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Author Topic: Heavy Thoughts  (Read 3891 times)

Kabrinski

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Heavy Thoughts
« on: August 08, 2012, 04:56 »

Every once in a while, I fall into a though heavy state-mainly when I'm listening to music, so I thought I'd share some of them.

The wieght of human life.

How does one weigh human life? Can we truly justify the death of any living being, regardless of the crimes they have committed? I have recently begun to ponder just what that means. What brings this up was an incident that happened nearly 4 years ago-as well as the fact I heard this question somewhere.

If we took it at face value-the convict who has murdered dozens, and those who have fought and died to secure our current way in life-heroes who deserve all the respect in the world-the convict would be hauled off to prison, the war heroes both living and dead would be honored-but what would happen if those roles were reversed-what would happen if the convict became the hero-doing what we could not-and the heroes cast out of our society? I say this-that while this situation is unusual and somewhat perverted by many people’s standards, it goes to show that even the lowest of humanity are capable for putting it on the line for the greater good and that the highest, most honorable men and women are capable of heinous crimes.

For some, perhaps race may be a good example-let’s say you saw some colored man hanging out with his homies, rapping and acting all tough and dressed in fancy clothing. What would you say? This man is a criminal-the scum of the earth with nothing to contribute to society? Perhaps this is true-that these men are a group of thugs-terrorizing the local people and otherwise making life a living hell. But yet, perhaps not-perhaps these people have simply adopted the looks, but are actually good people-doctors, police officers, and perhaps even business men. How they are perceived is not a world view but YOUR view-you taking what they are on the surface rather than within…or perhaps the opposite in hoping that things will turn out for the best.

And then comes the darkest part-the justification of the death of another. The weight this can bear on you is enough to break even the strongest sprit-what has this person or persons done to you that is so wrong that it justifies their death? Can you truly be so petty as to take the life of another over some slight-or have you become so blinded by rage over what they have done-whether for an insult or them killing another that you descend to their level, or below them? For those of you who have, and I should hope not-this opportunity, it was undoubtedly among the darkest hours of your life. The rage, the feelings of injustice towards yourself…enough to send cold shivers down your spine at what you may have done. My only words to conclude this is that we all have a dark nature, but it is our choice whether or not we acknowledge it.
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We all walk a dark path...for there are only shadows. Some lighter, and some darker...but shadows all the same.

For all life is a shade of grey.

Motorheadbanger

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 07:26 »

You say it like I already murdered those guys.
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Klear

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2012, 09:33 »

You're posing some interesting quetions and then provide arguments that have little to do with it. Eg. weight of a human life is something to consider, but what does it have to do with killing somebody out of rage/spite? The first part can be answered in relation to society, its values and whatever morals you subscribe to, the second is a matter of temperament and is completely subjective.

In any case, the most straightforward answer I can give you is that worth of a human life cannot be quantified, partly because you can't ever have enough information to judge it, partly because "worth" is a quality you can't simply connect with human life and describe it in some (implied) units.

You could at best try to compare worth of the lives of two people, but unless you take some extreme examples (say, Stalin vs. Ghandi), you'll be left with a classical moral dillemma which can't have an objective "correct" answer; such questions are best suited to point out differences between moral systems and philosophies, or to illustrate your own, but not to reach some objective answer.

Also, I may have not read the OP carefully enough, but what is the incident you refer to in the first paragraph?
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Matt_S

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2012, 16:27 »

How does one weigh human life?
When you say it like that, it makes me think of "weighing" one group of people against another group to decide which one is more important.  I think that sort of thinking is dangerous.  My answer would be "don't weigh it".  The idea reminds me a lot of trolley problems which generally offer only two choices, let group A die by default or kill group B to save them, with there being a catch to the choices (a lot of the times the catch is rather silly and unrealistic).  I'm not saying that there can't be good, well-reasoned responses to such problems (my general approach to these problems revolves around determining why group A is the default to die, and whether group B could just as easily have been the default except for some minor circumstance of the problem.  So yeah, I'll maybe flip switches but I won't push fat people in the way, for example), but when neither choice is any good I don't like the idea of forbidding some choices or requiring others.

Heck, here's a twist on one of the trolley problems: you're sitting beside some trolley tracks, watching 3 men working on the tracks some distance away, and you can see they're all listening to iPods so they can't hear anything.  Suddenly you hear a trolley coming, and a fat man falls out of the sky onto the tracks.  Looking up, you see a moralist standing on a bridge who looks rather shady.  The fat man's alive but injured and can't get off the tracks unassisted.  You now see the trolley approaching.  Using your super deduction skills you realize that if the trolley hits the fat man it will stop and the workers will live while the fat man will be killed, but if you help the fat man off the tracks the workers will be killed by the trolley.  Question: Do you save the fat man?  Yeah, now the shoe is on the other foot, trolley problem.

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Can we truly justify the death of any living being, regardless of the crimes they have committed?
Are we talking about the death penalty or self-defense here?  I think self-defense is entirely justified.

And here's a good moral problem I heard a while back: You're in a lifeboat with a baby, a convicted felon, and a geriatric old man. You will be rescued, but not before you'd all starve to death. However, if the rest of you eat one passenger, you will live long enough to be rescued. Who do you kill and eat?
Spoiler: My answer (click to show/hide)
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Klear

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2012, 02:29 »

My response to the trolley problems is always "I suffer a mental breakdown, making me unable to act, condemning the group of people in immediate danger to death. This experience leaves a great scar on my psyché and I won't ever be able to forgive myself, despite spending long hours awake at night examining the situation from all angles."

In any case, as I wrote in my first post here - these things don't have a correct answers, just answers that are correct under some moral systems and as such an answer cannot be judged as correct, only the moral priciples that the answer implies.

Also, I'm pretty sure nobody takes these things seriously anymore. Today it's game theory that is popular =)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 02:30 by Klear »
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Reef Blastbody

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2012, 09:05 »

@Matt_S :

Is there an option to try to throw my shoes at the shady moralist on the bridge in an attempt to knock him down onto the tracks and absorb the brunt of the trolley impact, thus sparing the fat man and the workers, while depriving the world of a figure who seeks to impose ethical quandaries on the rest of us? Or is the trolley travelling at such speeds that only a fat man of hefty proportions could possibly stop it?


@Klear :

Best of both worlds; using trolley problems in game theory. Although when forced to represent it in game terms, most games will give you the painfully "same with a different hat" NICE, NEUTRAL, or NAUGHTY options and the appropriate XP/reward which helps the player decide. I guess you could reverse engineer it to look at it as who will best reward you : (the three men, having iPods and full time jobs could possibly pool their resources to give you gifts for saving their lives), the fat man (who, as a result of his size, must have significant resources to have acquired all that food to not only become that large, but remain that large), or, the shady moralist, who is possibly a shadowy conspiracy theory figure who seeks an apprentice to carry on his dark craft of perpetuating such dilemmas and will take you into his fold with advanced bridge-shoving techniques and Shady Gear.

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Melon

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2012, 10:12 »

1) You can weigh human life, but that weighing will be totally biased. If heard of a story of a mother who had some children. One of them was a daughter that was raped. She demanded that rapist should be put to death.

Some time later, her son, raped a girl. You would suspect that she demanded the same? No!  It was her lovable son, he was provoked by that sl*t and he is innocent.

So you see, the weighing is biased, like I said before. Because of this weighing we had fascist and communist regimes. But the problem also dwells between normal people, who put etiquettes to others. This is also weighing. We weigh based on university a person has graduated from, we weigh a person by his education/parents/town/language/carnation. You name it. You have it.

Weighing is bad. But we cannot escape it, everybody weighs other people, sometime completely unconsciously.

2) I was once for death penalty. But over time it came to me, that this is the easiest solution but not the best one. It's really easy to kill an individual instead of trying to "fix" him/her. You can easily punish someone else, because you have morality. But where did morality came from? From you? No, morality came from your parents, brothers and sisters, friends, society, people you meet on the bus. If you are lucky, you will have some morality (although still you can have some mental disease, but that's the other case). But if you are born into bad neighborhood, with prostitutes, drunken, addicts, people killing each other, what will be your morality? I think, that since you were "better" born, you are responsible, for at least trying to help such people.

But on the other hand, if I will be attacked by such person, I will retaliate. Life is brutal, life is unjust.
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Matt_S

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2012, 13:24 »

@Matt_S :

Is there an option to try to throw my shoes at the shady moralist on the bridge in an attempt to knock him down onto the tracks and absorb the brunt of the trolley impact, thus sparing the fat man and the workers, while depriving the world of a figure who seeks to impose ethical quandaries on the rest of us? Or is the trolley travelling at such speeds that only a fat man of hefty proportions could possibly stop it?
A third choice?  In a trolley problem?  lololol.  The moralist has perfect information, so he can dodge your shoe.
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Reef Blastbody

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2012, 14:23 »

-- Messages --------------------------------------------------
You enter the Subway, level 2. You sense a passage to a place beyond...
You see : a moralist (rather shady)
There is a Fat Man lying here.
Suddenly the train approaches!
You start running!
You hear the scream of a freed soul!
The Fat Man has died! ... Press <Enter>...


-- General --------------------------------------------------- 
129 brave souls have ventured into Moral Dilemma:
120 of those were killed.
9 souls destroyed the Moralist...
4 sacrificed the Fat Man for the good of mankind.
2 showed that it can outsmart train itself.
--------------------------------------------------------------
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Matt_S

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2012, 14:29 »

-- Messages --------------------------------------------------
You enter the Subway, level 2. You sense a passage to a place beyond...
You see : a moralist (rather shady)
There is a Fat Man lying here.
Suddenly the train approaches!
You start running!
You hear the scream of a freed soul!
The Fat Man has died! ... Press <Enter>...


-- General --------------------------------------------------- 
129 brave souls have ventured into Moral Dilemma:
120 of those were killed.
9 souls destroyed the Moralist...
4 sacrificed the Fat Man for the good of mankind.
2 showed that it can outsmart train itself.
--------------------------------------------------------------
I lol'd :)
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Klear

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Re: Heavy Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2012, 14:43 »

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