The sacredness of human life.

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Ethics
  3. » The sacredness of human life.

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Sun 4 May, 2008 04:21 pm
We describe human life as sacred yet behold millions of poor enslaved exploited people holding the plow of their masters controlled by the whip of fear and physical violence.

Is human life even sacred at all?
 
Arouet
 
Reply Wed 7 May, 2008 08:54 pm
@Pessimist,
I personally don't find human life sacred from an ethical point of view, no. And it doesn't seem that most people believe it is either, however loudly they protest that they do. The death penalty, armies, wars, nuclear weapons...
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 7 May, 2008 09:38 pm
@Pessimist,
Pessimist wrote:
Is human life even sacred at all?
It is to the people who are exploited. Unfortunately it's not to the people who exploit. But that's nothing new.
 
Arouet
 
Reply Wed 7 May, 2008 09:50 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
It is to the people who are exploited. Unfortunately it's not to the people who exploit. But that's nothing new.


That sounds an awful lot like an overgeneralization to me. There's a difference between something being very valuable and something being sacred, for one thing.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Thu 8 May, 2008 08:39 am
@Arouet,
I'd concur with Aroud's statement concerning the importance of differenciating between the 'sacred' and the 'valuable' (although for the purpose of the orignal thread, I think it sufficient).

My take on it is this: Humanity tends to valuate/deem sacred those things which are not so profuse - plain and simple. Pave all our streets with diamonds, see the hills and mountains strewn with them, and the diamond would hold much less value - be pursued and extolled that much the less.

Bodies everywhere, flesh, hair and the smell of perspiration... packed lines, hovels and villages crammed like sardines... apartment buildings like compressed honey combs.... traffic lines.... miles-long streams of starving refugees... images of blood-strewn concrete on our televisions 24-hours a day. It'd seem one couldn't swing a dead cat and not hit a human being. So profuse are we, so ensconed in our own mental fortresses of religion, politics and race we've become jaded/blind to the value of the individual.

So yea, there is a contradiction there. I believe it has to do with our sheer numbers and the bigotries within.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Thu 8 May, 2008 11:33 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
I'd concur with Aroud's statement concerning the importance of differenciating between the 'sacred' and the 'valuable' (although for the purpose of the orignal thread, I think it sufficient).

My take on it is this: Humanity tends to valuate/deem sacred those things which are not so profuse - plain and simple. Pave all our streets with diamonds, see the hills and mountains strewn with them, and the diamond would hold much less value - be pursued and extolled that much the less.

Bodies everywhere, flesh, hair and the smell of perspiration... packed lines, hovels and villages crammed like sardines... apartment buildings like compressed honey combs.... traffic lines.... miles-long streams of starving refugees... images of blood-strewn concrete on our televisions 24-hours a day. It'd seem one couldn't swing a dead cat and not hit a human being. So profuse are we, so ensconed in our own mental fortresses of religion, politics and race we've become jaded/blind to the value of the individual.

So yea, there is a contradiction there. I believe it has to do with our sheer numbers and the bigotries within.

I am going to take your idea and press it up one level. The thing of it is humans can reason. We can believe what we want to believe. This quality makes it so that we can be used. As long as we believe something is in our best in our best interests we will act accordingly, with our best interest as a "goal" in our minds. That is how humanity allows itself to be used and said usage is how a certain economic power is forged: a lot of people acting one way will create a certain "flow" in interactions and such.

So, what is really happening is that the potential of humans: "manifesting" is wielded to manifest something which is beneficial to a few. It is wielded by the usage of "goals".
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 8 May, 2008 01:00 pm
@Arouet,
Arouet wrote:
That sounds an awful lot like an overgeneralization to me. There's a difference between something being very valuable and something being sacred, for one thing.
Of course it's an overgeneralization, but it was meant to communicate that people value their own lives more than the lives of those they exploit (in whom they value the spoils of the exploitation more). I'm not operating with a fixed definition of what 'sacred' means here, though, other than it being similar to 'irreplaceable', i.e. more than highly valuable.
 
Arouet
 
Reply Thu 8 May, 2008 01:35 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Of course it's an overgeneralization, but it was meant to communicate that people value their own lives more than the lives of those they exploit (in whom they value the spoils of the exploitation more). I'm not operating with a fixed definition of what 'sacred' means here, though, other than it being similar to 'irreplaceable', i.e. more than highly valuable.


Ah, gotcha, thank you. I misunderstood what you were saying. Yeah, there are indeed a lot of problems caused by peoples' relative valuations of their life and the lives of others. I've never really found a formal school of thought (other than "all life is fundamentally sacred", which gives me some trouble from a scientific standpoint) that's willing to value one's own life as less than another's. I personally believe I'd be willing to die to save another, but there's really no way of knowing if I'd follow through on that until the moment comes.
 
Arouet
 
Reply Thu 8 May, 2008 01:40 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
I'd concur with Aroud's statement concerning the importance of differenciating between the 'sacred' and the 'valuable' (although for the purpose of the orignal thread, I think it sufficient).

My take on it is this: Humanity tends to valuate/deem sacred those things which are not so profuse - plain and simple. Pave all our streets with diamonds, see the hills and mountains strewn with them, and the diamond would hold much less value - be pursued and extolled that much the less.

Bodies everywhere, flesh, hair and the smell of perspiration... packed lines, hovels and villages crammed like sardines... apartment buildings like compressed honey combs.... traffic lines.... miles-long streams of starving refugees... images of blood-strewn concrete on our televisions 24-hours a day. It'd seem one couldn't swing a dead cat and not hit a human being. So profuse are we, so ensconed in our own mental fortresses of religion, politics and race we've become jaded/blind to the value of the individual.

So yea, there is a contradiction there. I believe it has to do with our sheer numbers and the bigotries within.


That's undoubtedly one of the unconscious causes of this phenomenon. My personal reason for not viewing life as inherently sacred (including mine) is scientific; I don't want to view every unavoidable (from a sustainable-ecosystem point of view, not a technically-feasible point of view) death from causes like old age as a major tragedy, because that doesn't make sense. As far as premature death goes...well, yes, it's almost always a tragedy, but with our massive population and the strain that's placing on the planet's ecosystem, some is unavoidable. However, not viewing life as inherently sacred doesn't mean I won't condemn a murderer.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Ethics
  3. » The sacredness of human life.
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 07/12/2024 at 03:33:24