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Vengeance is a lazy form of grief

I've often wondered where the line is drawn between justice and revenge.

Last night I watched the movie "The Interpreter" and found this scene powerful. In it, Nicole Kidman's character tells the story of an African belief that ends with my title..."Vengeance is a lazy form of grief."



That reminded me of an essay I read a few months ago by George Orwell titled Revenge is Sour. In it, Orwell recounts some things he witnessed in Europe in the immediate aftermath of WWII. They are stories of Jews seeking revenge against Nazis who are either in prison or already dead. And then he says this:

But what this scene, and much else that I saw in Germany, brought home to me was that the whole idea of revenge and punishment is a childish daydream. Properly speaking, there is no such thing as revenge. Revenge is an act which you want to commit when you are powerless and because you are powerless: as soon as the sense of impotence is removed, the desire evaporates also.


I expect that there is a strong connection between grief and powerlessness. And they are what lay the groundwork of a desire for revenge.

We often fool ourselves into thinking we seek justice when in reality its our grief and/or sense of powerlessness that is looking for revenge.

Comments

  1. I like this and the quote, which is what led me to your blog :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Commenting just because I hate it when people read my stuff and don't comment.

    (The video link is dead now.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great Quote for sure! Glad you posted this bc I knew about this quote from the movie but I forgot exactly how it went! So thanks!!

    ReplyDelete

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