We hear so often of absolutes; of this and that; of on and off; of one or the other. In “The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, Alan Watts speaks of the ego’s desire to categorize things into pairs. We like to think of things as “like us” and “not like us”. We play a game of “Black and White”. In doing so, we tend to ignore all of the empty space that is in between.
So, what does this have to do with iniquity and justice? Quite a bit, actually.
Iniquity is typically defined as immoral or grossly unfair behavior. It is wickedness. It is often equated with “sin”. It is the “evil” in the good versus evil dichotomy. Those mythological characters with questionable morality are found in the “den of iniquity”. They are cloaked in darkness. Satan resides in Hell; Sauron sits atop Mount Doom of Mordor. And, of course, Darth Vader has his Death Star. Iniquity is bad. Or is it?
Set this aside for a moment as we take a closer look at justice.
Justice, on the other hand (there’s that game of “Black and White” again), is fair treatment. It is impartiality. It is righteousness, or at the very least “moral rightness”. Lady Justice is cloaked in white, her shining sword a beacon of light. The white knights of the Middle Ages ride mighty white steeds and ride in to defend the weak and powerless. The white wizards stand behind them and cast spells of protection to ward off evil. They are champions, and they defend justice. Justices of modern day sit in white marble temples and determine the just treatment of those at the mercy of their gavel. Justice is good. Or is it?
Iniquity. Justice. They are not one in the same, but they are not mutually exclusive either. They are confusing; they are fluid; they are elusive. Often we find ourselves in the empty space in between. Can it be said that Adolph Hitler lived a life of absolute iniquity? Can it also be said that Mahatma Gandhi was entirely just? Perhaps each would lean more toward one side of the “iniquity, yet justice” scale, but which scale are you using? What does iniquity or justice mean to you? To me? Judging any action or individual would truly depend on one’s perspective.
There are two sides to every story.
And therein lies the rub. Iniquity is human, and it is subjective. Justice too, is a human construct and is subjective as well. Your justice is not my justice, and iniquity to me is different than what it is to you. It is even quite possible that they will overlap. Murder is iniquity, until it is justified. We do not say “Iniquity OR Justice”.
It is really all just one story. The story of US.
What does this all mean to me as a Jedi? It means that as someone who strives to be an instrument of peace, I must seek the balance. I must live in the empty space between black and white. I must be willing to flow with the Force and allow it to guide me to the proper conclusion in each new situation. I must remain focused on achieving peace. I must be patient as to not rush to judgment. I must seek knowledge so that I may better understand. I must trust in the Force to bring harmony from the chaos.Perhaps most importantly, I need not try to be one thing or another. I must simply BE.