General Question

troubleinharlem's avatar

Is it worse to be unjust or merciless?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7978points) April 7th, 2011

So, I was taking the Myerrs/Briggs test in Psychology class, and one of the questions was the one that I just posted. What do you think?

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26 Answers

Qingu's avatar

Worse to be merciless.

The fundamental point of justice—of living under the rule of law—is to protect the weak from being preyed upon by the strong. That’s what’s carved into the Code of Hammurabi, the earliest legal code we have. While that’s not exactly “mercy,” I think it’s closely related.

everephebe's avatar

I think unjust is worse. I would personally show no mercy for the unjust. Of course I differ from the idea that, the rule of law is exactly what justice is all about.

But then again… It’s a merciless unjust world.

josie's avatar

Justice (and I am assuming you mean legal justice, and not moral justice) is a primary concept. Mercy is secondary to justice. It is worse to be unjust, because then there can be no mercy.

seekingwolf's avatar

I think it’s worse to be unjust.

Your question implies that even if I were merciless, I would be just. I’m fine with that. I don’t see a real problem with being merciless as long as you’re just. The problem with being merciless is that many times it involves being unjust (possible abuse, not granting mercy to the right person, etc).

Personally, I don’t have a lot of mercy in my life. I’m pretty chill and let things roll off my back but when someone does me wrong in a bigger way (cheating, badmouthing, betrayal etc), I tend to cut them out of my life and never let them back in. Ever.

cockswain's avatar

I’d say worse to be unjust. If you’re unjust, you’re punishing innocent behavior. If you’re merciless, at least the offender did something wrong.

But I suppose it is all degrees though. Did you unjustly blame your kid for something you did, causing your wife to ground your child? Or did you put the man who actually stole a pair of socks from Walmart in prison for three years? Difficult to make a blanket statement, and it seems tied to the sort of society on wishes to create.

filmfann's avatar

To be merciless would be to be brutal.
To be unjust would be to be unfair.
I would rather be too harsh than to be wrong.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’d say it’s worse to be unjust.

Nullo's avatar

You need both in equal measure. Justice without mercy would finish us all off pretty quickly, but mercy without justice makes you a doormat. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, after all.”

MilkyWay's avatar

Unjust. If someone has murdered someone, it would be better to be merciless and give him a life sentence.
And if someone was accused of murder but was innocent, it would be worse if he was unjustly punished for something he didn’t do.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I like @queenie‘s explanation. Sums it up pretty well.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I would refuse to answer the question. Neither is “worse,” they are both equally evil.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

I would rather see no mercy than see no justice. (Being unjust is worse.)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It is worse to be unjust.

crisw's avatar

I think it’s worse to be unjust, if as @seekingwolf pointed out, one is merciless while being just. This is possible; I would see it as making decisions based solely on data and not emotions.

mazingerz88's avatar

Definitely Unjust. Whether its a slight offense or a grave one, justice needs to be meted.

flutherother's avatar

I think it is worse to be merciless. We can disagree on what is just but we all know what mercy is.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

This is a thought-provoking question. Being unjust, to me, would be punishing someone who was innocent. Merciless would be to punish someone who is guity, but to punish them to the extreme. I would rather punish a guilty person to the max than an innocent person.

Then again, maybe others don’t agree with my definition of “just” and “mercy.”

wundayatta's avatar

Merciless to me, means never stopping after you achieve your goal. You go far beyond it. So if you vanquish a people, you do not stop until they are all wiped out. Whatever it is, you go far too far.

Injustice is common. It happens all the time. It’s not the end of the world. Life isn’t fair. We can always make up for an injustice. You can’t bring back the dead.

Mercilessness is far worse than injustice.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’d rather be merciless than unjust.

flutherother's avatar

On thinking it over I think the two go together. A respectable system of justice will include mercy. Whereas arbitrary justice as applied by dictators or totalitarian regimes is usually applied without mercy.

Nullo's avatar

But is it unjust to be merciless?

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’d rather be mercilessly just than unjustly merciless.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Nullo Isn’t mercy more of an option to show the unjust?

Zaku's avatar

I think it might depend on what you’re up to. For example, whether you’re a warrior, or an ice cream vendor.

And, I think the Myers-Briggs tests are a bit offensive and annoying for suggesting to be able to break down personality type into groups on the basis of answers to its questions, many of which people would answer in different ways depending on their random mood at the moment, their interpretation of the questions, etc., and many of which I think don’t offer the answers I would really have for someone asking me such a question, which is often, “Objection: what drugs are you on? I would not say anything of the kind”.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I would be interested to know what the Myers-Briggs test says about our answers.

chewhorse's avatar

YES… (‘nuff said)..

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