Lies and Love, Part 1

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Some ramblings inspired by my recent scholastic activities.

Preamble: My Rhetoric class (a course on lying and liars) is currently having us read St. Augustine’s Lying. While dutifully doing my reading, the urge to write struck and I turned to TextEdit. I’ve been mulling over lots of things recently, thanks to my exposure to lots of different people at Cal—hardcore capitalists who have no empathy for human beings, hardcore religious folks who have no empathy for logic, and so on—and what follows is an extremely disorderly write-up that covers lots of things in no detail. There will be more posts like this, I am sure. Discussion is encouraged. Without further ado…

- – if you could save a man fleeing death by telling a lie, would you? – -
- you save his corporeal form/body/temporal life,
- and lose your ethereal form/soul/eternal life
- for “the mouth that belieth, killeth the soul” or some such nonsense

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”

He who gives up his life (A) in order to save the life of another (B) then loves the other more than himself, which is more than he should, and thus breaks biblical law. But to save himself by letting the other die, he then loves himself more than the other.

Fair would be both A and B dying to the sword—but that would be pointless.

The best ending according to my nature and morals would be to have A attempt to dissuade B’s would-be killer (C) without lies. This would rarely work unless A coerced C with threats of violence, which would not be in accordance with my nature and morals. Despite this unreliability, dissuasion is still what I’d prefer to see, and it would work more consistently if people had a different background (one of education rather than one of violence). Education: you’re trying to teach C why they shouldn’t kill B (or kill at all).

Brief thought: this interpretation of lying and loving, basis for [socialism/communism/loving each other/realize there's no difference][1]? It might be a bit extreme to build market systems or governments on an illustration of the pitfalls of saving lives, but if the point is equality, dot dot dot. Also, “Thou dost hate, O God, the man who works iniquity.” Iniquity ≠ inequality, but the Latin is there in plain view; equality is just and inequality is unjust (iniquitous). I’m going to spring this on some folks some time.

Back to Augustine, he goes on to say that sacrificing your temporal life for the eternal life/lives of other(s) is fine (his example: Jesus). What if those others maintain their bodies? Do the bodies not matter at all? Keep the tone scale out of this, please[2].

Remember KCG: this life doesn’t matter[3].

So if everyone maintains their souls, everyone remains equal. Even if you die, so long as you keep your soul you are loving yourself the same as your neighbor. Even if you let your neighbor die, you are loving yourself the same as your neighbor.

Me: o vrmnt?[4] “Working iniquity” is something you can’t do in heaven, as all are in bliss there[5]. It’s something you do on Earth. So it’s something that matters in this life, something that matters in relation to our corporeal forms. Surprise! Our bodies matter (unless you can experience Earth without a body?).

bargle fargle, ignore this Don’t ignore this: I said to ignore it when I thought I had made a mistake (see end of this post), but now I see that it is still correct. Hurrah. { In any event, iniquity would include one person killing another, or one person letting another die. Ultimately, C is responsible for murder (or is it “killing,” which is alright if it’s justified?), and A is responsible to his conscience for letting B die. In terms of end result and impact on humanity, the goodness of A’s actions depends on whether or not B deserved to die. }

According to my super-radical hippie “loving each other” views, B never deserves to die. So A should always save B. Not by lying where it’s possible, but lying is better than letting B die. Especially since A can lie, ask C in for tea, get to know C, educate C, and then inform C that A regrettably had to tell a lie.

It’s like my talk with my brother J about HAMAS and Israel[6] and whether or not we should have allowed open elections in Palestine—you can’t do the perfect thing at every point in time (you let HAMAS take over, A lets himself lie) and you can’t save every hardship from happening. But you can buy time and then you can use that time to educate.

You can teach HAMAS not to terrorize Israel (and the reverse, as I pointed out—Israel is not clear of blame…); you can teach C not to kill B.

Clarification of earlier confusion on my part: In my reading, I mistook “iniquity” for “inequality.” I then went and fixed my mistake by connecting the two (inequality is unjust). If there is any confusion regarding my usage of the terms equality, inequality, and iniquity above, let it be known that I am assuming:

- God hates those who work iniquity/disjustice
- Iniquity is, by definition, unfairness
- Equality is a state in which all things are equal, that is, fairness
- Inequality, therefore, is unfair/iniquitous
- God hates those who create inequality

Ehehehe. More of this manifesto[7] later. Please add your thoughts, as discussion is a great vehicle of discovery.

Endnotes:

  1. MURS – “Can It Be” []
  2. I’m looking at you, SAKI. Also, all you scientologists out there. []
  3. Perhaps not KCG’s exact words, but he once told me what you accomplish here, how happy you are with your life on Earth, that these things don’t matter—at least, not compared to devoting yourself to Christ and praying for salvation. []
  4. O RLY, French-style. []
  5. I could be wrong here. I haven’t actually read any “official” writings on heaven myself. Please let me know if you know better! []
  6. I can give more info on this discussion if need be, but I’d rather not go into it as the point of this post has extremely little to do with the Middle East, and Israel is a can of worms. []
  7. No, this isn’t a manifesto. The use of the word was meant as a joke. []

"Lies and Love, Part 1" was posted by on Tuesday, February 10th 2009. This post is categorized General Writings and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

5 thoughts on “Lies and Love, Part 1

  1. A few notes I mentioned earlier, primarily to help the both of us remember these so we can go into them at further detail later on:

    1.) What do we do in the case where either person B or person C is mentally challenged(and/or psychotic)? This would be taken to the point where rationalizing with or teaching this person is next to impossible or so very difficult that it would also be next to impossible to find anyone willing to work with them to come to a peaceful conclusion.

    2.) How do you intend on educating those that have no desire to change, do not wish to see your logic, and refuse your attempts at every turn?

    3.) If God is taken out of the entire equation but the ideology of deaths and suffering being minimized is kept, what benefits can A(verage Joe) expect from the exchange wherein he puts his own life in danger in order to protect one or more others?

    4.) Can’t think of anything else right now without you interacting immediately with me, so hopefully I’ll come up with more later. ;D

  2. 1. If person C is psychotic or otherwise incapable of being rationalized with, person A should still attempt to prevent the murder. Flak’s (and myself’s) ideal solution is impossible in this case, but that does not mean a less perfect solution is not possible. The interesting point this brings up is what to do if in order to save B you have to kill C…

    2. I believe Flak here is hoping for a ‘background in education’ that would prevent this sort of idea from taking root in people (see the end of his preamble, where he brings this up briefly). The perfect solution is again out of reach here.

    3. Interesting. There are two groups of (I would say both morally healthy) people: one group would risk their life for another, the other wouldn’t. I’m sure many professed members of either group would find themselves switching if the situation actually arised. The ideological reasoning behind the two possible decisions would be interesting to puzzle out – someone might say they couldn’t ‘live with themself’ if they did nothing, so by protecting person B, person A is minimizing suffering – this person A suffers no matter what, so it’s not part of the factor. This also ignores the fact that there are some people Bs who couldn’t ‘live with themself’ if person A saved them! The whole thing gets very complicated…

  3. The key thing to me is what course of action minimizes suffering in the aggregate. Does not killing a person mean they can/will continue to bring harm to others in the future? Maybe you peacefully resolve the issue between these two people with no bloodshed at all, but does this address the issue that led to this problem in the first place? Have you insured a repeat of the incident won’t happen again?

    Obviously educating people is an excellent method of changing the shape of the future, but my point is that the decision process you’re making isn’t really looking at the big picture, either in scale of numbers or scale of time. If it’s a man who has dozens of people held hostage with a bomb, and killing him is the only quick, reliable way of preventing him from killing them all, I’d rather just do that. Any other course of action is liable to get everyone else killed, as well as inflicting considerable property damage which itself can have a significant negative impact on other people’s lives.

    Of course, my example assumes there are no other consequences of merit for killing the man. If, for instance, there are political repercussions that could lead to war for killing him, that’s even worse than a few dozen people dying.

  4. Those are my thoughts, more or less, but not quite. Things like financial success or celebrity status or creating some work of art, those things are just temporary and thus should never be a high priority. People, however, do last forever, and so people are important. Our relationships with God and other people are the most important things in the universe, and in fact relationships are what we were created for to begin with.

    As to where you got the idea that loving someone else more than yourself is somehow wrong, you just leave me baffled. Love your neighbor as yourself is a minimum, not a maximum. Jesus certainly valued the well-being of others over his own well-being, else he would not have died on the cross for our sins. Love isn’t a feeling, it is an action. You make the choice to put effort towards the well being of someone else, and then you act on that choice. God doesn’t owe us anything, yet he cheerfully provides for us regardless.

    As for fairness, that is a rather terrible standard to hold. Fairness means we only get what we deserve. Fairness removes the possibility of love and kindness, since you are only receiving things that you earned. Fairness means babies starve to death, because they can’t earn their own food. Fairness means we all are judged for our sins and sent to Hell.

    Nor do I see a connection between fairness and equality. Is it fair to give equal pay for unequal work? Is it fair to force people to support those who cannot support themselves?

    Equality isn’t fair, but fair isn’t good. Equality can be good or bad, depending on what you are being equal to. Equality in depravity certainly isn’t good.

  5. Pingback Responses to Lies and Love, Part 1 :: Dreams of the Quill v5

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