How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Being kind to be cruel
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Being kind to be cruel

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


0 posted 02-19-2006 10:37 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch



Everyone has probably heard the adage “sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind” but is there an argument that events such as Band-Aid, Live Aid and Comic Relief are ultimately doomed to be acts of kindness that can only result in an increase in the scale of suffering in the future.

A case of being kind to be,however unintentionally, cruel?
Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


1 posted 02-19-2006 06:54 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Hi Grinch,

I wouldn't really think it was being kind "to be" cruel, unless the intent "to be" (cruel) is present.

What did I just say?! My brain feels a little scrambled at the moment!
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


2 posted 02-19-2006 10:36 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I can't speak to specifics because I know next to nothing of the events cited. In general, however, my answer would be a resounding yes.

Enabling destructive behavior is both cruel and, ironically, incredibly selfish. It's a way to avoid making difficult decisions that, in the short term, can generate uncomfortable guilt and doubt. In the long term, letting someone face the consequences of their actions and choices can be infinitely kinder than protecting them so much they fail to learn anything. I don't know if that applies to the events in question or not. I do believe it applies to a LOT of government subsidized charity.


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


3 posted 02-20-2006 12:27 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

What about people who are incapable of learning from their mistakes? A large proprtion of the homeless are mentally ill. Can you really tell the guy outside the homeless shelter screaming at a parked car to go get a job?

I mean, I guess you could tell him... but then he'd just be screaming at you.

I spent a day at a local schizophrenia drop-in center for my psych clinicals. They ran a great discussion group where people discussed their struggles to stay on their psych meds, get jobs, not get kicked out of their group homes, etc.

But, I also met people completley out of their heads. What are we to do with these individuals?
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


4 posted 02-20-2006 07:09 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 large proprtion of the homeless are mentally ill.

Amy, I suspect a large proportion of civilization is mentally ill, to one extent or another. So what? A guy screaming at a parked car has already demonstrated a use of language, which puts him far and above a dog trained to do their business outdoors or a lab rat trained to run a maze for food. Intelligence is relative and mental impairment doesn't mean a person can't still learn.

Having said that, however, I wouldn't consider mental illness -- by itself -- to be self-destructive. I think we do a person a disservice if we assume they can't learn, but that choice is neither cruel nor kind. Handing an alcoholic twenty bucks for food, on the other hand, is cruel if done more than once. The first time qualifies as help. The second time qualifies as paying them to be an alcoholic.


Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


5 posted 02-20-2006 12:25 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Handing an alcoholic twenty bucks for food, on the other hand, is cruel if done more than once."

That seems hardly anything in comparision to what people do for members of rock bands and movie stars that are into addictions, alcohol, gambling, prostitution, etc.  Not only do we make these people famous,  but we make them millionaires. A lot more than handing a twenty dollar bill to a beggar on the street.  

Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


6 posted 02-20-2006 01:45 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

Author unknown

I can understand the idea – don’t feed them give them the ability to feed themselves but how does that work if the place they live just can’t sustain the number of people that are trying to live there?

I’ve flip-flopped backwards and forwards on this, yes they need help but if we feed them through this drought there’ll be more to die in the next one because the land can’t support the number of people living there. No matter what we give or what we try to teach them nothing short of massive investment in desalination plants, comprehensive irrigation systems and deep bore wells is just making the final death count that much higher.

Ron,

I agree pretty much with what you’re saying but in this case the people suffering are unable to help themselves even if we teach them to fish. They just happen to have been born in the wrong place, they can’t leave, they can’t grow crops they can’t raise livestock. Their governments are crippled by international debt with no exportable products to generate income – if they were a business they’d have closed the shop years ago.

As I see it we have four choices:

We can let nature take its course.

We can increase the amount donated exponentially year on year.

We can finance the infrastructure necessary to sustain life.

We can close the shop and move the people out.

Of those choices two are down to individuals and individual nations, the other two require a unified coalition of as many nations as possible acting as one united organisation.

But that’ll never happen.

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


7 posted 02-20-2006 02:45 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Reminds of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged;
no matter how much you do or give there’ll always
be someone wanting more.


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


8 posted 02-20-2006 05:58 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

As far as Atlas Shrugged is concerned, reread the Galt's gulch part. It's the best description of theoretical communism written.

quote:
Having said that, however, I wouldn't consider mental illness -- by itself -- to be self-destructive. I think we do a person a disservice if we assume they can't learn, but that choice is neither cruel nor kind. Handing an alcoholic twenty bucks for food, on the other hand, is cruel if done more than once. The first time qualifies as help. The second time qualifies as paying them to be an alcoholic.


But you didn't ask. Whether or not you give twenty bucks once, twice, or never, you are still playing the caretaker.

I don't know. Instead of worrying about what the other guy will do, why not worry about whether or not it will improve your own life.

And that, I think, leads to trying to help others though it may not be a guy on the street.



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


9 posted 02-21-2006 01:32 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Ron, have you ever tried reasoning with someone who is severely mentally ill? I don't mean someone who takes an antidepressant every day and sees a shrink every couple of weeks... I'm talking about people whose perceprions are so skewed, they are incapable of learning at that time, at least incapbale of learning anything pertaining to our reality, because they are so stuck in their reality.

Case in point. I once cared for a woman who claimed that smoking crack cured her COPD. Never mind that COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is progessive and uncurable. She was convinced that crack cured it, and that she was the only person ever to be cured. I could have opened a book, several books, and tried to teach her about the disease process, and the fact that smoking crack couldn't possibly cure it, but she wouldn't have listened.

The sad but true reality is, to get the guy to stop screaming at a car, he needs to be on his meds. It often takes months of trial and error to get psychotropic meds right. Then he needs therapy, job placement, a place to live, someone to monitor his use of meds- because so often, if unsupervised, the mentally ill quit their meds for any number of reasons.

So yes, Ron, the guy screaming at the car can learn, but not without extensive help- help that somebody has to pay for.
Midnitesun
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Empyrean
since 05-18-2001
Posts 29020
Gaia


10 posted 02-21-2006 07:43 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

What proof do you, or anyone else here for that matter, have that such things actually increase the problems/poverty down the road? Hmm? I don't buy that, and neither will most in the relief efforts business, in the businesses that help needy people.
Are you actually suggesting it is better that no one lift a finger to offer aid???
What ever happened to human kindness, to the concept of reaching out to those in need? To attempting to alleviate suffering and pain?
So, it's every man/woman/child for himself? To heck with the world, I'm not my brother's keeper?
I don't wish to be a part of such a mindset, and will continue to give as I can, though I will not give cash to known alcoholic, not even the first time. I will, however, give food if/when I can.
And every country that can should assist with improving the infrastructure, to enable others to care more adequately for themselves. You can teach them to fish if they have streams and rivers, and you can show them how to farm in ways that do not destroy the land. Such programs have been in place for years, but get little funding by comparison to what we must spend on disaster relief. But what would you be willing to say to that mother holding a starving baby? Too bad....so sorry, but to save you today is to kill you tomorrow?  
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


11 posted 02-21-2006 09:08 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Decades ago someone observed that if you took all the
monies ostensibly intended to help the needy and gave it to them directly
they wouldn’t be needy anymore, they’d be comfortably middle class.

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


12 posted 02-22-2006 12:24 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Whether or not you give twenty bucks once, twice, or never, you are still playing the caretaker.

Two people forced to live in the same house, Brad, inevitably become caretakers. In taking care of the house, they have to take care of each other. The world isn't quite so small that we all live in the same house, yet, but it's getting there.

quote:
Ron, have you ever tried reasoning with someone who is severely mentally ill?

My first instinct, Amy, is to say I have. For something like thirty years. I'm going to suppress that first instinct, however, because your question is a loaded one. I doubt we would define "severely" the same way, and I'm almost certain you mean something other than I mean when you use the word "reasoning."

quote:
Then he needs therapy, job placement, a place to live, someone to monitor his use of meds- because so often, if unsupervised, the mentally ill quit their meds for any number of reasons.

You would treat them as children, then? Not competent to determine their own destiny?

If someone is competent enough to need a job and a place to live, I believe they are competent enough to make equally important decisions about their medications. If they make decisions that result in consequences, they have to face those consequences. Children should be treated as children (regardless of age), adults should be treated as adults, and I don't think you get to mix and match just because it makes you more comfortable.

Again, however, I'm not talking about people who clearly can't take care of themselves, Amy, and more than I'm talking about six-month-old babies.

quote:
... I will not give cash to known alcoholic, not even the first time. I will, however, give food if/when I can.

Which I'm sure, Kacy, emotionally makes you feel good. Logically, however, it's a copout. Whether you give him booze so he can spend his money on food, or you give him food so he can spend his money on booze, the outcome will be exactly the same. In either case, you are helping him to maintain his addiction, not helping him overcome it.

Consequence will always play an integral role in the process of learning. When you habitually shield someone from their consequences, usually because it hurts you too much to watch, you do them no favors. It's harder and much, much more uncomfortable, but I think shaping the learning process will always be more productive than aborting it.


Midnitesun
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Empyrean
since 05-18-2001
Posts 29020
Gaia


13 posted 02-22-2006 01:31 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

LOL, Ron, I often volunteer at a local food bank. Many of the recipients here have drug and alcohol problems. It is neither my obligation nor my right to question why they need a food handout. Other than that, I have rarely freely given out anything, though I've handed a homeless person an apple or banana more than once. And in doing so, I really don't do it to make myself feel better, but to simply help offset hunger pangs. We have a real problem in our state, being one of the 'hungriest' according to government stats. Most often, its the elderly and the fulltime but under-paid/employed workers that need a helping hand. And obviously, some drink, some do drugs, many spend money on cigarettes, which I find to be an absolute waste of money. But I am not to sit in judgement. While I can, I will assist with food as often as possible, no matter why they need it, no matter what they do with their cash. Food is too basic a need. With that said, I also encourage people to take positive steps to assist themselves, not rely on 'a handout' no matter how easy it becomes to accept such help. And I include MYSELF in that category.
A 'hand up' is always the first choice.

I can't fault any of the AID groups when/if the money gets to the people it is supposedly for, and not just to line the pockets of the commercial advertisers. Sheesh, look at the spotlight on the Red Cross sometime, yet few will suggest they go away, especially after what Katrina gifted us with last year. they may not have been perfect, but often they were there long before any government agencies arrived to help.
(But from what I read and saw, the various church networks and plain ordinary citizens banding together did the most.)
hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


14 posted 02-23-2006 04:37 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Ron, you're right. Sorry about the loaded question.

"I doubt we would define "severely" the same way, and I'm almost certain you mean something other than I mean when you use the word "reasoning."

I'm curoius as to what your definitions here would be? I guess I should have been more specific. By severely, I guess I meant someone who suffers from some sort of psychosis or delusions, whose  perception of reality as we know it is skewed. But, when I think about it, the severely depressed person who cannot get out of bed, the agoraphobic person who cannot leave the house (or room in a group home, or what have you), the bipolar person in a manic state spending thousands a day on credit cards... they all fall into a category of what I personally consider to be people who are currently unable to care for themselves.

Would you expect someone with a shattered pelvis to go to work? Not without recovery time, and therapy, and even then they might have some limitations. I see mental illness the same way. I can't "reason" (whatever that means to you vs. what it means to me) with the depressed person to get up and take a shower because it will make them feel better. They don't care! Moving, eating, and toileting are such huge efforts for them- and I have seen patients so depressed they physically had to be toileted or fed by nursing staff. The bipolar in a manic state cannot be calmed down with mere words and logic- "How will you pay for this?" Manic people often suffer delusions of grandeur, assuming nobody will make them pay, or that they have the money, or simply being so elated they don't care. And reasoning with someone who is yelling at what we see as a parked car, but what he sees as, I don't know, "The System?" I'm sorry, but yes... until someone gives him some haldol or something to bring him down a notch, I see it as a lost cause.

"You would treat them as children, then? Not competent to determine their own destiny?"

In some cases... yeah. Do you let a person with Alzheimer's direct their own care? Do I allow my nursing home residents to lie in feces because they don't like to turn, or because, as in one Alzheimer's case I had, she thinks I am her father, and with each brief change she relives his molestation of her? No. It's painful, and difficult at times, but I step in, I make decisions for them, and I force them to have decent hygeine and care. Is it againts their nursing home rights? Yeah... but there comes a point when, as a paid caretaker... I simply have to step in and treat them like children, for their own good. Is it technically "right?" No, probably not. It's an area of ethics I have difficulty with... but sometimes, you really have to look at your patient and say "there's poop all over you. You're getting washed whether you like it or not."

I see mental illness the same way, but the good news is, mental illnesses can often be controlled or lessened in severity with medications and therapy. But... mental illness isn't cured, and people sometimes make decisions with skewed "crack cured my COPD" logic about their meds. "I feel better, I can quit taking my meds," or "I can no longer function sexually, so I'm going to quit taking my meds," or "the voices told me you are using those pills to brainwash me..." etc, etc.

When a mentally ill person is setting her house on fire to "kill the bugs," no, she is not competent to detremine her own destiny. Maybe I'm being closed minded, maybe it's a result of my personal experiences and training... but there's a reason people can be admitted to a psychiatric ward involuntarily, and a reason they keep the doors locked up their. These people are not thinking clearly, and they pose a threat to themselves or others.

Maybe it's a matter of opinion, or judgement, or whatever, but I don't believe these people should be held accountable for their actions in the same way you or I would. I have no qualms about saying that emotionally and logically, that makes sense to me.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


15 posted 02-23-2006 04:57 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Two people forced to live in the same house, Brad, inevitably become caretakers. In taking care of the house, they have to take care of each other. The world isn't quite so small that we all live in the same house, yet, but it's getting there.


quote:
You would treat them as children, then? Not competent to determine their own destiny?


Isn't this the crux of the whole thing?

Aren't there times when you do have to let someone burn down their house?

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


16 posted 02-23-2006 08:01 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I can't help but see the parallel between this thread and the one about the forbidden fruit.


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


17 posted 02-24-2006 10:29 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Brad- literally, or figuratively?

And does it matter whether this person could be considered competent or not?

Would you let a child burn down a house?
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


18 posted 02-24-2006 11:13 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I'm curoius as to what your definitions here would be?

My definition of reasoning probably would not include techniques for training a puppy to do his business outdoors. I mean, if your definition means to sit down and talk to the dog about his behavior and my desire for a change, then no, I probably wouldn't do that.

Unless the animal is catatonic, however, I suspect I'll find something it wants or something it wants to avoid, and I expect I'll be able to use those to elicit a change in behavior.

quote:
Then he needs therapy, job placement, a place to live, someone to monitor his use of meds- because so often, if unsupervised, the mentally ill quit their meds for any number of reasons.

Amy, I too believe some people have to be committed and cared for as children. Children, however, don't need jobs and those committed, by definition, already have a place to live.

We can certainly talk about people who are so severely handicapped as to be helpless. Or we can talk about those less ill who need assistance to live normal lives. I just don't know how to effectively discuss either when they are treated them as a single group?

quote:
Aren't there times when you do have to let someone burn down their house?

I believe so. Of course, if they are to learn from the experience, we have to get them out of the house before we let them burn it.

Consequences shape behavior. If we want people to learn we can offer guidance and example, but we cannot shield them from their consequences. History and literature have frequently reminded us not to mistake compassion for weakness, and I think that's good advice. Isn't it equally true, however, that we shouldn't mistake weakness for compassion?

There's an old saw, "What doesn't kill me only makes me stronger." We don't want to kill anyone, but I think we do people a great disservice when we prevent them from becoming stronger.


Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


19 posted 02-24-2006 10:35 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


What is the moral responsibility
to conscious irresponsibility?  It comes back
to the ant and the grasshopper, doesn’t it?

 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Being kind to be cruel Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors