Thoughts after 7th (or so) re-read...

originally posted by max

Before this, [the umpteenth read or so] my sympathies were all for the clans. I knew there were extenuating circumstances for their activity but now I wonder. If I were to see Iraqi children cutting the throats of wounded US soldiers on the field, I would totally believe that as a people, the Iraqis had no reason at all to be allowed to exist as a people!! This is not only done by the clans, they actually sanction this!! And at this point in time, after reading that part again, I firmly believe that… I'm not sure again.*&^%$ a people who teach their children to kill in that manner don't deserve to survive as a culture.

originally posted by Blue

a people who teach their children to kill in that manner don't deserve to survive as a culture.

And thus is Janny's point made… IS there ANY real justification for killing?

originally posted by Neil

Max, Blue,

You've ruffled my tail feathers this lunchtime :slight_smile:

I would argue that certain atrocities occur simply because these people are trying to *survive*. Well, that's their viewpoint anyway. And how can we be sure they're wrong?

What I've written here seems a little heavy in retrospect…sorry…but I hate deleting messages I've spent more than 1/2 hour typing :wink:

At the risk of being anti-american…why are the american soldiers in Iraq in the first place? Why don't they stay in the US? Why did these US people even become soldiers? Was there not a better career choice available to them?

I feel killing in self-defense to protect self/family/culture may be a final solution but a necessary one. You can run/hide but finally where can you go? (What are the external forces (language/state borders/etc.) Do you want to maintain your current culture/living conditions for your children? If you don't kill what will happen?

Sulfin's choice in TK is to survive the neromancers no matter what…killing innocents in the short term for the long-term goal…in the story, we *know* that the necromancers are *evil*…are we really sure? I guess we are…but this is still a "stance" we have taken

Real life example: If your only choice is to take the train to Auschwitz (and likely death) or kill the nazi soldier who is putting you on the train? You can run as a first choice. You can hide as a second choice. But what if you are captured? What if you could continue to live IF you kill someone else. Whose life is more "important"? And to whom?

It's a question of you or me. A question of perception of law/ethics/cultural norms. On earth there are many "systems of living". Some are choices; some enforced by state or culture.

In the WoLaS the clans kill for survival (they see themselves as humanity's hope for the future on Athera (grass roots of the compact - GC ) since if the paravians do return the town born are likely to have "interaction difficulties", putting it mildly.

The towns kill for profit/economic advantage.

Clans perceive more. Morally, the person with the greatest perception should choose(?)

Caolle is a good exemple of seeing that killing as solution doesn't really get him anyway. The key to the clans survival may well be giving up the stategy of killing…but they risk extinction…what then?

Davien states in PG that his opinion is that the "ends do not justify the means".

How do you weigh up the risks of your actions when there is no hard and fast method of coming up with a quantative result?

Maybe in real life it comes done to the relationships between individuals/groups/states/the land & it's resources.

Is there any real justification for killing?

Arithon would prefer to avoid it having tried it and finding that it solved nothing. What if it had solved his problems? Would he have looked any further? No need to…

The F7 does not *kill*. They done it too and paid the consequences. However, I am assuming that dragons have bound the F7 to kill if the paravian survival is threatened. A hypocritical result seen by the townborn who may have forgotten the 'agreed laws'…why not just rebuild space ships and send them on their way? The F7 could do this off world no?

But the WoLaS is only a story.

I have a question. Do you eat meat? (I do and feel absolutely very little guilt…even when faced with a pigs head on butcher's counter…but I did not *see* the pig die…)

Is eating meat killing?

So back to the kill question… where do you draw the line? And if I don't agree with your answer despite that fact that we agree on the facts/information. We draw different conclusions based on who we are. Then what?

originally posted by Trys

Neil,

Just some thoughts one of your points.

We eat both plant and animal and get beneficial nutrients from both sources. Some nutrients can only be naturally gotten from animal flesh.

As to whether it's okay to kill animals to eat, and by extrapolation, kill humans I'd say it depends on your worldview. If you are of the mind that humans are at the top of the food chain, the most evolutionarily advanced species then it is more likely that you would believe that eating animals is okay. If you have the view that humans are animals are more alike than unalike then eating an animal may prove more difficult. If you believe animals have souls…

On the other hand it's worth thinking about plants vs animals. Are plants less important than animals in the ecosystem? Are they less evolved? Less conscious? Conscious at all? Is it any less devastating to the plant to kill and eat it than it is to the animal?

So if you are of the opinion that you are more valuable, advanced, and/or important than someone else, killing may be a viable option.

Personal conclusion, we are omnivores. We can and do eat anything. From my perspective it becomes an issue of respect and honor. If we have proper respect and honor the sacrifice of the plant or animal who dies for our evening meal then I think we've done all we can do when it comes to our survival.

As to killing humans, I can not imagine a situation where I would engage in such an act. But then I'm not in the situation where others find it necessary. I can only hope that at some point in time someone wakes up and realizes that killing only begets more killing and to end it one must understand one's adversary. Refusing to talk to one's adversary is the surest way to continue being locked into the cycle of violence. Jesus has a significant point to make with 'turn the other cheek' and it wasn't that you should let your adversary walk all over you.

Trys <-- whose opinion should not be taken as a denouncement of others' differing opinions.

originally posted by Annette

Hello all. To put my two cents worth in, I am mostly a vegetarian. For the most part it is because I am too much of an animal person to be able to think about one dying just so I can have a burger or a steak. And as for fish I can't stand the thought of them suffocating to death. I think I am just a crazy big fat weinie softie or something. I never ate meat even when I was a child. And then when I was about 12 I saw a pig being killed on a farm and that experience was enough to stop me from even thinking about eating pork for the rest of my life and then some. I won't go into detail for those of you that are pork eaters but I will say that it was the most horrifying thing that I have ever witnessed. I am now 39 and the memory still gets to me. As for killing a human, I think that I could if the provocation were strong enough. If someone was trying to kill me or someone else and the only way that I could stop them was by killing them then I think that I could do it. If someone is willing to kill for greed or convenience then, as far as I am concerned, they are basically giving up any right to their own life. Anyway I am finished rambling now.

originally posted by Trys

Annette,

I didn't used to be able to eat beef. Anytime I'd be chewing on a steak or roast I'd get this image in my head of a cow chewing its cud and that put me right off. However, last year I discovered that I was hyperglycemic and needed to cut back on carbs. I quikcly found that I could only eat so much chicken and, at that time, hadn't found much fish that I liked (cod just doesn't cut it… probably from having it too much as a kid). Now however, I've discovered that the cud chewing isn't there… because I discovered the difference between low quality cuts of beef and high quality cuts of beef and how to properly cook it so it's tender. But I can symapthize with your position.

It is important to remeber that there are amino acids and enzymes that our bodies don't manufacture that can't be gotten from vegetables. Either you get it from meat or you get from supplements. If you're curious what they are I'll try to track down where I read about them.

Trys

originally posted by Memory

quote:

we are omnivores. We can and do eat anything. From my perspective it becomes an issue of respect and honor. If we have proper respect and honor the sacrifice of the plant or animal who dies for our evening meal then I think we've done all we can do when it comes to our survival.



That makes a lot of sense, Trys, and I don't at all take issue with it in itself. But the problem comes when you live in a society in which you are very far removed from actually gathering your own food. Animal farming is done on such a large, industrial scale in so many places, and often conditions can be horrific. They are bred purely to be eaten by humans; most of which will never ever see the animal that they are eating being killed. It's too calculating, too sanitised and too far removed for me. Even if I had the opportunity, I couldn't kill one of them, so I don't eat meat.

Memory >>>> again, purely my personal opinion relating to me - not a comment on anyone else's choices.

originally posted by PurplePenny

Annette, I too am vegetarian. I used to live near a pig farm and the screams of the pigs being taken to slaughter were horrific. They squealed when being loaded up for any kind of transport but when it was the abattoir lorry they became frantic.

Trys - these days it is generally accepted that this is a myth. The 8 essential amino acids can all be obtained from a vegetarian diet.

This is what the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada have to say on the subject:
http://www.eatright.org/Public/GovernmentAffairs/92_17084.cfm

And the Mayo Clinic:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=HQ01596

Penny

originally posted by Annette

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the offer Trys that is very nice of you. And thanks Penny for the information on the ADA and Mayo Clinic. Have a great one everyone.

originally posted by Ellydee

Just a thought on your thoughts, Neil. :smiley:

It seems right to me that the clansmen do kill for the purpose of survival, which their more accurate (?) perspective on the situation makes them aware of. However, I was a little disconcerted by the statement that townspeople kill for "profit." I think the connotation of that word does not accurately fit the situation. A clansmen may see a trader killing in defense of his goods as a death brought about by greed for gold, but the merchant whose family is depending on this cartload for their own survival in the coming weeks may see things differently.
Ultimately, I don't think I could devise a metanarrative for whose perspective would be the "best" in these situations, or whose morals or motives would be the best. The towns' concerns are just as real to them as the clans' are to their own people. As Neil was saying, so much depends on perspective.
Killing in defense of one's own existence is no more than an act of self-preservation: even micro-organisms do this; it's based on our own instinct to survive. Since morals are higher, more aesthetic ideas, and killing is often based on lower, more animalistic instincts, such as hunger or fear, I think it's really rather strange to try to justify it through morals.
I'm not saying that murder should go unpunished, or that instincts should be the sole excuse made to a grieving family, only that I hold the opinion that killing can't be glorified by our own specific aesthetics, entangled in biology and perspectives as it is.

originally posted by Hannah

Neil and Ellydee, even though some of your points were different, I have found them to be very true (on different days, depending on my mood. :wink: ) for me, so it was very thought-provoking reading how someone else wrote out my same beliefs.

I think in the culture that I live in, here in the US, it's increasingly difficult to get an accurate perspective on what's really going on in the world. Most of the info comes from the media, and how can one ever be sure that the info one receives is not unbiased. It seems almost certain that it is horribly compromised, and molded to fit someone's own agenda.

How can we be sure that our take on something is correct? I like to think myself an excellent interpreter of emotions and predictor of subsequent actions (who doesn't, right?), and yet I can't say anything with certainty, because I always have that little voice in my head saying "How do you know you're right here, though?" Sometimes I wish I could be more confident in what I say and think. But then again, a lot of people could stand to realize just a little bit that they're not 100% right all the time.

Someone once said to me that we have our own idea of who we think we are, convinced we know ourselves best. And then other people have their idea of who we are, thinking that they have a truer, unprejudiced perception. The truth of who we really are probably lies in between those two opinions. I think that is a truth that can stetch to a lot of things.

Just my wishy-washy ramblings. Hopefully they tie in just a little bit. I don't know, it was a long commute home.

Hannah

originally posted by Sarah

"At the risk of being anti-american…why are the american soldiers in Iraq in the first place? Why don't they stay in the US? Why did these US people even become soldiers? Was there not a better career choice available to them?"

Can I just say; (without coming down on Neils POV at all) that I have a lot of friends in the armed forces who are in Iraq. They didn't join up to be career soldiers. They joined because the military was their best bet for a college education and the other opportunitities that the military has. The war probably interupted their plans as much as it interupted Saddams.

just my thoughts :wink:
Sarah

originally posted by Kath

I'd like to add another point regarding the presence of our soldiers (UK in my case, but this applies to the whole coalition) in Iraq. Joining the armed forces is generally a very good career option, and providing the politicians do their jobs properly, there really shouldn't be any moral ambiguity about wanting to be in the armed forces.

People don't join up to kill, they join up to defend the innocent (and not-so innocent), those who can't fight back, and the right to live a decent human life without abuse by militias/other armies/tyrants/whatever. Those who join the armed forces are willing to lay their lives on the line for those of us who don't. The percentage who actually want to go to war is small - war should always be a last resort - but they'll do their jobs when they have to.

So, I fully support our armed forces in Iraq. They're doing their jobs, thats all - though I wish that certain elements could do so with a helluva lot more respect for the lives & lifestyles of the local population than they currently seem to. What I DO NOT SUPPORT is the politicians who sent them there - if I could punch Blair & Dubya's lights out right now…but what's done is done, I guess. Now the priority is getting that nation back together again as quickly, smoothly and with as much sensitivity as possible. If it is possible. But at this stage, I think that just washing our hands of the whole business would be almost as wrong as the fact that we went in in the first place. Like it or not, we've got to bear the responsibility of doing right by Iraq. As to whether our politicians are capable of getting things right, well, history will judge them and us. And at least here we're all able to have and express our own opinions, without expecting to force them on others, or have them shot down in turn.

But back on topic - I think we can see a lot of these viewpoints coming through in both the clanborn fighters and the soldiers of the Alliance. They all do what they believe they must in order to ensure their survival. Do they have all the facts? Undoubtedly not! It's not hard for Arithon to feel compassion for those who hate him - after all, it's not him they hate, but the non-existent malignant demon spawn that Lysaer & unfortunate circumstance have taught them to fear. As for the clan born sons, cutting the throats of wounded soldiers - are they any less dead than the soldiers killed outright by the adults? Did they fight with any less desire to slaughter the clanborn: man, woman and child? If left alone to recover or die in pain, what would their lives hold but more suffering, either in their last minutes before crossing the wheel, or in battles to come. They were soldiers, and headhunters, bent on killing. They were ready to die for their cause. I still find the thought of children being sent out to cut throats criminal, but I can see why the clans chose to do so. As for the effect on the children themselves, it's not as if they're going to be squeamish at the thought of blood - and besides, these are children with no illusions left to be shattered, and with enough hates and fears of their own to need little motivation to fight.

Right, I'd better stop before I start rambling!

originally posted by Neil

Ellydee, you wrote:

"I was a little disconcerted by the statement that townspeople kill for 'profit'"

I guess I was referring to both the guild assassins (who kill other townborn) and headhunters (who go after the clans)…would the merchant starve if he lost a percentage of wagons (I assume the clans are not numerous enough to get all of the wagons…). Maenolle says in COTM that the clans rob "to ease a harse existence".

Have the clans ever disagreed amongst themselves sufficiently to go to battle? Would the F7 have stopped them?

Anyway, are there trade route between all towns that don't cross paravian land? Would they be too long to be profitable? I haven't looked…

The last minute "meat idea" shoe-horned in there sidetracked my "is it ever necessary to kill idea?" ramblings :slight_smile: oops…

And I guess Iraq/US/UK have been discussed before…Anyone following the latest events in Afganistan? Or is the media? Nope. Didn't think so :wink: Short memories have the masses and most politicians aren't stupid.

Trys, yep, we are "eaters". All animals are I suppose? "Glorified tubes"…

And yes, for killing, what/who do you value and how much over and above your self/continued existence? But if you were tortured, half out of your mind, I believe that, finally, most of us would want to survive at the expense of our capteurs (if it came to that).

originally posted by Blue

Neil, as the daughter of a holocaust survivor, you scored one heck of a good point with the argument of killing a Nazi being "right."

HOWEVER, as others above mentioned, where does it stop?

Killing, as is rightly pointed out in this series, and as we see in "real life" is a never ending spiral.

[I won&#39;t enter the vegetarian debate.]

One of the people who started me wondering about the endless cycle in the Middle East was a political science teacher I had during my first attempt at college in the 1980s. He was Palestinian, and a confirmed "peacenik" with the ironic name of Dr. Jihad, which translates from Arabic as "Holy War".

Dr. Jihad had been in the US for several years for health reasons, but he still kept up with the goings on back home, especially since his parents and most of his siblings opted to stay put. Dr. Jihad had lost several family members to Israeli military operations, none of whom were combatants.

Whenever there was something in the news about the goings on in Israel, and whether the casualties were Palestinian or Israeli, he would shake his head with a very sad look, and more than once, I saw him move his lips silently. I think he was praying for the dead, and he did not discriminate.

He pointed out that in the Arab/Israeli situation, and he had good, first hand information on it, that it was going to be a LONG time before that war would ever be over, IF it could ever be solved.

"An Israeli kills a Palestinian. The Palestinian's family vows revenge, and kills an Israeli. The Israeli's family vows revenge, and kills a Palestinian. It never stops. It is a spiral. As long as each side holds on to their hate and desire for revenge, it will never stop."

He also pointed out that according to Muslim tradition, the Arabs and the Israelis are racial cousins, as both can claim descent from the Patriarch Abraham, the Israelis from Abraham and his wife, Sarah, and the Arabs from Abraham and his Egyptian concubine [wife?], Zilpah.

*************************************

I am by no means a pacifist, and I believe "we" [as in nations such as the US, UK, whoever] should fight if threatened.

BUT, I'd prefer to see diplomatic solutions to the problems, or there are going to be more eternal spirals of murder, revenge, murder, revenge.

Nationality A kills someone of Nationality B, but says s/he did it in self defense. A member of Nationality B's military, family, or friends kills Nationality A and calls it justice. Nationality A's countrymen, family and friends call for retaliation against Nationality B. Nationality B turns to support and assistance from an enemy of Nationality A, and commits terrible against Nationality A in support of Nationality B.

Where does it stop? Where does it end? When?

The argument above is that we, humans, are animals, acting on lower level instinct. A valid argument, I would say, especially considering that human history is literally written in blood.

HOWEVER, as the Indian Ocean tsunami has shown, we, humans, are capable of acts of incredible compassion, and helping those of our species who have suffered horrifically. We are capable of putting aside our differences long enough to airlift food, clothing, medical supplies, and rescue workers to the afflicted areas to help those so devastated.

A few years back, there was a terrible earthquake in Turkey, and one of the first nations on the scene was Greece, even though the Greeks and the Turks have been hostile for a long time. When a big quake hit Greece, who was one of the first nations to respond? Turkey.

Despite their long history of mutual antagonism, the Greeks and the Turks were able to put aside their differences and help one another.

Why can't the rest of the nations try this? One fine day, our ability to survive as a species may depend on our ability to pull our heads out of our a*ses and treat with one another fairly and respectfully, instead of picking up a weapon and doing away with those who are "different."

originally posted by Trys

FYI, according to an Arab-American living in Pittsburgh who was interviewed on TV shortly after 9/11, jihad does not mean 'holy war'. It means 'struggle' and is usually used in the context of a religious struggle. In his opinion, the term got wrongly translated. In my opinion, the propaganda machine (read as media) got involved and made it stick and now it is highly likely that the more militaristic factions within the Moslem world use the word in its new context more to inflame than to actually mean it… just my 2 cents.

Trys

originally posted by Neil

Blue, sorry to bring up the holocaust…the 60th anniversary and all that means it's been on the TV here in France. Very scary stuff and not so long ago…today I live in Alsace where the people are very closed-mouthed.

Peace is obvious a less costly solution…After the 2nd world war Europe finally concluded that war was too expensive. The US does seem (to me, today…) continue to start "conflicts"…are most US conflicts profitable long-term?

For me the issue was "killing" and if there is a circumstance where you would have to…kill and live or be peaceful and die…the second choice is ok if you can come back to life again in 3 days. It's been tried and worked only once in recorded history…and that's if you believe what you read in the papers :wink:

An irreversible process…killing…Gandalf points this out to Frodo in LOTR.

So I agree killing is not a good choice when you have a 500 year life span and a general population that knows your name and face :wink:

originally posted by Trys

quote:

are most US conflicts profitable long-term

All you have to is ask the mega-corporations which are now international mega-corporations. :smiley: I understand that many of the world's oil companies have reported record high profits exceeding projections even when elevated crude oil prices are taken into account.

quote:

Gandalf points this out to Frodo in LOTR

And also points out to Pippin that death is not in and of itself an end. I would suggest, however, that Gandalf has a preferred point of view. (Note: Gandalf is a Maia and therefore immortal.) What he is describing to Pippin is what one sees when they arrive on the shores of Valinor after sailing from Middle Earth, somewhere that most mortals can not go. There's no indication in any of the mythos behind the books (that I've read) that Valinor is the destination for those who die… nor a very clear description of what Gandalf experiences when he passes beyond the world after his battle with the balrog and is returned to recover in Lothlorien.

Love the comments about the 3 days. Very nicely delivered. :wink:

Trys

"And another eye for another eye, until all of us are blind"

Quote from the ballad/song, "And There Were Roses" which was written about the Troubles in Ireland. If someone asks, I will dig up the author of the song. It's a treasure, if sad.

Another quote from that one, a truly inspired work:

"And those who give the orders, they are not the ones to die…"

When we, as a humanity, can learn to RESPECT DIFFERENCES - which means, not eliminating them, though they are not comfortable to us as a species - eliminate differences meaning - not to place them in "better than/less than hierarchy/ not to separate into "us" and "them" - not to demonize the difference as threatening, but to co exist with it - we will have learned the fundamentals of alliance with each other. The truth is that differences are not comfortable, and we have to mature that view.

Spirals are only broken through forgiveness - and forgiveness can only happen through contact that brings about understanding.

I truly respected the movie made of the black coach, who, after school integration laws in the US, was handed the job of coaching a racially mixed football team - and made a go of it. His tactic - force the "two sides" into close contact until they saw the humanity in each other, and solved their differences through becoming a whole team. This was a true story and a moving film - I wish I could recall the title.

originally posted by Greg Malcom

Janny I believe the movie was Remember the Titans.

My Manager when I used to work for MCI was a senior in that school the year the movie took place. He said it was a very difficult year.

As to what is happening in Iraq. I as a military person, I signed backup after 9/11 after 6 years as a civilian. If we had been able to do what we, in the military really wanted. Which was catch and punish those that perpetrated such a heinous act on our civilian population, a large number of us would be happier.

I do not feel that our goals remained pure. But I believe that we can help to bring piece. But I also believe that unless everyone wants piece, piece cannot reign.

This is also the trouble in the stories. The guild houses and the mayors do not want piece. They want death to those who know the truth and will try and force them to live by the compact. They believe that they were enslaved by the compact and can never truly be free so long as the clans, and ultimately the Paraviens, are still alive.

The towns people and the standing army are deluded. The lie about who Arithon is, is small compared to the lie about what the monarchy was and stood for. The monarchy was never about ruling people so much as protecting the land, the townies don't understand that, and can't understand it until the Paraviens come back.