Thursday, 8 May 2014

Response to Consequentialism(Robin Hood and The Outsider/The Stranger)

The ends justify the means. According to Wikipedia, this phrase encapsulates the theory of Consequentialism. Meaning the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct, i.e. the method of achieving a particular result doesn't really matter. I guess this does make sense to a certain extent as it is important to consider one's true intention in any matter. BUT, What is the ideal 'end'? 'End' here, as I interpret it, is probably like, the ultimate goal, which can be happiness for all humanity, gender equality, income equality, etc.

You know what, screw this. What is right or wrong? This question reminds me of the book 'The Outsider', or 'The Stranger', by Albert Camus. It is the first philosophical book that I have ever read and of course, it blew me away and catalyzed the workings of my brain(which wasn't being active despite numerous generalized and superficial TOK lectures. If you do not decipher this as sarcasm, we can't be friends). As readers, we'd naturally judge Mersault with accordance to our own principles and perspective(which is exactly the trap that Camus is setting as the author and thus shows the flaw of our society ridden in ourselves and hence why this is a bloody brilliant book).

Very often, when I think about philosophical questions(to the best I can at least) and common society issues, I come to the same conclusion: Perspectives. Everyone has their own perspective, okay some may decide to follow how a certain religion or philosopher views things, or have similar thoughts to others but the main point is that perspectives are subjective. And I've always felt that this is also the main reason why there are conflicts in our world. Well, obviously, if people are able to come to the same consensus, we wouldn't have so many problems now. Not saying that having many different perspectives is bad; diversity is extremely important. I was referring more to the essence of these different perspectives.

This brings me to my example of Robin Hood. I don't know much about this guy, except that he robbed from the rich and gave those stolen money to the poor. According to Wikipedia, he is a "heroic outlaw". I know I shouldn't be referring to Wiki so much 'cos it's probably not the most accurate source available but just to give you a glimpse of how the general audience views him. Also because it is extremely accessible of course. I personally like the phrase "heroic outlaw", it gives Robin Hood this extra sense of heroism given the context of Medieval times where the rich are barbarians who couldn't care less for the poor(Caution: dubious accuracy. This is my own impression and I can't be bothered to research to verify this). The term 'outlaw' brings me back to 'The Outsider'/'The Stranger' again(If you read this book you will know why I made the connection). How fair is the 'law'? And what do we make of the word 'justice'? Okay this is a large and unfamiliar topic to me so this shall wait.

Anyways, Mr Hood is a fine example of consequentialism. He commits the crime of robbery for the benefit of the poor. It's like how it's not legal for aid workers to secretly bring in say, food supplies into North Korea to save them from starvation. Hoorays. Sure, in the poor's perspective, this is awesome; this is right! But what about the rich barbarians? I'm quite sure they weren't too pleased about having their money stolen; probably thought it was very wrong of Mr Hood to take their money like that.

Let me link this to governance. For me, the government is either on the rich man's side, or the poor man's side. Feel free to disagree and say that I'm being a little extreme but yeah, this is my opinion. And I'm definitely for the poor man's side because the rich needs to care less about possessing money before we can even talk about peace and equality. Just putting out the food on the table! Although I would think that the rich people wouldn't like to give out the money that they've worked hard for. Back to the importance of humanism and compassion once again! And as usual, I have diverted away from my original topic. Sigh.

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