Sunday, September 26, 2010

Herodotus' First Law

What function does vengeance serve? Fear of it, dread in the face of its inescapability, should be enough to stop anyone from committing a dishonorable act that is damaging to another. It should function as a brake, a restraining voice of reason. If, however, it turns out to be an ineffectual deterrent, and someone commits an offense, the perpetrator will be seen to have set into motion a chain of retribution that can stretch for generations, for centuries even.
There is a kind of dreary fatalism in the mechanism of revenge. Something irreversible and inevitable. Misfortune befalls you and you cannot fathom why.

- Ryszard Kapuscinski

I like this dreary concept far more than the idiocy of the concept of "respect" and farther still than rigid rules we are forced to abide by (my bane, Traffic Laws!). If only we could self police. The golden rule taken completely out of a biblical concept is hands down the best idea that has come out of an ancient text. The ethic of reciprocity in all its forms seems like a great way to conduct one's self.

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