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Right and Wrong


ThinkingManHomer

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Holy moley, Batman! A first post indeed. 

Is there such a thing as right and wrong? A clearly defined path that allows us the knowledge that we as a society made the correct choice?

For me, right and wrong doesn't exist in the defined matter, but the subjective matter. It matters on the current plan at the time, which reflects unto the person. Where one person may make an overwhelming amount of wrong choices as decided by the community, that person will see those choices as "right", therefore removing all defined aspects of the matter. Both are correct and at the same time, both are wrong.

I believe that it is not best to look at right and wrong as being clearly marked. But instead, we should look at the particular people that are making the choices. For in the end, it is the people that define the characteristics of what right and wrong is, and ultimately, the outcome.

Thoughts?

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Hmm. Well, it is an interesting question.

Personally, in the concept of right and wrong, there can be a definition society poses. For example, I will just mention the example of a charity. This is something that is seen as good by society because it is seen as a selfless contribution for the benefit of a person or group. By donating, you are seen as someone who has contributed to a great cause. You are helping someone else. But how about those who do not donate for whatever reason? For example, one that outright opposes charity and refuses to donate to a certain cause can be perceived by this society as one who is in the wrong.

By keeping it as black and white as this, by presuming that one is absolutely right and one is absolutely wrong, how can we say that we have a perfect grasp of what is right and what is wrong? If we outright judge without getting to understand the motives as to why someone feels this and that, we are holding ourselves back from making progress. Like you said, people have the characteristics and make choices that lead to a 'right' outcome or a 'wrong' outcome. In other words, people need to be "analyzed," in a sense. Having preconceptions and not rising above them is hindering and does not allow for understanding. Going back to the charity example I mentioned, "Why does this person donate? Why does this person not donate?" It is good to ask questions, and it is even better to search for the answer. People's motives are different. For example, one who donates most likely does it for the feeling of satisfaction that they helped out a cause. Another could donate because they do not know how else to help others, such as those close to them. And yet another could donate because he or she wants society to hold him or her in high regard. Continuing this example, think about the person who does not donate. Should someone label them as a horrible person off the bat? Or should one stop holding their conception of 'right' and 'wrong' and begin to ask 'why'? Why do you think that way?

The only way is to make the efforts to understand the person, not base off of what society poses as the definition of who is right and who is wrong. Talking goes a long way. It can lead to a better understanding, without a doubt. Individuals have their own ideas of what is right and what is wrong. There is no changing that fact. But what I personally feel is that people should be fully able to leave their comfort zones when an idea foreign to theirs is presented. Rather than judge someone for their way of thinking, look to drop preconceived notions and truly question.

By the way, I love the profile picture and username. Not what I would expect from Homer Simpson.

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Very true. All excellent points.

A good example that will determine what is right and wrong would be the age-old question, "If you had a time-machine, would you travel in the past and kill Hitler?"

This leads to us determining whether or not murder is right. It is due to this specific example that we question the things that we were grown up on. It's pretty obvious that everyone's parents taught you that murder is wrong, no matter what the reason. But here we have an opportunity to eliminate a dictator of one of the, if not the, worst tragedies known to man. If we were taught that murder in any form is wrong, then would it be considered wrong of us if we didn't reverse this tragedy?

It all depends on the person and what their views are about the topic.

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Thank you. In regards to this, I would have to stop and think: everything happens for a reason. The reason may not be obvious, but it must happen this way. Why? Well, that is the hard part. It is true that it does really depend on the person who is asked such a question. Most of us are raised being taught that murder is wrong and insist on that their whole lives. But when an opportunity like this is "presented" to them, quite a few are quick to say the opposite of what they had been taught, pretty much making an exception. My view is that it must have happened for a reason. It is most definitely an atrocity that we have done to ourselves as human beings. There is no changing that it is a tragedy that leaves such a negative mark in human history. But honestly, I feel that murder cannot and should not be justified with murder. I feel that this brings up so much contradiction. People who say that they are against murder are inclined to consider it, that is going to the past and kill Hitler, to prevent a tragic event like this. I see the motive, but most people do not really question as to why these things happen. A lot of people want to live hypothetically rather than look at the past and use it to grow in the present. I feel that it is ignoring the past that dooms us to repeat it. 

My viewpoint is that the past should be used to find a means to an end. If there is no origin, there will not be an end. If one considers wanting to alter the past with a hypothetical scenario that they would have "liked," the end will be altered. Then, where would we be? Things must happen. History is there. Recorded for our taking. We must be conscious of what has happened in our history so that we know what to do in the present so that we might reach an endpoint.

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One other aspect to consider is also that what is considered "right" may, in fact, be wrong. For example, going off the example of Hitler, one could argue that the Treaty of Versailles was a significant contributing factor in providing an ideal environment for the German people to be more easily lead to follow and believe the words that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and the Nazi party used to not only gain power but also eventually begin the destruction of "undesirables" within the world.

So, we therefore must ask, in the pursuit of justice and doing what is right, how far is too far and what are the causes of these extreme judgments? In the case of the treaty, it was handled by countries involved in the entirety of the war, which most probably lead to a certain degree of bias because of that. Therefore, doing what is right can be considered to necessitate an unbiased or objective party that will act in a way that is in accordance with law, but also takes into account the necessary factors to prevent such bias from occurring. This is not to say that this is possible at all times or necessarily the best course of action. Rather, the aim would be to reduce bias as much as possible as to create an outcome that would be considered "right" given a unanimous set of standards agreed on by the parties in question (i.e. - laws).

After all, it wouldn't make sense for little Timmy to be hung for trying to steal a piece of candy, now would it?

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That is a good point. Regardless of what decision is taken, one has to keep an open mind and think about the effects of a decision or course of action. Someone may view it as a good, or 'right', decision, but another may see it as detrimental and think of it as a 'wrong' decision. Going on the Treaty of Versailles, it essentially placed the blame of the first world war entirely on Germany and had to pay controversially high reparations. This in turn became a big economic burden to Germany and the treaty overall generated ill feelings among the German people. Consequently, because of the strong German resentment against the treaty, it could be said that the way was paved for Adolf Hitler to take power. The strong resentment and the situation Germany was in were used by Hitler to lay hold of Germany and begin the reestablishment to power. So in the end, can we really say that this treaty was the right course of action or the wrong course of action? Is it necessarily one over the other? As long as there is that bias from the sides involved, there is really no unanimous consensus on who is 'right' and who is 'wrong.' It can be quite difficult because each 'side' will have their own viewpoints.

Regardless of viewpoint on a situation, there needs to be a 'middle ground' of some sort. In this case, I do think that laws agreed on by the parties involved are a crucial component to act on the situation in a civilized way. Without laws, the concept of 'right' and 'wrong' is virtually nonexistent. If there are no laws governing the general masses, what is the point of thinking whether a certain action is 'right' or 'wrong'? Concrete laws/standards serve as that 'neutral party' that conflicting groups must abide by to truly be able to define something as 'right' or 'wrong,' from my point of view.

And yes, poor Timmy should not face that kind of punishment for something like that.

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Is there a right or wrong..that depends.. you can say yes since society 'tells' us what's 'right' and 'wrong' BUT you can say no, cause at the end of the day, it's you who decides what's 'right' and 'wrong'. For me tho..This is going to sound very cheesy but..the heart can't live with only light[good] or dark[bad], but it's our instincts that determines what path that we take for ourselfs..if that makes any sense..not good at putting what I am thinking into words..

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I can see that. See, I feel personally that that is one of the major problems of society today: people continue to deny the existence of darkness. Each individual has their own thoughts and ideas. There are so many different perceptions out there. However, balance is needed in life. If one denies darkness and insists that they are living in pure light all the time, they are most likely the ones who are mesmerized by darkness. In other words, they create that sort of illusion for themselves. As much as one wants to shut darkness out of their life, it is still there. There is no denying it. Light and darkness coexist with each other. What one most likely wants is to have a hold of the light, or the 'right.' But if one wants to grasp this light, they cannot do it by denying that there is darkness. It is there. It must be overcome. Through the choices you make in life, one often stumbles into darkness. But to find the light, one must overcome the darkness. Rise above it. Much easier said than done, of course. It is through experience that the light may be found. Through wandering in the darkness, eventually the light will be fully visible. From there, the choice is the individual's: forcefully run towards the light, or continue to wander aimlessly in the darkness.

 

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I can see that. See, I feel personally that that is one of the major problems of society today: people continue to deny the existence of darkness. Each individual has their own thoughts and ideas. There are so many different perceptions out there. However, balance is needed in life. If one denies darkness and insists that they are living in pure light all the time, they are most likely the ones who are mesmerized by darkness. In other words, they create that sort of illusion for themselves. As much as one wants to shut darkness out of their life, it is still there. There is no denying it. Light and darkness coexist with each other. What one most likely wants is to have a hold of the light, or the 'right.' But if one wants to grasp this light, they cannot do it by denying that there is darkness. It is there. It must be overcome. Through the choices you make in life, one often stumbles into darkness. But to find the light, one must overcome the darkness. Rise above it. Much easier said than done, of course. It is through experience that the light may be found. Through wandering in the darkness, eventually the light will be fully visible. From there, the choice is the individual's: forcefully run towards the light, or continue to wander aimlessly in the darkness.

 

​You put it better then me but yeah, not to mention that no matter how many good deeds you do in your lifetime, your bad ones shines the brightest. Like a murderer trying to change his life..he can give to charities, help the poor, do community service via volunteering, but that charge of murder is what everyone sees the most.

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I thought you made it pretty clear yourself. It helped me put all of that together! Honestly, it depends on who you know. I mean, like you put it, who is willing to forgive someone who does something like murder? Just as you put it, he or she can try to change their image, improve themselves or contribute to society in a positive way. In the end, most people will end up remembering that individual as a murderer rather than an asset to society. If that certain individual's actions to change themselves are honest efforts at living a life of repentance, then that is the most beautiful thing. I think that applies to any of us. If we let go of our pride and truly live that kind of life, we can truly make a difference. Through having that kind of mindset, it is much easier to find the love and acceptance that we need. It is not an easy path, but we have to endure the suffering. Not a lot of people are willing to forgive a crime of that magnitude, but what is important is that your efforts to change yourself are honest.

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  • 6 years later...

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