With his book "A Higher Loyalty," former FBI director James Comey is getting what reads, looks, sounds, and plays on interviews as revenge. U.S. President Donald Trump fired Comey.
If Comey's objective is revenge - and not the more noble doing the right thing - many of us will, well, forgive him.
We are among those who have found the forgiveness meme naïve.
You bet, to us it has played out in our lives as downright schoolboyish/schoolgirlish - the kinds of values they taught in elite prep schools and the all-women's Roman Catholic college I attended.
According to the forgiveness school of thought we seek to understand the humanity (usually quite dark) of the miscreant whom we perceive did us wrong.
That, in turn, will allow us to also see ourselves and our own character defects.
In forgiving the rascal, we then are able to forgive ourselves.
The result, goes the belief system on forgiveness, is being liberated from that negative.
And we are able to move on.
Great for people who practice that dictum and were liberated. The classic example seems to be Al Gore and what went down in the 2000 election.
But revenge, well orchestrated, also can liberate. A sense of self, confidence, and motivation to achieve can return.
After being tossed out of the company he founded, Steve Jobs did get his revenge on John Sculley. Forever, the question followed Sculley if he made a serious error in judgment firing Jobs. Essentially, he was finished. Jobs became a rock star. Apple soared in stock price and influence.
One-time Fox on-air personality Gretchen Carlson got her revenge on the cable channel's founder Roger Ailes. Allegedly he retaliated when she didn't participate in his sexual misconduct capers. Not only did she receive a massive settlement. Her book is a best-seller. And she is now the loudest voice in the room advocating respect for female professionals.
And, at Abovethelaw.com, executive editor Elie Mystal makes the establishment, especially BigLaw, look mighty foolish - and flawed. A minority, Mystal had bought into a Harvard undergraduate and Harvard Law School education. That left him with $150,000 student loan bill. He hated practicing law. Today, he's a celebrity. And, seems happy. Abovethelaw.com, a digital-only publication keeps scaling.
Takeaway: As a society, we might all re-think forgiving. Revenge might be required to move on from trauma.
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