Thursday, July 08, 2004

Personal Integrity

Argh, so I can't sleep. Why not? Because stupid YJ and Dammon are keeping me awake with messages. Although I could stop at any time... :p Go see a clinic already, man!

Recent personal experiences have caused me to seriously consider what it means to have integrity. When you have one personal ideal, what makes it ok to be disgusted with others who don't share the same ideal when they're not necessarily doing anything explicitly wrong? And in addition, is it all right to be angry at them? Especially if one of these ideals would be staying your anger? It really becomes the pot calling the kettle black, and it would seem to me that destroys your integrity. It always appeared to me that we hate that which we are deep inside the most (negative things, obviously); consequently, when we see these things reflected in others, it becomes a target of hate.

My friend sent me a forum thread where people were discussing the 11-year-old Japanese female killer (erm, that is, the killer was 11 years old, Japanese, and female). Let's ignore the entire debate on what caused this unfortunate incident, how much responsibility the child, parents, and society each have to bear, and various topics that crop up in the thread like accusations of pedophilia. A lot of the posts in the thread are awfully incoherent and badly written, but this point is interesting (although I have no idea how he came up with it in the first place):
So what if she has a fan base. Did the fad commit the crime? You think this is gonna lead to more 11 year old girls killing classmates so they can also have an internet fan base? Whats so funny is that you are sickened by this whole thing, yet you have no problem with me being murdered.
When did anyone mention killing him? Maybe I missed it, I don't have perfect eyes, after all. But whether or not someone said it would have been ok for him to be killed, the point is there. If someone doesn't ascribe to our values (and we'd have to presume that our values are superior to make this question viable), does it give us the right to not apply those same values to that person? Or in this case, this guy previously made comments that seemed to indicate that he wasn't horrified by anything, on the verge of calling the incident circumstantial and possibly even acceptable, though not preferable. Does that warrant us directing anger and hate that is the root of murder to him?

Let's take my own example. This person (who shall go unnamed) essentially concluded that it was ok to use people without regard for their personal well-being in order to make money, so long as he wasn't directly responsible for their actions. I found a high level of disgust in myself directed at this person, growing by the second as I talked more with him. I could not believe how selfish and Machiavellian he was making himself out to be. For one who desires to care for other people from all backgrounds and worldviews, this is quite the conundrum. How can you reconcile your own values with actions in which you drop your values against people you deem lower than yourself just because they do not share the same values? We are all humans and equal. Some lose their right for respect, no doubt, but I always desired to go further and accept them and respect them when nobody else would. Yet for some people, I find myself not doing this because they refuse to ascribe to the values that I hold dear. What a contradiction. How does one in such a situation say that they have personal integrity? Especially when the other person throws that very hatred back into your face in order to say that you have no right to talk? That's hard, mainly because it's true. You become someone who arbitrarily applies values only when it's convenient and when you want. That's the inception of corruption right there.

EDIT: I would like to say that neither YJ or Dammon were this person, in order to avoid any confusion from readers.
One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 
Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?" 

The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."
~Exodus Chapter 2, verses 11-14 
The Lord said to Job: "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!" 
Then Job answered the Lord: "I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer - twice, but I will say no more." 
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm: "Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God's, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you."
~Job Chapter 40, verses 1-14
If we are all the same and equal, I would argue that we are all must be under the same morality. The reasons why are lengthy, that would be a post for another day. Bleh, ask me if you'd like to know my reasons. But to summarize the most important premise, it'd be like trying to play soccer where every single player plays with a different set of rules. Chaos would erupt. But if we're all equal and under the same morality, then we're not easily capable of judging each other because we're all guilty of something or other. Authority needs to judge. This is why government authorities like the police and judicial court system are in charge of judging when it comes to breaking a nation's laws. The SEC in the US is in charge of judging when a public corporation breaks accounting rules, et al. And so on. Organizations that create the law do the judging. I think it's the same for moral issues. I'd argue that God would be the creator of moral laws, and therefore the only one capable of judging through them. We being under that law don't have that ability, whether or not a supreme being created it, and whether or not a supreme being even exists (although by induction, I would argue that this leads to a conclusion that some supreme being exists and created this idea of morality, but that goes back to the post that I shall not write tonight).

So here's the big question then. Is it possible for any human being to have integrity? To certain degrees, it's no doubt possible. But real, 100% pure integrity? Thought for the day. But hey, this is why I'm thinking Jesus died, ya know? Now to just follow his model of integrity.

And yeah, I do think the fanart is a bit disturbing, on top of the unfortunate incident.

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