Solstice Blessing

The time of the long night nears.

Winter Solstice approaches.

A time to reflect on the past.

A time to plan for the future.

May you each be blessed with a new mirror to see yourself better.

May you each be blessed with an honest friend who will always tell you when you are wrong.

May you each be blessed with the knowledge that you can improve yourself and our world.

We are all related!

Columbine – Amateur Psychological Autopsy (: draft)

PLEASE NOTE: At the present time this program will not let me insert the actual autopsy reports mentioned in my essay. If you feel them important, please contact me and I will provide the link to them.

Nov. 17, 2014

“Columbine”

An Amateur Psychological Autopsy of Co-dependent murderers.

At 11:19 a.m. (UTC-6), April 20, 1999 Eric Harris and his friend Dylan Klebold brought hell to the small, suburban town of Littleton, Colorado when they walked through the doors of Columbine High School. By 12:08 p.m. they, along with twelve students and one teacher were dead and twenty-four others were injured (twenty-one by gunshot).

When assigned to read “Columbine”, David Cullen, 2009, Twelve, Hatchette Book Group for our final essay, we were directed to choose either Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris to complete what I refer to as an Amateur Psychological Autopsy of our choice. When I read this in our instructions the very first thing that occurred to me was, sorry professor no can do.

Between 1966 and 2014 there have been eleven major mass murders committed in the United States, each involving guns and having ten or more innocent deaths. The significant variable in those cases is only one event involved more than one proactive killer and that was Columbine, where two, perhaps even three disturbed young men went on a rampage.

I believe Columbine had three killers – Dylan, Eric and Kle-arris, the psychological malevolency created by their co-dependent relationship.

In comments from Susan Klebold’s (Dylan’s mother) essay published in the November 2009 issue of “O”, The Oprah Magazine, she references a theft committed by Dylan and Eric:

“Their theft had shown that under each other’s influence they could be impulsive and unscrupulous. Could they also—no matter how unbelievable it seemed—be violent?”

            This one statement raised a lot of questions for me.

Then Mrs. Klebold went on to say:

“No matter what he (Dylan) did, he was driven to win—and was very hard on himself when he lost.”

“His adolescence was less joyful than his childhood. As he grew, he became extremely shy and uncomfortable when he was the center of attention, and would hide or act silly if we tried to take his picture. By junior high, it was evident that he no longer liked school; worse, his passion for learning was gone.”

“He was quiet. He grew irritated when we critiqued his driving, asked him to help around the house, or suggested that he get a haircut. In the last few months of senior year, he was pensive, as if he were thinking about the challenges of growing older. One day in April I said, “”You seem so quiet lately—are you okay?” He said he was “just tired.” Another time I asked if he wanted to talk about going away to college. I told him that if he didn’t feel ready, he could stay home and go to a community college. He said, “”I definitely want to go away.”” If that was a reference to anything more than leaving home for college, it never occurred to me.”

What Ms. Klebold did not appear to realize, or perhaps failed to recognize was that over time, most probably beginning in early puberty, Dylan was displaying classic symptoms of an early onset dysthemic disorder in the form of chronic depression with suicidal tendencies. (Here too, a question arises, were Dylan’s symptoms exacerbated when he and Eric Harris became friends?)

“”At Columbine High School, Dylan Klebold envied the social successes of the school’s athletes. In his journal, he wrote, “I see jocks having fun, friends, and women.” In another entry he wrote, “I hated the happiness that they [jocks] have.” In contrast, he wrote about himself as being so different from everyone else that he seemed to believe he was not truly human or capable of functioning like a human being.”  Murderous Envy, What is the role of envy in school shootings?” Published on May 27, 2009 by Peter Langman, Ph.D. in Keeping Kids Safe.

Eric Harris, on the other hand was the direct opposite of Dylan. An extrovert on the surface, Eric was charismatic, clever, exceptionally intelligent, and very adept at hiding his true self. He appears to have learned at a young age how to manipulative people to attain his goals. He had talents and skills that might have made him a success in life but his was a tragic path – why?

Unlike Dylan’s parents, Wayne and Kathy Harris, the parents of Eric have not been as forthcoming in their comments about their son. Mr. Harris was a career Air Force pilot who retired when Eric was twelve and the family moved to Littleton, CO. Up until this time, Eric was thought to be a normal kid, doing normal kid stuff like playing soccer and wearing in-style preppy clothes, but that began to change when he met Dylan.

Was it love or evil at first sight?

Excerpt from Dave Cullen’s Blog, FEBRUARY 25, 2010 7:06PM

 

“Meeting the Mauser’s:  Why did Harris’s take Eric to psychologist?

Were there no psychologists at the “juvenile diversion program”? “Wayne was mystified by his son.[1] Wayne and Kathy accepted that Eric was a psychopath. Where that came from, they didn’t know. But he fooled them, utterly.”

““He’d also fooled a slew of professionals. Wayne and Kathy clearly felt misled by the psychologist they sent him to. The doctor had brushed off Eric’s trademark duster as “only a coat.” He saw Eric’s problems as rather routine. At least that’s the impression he gave Wayne and Kathy.”  They shared that perception with the Mausers. “Other than the van break-in, Eric had never been in serious trouble”, they said. He and Dylan were arrested in January 1998 and charged with three felonies. They eventually entered a juvenile diversion program, which involved close monitoring and various forms of restitution.””

“”Eric rarely seemed angry”, his parents said. “There was one odd incident where he slammed his fist into a brick wall and scraped his knuckles. That was startling, but kids do weird things. It seemed like an aberration, not a pattern to be worried about.””

“Wayne and Kathy knew Eric had a Web site, but that didn’t seem odd. They never went online to look at it. “I found them kind of incurious,” Linda said.””

One might come to wonder if they were wearing blinders or were simply oblivious to what Eric was really like and really doing.

It is said that opposites attract; that may be true on the surface however I believe that commonalities are the adhesives that bond people. In the case of Eric and Dylan the commonality was Kle-arris, the malevolent, unseen cancer created by their disturbed minds. I believe there may have been clues.

Dylan Kle-Arris Eric
Depressive Disorder, DSM-V -296.34 Severe With Psychotic Features Extremely volatile combination. Antisocial Personality Disorder, DSM-V Antisocial/Psychopathic
Avoidant Confrontational
Introvert Apathetic Extrovert
Quiet Vocal
Rage Dangerous Volatile
Pensive Apathetic Unreflective
Uncomfortable with attention Apathetic Wanted the attention
Lost interest in school Strong student
Anger issues – No DSM Major Anger Issues Anger issues – No DSM
Inferior Confusion Superior
Paranoid Apathetic Ruthless
Anxiety prone Cold blooded
Major depression issues Suicidal Depression
Feelings of rejection Amplified emotions Feelings of rejection
Feelings of entitlement
Autopsy Toxicology screen negative for drugs. Fluvoxamine has been known to induce violent behavior in some patients Autopsy Toxicology screen positive for fluvoxamine (Rx) Luvox[2]
Submissive/Beta Threatening Dominant/Sadistic
Self-effacing Self-centered Narcissistic
MIDC Scale 7: Reticent Pattern MIDC Scale 1A: Dominant Pattern
MIDC Scale 5B: Contentious Pattern MIDC Scale 2: Ambitious Pattern
MIDC Scale 1B: The Dauntless Pattern
MIDC Scale 9: The Distrusting Pattern MIDC Scale 9: The Distrusting Pattern MIDC Scale 9: The Distrusting Pattern
Dependent upon Eric  Co-Dependent Killer Dependent upon Dylan

 

I believe that both Klebold and Harris suffered from congenital neurobiological disorders which, had they never met may have taken them on much different paths in life. Admittedly, Eric’s path may not have been radically different than Columbine but that is something we will never know because they did meet either in the seventh or eighth grade and, hypothetically the seed of Kle-arris was planted.

During the years prior to the Columbine attack is can easily be argued that Eric was the dominant leader however Dylan, via his more reticent nature was also a force to be reckoned with. Dylan had unpredictable fits of rage that may have fed Eric’s dominant/sadistic nature adding to his own rage at the inferior world. I believe this may be seen in the types of wounds inflicted on their victims with the high percentage of head and neck wounds as though they’re saying you are not beautiful like us.

Much has been said about the victims and how they died but little has really been said about the deaths of Dylan, Eric and Kle-arris. They died, kneeling together on the floor of the Columbine High School library of self-inflicted gunshot wounds the nature of which suggests to me, one final act of defiance.

“Final Anatomic Diagnosis” of post mortem examinations.

On reading Dr. Galloway’s report, it struck me that Eric knew long before he committed suicide how he had to do it to prove to the world that he was “The Man!” He was in control right up to the end when he placed the muzzle of the shotgun into his mouth, positioned it to do the most damage and pulled the trigger. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47Wf_RfRJTI ) Warning, graphic.

NOTE: These are footnotes:

I do not believe Eric wanted anyone to get into his mind while he was alive or dead. Dylan, on the other hand used a large caliber handgun which he placed against his left temple and fired. It is quite possible he chose this manner to preserve his face so that in death at least he might be handsome.

Dr. Galloway’s report on Dylan mentions aspiration of blood. This is only possible if the respiratory system is functioning, ergo Dylan did not die immediately as Eric did. Did he know what he’d done, did he feel any remorse, and did he finally find peace from his torment? I sincerely hope they both did.

[1] I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Harris was afraid of his son as well as mystified.

·       [2] Luvox, Paxil and other antidepressants also made the top 10 list of violence-inducing prescription drugs in a report from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which was based on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (see “Study Reveals Top Ten Violence-Inducing Prescription Drugs [– Eight Are Psychiatric Drugs.. DSM V criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, Posted on 06/20/13, 02:01 pm

Closing:

I chose to write my essay on Eric Harris, the psychopathic murderer who led his best friend, Dylan Klebold into a web of deceit, terror and mass murder. In writing this essay I discovered Eric Harris, a troubled young man with an intense anti-social personality disorder that appears to have doomed him almost from birth. Despite what anyone, even Eric might think he was not in control of his actions because he saw no need to be. He was not in control of his feelings because he didn’t have any. He was not in control of his future because he saw none.

Had Eric not met Dylan when he did, would things have turned out differently? Maybe, but then our world is filled with chronically depressed Dylans, Eric may have found another or simply acted alone. In any event, I feel that Eric was born without a conscience and he died without one.

Were Dylan and Eric also victims? There is only one logical answer – Yes.

As sure as some children are born with congenital malformations of their organs, Dylan and Eric were born with congenital malformations of their minds.

 

 

 

Ethics Essay

 

Does Life Have Meaning?

“Irrespective of how old you are, experiences that are self-defining make you happy. But as you get older, there is a real shift in what experiences you use to define
yourself.” (Mogilne and Bhattacharjee, 2014), Knowledge@Wharton. (http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/makes-happy-depends-old-think/se to define)

“An examination of emotions on 12 million personal blogs along with the results of six surveys and experiments reveal that the meaning of happiness is not fixed; instead, it shifts as people age. Whereas younger people are more likely to associate happiness with excitement, older people are more like to associate happiness with feeling peaceful. This change is driven by increased feelings of connectedness (to others and to the present moment) as one ages.”

(Cassie Mogilner, Sep Kamvar and Jennifer Aaker, No Date. Abstract, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University.

    Although neither of these statements precisely address “Does Life Have Meaning?” I do believe there is a direct correlation between “Meaning” and “Happiness”.     I believe a meaningful life has to have more than a modicum of happiness in it and a happy life should also have true meaning.

    As I read and learn, I note that a good percentage of people appear to believe life is linear – born – live – die. Personally, I believe life is circular – born – live – die – return to the earth to become part of the greater whole. Does that give meaning to my life? Yes, I suppose it does biologically but not sure what else. But I also feel that before I died, I would have returned knowledge and experience through my life’s experiences, teaching and mentoring. I will know that each a person remembers my words with a smile, I have contributed something of meaning to life in general.

However, as of today, I really do not think I can say, yes my life has meaning or no, my life has no meaning. What I can say is, what happened yesterday, the day before, and so forth gave meaning to today because I lived and I learned. But today is not over ergo I do not know its full meaning or how that will apply to tomorrow. I do know that for me to believe I am in complete control of the meaning of my life would be extremely naïve.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things are connected.” Chief Seattle, Duwamish (1780 – 1866).

I can’t help but wonder which thread I am and what my responsibilities in the web are.

If I were to attempt to honestly define the meaning of my life I would say, I’ll try to get back to you after I find out where I end up when I’m dead. I don’t say this in jest because I feel I cannot define the true meaning of my life until I have fully lived it. I can say, I am trying to live a decent and honorable life but then I’m not perfect. Will my transgressions be my epitaph or will I be remembered kindly as someone who lived the only life he could. What did my living mean to others for therein lays what I would consider the true meaning of my life. Did my actions continue the circle or break it?

    
 

    

Self Esteem – Mini Paper

8-Oct-14

Self-Esteem

 100914_2134_SelfEsteemM1.jpg

In his 1943, “Hierarchy of Needs” paper, psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) theorized ultimate need of humans is to be truly Self-actualized”. Displayed here as a pyramid, the final need before “Self-actualization” is “Self-Esteem”. For my purposes, I refer to it as “Positive Self-Esteem.”

At the end of my first paper, I asked this question: “Why dad?” I doubt I will ever get an answer but as of now I no longer care. I took the childhood hours of isolation and turned them into learning about the world as I saw it. I took the pain of rejection and used it as a tool to mold myself into the extrovert I am now. I took the phrase I often heard: “You can’t do it!” and turned it into “I can’t do it if I don’t at the very least try.” I learned to face adversity with the only true weapons I had, my brain and my determination to overcome. Even when homeless, I never completely gave in. Yes, there were many obstacles in my path, some of my own making, others not, but all lessons I needed to learn.

My one fear was arrogance! For some reason I was, and still am terrified of being characterized as arrogant because I am not. I am confident of the knowledge I possess and the knowledge I want to learn. Maybe I do not have the academic credentials of my peers but then they don’t have the life credentials I do.

Do I have positive self-esteem? Yes! Have I realized Self-actualization? No, not yet but I’m still a work in progress. The day I stop trying will be the day my doctor says, “He’s gone.”

Essay on Aging at the Movies

Aspects of Aging

Aging at the Movies

“Gran Torino”

The central character is Walt Kowalski, an elderly widower who lives with Daisy, his Labrador retriever in the house he owns in Highland Park, a working class suburb of Detroit, Michigan. The house itself is a modest, one and a half story, frame dwelling commonly referred to as a Polish walkout that was probably built around the mid to late 1920s to house immigrant workers in the infant auto industry or on the docks of the Detroit waterfront. Given the last name of Kowalski, I would guess him to be second generation Polish.

The movie opens at the funeral of Walt’s wife of many years where a priest is giving the eulogy. Obviously uncomfortable, Walt leaves as soon possible and retreats to his home.

Walt, a Marine veteran of the Korean War still has some of the spit and polish mannerisms of the Corps but he also has a chip on his shoulder. He doesn’t seem to like anyone very much, not even his own sons, one of whom is married to somewhat of an inane church lady type. They have an average teenage daughter he doesn’t appear to like either. He sees them all as selfish and self-indulgent and refuses to give in to their demands he sell his house and move to a retirement center. Walt and I are on the same page here. It’s his house, he can care for it, pay the expenses and most importantly, live in it without hassles, why would he ever even think of selling it? There is no logical reason.

Walt and Daisy spent a lot of their time out on the front porch, he rocking in an old wooden rocking chair while drinking bottles of beer from an ice cooler beside him and chain smoking and Daisy half asleep in front of him on the splintered decking of the porch. On the surface this scenario appears almost idyllic – old man, dog, beer and rocking chair on front porch. If he had a corncob pipe I’d think I was in the Old South waiting on the levee for the Robert E. Lee. But on closer look one can see he is a sentry at his post. He is watching the neighborhood for changes and invasions, ever prepared to challenge any attack on his concept of the status quo.

As the movie progresses, one sees the prejudices Walt developed against Asians while he was in Korea fighting the North Koreans and Chinese. This manifests when new neighbors, the Lor family, Hmong Mountain People from Southeast Asia move in next door. He immediately takes a dislike to them and, while talking to Daisy, refers to them as “gooks, slopes and slant eyes”, all derogatory terms for Asian people.

    The Lor’s consist of three generations, Grandmother (who sits on the porch calling Walt a round eye under her breath), Mother, teenage daughter Sue and her younger brother Thao. Only the one grandparent is mentioned and the loss of the father in the Asian conflicts is briefly mentioned.

    Sue and Thao speak perfect English, suggesting they have lived in the states for a long period of time, while the mother’s is somewhat broken and the grandmother hasn’t learned to – she grumbles a lot like Walt. Of the kids, Sue is the extrovert who interprets for her grandmother and, on occasion for the mother. She has a quick mind and isn’t afraid to say how she feels. Thao is more of an introvert – shy at first and slow to warm up.

    Other characters consists of a cousin, Spider who is a leader of a Hmong teen gang and not a very nice person. He pressures Thao to join the gang against the advice and wishes of his family. In an effort to be accepted, Thao gives in. His initiation is to steal Walt’s mint shape, ’72 Gran Torino Sport, a treasure from his days of working at the Ford assembly plant. His attempt fails when Walt hears the car motor start. He grabs his second treasure, an M-1 Garand rifle he brought home from Korea and points it at the gang members he encounters in front of his house. Amid a whirlwind of threats, they leave while Thao hastily apologizes and runs home.

    The next day, Thao returns in the company of Sue and their mother. This seems to catch Walt off guard as they honor him with total respect and apologize for Thao’s actions. The mother insists Thao work for Walt to atone for his actions.

It was at this point in the movie that I noticed how Walt had erected Fort Walkowski, his psychological defense system against emotional invasion. By agreeing to allow Thao to atone for his actions the fort walls had been breached and Walt was feeling apprehensive but reason overcame and it was the beginning of change in his life. They were slow to warm to each other and parameters were tested but a bond developed almost from the start due to the efforts of Sue who was great at calling both of their bluffs. She was the designer of the bridge between them because she saw loneliness and need in both.

    One day, while driving his old pickup truck, Walt see Sue being accosted by three black thugs. He pulls to the curb and as he does, yells at them to stop. One of the thugs pulls a knife and Walt responds by pulling his Colt 1911 revolver (a classic). The disagreement ends peacefully and Sue gets a ride home with Walt. Almost subliminally, I think what we see in this scene is a father-daughter bonding, each filling a void in the other’s life as well as Walt reinforcing his self-esteem.

    The next day, Sue’s family is having a traditional Hmong barbecue to celebrate the birth of a child in the extended family and, coincidentally it is Walt’s birthday too. She goes to Walt’s and psychologically drags his butt over to join the party where he is amazed to learn that the Hmong people fought on the side of the Americans during the Korean War. Cautiously at first, he begins to relax and enjoy a feast of Hmong cuisine. He even takes time out to give Thao a lesson in dating when he sees him stare at a pretty girl surrounded by other boys. His reverie is cut short when he started coughing and quickly exits to a bathroom where he sees blood in the sputum he is brings up.

The next day, Walt sees a doctor who tells him his health is failing (bloody sputum is a symptom of lung cancer). He takes the news rather stoically but decides to call his son, Mitch to talk about it. His call was brief – Mitch was too busy to share. Well, Mitch does have a life of his own, right? True but I think Walt, like many older men who try to talk to their children about critical matters, should have been more forceful in getting his son to at least listen.

During this time, the Hmong gang is still trying to recruit Thao. One day, while he was walking home from work, they beat him, burn his face with a cigarette and rob him, leaving him lying in an alley. When Walt learned of this, he, in a pique of anger got revenge by beating up the second in command of the gang. This was followed days later by the gang doing a night time drive-by shooting into the Lor house, wounding Thao in the neck. The also kidnap Sue who was walking home from a relative’s house, beat her up and dump her in front of the house. When the police are called, the family refuses to identify the perpetrators but Walt knows who they are. He storms home, does a knuckle-buster job on his kitchen cabinets and determines he will get revenge his way.

While Thao is healing, the priest visits Walt and tries to talk some sense into him. Having called him Mr. Walkowski on Walt’s insistence, there is an easing and he calls him Walt but his ministrations are not helpful. Walt is dying, he knows he’s dying but he doesn’t tell the priest because someone harmed his family and that was more important.

Thao too, is determined to get revenge and he plots with Walt who plays along until the actual time he wants to act, then locks Thao in the basement so he won’t be harmed. He says goodbye in such a way that Thao knows he won’t return, then leaves.

It’s dark when Walt reaches the house where the Hmong gang is based. He stands out front in the dim light of a driveway lamp and has a cigarette as he calls them out. Cautiously at first, they exit the house one by one, each armed with a gun or rifle. As he finishes his cigarette, he does a thumb and index finger imitation of shooting a gun at them then slowly reaches into his coat at his waist band. They open fire en-masse and he is cut down in a hail of bullets as neighbors and other witnesses look on. Unarmed, he chose euthanasia by gang violence to end his suffering and that of his Asian family. His real legacy is Thao, who now owns the Gran Torino.

 

I love this movie and though I may have gotten one of two scenes out of sequence I believe I was true to my memory of it. I think it touches on many aspects of getting older and losing a loved one but also shows us there are others who need us too.

It was interesting to see the changes in Walt as opposed to those of the Lor grandmother who just wanted to sit on her porch in her rocker and cuss at him in the Hmong language. He also seemed to gravitate to the extended family of the Lors, perhaps fulfilling a desire of his own, after all, once his wife died he apparently didn’t have much of a family support system.

Another factor this movie teaches is that we can learn regardless of our ages (well maybe not grandma Lor, but who knows?). Through caring and sharing we can grow as a united people regardless of historical divisions of race, creed, heritage, cultural, etc. I think Walt learned that and found it to be a better option than sitting on his porch drinking beer with Daisy or vegetating in a nursing home.

I think the beautifully portrays growing old and facing the ultimate stage of our lives from a man’s point of view. Walt has worked hard all his life, served his country with honor and earned his place in life. Maybe he wasn’t a perfect father, or person for that matter but he was real. Maybe he didn’t cry when his wife crossed but I know there were tears in his heart. He was alone and it confused and, perhaps even scared him.

Although his relationship with his biological children factor in the story, its import only brings to question why were they like they were? As a father, I can relate to that – my kids basically went their own ways and we have very little contact. I admit I wronged them and wish I could atone but like Walt, that seems an impossibility now.

    I feel Sue may have replaced Walt’s wife to a certain degree. Although we never see his wife in the film just the way Walt listens to Sue and responds to her makes me think Walt listened to his wife too.

    In Thao, I believe Walt saw a chance to atone for his perceived errors in raising his own sons. Perhaps he was gone to the war during their critical years and he missed that, the movie never really says. Whatever the case, Thao became a cure for some of Walt’s deeper psychological issues and his loneliness.

    I think that if the Lor family had not come into his life, when Walt found out he had lung cancer, he probably would have committed suicide on the front porch with Daisy on the stoop, a beer in his hand and the M-1 Garand muzzle in his mouth. He chose euthanasia by gang violence for two purposes, to stop the gang by staging his own murder (he was unarmed) in front of witnesses and thereby die in battle like a true Marine Warrior with the only truly effective weapon he had, his life

Native Peoples Club, Meramec CC

NATIVE PEOPLES’ HUMOR

Scene: Well worn, dirt road between two colonial towns.

Action: Pompous, middle aged colonist is walking along the path when he sees a little Pequot             

boy sitting by the side of the road.

Colonist:     “Why aren’t you working in the fields so I can be a rich man?”

Boy:        “I am helping you sir, I am sitting here selling Smart Pills to earn money.”

Colonist:    “Smart pills? What are Smart pills?”

Boy:        “Oh, very sacred medicine sir. The Holy man gathers them for us from his secret

place.”

Colonist:    “How do they work?”

Boy:        “You must chew them well so the medicine melts in your mouth to go to your

brain and make you smarter.”

Colonist:    “How much are they?”

Boy:        “Ten pills for one penny, sir.”

Colonist:    “For a penny, I’ll it.”

    Handing the boy a penny, the Colonist grabs the entire bag of Smart pills, pours them into his mouth and chews like a madman. Suddenly, he spits them out and starts yelling at the boy.

        “Those were rabbit turds!!!!!!!”

Boy, looking back over his shoulder as he runs away:

        “They work fast sir, you are smarter already!”

 

HUMOR IS A SHIELD AGAINST ADVERSITY.

 

NativePeoplesClub@gmail.com

Last portion of Ethics Assignment – see Mini Paper 8/15/14

Phil. Ethics    

Ref: Mini Paper #1, 08/15/2014

Question: “Would your Good Person qualify as “good” or “virtuous” according to Aristotle?”

 

Answering this question poses a dilemma for me in that the person who committed the acts of niceness was in fact myself. Is it possible for me to judge myself sans bias? I’ll try.

 

As Aristotle is to be the judge of my actions, after reading what I did, I would expect his initial questions of me would be? “Why did you do it? What was your motivation?”

Assuming there might be a pretty severe punishment if I lied to him, I would honestly have to respond:

“I felt I had to.”

To which I’m pretty certain he’d say, “Why did you feel you had to?”

“I do not know sir.”

I honestly cannot say why I helped an almost perfect stranger except to say, it seemed the right thing to do at the time. I expected no gain nor reward. Perhaps I was driven by my past experiences in life, perhaps it was my belief in “Wacantognaka” (Generosity) one of the Virtues of my Lakota Spirit or perhaps simple empathy because he didn’t ask me to, I offered. Whatever the case, I feel that the initial act was the correct thing to do.

As I stated in my original paper, I have continued to help my friend as best I can but with caution and therein lies the question of whether or not my acts can be deemed good.

    Giving my friend some furniture did help him a lot but I admit to an ulterior motive – I didn’t have a place to store it and even if I did, I didn’t need it – he did.

    As for the computer, I’m sure there is a question as to my motive. Yes, I was trying to sell it and yes, I knew my friend could not afford it BUT he desperately needed it to continue in school. My initial thought was to just give it to him but having been in his situation, I felt the need for mutual trust was important for us, so we agreed to his paying for it when he received his school funds. (He has paid.)

    In your treatise “Nicomachean Ethics”, (1144b14–17), you state: Ethical virtue is fully developed only when it is combined with practical wisdom.” Have I met that criteria in your eyes?

    I believe I did. I believe my motives were more positive than negative and that the outcome yet to be judged, may be a positive for more than Sam and me. Without pure intention I believe both Sam and I learned valuable lessons about ourselves and the real meaning of virtue.

    Although my days are number now, I believe Sam will go on to do positive things in his life. Perhaps things that will improve the lives of everyone because we shared a trust and learned about ourselves.