Se damnat iudex, innocentem qui opprimit.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia (614)
The judge who crushes the innocent finds himself guilty.
(pron = say DAHM-naht YOO-decks ihn-noh-KEN-tem kwee OHP-prih-mit)
Comment: This is a classic example of “the split”. Aristotle said that what
the pilot is to the ship, what the driver is to the chariot, what the director
is to the choir, and what the law is to the state and the general is to the
army, the Divine is in the world.
“The split” is given voice very clearly there. They are all examples of a force
from outside, and presumably superior, that acts on an inanimate object—until
the last two. Law then, is an example of words being used to act on animate
beings. The general is a human being acting on a human being. Aristotle uses
analogies that break down into nice, separate pieces, but they become the model
for viewing the world, and this energy in the world he calls “theos” in Greek,
translated “deus” in Latin. What is supposed to be a unitive principle,
divides. We all become little judges condemning the innocent.
What if judge, Innocent, punishment, and finding guilt were not separate pieces,
but all of a whole?
What if the judge were punishing the Innocent within him/herself? Then, it
would be much clearer, wouldn’t it, that the one judging is finding him/herself
It happens every day. “I’m stupid”. “I’m dumb”. “I don’t get it”. I hear
students do this every day. They have learned judging the innocent within very
well. Others simply focus that judgment outside themselves—blame. I hear
adults and teens doing that every day. I can hear myself doing that, too. I
learned how to do that well.
Look in the mirror. The judge who condemns the Innocent can just as easily say:
“It’s okay to be who I am right now.” And the split in the universe mends a
(Used with permission)
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