The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Musing on killing

I was watching a TV show the other night. One of my favorites, Person of Interest. It was a repeat, a show where the main character dissuades a woman intent on committing a murder.

It got me to thinking about murder and why the average person won't commit one. Why the average person would be destroyed by killing another human being. Social conditioning is the reason. We create a set of mores for our societies. Also called an ethos, it defines "good" and "bad" behavior as the society sees it. The people within the society teach these mores to their children, enforce them through laws and through the usual societal methods, such as shunning or shaming. Though the latter seems to have been rendered impotent in recent years.

Few people cross these lines. Though there are times that it seems like a lot of people are doing it. We tend to obey laws against theft and killing not just because there are laws against them but because we have been taught to from almost birth. Perhaps we obey all laws for that reason. And disobey some for similar reasons. After all, if seemingly everyone around you takes pens, paper, and such from work... it's pretty much a given you will too. Unless you have some other strong conditioning not to.

In the story, the idea is that killing someone, even a creep like her target, is so wrong that it will destroy her with guilt and remorse. It would, for lack of a better description, injure her soul.

Yet we send off young men to war, telling them it's just fine to kill faceless, nameless, people not unlike themselves under the circumstances. And it is, I suppose. These young men (and now women) act in a sort of self defense because those faceless, nameless, people not unlike themselves are there to try to kill our young men.

Are we removing some of the conditioning against killing and violence by the content of video games and violent movies?

Just something I've been pondering of late as I drive across the country.


Sightings said...

These thoughts are too deep for me. But I agree with you on the a/c. Everyplace you go, every motel or restaurant, is way over-air conditioned.  Do you think all American restaurants are secretly owned by the electric companies -- and they do it to boost profits?

Jamiesue83 said...

We like to straddle the lines of morality with ifs and whens. There are no clear rules, and I suppose there never will be. Just imagine people debating over what "God" meant by "Thou shall not kill." Seems like a simple enough principle, but it's not.

Douglas4517 said...

 Words can be deceiving at times, especially when they have been handed down orally, then translated from Hebrew to Greek and then to English. A simple concept might have been phrased as "Thou shalt not murder" which could mean "kill without sanction or authority." Lots of killing going on at the time the Commandments were allegedly written, the killing of hundreds, maybe thousands, of Egyptians had just occurred... according to the story. Soldiers, sure, and in pursuit but just "following orders."