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Just finished reading Rhetoric by Aristotle in which Aristotle tries to expound all the conditions of humanity and why we do the things we do. He thinks the reason that we do good things is because they feel pleasant to the soul and so we are drawn that way. Likewise the opposite occurs; bad things cause us pain and therefore are to be avoided.

One of the things that really stood out for me was the idea of revenge and how since 350BC, when the book was written, nothing has changed in people’s humanity. We still feel pleasure from revenge but nowadays we try to make people frown upon revenge. In an effort to rid the world of pain we think that revenge should not be condoned or actualised.

“It is also attended by a certain pleasure because the thoughts dwell upon the act of vengeance, and the images then called up cause pleasure,..” Aristotle

Because of the feeling of pleasure attached to vengeful acts, revenge was to be regarded as a good thing to do. Nowadays we think differently and have come to regard that revenge may make you feel great, but in essence it is the sign of pettiness. Or is it?

Intentional or unintentional, hurt is felt by the actions of one person in another, and in dealing with this hurt the conclusion is to partake in an action that will make the originator of the hurt feel a dose of the pain that they caused. This is revenge. Petty, in that tossing the hurt back and forth, two people are liable to fall into the situation of tit for tat. But what about the pleasure to be gained from revenge? Is it really the case that when two people cause each other pain and at the same time feel pleasure in their own actions, that this should be regarded as a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ scenario? The good and the bad are seen to cause each other. They exist necessarily together. It could be regarded that if you do not partake in revenge then you have greatly increased the suffering in the world, namely your own feelings of hurt. The joy to be felt in revenge cancels the pain caused by another.

This then make me consider the remark’ Revenge is mine saith the Lord’ and this in turn made me think of Buddha and karma. If you wait long enough then God/the world gets even with the pain caused you. Where are you in all this? Nothing but a helpless bystander? Isn’t humanity a strange entity that has hurt and joy going hand in hand? Pain and Pleasantness? Nothing but Opposites. Things existing on the opposing sides of the same coin.

It leaves you questioning the timing of the revenge. Is this wherein the goodness or badness lies? xP

 

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