Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Collective guilt pt. 2

In order to understand collective guilt we must first have a proper understanding of how our actions affect ourselves and others. Without this knowledge we will not understand how the actions of others can affect us and those around us. In order to do this we must dispense with the notion of a total separation of actions between what we call "public" and "private".

Our last post on the subject considered that a human being is complete only when both the notion of the individual and the notion of of a community are realized. That is, the human is at the full potential only when he is both recognized as an individual and as a member of a community. To emphasize one at the expense of the other is to damage both.

Because of this notion of connectivity between the two spheres of human nature we can now explore the notion of how an action in one sphere affects how the human interacts in the other sphere. That is, every action in either the public or private sphere will affect the human in the other aspect of his nature.

Consider the notion of pornography. It is argued that even if there is something wrong with the viewing of such images that it is a "private" matter, and thus off limits in the public realm. This idea has embedded in it the idea that a clean separation of "private" and "public" actions, that the viewing pornography is entirely a private affair.

But upon closer examination we see that the participant in pornography, the viewer in this case, is viewing pictures of another as a means of pleasure. In private the viewer is cultivating a habit of using another human being for their own pleasure. This in turn impairs the viewer's ability to recognize the other as worthy of respect that a human being is due.

Now let us shift focus to the producer of pornography. The producer, either the "actors" or those who produce and market such material, adhere to the notion that it is acceptable to allow oneself two be exploited by another. This also impairs the ability of the participants to treat all human beings with the respect that is due to all human beings.

In the above example we see that the viewer's ability to treat all humans not as objects but as people is compromised. Likewise the producers are also compromised. The private action of viewing compromises the viewer, which leads to more production of such exploitative material. Likewise the public production of such material compromises both the producers and the customers.

But now we face another question. If this holds how does this affect people beyond the participants? How do their actions affect society as a whole? This we will examine next.

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