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Equality: "An Eye for an Eye"

By On Lawn in Culture
Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 01:56:20 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

The term "an eye for an eye" is a pronouncement of equality that is as old as civilization. King Hammurabi used that language anciently to describe enforcement of equality wherein evils done by one individual to another were punishable by returning the same evil to the guilty party. Moses imposed such a law in Israel also as "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." It is repeated three times in the Torah.

To societies waking up to the notion of civilization, "an eye for an eye" was easy to understand and easy to enforce. After all, how many quatloons is an eye worth to its owner? How much cattle is adequate reparation for the loss of a hand? It is much easier to deal in this most bloody currency of human flesh to ensure equality than barter an exchange rate.

Gandhi is reported to have said, "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". In a language as marvelously pithy as the original statement Gandhi provides the best dissertation on the benefits and problems with the moral of equality that has ever been given.

On the surface we can interpret Gandhi as pointing out how such a law is problematic on a physical and real level. Many people were left blind and without hands. And in a society where every eye and hand was valuable in helping ensure survival of families and communities, everyone suffered.

On a higher level though there is a metaphorical blindness that provides additional depth to Gandhi's statement. Ever heard the expressions; "blind with rage", "blind fury", and "blinded by jealousy"? The immutable Jack Burton of "Big Trouble in Little China" says in his opening monologue,

Like I told my last wife, I says, 'Honey, I never drive faster than I can see, besides that, it's all in the reflexes.'
Each of these sayings describe a situation where people's emotions drive them faster than they can see. Faster than they can see everything their actions will do. Faster than they can see the ramifications their philosophies would have if widely adopted by society. They are truly blind because cannot see the ramifications beyond their immediate selves.

And therein lies the problem of "an eye for an eye". While meant to be a fertile ground to teach the ramifications of your actions with personal experience, it is nourishing to weeds of selfishness born from seeds of jealousy.

You see, though a useful task-master for emerging societies, such vindictive and forced equality in the name of justice is not the most excellent way. And Gandhi was not the first to discover its shortcomings. For about the past two millenniums, many moral leaders have taught a higher law. A law that supersedes equality? Well yes and no. 'Yes' in that it is a law that supersedes the "eye for an eye" accounting of equality, but it does not replace the spirit and meaning of equality.

From Christ to Buddha, a code has distilled in the echelons of societies all over the world that describes a justice that achieves more opportunity and more civility. These morals seek to directly remedy and reduce the causes of violence; rage, jealousy, fury, etc... Again from Jack Burton's opening monologue,

Just listen to the old pork chop express and take his advice on a dark and stormy night, all right? When some wild-eyed eight foot tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against a bar room wall and looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you 'have you paid your dues?', well you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye and you remember what ol' Jack Burton says at a time like that: 'have you paid your dues, Jack?' Yes sir, the check's in the mail.

I fear in the expectation of dues owed by society from selfish individuals that we are seeing a degradation back to ideals of, "an eye for an eye" in all of its blind and selfish ugliness. Its darkest manifestation is in the contemporary battle cry of social homogenization "they have it so we should too", left in and of itself as the lone justification of government intervention.

If you look at the civil rights movement, you'll notice that its leaders went to great lengths to do more than simply argue "they have it so we should too" because its over-simplification was dangerous. In such a distilled form, unbuffered and undiluted, it had the capacity of abolishing distinctions made for anyone. Common examples of good distinctions at risk are: I'm not allowed to park in handicap parking spots without being handicapped, and I'm not allowed to drive a car until I'm 16, and so forth.

One need only look at recent history to observe how the term 'discrimination' has gone from being an appreciation of diversity and difference (i.e. a person with discriminating tastes) to being an epithet of moral corruption. Another example comes in the unspoken core and intangible moral support of Jello Biafra's observation of social lament, "give me convenience or give me death".

Civil Rights leaders strategically targeted their arguments to show that the differences in treatment based on the distinction of their skin color was unjustified, not that distinction itself was the enemy. They argued that they were inherently entitled privileges and rights that society robbed them of because of that benign trait. They convinced a nation that society was robbing from them what nature had entitled them to. And as "the Creator['s]" entitlement is what the Declaration of Independence is based on and accepted so overwhelmingly they had a great case.

But, it was a low bar to traverse under. Many noted how demeaning it was even have to point out that they had written languages, freedom, shared water sources, etc., before the white man came and told them they couldn't. Many decided to get militant and fight rather than demean themselves to that level. Those that did pass under the bar are held in honor and respect for their efforts.

It was their faith in their independent entitlement that won the day as the power of their argument proved stronger than force. It compelled the populous North (already freed from the economic need for slave labor) to fight for their freedom politically then militarily. Later the 14th Amendment was popularly ratified. And even before the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v Virginia, anti-miscegeny laws were already being shot down by the voters in state after state.

They didn't fight against "prejudice" and "discrimination" as indictments against any form of distinction as the eye-for-an-eye social homogenization requires. Their distinction -- skin color and lineage -- was presented to the court of public opinion to be judged if it was worthy of the discriminatory treatment they received. The court of public opinion ruled that these were benign traits that had no bearing on their entitlement.

And not coincidentally this is what James Madison postulated in Federalist Papers #51 where he argued that preserving distinction protects rights. It is a far more powerful an argument to preserve distinction than appeal to the ease and simplicity of enforced social homogenization. In this case protecting the distinction of minority interests, was something that was in everyones minority interests. Homogenization, as one might achieve by arguing "they have it so we should to", was precarious and would wind up oppressing minorities in driving out their distinctiveness as a horrible boogey-man.

Note how Christ replaced the pronouncement of equality, "an eye for an eye", with "do unto others as you would have done to you". Its really the lesson one learns under the law of "an eye for an eye". But Christ's pronouncement of equality is popularly referred to as "The Golden Rule" and not "The Golden Law". It not easy to code and enforceable like "an eye for an eye". It is an unenforceable code of individual morality that replaces blindness with personal insight.

And it is with faith in "The Golden Rule" as an understandable replacement to the harsher pronouncement of equality that Madison makes his remarks. The following is directly from Federalist #15. See how Madison's faith is not only in the rule, but in its inherent compulsion of the populous to enforce it.

It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens.

If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure. There are but two methods of providing against this evil: the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority -- that is, of the society itself; the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable.

The first method prevails in all governments possessing an hereditary or self-appointed authority. This, at best, is but a precarious security; because a power independent of the society may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests of the minor party, and may possibly be turned against both parties. The second method will be exemplified in the federal republic of the United States.

Whilst all authority in it will be derived from and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority. In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights.

As I understand Madison, it is in the protection and distinction of peculiar interests of each minority that give the republic the drive to protect minorities. And collective cobbling of interests for "of the society itself;" (e.g. the push to do away with distinction merely for the sake of equality through homogenization) "...is but a precarious security; because a power independent of the society may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests of the minor party, and may possibly be turned against both parties."

So by preserving distinction we are preserving the rights of the minorities. But if one can show independent claim, then they can show that the distinction itself is "of the society itself;" and should be done away by. That, my friends, is just what the civil rights activists of the '60s did.

Let me state this in sound-bite form even though it pales in comparison to what has been offered by Christ and Gandhi already...

Preserving distinction protects the minority, enforcing equality through homogenization threatens it.


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Equality: "An Eye for an Eye" | 79 comments (53 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
an eye for an eye (2.16 / 6) (#5)
by wakim1618 on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:30:15 PM EST

and only the stupid go blind

If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.

I am SIGNOR SPAGHETTI not Jesus Christ. (2.10 / 10) (#8)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:13:20 PM EST

Take my eye and I'll rip out your heart. Unless you're bigger than me.

Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

So, you're from Chicago then? nt (none / 0) (#12)
by mcgrew on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:56:53 PM EST

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

No, Palermo. (none / 0) (#14)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:46:32 PM EST

Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

Wouldn't that be... (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by rusty on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 12:11:22 PM EST

"Take my eye and I'll kill you and your entire family, burn your house to the ground, and take over any aspects of your business that might be left?"

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
You'd be pretty annoyed too. (3.00 / 7) (#35)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 01:09:24 PM EST

If you were always bumping into objects closer than they appeared.

Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

LOL pervasive political reference! (none / 1) (#21)
by Esspets on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:29:07 PM EST

Roffle doffle!!!!

[ Parent ]
Hey guess what (1.35 / 20) (#9)
by six volt on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:52:05 PM EST


-I want to be this guy.-

That's the dumbest thing I've seen all day (2.50 / 6) (#11)
by mcgrew on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:56:25 PM EST

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

agreed. nt (none / 0) (#16)
by Ashur on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:12:22 PM EST


[ Parent ]
I've got another stupid quote for you: (1.85 / 7) (#19)
by Esspets on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:16:06 PM EST

"Hey, rob that guy's wallet because my retarded grandmother, crippled from three strokes needs to be kept alive in a fucking hospital bed for two decades. You you please show some fucking compassion and steal that guy's shit so she can die without dignity?"

[ Parent ]
everyone is a minority [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by emmons on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 09:15:17 PM EST

In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
strategies (none / 0) (#15)
by MzB on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:53:05 PM EST

please see my old comment regarding "eye for an eye"

Eye for an eye was an improvement (2.50 / 4) (#18)
by wiredog on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:02:39 PM EST

On what they had before.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

Eye for an eye is not literal (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by EdLin on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 03:54:03 PM EST

As I pointed out above, the punishment was "the value of the eye" and is not literal. Jews view the Written Torah through a prism of Oral Torah, it's interpretation. In the original it's literally impossible to follow without interpretation, just like l'havdil the Constitution, which is brief and non-specific, is impossible to follow without judicial interpretation and constitutionally made legislation.

[ Parent ]
You know... (1.57 / 7) (#24)
by fyngyrz on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 01:19:30 AM EST

...that eye for an eye concept... it's really not all that great.

If someone pokes out my eye, my kids eye, or even my sweetheart's eye, I'll simply kill them and quietly bury them in a ditch. Even if they're named "Ghandi."

No more eye-poking for them.


Blog, Photos.

And... (none / 0) (#79)
by Steeltoe on Thu Dec 02, 2004 at 07:22:23 AM EST

His relatives will wipe out your mother's side of folks..

This is just what we have been moving away from in so-called "civilized" society.

Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]

Ghandi was an anti-Semite. (1.00 / 9) (#28)
by fredo on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 05:08:36 AM EST

Might I enquire... (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by TheMgt on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 11:28:17 AM EST

...who the hell is 'Ghandi' and what did he have against Arabs?

[ Parent ]
The irony (none / 1) (#55)
by iLurk on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 08:07:53 PM EST

It's a bit ironic that you'd misspell "inquire" in a post ripping in part on another's spelling.

[ Parent ]
The eirony (none / 1) (#58)
by levesque on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 10:29:29 PM EST

enquire see inquire. An alternate form mainly used in sense of "to ask a question."

inquire c.1290, from O.Fr. enquerre, from V.L. *inquśrere, from L. in- "into" + quśrere "ask, seek." Respelled 14c. on L. model, but half-Latinized enquire still persists.

irony 1502, from L. ironia, from Gk. eironeia, from eiron "dissembler," perhaps related to eirein "to speak" (see verb). Used in Gk. of affected ignorance, especially that of Socrates. For nuances of usage, see humor.

[ Parent ]

They're Muslims. (none / 0) (#64)
by fredo on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 05:11:56 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Misunderstanding "eye for an eye" (2.83 / 12) (#29)
by vadim on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 10:38:49 AM EST

It's continuously brought as an example of horrible punishment, while when it was invented it was *far* from the point. Actually the idea was establishing a reasonable limit on punishment.

It's not about sheep, but "The most you can do to somebody for breaking your arm is breaking theirs". This is a very nice improvement over having no limit at all, where killing the offender might have been the usual option.
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.

Better than some, worse than others, Moving on /nt (none / 0) (#30)
by On Lawn on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 10:52:16 AM EST

[ Parent ]
re: Misunderstanding "eye for an eye" (3.00 / 2) (#52)
by EdLin on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 03:49:49 PM EST

Eye for an eye was understood by the Oral Torah, which was first recorded with Rabbi Hillel over 2000 years ago, to mean "the value of an eye for the value of an eye", as the commentator Rashi says; see there. The value, according to the Talmud, is determined by the loss in value if the person was being sold on the slave market. (Lest you think they changed it out of political correctness. :-) Of course, an indentured servant or slave under Jewish law has a number of protections designed to keep it from being a demeaning caste. "One who aquires himself a slave aquires for himself a master.") The Golden Rule, often said to have originated with Christianity, was stated by Rabbi Hillel first as "What is hateful to yourself, do not do to others. This is the whole Torah, the rest is it's commentary. Now go and study!" Of course, the first formulation, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." comes from Leviticus 19:18...

[ Parent ]
re: Misunderstanding "eye for an eye" (none / 0) (#62)
by yerfatma on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 12:52:50 PM EST

Thank you: my Christian Doctrine teacher, who often stopped readings to have us markup our standard-issue Bibles where he felt the translator misunderstood the original Hebrew, stressed that "An eye for an eye" meant "The monetary value of the damamge should be paid in return."

[ Parent ]
We should use it now, too! (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by Viliam Bur on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 08:08:21 AM EST

Imagine a world where, if you get caught smoking marihuana, the policeman would start smoking too... That's "eye for an eye" in the War on Drugs.

[ Parent ]
I think you've inadvertently defined... (none / 1) (#71)
by hershmire on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 01:42:13 PM EST

"the victimless crime".
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
Mental image (3.00 / 3) (#76)
by ZorbaTHut on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 10:39:03 PM EST

A dozen gang members and a dozen police officers, staring each other down, all furiously smoking pot.

[ Parent ]
+1 (2.14 / 7) (#34)
by /dev/trash on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 12:59:48 PM EST

Mentions Big Trouble in Little China.  Twice.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
Haw haw (1.00 / 6) (#40)
by it certainly is on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 07:40:13 AM EST

librels = teh lol

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

Extremly racist (1.00 / 8) (#45)
by psychologist on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 12:36:28 PM EST

Let me condense this article for you:

I don't like it that black men are fucking white women, so they should stick with their kind and we will stick with our kind.

No, this guy isn't Baldrson. (2.33 / 3) (#48)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 01:55:09 PM EST

If he was Baldy, this would be a racist article, because Baldrson's a Nazi, you see.

But On Lawn's not a Nazi, so this isn't a racist article.

Next week, kids: Why You Can't Say "Nigger" If You're White!

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

you know what (none / 1) (#51)
by crazy canuck on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 03:23:23 PM EST

I don`t like niggers fucking our women!
We should be the ones fucking their women, not the other way around.

I blame white people for the current racial inbreeding situation, because white people are stupid and lazy (much like niggers and mexicans, but cleaner)

white people started fucking with everyone on the planet, but they didn`t follow through. if you enslave an entire continent, steal their resources and rape their women, follow through and completely exterminate them! don`t let them alive and seeking revenge!

in other words, do you see any aztecs blowing up Spanish buildings? No, because Cortez was smart enough to choose soldiers that were sneezing or whatever the fuck that disease was that wiped out the locals. the point is, they're not around to blow us up or fuck our women.

in conclusion, if you want something done right, give the job to an indian or a chinese, not a white guy.

[ Parent ]

He's not a racist he's a gay hater [nt] (none / 1) (#73)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:31:08 PM EST

Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Let me reconstitute it a bit for /you/ (none / 1) (#74)
by RadiantMatrix on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:24:35 PM EST

It seems more like "let's not ignore the identity and diversity of everyone just because some people see the world as dichotomous, and therefore think homogeneity is the only way to have equality" to me.
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]
Preserving distinction, eh? Okay.... (2.00 / 3) (#47)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 01:49:35 PM EST

Fair enough, I see your point. Distinction preserves the existence of groups, therefore protecting the rights that those individual groups need that others don't need.

So. How do we do that without being evil?

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

It's time to make the next step (2.25 / 4) (#49)
by Morosoph on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 02:36:15 PM EST

The Golden rule was a major improvement at the time that it gained significant currency (which had a lot to do with Jesus). However, society has gained a good deal of sophisitication since then, and it is surely time to move towards the still-imperfect, surely superiour Platinum Rule: "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them".

We now recognise a good deal of diversity within society, and the golden rule does indeed do us no favours in that we assume that others want the same as us, which is not always the case. As the golden rule is such a strong part of our culture, others assume that they must want that which is prescribed to them in order to be part of our society.

More subtly, we assume that social constructs that are described using the same word, such as marriage, have the same meaning for all partakers, which leads to irrational social policy.

start with me (none / 1) (#56)
by emmons on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 09:11:15 PM EST

I would have you do unto me 1 million dollars, please.

In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
No worse than the golden rule (none / 1) (#61)
by Morosoph on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 08:12:11 AM EST

Apart drom the fact that many others would also want $1,000,000 from me (which I don't have) yielding a situation of great contention, this is no worse than the golden rule which simply involves an extra step of realising that I'd like $1,000,000 dollars.

I put forward the Platinum rule as an improvement, not as perfection itself!

[ Parent ]

Interesting idea - but flawed (none / 0) (#67)
by daigu on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 06:56:27 PM EST

With the Golden Rule, you know with certainty how you would like to be treated. The problem with the Platinum Rule is that you will often not know how others would have you do unto them.

For example, extroverted people may in the abstract know what an introverted person wants from them in terms of communication and interaction - but they do not understand it concrete terms of how to behave moment to moment.

There is also the issue of conflict. If I were to prefer introversion, does that mean I should subvert my interests completely for the preference for extraversion in others?

In sum, I think Thoreau phrased it nicely:

"If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life..."

Your good and your ideas about my good - are not my good. In the end, The Platinum Rule is not any better than the Golden Rule - and perhaps worse.

[ Parent ]

Au Contraire (none / 1) (#77)
by Morosoph on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:22:46 PM EST

Although the Golden Rule gives you a guide, there's nothing that suggests that it isn't misleading. Isn't it better to start with nothing and judge as best you can than to assume that they want the same as you? If they turn out to have similar tastes to yourself, or to someone else that you know, it'll become easier next time. For something to be well defined is no good if it's wrong!

As to the issue of subverting your interests: that's already assumed in the golden rule! The golden rule is a rule for generousity in your actions. That that generousity should go to waste because you aren't giving to others what they actually want is to defeat the entire purpose of it!

I agree that we cannot afford to be generous without limit, and any moral guideance need to be tempered with practicalities. For one thing, if you allow yourself to be killed, you are in no position to give others what they need or want. If you still find this a ridiculous imposition, you need to realise that the golden rule asks as much, but doesn't require that what you give is actually useful to anyone else.

I agree that my good, and my ideas about your good are not your good. This is precisely the problem with the golden rule. It turns "projection" into a moral requirement. The platinum rule restores the uncertainty where I'm far more likely to make an effort to discover your needs precisely because I know that I cannot start with the assumption that they are the same as my own.

[ Parent ]

A better way... (none / 0) (#68)
by Coryoth on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 10:31:20 PM EST

The problem with this is that you have to figure out what exactly it is that other people want.  Not a trivial task by any stretch.  Instead it would be better to follow the Confucian and Buddhist version of the Golden Rule, variously stated as:

"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." - Udana-Varga 5:18, Buddhism.

"What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." Analects of Confucius 15:24, Confucianism

"one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life [is] reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire." - Doctrine of the Mean 13.3, Confucianism.

The important point here is that it suggests you, for the most part, leave other people free to do as they wish, and instead simply asks that you not harm, or impose your beliefs on them where it may be unwanted.  An eminently superior version of the rule in my opinion.


[ Parent ]

Maybe... (none / 0) (#78)
by Morosoph on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:44:18 PM EST

I certainly don't believe in forcing others to do other than they would wish, although I might encourage them to help others, in turn.

I find that even harm, though less varied than "goodness" differs from person to person. To avoid doing someone harm requires that you make an effort to know what would harm them. The golden rule discourages one to make such an effort, since the answer is already given: regardless of what would hurt them, you should refrain from action that would hurt yourself.

A practical example of this is in informing someone of the death of a close relative. For different people, the timing would have to be different. Some would like to know straight away; others, when they were strong enough to be able to face the news, knowing that further support was nearby. The golden rule does not give good guidance, here.

I agree, however, that the "negative" version of the golden rule has many advantages over the positive, though. Similarly, we should occasionally consider the advantages of negative freedoms over positive ones.

[ Parent ]

What about...... (none / 0) (#69)
by MostlyHarmless on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 10:37:54 PM EST

Do unto others as they would have done unto you?

(and the associated commentary: but do it first!)
"Nevertheless, that is the theorem." - Tom Stoppard
[ Parent ]

distinction vs. discrimination (2.50 / 2) (#50)
by recharged95 on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 02:39:56 PM EST

Isn't this really pointing out the fact that there just needs to level a tolerance when it comes to equality? The 60's was mainly to denounce that racial intolerance was 'right', and representation was the answer since no ethnic minority had representation back then. That's what the US is based on (except for DC ;) ) and continues to be an issue for minority groups (accept for the wealthy).

Pity I missed this in editing (2.50 / 2) (#59)
by boxed on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 04:38:51 AM EST

"From Christ to Buddha" ought to be "from Buddha to Christ". As hard as it is to realize for Christians of today, Christ himself carried the legacy of the Buddhas teachings via the greco-buddhist path.

this might be usful to you... (none / 0) (#63)
by Run4YourLives on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 01:25:11 PM EST

Origins of Buddhism

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
to me? why? I know that already of course [nt] (none / 0) (#70)
by boxed on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:12:13 AM EST

[ Parent ]
The real problem... (none / 1) (#65)
by atreides on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 06:00:11 PM EST

...is that everyone misunderstands the term "eye for an eye". When Hammurabi used it, it was in regards to legal justice. It was meant as a sentencing guide. It was never meant to be used without someone acting as judge. Both sides in a case are blind and only a third unbiased eye can judge what has really been lost and how best compensation can be rendered.

It was never meant to be an exhortation to revenge.

That is all.

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Atreides: The psychedelic visionary does

Okay you are the umpteenth post... (none / 1) (#66)
by On Lawn on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 06:44:33 PM EST

... to bring up this point of irrelevance. Don't take it personally, you are just the straw that broke the camel's back.

It is irrelevant thats all so don't get defensive.

I'm not sure if you are suggesting that Hammurabi or Moses didn't have people's eyes put out in retribution, or didn't have hands cut off. And personally I don't care.

It is an equation, as in it equates, it defines what is equitable. Someone earlier said it was better than what came before because it limited punishment. Others responded to this article with just the spirit of vengance that made 'eye for an eye' so relatively equitable in the first place. So what if it limited it. We already know 'equal' means 'not greater than' doesn't change the fact that it is a statement of equality.

Not jurisprudence, not vindictiveness. Equality, just equality.

Taking out someone else's eye is equal to your eye being taken out. They *actually* ruled that way, don't kid yourself. They did it because it was equal. Sure the rule didn't wait for someone's eye or tooth to be put out before a judge could do something. Acually Hammurabi's and Moses's code specified a whole bunch of "equations", and guess what -- a slave's eye was worth his freedom. Poking out the eye of a slave of another person meant they went free and they took another slave (of simular rank and stature).

Now, everyone who still complains about the jurisprudence of 'eye for an eye' just relax, and go back and read the article for what it is -- a statement about equalizing.

[ Parent ]

What a longwinded screed against gay marriage (none / 1) (#72)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:27:26 PM EST

And ultimately a failure, as no one understood it.
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
This post (none / 1) (#75)
by nanobug on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 09:30:25 PM EST

makes an eye for an eye seem pretty appealing, if being blind means I won't ever have to read some longwinded crap like this again. Next time, forsake the verbosity and get to the fucking point.

Equality: "An Eye for an Eye" | 79 comments (53 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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