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#219865 - 04/23/08 07:54 AM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: VN]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2669
Loc: durham, north england
leosha, I've been thinking about your post and this one for a few days.

Studdying ethics, I've had to considder the idea of duty, and I'll admit it's one I dislike.

If you don't mind me going ethics here, it always strikes me that the idea of duty is based around compulsion.

whatever the duty is to, duty to obey the lore, duty to a cause, even duty to another person, it always me that it's implicit in the concept of duty that the dutiful person's own inclinations are in some way counter to whatever "doing their duty" means.

I once encountered a really worrying example of this where someone talked about "the duty of parent hood" and said quite bluntly that she really disliked spending time with her daughter, but did it anyway because it was "her duty"

I'm really not convinced this is a good way of thinking or behaving, or a really useful way of thinking about helping others or ourselves.

I'd rather say that it's something implicit in the way a person is, the way he/she perceives the world and other people in it, and in the situation that provokes a desire to do something for someone else, ---- or for themselves.

Of course as people here will know very well, people are quite capable of feeling contrary desires. I'd be quite willing to bet that even a really good parent wouldn't always want to spend time supporting their child, but they do so because that's the way they are, ---- and I'd hope that a good child would then recognize this and recipricate appropriately.

So as far as Ms goes, I'd agree with other people, ---- that it's not about duty, it's just about the way a person is, and what is useful to them.

when i first found Ms, I really felt unable to post anything, sinse I was conscious that a lot of people here were really hurting and I felt utterly powerless to help, ---- which made me feel really bad. I'm really sorry if this comes across as arrogant, and please don't think I'm saying I'm a super altruistic person, ---- it's just the way I felt at the time.

what I'm coming to realize now, is firstly that I can't change another person's feelings just because there's something in me that wants to, and secondly, if I really want to do something to help, the best thing I can do is just be with someone else while their feeling like that, which will in turn be helpful to me.

realizing this has not been easy, but it's been a really useful thing for me to know, and something I've felt I've learnt from Ms, and something which I think lots of the chaps here already do and know very well.

will I hang around ms putting my ore into various threads for years to come? I don't know. will I write academically on the subject? I don't know. Will I go public and present papers on it at conferences etc? I don't know that either.

Perhaps, perhaps not. What matters is what I'm doing here and now.

I'm really sorry for the philosophical uba wrant, I know I do ahve a tendency to go on a bit with these things, ---- it's just this is a subject I've been thinking about as well.

#219941 - 04/23/08 07:10 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: dark empathy]
VLinvictus Offline

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
"Duty" is an interesting concept in this regard.

It makes me think of Kant and the Categorical Imperative. "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."


"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end."


"Therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends."

OTOH, I recall the 12th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."

The theory behind that is that it is only through helping others that we can hold on to the serenity and healing we have achieved for ourselves. I've experienced a great deal of truth in that notion.

For example, I used to be terrified of HIV. No matter what it did or didn't do, I freaked out with fear that I had it. What conquered that fear was educating myself about it and then volunteering on a Q&A site to help other people through their own paranoid crises.

Helping others through the journey of healing from CSA would seem to me an integral part of healing and maintaining that healing for ourselves. Unfortunately, psychic wounds don't seem to heal like physical ones. The scars remain and the wounds can open up years later even after we think we're "cured."


We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

#219976 - 04/23/08 10:03 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: VLinvictus]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2669
Loc: durham, north england
I'm afraid Dan, I'm not a big Kant fan. I do not think people are always rational, nor would I want to be. i'm much more Hume orientated, ---- ie, reason is the slave of the passions. In recovery, both in helping others and helping ourselves, i'd prefer to think about altering and dealing with our passions.

Certainly, if someone has helped me, as the chaps on here and my wonderful friends have, I'm certain that they are warm, human individuals, than cold calculating rational agents symply obeying a cold hearted lotical maxim. also, I'm not convinced we do even act on maxims, or that we can will something to be universal, but before this goes into an anti Kant wrant, i'll stop, feel free to Pm me if you want a chat about this, sinse it's something I both really enjoy discussing, and actually which helps me ffeel more energetic and creative, considdering other's points of view, comparing them to what I think is a useful ethical principle and responding in a productive way.

#220929 - 04/27/08 09:57 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: dark empathy]
ak Offline

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
I think, everyone here say it, that first responsibility is to ourself, and to be the best person we can be. Because then we are having a great 'impact' on the people and world around us, by being the best person we can be.

And if it is like 'survivor karma' you are wondering about, I think you have already done a great job of giving back, to people here and to other people not at this site. Knowing you better then many here, I can speak that you do quite your 'duty' to other people, on a regular basis. Don't worry at all about that.


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