Norwegian author Harry Hole explores the idea that revenge is natural extension of the human ability to think abstractly. He suggests that while revenge may be specifically rationalized out of modern legal systems, it still lies somewhere in the foundations of civilized behavior.
That is why revenge is more than a shortsighted and pointless instinct; it is an example of man’s sublime capacity for abstract thought. By avenging a misdeed we don’t regain what we have lost, but we ensure that misdeeds have consequences that we hope can be a deterrent in the abstract future: Your adversary knows that attacking your offspring has a cost, even if the attack is successful. Or especially if it is successful.