Justice Q4

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 8, Q4

Justice: “Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Personal notes:

  • Be true to others;
  • Act honorably;
  • Avoid expediency.

I threw away the first draft of this reflection because it was garbage. That’s indicative of my experience with Justice throughout the year. I’ve had a tough time with it. Not because I am an unjust person, but because the idea of Justice is too effusive and porous. What is Justice? The word is thrown around loosely and repeatedly, its essence and glimmer worn away.

Essentially, there is big Justice: high courts, marble columns, great acts of humanity; and small Justice: treatment of strangers, waiters, your fellow man. Inevitably, I wander to big Justice, and sound like a wind bag doing it — hence the first draft in the garbage. But what I didn’t realize is, I use big Justice to hide the small.

It turns out, I am not so Just — not so perfect. I can be quick to judge. I can lower my expectations of people based on their words, clothing, appearance. I can be mercilessly critical of those closest to me or most like me (the exact opposite of what one would expect). Punctuality, brands, tastes, all very minor things, can leave a very sour taste. I can despise people for it. I can write them off.

I’ve had a tough time with Justice because I’ve been lying to you, and lying to myself. I’m not unduly critical everyday, but often enough. It took a year of denial for me to realize it. When my mind swirls with rosy pictures of noble causes, it’s easy to convince myself that I am a just person. It’s a lie. A helpful lie, but a lie nonetheless. I hid behind the big, and lied about the small. I need to focus on the small. I need to come back to the day-to-day.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 9, Q3

Moderation: “Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

Personal notes:

  • Moderate actions;
  • Moderate emotions;
  • Moderate at your worst (tired, exhausted, hungover).

Tired, exhausted, hungover — that’s how I feel. I love the season, but I’m always a little glad when the holidays are over. Finally, a chance to save money, a chance to eat less and drink less, a chance to moderate.