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Passions in Poetry

Compromise

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hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


0 posted 02-05-2002 11:25 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

What are everyone's takes on this? Is compromise a good thing, or a bad thing? If it is inherently one or the other, are there exceptions where it could act as the opposite? Any thoughts?

I got into this conversation about a year ago with my old lit. teacher. We had watched the movie Ragtime in his class, and it presented a situation I found interesting.

The situation: The protagonist is a black man who owns his own car. He is driving along, minding his own business, and he finds the road blacked by a firetruck parked outside the station. He gets out of his car to request the firement move the truck, which they do after a certain amount of ridicule.  When he returns to his car, he finds the seat covered in manure. Infuriated, he demands that the firemen clean it up. They laugh, and the confrontation escalates. A policeman ends up arresting the protagonist.

After this, he proceeds to attempt to file a complaint against the FD and possibly to PD, I'm not sure. His car, in the meantime, has been practically destroyed by the firemen. He faces impossible odds and no moral support.

Eventually, his finace hears that the president is coming to town. Eager to help her lover, she goes down (this was back in the time of train campaigns) and in the attempt to get the president's attention, ends up being (Shot? beaten? I forget) because someone yells that she has a gun. She ends up dying.

My argument was that had the protagonist simply swallowed his pride and cleaned the car, he would have avoided a huge amount of personal hardship, including the loss of his wife.

I believe some things are more important than pride... and to me, my personal happiness is more important than sacrificing my life to a greater cause. Of course, I'm still young, and that might make me more selfish than a lot of people... but I personally don't see anything wrong with that.

Okay... I'll shut up now... but I'm really interested in what people think on this one.

"Love is a piano
dropped from a four story window
and you were in the wrong place
at the wrong time." -Ani DiFranco

Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


1 posted 02-06-2002 12:53 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Compromise, at least in the sense your story lends to the word, has to be a personal choice. Ergo, I don't think there is a right or a wrong. I do think, however, that a LOT of the problems of this world come from a political tendency to do what's expedient rather than what's right. Supporting someone who controls a bunch of oil is expedient. There might be instances where it wasn't right. Cleaning the truck would certainly have been expedient. I'm not sure it would have been right. (Though I also think an argument can be made that one should pick the important fights and walk away from lesser ones.)

Personal happiness is certainly important. Paradoxically, I think if it's the most important thing to someone, it will be eternally elusive.
Poet deVine
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since 05-26-99
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Hurricane Alley


2 posted 02-06-2002 01:15 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

In this circumstance, compromise would probably have saved the black man a lot of grief. But at what point do we stop 'backing down'? At what point do we stand up and say 'this is NOT right'?

Would you quit your job over a principle? I have, and it was not easy. I could have compromised...but sometimes compromising your principles weakens you. The next time you're tested you'll say 'oh well it didn't kill me to give in last time'...and then the next time...and the next. At what point do you lose your principles then?

I am not talking about compromise in a relationship - that I feel is necessary to make the relationship work. As long as the compromise is reasonable and doesn't hurt anyone.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


3 posted 02-06-2002 03:34 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

What compromise took place here?

"comĦ¤proĦ¤mise (kmpr-mz)
n.
A settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions."

What concession was made by the firemen, by the policeman?

The protagonist was compromised but I don't think there was a compromise.

This is a power play for no apparent benefit and one side has all the power: resistance is always present in such situations but direct resistance, perhaps, isn't always the best way to go. There are other ways.

Brad
Apachecat906
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since 09-04-2001
Posts 235
Michigan, USA


4 posted 02-06-2002 08:55 AM       View Profile for Apachecat906   Email Apachecat906   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Apachecat906

I agree with Brad, there was no compromise between the man and the FD & PD.  Compromise implies a concession on both ends, and here he didn't get the option of compromising so instead had to stand his ground.  

This is an interesting topic, one I've been considering lately.  I'm just gonna shut up now and listen...
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


5 posted 02-06-2002 12:58 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

I believe you are confusing the act of compromising oneself with the act of humbling oneself.

My answer to your post.

If he wouldn't of done what he did the movie would of ended right there. But seriously, if I were in that situation...I would of never gotten out of the car in the first place and would have found an alternate route.
Not A Poet
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since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


6 posted 02-06-2002 03:34 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Brad,

Also from Webster's Collegiate

quote:
Compromise: a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial, as in a compromise of principals


This is the definition of compromise which would fit the situation described had the man just cleaned the car instead of standing on his principals.

This does not describe a compromise between two or more parties in arriving at a mutually agreeable position on some question. It is completely one-sided so would require no participation on the part of the FD or PD.

Each case must be considered individually. Whether to compromise or not is an individual's decision, as Ron pointed out. Also, as PdV said, sometimes pragmatism may be more important than principals. We all have to compromise in this sense all the time. Most of those situations are of much lighter consequence than that described here, however.

JMHO,
Pete

Darn HTML ate part of the quote  

[This message has been edited by Not A Poet (02-06-2002 03:36 PM).]

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


7 posted 02-06-2002 03:52 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Okay Pete, but it's still important to distinguish between the two meanings (I thought I did that), don't you think. I don't compromise my principles with principals.

Words can do funny things.

Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


8 posted 02-06-2002 04:53 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Oops, that's PRINCIPLES to Brad.

Pete

Never express yourself more clearly than you can think - Niels Bohr

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


9 posted 02-06-2002 04:59 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Yeah, but you didn't misspell Mona Lisa. Now that's embarrassing. :O

Brad

[This message has been edited by Brad (02-06-2002 07:55 PM).]

 
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