I wrote about revenge several weeks ago, and admitted that I liked thinking about it but didn’t want to actually do it. Well, I changed my mind. I did it and it feels surprisingly good.
Revenge is not a very holy feeling, I will admit. It is based not only on anger but on reverse compassion. I don’t know if we have a good word to describe what reverse compassion is. Compassion being able to empathize with someone’s suffering and having a desire to stop their suffering. Reverse compassion is being able to imagine someone’s suffering and having a desire to increase it.
Increased suffering. Oh, yeah. Bring it on. What kind of a bitch am I, you might wonder, who wants to increase suffering in the world? I am a bitch who wants to survive, I guess, because I needed to transfer some of the suffering to someone else if I wanted to survive, and frankly I’m surprised how well it has balanced things out for me.
For most of us, we rarely have any reason to seek out revenge. Nobody is doing anything so severe to us that warrants an act of revenge. People who need acts of revenge are those who feel that some situation was so unfair it had to be balanced by their negative actions.
People with very weak personalities will seek revenge for every petty infraction they imagine happening to them. I’m not talking about that kind of revenge. I’m talking about the kind of revenge that you save up for and dish out only once or twice in your whole life. I’m talking about revenge that comes from a deep sense of injustice. Somehow, things aren’t right in terms of how much responsibility each person is carrying for their actions, and that is what breeds revenge.
I manuevered two acts of revenge recently, so of course I am going to defend revenge. I am going to explore why revenge worked so well for me, and what I am supposed to learn from it
I will begin my defense of revenge by saying that both ideas came to me in what we call a flash of inspiration. I didn’t sit around for hours thinking things through. Both ideas came to me fully formed (and in retrospect, pretty damned near perfect) and ready to go. It was as if they were given to me by that great stream of consciousness that circles around us. I thought of them as divine inspirations. Who am I to argue with the divine?
The first idea I didn’t argue about in my head at all. I put it in motion almost instantly and enjoyed everything I hoped to accomplish. I am not angry at the person any more, I feel the scales have been balanced, and I didn’t hurt them too bad in the process. I had to hurt them in some way, of course, because that is the whole point of revenge. If you don’t deliver some hurt, you haven’t balanced the scales and that’s what it is all about for me. Balancing the scales. My first act worked perfectly and I feel the world is a happier place now because of it.
How is that possible? How could me acting in revenge and causing someone else to suffer result in more happiness? I’ve got a few ideas, but I’ll hold off for a bit and let you consider it.
My second act of revenge came in the same way. It just plopped into my head while I was driving. I argued with myself on this one, but eventually gave in to the idea. It took me about 10 minutes of argument before I succumbed. This one was a bit more technical than the first one, so I had to get my head in the right place before I carried it out. The position I needed to be in was anger with a sense of justice. It wasn’t that hard.
My second revenge act is much slower than the first. It also has more lessons. Embedded in the revenge are lessons for me in patience, in self-responsibility, and in creativity. There are so many good lessons in it, I just can’t believe it is anything other than divinely inspired. I couldn’t come up with something so perfect on my own. I have to assume that the stream of consciousness contributed to this idea.
As I started putting the pieces together to carry out the revenge, I noticed a sense of calm coming over me. I didn’t stop the revenge, but I reveled in the feeling that I was experiencing. I took the revenge through the first two phases, and everything worked exactly as I had hoped. I caused some suffering, but it eased some of mine.
As I mentioned, this particular act requires some patience on my part. The remaining pieces of it have to be measured out carefully and delivered at the right time. I have to exercise restraint if it is to work according to “the plan.” Waiting gives me time to look at my thoughts and decide exactly what my approach should be. I had already started planning the next phase, and yet after taking some time away from the issue I see how I could do it even better (and more purely) than the way I had first imagined. Waiting is a good thing and helps me learn the lessons of my revenge. I’m all about learning. That’s why I will carry on with the plan even though I am carrying less and less anger. The scales have already started to balance.
So what is it about revenge that is making me feel so much better? I suppose some might say it is proof that I have gone psychotic, but unfortunately that is not the answer. If anything, these acts of revenge have made me less psychotic. Psychotic was feeling like there was too much being put upon me. Sanity is feeling like there is a sharing of the shit we all have to face.
In the classic view of mental energy, revenge would be a negative emotion and therefore should spawn only negative things. It doesn’t make sense to me using the classical framework how revenge actually made me feel better and more capable of carrying on. Yes, it caused others to suffer, but it made me feel like things were in balance and therefore my world was better. How could negative energy make me feel better?
The answer to this lies in analyzing our judgment of revenge as a negative emotion. Emotions are energy, I firmly believe that. But whether an energy is good or bad is purely a human and spiritual decision. In the physical realm of things I think positive and negative energy hold the same relative value. There is no judgment of whether the energy is good or bad. There is simply a judgment of whether there is balance. This is the Geography of Life in action. Our emotions are energetic patterns that follow the same principles of all energy. Balance is always being sought.
In my case, the energy was way out of balance and revenge was a way of addressing the imbalance. I needed to shift some of the negative energy in the direction it belonged so that I wasn’t holding it all. In terms of physics it makes perfect sense, but in terms of morality it doesn’t. What makes something that sounds bad actually be good?
In the physical world of energy, there is no judgment of whether revenge is right or wrong. There is only judgment of whether the energy is balanced. Evidently my revenge must have accomplished that because I feel better.
So, I ask the question: Is revenge ever appropriate? I have to answer with a resounding, “Yes!” I don’t think it is something that we should have to engage in very often. If the scales of balance are getting that far out of whack all the time, I need to reassess whether I am creating the need for revenge or if it is real. But if there really is an injustice, I think the right kind of revenge can balance things out. (I’m still opposed to revenge that causes property damage, by the way.)
In my life (and I speak only for myself) I take on too much responsibility and therefore allow others to take on far less than they should. I don’t know why some people take the low road of doing less than they know they should, but they do. Me taking on their responsibility doesn’t do them any good at all because we all need to be responsible for ourselves. Creating an environment where others are taught (through my actions) that they are not responsible is a negative thing for me to do. I have done that, and now I have to balance the scales. It’s time to call a couple of people out on their bullshit, and doing it is making me feel better in the process.
Is revenge bad? Obviously, I’m not wasting any sleep over guilt feelings on this one. I’m going to explain it with my understanding of the physical world and say that revenge is just a way of transferring energy, and there’s no judgment in that. It is what it is. I did it and I liked it. But I hope I don’t have to do it again.