That has really stuck with me, because it is so elegant. The cordage is useful (like, the difference between seafaring and not). Using it helps make up for the wrong, but also reminds the wronged party about what good the perp has done for them lately. Making cordage takes a long time, and making it well takes solid attention. Mindfulness maybe isn't required for the job, but it would help...at least you have a long time to think about what you've done.
And then there's the symbolism of the task. The pieces of husk you peel off a coconut are trash, but if you arrange the fibers with the right sort of relationship to one another and get them all working together, you have something very worthwhile.
It seems in some places the modern justice system still accepts fines in this form, as an alternative to money.
I wonder if this tradition could work here on the mainland. We might have to substitute nettle or something.
There are intrinsically labor-intensive goods like saffron, but even for those, a week's US wages might be a year's wages for the global median wage-earner.
I think that where this tradition is still alive, it is on life support. Part of what keeps it going may be a set of traditions that somehow places special value on hand-made cordage, or might be some distance from the industrial economy.
Some of the impetus in building intentional communities is a movement to rely less on the mainstream economy. Whether that is based in values that suggest un-plugging is the right thing to do, or predictions that the grid will fail, I could imagine circumstances where one or both sides of that equation (a week of minimum-wage work=a mile of mass-market rope) is taken off the table.
Restorative justice is to our current justice system what permaculture is to conventional ag.
"Geoffrey Mc Mullan Born in Belfast, Geoffrey trained at London Southbank University London in Addiction Psychology and Counselling, where his dissertation explored the effects of Nature Awareness on people with addictions."
Here is a video about his work:
Emerson White wrote:
In the era where you can buy a mile worth of rope for a weeks wages I don't think receiving it would have the same impact.
It's the principle.
Up until a few years ago, it was common here for young men convicted of petty offenses to be sentence to community service - splitting firewood for the elderly in the community. Not strictly restorative justice, since they weren't necessarily splitting wood for the people they wronged, but it was a step in the direction of restorative justice, as it brought them back, arguably, into relationship with the community.
Very interesting idea! I'm thinking any activity that allows a person to create something of value for the larger community would give a person a sense of connection and possibly redemption. It doesn't have to be Nature Therapy, just productive. Like being tasked (and taught) to build 20 toy boxes for a local daycare center, paint a mural on a public wall, bake 100 loaves of bread--or better make 200 mini-pretzels (do you know how challenging it is to master that simple twist-flip technique of the perfect pretzel??) You get the idea. Just make it something the person and the community could point to in remembrance and appreciation for all it entailed.
The original idea (coconut cordage) was very intriguing. Your interpretation/development of the idea is growing into brilliance! I would like to see more of this principle discussed, and observe how it might be implemented perhaps especially with youth. I love the teaching aspect of it, as well as the production/community responsibility aspect.
I think I'll suggest this idea to a mother I know who is having much trouble with her rebellious 11yo. It is worth a chance.