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The (Im)possibility of Forgiveness
@salmon I think when we get deep into concepts like this it shows the structure that society and social norms have on us. From what I read about Derrida, he used descontrustion as a way to identify imbalances and problems within society and applied it to social injustices. Forgiveness isn't quite a full-blown injustice, but it shows how we value politeness and social norms rather than honesty. Like most of us on this forum, I think now that forgiveness is not really deep or important in an ethical sense, because I don't feel animosity when someone does something "wrong" to me. But I will still socially forgive, because it is such a vital part of socializing and engaging with my community. I think that's why it is still around.
@theboulder That's a good point. I think a lot of it just has to do with how in the grand scheme of society, statistically no individual will know any other individual. As such, formality is valued way more since everyone's a stranger, but I think that evolved into something you're expected to do even with people you know fairly well. Words like "please," "thank you," and "sorry" don't really mean much anymore, they're just there because they should be there. Formality's always more of an obligation than anything genuine, but I wonder if that will ever change. It's become hard to, say, genuinely express gratitude to somebody, because we say "thank you" over the littlest things. Forgiveness works the same exact way.
Words like "please," "thank you," and "sorry" don't really mean much anymore, they're just there because they should be there.
I feel this same way. Come to think of it, all of these words are connected to forgiving. Someone may plead that you please forgive them. They might even feel sorry that they did an action that needs forgiveness. Then they can thank you for forgiving them, but if all of these words don't really mean much then it pretty much backs up the unimportance of forgiveness.
@stella Yes I guess that is true. I think that that is where I would say that character comes into play. If a person repeats the same offense a second or even a hundredth time, that is when further actions/ emotions need to be involved past forgiveness such as the person who is being hurt realizing that person is no longer good for them anymore, or anything based on different situations.
@savhoisington I agree with you because a lot of times in stories we read about a character forgiving someone who did them wrong but then is done wrong again following giving forgiveness. Although the character might be forgiven again we see a lack of association between the characters due to one being hurt multiple times. Just because someone is forgiven doesn't mean the other character forgets what they had done and begins to question if that association is even worth it.
@abuzz Ah! The post that you had quoted in your post is something that has totally been on my mind and I could totally relate it to this topic. Lately I have found myself responding to my mom with "I'm sorry" when I might be looking for her forgiveness to not doing something to her liking. She has recently banned me from saying this as to her it doesn't mean anything. And the more I think about it it really relates to this topic, she doesn't believe in my forgiveness as it doesn't mean anything to her. I messed up and didn't follow her directions therefore me saying sorry is irrelevant.
@savhoisington good point. I feel like the responsibility then falls onto yourself to not be associated with someone who would take advantage of forgiveness.
@alechayosh07 That really takes Derrida's idea to another level. If we have no need for forgiveness, then it seems like there is not a need for the words that surround forgiving. A typical response to "I'm sorry" may be "It's ok" or "I forgive you," with the former alluding to the latter. If there is nothing that is able to succeed a sorry, then is there a need for that sorry in the first place?
If there is nothing that is able to succeed a sorry, then is there a need for that sorry in the first place?
I really like this idea, and though I don't really have a strong response towards it I'm still going to attempt to work with it. I think that succeeding the 'sorry' isn't the goal of the phrase. Because there are cases and situations where the apology is achieved and the issue/problem is moved on from. However, I think that in my case there was no need for me to use the phrase because it wasn't a serious issue. Which is where I will go next with this... I think most of us can relate the words 'I'm sorry' to 'I will never do it again' and I think that situations like when you forget to take out the trash or do a chore shouldn't be followed with 'I'm sorry' as you are most likely do forget to do said task again. This is where I can definitely see there being nothing to succeed this form of apology.
@alechayosh07 Have you ever said sorry but the situation doesn't really change? Like it's still awkward and you both feel tension in the air. I feel as if sorry is a placeholder from a real confrontation, and that there needs to be an argument for the problem to really be solved.
@abuzz This is a great point. It really goes along with Derrida's ideas. These words really mean nothing - forgiveness doesn't just come with these words, it comes from the person, and these words guarantee nothing.
@octavia There needs to be an effort, is this what you mean? I stand on the point where I feel like there are some things you can't forgive. To forgive is to forget and move on but what happens when you can't stop thinking about the thing they did? What happens when you want to forgive them but every time you see them you get angry or frustrated? How do you get past that, that's the impossibility of forgiveness.
@alechayosh07, I think this is a really interesting way to look at this. If you look at just saying the word "sorry" as actually forgiving someone, I can see how forgiveness is unnecessary. As you mentioned, the word "sorry" is normally just used to make an action not seem as bad.
@Stella - I really like this idea of self-healing that you brought up. I think that is something that needs to happen before even thinking about forgiveness. Forgiveness is the last step to moving on. In order to get there, a person must learn to get past the situation and take their own time to heal themselves before healing anyone else.
@username27, I think the discussion of whether forgiveness is the first or last step to moving on is really interesting. I tend to agree with you that it is the last step, as I see forgiveness as words that should be said to affirm how you already feel.
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