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Oh Justice

In times of global upheaval, ecological destruction, and societal inequity, justice can seem very far away. Justice in the modern world is often viewed as a contract, an agreement forged between human beings rather than something inherent to the natural world. And yet, for many cultures and traditions, justice is seen as a living presence, as the actual dynamic flow of cause and effect that serves to keep a larger natural balance. Tradition after tradition speaks of the larger law of the cosmos and of the human role in aligning to it.  At a time when people are experiencing deep grief and anxiety over the fate of the planet, understanding and reconnecting to a living vision of justice can help provide not only a sense of somatic anchor but also a way forward that asks us to align to something both immediate and ultimate. This vision of living justice asks us to move away from the language of abstract ‘justification’ towards a more palpable understanding of cause and effect, of excess and repercussion, of balance and flow. Even as it asks us to be awake to the suffering of the world and take action to help remedy its imbalances, it also provokes us to find this living flow within ourselves, to go deep into the roots of cycles of vengeance and retribution in our own hearts.  At once a lament over the sorry state of human justice, a cry out to greater justice, and a deep inquiry into justice as a living force, this episode draws on a range of voices from activists and elders from diverse traditions. Joining for this episode are author and Islamic scholar Dr. Omid Safi, CNN commentator and activist Van Jones, former Tibetan political prisoner Ngawang Sangdrol, author and death row inmate Jarvis Jay Masters, Palestinian-American activist Nadia Irshaid Gilbert, Aboriginal Nyoongar Elder Noel Nannup, and author and Native American activist Jose Barreiro. Featuring original music by Leah Song, Chloe Smith, and Duncan Wickel of Rising Appalachia and Sidibe, this episode is meant to be listened to on a good sound system at a time when you can devote your full attention.