ForumsDialogue is Action
Last Post Update: May 8
Posting is now closed for the year!
- 3+ Weeks of Credit: abuzz, xwing37, aplitstudent123, MangoMan,
- 2 Weeks of Credit: --
- 1 Week of Credit: Nikki, savhoisington, Nicole, Persephone
Responsibility and Imagination
Over the past few days we have had a great amount of discussion in class over where responsibility lies and who can determine responsibility. The main part of the book we looked at was when Kafka is reading about Eichmann and Oshima's annotations say,"Our responsibility begins with the power to imagine." Eichmann merely saw himself as a technician generating optimal solutions to a problem, but as we know his calculations were responsible for killing millions of jewish people. What determines responsibility: the law, your individual self, God, or something else? Further, when does that responsibility become a responsibility? Is it when, as Oshima says, when one imagines or is it when an act is carried out?
If I believed in God I would say God determines responsibility- but I don't. I can't say the law, because it is people who created law. I think it must begin with the self. The concepts of "right" and "wrong" are subjective as well, so I don't think there is a clear, definitive answer. There are no true, set, accepted, universal moral guidelines to define responsibility by. I may think myself not responsible for something, but someone else thinks I am, like Eichmann. I would deem Eichmann responsible for the death of millions (which I, and the majority of people, deem as "wrong"), and that he posed a threat to the common good. But he never seemed to believe it himself. So to me he was responsible, to himself he wasn't. I don't think responsibility needs to be agreed upon to have action. Who cares that he thought he was innocent, everyone else knew he wasn't. No one and everyone determines responsibility. I think it is more important to ask: does it have to be one way or the other? If so, why?
This makes me think of dystopian science fiction, Oshima's notion of responsibility in dreams. Having the concept of a "thoughtcrime" implies that even imagining something unethical violates that ethical guideline. If you have to take responsibility for something that you think, that just pressures people to supress and surpress. That makes understanding how your brain works harder, and discussion around the grey areas of any ethical system non-existent. Additionally, if you don't understand the world as others do, there's absolutely no hope in determining accountability. This ultimately comes down to an issue of only being able to see what you can see. If you aren't able to transport into another person's brain, how do you even begin to understand the way they work? If you can't grasp the person as they are, how do you determine what they're responsible for? It's something only the self can decide, and then that's a discussion over the subconscious.
@salmon, I feel like it's hard for someone to be deemed responsible for a thought or a dream. Dreams normally aren't controlled and they can't be stopped from coming. And like you said if you can't into someone's head, how can you deem them responsible for something that they can't control. I think a responsibility becomes a responsibility when an act is done and most importantly the intent behind the act.
@xwing37 However, those thoughts and dreams still say something about you, don't they? The subconscious isn't a separate entity, it's just another piece of your identity. Perhaps you don't need to take accountability for all thoughts, as some may be absorbed from existing in the space of those ideas, but surely you can't wave away any idea you have as unaffecting or irrelevant. Defining "responsibility" in those terms is tough, but since the brain is self-contained, isn't responsibility for a thought just acknowledging it's actually there?
Also, bringing in intent is an interesting approach, since @abuzz brought up Eichmann. What was his intent? If he was just engineering as part of his job, doesn't that make his intent more or less harmless? Does intent even matter at all, if the end result is unchanged? A genocide is a genocide, no matter what the person meant. Likewise, does doing good for malicious intent change the fact that good was done?
100% find this question a very interesting picture of a thing, for at least in my own opinion I have a very easy answer to this. And this comes from Catholic theology which is something that has a Major Impact I do my own views on philosophy. the two different kinds of sin That a person can commit. This is kind of simplified but for right now we can just describe it as two different ways to commit sin. There are sins of the body and sins of the mind. This is what we're talking about: responsible for your thoughts as well as your actions. So think about it this way I guess at the same time is a sin to think about murdering somebody. but also actually murdering someone is a sin. Now use different kinds of weights and how bad they are. Except generally in Christian theology does not like a scale of good to bad sins. It is all just in so I think if we try to dissect Humanity make human beings not responsible for their own actions because of XYZ. Then really who's responsible some abstract idea. I think we are responsible for our own actions. We always try to make it so that the individuals themselves are not responsible for the accident they come in for some outside force acting upon them. Even in Christian theology where there's a concept of the devil and tempting humans. In the end because humans have free will, the human soul has the choice to commit sin Or to not commit sin. I thought we always try to play this game where we try to make it so we are responsible for our own failings. What are the issues the modern world has altogether. Not making people responsible for the only things that happen to them.
When we were first asked this question the answer seemed pretty obvious that it only matters what you act upon, it doesn't matter what you think! However, the more I think about this concept, I have to disagree. In the past, the mentality that how we think and deal with our emotions would be much more common, but now therapy and expressing our emotions is a big part of our culture, we even have "wellness weekends"! We now have this idea that it is important how we think and talk to ourselves. If one is having obsessive thoughts, there are professions that can help and change that way of thinking. What I am getting at is in today's society it isn't all about what we act upon, but also what and how we think. We have a responsibility not only with how we act, but within our minds.
Additionally, if you don't understand the world as others do, there's absolutely no hope in determining accountability.
at first, this statement tripped me up. I didn't quite understand what you meant. Do you mean something to the effect of 'how can we determine that the intentions behind a persons' thoughts if we don't understand the way they think?'
as a side note, this also made me think about the old question of how 'good morals' are even decided. Besides the obvious, the grey areas are hard to judge unless you know the persons' intentions
@salmon I agree with your point that what occurs in your thoughts and dreams is a part of your wiring and there is little to no way to change that. But, I think active thoughts, or even random ones, are much more controlled than dreams. A person may have a random thought that has (seemingly) no obvious origin but what they do with that afterwards is most important
I can I agree that we are responsible for our own imagination because even though we don't like to think of it as our responsibility it quite actually is. Does that mean that we are a bad person if we have bad thoughts but don't execute any of them? The obvious answer to that is of course not! If you would like to repress those thoughts because you think it will make you a better person go ahead. But the fact that they are random and spontaneous really makes you think if they are really a threat, in which case they both can and cannot be a threat to others around you. It really depends on how you manage them.
@xwing37 I think there is a difference between responsibility and accountability. I think this is what @salmon is saying, but I think that even though we can be responsible for something, we don't necessarily have to be held accountable for it. The difference is a little difficult to explain, but taking responsibility for our thoughts would mean that we are the ones that would have to answer for our thoughts. That doesn't mean that any action necessarily needs to be taken, or even should be taken for that matter, when someone has an immoral thought, but it is still part of them and they have to answer for why it was something that they thought of. Accountability would come into play when someone acts on those thoughts. Once a person takes action on their thoughts, then they can be punished for what those thoughts lead them to do. Take Kafka and Sakura for example. Sakura told him that she doesn't know what is going on in his head, so he can imagine whatever he wants to imagine. Yes he can imagine whatever he wants, no one can stop him, but he still has to take responsibility for it ("In dreams begins responsibility"). But no accountability has to be taken for it since he isn't actually harming anyone by doing so, which is why he is allowed to keep doing it.
@xwing37 With the Eichmann example, he should still have to take accountability for all the harm his actions have caused. His actions had an impact on others. But since there was no imagination to his actions, I suppose the argument could be made that maybe he wasn't responsible for it, even if he was accountable. What he did was still wrong and still caused harm, which is where the difference between accountability and responsibility is really shown.
@nicole Hopefully I am clarifying your thoughts by proposing that responsibility is one sense of duty seen by themselves, and accountability is one's sense of duty as seen by other people. When that whole scene with Sakura came up, I was flabbergasted by Kafka's ability to put aside his responsibility to his thoughts. No one would hold him accountable, sure, but how could he let himself think so sexually of someones he thinks to be his sister, blood or not! Part of him knew it was wrong, yet he continued. Even with permission, why was his lacking the part of his brain that would actually make him stop! At that point, he is responsible.
No one and everyone determines responsibility.
Quite an interesting concept... I do feel that responsibility has an individual aspect to it. This statement however makes me feel like there is a collective responsibility, almost like a collective unconscious. Eichmann of course was deemed guilty, therefore responsible.. but by the law? The law was created by people, and a majority agreed that he was responsible. He disagreed, however, but that does nothing for him other than make himself think he's in the "right." So although everyone deemed him responsible from the outside, on the inside Eichmann did not feel responsible so therefore no one did.
@salmon, I completely understand what you mean with imagination and how it's not a separate entity. I guess the way I was thinking about it was legitimately getting in trouble for something. You can't arrest someone for having bad thoughts you can only arrest someone for committing the crime. But getting in trouble isn't the only thing that can hold you responsible. While I most definitely agree with you that bad thoughts do say something about a person's character and they are responsible for their thoughts, I was just thinking in a real world example along the lines of going to jail.
- Only Substantive Posts earn credit.
- Five posts/week earn 100% for that week.
- Deadlines are Fridays at 11:59 pm.
- Any single week can earn up to 150%:
- Six posts = 120%
- Seven posts = 140%
- Eight posts = 150%
- Nine posts = 150%, etc.
- One successful podcast replaces 5 posts.
- Are usually several thoughtful sentences in length:
- Demonstrate that reading was done or a concept is understood
- Might quote text
- Express a thoughtful idea about that concept/reading
- May be questions, but if so, also speculations
- Demonstrate that reading was done or a concept is understood
- Are constructive and productive to the discussion
- Are supportive of other members and their ideas
- May/should challenge/provoke/take risks in thinking