: Denise Breton
: 36.42 MB
This philosophical and spiritual look at justice begins, predictably, with a critique of the existing justice system but casts its net widely, examining the pervasive feelings of guilt and failure, the sense of separateness that all external reward-and-punishment systems create--whether in families, schools, businesses, or courts. We feel that we are being judged constantly; we even internalize messages that we are "no good." Perhaps worse, inner motivation is destroyed by rewards and punishments, so that creative expression wanes, a loss for individuals and society alike. The alternative is to create a justice system that is not from "outside in" but "inside out." Looking at astonishing examples among Native Americans, the authors show that many human cultures over thousands of years flourished without resorting to reward-punishment systems. Indigenous peoples, for instance, affirmed the uniqueness of each individual, crafting social forms that drew out that uniqueness. The results were cohesive societies that can serve as models for changing our fundamental approach to fairness today. Realizing that most readers will wonder what a different system might be, the authors turn to the restorative justice movement and its successes all over the world, providing examples of victim-offender mediation that will convert the most hardened skeptic. For a larger scale, they turn to the Ojibway-Cree Hollow Water community, which has revolutionized ideas of justice in Canada. Denise Breton is one of the finest philosophers writing today, able to present difficult subjects in engaging ways to the public. Now, with her co-author (her former editor at Hazelden), she has produced a definitive critique of our present socialization system, with its inaction in the face of suffering and its instilling of fear and guilt society-wide. To this "counterfeit" justice, they pose the alternative of rediscovering our souls, that powerful inner uniqueness that is the basis for true community.