Thursday, January 21, 2016

Justice, Revenge, and Forgiveness

Lady Justice
"Individually, each man's problems are different. He also looks upon them differently and interprets their values according to his own concepts. Yet, basically, the elements which can solve every man's problems are the same and the fact that one or several of these elements are missing in the average individuals interpretations of life is quite evident. Collectively, as a community, a nation, or all nations, our position in life is a direct byproduct of the great masses of people. It is also apparent that while man interprets life in an infinite number of ways, yet he is, collectively the same person. In our analysis and introspection we must arrive at a basic platform of evaluation whereby we will solve, not only for ourselves, this riddle of life but assist substantially in solving the same riddle for the masses. How then can we attain this solution? First, it may appear a strange paradox that man has at present just as he always had, this solution in his hand. Looking back into the written pages of history, we see the rise and fall of nations, empires, and people, all with the same basic problems, the same internal and external strife to bring themselves into what they believe to be the best way of life. This is at present, just as was true in the past times, every individuals own interpretation of self-realization. The great collective masses of the world are torn between the values of the material elements of this realization and the more vague inward desires of the higher self. And so it is thus today that we see mankind in this same life and death struggle with these internal and external impulsion's and expulsions - on one hand he has been brought up in a society of social structures which place great emphasis on self, therefore he develops a strong ego. This ego or selfhood is something which is composed of all the ingredients of reactionary thinking which the individual thinks is necessary to support his life. Here again is conflict, for man sees about him in the varied ways of his society, a necessary amount of integration and a dependency upon his fellow man. He is constantly forced to admit that his fellow man is much like himself with the same basic problems and relationships, and with a comparable amount of intelligence. This strong material ego may also complicate a person's life inasmuch as certain deflation's of this false ego structure give rise to the various emotional conflicts which develops a neurosis or neurotic thought pattern." - Ernest L. Norman, The Infinite Concept of Cosmic Creation
When preparing to understand the criminal justice system in America, you'll find it to be very disjointed, discouraging, and frustrating. It is a system that was originally somewhat coherent in that men and women would be charged, taken to court, and proven guilty or not guilty. There have always been issues to within the system with the most prevalent being that of innocent citizens doing time in prison for crimes they did not commit, which in turn affects the lives surrounding that person as well as the community and governing body that allowed such a travesty to take place. Since the 1980's until the present, "justice" has become a horrible reflection of our nations thirst for revenge, regardless of how harmless a crime actually is. We as a nation spend millions upon millions on a system that doesn't work and that refuses to take responsibility for its actions. We the people of this nation are guilty of facilitating this great travesty as well, by allowing our voting power to put up the loudest carnival barker in office. Being tough on crime doesn't and shouldn't mean making people suffer beyond the scope of their crime, and a person should be allowed to experience a transformation positive change. Hundreds if not thousands of incarcerated people have paid their dues and have transformative experiences within our nations horrible prison system and do want to return into our society and become productive citizens who contribute positively to our way of life, but the system denies this because of fear that some former inmates can't change.

I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, and I'm not entirely sure I am the same person I was yesterday. We are all on a constant route of change when we are conscious of our own actions and habits. We know when we are doing "bad" and harming others but we choose not too because in some instant hedonistic way we see this as a benefit to ourselves. This is not the case however because when we harm others, we always hurt ourselves on a deeper level. We degrade ourselves and remove ourselves of our humanity. To change is to keep our consciousness on a path that guarantees our civility. When we do not change, someone always suffers, and we are the ones who suffer the most from it. Within our criminal justice system we have built a landscape that continuously keeps newly reformed people on a negative path, and they are unable to change because of this flawed system. As they suffer, so do we as a society. We lose a bit of our dignity as a nation as we have incarcerated more people in America than all of Europe has.

Students of Unarius don't believe there are any true victims; in a metaphysical sense we are the causation of our own current situations. Our negatively biased karma is but a reflection of a time when we were victimizing others. This cycle can of course be broken, and this negative energy can be polarized into something beautiful. A person is a polarity for their situation, and correcting this karma begins with your perspective and realizing that regardless of how you got in your current predicament you must take responsibility for it. Regardless of what it is, no one else can change how you feel or your perspectives to anything for you because you have to want to make the changes yourself.  To this end, the folks in prison currently find themselves their because of karma from their previous lifetimes, but as mentioned before a great number of them want to and have changed, and still the system we've all contributed to fails to allow them the opportunity for growth. It stunts them in an awkward place that is much worse than purgatory. Worse of all, some become so desperate that they resort to their old negative habits as a means to survive. 

The American dream is one of freedom. Why does a nation that prides itself on freedom have a small country's worth of people locked up with zero chance to survive once they're set free. In prison they live in conditions that are appalling and inhumane by any standards. Once free they are given some pocket change (if they're lucky) with no connection to any resources that would help them integrate back into society. Very often, these are the people we see homeless and begging for change in our big cities. To ultimately fix this problem of unchanging neglect, and to save our nation, we have to find a better way to govern our criminal justice system and change the paradigm of how we manage certain types of crimes. 

Last Week Tonight: Prisoner Re-entry

The massive influx of inmates initially spawned from Mandatory Minimum laws created by politicians who wanted to get the attention of the American public. With each voting season, every politician promised new and more creative ways to get tough on crime. Admittedly this was all due to the drug scene of the 1970's and 1980's, and by the 1990's rolled around all parties and all voting Americans wanted there to be a way to deter crime and keep the the public safe from drug dealers, gang members, and criminals of all kinds. So, Mandatory Minimums entered our society; a manifestation of our revenge. We all thought that we were creating a greater system that allowed for true justice to shine through, but really we just wanted to see everyone associated with certain crimes published to the harshest extent possible. This is not justice though; this is more akin to a witch hunt. Low-level and non-violent criminals were now being prosecuted as though they were murderous and violent monsters. There are drug dealers in prison now for selling marijuana which is now a recreational drug that is now sold legally in parts of our country.  Initially, the thought was that Mandatory Minimums would scare would-be criminals because of their harsh "one size fits all" sentencing for crime, but it had zero effect. Much like how cameras don't deter bank robbers or muggers from committing crimes, Mandatory Minimums also don't help matters. In fact, Mandatory Minimums might be the modern causation for higher crime rates in certain parts of our country. 

So, how do we really help the people trapped in the horrible revolving door that is the criminal justice system? As mentioned before, its a matter of polarizing negative energy into positive energy. We must take this stagnant and unforgiving criminal justice system and create something that is new and dynamic and allows for growth. We already know there are former inmates who have changed, but can't because the system doesn't give them the necessary resources needed for growth. We already know because of the date from previous voting cycles that politicians will blather on with rhetoric that sounds good and wholesome, but their intent is anything but. We have to be careful who we vote for as our votes are a precious freedom. All politicians pander to our reactive nature, and many will flip flop on an issue depending what they believe they majority will want. But there is no black or white in reality; it's all shades of grey. Black and white issues is one that only exists in politics as separation creates a formulaic drama that will help politicians manipulate the American public to view very important issues from a superficial and miniscule perspective. Most people want an easy answer, and most politicians will find a way to make that work to their own benefit. 

Instead of the reactive mind, we have to focus more on the analytical mind. We want to access our super-consciousness and think clearly about how to handle our personal responsibilities as beings who co-exist in a world with others who are on an equal footing with us. Although there is no such thing as "equality" in the sense that we all need different quotients to our own personal journeys in life, we are equal in our importance to one another. We are not truly separated as we are all from the same Fountainhead of the Infinite Creative Intelligence. Why create discord when we have the ability to create harmony? This is an issue that falls onto the reactive mind and our ego. Although we are all individually unique, our problems are all comparable. Empathy exists because we can understand the suffering of others because we have suffered ourselves. Still, as individuals we feel threatened very easily when our personal space is invaded, so to speak. When we witness someone stronger than us, or smarter than us, or more talented than us in some capacity. This sort of ego deflation can create fear and anxiety, and because of our pride we have distrust in others. I believe this is the core problem with our understand of justice and what justice should be. Of course it goes without saying that criminals should be punished, and take responsibility for the actions, but just because we label someone a "criminal" doesn't mean they are any less of a person. People are capable of great and wondrous things, and the most beautiful aspect of this is we all have the ability to learn and grow and become greater than what we were before. I am not the person who I was 10 years ago because I am better than the person I used to be. I am not who I am yesterday because I have learned a great deal since then.

By labeling someone as a criminal or an excon we lock them in a box where they have trouble experiencing the growth that we all take for granted. Without a doubt there are crimes that are deserving of harsh sentences, but not all those convicted of crimes are deserving of harsh sentences. There are a million stories that are relatable to the human spirit about struggle and fear to why these men and women went down the wrong path. Instead of wishing ill upon them and feeding into our own fears, we ought to look ourselves in the mirror and try to understand why are acting so viciously to people we've never met and to situations we've never witnessed. The energy we exert on any situation should be a conscious effort, and we have to know what we stand for as individuals and as a society when we consider one another. Do we went to feed into more negative karma, or do we want to bring more understanding into the world?

A criminal isn't always a criminal. People can change when they have the right environment to do so. When we label others we try to control who they are, but that is an impossible thing to do. No one is ever just one thing; people are far too complex. Don't think like a politician because you'll only see things in black and white and ignore the more complex and import facets of a topic. And try not to judge people too harshly. You'll never know the life story of every man or woman or the circumstances that created who they are presently. We have to learn that forgiveness is the key to freedom. When we judge others, we can never truly be free.