Wanting to get even is inherently a dangerous proposition, but grasping why can be difficult. Revenge is a competitive act. Sometimes it is selfish thoughts about a legitimate loss in a fair contest. Just as often, it’s about a losing a contest you didn’t even know was a contest. Avoiding selfish gratification becomes an easy choice for most empaths, but result of losing a hidden contest is moral outrage.
Think carefully about this asyemetric condidtion. If you were wronged by a person or a society because they were competing when you were cooperating, they have commited a psychopathic act. This does not mean they only capible of psychopathic or selfish acts (a psychopath) but it may. You may challenge them to a fair rematch, but if they are a psychopath they will only accept if they think they can win. Rematches for unfair contests are a cooperitive not competitive behavior.
If you relize that they have intentionally slighted you, the temptation may be to challenge them to a second contest with some unfair suprise. Retribution is the act of challenging a person or society to an unfair contest, to teach them a ‘lesson,’ about having done the same.
You may already see what is wrong here. If they are a psychopath, they will not learn any lesson about right and wrong. The only possibly good outcome is if they fail to assess the contest, agree to it, loose, and then determine that they were in correct and you are actually the master and they the slave. You can imagine how likely that is. Even if you get the prize of being ‘master’ who want’s to hang around with a psychopath?
If it is an empath or a moral society, you simply need to point out the inequity, and they will correct it as soon as they can. You should forgive them, as that is best for everyone’s emotional health and well being, but don’t forget. Memory is critical to seperate an unethical act from a patern displayed by an amoral entity.
So personal retribution can have a good outcome, but it’s a BIG risk. Hence our unexplained aversion to it. Our metamind’s advantage in long term high impact risk.
Of course retribution does not need to be high risk does it? Life operates as many levels. Even if they don’t cooperate with them, that person or society interacts and perhaps even hides in many other societies. Societies have rules to keep out psychopths. If the rule is ethical, and it has been broken, invoking it is actually doing a service for humanity.
Of course if you’ve encountered a sociopath, their guile will slide past your attempts to unveil them. The best advice you can get is ‘the best revenge is living well.’ Free yourself from the people and organizations that shield the amoral agent. Turn your back. Shun them all. Don’t interact. Don’t communicate. Don’t invest. And encourage others to do the same. Adapt to life without their society. Remember it’s not the strongest or the smartest, but the most adaptive to change. Make your life a contest they could never win. A contest of cooperation.