Punishment is a global phenomenon. Whether it’s a seemingly harmless time-out for a child, or years behind bars for someone convicted of a crime, punishment is omnipresent in culture. We experience punishment in our homes, schools and places of employment. Clearly, punishment follows us through all aspects of life, so it’s time we had a chat about it.
The Obama administration has taken a particularly punitive attitude towards whistleblowers, raising new questions surrounding whether we should punish those trying to strengthen our democracy. (Muting the Whistle, pg. 22)
Outside the realms of government, punishment can also manifest itself in a religious setting. Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, devoted his life to trying to convince the LGBT community that God would punish them. In his passing, a discussion has erupted over whether he deserves forgiveness. (A Letter to Fred Phelps, pg. 14)
On a personal level, punishment can also represent how the choices we make impact the rest of our lives. While tattoos and body modifications have become more popular than ever, they still result in the limitation of job opportunities in many fields. (Inked Up, Shut Out?, pg. 30)
But, despite punishment’s negative connotations, it also holds the potential to help us grow internally. For some, the pain and sweat and self-punishment of yoga provides an opportunity for understanding and personal reflection. (Namaste, All Damn Day, pg. 16)
So stay on your best behavior, because in the world of punishment it’s better to be seen and not heard.
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