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
 Absolution
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
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

Absolution

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


0 posted 02-27-2009 08:13 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Is there a universal point
where a childhood however bad
does not absolve the actions of the adult?


.


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


1 posted 02-27-2009 08:25 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


No

.
turtle
Member
since 01-23-2009
Posts 491
Harbor


2 posted 02-27-2009 09:04 PM       View Profile for turtle   Email turtle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for turtle

This is a little ambiguous Huan. What adult do you mean?

The childs adulthood, or the adult that raised the child (parent)?

If you mean the child, in its adulthood,
I'd say that depends on the child, and certainly it is
possible for a child to rise above a bad childhood. I did.

If you mean could the parent that raised the child be absolved

I guess absolution would depend on one's faith.

Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


3 posted 02-28-2009 04:07 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Huan Yi,

Is there a universal point
where a childhood however bad
does not absolve the actions of the adult?

     In which sense?

     As an (as I understand it from your statements from time to time) lapsed Catholic, you'd know better than I about Catholic doctrine.  In my shoddy understanding of that baroque and lovely doctrinal edifice, I suspect the answer is a qualified "no."  Given the proper conditions, there is no such point.  Te Absolvo doesn't admit the person is not legally responsible, however, does it?


     Legally, absolution is not a question.  Responsibility and consequence, it would seem to me are the legal questions.  I bring up the legal option because it seems possible that your question sprang from the anguish folks often feel at seeing somebody who is a notorious and obviously guilty party getting away with things because a lawyer is able to convince a jury that the fool's childhood was just too terrible for anybody to bear.

     For what it's worth, the occasional psychopath is willing to use this to attempt to manipulate you around this point of view as well.  While working on locked psychiatric words there were many time I was threatened with violence or death at the hands of people who would finish off the threat by telling me that there wasn't a jury in the country that would convict them because they were crazy, and that would get them off.  It was frightening.  On the other hand, highly improbable, considering the number of times they must have said it, and the number of people they must have said it too.  I always made a point of including it in the nursing notes in case something happened to me or somebody else later.  It gave evidence of premeditiation and planning, you know?

     I have run across people who were capable of carrying out such threats, by the way, and who tried to.  And another who worked himself up to the point of actually murdering a woman; quite predictably, I thought.  This last man had been confined in a state hospital for the criminally insane for almost 40 years when I knew him and was being discharged as a poster child for de-institutionalization.  The fault was not his, in this case, much as I loathed him then and continue to do so today.
He was being used as a political pawn, and after the murder he was quietly placed back in the original institution with, insofar I know, never being tried for murder at all.  It would have damaged the governor's chances for his run for president.  I can only hope that this was not a factor in the situation.

     But by suggesting that the man who actually did the murder was in the end responsible for it may be a stretch in my book.  All the administrators in my hospital that I knew were in favor of this discharge and rehab, and all the line staff who might have been in favor of a better chosen patient knew within a day of meeting the man what a terrible choice he was.  Considering that the man had been supposed to have been criminally insane days before and the majority of people who worked with him still thought he was, and they were begging that he be kept locked up, I mean actively begging that he be locked up, I hold the administrator and the politics responsible.

     In fact it pretty hard to get off on psychiatric grounds.

     Being crazy in the psychiatric sense and being insane in the legal sense are two very different breeds of cow.  And keep in mind that a sentence to a jail is for a specified amount of time, even if there is sometimes a range involved, while time in a psychiatric hospital, especially a forensic psychiatric hospital may not be limited by time at all.  You might want to check out the percentage of cases where an insanity defense is successful compared to the number of times it's tried.

     In cases where it's successful, it's only a miscarriage of justice if the defense is bogus, isn't it?  In those cases, you need to ask yourself, which is better, meaning closer to American principles, those of the enlightenment, that we punish a man whom we believe may actually be innocent, or that we let go a man that we suspect might be guilty but whose guilt we are unsure about?  The law is pretty clear in those situations, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is where the prosecution has to establish its case.  Not simply I'm pretty sure or reasonably sure beyond that.

    Other cases don't have to be that strict, you know.

     The cause doesn't have to be childhood, either.  How do you feel about somebody who has a case of PTSD from Vietnam or Korea or Iraq for that matter who has an automatic reaction to a backfire on a passing motorbike, pulls the Mossberg out from the gun rack behind the driver's seat and starts to lay down covering fire to protect his buddies.  How long is that good for?  Does that have an expiration date?

     How about the guy whose pals slipped him a dose of LSD at the Watkins Glen Music Festival back in the late sixties and he's been hallucinating and paranoid ever since?  When is he going to pull it together and get over it?

     Sometimes when you drop a wine-glass, it'll never look the same again, nor will it do a great job of holding wine.  Sometimes you can put it together pretty well so that it may actually be a little stronger than before at the busted places, though it'll always be a bit different than your average wine glass.  But the notion of absolution doesn't apply here, does it?  It moves into other territory.

     Ah yes, other territory. That would be philosophy and what does it mean to offer absolution to somebody and what absolution actually means.  

     We've covered I think three different ways of approaching your question, which is a fascinating one, Huan Yi.  My brain has turned to gruel, however and I'm not sure IU can actually follow a train of thought long enough to pass beyond Door Three.  The prize may, after all, be behind Door Three.  Is this the sort of response you were looking for, John?

West wishes, Bob Kaven

nakdthoughts
Member Laureate
since 10-29-2000
Posts 19275
Between the Lines


4 posted 02-28-2009 08:30 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

I think I understand your question John, and will keep my response in "general" and not to anything or anyone specific.

Unlike Bob I don't have the psychiatric background nor the unusual cases he discusses which are the more severe emotional and legal cases.
(although I have a husband whom I feel has PTSD although not severe enough to warrant any help "they say".)

But I do believe we all have choices and when we ignore the available help and continue making bad choices that hurt us or others, then I feel childhood is just being used as an excuse once we become adults.

We all have things in our childhood that can be used as excuses (if not for real then in our minds. Ex: mom always loved you best, or being the black sheep of the family, the youngest, the oldest, the middle child and the feelings that go along with each)

M
Sorry Bob, my vocabulary is in simple format as I have worked with 10 yr olds and younger for so many years, I like to speak "plainly"

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


5 posted 02-28-2009 09:06 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Adults are responsible for their actions. Period.
nakdthoughts
Member Laureate
since 10-29-2000
Posts 19275
Between the Lines


6 posted 02-28-2009 09:42 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

Ron that was "plain" enough My thoughts exactly!

If I were to have answered that way I would have been ignored.

M
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


7 posted 02-28-2009 01:56 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     You have absolute thoughts, Ron.

     1)  What about the McNaughten rule?

     2)  What about children punished as adults?

     3)  What defines an "adult?"  Chronology?  Some objective sign of "maturity?"  The presence of a certain level of moral reasoning capability?

     These seem to be at least three reasonable questions in the face of your assertion that would have a reasonable claim to being addressed.  Do you agree?

     Dear naked thoughts:  If I'd spent more time with revision and less time being pompous, perhaps I'd be lucky enough to sound as clear as you do.  Your time with ten year olds has done you good.

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


8 posted 02-28-2009 10:26 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

If not universal for all, still, for all universally.  As birthdays fall on differing days, moral culpability falls on differing years.  Which may, theoretically, answer some of Bob's questions, and still confirm what Ron said.  

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


9 posted 03-01-2009 12:24 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Stalin

Richard Speck

.
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


10 posted 03-01-2009 04:20 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     You pick interesting.  You do not say exactly what relationship these names have to the discussion so far, and what you assert by mentioning them.  Alexander Borgia.  Augustus Caesar.  Is somebody supposed to say something nice about Richard Speck?  In relationship to what?  
Marsha
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Rara Avis
since 07-10-2000
Posts 7542
Maidstone Kent England


11 posted 03-01-2009 07:54 AM       View Profile for Marsha   Email Marsha   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marsha's Home Page   View IP for Marsha

As I am doing Political philosophy I don't think it counts. However, Hegal's discussion on spirit and reason seem to bear some relevance. For those not studying Hegal he wrote and I quote, To understand that which exists is the task of philosophy, for what exists is reason. As to the individual, everyone is the son of his time, and therefore philosophy is its time comprehended in thought. It is as silly to imagine that any philosophy could transcend its own time as that an individual could jump out of his time, jump over Rhodes. If a man's theory goes beyond its time, if it builds a world as it ought to be, it may exist, but only in his opinion. end quote.

It seems to me that a person is responsible for their own actions, see Sartre on that subject.  Jean Paul Sartre stated, and I quote, the first effect of existentialism is that it puts every man in possession of himself as he is, and places the entire responsibility for his existence squarely upon his own shoulders.' For Sartre there are no excuses for failing to act or for living a life that is devoid of action. Inaction, is a type of self deception, or as Sartre puts it 'bad faith'

I am not sure if that answers the question but I would say adults, under the legal definition of the term as being over 14yrs old, are responsible no matter what has happened to them. A bad childhood can and in most cases is overcome by the child once they turn adult. Simply because most reasonable people having suffered as a child will ensure they do everything in their power to ensure that others do not suffer thereafter.

On a purely personal level we are the sum total of our experiences, how can we hope to write about the human condition if we have no experience of it? That of course leads us neatly back to Hegal and his argument.

That for what it is worth is my view.

Tomorrow is another day I don't know what it holds
but I can face the future with courage brave and bold

Footprints In My Heart
Kethry

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


12 posted 03-01-2009 05:51 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

A woeful childhood or background in general may make actions and context of actions more understandable, and even inspire more sympathy, but it doesn't make choices any less choices to which there always belongs a manifold meed.
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


13 posted 03-01-2009 06:27 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Why wouldn't it count, Marsha?  You make interesting points.

     I am not studying Hegal.  While my interest in philosophy is at best tangential, your quotation from Hegal does, of course, dispenses with both Hegal and Sartre rather neatly, doesn't it?  At least if one takes what Hegal says here seriously.  You do quote him 150 years or so out of his time, don't you?

     Personally, I tend to think philosophical points of view may be a bit more durable than that, depending on the philosopher, the discussion and the context of the discussion.  Hegal's dialectic may be still as useful way of considering some conversations, despite the fact that Hegal is dead and his time may possibly have passed.  Or not.  Reason is of course only one of the things in consideration here.  What exists is reason, but not only reason.  Around this sort of discussion, chaos becomes something of interest as well; and, possibly, evil; and clearly none of these things exclusively.

     I would suggest to you that Sartre's existential man is a reality only in fiction and narrative, where Sartre may have done his most interesting work with the concept.  The concept is essentially a romantic one.  It suggests it is possible for a person to be aware of those choices in the moment as, perhaps, a basic requirement for the existential method to work.  That knowledgeable ability presupposes understanding of the Schwerpunkt at which action has become possible and necessary.

     I find Sartre very appealing in many ways.  But in some basic ways all he has done is to move the emphasis from understanding to action in terms of the creation of meaning in a person's life.  This corrects the intellectual predisposition to paralysis Sartre's bad faith, as you say, but fails to find a way of making the action an expert action, a thoughtful action, a right and precise action.

     Despite Sartre's insistence on definition by action, one's ability to actualize that definition depends on things that are and things that are not under the individual's control.

    As for failing to act or living a life devoid of action, these seem to me to be red herrings.  Nobody can fail to act or live a life devoid of action.  Having had experience with catatonic schizophrenics, I would suggest to you that even a state of waxy immobility amounts to a choice and a set of actions, and that if you look more closely at what Sartre is saying it may be possible to frame these actions somewhat differently.  Sartre disapproves of a certain set of life choices that some people make.  H doesn't seem to be able to tolerate people's freedom to make choices he doesn't like.  Waxy immobility being the one in question here.

     It is entirely possible, in fact, that these people have made the decisions that are the most open and life-affirming choices open to them in these situations, and that Sartre is simply too much of a prig to allow them their freedom.  For him to be able to use the term "bad faith" displays a disapproval of massive dimensions.  He actually seems to feel he knows better.  While Sartre has a very basic appeal, he appears to have his self-contradictions as well.

     The McNaughten Rule, which does come from English law, serves as the basis for most definitions of legal insanity.  As I understand it, it establishes a definition of culpability that hinges on the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong.  As a definition, I suspect it lacks the meat to satisfy anybody.  It is not nourishing.  But it is not a test of psychotic behavior.  It is a test of whether the person who is doing the action that they would usually be held personally accountable for was acting as an agent with awareness of the rightness or wrongness of his or her actions.  Not, Wrong for everybody else, but God told me to; not I was too drunk to care; not, I don't remember.  Simply, was it right or wrong.  The guy on whom it was first determined was simply too dumb to know it was actually a person.

     Jean-Paul might have thought him responsible, but I doubt it.  There was simply nobody there.  Wouldn't matter how old he was.

     And you may be right about what most reasonable people would do in dealing with a terrible childhood.  I don't know that the question is about reasonable people, however; and tempting as it may be to apply to same reasoning to unreasonable people as it would be to reasonable people, the actually reasonablity of doing so is not evident to me.  Do you treat people with the Flu in the same way as you treat people who do not have the Flu?
Do you treat really smart people the way you treat really average people?  I think not.  

     You develop mays of dealing with them that seem to be reasonably fair to everybody within the range of the political power each group is able to wield, don't you?  You are, for example, disproportionately reasonable to the wealthy and powerful, say.  As long as we are talking about political Philosophy.

     Whether we should so so is another story. Not so neat as Hegal,  but there you are.  In my view.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven



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


14 posted 03-02-2009 11:59 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

Both had woeful childhoods

.
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


15 posted 03-02-2009 01:44 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Huan Yi,

          Yes, I agree.

          These childhoods urged certain conclusions upon them about the nature of the world.  Stalin reached one set of conclusions, Speck another about the world and the way it worked, who populated it, and how a person must act to survive and create an identity within it.

     When you talk about being absolved for a bad childhood, I think, you suggest that a person's concern is to get away with something and that their childhood is their justification.  Perhaps this is true for some people.  I'd suggest that it's probably true for people who have come to the conclusion that the way to deal with the world is to get away with what you can get away with.  For other people, it may not be such an important goal because they have reached different conclusions about what a person's task is in life.

     Here are a few other tasks that people have devoted their lives to from fairly early in childhood.  Making sure that nobody will ever take advantage of me again.  Making sure that I get things right this time.  Making sure that the underdog gets a fighting chance.  Making sure that nobody is every going to be treated as badly as my mother was ever again.  Making sure that everybody gets a fair shake.  Making sure that I never have to go through pain like that again.  Making sure that I do it to them before they do it to me.

     As a rule, these aren't people who are looking for an excuse for their behavior.  Looking for an excuse for behavior is a fairly specific life task and you can frequently find people who organize their lives around this goal.  Oddly enough, it's often a fairly socially useful goal, and people who are very good at it may make very good livings as accountants and lawyers and political advisors.  People who are not so good at it scrape along as criminals.  People who are complete psychopaths will frequently keep such people working full time making sure that there is the appearance of  justification for marketing tobacco products to children or dumping cyanide into rivers or such like.

     Stalin, I think, could have cared less about whether he was absolved.  I may think of him as a great criminal.  My impression is that he thought of himself as a pragmatic ruler who was trying to protect his country.  He was willing to destroy large parts of it to accomplish his goal.  His sense of absolution was that his country survived.  I suspect that even if he'd been aware of being a monster, and on some level he may very well have understood it, he would have been satisfied with that as an outcome.

     I think this was crazy, but then I'm not a dynast, and I have no idea what's normative for a Tamerlane or a Genghis Khan or a Napoleon; or, for that matter, the authors of some of the great business fortunes.

     By comparison, Richard Speck was a piker.  Like many of the people on the low end of this particular scale, he has an ability to catalyze a particular set of feelings in those who encounter him or his story that throws some of our more cruel responses into the foreground.  For me, it brings out my sadistic wishes to punish and to hurt others.  I wish I didn't have thoughts and feelings like this, but Speck and those like him bring those feelings out.  If I don't make a point of being clear of having such feelings, they take on disproportionate power for me.  This makes me resent Speck even more.  A loathsome man.  

     And yet, John, there it is.  The very thing that makes me so dislike the man is the thing that ties me most closely to him, that sadistic wish to wound, hurt and punish that he is able to act upon and which I must remain aware of and yet restrain.  I tell you, I find it galling to find out we are so much a part of the same species.  Talking about the psychoanalytic notion of projective identification is beyond our discussion here, I think.  The discussion has proved very far ranging, and I'm enjoying it very much.

     Thanks for bringing it up.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven


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


16 posted 03-04-2009 07:29 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
The very thing that makes me so dislike the man is the thing that ties me most closely to him, that sadistic wish to wound, hurt and punish that he is able to act upon and which I must remain aware of and yet restrain.

Bob, I'd say go a little easier on yourself, for don't think the two are quite the same.  Richard Speck killed innocent people who had not done him (or anyone else) any conceivable harm.  Whatever made him do it, it did not arise out of any sense of justice that I can see.  Rather than saying it is internal sadism that makes you dislike the man ... ask whether it is actually a insulted sense of justice and rightness that makes you angry.  That anger, not wrong in itself, in turn, tempts and coaxes a baser desire to harm already within you.  I think the desire for justice to be done, is essentially a good impulse.  It is when it deteriorates into mere vigilanteism that it ceases to serve any good purpose.  Personally I can sympathize with Speck, much in the same way that Frodo was urged by Gandalf to have pity upon a very wretched creature named Gollum.  And yet, I know also that his "sins" were utterly abbhorent.  Thankfully the executors' stance is not mine to take.

My philosophy here, also speaks into the initial question.  If past experiences and hurts (or even the belief in practical expediency, for the execution of otherwise 'undesirable' actions- The prophesy of the high priest Caiphas during the time of Christ comes to mind here) may help someone to do truly wicked things, then we can rightly hold compassion and responsibility together in our response.  


Stephen  
rwood
Member Elite
since 02-29-2000
Posts 3797
Tennessee


17 posted 03-07-2009 07:38 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Determinism requires individuals to be chained to their past and present.

Flip the idea and its absurdity is clear to me.

"I had such a wonderful childhood that I have no choice but to be a quality adult."

 
 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 >> Absolution 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