Sunday, March 06, 2005

Food and Thought

…as opposed to, say, food for thought. On food: my latest discovery is a rather inexpensive take-away salad bar at the local supermarket.

On appetite apparently, clearly carnivorous consuming digressionally detours dietarily to the obviously ominous omnivorous.

On thought: I’ve been rather religiously liberal in recent times. An old friend says it’s the difference between being spiritual and being religious, which does have a ring of something. Been pondering on a traditional Catholic part of the mass service, asking forgiveness for that “in my thoughts and in my words, in what I’ve done, and in what I’ve failed to do.” In my thoughts… an interesting concept, even outside of the theistic system into a broader question of morality.

How does what we think, by intent or by instinct (which itself is something to think about) balance off with the actual choices we make? Our choices in life carry obvious moral implications – do our thoughts really, and to what extent? Of course in many cases our thoughts are part of actions, even in the less direct – allowing continued bigoted thinking consciously or subconsciously can effect the actions or inactions of a surgeon who has to choose which patient to save – and so yes, what I’ve done, and what I’ve failed to do. Thought has moral and practical implications here.

There are grey areas, however. Say, that there’s a terrorist who’s being acquitted on a purely technical loophole. And you think that by gosh, it wouldn’t exactly be a global insult if some trucker with an 18-wheeler just happened to run him over by, ahem, accident. Let’s say that you were a trucker with an 18-wheeler, and you could actually achieve this with no worldly repercussions. But you choose not to, because murder is wrong. But you still think that you wouldn’t lose sleep if the next trucker decided otherwise. You almost wish that he did. Now, in that case, is that thought immoral? Say that the next trucker did exactly that. And you think, golly gee, good job! How about that?

And this is a rather clear example, I’m sure we all could think of murkier areas still. MTV leans towards possibilities here.

Perhaps it is really just a philosophical question. But… it’s food for thought after all.


~tengman.k.~ said...

Astonishingly appropriate alliteration appears amazing. Ausgezeichnet! (I know it's cheating. Excellent in German)

I challenge your argument on the "murder is wrong" point. As we've mentioned before, the law is not ethics. If we approach it from a utilitarian point of view, what is useful is better. The terrorist is going to cause a great deal of destruction and therefore it is perfectly ethical to kill him to prevent the mayhem he would otherwise cause. Go ahead truckie, roll over George W.

eg9 said...

(In all flippancy...)

But then the human population IS threatening to explode beyond the sustainable limits of the planet's resources...

And we're getting too smart for epidemics to really wipe out sufficient numbers of the population...

What with our artificial population growth curve being completely unstoppable... perhaps the terrorist thing isn't so bad after all.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Teng on the terrorist point. After all, in one of his previous lives didnt Buddha kill one man so that that man would not commit the sin of killing 999 others? So, by killing that guy, Buddha saved 999 lives AND prevented the wanna-be-killer from going to hell. Ok, so I am being religious here, shoot me.

However, MUST disagree with eg9 on his flippant reply. Sorry, dear, but flippant or not, the comment on terrorist isnt such a bad thing is like asking to be stucked on the dart-board and shot at! ^.^ The comment on clearing a little space or two on Earth through terrorism is totally inane. Think of all the innocent lives, the goodness and greatness they would have brought to earth and its population. Sad, really, that such thoughts could even cross your intelligent mind.

AF said...

Very interesting... I admit I based things upon a rather doctrinated belief. But the core of the matter, rather than the example, remains about whether thought should be within the pervue of judgement?

Let's say, cruel and unusual punishment, torture, etc of that terrorist... or let's say instead of a terrorist, a controversial religious extremist who in your/my opinion the world could do without.

Whatever really, that might toe the line of morality in actual action - would, should this also cross that line when but in thought?

eg9 said...

Eek! Jinx, tried to reply you here but it got a bit long and windy, so it's on my blog instead.

And also, my reply digresses from Andrew's original question somewhat :)