what are you fighting for, if you become the thing you've been fighting against?
Have you ever thought about “getting even?” Getting revenge on someone or a group of people for something they’d done to you or someone you care about? Or if it’s negative, treating them the way they treat you?
A coupley times lol internally anyway because the pettiness is real.. but I’ve always been empathetic since as long as I can remember and I don’t like making people feel bad, so I process the situation internally, wānanga for a bit (or a while), decide how to handle the thing, then do that. Always, with a 100% strike rate, the moral highground is the right choice. Because how I behave and conduct myself is a reflection of me, my whakapapa and my values,
what I do or don’t do isn’t determined by anyone or anything else - but me.
That means taking responsibility, which is incredibly annoying sometimes, but always the right thing to do and no matter how uncomfortable in the moment, it pays off long-term. #growthgamestrong. Because you don’t diminish the mana and mauri of the person you’re in conflict with, you keep yours in tact
However, it’s also in our whakapapa to seek revenge - to get ‘even.’ What do you make of Tūmātauenga (atua of man, war) eating kai from the ngahere (forest), moana (sea) and whenua (land) etc. to express his frustrations towards his brothers (Tāne, Tangaroa, Haumietiketike, Rongomātāne etc.) who didn’t back him up in his battle against Tāwhirimātea?*
Here you have it,
the whakapapa and origins of eating, and of utu (revenge, retribution).
But if you think about it, were there any “winners” after all that? I’m not sure because I can’t find any content on it, but Tūmātauenga felt abandoned and betrayed and now his brothers feel a similar type of way…
“There are no winners in war” and I’d like to imagine how our world may have turned out if te ira atua (the atua) had other forms of resolving and dissolving their conflict. Just an observation I have the privilege of making some 10000 years later haha how about some more realistic, prevalent scenarios that we might find ourselves in…
• Pākeha have oppressed and exploited Māori and what we value, and continue to do so, in various forms. Do we practice utu and do what they have done to us? Do we inflict the same mamae and hurt upon them? So they can know what it feels like?
• Must you threaten or diminish someone or something, in order to validate your whakaaro or enhance your perceived mana/mauri? Must your amazing-ness have an intentionally negative, divisive, detrimental impact on others?
• If you go out of your way for someone, love and look after them (romantically or not) and they screw you over.. do you think about giving them a taste of their own medicine?
• Have even found yourself in a position you never thought you’d be in, because it’s against your values… but there you are..
Have you become the thing you’ve been fighting against?
Our kōrero holds so much wisdom, knowledge and intelligence for us and for the most part it’s full of aspirational, amazing examples to follow. However, there are also some examples of what not to do. This pūrākau (story) of utu could be one of them, depending on how you interpret it.
Utu is a natural part of our world - I mean, it’s in our whakapapa lol but for many of those examples above and others too, it doesn’t mean getting even or doing to people what they’ve done to us. It means levelling up and choosing how we want to react and engage with people or situations, rather than coming from a reactive state (where I’m at the mercy of external forces - naaah not about that life).
It means being the ‘bigger person’ and taking the moral highground, saving face and biting your lip. It means you kn
When you know better - do better, be better and raise the standard of excellence for those you engage with.
Kāti rā, tēnā tātou,
*Tāwhirimātea wasn’t happy after Rangi and Papa were separated. Attacked his brothers, Tū was the only one to fight back as the rest fled to their various domains they embody today.