Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Drowning in blood

Humans abhor murder, right? My friends - it is a myth. Humans murder all the time. It is not an abberation, it is the norm. We murder because we're hungry, or because wey are jealous, or because we covet, or because we hate.

Especially because we hate.


Blogger Shoshana said...

I'm reminded of when Yasser Arafat passed away and people celebrated. He was an abhorrent person, yet I still had trouble celebrating anyone's death. However many people, people I respected, found joy in his death. While I understand where they are coming from, I couldn't embrace the feeling myself.

Likewise, while I understand the mentality behind warfare, but to me, it is still killing, and I don't believe I could take a gun and knowingly end someone else's life, no matter what they have done to me. Many see this as a weakness, I am not sure I would want to improve myself in this area.

Maybe I don't really understand the hatred mentality (I think I have been extremely fortunate in life to not encounter many to hate), but I think you are correct - people do murder because they hate, and that hatred stems from many things.

April 26, 2006 6:14 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

He was an abhorrent person, yet I still had trouble celebrating anyone's death.

Yes. It is like the famous Midrash about what G-d said to the angels who were celebrating the drowning of the Egyptians.

What terrifies me is that recently I have arrived at a realization that although we are all taught that we are all basically good people, and it really takes a lot to get someone to kill somebody else - this is an inversion of reality. Most of us are very capable of killing, and it is just social barriers that prevent us from crossing the line.

April 26, 2006 7:30 AM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

What you say about social barriers is similar to what Hobbes had to say about human nature. He said that we are in a natural state of constant war. We naturally have the desire to kill others (basically because we are jealous and desire to have what other people have), except that we don't because we are afraid they will do so first, and we need alliances in order to keep ourselves from being killed.

I had real problem with this while learning his philosophy, but I was dismayed that many in my class didn't. That ethics class actually scared me a lot about the state of human nature - I was often one of the very few in my class arguing that humans are good inherently, and care about more than just themselves. I hate to think that Hobbes is right.

April 26, 2006 8:44 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I was often one of the very few in my class arguing that humans are good inherently

What makes you think this, Shoshana?

April 26, 2006 9:02 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Well, whether or not we are inherently good, 99.9% of us are not murderers, and will never be. I think that perhaps we all contain a spark of darkness that could erupt into murder, perhaps, but the fact is that it doesn't. Almost always. Even when we are annoyed or crushed or furious. Which, to me, says something pretty good either about human nature or about the effictiveness of the restraints that we've put on it.

We could be murderers, but we consistently make the choice not to be.

April 26, 2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

effictiveness of the restraints that we've put on it.

Tell that to the Rwandans or perhaps the Armenians.

99.9% maybe in this country - we don't represent humanity.

April 26, 2006 10:29 PM  
Blogger Stevin said...

What were the reasons behind the original murder? Jealousy and hatred.
Cain murdered Avel because he was jealous, and because HaShem looked in favor on his sacrifice.

Well said, and very true!!

April 26, 2006 10:56 PM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

I'm not sure if you are asking why I thought I was one of the few, or why I think people are inherently good...

I said I was one of the few in my class, because often when we discussed these topics, I was the only one in my class, with everyone else arguing against me, that I had faith in humankind to care about more than just themselves. Once in a while one other girl would back me up, but often the class would attack me and suggest that I wasn't being honest in my belief in mankind.

I believe that humans are good inherently, because I have been lucky to see how much people do for each other in many ways. I have had wonderful friends and caring people I didn't even know so well back me up and help me. And I know how much I care about others, and how I would go to lengths to help people, so I believe that others are the same way.

April 27, 2006 5:34 AM  
Blogger dbs said...

This is what comes from too much Velvet Furs.

Just because humans are capable of doing horrible things - and will, under the right circumstances, does not mean that they are devoid of goodness. Almost all people, (with very few sociopath exceptions) want to do the right thing. Many things get in the way of this impulse, and the drive to survive is paramount above all other impulses. Most evil deeds are done by moral individuals who have bought into a bad idea (preserve the Aryan race, kill Amolek, cleanse the Church of apostates, convert by the sword, etc.). The story of human history is the story of the slow, painful and imperfect path to rise above evil ideas which grant the license to do evil and to arrive at a more humane world.

April 29, 2006 7:58 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I think my point is ultimately this... the distance to cross in order to kill someone is not very far. It doesn't mean that you are evil, or that it wasn't justifiable, or that you may never have the situation arise...

Just that killing is the natural state, and we learn not to kill, not the other way around.

April 30, 2006 7:34 PM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

Apparently, you are a follower of Hobbes...you would have fit in with my classmates ;)

May 01, 2006 3:27 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Apparently, you are a follower of Hobbes...
Unfortunately, my college education favored engineering and science over philosophy, so while I can still explain to you how an operational amplifier works, I can't attest to thorough understanding of Hobbes. So, I'll have to take your word for it.

Look, don't get me wrong - there IS good in people. I too have met many wonderful and exceptionally good individuals, but the exception does not prove the norm.

you would have fit in with my classmates

Maybe. Though I am probably too much of a fox.

May 01, 2006 7:40 AM  

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