There is no thing which evokes the most basal in humans quite like punishment. Many cry out for punishment sometimes loosely in the name of justice. At one time or another people punish and are punished in turn. That Abrahamic eye for an eye mentality still abounds. Revenge and retribution can be found in the hearts of more than a few. At slight or offence there is a tendency to lash out and punish. You can see it in the supermarket, at the checkouts. Out comes the tongue whip. And so, we walk on eggshells around some. People seem to get a kick out of punishment and some seem to enjoy being punished. This whole area accesses the darkest recesses of human mind and behaviour. There is often a vicarious element to seeing people punished.
Getting your own back, getting revenge, scoring points are common plots in literature and films. Revenge sells. It can be petty or bitter and vindictive. It is through punishment that social conditioning is applied. Punishment is not humanity at its best. It is a part of “normal” life. Where we take the place of an old testament God to punish the wrong doer, by our divine grace it is we who decided what is wrong. We then mete out, impose and inflict our punishments on others.
Over the years I have come to the idea that this desire to punish is a barometer of liberation. The more desire to punish there is, the less freedom a being has. A free being could not possibly be motivated to punish.
As an exercise:
Keep track of when you feel the desire to mete out some punishment, whether verbal or in some other way.
What motive is behind?
From what possibly guttural, basal, source, does this originate?
What if anything might it achieve?