Conversation about guilt, responsibility and law

 

I once wrote a conversation with Phil Osof that I would like to repeat here.

 

  

"You said that everything is predetermined, because everything, including humans, consists of substances and laws, and everything is a successive leap of structures. That is, everyone had to do exactly what he did. He ultimately had no choice! "

 

"That's right," Phil Osof answered.

 

"But then nobody would ever blame."

 

"'Guilty' in the sense that he could have done something different, not."

 

"But a man can decide for himself whether he, for example, wants to take the right or left path! Does not he have that freedom? "

 

"Of course, the human can decide which way he wants to take," replied Osof. "But he really does not have freedom. Freedom is just an ancient human dream. For whichever direction he decides, he drops them according to the substances in them, more precisely: goals that are subject to very specific laws. These are in him from conception or have formed in the course of his life. These substances and laws bring his decision. "

 

"Is a society conceivable," I asked, "who knows no guilt and, consequently, does not punish anyone for his wrongdoing?"

 

"Of course not," Osof replied. "No society can do without a legal system. And you have to make sure that the laws of society are respected. 'Guilt' means yes: the legal obligation to perform, to make amends. "

 

"But is not it unfair to punish someone who has not kept a law of society? Because according to your theory, everyone had to do what he did! "

 

"Right. But whether something is just, that is, right or wrong, can always be said in terms of a goal. And if that means maintaining the order of a society with certain laws, then it is fair to punish the lawbreaker. "

 

"What are 'right' and 'just'?"

 

"Right comes from direction and is agreement thing between humans. Judging from the goal of knowledge, no one is to blame for what he did because natural substances and laws forced him to do so. However, assuming the goal of keeping a society together, the perpetrator must be guilty of violating laws made by man. This is to prevent him or others who want to do something similar from repeating such a behaviour. It is very clear that nobody can change the past. Consequently, no one can be convicted. One can only condemn someone to make up for what he has done and can be punished so that he does not do it again. "

 

"Cannot someone," I said, "who was convicted, say anyway, 'It was unfair to punish me, because I had to do what I did, after all, everything is predetermined! 'Is not that a great excuse to apologize?'

 

"Sure, he can say that. But then you can also reply: 'It was not possible for us to condemn you. We had to do what we did. Everything is predetermined! '"

 

 

"What about the responsibility?" I asked now.

Phil Osof responded: "Responsibility means that man stands up for his active actions or omissions, so feels responsible. He learns this through his process of socialization, which educates the conscience, together with goals from the primal structures within it. Feelings play a big role here. "

 

 

 

"Could one develop a natural behavioural context that is valid for all humans?", I wanted to know now.

 

"You mean a natural law that everyone is subject to? A right for all to derive from nature? "

 

"Yes."

 

"You cannot do that," he answered. "Because 'right' is defined by goals and they can be very different."

 

"But do not people aspire to it?"

 

"They seek to establish their own behaviour, which in their view is positive, and they want others to follow it and have a similar scale of values. The more related we are to one another in the values of others, the more sympathetic they are to us, and vice versa. Our own scale of values is gladly seen that nature or God has created them as the right one. "

 

"But does not this always lead to conflicts between people, societies and cultures?"

 

"That's how it shows the history."

 

 

 

"Another question: If it should turn out that everything actually runs according to substances and laws, so that humans have no free will, then would not many legal systems have to be rewritten? Because these are still based on the fact that man can decide freely and must pay for his guilt, which he has charged himself."

 

"That should actually be so," replied Osof, "but it will not, because the people who believe in free will, will probably always be far in the majority and dominate the jurisdiction. For example, the question of culpability: Under it, lawyers understand whether the perpetrator was at the time of the action in full possession of his mental powers to understand the injustice of his act. In other words, whether he could have prevented his actions with his free will. "

He shook his head. "But the substances and laws have led to this action, especially the midpoints - it had to be done as it happened! Therefore, I understand by criminality that the offender should redress his act, as far as possible.

Well, it would be interesting to find out how the respective legislators came to subject man to free will, "he continued, and immediately gave the answer:" By tradition, and especially by experience with themselves. Because they believe and feel that they make their own decisions out of their free will, even though they may not have been investigated by them! They simply put him ahead, presumably because they would otherwise be deprived of an important legal ground. "

 

"That sounds like arbitrariness," it came to my mind.

 

"Well - you could call it that because there is no evidence of free will."

 

It requires a great deal of love for the truth and the ability to see its negative sides as well, that is, to get closer to one's own psychology in order to come to the realization that ultimately there is no free will. Above all, this includes the ability to analyse oneself and one's own behaviour. But the biggest obstacle is: these people want to believe in their freedom! They are at the midpoint of this belief.

If you really want to understand, you have to put yourself into the moment of action: how was the structure of man then and how was there environment.

To do this exactly would be beyond the judge's ability. And so, he judges the past practice, also because society demands it. "

 

"That reminds me," I said, "that it is said, 'To understand everything means to forgive everything. 'That would fit well with your attitude.'

 

"Yes, that's the way to put it - though, in everyday life, that's hardly possible for the reasons I mentioned earlier. In general, society has to punish infringements in order not to violate its structure. And that is exactly what the individual does to repair his damaged world and preserve stability. "

 

 

 

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