In school full-time and one of the classes I’m taking is English 101. The professor is great in that she has the gift of coaching and helping develop the writer in her students. I have really enjoyed the class! Now, for my upcoming paper, I’m supposed to write on a topic that I am thoroughly passionate about, something that is an issue in the world. Hmmmm….where to start! There are so many!
The more I think about it, the more I want to write on the subject of punishment. As a society, we believe in punishment. Many of us believe that God punishes—possibly FOREVER. We believe in tormenting people for extended periods of time for having done something “bad” either to themselves or to someone else while they were in a period of confusion and/or pain. We say they deserve it because they caused pain, therefore they should experience pain.
The problem that I have with this is that society is still in pain. The idea that people must be punished does not heal the broken heart. It is not our solution to happiness. What I’m talking about is the amount of people in prison, and we are not more safe because of it. I’m also talking about people who are in prison for forever who have long let go of an old way of living–like believing in a cult, for example. My brothers are good, good people who were extremely brainwashed and mentally traumatized from an overwhelming amount of abuse and did what they thought was “god’s orders” and took other people’s lives.
The forever punishment is not helping us be more happy. Maybe the children of the dead feel vindicated. But they don’t know that the dead also threatened us and took the lives of some my siblings…. It was a whirlwind of extremists, and a few people had to be punished forever while everyone else is exonerated and let off the hook.
Society needs someone to be punished so we can close the last page of the book, seal it, and pretend it never happened. But maybe we can begin to understand the world in a much larger way, and embrace our “criminals” as well, heal their broken hearts, listen to their stories. What happened to them? What form of slavery did they undergo? What physical abuse? What rape? Who took away their voice? Who squashed their right to be an equal human being?
These are big things to ponder. If I am to take my mission as an artist seriously, then I will be brave enough to cut into the soul of humanity to let out its dark side.