Thursday, January 18, 2007

Rrright --- or no?

Ahhhhh. School has started - and already I have a paper/writing assignment/thing due on Monday for a class that started today. Where is the sense in that? True, this is a class dedicated to the improvement of students' philosophical writing, but the mind must first assimilate and sort the material before spewing it out in such wise as to satisfy the academic standards at Berkeley!

My sister's wedding went off without a hitch - that is to say she was married to John without problems that leaped into the foreground and gnashed their teeth in a baleful manner at the then-hopeful bride and groom. Hurrah hurrah! A wedding! The wrestling masks were a great success - at least three young homeschooled men (ages 13-17) retired to a corner of the room and menaced each other in their best manner(s?), jumping up and down and gesticulating wildly while, unbeknowest to them, homeschooling mothers singled them out and brought them to the notice of the general public (in a nice way). The young girls (of ages 2-7), meanwhile, collected the masks in a pile and sat around them playing games - patty cake, I think. What I mean to say is: the masks were appreciated and will probably be better remembered by the children than the actual marriage. John and Aletheia 4e-ver!

For the curious - the actual wedding was gorgeous. The choir was beautiful, the ceremony simple and dignified. The food at the reception - which Erik and another friend spent more than three days in preparing - turned out to be so scrumptious.

Hume was an ass. Carry on.

One laudable aspect of the Philosophy department is that the professors and graduate students can be quite honest (and are - anyone can be honest, not everyone is) - in my ethics class, the professor advanced the notion that what is right is roughly equivalent to what results in the greatest happiness for all individuals concerned. Then he brought up a particular case - suppose there is a hospital, and in one ward of this hospital there is a patient who is recovering and will be completely well by the end of the week. In the other ward, there are five patients who need organ transplants - or else they die. So the person who holds the notion that the greatest overall happiness should obtain says to himself: "I'll just hack up this one patient and distribute her organs - that will result in MORE happiness than if that one patient lived. That is what is RIGHT."

At this point, the professor glanced at the class for reactions. I was giggling along with another person or two, the rest of the class sat in fascination. It all sounded so nice - we want the most people who can be happy to be happy! But this poor woman who gets hacked up for the sake of the other five!

Of course, this is all loosely phrased, but the gist of it was - there are basic rights of human beings which cannot be violated. To do so would be wrong even if it benefited a great number of people.

Be excellent to each other.

No comments: