Sunday, January 21, 2018

Forgiving and/or Forgetting

We live in interesting times. The scandals du jour are amplified in scope unlike in times past. This time is different not because we have scandals, but because the cycle is shorter, more intense, and much more wide spread. In many ways this is healthy--for instance in bringing about greater awareness and fuller cleansing. But in other ways it is unhealthy--for instance in progressing too rapidly for a deeper, more nuanced understanding and reconciliation.

Swift justice can be satisfying for victims, but it can also be incomplete ("Ah, good, we found the evil and dealt with it. All is now right with the world. No need to worry about 'that' again.") or it can be too widely applied ("Upon further inspection, all of the out group is guilty and we don't have time or need to gauge sinfulness; therefore, destroy them all." or "Upon further inspection, we are all guilty; therefore, let's just forget the whole thing and move along.")

Our social norms are evolving, which effectively means society is moving the goalposts on what we define as misconduct, injustice, harm, etc. This evolution is for the overwhelming most part rightful.  But now because of our technology our memories are longer and voices are stronger. I don't think we have yet fully appreciated this power or its ability to inflict damage. 

Consider the coordination of forgive and forget. This old adage was never more than an aspirational hope. I am very appreciative for how many of my past transgressions have been forgotten. I am even more thankful for all those that have been forgiven. The unfortunate truth is that forgiveness is less durable and more expensive than forgetfulness.

Here is my view on how we fit into forgive and forget.
And it is important to understand the implications . . .