The Key - Forgiveness and Beyond

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Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct

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Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. Quietly spoken, with a Belfast brogue softened by a childhood in East Anglia, he drew little attention to himself. Which was, no doubt, why Patrick Magee could pass unnoticed as he toured the country in , planting 16 bombs in various cities and, then again, in , when he blew up Brighton's Grand Hotel during the Conservative party conference, killing five people.

The key to forgiveness is the refusal to seek revenge

His daughter Jo was also at the party, sipping wine and chatting to the inquisitive crowd. The body language between them was awkward but not overtly hostile. On first-name terms, they had clearly spent quite a bit of time in each other's company since they first met in , often at events like this one: Beyond Right and Wrong is a fascinating title — with obvious shades of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil — because it captures something of the complex moral ambivalence many of us feel towards forgiveness.

Magee did 14 years in prison, released in under the terms of the Good Friday agreement. Some continue to feel that this punishment was not enough; that, on some level, he got away with it. It is a similar uneasy feeling one can have with forgiveness itself, that it undermines the basic logic of proportionality that underpins most moral thinking — that the scales of justice require some sort of balance.

Crime needs to be offset by a proportionate amount of punishment. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Forgiveness & Beyond - Tim Isbell Online

Forgiveness ignores all of that, which is why it exists beyond right and wrong. Yet the problem with the retributive model of justice, constructed as it is upon the moral instinct for proportionality, is that it can easily serve to perpetuate violence and hatred — one act of violence leading to another in response, which can provoke yet another, and so on.

The blood feud that can exist between families is the most striking example of how answering violence with violence can be a potentially endless business, with old hatreds forever spawning new ones. Politicians who support amnesty arrangements such as the Good Friday agreement are often upbraided for betraying the past.

But what Jo Berry is more interested in is how the instinct for revenge can easily become a betrayal of the future. Her forgiveness of Patrick Magee is quite extraordinary, taking huge courage and emotional poise.