Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Wed May 04, 2016 11:47 pm

<< Week of May 04, 2016 >>
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday
4 Day Month

5 Day Month

6 Day Month

7 Day Month

8 Day Month

9 Day Month

10 Day Month





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Witnessing 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1790
Thanks: 2
Thanked: 18 times in 13 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Witnessing
Quote:
There exists in our society a widespread fear of judging that has nothing whatever to do with the biblical "Judge not, that ye be not judged," and if this fear speaks in terms of "casting the first stone," it takes this word in vain. For behind the unwillingness to judge lurks the suspicion that no one is a free agent, and hence the doubt that anyone is responsible or could be expected to answer for what he has done. The moment moral issues are raised, even in passing, he who raises them will be confronted with this frightful lack of self-confidence and hence of pride, and also with a kind of mock-modesty that in saying, Who am I to judge? actually means We're all alike, equally bad, and those who try, or pretend that they try, to remain halfway decent are either saints or hypocrites, and in either case should leave us alone. Hence the huge outcry the moment anyone fixes specific blame on some particular person instead of blaming all deeds or events on historical trends and dialectical movements, in short on some mysterious necessity that works behind the backs of men and bestows upon everything they do some kind of deeper meaning. As long as one traces the roots of what Hitler did back to Plato or Gioacchino da Fiore or Hegel or Nietzsche, or to modern science and technology, or to nihilism or the French Revolution, everything is all right. But the moment one calls Hitler a mass murderer-conceding, of course, that this particular mass murderer was politically very gifted and also that the whole phenomenon of the Third Reich cannot be explained solely on the grounds of who Hitler was and how he influenced people-there is general agreement that such judgment of the person is vulgar, lacks sophistication, and should not be permitted to interfere with the interpretation of History.


Judging defines responsibility, both for the one judged and the the one judging. For the former it demands accountability for an immoral deed; for the latter it demands accountability as the one who witnessess said deed. A witness who keeps silent is irresponsible in relinquishing her judgement. Thus, responsibility lies with the doer of the deed as well as its witness. Arendt's point is that no one is willing to be a witness.

Freedom implies responsibility and demands judgement: being free requires being willing to judge, which is what it means to be responsible. Judgement is not the same as prudence or good sense: it is calling a spade a spade and holding others accountable for immoral behavior. Freedom requires individuals be held accountable, no matter their position or status or historical/social context.

I think there is an element in with-holding judgement that is not about avoiding responsibility, but realizing that the judging of others is futile without first addressing one's own moral culpability. Thus, it is not simply adherence to the metanarrative of determinancy that keeps one from providing witness to the misdeeds of another: but it is the realization that my own misdeeds require a witness too...and until I witness to my own immorality, I cannot responsibly judge another. This judging of others becomes irresponsible because it distracts and detracts from my own errors: and there are really no errors I am better able to correct than my own. Thus responsibility requires judging oneself before the judging of others.



Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:30 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:




Featured Books

Books by New Authors


*

FACTS is a select group of active BookTalk.org members passionate about promoting Freethought, Atheism, Critical Thinking and Science.

Apply to join FACTS
See who else is in FACTS







BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.



Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2016. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank