It is important to acknowledge that justice, virtue and harmony are indispensable in the society. The world could be a serene and peaceful place had the inhabitants become fully cognizant of this fact. The three elements are indeed the requisite components of life. In order for people to live a meaningful and useful life, they should comply with certain components. Apparently, these unavoidable components are proportionately intermingled so as to engender meaningful and valuable outcomes in life. There is only one world for all human beings, and it is very necessary to establish proper modes of coexistence with other living and non-living beings. In a real sense, life would be useless if only a particular group of people got an opportunity to live. It should be noted that everything and everybody who exists in the world has a good purpose, namely to make the life of the other one better. Justice is the key to harmonious existence that every human craves. Nonetheless, harmony and justice are supposed to be anchored in the virtuous modes of behavior of people who live together in a society. Even though there are other values that strengthen the society’s social fabric, the concepts of justice, harmony, and virtue form a firm foundation for a peaceful and just society.
The Concept of Justice
Generally, justice is the utmost concern for peace and genuine respect for people with whom one lives together (Magagna, 2015). Those who value justice are reasonable-minded, and care of other people’s feelings is in the forefront of their mind. Justice can be measured through feelings and has a significant role in the cultivation of peace and reconciliation in the society (Yao, 2000). Moreover, this means creates conditions for everyone’s satisfaction with their life in the society, though there are a lot of diversities. When people feel that justice has not prevailed in a certain situation, animosity is likely to ensue (Magagna, 2015). Some of the events that violate people’s justice involve outright violation of people’s rights, larceny, denial of opportunities, inequitable distribution of government resources, intimidation, and denial of freedom of expression, among others.
Whenever citizens feel offended and their justice is being trampled, they may employ radical mechanisms for claiming their justice. In most cases, these radical measures include violent protests against the perpetrators or the government in its totality (Magagna, 2015). In the case of East Asia, justice is exercised through mutual respect and reciprocity. In fact, the principle of mutual respect and reciprocity is deeply embedded in the Confucian philosophy. Therefore, in this respect, justice is a complex concept that cannot be measured by courts or statutory bodies. On the contrary, justice is a feeling that an aggrieved person or party derives from compensatory actions. Hereby, the complex nature of justice questions the suitability of statutory bodies or courts to adjudicate disputes and restore justice to the injured or aggrieved parties. For instance, it is unclear how a woman whose husband has been murdered can get justice if the only panacea provided by courts is death penalty. As stipulated in the East Asia context, to restore justice means that the compensatory mechanism being used must insure that the injured party gets a feeling that the action taken against the culprit is proportionate to the damage caused. In most cases, the resolutions adopted by the state or courts with regard to offenders do not provide the feeling of justice to the victims according to Confucianism.
In the contemporary society, people experience considerable turbulence following the violation of justice. Sometimes, greater injustices are caused by those in power. These are usually mandated by the constitutions of their countries to insure that the people who are under their areas of jurisdiction live a meaningful and useful life. Nonetheless, it is evident that many leaders have violated their constitutional mandate by focusing much on their own interests and those of their allies. Hereby, other than serving all the citizens, many leaders have become tormentors, embezzlers, extortionists, grabbers of land, assassins, and tyrants. According to such leaders, this is the way to insure their permanence in power and is a tool to amass as much wealth as possible. Their activities often stir considerable acrimony among the citizens who would have failed to get justice on their part. Since citizens lack an opportunity to air their grievances and make their leaders react to them, sometimes, the activists employ a tactic that they better understand, namely violence.
In the East Asia context, lack of justice breeds unjust society. Apparently, this is a feeling manifested by those who feel that their inherent rights are being suppressed by others. The problem is that such feelings often transform into anarchy or a state where the society shows contempt toward the established order. As a result, such scenario triggers conflict and may lead to serious confrontations between the authority and people. Therefore, the concept of justice in East Asia context is meant to insure that people coexist in harmony by observing the rules and regulations while performing their actions.
The Concept of Harmony
Harmony is another component of peace. Harmony is the agreement among people following the amicability, understanding, cooperation, consensus, unity and rapport in any activity they are engaged (Cohen & De Bary, 1999). In fact, harmony is the aspect of life which enables progress of the society in all spheres. Unless people live in harmony, no one can ever make a meaningful contribution. Thus, there would be disagreement and conflict through their lives.
In order to cultivate harmony, people need to learn to respect and empathize with one another. In this way, respect and empathy should be mutual or voluntary. Apparently, respect and empathy enables people to value each other’s uniqueness and work together for a common goal. Naturally, no one benefits from collaboration with an enemy. For there to be a fruitful relationship, there must be the feeling of respect and empathy among people. The reason is that lack of these two components is what has been creating suspicion among members of the society and forcing them to start antagonizing each other for their selfish gains. Thus, if there is no balance of respect, people find it hard to coexist and work together. Instead, those people would always be at loggerheads disagreeing about one thing or the other. Therefore, there can never be development in an environment where there is no consideration to engender harmony.
Moreover, harmony is cultivated based on understanding between different people and groups. When people come together and appreciate the fact there are many differences between them but hold one belief and focus on one goal, the same people can accomplish great objectives. Apparently, this situation is what is referred to as understanding, namely the willingness to accommodate another person’s ideas, feelings, contributions, differences without prejudice. People who understand one another are able to cultivate unconditional love and finally live in harmony. It is noted that lack of understanding usually leads to bias among people, which is the act of having negative feeling and wrong judgment of other people without any credible reason.
From East Asia perspective, harmony denotes balance of views or opinions. Therefore, a harmonious society is a society in which people respect the views of others even if they hold a contrary opinion. To promote harmony, there should be a mechanism through which the views or opinions of people in the society are weighed and balanced. It is a well-known fact that failure to obtain a fair balance of opinion breeds hate or disharmony. Thus, there is lack of understanding among members of the same community who ought to focus on their common problems and find a common solution.
In order to achieve harmony, there has to be mutual cooperation that is the ability to give necessary support to one another in pursuit of specific objectives. It is through cooperation with others that people manage to reach their goals. Naturally, no one has the capacity to accomplish everything on their own. However, if people cooperate with one another, a lot of work can be accomplished, thereby leading to significant progress. In fact, optimal cooperation determines the amount of harmony that will prevail at a given time among a particular group of people. Moreover, cooperation also helps to obtain unity, consensus in decision-making as well as rapport among different groups of people. When members of community properly observe these aspects, then harmony will undoubtedly be part and parcel of that community. Furthermore, it is possible to maintain justice if there is harmonious existence because people will respect and highly regard one another.
Failure to observe all these factors causes disagreement between people. Thus, this is the root of all conflicts that characterize the present-day world. The contemporary society has become the trigger for hatred, suspicion, prejudice, favoritism, and self-centeredness, among others. Apparently, this is why harmony has been quite elusive, and many countries have persistently been at war with one another because of falling short of emotions, understanding, cooperation and rapport. Perhaps to solve this turbulence, it is vital first to cultivate harmony among the communities.
The Concept of Virtue
Virtue is another aspect of meaningful living which the society has always been striving to reinforce among people. From East Asia perspective, virtue refers to an individual’s behavior which depicts high moral standards that are conventional but not sacrificial (Yao, 2000). Confucianism contemplates a peaceful society where virtues govern the relationship among people in the society. Under Confucianism, virtues mean doing unto others what one wants others to do unto them. Therefore, a virtuous person is one who humbles themselves and accords respect to others.
There are a number of components of virtue such as righteousness, goodness, morality, integrity, dignity, and piousness. When someone displays desirable behavior that is in line with the conventional morals of the society, that person is said to be virtuous. The reason is that the person possesses the elements of virtue which are expected by all people of the society. Apparently, a virtuous person is always at peace with others in the community. Such person has significant value to the society, taking into consideration the kind of characters that people consider to be agreeable in their midst. It is evident that people express their virtues in different ways. Generally, a virtue ought to be moderately employed. However, there are circumstances when people exercise their virtues in the extreme that is part of one’s strength and weakness. For instance, it is good for one to be patient. In fact, patience is a virtue which involves manifestation of tolerance to an undesirable situation for people. There are a number of people who would be too patients with all circumstances as long they exist. Hereby, this is kind of virtue that is said to be extremely strong. Conversely, there are those who may be patient, but their patience cannot last even for an hour. Such people are said to be weak in such virtue as patience. The society usually expects people to exercise their virtues in moderate amounts, namely not too strong or weak. When all that is observed, one will be at peace with everybody, regardless of age, class, gender, race and ethnic groups.
Virtues are very important in the society because through the practice of virtues the society can be just, and harmony can therefore prevail. In fact, the absence of harmony and justice in a given community is simply an indication of lack of virtues. If the leaders of the world want to have a peaceful reign, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of the cultivation of virtues. It is easier to govern a virtuous society because there is little or no lawlessness and strife.
However, the cultivation of virtue requires a concerted effort among all responsible people or the community. It is evident that all these people have a crucial role as far as the cultivation of virtues is concerned. Unfortunately, the society of today lacks role models because those who are supposed to lead by example are the ones who constantly fall short of the pertinent virtues.
Justice, harmony, and virtue are very popular concepts in the minds of the inhabitants of the world. Nonetheless, the world has often been devoid of these important components of life due to people’s selfishness. When people engage in antisocial behaviors such as corruption, burglary, tribalism, racism, rape, and tyranny among other vices, it implies the amplified levels of selfishness that people have adopted in their lifestyles. Communities that have made every effort to cultivate these three values, namely justice, harmony and virtue, can attest that life without the trio is mere gaucheness. Leaders have responsibility for insuring that the communities all over the world embrace these values to maintain everlasting peace in the society.