I recently watched an episode of George Gently, in which a young, junior detective told the best friend of the deceased, “I didn’t know Dolores, but I want justice for her”. Perhaps it was the skill of the actor or his writers, but that line has stuck with me in my meditations on the virtue of Justice this past few weeks. It seems to say it all. “Justice” rings out clear as a bell – but what does it mean to get justice?
I was grappling with the idea of Justice at one point in my childhood; and my mother told me a story about her divorce from my father. At one point her attorney pointed to the courthouse and said that she “shouldn’t expect to find justice in that place, only resolution”. I’m not sure I still fully understand what her attorney meant by that, but within the same story my mother told me that human beings cannot create Justice. It is simply too divine a thing to be wrought by our own hands. But we can hope that by treating one another with fairness, respect and dignity, we can make the world a more divine place.
Perhaps Justice is not meant to be any one thing – to be exclusive would make it possessable and subject to distortion by avarice, vice and ignorance. I wonder, perhaps Socrates wasn’t so far off the mark. Perhaps Justice isn’t an answer, but rather a string of inquiry – a check on the self for the benefit of others. Even those we never know.
But I am optimistic that we can make progress together. We’ve seen a strong spirit of inquiry and introspection in Friendship this year – the Worshipful Master’s program of Skills of a Modern Gentleman has guaranteed the time and space for us all to do this work. And I look forward to seeing you again this May, and digesting this matter further whilst we dine again.
Be well, Brethren and make good choices.
Your Junior Warden