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Beyond Forgiveness

Location: Bandung ID
Website: http://t.co/M2qnntnnzH


Throughout history people have had to make difficult, even heartrending decisions about how to respond to the suffering they have endured at the hands of other human beings or the pain they themselves have inflicted upon others.

Over and over, we're confronted with the dilemma of how to react to the cruelty and pain that can pervade our lives.

Do we forgive or do we retaliate? Should we make peace or exact revenge?

Can we live together with our enemies or seek retribution?

And what about the harm we have caused? Is it possible for us to ever undo or make up for the damage we may have wreaked?

Different cultures have resolved their conflicts and meted out justice in their own way. Traditionally there have been two widely diverging paths: punishment or reform, which are rooted in retribution and forgiveness, respectively. The first is antagonistic and adversarial; the second is compassionate and cooperative.

While retaliation has earned the lion's share of the attention over the centuries, more measured responses to both personal and collective conflicts have also been practiced.

The instinct to be vindictive may be as old as stone, but the impulse towards reconciliation runs like an ancient underground river. And like water dissolving stone if it flows long enough, so too can acts of compassion dissolve anger, the showing of remorse prompt forgiveness, and the making of amends alleviate guilt.

Our work, going Beyond Forgivness, is an exploration of these instincts and impulses, featuring inspiring stories and reflections from people who have reported on, witnessed or practiced the healing power of atonement.

Join the conversation online, share your stories and reflections. Look for the forthcoming book: BEYOND FORGIVENESS: Reflections on Atonement, an anthology edited by Phil Cousineau, publishing in February 2010 by Jossey-Bass.