Revisiting a few thoughts

(I haven’t written properly in a long time. So here goes something pretty impromptu.)

She tried to block the sounds out, but the words still formed meaning in her mind. She was bombarded with searing images of failure, of dissatisfaction and felt the unmistakable aftertaste of having brought great shame upon herself and those around her.

She studied her mug carefully. She traced the letters on the  mug for the twentieth time, willing herself not to say or do anything.

But she imagined it. She imagined the feeling in her arms as she smashed the mug down on her face. Skull. Whatever could break many bones. Then maybe the mug would shatter, and she’d have something sharp to play with.

And she could imagine the initial shock on her face. Shock that her own daughter could hurt her. And perhaps shock at finally realizing that she’d lost her daughter for a long time.

She continued studying her mug. The small bumps of Homer Simpson’s speech bubble barely registered under her fingertips. And still the bombardment of shame and guilt attacked her ears. She didn’t even need to listen to what her mother was saying; it was the old spiel, the familiar speech of failure.

She became aware of how close she was to completely changing her life. In one swift movement and moment, her mother could be unconscious and dying on the floor, and she would stand over the bleeding body. Would she smile at the much delayed release? Or would she feel horror at what she’d done? If it was horror, it wouldn’t be that she hurt her mother, but that there would be lawful consequences.

She started planning what she’d do. After mashing her mother’s head in (she’d use the tile floor if she had to) she’d run downstairs. Her dad wouldn’t be home yet, so she’d have to tap out some sort of message to her friends, to the people that actually matter to her. She’d detail in that message how sorry she was it had to be like this, and that no one should be put to blame but her. She’d detail that her actions were solely by the influence of her mother.

She’d say goodbye, because she wouldn’t want to remain to allow her mother the pleasure of media attention. And surely there will be; a daughter doesn’t kill a mother often, and the news will be all over it. She doesn’t want her mother to be able to plead with her simpering ugly face that her own flesh and blood and turned against her, and she didn’t want to be portrayed as the bad guy. She wasn’t the bad guy.

Then she’d run back upstairs. She has to be quick. If her mother’s still alive then she would dial OOO. So she has to be fast.

She’d open the top drawer in the kitchen. There was one in there that her dad always kept sharp for cutting meat. In fact, she’d recently been nagging her dad to keep it sharp.

She’d planned it. She’d even envisioned it in her mind a million times.

It would hurt yes, but the satisfaction would be anaesthetic enough.

And then she put down her mug, stood up, and walked away. She went downstairs, calmly opened a new email, and sat there and wrote all of the things that ran through her mind to her friend. She cried while doing it, but she didn’t stop typing until she was done. Then she hit send, and with it buried away the feeling of being utterly trapped. It will come back again, but until then she can just keep sending it out.

Alex.

What’s left?

That was a pun. “What’s left” was my insanely punny way of saying “what’s wrong?”

I won’t be able to reproduce the arguments exactly, or at all, really. And I hope Bee’s okay with my posting of it here.

On the train ride home today, with Fel and Bee, Bee started a discussion about the Saudi Arabians stoning women to death for a certain reason within their society. I think it was as a sort of punishment for committing a crime but I really can’t remember.

Bee put to us that we really shouldn’t (or rather, not “shouldn’t” but that it doesn’t really achieve anything if we) decide and see whether it is “right” or “wrong” for them to do this. Their society and culture does not view it as “wrong” and we only see it as such because we were brought up to see it that way.

My basic argument had been that it is wrong and we can say that it is wrong even without understanding fully their culture because every human has a intrinsic right to live, and to take away that right (or the “arbitrary deprivation of their lives”) is intrinsically wrong.

Bee countered (along with Fel) that it is not actually our “right” to live. “Rights” were  a convention set up by society. Sure, we have the “will” to live, but in certain situations that will to live does not amount to anything significant.

(This, by the way, is a horrendously abridged version of the debate we had, and in the wrong chronological order as well.)

Thus, by convention, we believe that the stoning of these women are “wrong”. Are they actually “wrong”? And what is “wrong”? By saying that such acts are wrong, it does not do anything to help or stop it from happening, and really “it’s just them complaining” (in the slightly paraphrased words of Bianca herself).

I then put to her that, “Yes, it is just complaining. But by complaining you are at least giving that slight possibility of something BEING done, whereas if you don’t complain nothing will be done and that’s that. It’s like a kid complaining to his mom about being hit by his brother. Complaining about it MIGHT get the mom to tell the brother off, or the brother to stop, but not complaining about it will just make him keep going, or make the situation worse.”

That stopped Bianca for while, but we’d also gone on to another topic.

Are humans intrinsically evil?

I’d put that, yes, humans are intrinsically evil. Take for example the Stanford Experiment. When given the power and the authority, all humans will inevitably start relishing in the power, and abusing it and whomever their power grants them command over.

Fel had argued that while humans may have evil parts in them, intrinsically, it is also true that there are purely good parts in everyone. Absolutely everyone. Bianca agreed, saying that even Hitler had good parts in him, because despite what his actions really were, to him they were the “right thing” (and here is that term again) and his acting upon these beliefs show he is a good person (was that your point, Bianca?)

The discussion then petered out at that point. No one “won” per se but I think Bianca had the slight upper hand in the end, regarding the Saudi Arabian argument.

What is it that you believe? Were those actions wrong? Were those actions justified by the cultural differences? Is society to blame? Is there actually no way of determining whether those actions are right because, in the end, there is no such thing as “right”?

Alex.

P.S. I’m not going to be patronizing, just helpful. If by chance anyone who read this wasn’t sure what “intrinsically” actually means:

Princeton: belonging to a thing by its very nature; “form was treated as something intrinsic, as the very essence of the thing”- John Dewey

So sort of like saying “water is intrinsically wet”. Sort of.