One of my students asked me what justice tastes like. It’s an interesting question, and one I’m not qualified to answer any more than I could comment on what a world of truth tastes like.
I know truth and justice in small-scale things, things close to me personally, but to be able to tell someone else? I haven’t the words. The same way that words escape me to say what the taste of freedom really is.
I have known people who say they know what freedom tastes like, with some describing it as a warm spring rain, others as the tang on an ocean breeze. The best description I’ve ever heard for describing how freedom tastes is when someone told me it tastes how a freshly mown lawn smells on a not too hot day.
I’ve heard that justice tastes sweet, but I’ve also heard the same about revenge. I’m pretty certain that given they are two very different concepts, they must taste of different types of sweetness.
The perception of justice, freedom and truth also vary from person to person so I suspect that would alter how one describes the taste of each.
As a free person/woman where I’ve not had to deal with personal injustices, rather those on a more social/community level, I’ve not had to worry about the taste of injustice and thus what justice would also taste like. And there is no way that I could know truly what justice tastes like until I’ve tasted the flavor of injustice within my own life. And the injustices I know are not just mine to personally taste.
The problem with large-scale injustices is that when they aren’t truly your own at a personal level you can do a disservice to trying to find the way towards justice for those who seek it and deserve it. It’s the difference between eating an authentic dish prepared locally by a local person versus sampling it in a restaurant designed to cater to a more broad reaching group which means the palates are different.
The first time I tasted pad Thai in it’s local form I remember being surprised at the brightness of the flavors. Not to mention the lack of the weirdly orange-ish sauce that normally comes with it. I also had no clue that medium chili meant hot on my scale. You have to experience it personally to know how it tastes, and even then it is based on your own perception.
The fact that there are people in this world who hunger for a taste, only a taste mind you, of justice is heart-breaking. The fact that there are people in this world who hunger for the taste of truth, rather than the taste of lies and misdirection is also heart-breaking. To ask that these people be provided meals full of justice and truth is not even excess, not when so many of us have that daily for meals and snacks. We have forgotten the taste of them simply because we have taken them for granted and no longer savor them on our tongues.