« »

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

The discussion of Rick Warren’s participation in the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States has stirred up a number of thoughts. These ideas were given more focus by listening to an episode of Philosophy Bites on Derrida’s idea of forgiveness:

While Derrida says that national reconciliation is a separate matter, forgiveness itself, is worth some serious thought. In short, Derrida’s thoughts of forgiveness run as follows. A forgiveness that has no cost, is not worth much. It is forgiving the unforgivable that is the essence of the act. And also seemingly impossible to accomplish; it asks us to do the undoable.

This is a very disturbing idea because it seems to run counter to the idea of justice, or at least a rough form of justice. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – these practices can lead to an infinite negative feedback loop. For a change to occur, one side must do the impossible.

Comments

  1. Karoli | December 21st, 2008 | 6:26 pm

    Forgiveness is the act of voluntarily surrendering one's right to justice. It is difficult. I had to learn how to do it when my grandfather was murdered and I discovered I would probably never know with any degree of certainty whether the man they said committed it, actually did.

    It is not impossible. Just difficult, because it involves giving up something to which one is entitled and due. The paradox lies in the freedom granted to the one who forgives as a result.

  2. Karoli | December 22nd, 2008 | 1:26 am

    Forgiveness is the act of voluntarily surrendering one’s right to justice. It is difficult. I had to learn how to do it when my grandfather was murdered and I discovered I would probably never know with any degree of certainty whether the man they said committed it, actually did.nnIt is not impossible. Just difficult, because it involves giving up something to which one is entitled and due. The paradox lies in the freedom granted to the one who forgives as a result.

  3. cgerrish | December 21st, 2008 | 9:30 pm

    Yes, forgiveness is both impossible and must be done. That's what makes it an act of faith, rather than an act of reason. It is essentially unreasonable, and therefore undo-able– achieved only through a leap.

  4. cgerrish | December 22nd, 2008 | 4:30 am

    Yes, forgiveness is both impossible and must be done. That’s what makes it an act of faith, rather than an act of reason. It is essentially unreasonable, and therefore undo-able– achieved only through a leap.

  5. Dental Fort Myers | November 6th, 2009 | 3:35 am

    I find this article very helpful. I think that confrontation may lead to a negative feedback as well, if those individuals do not know how to handle the situation.