If there is no attachment, can it be called love? Is love minus attachment just as credible? I don't mean commitment, faithfulness, loyalty, etc as is the case in a romantic relationship...those things are paramount. The only problem I have is with attachment. Maybe this is total nonsense. But something inside me makes me feel it may just work if done the right way.

Second point on agenda was revenge. This friend of mine now seeks revenge, but her idea of revenge is pretty unusual from what I have been exposed to so far. She has a very elaborate plan of wreaking havoc in this person's life, systematically, steadily, one step at a time, in a way that the memory of this wrong doing never fades from his mind. I feel somewhat ashamed that the primary advice she wanted from me was whether the plan would work and if I could suggest any improvements to cause even more damage. Regardless, having taken an indifferent stance in this matter, I feel better about myself now. This made me think about the nature of revenge. I remember reading many years ago a quote by Sir Francis Bacon - "Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out". It has only started to make sense now. However, is revenge always by definition wrong? Or are there acceptable forms of revenge? I have come to understand over time that its not really what we do but our intentions behind doing it that matter. Looking at it from this perspective, could revenge taken only with an intention to establish justice and bring someone who has a habit to do injustice to account be considered acceptable? Well one argument may well be that this is not revenge any more then because there is no personal satisfaction involved. However, is it worth all the time and energy spent to achieve it?

As for the third point, well I've written enough to continue with that. It was quite insignificant compared to these two heavy weights so I'll just leave it for now.

*In case anyone is wondering what's that picture doing up is meant to be suggestive. It is a photograph of different patterns created by smoke. Just a subtle innuendo that maybe smoke isn't always bad, perhaps it too has beauty of its own :)


Delirious said...

I think that love is a decision. It's not some "lightening strike" that hits you, and stays with you the rest of your life. Although you may find someone compatible, no one is perfect. We have to decide that we are going to love this person, and then stick to that decision, even in hard times.

Rummuser said...

Phew! You have tried to take disparate words and tried to make some sense out of those. Bar justice, the other two will confuse the most seasoned of humans and if your friend is of your age, I am not surprised at the intensity. Having been at the receiving end of revenge following a broken relationship, I can offer this insight. The object of revenge rarely gets affected in the long term. The Subject must reconcile to the loss and get on with life.

"Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you."
~Aldous Huxley.

Noor said...

There's so much you're trying to say in this post. First off, love without attachment. I'm not sure I follow you there. How can you love someone without being attached to them, do you mean in a disinterested way?

About your friend's revenge. I guess you really can't judge anyone, even if you know the whole story because we'll always remain clueless of the pain they suffered. Inshallah the best comes her way.

I think it was good you tried writing down your emotions. This post was packed with thoughts that have been clearly running through your head a lot.

Rohit said...

@ Delirious: I agree and it takes enormous amount of inner strength and courage to stay with the one you love in rough times. Its really sad when I see how nowadays so many relationships end due to lack of this strength and patience that things will get better. Having to witness such events is a nightmare for a hopeless optimist that I tend to be..

Rohit said...

@ Sir Ramana: Thank you for your comment. I do agree that it was a very poor attempt though as I said in the post, something makes me feel it may just work if done right! It's interesting when you say you have been at the receiving end of revenge..would like to know more of what you concluded from this experience. Revenge is really a sickness but that doesn't offer any cure to the one who suffers. My friend is same age as myself though more of an emotional person which often makes it difficult for me to fully understand where her thoughts are coming from. She will be getting married soon and that is more of a concern for me now than the rest. There is only so much one can do however, the rest really is her own choice..she will have to go where life takes her.

Rohit said...

@ Noor: Lol..yes and I apologise if it is confusing. When I say love without attachment, I know it seems counter intuitive, though its more a paradox I would say. Disinterested persons can never truly love. I meant loving someone with a constant awareness that nothing is permanent. If you know it isn't permanent you will love your heart out the time you are with the object of your love but when the time comes to depart due to death or whatever else, it won't affect you much as you always knew this was always inevitable.

I hope too that she finds peace one day, revenge really can't be a way forward.

This became a post thanks to you Noor...though again, this isn't all that was messing with my head that day :-P