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Justice in Auroville

L'aura Joy  ○  Fri, October 23, 2015

In dealing with the criminal, the most advanced societies are no longer altogether satisfied with regarding him as a law-breaker to be punished […].

Published on Auronet.

In response to Aryadeep…

Dear Aryadeep,

I very much appreciate your posting.

Thank you for expressing that you see value in what Vikram shared (as well as in what I shared in my June 2014 post), and for acknowledging the contribution that Koodam offers AV. Thank you for seeing that RC and NVC could contritube something of value to the building and co-creation of an eventual “justice system” in AV – a justice system that resonates with AV’s ideals and a justice system that supports us to be accountable and to move forwards, together.

I also really appreciate that you’ve added these quotes from The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I find them inspiring and in resonance with what I’m passionate about. However, if I understood you right, you added these quotes because you see that we need to “enhance/adapt” what RC offers, meaning that in itself, it’s not “AV-specific” enough, or not “Mother and Sri Aurobindo-worthy” enough…  Have I understood you correctly…?

I must admit that I have not read or studied Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s work in any depth – although I also don’t think that my being born in AV and having lived here most of my life doesn’t count for nothing :-). I personally don’t see any contradiction between what I read here in your quotes and my understanding of RC.

"In dealing with the criminal, the most advanced societies are no longer altogether satisfied with regarding him as a law-breaker to be punished, imprisoned, terrified, hanged or else tortured physically and morally, whether as a revenge for his revolt or as an example to others; there is a growing attempt to understand him, to make allowance for his heredity, environment and inner deficiencies and to change him from within rather than crush him from without." - (Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle, Chapter V, True and False Subjectivism)

Exactly! In my understanding and experience, this is what RC is aiming at…

RC gives people a chance to be heard, and invites us to let go of our preconceived ideas and actually listen to this person’s story, their pain, their reasons for doing what they did, the values that were a stake for them in that difficult moment and the needs they were desperately trying to meet by doing what they did. In my experience, again and again, this quality of true listening (with genuine curiosity and openness) allows for this person to start to realize the impact of their actions, to express regret and to start to move towards wanting to repair and restore (trust, connection, dignity, community, etc). And of course, there’s also space for others to express how these actions have impacted them, their outrage, loss of trust, etc, so that everybody gets to be heard.

So for me, the question is not necessarily about how to improve or adapt RC for AV, but instead, how to work with our resistance – as AVians and as humans? Our resistance to trying something new, our resistance to walking towards challenges, our resistance to seeing each other as fellow human beings on this journey, our resistance to working through our loss of trust in each other, our resistance to healing our shared past stories, our resistance to being “one” community and realizing that the only way to build Auroville is to do it together…

I said earlier that I don’t see any contradiction between the quotes you offer, Aryadeep, and RC. However, I do want to caution that in my understanding RC doesn’t necessarily claim that we are taken by vital forces or under the spell of external entities. I have a personal challenge with this view, only because I find that it’s then so easy for us to use this as a weapon against each other. I’m afraid that it can lead us to having some sort of spiritual arrogance, and we start to point fingers and say that “Person X” is possessed by … (whatever), and we stop there – judgement and separation. But the irony here is that some other person (among our community of 2000) is surely pointing the finger at me and labeling me as … (blah blah). So how does this lead us to any constructive outcome…?

My interest, instead, would be for us to learn how to see and acknowledge each other’s humanity and to move in the direction of restoring what has been lost or broken – or at least to start looking at our resistance to this…

Some may think I’m naïve… Maybe so… And yet, I think I’m much too passionate about our human psychology (what makes us act like **\*** vs. what inspires us to collaborate and live our true essence) to have not considered and experimented with these questions for quite some years now…

Thanks again, Aryadeep, for your sharing. I look forward to seeing how this all unfolds...