Thursday, December 11, 2008

Random Act of Kindness #9

Random Act of Kindness #9
Anonymous to my acquaintance

I’d save this act of kindness to post after our Ethics Class has ended to make it completely anonymous to the very end.
If there are those who read this and were in the Ethics class that started at 9:00 am to 9:50 am, MWF in Fall 2008 at Drake; then you’ll be surprise to know that it was me, Tan, who organized the tables every morning before our Ethics class started for our individual group discussions.

I got the idea after the first three class period, where Professor McCrickerd always wanted us to get together into our small groups of four to discuss about our opinion about the readings and theories. If the classroom wasn’t set up; it usually take about five minutes or even more for everyone to get organized and move the tables for Professor McCrickerd’s activities. I thought that was a waste of our time in the class to discuss and learn about philosophy.

So, I took action. Every day, (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) I would wake up early, despite the fact I wanted and needed more sleep, at 7:00 am to drive to Drake and set up the classroom for our group discussions. And then, I usually sit down and relax, until everyone came and started the class. At the time, I wasn’t considering this act as a random act of kindness. Instead, I was more concern about the time that I and the rest of my classmate had in the class to understand what Professor McCrickerd wanted us to understand; every minute count for me to understand philosophy. After a while, I thought that this natural act to learn and to use all of the time in effectively, could be part of Professor McCrickerd’s anonymous random act of kindness to others requirement. So, for everyday that we had class, I would always set up the classroom for our discussions.

However, I noticed that if I was the only person to be first in class, then my classmates and even Professor McCrickerd will suspend me in doing this act of kindness and then it won’t be anonymous. So, I decided to set up the classroom for our group discussions and do my disappearing act. I would often go to the library to do some research or go to the Olmsted Building and have a cup of coffee and/or eat something and relax until class started. Around 8:40 am is usually the time where my classmates start to arrive to class. So often, when I am late, I would park for 15 minutes in the Drake visitor parking lot, set up the classroom, leave the parking lot, and park my car at a student parking to avoid parking fees, at the same time, set up the classroom for our group discussions without anyone noticing me. However, the two lady janitors did notice me, one day, and I told to keep this as a secret from my classmates and professor. They agreed and returned doing their job, knowing that I was a kind person for doing such a good deed for my classmates and professor; knowing that they could’ve set up the classroom themselves, if they had known to do so.

The best part of it all is that no one actually suspended me in setting up the classroom. I felt excited, happy, and great about myself and my classmates’ curiosity about the classroom being set up. I could barely hold back my smile and excitement, when one day, Professor McCrickerd paused and asked everyone the room, “Was the class set up like this when all you got?” Everyone respond, “Yes” and Professor McCrickerd thought that the other classes liked how she wanted the classroom to be. In addition to this, what better way to not be suspended to setting up the classroom, if I had some of my classmate who saw at Olmsted, before class started or arriving late; that is exactly what happened and it was totally unexpected.

Nevertheless, if there those, who were my class in Ethics MWF 9-9:50am, it was me, Tan, who set up the classroom, every morning, for our group discussions. I guess those who don’t read this, will never find out who set up the classroom in Professor McCrickerd’s Ethics class Fall 2008.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Random act of Kindness #8

Random Act of Kindness #8
To a person who I see, but know very well

Once again, the only person who I see very often, but don’t know, is Marlian. So, I thought that I should give her something for the holiday season. I bought a gift card and a gift card holder for Marlian. This was an easy act to do; however, to keep it anonymous, I had to be clever. I could not trust anyone to deliver the gift card to Marlian personally. No one, that I know, is very good at keeping secrets. Plus, they mostly likely keep the gift card for themselves.

So, I decided to ask the mailman to deliver the letter, not to her personally, but with the family’s mail. The mailman was confused by request; however, he did understand that I wanted this to be anonymous. I made sure that I wrote Marlian name clearly for Marlian’ family to understand that the gift card envelop was for her. And just for kicks, I drew in a heart after her name. I wonder how Marlian would act after receiving the gift card. Of course, I can never claim to have given it to her, because this is suppose to anonymous.

Nevertheless, I feel so good about myself, regardless of what Marlian may think about the gift card. And I see now, that no one can say that I did, because I don’t show any reason to anyone, why I would do should a thing.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Random act of Kindness #7

Random Act of Kindness #7
Anonymous to stranger

Before the Drake fall semester start, my instructors, send out a list of books to buy over the internet than in the Drake University Bookstore. It seemed like a great idea because some of my book cost less over the internet than in the bookstore. So, I order most of my books in Amazon and the transaction went smoothly. I received my book with 3-5 weeks. However, there was one book that I never received and that was my sociology textbook. Classes were about to start and I needed to act fast if I was going to have a textbook for sociology. I e-emailed the seller about the textbook, that has not arrived. He e-mailed me back and wrote that he already shipped the textbook a long time ago and will arrived within the next day.

It never came….

So, I needed to cost my losses and buy the textbook in the University Bookstore, which cost a little bit more than what I paid the seller for his. Normally, a person in this situation would demand their money back and write a bad report about the seller. However, as the semester start, I was more concern about the wonderful opportunity I had to go to Drake. So, then I thought, I am not going to demand a refund and I am not going to write a bad report on the sell. This is college; I have to make some sacrifice and it is expensive. So, I e-mailed the seller and wrote “Thanks” then left this whole ordeal alone.

Random act of Kindness #6

Random Act of Kindness #6
Anonymous to a friend

Wendi Muir has been my friend for three years, now. One day, she asked me to find an elephant piñata for a party that her sister is going to host. I didn’t understand why she needed, specific, a elephant piñata; all she’d said was that she needed one and she couldn’t find one in West Des Moines. So, she asked to find in Des Moines in the Mexican Stores. So, I did. I stopped whatever I was doing that day and search for an elephant piñata. After going to store to store, I finally found a piñata store. I was quite surprise to find one. In any case, I explained my situation to the store owners and agreed to prepare an elephant piñata by tomorrow, which was perfect because Wendi needed it by tomorrow.

The next day, I came to store and brought the elephant piñata for $35. It was big elephant piñata that could hold up to 30-35 pounds of candy. So, I thanked the store owners for making the piñata and carried into my car. I, then, went to meet Wendi at a restaurant, to have lunch and give her the piñata. I explained to her that it was $35 for the piñata and she suddenly got a little depressed.
She said that all the party’s games for her sister party didn’t cost more than $5 and said that she didn’t have the money, now, to pay me back. So, she gave me check and told me to cash it right away. She, then, explain that the elephant piñata was for the Presidential Election Party that her sister was throwing. The Democrats would play a game of pit-the-tail-on-the-donkey, while the Republicans would hit and bash the elephant piñata. She invited me to come, but I declined and said that had to do homework.

After lunch, we both went to car to see the elephant piñata. I opened my trunk and all of a sudden, Wendi burst into joy. With her eyes and month wide opened, she stared at the piñata and said that the piñata was incredible and big. She could not believe that I was able to find a big elephant piñata within short among of time, but I did and she was grateful. I carried the big elephant piñata to her car, while people, who came out of the restaurant, stop and stared at the big piñata. Wendi said that I should put the elephant in the front passenger seat of the car and put the seat belt on as if it was a child. She thanked me once again and left the restaurant’s parking lot. I waved good bye, then hopped in my car and looked at the check that Wendi gave me. And then decided, I wasn’t going to cash it. As farther as I am concern, Wendi found and got the elephant piñata free.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Act of Kindness #3

Random Act of Kindness #3
To a Stranger

One day, I needed a quiet place to study for a test and eat lunch on the road. So I decided to stop in at a Village Inn restaurant. The host sat me near the entrance doors. The server quickly took my order and within a couple of minutes, she brought out my lunch. However, it was during the middle of my meal, where I notice two old ladies slowly walking towards the door, one had a walking cane and the other had walker. The two ladies were struggling opening the door; I quickly glanced around me to a couple and a family eating calmly. I also saw the host and two managers behind the counter, talking among themselves, not noticing the two old ladies struggling with the door.

I hesitated little, then I had the nerves and strength to get out of my sit and quickly ran to help the two ladies. I made it in time to hold the door for the two old ladies. The ladies looked at strangely and surprised to see a young person to be so nice to hold the door for them. And the only thing they said to me was “Thank you” and slowly walked towards the host. A minute later, the host noticed them and sat them at a booth. However, I pretty sure the two managers and the host didn’t see notice me helping the two ladies. Nevertheless, while I was walking back to my table, I noticed from the corner of my eye that the couple and the family were looking at me strangely. At the moment, I could read their expression and question that they had in their head, “Why did that young man help to the two old ladies?” “What does he hope to gain from being nice to strangers?” Regardless, in how the couple and the family thought and looked at me, I continued to walk towards my table, finish my lunch and study a little afterwards. Then, I noticed that everyone continue to finish lunch and move on with their lives, including the two old ladies.

Act of Kindness #5

Random Act of Kindness #5
To a person I hate

The kind of people who I hate to know, talk, and see are people, who are ignorant and take serious pride in who they are base on race. There is teenager in my neighborhood, who is exactly like that. His name is Kevin and he has taken in the image of what a young Mexican-American, who lives in the ghettos. The problem I have with that is that he doesn’t live in the ghetto. Not only that, he has also shaved his head bold, wears long, loose, bagging clothes, hangs out other Mexicans who act the same as him and smokes pot. It is the image that Kevin has adopted; that most of the public see all young Mexican-Americans to be. And that is the exact image that I have to fight and proof people that all young Mexican-Americans are not like him, including myself. So I hate him for what he has adopted.

So one day, while I was clean and planning to sell of my some of books, music CDs, and video games. I decide to be nice to Kevin by give one of the last video game that I ever brought, that he never played. Of course, the last time I ever brought a video game was this spring. However, my grades and education were on the line and I needed to clean out my room and get rid of anything that could interfere with my studies. So I caught Kevin outside that day, and gave him the video game with no explanation or questions asked and walk away. I never looked back to see his expressions and even now, I still don’t know his reaction or talk to him about it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Keeping a Promise

To keep or not to keep

To keep a promise or to determine that keeping a promise is moral is not something that as a group can decide upon. A group makes decision base upon a majority of the votes, thus minority of the voters are there to criticize the decision. This is peoples’ individuality at work. Even though, the group has decided on their decision on the moral issue of keeping or not keeping promise; the group, then, has force those who are not of favor of the decision to convert. Thus, people will deal with another moral issue of force people to accept the decision.

Groups, I think, are not all bad; however, the first step is for people to decide upon themselves to make keeping a promise moral or immoral. From there, it can be reasonable to find other individuals with the same values, to join in a group to make the decision process easlier. The decision can be made base upon an individual’s happiness. If a person feel happiness by keeping a promise to another, and enjoys the kindness received from other for doing a promise; then that individual will value keeping a promise and called it immoral for not doing so and vice versa. Therefore, rather an individual must make the decision to keeping a promise moral or immoral; the decision is made by one’s own will of happiness and means. Thus, keeping a promise opens a channel to make more rights to obligation that are promised, at the same time, holding on to the individual's will of happiness.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Act of Kindness #4

Act of Kindness #4
To a acquaintance


Yoshiko Swift is a Japanese DMACC Instructor in the Ankeny Campus. I don’t know her very well and I never took her class at DMACC. I met her once in the Asian Festival and said she was in charge of foreign exchanged program with Sister City of Des Moines, Yamanashi, Japan. Her role was to schedule flights plans, find a room at DMACC and teachers to teach English to Japanese students, and to find host families to take care of the Japanese exchanged students for a whole week through October 13th to the 17th. And she asked me, if I wanted to host Japanese students. I agreed.

Yoshiko then called me 3 months ago. She explained her situation to me and need host families badly. I thought about it for a minute and accept her offer. At the time, I was about to go to my first day at Drake. I was going to host two Japanese students. When the time arrived, I noticed that I was falling behind in my classes. And I could’ve easily told Yoshiko that I didn’t want to host two students. I needed to catch up in my classes. However, I never did tell Yoshiko about my little crisis in Drake and welcomed the two Japanese boys to my family. Of course, my family didn’t have the time to take care of them, so I was responsible to take them places and give them a wonderful time in Iowa.

It has really time consuming. Every day within the week, I had to drive the two Japanese boys to the Ankeny DMACC Campus at 8:00 am and picked them up around 3:00 pm. I take them shopping, bowling, canoeing and etc. I even decided to bring along two addition students, mainly because the host family didn’t know what to do with them and they were afraid that their boys were not having a great time. Plus, I thought it would be interesting for my boys to talk with their friends during their visit in Iowa. Each passing hour could’ve been time to catch up in my classes. Nevertheless, I did it anyways to help Yoshiko and her program. And in the end, she and the two instructors, who came with the students, thanked me and said that they never met a young and kind person, who would take the time out of their busy schedule to help out and showing two or four Japanese students a great time in Iowa. I was the only young person to do such a thing. The experience and their gratitude gave me a great sense of accomplishment, even though I cost me a lot of time out of my classes in Drake.

I guess I tend to do nice things that would bring happiness to other people, but at the same time, make me suffer just a little.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Duty to one self and others

Kant's Theory of our existence

The notion of human beings only to exist for oneself and for others is what interests me the most. Kant said that is a human beings duty is to be a human being and to be object of experiences. Therefore, under my understanding, he is saying that, we, human beings can only exist for ourselves. At the same time, we, as human being, only exist to for other people experiences. Thus, this creates a purpose for everyone in the world; to live for other peoples’ experiences and/or pressure.

So my question to Kant is, “Is this the meaning of our existence?” “If so, did you have a very difficult time spreading the message in religion and science at the time?”
“Were you surprise about your theory?”

His theory makes sense in a way. The only way that a person would exist for me is to be a friend, a teacher, a person to see everyday, a person who has done me wrong or right, a person to talk to, or people just to fill the scenery with. Therefore, it is obviously to see that, from the very core of the concept, which everyone who I see and know is only there to fill my life with experience. What else would my friends and family exists, but to fill my life with sad, happy, and interesting experiences. This theory scared me at first, but now I understand it or I think I understand it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Contradicting One Self

Contradicting ourselves, nowadays, doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. Mostly because we use reason to separate two issue that are similar. For example, to say that you’re for immigration, for people around the world to an equal opportunity in America; at the same time, you’re for making English as the official language in America is contradicting oneself. Immigrates come to America with a different language, aside from a lot or little English. However, the mere fact that English as the official language in America only suppresses people who don’t understand English, mostly immigrates. But nevertheless, you’re saying one thing, at the same time saying something completely different.

I really can’t decide if this is moral or immoral to contradicting yourself. In a way, you’re only hurt yourself, not others. Unless, you’re in a position to influence other; therefore spreading your own contradiction ideas to other. But other than that, a single individual, who contradicted oneself, is only lose their ability to understand the concepts and reasons between issues. This only involves one person; therefore that one person has created its own way thinking with reason. It is our moral duty, who sees someone contradicting oneself, to convince (persuade) them, who are contradicting themselves, to understand what they are doing. Can we really convince someone to change their way of thinking?

Friday, October 3, 2008

of Benevolence and Justice

Hume's second book
Benevolence and Justice

The first four chapters of Hume’s Enquiry of Concerning the Principles of Moral reviews over his last book theories about how it is human nature to seek happiness and value virtues, characteristics that make us feel good, and ignore the vices, characteristics that make us feel bad and the notion of reason. In this book, he stated that he want to explore and analysis more about our human characteristics of virtues and vices. He starts off with writing about benevolence and how natural it is to help people to help us become more eminent. Thus, I can understand why people do nice deeds for others for the only reason to benefit themselves, for friends and family, or for our society.

However, it his three chapter, he explains how society needs justice, to create order, fairness, and peace among individuals. Yet, we wouldn’t need justice, if everyone was benevolent. The notion of being selfishness slowly arises within us as we create a passion for luxury which is driven by our quest for happiness. Thus, the virtues that we value are slowly replaced with selfishness to own things for our own happiness. And eventually, the saying goes that the person, who owns the more things, wins. And chapter four, quickly belief how this notion of selfishness affect our political society, that creates law to govern the people, base upon our values. However the problem with that is that laws don’t completely control us as individuals. It is our virtues and vices that control our actions. The individuals have a choice to obey or disobey laws for the main purpose to seek happiness within ourselves.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Act of Kindness #2

Act of Kindness #2
A person I see, but don’t know

5 months ago, a new family moved into my neighborhood and as usual it takes time get to know them. It wasn’t long before everyone got know them and welcome them to our neighborhood. My family has already had the honor of introducing themselves to them; however I never had a chance or the courage to properly introduce myself to them. But, they know who I am and I know who they are; and even to this day that’s how we know each. My sisters are already friends with new neighbor’s daughter named Marilan. My sisters and Marilan go to the same high school and almost everyday they ride or walk together to school.

However, my family planned a two week trip to Mexico and my mother, two sisters, and two brothers all went, expect for my father and me. ToT (I had go to my classes). They leave on Thursday and in the next morning; I woke up, got ready to go to class and walked out of the door; only to see Marilan walking to school alone. She took a quick glance at me, and then continued to walk to school while using her phone. At the moment, I felt sad and terrible that she had to walk to school alone, despite the fact that she has a lot of friends at school. So, I turned on my car and offer her a ride to school.

I did this for two weeks. Even though, my classes started at 9:00 am, I woke up at 6:00 am to get ready and to offer Marilan a ride to school at 7:00 am. We barely talked to each other during the car rides. However, during those two weeks, I felt like it was my responsible to offer Marilan a ride, even though Marilan never asked for a ride to school. Even now, when my family returned from their trip, Marilan and I don’t talk or see each other very often. I hardly know anything about her, and she hardly knows anything about me. However, at less she knows that I was nice enough to offer her a ride to school for two weeks. And I can’t help but wonder if she thinks I have a crush on her after offering her a ride to school.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hume's method

Hume's method

Hume could’ve use the simple method of Observation to come up with his theories. It is reasonable to believe that Hume could’ve just simply observed people in the daily lives. However, at the same time, Hume had to be careful not to interfere with people’s natural reactions to dozens of different situations. Hume also had to be neutral of every issue that people deal with in their daily lives, such as stereotyping, politics, grief, happiness, and any other emotions and thinking that people usually have. In other words, he had to detract himself from society to observe people without bias. And Hume must’ve taken days to observe people, looking for specific details and reactions. It’s obviously, that if Hume had asked questions and had conversations with people, that he would’ve received bias answers and false statements about people actions and emotions in different situations. This method of observing is great way to learn people in different situations and this is what Hume might have used to come up with his three psychological tendencies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Practical Wisdom


The difference between practical wisdom and intellectual virtues is that it takes time to gain practical wisdom or phronesis. Phronesis is often used to deliberate or choose the most accurate solution in any situation. In a way, this is a sign of maturity within individuals, while intellectual virtues are characteristics that individuals’ expertise, who are interested in themselves.

From my experience, there is a perfect person that I think that display practical wisdom. That is my Japanese Language teacher, Mrs. Sachiko Murphy. For three years, she had to make dozens of difficult decisions dealing with high school students, foreign exchanges students, and city officials. Not only is she a teacher, but also the official Japanese translator in Des Moines to form relations with sister city in Japan. Not to mention, that is plans and makes decisions for exchange student to visit Des Moines. And with all of that, she is also a great role model. She is nice, but at the same strict in her agenda. Especially, it comes to planning her two week to Japan for her students. However, the decisions to control and keep her students safe and already planned several of other trip successful are enough to display practical wisdom.

And when it comes to Hursthouse’s discussion about abortion, it is clear to see how phronesis is used. Since practical wisdom is the concept of making the most accurate choice, the topic here is to critically think about an abortion. Abortion is a serious action that can determine the existence of a new life. Such decision is not merely decided a quick and selfish decision. It takes time and a lot of consideration to have an abortion. There is no right choice, but it is the thought and time taken to come to an understanding.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Random act of Kindness #1

Act of kindness #1 (Friends, not anonymous)

I am a transfer student from DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) and regardless of the fact that I no longer attend classes there. I still have strong bonds with friends that I made at DMACC. I also use to belong to small and new club that DMACC organized, The Ecology Club, for two years. I had a great time getting involving with environmental activities, such as invasion species removal, park clean ups, and prairie planting. However, my time at DMACC was over and now I am a student at Drake University. But even though, I am attending at Drake University; I feel like I’ve just been uprooted and place in a bigger and harder environment and I am struggling to plant my roots. At any case, I do often go back to DMACC just to see my friends that I made there.

One day, I attended a meeting for the Ecology Club; even though I was forced or obligated to attend the meeting. And I felt like I never really left DMACC for good. During the meeting, they were talking about having a fund riser selling food during DMACC’s activity fair. The two advisers asked everyone in the meeting if they were willing to help out, however they did not ask me. At that point, I thought that they weren’t obligated to tell me to do anything, since I no longer attended DMACC and I understood that.

However, everything changed, when I attended the activity fair at DMACC to see how well the Ecology Club was doing. I went up to the booth that the Ecology Club, only to find that the two advisers were the only ones at the booth. I asked them, “Is there anyone else working today?” and one of the adviser smiled and said, “Yeah, you.” At that point, I giggled and decided to help out. Minutes later, two of my DMACC friends help too. And even though, I wasn’t asked to help with the fund riser nor had any right to participated in DMACC activities, I still helped rises money for the Ecology Club for four hours. At the end of the fair, the club made a small profit from the fund riser with a lot of help from me. The two advisers and my two friend really appreciated the time I spend to help them, even though; they knew I was busy studying for my major at Drake.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Power – Everyone’s Goal

Power is the number one thing human beings are interested in. George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty Four gave a clear definition of what power is, “Power is power over human beings,” physically and mentally; this includes persuasion. Everyone single one of us aims to gain it. With power, we, as human beings, can fulfill every desire we want. This can explain we people go to college and to be educated. So no one can overpower with the law or knowledge that overcomes an individual. Now, seeing it in a perspective of our society, does a poor income employee have anything in common with a CEO President of a big company? Who has the power here? Who is capable in fulfilling the desires? What would happen to these two individuals if they switch places; wouldn’t one be happier than another?

Let’s take for example, Socrates and Gorgias; even though, Socrates had the intention of being moral and being true to himself. What good did that do to him, when he was sentence to death? Gorgias, of course, knew that to become a great person, you had to use rhetoric. In a sense, that is power.

There are always people who already have power of people, such as presidents, managers, teachers, and even parents. A president has the power to define what’s right and wrong in a certain organization. A manager has the power to employ, pay, and define the standards of the company. A teacher has the power to explain and teach on certain subjects. And parents have the power to shape their children’s’ lives. Power is absolute. With power, an individual can define the truth. With power, an individual can control the individual, from doing any harm to a person or people you choose. In a sense, that is helping people.

This theory can be seen everywhere, take for an example, a father and a son. It is clear to see that the father has complete control over his son, at an early age. The son, with a curious mind, points to a car and asks “What’s that, daddy?” At this point, the father, who has power over his son, to say whatever he wants his son to believe, that what he is point at, is. And he said, “It’s a plane.” From then on, the son is going to believe that a “car” is a called a “plane.” And if the son refuses or thinks otherwise that a “car” is not a “plane.” Then the father has the power to force the son to accept his ideals, depending on how the father’s matters of beliefs of what’s right and wrong. This method also applies to teachers. Thus, this is an example of how power is exercised in a small perspective in our society.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Moral and Immoral

Socrates verse Gorgias and Polus

During a conversion between Socrates and Gorgias, Socrates begins question about Gorgias’ area of expertise. Gorgias strong believes that his ability to rhetoric is the best area of expertise needed to be successful in our society. “I’m talking about the ability to use the spoken word to persuade… to win over any and every form of public meeting of the citizen body. Armed with this ability, in fact, the doctor would be your slave, the trainer would be yours to command, and the businessman would turn out to be making money not for himself, but someone else – for you with your ability to speak and to persuade the masses.” (Plato: Gorgias, 13). Gorgias’ theory explains the facts that rhetoric can persuade anyone to anything, therefore controlling the masses into anything you want to believe. This is his strong point in his conversion with Socrates.

Yet, Socrates questions Gorgias’ method, arguing when is rhetoric it be considered moral or immortal to society. “Is the rhetorician’s situation actually the same with respect to right and wrong, morality and immorality, and good and bad…despite lacking expect knowledge of good or bad, morality or immorality, or right or wrong has he equipped himself with a persuasive ploy which enables him to make non-experts think that he’s more of an expert than an expert.” (Plato: Gorgias, 24). Thus, Socrates points out that making people convinced that a fact is true, but really isn’t, is a false belief that is considered immoral. Therefore, Socrates stands firm about the ideals of what is moral and immoral.

Polus, Gorgias’ pupil, joins in the conversion between Socrates and Gorgias. However, Polus asked a question of what is the worst thing to do, harming others or being harmed? Clearly, Polus chooses the being harmed is the worst thing to be done. “Imagine some who’s been caught in a criminal conspiracy against a dictatorship…he watches his wife and children being tortured as well; finally he’s crucified or covered with boiling pitch. Is this a happier state for him to be in than if he’d avoided being caught, had become dictator, and spend the rest of his life ruling over his community and doing whatever he wanted…” (Plato: Gorgias, 47). Polus uses an example of a crime to example his theory that being harmed is the worst thing to happen to a person. That it is a good thing not to get caught and being punished (harmed) for a crime. No one likes to suffer for any action done for the greater good or bad of the cause.

Yet again, Socrates counters Polus’ claim, that it is the act of doing harming that is the worst thing for a person to do. “People who evade punishment…can see that punishment is painful, but they have a blind spot about how beneficial it is and they fail to appreciate that life with an unhealthy mind—a mind which is unsound, immoral, and unjust—is infinitely more wretched than life with an unhealthy body.” (Plato: Gorgias, 59). In other words, Socrates talks about how people understand that being punished is bad, however fail to understand that eventually people will feel guilty about doing harm to others. Thus, they will understand the immoral and unjust act that they have committed to another. He also accepts the idea that being punish is a cure for the wrongful acts done to others. Once again, Socrates stands behind the belief of what’s moral and immoral.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Two Issue – right or wrong?

Two Issue – right or wrong?

When it comes to the notion between doing harm to others and being harmed by others, the best thing to avoid is doing harm to others. Harming another is what starts the endless chain of violence and revenge. To choose the alternative choice to avoid being harmed by others, is saying that you can’t let others harm you in anyway. You refuse to accept the person’s harmful actions towards you. Thus, you must defend your pride, your property, and/or your rights as a human being. Therefore, you must become the person to harm others to defend yourself. The victim becomes the offender and do harm to the person who harmed him/her. The offender does not accept your actions toward him/her and reacts with more harm. Thus the chain begins, until someone loses. In some cases both parties lose as they go to extreme action to defend themselves. No wonder pride is one of the seven original deadly sins. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this notion during the Civil Rights movement, as he quoted, “An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.” So it is reasonable to see that avoiding harming others, avoids others being harmed.

The best skill to have in life is to have the belief that we, ourselves, are right and wrong. What point is there to persuade other into what is true and false? Everyone has their own belief of what is right and wrong based upon their experiences in their lives and they defend their beliefs from those whom oppose them. And as long as everyone experience different moments and influences at different times; there will never be an end for everyone in the world to come to a final conclusion. For example, a vegetarian and an average person, who eats meat, they both convinced that their way of eating is right and respect the fact that not everyone is like them. However, it’s when one person tries to convince the other to adapt their eating habits is where the conflict starts. One tries to persuade, while the other one tries to defend their beliefs. So it’s understandable how persuasion can create a person’s beliefs, however if a person alright has their belief, then why persuade others if you’re not being asked to?

In a sense, both (A) and (B) are question that have no right or wrong answer. They are both question base upon what is moral and immoral. However, at the same time, they share the concept of the Yin and Yang theory; that one cannot exist without the other and that they will always be a two side of an issue. No one can experience harming others without being harmed and/or experience believing that you are right or wrong without trying to persuading others that you are right or wrong.