Thursday, May 10, 2007

Despairing of Humanity

Sometimes I'll read something in the news that makes me just wonder how fucked up humanity can be. This is one of those things.

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Anonymous said...

I've been casually following this story. I think initially, the were only going to get a few years or something, but maybe I remember incorrectly.

I agree that it is a pretty awful thing to happen, but I don't think it warrants the statement about how fucked up humanity is. The reason this is an awful occurence is because humans don't usually do this sort of thing. It is just an anomaly that these girls are missing that "thing" that makes you think you shouldn't kill people. And I'm not entirely convinced that that "thing" is actually part of being human, or whether it has become part of being human through social conditioning, ie. religion.

But, I do actually also agree that humanity is fucked up...I just think these two things are seperate issues.

Hewhoblogs said...

I think they were drugs addicts or something (from news) so maybe that 'thing' was lost.

Richard Dawkins argues convincingly that morality is instinctual. Basically if we are nice then people are nice to us, possible sexual partners like us more and so on. There are lots of examples of selflessness in animals so maybe morality isn't just conditioned.

Also he spoke about some psychological study done to determine where people draw the line with morality. For instance most people say it is ok to kill one person to save five if those were the only two choices, e.g. a train goes down one of two tracks, one of which has five people tied to it and the other only has one person tied to it. But most people say it is not ok to actively seek out a person to kill to save five people, e.g.killing a healthy person to use their organs to save five other people. It was found that people in Papua New Guinea who have had no contact with anyone outside of their small sphere of experience drew the lines in roughly the same places.

Also humanity is on the whole pretty good I think. Can hyenas invent the internet so that they might bemoan the fact that hyena kind is fucked up their hyenas buddies in Japan? Not bloody likely!

Esonlinji said...

I despair because humanity has the potential for great good or great evil, and this is a reminder of the latter option.

I think these people are not all there, and are missing something fundamental to being human. To be able to kill someone and not feel remorse seems abhorrent to me. I'll admit to not always getting the whole emotions and human feelings stuff, but to be able to go "I wonder what if I'd feel bad about killing someone?" and then going off to do it is beyond my ken. And a friend. What sort of friend kills you in your sleep. And the worst part is they didn't feel remorse, to quote "It felt right."

Killing for a purpose I can kind of get. Killing in self defense I can even accept. But killing to see how it makes you feel.

So far, my argument mainly seems to be that this action is incomprehensible to me, and so is evil, which is not all that strong given the way I sometimes question how much I get the whole being human thing. Perhaps I overreacted with declaring this a cause for doubt in the whole of humanity, but it definitely shows how far down humanity can fall.

Hewhoblogs said...

Fair enough. I agree I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather be killed by someone I know then someone I did'nt..I value my life and if someone is going to take it..Let it be someone I spent time with. At least they took the time to base my death on who I was.