Compassion -- how much can we afford?
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09-09-2011, 05:15 PM
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
(07-09-2011 05:33 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  
(07-09-2011 10:48 AM)sy2502 Wrote:  Reading this thread it seems the collective opinion of posters here that there's no such thing as choice and personal responsibility, we are all boats without oars being carried by the current. Out of curiosity, why so many of you subscribe to this?

Whose collective opinion was that? It's certainly not what i said. Don't think it's what bemore said. Obviously not what Zatamon said. How many of us subscribe to what? That there are causes for prevailing conditions and that those conditions limit the range of possible actions - yes. Boats, no. Oars, no.

Everything happens for a reason in a context. Context, causes and outcomes can be changed by responsible social action. But first, someone has to object to the status quo.

We have a crappy criminal justice system, because we - collectively, as a society - don't care enough to make a good one. We avenge the poor Petit family, because we didn't care enough to save them. It's easier - not more mature - to be righteously outraged than to be compassionate and responsible.

Peterkin you seemed to be the only poster (or one of the very few) who acknowledged the existence personal choice or responsibility. Instead this is what I have read:

Quote:The innocent baby may have been born into an environment as cruel and unjust as it can be in human societies. He was shaped and formed by those forces to be what he became.

Quote:Compassion doesn't begin with tragedy: it begins with a caring community, before either the victim or the attacker are born. It begins with good pre-natal nutrition and maternal care, with clean and safe environments for babies, with good education and opportunities, with counselling when a child is troubled, intervention when a child is destructive.

Quote:In this sense we are all victims, including the evil-doers, and we all deserve compassion.

Quote:I wonder how long will people continue to be so short sighted and continue to hammer the symptoms with punishment.........without actually treating the cause that creates these problems.

All these seem to fall into 2 categories
1) There really isn't free will, only a chain of events. So a criminal has no more control over its criminal behavior than an apple can control falling on the ground?
2) Blame society.

Many people are abused as children but not all of them turn into child predators. Many people grow up in poor, crime ridden neighborhoods, but not all of them turn into gang bangers. That's because some of them make the choice to be something else. It's a harder choice, but it's still a choice. My husband grew up in a horrific neighborhood. Almost all of the people he went to school with are either dead of drug overdose, or murdered, or in jail. He went to college, got a good job, and is a good, law abiding person. He'll be the first one to tell you all he did was make a choice. Sure he could have turned to drugs like everybody else. Sure he could have become a small time criminal. But he decided he would do different. All the causes in the supposed chain of events were there, except that one was different: he made a choice. While we can feel bad for the circumstances in someone's life that are out of his/her control, I can't feel bad when that person chooses to do wrong. I don't find those circumstances a valid excuse nor a mitigating factor. People must be held to their choices and pay the consequences.

PS: when I say "many posters seem to subscribe to position X", and you don't, you really don't have to jump at my throat. Congratulations, you are not one of the "many posters"! Really I can only shake my head at the hostility of some people in this forum. Get over your personal problems BEFORE you log in, instead of dumping them on some random person!

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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09-09-2011, 05:27 PM
 
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
(09-09-2011 05:15 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  PS: when I say "many posters seem to subscribe to position X", and you don't, you really don't have to jump at my throat. Congratulations, you are not one of the "many posters"! Really I can only shake my head at the hostility of some people in this forum. Get over your personal problems BEFORE you log in, instead of dumping them on some random person!

Sy, you got the wrong end of the stick -- nobody is hostile to you.

We are trying to get some ideas across, but it is not easy.

Things are not that simple -- life is complicated and we have to deal with the complications in context.

We have to use intelligence and emotions in a balanced, flexible way, so raw emotions of horror, hate, fear, revulsion, revenge do not dominate us.

Of course there is personal responsibility.

However, there are mitigating circumstances -- even the court system takes them into consideration.

The question is: are we crazed chimpanzees, baying for blood, or are we intelligent human beings, considering the complexity of our species and our society and try to find some balance and some fair justice to our members who were twisted out of their humanity, in our own world that we created, that we accepted, that we contribute to, at the very moment when I am typing these words.

To think or not to think, that is the question.

Sad
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09-09-2011, 07:57 PM (This post was last modified: 10-09-2011 02:03 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
(09-09-2011 05:15 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  All these seem to fall into 2 categories
1) There really isn't free will, only a chain of events. So a criminal has no more control over its criminal behavior than an apple can control falling on the ground?

Somewhere between the extremes of "Kill the bastards!!" and 'no free will' are all the people who are formed by their genes and their world. "Criminal" is not another species; it's a person who fell afoul of the law, by whatever means, for whatever reason, in whatever chain of events.

Do you keep your babies in the basement, throw down some food once in a while, then release them at 18, expecting them to be good citizens? Probably not. Chances are, you nurture and instruct them and set a good example, so that they'll become the kind of adult you can be proud of.

Some people managed to get off the Titanic before it sank. Therefore, all the rest must have chosen to drown. By the same logic, just because a few people are strong and/or virtuous and/or lucky enough to survive bad childhoods without becoming bad, you assume that everyone could simply choose to. How come in Forest Hills, hardly any kids go to jail? The rich are naturally better? Morally superior? Don't think so; i think their odds are different.

Quote:2) Blame society.

Damn right! If it's a matter of individual choice and nothing else, why don't all countries have the same per capita amount of the same type of crime?
Every society produces its very own unique criminals.

Quote:PS: when I say "many posters seem to subscribe to position X", and you don't, you really don't have to jump at my throat. Congratulations, you are not one of the "many posters"! Really I can only shake my head at the hostility of some people in this forum. Get over your personal problems BEFORE you log in, instead of dumping them on some random person!

Inaccuracy irks me. Indeed, i was one "many" (three) you misrepresented. Not hostile, exactly, just irked. Anyway, i missed your throat by a good three inches.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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14-09-2011, 06:30 PM
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
(07-09-2011 08:16 AM)bemore Wrote:  "Evil" doesnt exist in my eyes............good vs bad is something that is a personal judgement based on moral experience.

A person being slowly tortures to death in some hell hole would probably have other issues on their mind.

Given that I am "free" of this belief.........then leads me to question what makes things happen.
EVERYTHING happens for a reason.....everything. There is no denying cause and effect that can attributed to everything in the cosmos......it is a truely "universal" concept......that something must happen to create something else.


Yes we can, from an evolutionary point of view claim that we essentially lack inherent morality. If we take this to extremes no one is really guilty of anything.

People do things for a reason........wether it be murder, stealing, fraud, rape.......anys sort of crime or what you would consider as "bad"....there is ALLWAYS a reason/s behind it.

People from terrible backgrounds do not always do evil things and vice versa.

So................given that punishment of crimes, no matter how severe........have been around for hundreds of years and still people continue to commit crimes..........I wonder how long will people continue to be so short sighted and continue to hammer the symptoms with punishment.........without actually treating the cause that creates these problems.

I see many issues within society that can, but not neccessarily create dangerous human beings, and one of these is surely a blatant obsession with consumerism in all its devious forms. As this is the blood line of capitalism even slowing it down is extremely difficult.
How much compassion can we afford??? I see it from both sides (as i try and allways) and say..........How long can we afford to be without compassion.


Yes we really need to get our acts together. Just how is the difficult question.
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14-09-2011, 08:24 PM (This post was last modified: 14-09-2011 08:43 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
How much can we afford? As much as it costs. Without it we are nothing. It's a differentiating characteristic.

(06-09-2011 05:51 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Hate and Compassion

Very very nice Zatamon. Bravo!

(06-09-2011 05:07 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  A Mr. Steven Hayes broke into the house of the Petit family in Connecticut. He restrained Mr.Petit and beat him so severely he was barely recognizable. He then raped and strangled Mrs.Petit. He then proceeded to tie up and sexually assault their daughters, ages 17 and 11. While the father and 2 daughters were still alive, he set fire to the house and left. While Mr.Petit escaped, the 2 girls burned alive in the home.

How much compassion I feel for the Petit family? Beyond words. How much do I feel for Hayes? None.

I feel compassion for both the Petit family and their attackers. But my compassion for the attackers is not as immediate, not as direct. It's more like "What the fuck would compel you to do such a thing? There's something seriously wrong with you. I hope they don't execute you because you need some serious alone-time to reflect on what you've done." Erewhon is a good starting point for this form of compassion.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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15-09-2011, 12:42 PM
 
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
(14-09-2011 08:24 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  How much can we afford? As much as it costs. Without it we are nothing. It's a differentiating characteristic.

Erewhon is a good starting point for this form of compassion.

Exectly, GirlyMan! Beautifully said.

I looked up Erewhon -- it sounds like a book I would want to read. Thanks for the link.
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15-09-2011, 01:20 PM
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
Digression

The title of the thread reminded me off a quote I read not so long ago. It does not have to much to do with the subject at hand, but I'll waste some server space anyway.

"Every dollar spent on anything but the bare essentials has the blood of a starving child on it"

This made me think. And it made me feel very displeased with myself.

/Digression

I see there are a lot of strong views on this subject here, so I will just ad my views to the mix. These are the views of a self proclaimed humanist and socialist living in a society without death penalty.

I see the responsibility of the judicial system as being the same as the responsibility of the state in general. Namely to ensure the security of the public and to make sure every member of the public contributes to the best of his/her abilities, and receives according to his/her needs.
The primary task of the judicial system must therefore be to rehabilitate criminals so that they can become productive members of society. I have not seen any documentation that suggests that more severe punishments create a stronger deterrent effect on potential criminals. U.S. drug policy is a great example of this.
I differ from most of my comrades in that I am pro death penalty. I am convinced that there is such a thing as a criminal who can not be rehabilitated. Take Anders Behring Breivik as an example. A concern for public safety makes it impossible for us to even contemplate the possibility of this man seeing the light of day ever again. Locking him up for the remainder of his days simply seems irrational. Euthanasia seems to me to be the more logical solution.

I must stress that I am not advocating that the state should be the exacter of vengeance on behalf of the victims of a crime. I feel that our primitive need for revenge is below the dignity of the state. I would just like to see the resources spent on keeping the criminally insane alive until the end of their days spent in a more constructive fashion, such as rehabilitating the people who still have the potential of returning to society as productive citizens.

I want to rip off your superstitions and make passionate sense to you
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15-09-2011, 01:46 PM
 
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
(15-09-2011 01:20 PM)Norseman Wrote:  I see there are a lot of strong views on this subject here, so I will just ad my views to the mix.

Before replying, Norseman, may I ask if you have read the primary thread that spawned this one: Do you believe in capital punishment??

A lot of what you just posted was covered there.

You may find some argument in that thread that you have not considered yet.

ETA:

Have you considered the "Ooooops factor?"

Quote:Guy Paul Morin is a Canadian who was wrongly convicted of the October 1984 rape and murder of his eight-year-old next-door neighbour, Christine Jessop of Queensville, Ontario. DNA testing led to a subsequent overturning of this verdict.

Morin was acquitted of murder at his first trial in 1986.[1] The Crown exercised its right to appeal the verdict on the grounds that the trial judge made a fundamental error prejudicing the Crown's right to a fair trial.[2] In 1987 the Court of Appeal ordered a new trial.[3] The retrial was delayed until 1992 by Morin's own appeals based on the Crown's non-disclosure of exculpatory evidence and by other issues, including the double jeopardy rule.[3]

Morin was convicted at his second trial and was sentenced to life imprisonment.[4] Unlike others convicted of murdering children after sexually abusing them, he was kept in the general population throughout his time in prison.[5] Improvements in DNA testing led to a test in 1995 which excluded Morin as the murderer.[6] Morin's appeal of his conviction was allowed (i.e., the conviction was reversed), and a directed verdict of acquittal entered in the appeal.[3]

An inquiry culminating in the Kaufman Report into Morin's case also uncovered evidence of police and prosecutorial misconduct, and of misrepresentation of forensic evidence by the Ontario Centre of Forensic Sciences.[3][7]

Up until his release, he was held at Canada's only Super-Maximum security penitentiary in Quebec.

Guy Paul Morin's ordeal

He spent almost 10 years in jail for a horrible crime he did not commit.
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15-09-2011, 02:18 PM
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
(15-09-2011 01:20 PM)Norseman Wrote:  "Every dollar spent on anything but the bare essentials has the blood of a starving child on it"

True, and quite an indictment of spy agencies and the seventh vacation home of an investment banker.
I'd also like to see stats on how many criminals were hungry children and how many $ saved by Texas on executed inmates actually went toward a school lunch program.

Quote: Take Anders Behring Breivik as an example. A concern for public safety makes it impossible for us to even contemplate the possibility of this man seeing the light of day ever again. Locking him up for the remainder of his days simply seems irrational. Euthanasia seems to me to be the more logical solution.

I actually do agree with your position in this kind of situation. A few - a very few - instances occur where there is no doubt of the perpetrator's identity, and no hope of rehabilitation. Probably, euthanasia should be a choice offered to all murderers, kidnappers, arsonists and rapists, as well.

But how many other prisoners may be mistakenly sentenced or guilty but reclaimable; how many broke laws that were poorly conceived and/ or dishonestly enforced... and how many crimes might have been prevented long before their perpetrators mutated into the sub-species "criminal"?

Quote: I would just like to see the resources spent on keeping the criminally insane alive until the end of their days spent in a more constructive fashion, such as rehabilitating the people who still have the potential of returning to society as productive citizens.
Can't argue with this, either. Problem is that the more vengeful states, the ones where execution happens frequently, tend also to have "correctional facilities" that rather brutalize and harden the criminals they already have.

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15-09-2011, 02:32 PM
 
RE: Compassion -- how much can we afford?
(15-09-2011 02:18 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  Probably, euthanasia should be a choice offered to all murderers, kidnappers, arsonists and rapists, as well.

Absolutely -- no argument there. It should always be offered as an option.

Cold-blooded state-controlled execution, on the other hand, is barbaric.

By the same token, we could execute all the patients in insane asylums who are deemed to be incurable and can't be released for whatever reason. It would save a lot of money, for sure.
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