He couldn't believe how easy it was

Here's a question that seems all too simple, but really isn't: why is it wrong to kill someone? What is bad about death?

(Let me just put this out there right away, I don't think murder is right, okay? But "killing" doesn't always equate to murder, and that's what I want to talk about here)

The conventional moral idea, one of the most stoic ones we humans have got, is that killing is wrong. But what is it about the act that gives us this idea?

The first possible reason is that the act of killing is inhuman and thus wrong; i.e. the problem lies in the means. This would imply that the intentions of our actions have bearing on whether or not those actions are right or wrong. Law currently reflects this pretty heavily-- if you were to reject this principle, then manslaughter would receive equal punishment to murder. IMO, this principle points to the consideration of a higher moral truth.

The second possible reason is that the act of ending someone else's life is wrong-- and what's wrong about this?-- a proponent of this idea would say that the killer is robbing the victim of his future, which is a personal commodity of worth. In other words, the amount of wrongness involved in killing someone is proportional to the value of the life s/he would have had were s/he still alive. This makes makes intuitive sense; most people would agree they'd feel worse about a child's death than an old man's for example. This principle points less to a higher moral truth and more to viewing life as personal property.

In the standard case of asshole X killing victim Y, we can see that both of these principles kind of work together-- you could say that asshole X is an asshole because he killed a guy AND because he stopped the guy from eating his next birthday cake.

But things get a little more complicated when  you consider other kinds of killing. Think of abortion; how does that fit into the models above? What about suicide? Further yet, what about assisted suicide?

This topic is more broad than I gave it credit for when I started writing. I'll probably touch each of the above cases in separate posts, but I have to go take care of some cells.

In temporary closing I'll complete what this title was referring to.

He couldn't believe how easy it was
To put the gun into his face
... So much blood for such a tiny little hole.
Problems do have solutions, you know.
A lifetime of fucking things up fixed
In one determined flash...

Everything's blue.
Everything's blue in this world,
The deepest shade of mushroom blue.

All fuzzy...
Spilling out of my head

~Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral


Pantheon said...

I like a lot the way you talk about something like this, it's something you can talk about days, so I'll stay updated to see your point of view

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