Tuesday, November 27, 2012

until we have an answer


we had a discussion last class (11am, MWF). rather it was a moment in the discussion when imane made a point about trying to understand that some good can come out of history's horrors, i.e., this grasping can make us understand & build character, that besides the absurd horror, there's something redeemable.

i can see imane's point & agree with her up to a point, but i need to make very clear why i still have a problem with this argument.

this is not just suffering we're talking about, but unnecessary, undeserved, unfair, suffering that for ever destroys a life. worst yet, nonredeemable in the sense that it is anonymous & forgotten. we feel for those that we have loved and pass on. they are gone but are part of our memories. how about this interminable legion of nobodies throughout history? women, children, young men, elderly: talented, hopeful, bright, with full lives ahead of them. sentenced by being-there, in the wrong time & place. victims of ignorance, backwardness, hatred, hypocrisy, victims no one ever cared for. an interminable choir of ghosts with no past to claim for justice. where are they? can we see their faces, can we fathom their harrowing fate?

until we have an answer, it's better to just be quiet and silent. to keep silence, deliberately, not to try anything other than to honor their forgotten memory.

10 comments:

aslan lamarche said...

Though personally, I strongly agree with Professor Triff on silence until we find a answer, unfortunately for us, philosophy kindly disagrees. Probing into mankind's reality, philosophy seeks knowledge even into this field. So what does philosophy say about this, or my understanding of these events?...

Firstly, this opens a new can of worms, which I already addressed in class along with Michael. Truth, or Moral Truth, is NOT relative to time if you take Triff's argument. It expands over the entire existence of mankind and is evident even if not widely acknowledged by man. Similar to science, moral truth is only uncovering something that was already there, which comes with man's natural spiritual and material evolution. In other words, slavery was wrong even before mankind thought it was wrong because it induces unnecessary suffering and pain.

However, this position does not come without its internal dilemmas. Given this stance, moral truth should and would apply to every living thing outside of external or economic constraints. For instance, say in 50 years humans find a non-living replacement for animal subjects for testing important "hiv-aids" vaccinations. Though we use animal-subjects for important scientific breakthroughs today, it would stupid,brutish,immoral and barbaric because in 50 years we will find a replacement. Though many, including myself, view animal testing as wrong NOW, we are faced with the "lesser of two evils" argument because our technological limitations, hence we will be unsuccessful in attempting to outlaw animal-testing absolutely.

Similarly, ending slavery was not even a national consideration until the cotton gin was invented, according to major historians such as Howard Zinn, and intellectual giants like Chomsky. Slavery was seen as a normal event that was "necessary" however ugly it was. The great Pyramids, and great societies such as the Greeks, Romans, Persians, and even African kingdoms were built on the backs of slaves. Does this great moral truth prevail even to them, though they did not have the technological or spiritual-moral comprehension? Slavery was a massive aspect of ancient economies, abolition would have inflated the economy and caused mayhem and havoc. Remember, we must always exercise historical relevance when interpreting past events, even Marx agreed with this statement.
Before the next time we chomp down on our beef cheeseburgers, think if in 50 years they find a proper protein replacement, if the future looks down at the past as backwards, evil, and stupid...



atRifF said...

thanks, aslan.

Shelley Reeder said...

There are so many things in history that have happened that have been unbelievably horrific and yes some good might and sometimes do result from these events. My question is how can we reach good results without resorting to ending up at the point where they develop as a result of something horrific? To be honest, it is horrific to me that it has ever reached this point. Why must we be desperate for peace only after threats have occurred or attacks have been inflicted? Why must we hunger for calm after the uproar? Why after cruelty occurs do we long for kindness?

My point is that we should strive for kindness, calm, and peace long before any situation reaches the point of no return. We need to make long and strong strides towards global tranquility and it is then that we might just honor those that have lost their lives because of ignorance and violence.

enrico said...

Hello is this blog part of a phi club in miami? If so could you provide me with an email address for the admin? I would like to join
Thank you

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is Phi 2010 and it's affiliated with the Philosophy Club. You can drop an email to atriff@mdc.edu

Feminista said...

This is all mankinds fault because man is man. Womankind sounds better.

imane souabni said...

If we look at history in an emotional view, we all agree that is was an unnecessary suffering, an agonizing pain that effected all humanity, respectively. Lives have been lost, a cost so severe that I don’t deny that it would have been better spared. But when I discussed this topic, with you I excluded the emotional side, and looked at it in a more neutral and open minded point of view. Looking at history, more of a chronological mistakes that teaches us a lot about humanity and our selfishness. That also teaches us to evade such tragic mistakes, that we would have never known, hence could have been worse. We make mistakes to learn and evolve from them. These horrors, in a very bizarre way, have sometimes brought people together and open closed minds. They have also given rights and voices to people that had known.

atRifF said...

thanks, imane.

Edwar Ricardo said...

Unnecessary suffering is how people show they are stuck in the past, countries where women have no rights and get shot and killed for seeking education are in the same boat of the primitive circle. Religion is another thing that shows that human beings are in a primitive circle. People need to wake up and start basing things on facts. We continue to get closer to our cavemen ancestors with these ideas.

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