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Passions in Poetry

Where is the line drawn?

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Ron
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25 posted 10-18-2004 12:54 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
A Destructive thought is evil.

Really, Essorant? So, by extension, you would also have to believe that chemo-therapy and radiation, both attempts to destroy rampant cancer cells, is evil? Indeed, by your definition, the destruction of destructive thought becomes a bit of a paradox, don't you think?
Essorant
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26 posted 10-18-2004 12:54 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Huan Yi

I believe a man still deserves his life, even if he deserves nothing else.
Huan Yi
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27 posted 10-18-2004 01:11 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Ron,


quote:

Tell that to the parents of a child who was raped tortured, dismembered and then murdered.


”I would, John, and more importantly, I support that the laws that already do.

The problem with vengeance is it's as often misdirected as not. You might reconsider your stance if those parents, in their overwhelming grief and anger, had any reason to think YOU were responsible for their loss. Emotion, though real and compelling, is a poor foundation for justice."

Keep in the context of the statement that brought the response:

“No man is evil himself.  No man is evil because he is alive or because he is he.  Therefore, no man should be treated as if he is the evil itself and be slain.  
Evil deserves to be killed.  Evil influences, evil thoughts, evil weapons deserve to be killed.  Not men.”

quote:

Some men can and do consciously and deliberately choose evil;

“I don't believe that for a moment.”

Your explanation?

John

Huan Yi
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28 posted 10-18-2004 01:16 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Essorant,

“I believe a man still deserves his life, even if he deserves nothing else.”

Even Hitler?
Why?

John
Essorant
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29 posted 10-18-2004 02:16 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Really, Essorant? So, by extension, you would also have to believe that chemo-therapy and radiation, both attempts to destroy rampant cancer cells, is evil? Indeed, by your definition, the destruction of destructive thought becomes a bit of a paradox, don't you think?

Yes, Perhaps all thoughts are a bit destructive.
But they are still good if they help save someone.

  


[This message has been edited by Essorant (10-18-2004 04:37 AM).]

Essorant
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30 posted 10-18-2004 02:33 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Huan Yi

Yes; Everyone always at least deserve his/her life.  

ice
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31 posted 10-18-2004 07:51 AM       View Profile for ice   Email ice   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ice

­
­­Skyfyre
I have been watching this post for several days now....you have opened up a very interesting topic...

In my opinion the tactics you say you have witnessed seemed to have worked as the perpetrators had planned....They outraged you, (even if in a different way than they had intended) and that, I believe was the aim and goal of those who placed the paper tombstones.

The world is not ready to listen to preachers of peace, even many of those who say they follow the tenants of the prince of peace, as you remember he was hung for preaching the truth, and so unusual tactics must be used to gain attention...

Being of the "flower child" generation I have brought forth a history of conflict protest stronger than many that might read this thread...Do you know about the Catholic priests in the Viet Nam war era (the Berrigans, Philip and Daniel) who broke into draft board, and military offices, and poured blood on draft records? That also was appalling to many people, but they got recognition by the press, who even today will not cover a peaceful demonstration unless some kind of blood flows, they especially love violence and will attend a rally in a heartbeat if a fight breaks out.

"who is to say that these people did not die fighting for what they believed in?"

Nobody is trying to say that, unless there were other signs stating that that you don't mention here...

My personal feelings are that the lawn should have been littered with many thousands more (paper notes) with the names of all the Iraqi civilians that have been caught in the crossfire...ok let me restate- hundreds of thousands of paper notes including the  names of Iraqi citizens murdered by Saddam....

"But there they were, staked into the grass, like so many scarecrows to frighten the children"

and frighten the "children" is exactly what they were put there for...

But...they are not..

"Colorless, meaningless numbers on a page."

The names are brought forward in total respect, as a sign of warning....those soldiers deserve this remembrance, this dedication....Their fellows left behind must remember them....they are placed as a warning of what happens when war is chosen quickly, perpetrated by distortions and with little thought....they are honorable martyrs who swore to due their duty,this is the least that can be done for them now.

"Argue politics if you will.  Protest the war, and mourn the dead - but have some decency and do not mix the two."

Those "two" Protest the war, and mourn the dead - are what those placards are all about in my opinion, they need be mixed to expose the horrors....people cannot continue to carry on normal lives in a time of war....the war press being servants of government now makes the placing of those cruel headlines on the lawn all the more important.

I am not trying to downplay your feelings about this matter, not in the least bit...your feelings are your own and they hurt no one...In actuality I embrace them in a patriotic way. You speak your opinions in an intellectual way, and by reading your post here it proves that you are able to articulate them in a respectful way....


--------------ice
  ><>

­
Stephanos
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32 posted 10-18-2004 10:19 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
Some men can and do consciously and deliberately choose evil;


“I don't believe that for a moment.”



Ron, I was wondering if you thought the recorded history in the Bible (including the saying of the prophets of the Jews, and the apostles of the Christian faith) might present a case that ALL men deliberately choose what is evil, at least part of the time?  I find that plausible, knowing my own heart.  I guess I'm not (as Francis Schaeffer liked to say) "romantic" about the fallen nature of humanity, but neither were the fathers of our faith.



Stephen.  
Ron
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33 posted 10-18-2004 12:27 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Stephen, I think it's important when dealing with others to separate choice from consequence.

If a man does something that is "evil" (whatever that means), I think it is perfectly acceptable to stop him from doing it again. I think it is even acceptable to punish said man to deter others from similar actions. We can, and sadly we often should, change a man's actions.

We cannot, however, have any effect whatsoever on a man's intent. Once you determine that a man is choosing evil for the sake of evil, the only possible choice is to destroy him. You cannot thwart gravity and you can't change free will.

More pragmatically, I don't believe in evil men for much the same reason I don't believe in faeries or leprechauns. Outside of literature, I've never seen one. Every man I know, and every man I've studied through their own writings (and that most certainly includes Hitler), always justifies their evil as necessary for a perceived greater good. They are confused. Some, I'll readily admit, are so confused they will forever remain beyond human redemption. Unless we're willing to examine their confusion, however, to reasonably explore their justifications, we really can't know which ones can or cannot be redeemed.

In my opinion, when we label someone as evil so that we can more comfortably kill them, we are doing exactly what we are punishing -- justifying our own evil as necessary for a perceived greater good.


Stephanos
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34 posted 10-18-2004 02:49 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron,

The question was whether a man could "deliberately or consciously choose what is evil".  


Some questions for you:


Does self deception justify the choice?  Or can it be (at least in some cases) an elaborate way to attempt and hide the evil deed?  Even Nietzsche described what a daunting task it is to overcome our inward moral leanings in order to do something "beyond good and evil".  He attributed it to "greatness" for that very reason.




Does one believing that it is possible for humans to do deliberately rotten things, mean that that same person is obligated to think that the best thing to do is simply and always to kill the transgressors?  You seem to link these two.




Is labeling a man as "evil", and believing some of his actions to be the deliberate choice of an evil deed, the very same thing?  You seem to link these two.  Labeling a man as "utterly evil" seems to be more God's thing, if it has to come to that, than our thing.  Judging deeds and certain choices as evil seems to be very much part of our thing.  Though it requires a consciousness of our own tendencies toward evil or wrongdoing, and a great dose of love and mercy, to handle such a task.  And if you say those things are lacking in a big way, I'll agree.



Stephen.


Ron
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35 posted 10-18-2004 04:30 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Does self deception justify the choice?  Or can it be (at least in some cases) an elaborate way to attempt and hide the evil deed?

It doesn't justify, Stephen, it explains. And it is seldom all that elaborate, though it is equally seldom insincere. Read any of the political debates around here, or most of the religious ones, and it becomes increasingly obvious man is capable of talking himself into just about anything he wants to believe. Of course, the most common evils aren't even consciously questioned, let alone justified. Someone hurt me, so I hurt someone (and not always the same someone) back.

You shouldn't, however, assume I'm talking only about self-deception. The most egregious acts throughout history, I think, are the result not just of bad choices but of limited choices. From the crucifixion of Christ to the bombing of Hiroshima, the culminating act of evil is but the final domino in a long series of dominos.

Theologically, Stephen, I think the road to Hell is paved with good intentions because we ALL have good intentions.
Stephanos
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36 posted 10-18-2004 08:32 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

But Ron,

Either we have an unjust God, or hell (or the cross between us and hell) becomes the revelation that our intentions weren't so good after all.  Wasn't there a prophet who said that the human heart was "decietful above all things and desperately wicked"?  


And no, I think the players involved with Calvary had ample opportunity to avoid their involvement sin in the crucifixion.  Even Pontius Pilate had a wife who was warned with a very vivid dream.  He himself was shaken to the core, from what he saw of that man in his interviews.  He had to jump some pretty high divine hurdles to accomplish that misdeed, and burn some undeniable signs.  If dominos are the analogy, someone had to actually insert that next to the last domino by their own hand, having been told that the fall would be great.

Stephen.
Ron
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37 posted 10-19-2004 03:51 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Either we have an unjust God, or hell (or the cross between us and hell) becomes the revelation that our intentions weren't so good after all.

Neither omnipotence nor hindsight changes the intent, Stephen. Besides, it isn't really about heaven or hell, both of which are beyond current reach. It's about human nature and trying to understand why people do as they do.

As to Pontius Pilate, in knowing me you should well know I wasn't suggesting a lack of volition or choice. The penultimate domino was indeed placed by his own hand, but I'm betting it didn't seem nearly as onerous or dangerous as would the last. And the one before that was easier, yet, to make. At some much earlier point, Pilate might well have decided to become a simple farmer. The day of Calvary, that choice might no longer have seemed possible.

Pilate placed each domino himself, but where he placed them was necessarily a reflection of where he had placed all the ones before. Bad choices carry consequences. When one choice is an attempt to evade the consequences of an earlier choice, we usually just compound the consequences and move them further along the chain. Each of Pilate's decisions left him with fewer alternatives, until I'm sure he felt the chain inevitably resolved to choices between lesser or greater evils. How many men haven't, at some time, painted themselves into similar corners?

Never did Pilate wake up and say, "Gee, I think I'll be evil today and kill the only innocent man the world has ever known."

At each step in his life, I think Pontius Pilate, like every other man born of man, was just trying to make the best of a bad situation. I don't have to like or support his choices, but I would be a fool not to try to better understand them. Labeling Pilate as evil only gets in the way of that understanding.
Stephanos
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38 posted 10-19-2004 10:47 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
At each step in his life, I think Pontius Pilate, like every other man born of man, was just trying to make the best of a bad situation. I don't have to like or support his choices, but I would be a fool not to try to better understand them. Labeling Pilate as evil only gets in the way of that understanding.



I know there's a balance to all things.  And going around thinking everyone else is evil is not at all what I'm talking about.  But thinking that men, in general, can't be evil, might, at the very least, get in the way of understanding that one's own deeds could be evil rather than "trying to make the best of a bad situation".  There are exit doors all along the way, opportunities to turn, to repent, as it were, in the darkest of tunnels.  


Doesn't the problem manifest when we veer from thinking about what is "right", to what is "right for us"?  Though the two may overlap, when they don't, the test usually presents itself.  Was Pilate thinking of what was right, in and of itself (remember he had some pretty big clues)?  Or was he thinking of his own political hassles, and how that was more important?


But "trying to understand" the causes or rationalizations behind someone's evil choices, is certainly a worthwhile study.  I think, for one, it might help us to avoid making some of the same mistakes.


God knows, I'm in the same needy little boat.


Stephen.
hush
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39 posted 10-19-2004 01:50 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

To me, it seems that a visual representation of the death caused by the war might be a way to get people to stop thinking about the soldiers as numbers. Because you know what we hear on the news every day? "Four more American soldiers killed in Iraq today..." "The death toll in Iraq has now passed 1,000 American troops..."

In our news, they become numbers, in the brief and matter-of-fact way it is reported. But a grave is not a number, and shocking as it is, it might remind people who aren't thinking of the gravity of the situation of the importance of each and every life lost. After all, seeing is believing.

On the other hand, it could just be a politically motivated farce, especially seeing that the perpetrators flew the scene. I don't think it takes away from the inherent message though... just the motivation. Does pure political motivation justify it? No... but an intention to make people think about the death that occurs daily does.

As far as evil goes... how'd that come up? Anyway, I think the whole concept of evil is something we made up to make ourselves feel better.... that person did something horrible? Let's give it a label like "evil" to differentiate that person from us, because we're not evil... which is a load of crap. We all have the potential to do terrible things, given the right mental state (Psychosis will lead you to believe a lot of things that really aren't true), situation (killing to protect a loved one, for example), or coercion (can we say: draft?)
Ron
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40 posted 10-19-2004 02:21 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I don't watch a lot of movies any more, but interestingly enough, I watched the much lauded Cold Mountain last night, a love story set amidst the carnage of the American Civil War. I couldn't help but think of this thread, of this war, because the brutality and de-humanization depicted in the movie seem pretty typical, to me, of the way man has always waged war on other men.

A hundred and fifty years from now, the men and women dying in Iraq really will be just numbers and largely lost names. Maybe another good writer of that new era will pen another good love story, in the process dramatizing the pain of those we've lost these past few years. Clearly, I think, if any writer tried to write that story today, they would likely be nailed to a cross. For disrespect? For having an agenda? Or, maybe, just because the hurt is still too close for most of us?

It's a pity, I think, that we have to wait to remember.
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41 posted 10-19-2004 05:47 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I saw a young lady on television Ron who didn't want us to wait to remember.  It was one of the more poignant displays I've seen since this new era began.

She was in Arizona in the crowd for the Chris Matthews show wearing a T-Shirt she'd made herself, it was an epic in and of itself.

It had a picture of a young man on it, and the words, Zero WMD's, 1 Dead Brother.  

A mother doesn't, indeed, if one believes, God doesn't -- count past one.
Stephanos
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42 posted 10-21-2004 06:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush:
quote:
Let's give it a label like "evil" to differentiate that person from us, because we're not evil... which is a load of crap. We all have the potential to do terrible things ...



You replace "evil" with "terrible".  But what's the difference between terrible deeds and evil deeds?  I've watched people try to deny that evil exists, and I think it's futile, because other words just end up in place of it which paint the same picture.  Evil is a reality, not merely a label, or an idea.  On the other hand, I agree with you that we can judge others to exclusion of judging ourselves ... which is an "evil" tendency of it's own.  


Stephen.
hush
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43 posted 10-22-2004 11:23 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Maybe the difference is in the semantics?

Evil, to me, implies a willful wrongdoing. A decision to be a bad person, but I don't think that exists, at least not in a pure way. Yes, we do have the capability to do bad, or wrong, or hurtful things without thinking about them. Some of us even think abou them- but it all boils down to "What's good for me?" Someone does something they somehow perceive to be good- for themselves, if for nobody else.
 
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