Consequentialism


Consequentialism is described as the idea of one’s ethical theories are what forms the basis of what one believes is right or wrong. These philosophical issues are some that haunt everyone at some point in their life. We are encouraged to stretch our minds by exploring these questions, even though they do not have any right answer. Some of the most troubling problems involve death, a higher power, or fairness and are truly unanswerable.    

When looking at slightly morbid examples of ethical problems, some subjects such as The trolley problem come up. The trolley problem was first recognized in 1967 by philosopher Philippa Foot. She came up with the moral dilemma that has troubled philosophers for decades. In it, she explains a scenario in which you see a trolley driving quickly down a track in the direction of five unsuspecting workers. You then see a lever that you have the option to pull. This would divert the path of the trolley from the five people, but that path leads to one more worker. So the question is, would you pull that lever to kill one, or step aside and allow it to hit all five? It seems like a simple choice for most, however, if you truly put yourself in that position, it becomes much more difficult. Is it really worth it to be responsible for killing someone if it saves five others? Many adaptations of this dilemma have been developed over the years, for example, a transplant surgeon being put in the position of deciding to take one unsuspecting person’s life in order to give their organs to five dying patients. In the play, Macbeth, the first major idea of consequentialism is introduced in Act I Scene II when Macbeth is praised for killing Macdonwald the rebel. The issue lies in the murder being made, not only acceptable but honourable. By completing this act, he may have saved an army, so is the murder acceptable? In these problems, one’s code of ethics is put into question by asking if the end justifies the means.    

   Another very serious issue of morality that is, unfortunately, a real dilemma is the pro-life/pro-choice debate. Christians seem to be mainly pro-life due to their moral identity of a soul being created at the moment of conception. The moral argument is that it is murder to abort an unplanned pregnancy. However, there are many reasons a woman might choose to abort a fetus. These reasons can include health reasons, financial reasons, or lifestyle reasons.  The question is, is it acceptable to abort a fetus so that a child does not come into this world unwanted? So many factors, such as emotion, lifestyle, religion, upbringing, and personal code of ethics all play into one’s decision-making process when it comes to choosing a side of this controversial topic.

The childhood story of Robin Hood brings up the question of consequentialism by asking whether it is acceptable of him to be taking from those who have more to give to those who have nothing. In doing this, he ends up creating an arguably “fair” economy even though in the process he does break the law. It is important to understand that this is a very simplified version of a real-world problem. This shows that we begin to be asked unanswerable ethical questions from the first few years of our lives. Even though this issue is disguised as a children’s story, it is preparing them for some of the more serious issues they will be faced with as they grow. Similar to this, in Macbeth, one of the three witches tells a story of her unpleasant encounter with a sailor’s wife. The witch asked the wife to kindly share her abundance of food with the poor and malnourished witch. The response to that question was immediately and harshly denied. Due to the unkind remarks made by the woman, the witches felt it was acceptable for them to inflict punishment by ensuring her husband does not return from his journey at sea. Although in this case, the witches seem to be acting simply out of rage, it could be argued that punishment could change how the sailor’s wife treats people in the future. More specifically to Macbeth, the witches who tell the future are playing with consequentialism by the way they see the future. Is it right of them to be sharing these prophecies? The natural course of the way things were meant to be could be changed because of it. Due to everyone’s ethical standpoints are slightly different, the ways of societies and economies are constantly put into question and some of these questions simply lead to more extreme responses, such as Robin Hood’s thieving and the witches curse.    

    Consequentialism is the bases of one’s ethical decisions which form beliefs. They are considered moral dilemmas because they have no one right, fact-based, answer. These difficult questions can be formed around the bases of death and blame, such as the Trolley problem and abortion, or around fairness, like the story of Robin Hood. Whatever the issue is, one question can always be asked; does the outcome outweighs the steps taken to get there?




Figures of Speech: Sunrise on the Veld

Personification: A personification is giving a non-human human qualities. There are many personifications used in this story, the one that stuck with me the most is “the sun is painting”. I think this was the one I remembered because of the beautiful image it brings to mind. The sun brings light to our world and light brings colour. It is as if each morning the sun takes the blank black canvas of the night and paints it the bright and vibrant colours of the day. The layers of the sunrise and the pastel colours it casts on the world act as the base for the ones we see when we awake.   

 

Simile: A simile is a comparison using the words “like” or “as”. In this story Lessing describes the air as smelling like a challenge. The air can’t really smell like a challenge but if he had an intuition that something was going to happen that would make sense. Using one sense to describe another really makes the readers feel that the intensity is building.      

 

Metaphor: A metaphor occurs when one thing is compared to another without the words “like” or “as” present. Because of the was Lessing described the boy kicking at the skeleton sulkily it was like he was a small boy again. He felt this way because sulkily means to do something in a pouty way and only small children pout.   

 

Paradox: A paradox is a phrase that is self-contradictory. When the boy “sleeps with vigilantes” he is performing a paradox. Vigilant is being aware of your surroundings and the dangers around you. It is impossible to be vigilant while sleeping which is why it is a paradox.         

 

Synecdoche: A synecdoche is when a small part is used to describe the whole thing. When  Doris Lessing describes the window of the house she is really is talking about the whole house.

Word Craft: Sunrise on the Veld

Vigilant- Being alert of the dangers around them. A paradox is used in a phrase with this word because Lessing says he sleeps vigilantly. This action is impossible because when you sleep you are oblivious to the world around you which is the opposite of vigilant.

Sulkily- Showing your unhappiness towards doing something. In the story the boy kicks the bones sulkily because he is sad about the outcome of his carelessness. My younger brother is often sulkily when he is asked to do his chores, as most young kids are.

Falter- Moving or speaking in an unsteady manner which shows the lack of confidence of loss of strength. When the boy shows falter he ignores it because he is thinking he can control everything but really he can’t because he couldn’t even catch his breath.

Eddying- Eddying is the movement of water or smoke in a circular way. In the story it is not referred to as water or smoke though, it is an echo. I think this is a beautiful image the echo circling back to him. It makes for a much smoother picture and more gentle feeling then an echo bouncing of a rock and back to him.

Stoicism- Showing little to no emotions even while enduring some type of agony. The boy watches the hurt animal with a stoic look on his face. He is feeling pain for the animal but continues to show no emotions. Many people say I am often stoic.

First Line Auction

Conflict is all around us
We don’t always notice it
It is the reason for everything we say
For everything we do

The silence is constantly in a war with the ticking of a clock
It longs for a moment of quiet but time is too strong
The ticking will never stop
The clock will never lose in a war to the tranquility

To get to the solutions we seek there has to be a difference
Conflict is like a clash of diverse colours finding peace within a rainbow
There are war and fights and disagreements
We try to resolve and win them all

We feel that when we lose a battle we are worthless
We always have to be the winners
But if every time somebody lost they cried
Then our entire earth would be a salt water ocean

“I Didn’t Go on the Ski Trip” Poems

The last flame of hope gets put out by the singing of the wind

It carries the smoke of happiness and love

Takes it on a journey far away from where it began

 

The leaves go along with the wind

Each engulfed by the dark smog

Leaving the city behind

 

Dancing as if they are saying goodbye to the light of the cars and trucks

The world then became pitch black

Nothing is seen in the dark

 

There is a small glimpse of light far ahead

A single star struggling to burn brightly

A new fire of hope is born

 
 
 
 
 

Love is something deeper than the world

Love is compassionate

Love is what wakes you up in the morning

Love is what we all live for

 

It is what dreams are made of

It is hearts and valentines day and cupid

It is white dresses and bouquets of flowers and rings

But it is more than that

 

It is a lifetime of happiness

Something only a lucky few will have

Love is real and scary

Love is quite contrary  

Five Easy Pieces

His hands are always so soft
The years of his life have given him more skin than he needs
Each day he wipes off his wife’s picture inside of beautiful brown frame
In that picture she is smiling the most genuine smile I have ever seen

Behind her are the water of Fiji
It is so clear you can almost see it reflecting her happiness
I watched him as he once again wiped not dusty frame
I finally ask the question I’ve been wanting to ask since we met

I looked at him and asked why she never came back from that trip
He looked so deeply into my eyes he could see the deepest darkest parts of my soul
He did not respond right away he took a moment
A moment of silence

Once he was ready he finally explained to me that she was a good person
He explained to me that she was brave and loved and she was always happy
To this day I do not know what happened to his wife
But his wife was his light and now that she is gone all he has is the reflection

An Emotional Landscape (Lvov)

I walk down the path
Wind singing and allowing just the tips of the trees to sway to the music
It’s is refreshing my soul
As I walk staring at the clouds

My place is one I travel each day
But it does not come alive unless I am alone
Unless it is just my thoughts and I as I walk down the road
Between the lines of trees

It is not a journey I take often
It only happens when I feel the trees and the rocks are my only friends
When I know I need the safety and comfort the path provides
And only when the world has become too heavy on my shoulders

When I do visit my place I find peace
I get transported into a world of inspiration, a world of hope, of strength, of calm
A world with no worries and no stress
My world, my place

10 Minute Spill

The clouds let the slightest bit of light through

My mother says good morning

The sound of her voice is inspiring so early in the day

 

I left them hanging on the edge of a cliff last night

The needles of guilt stabbed at me while I slept

Our conversation was a whir but I plan to fix it today

 

My mother hands me a bowl of strawberries

I lick off the droplets from the water she just washed them with

As I think of what I can say to to them

 

My second chance has come up with the sun

I plan to take that chance and fix what I did

I can only hope that I will do it right this time

 
 
 
 
 

Grace was the girl everybody wanted to be

She was the definition of beauty

She lived on the Northern side of town

With an upper-class family

 

Grace didn’t always feel so lucky

She became very unhappy and felt she had no one to turn to

She felt as if she was put into this life where she didn’t really belong

She felt like a Barbie doll that couldn’t step out of the suffocating plastic box

 

She’d hit the darkest point of her life

But then she found light

She realized with the struggles she went through or a lesson

She is now stronger and braver than ever before

 

Grace has grown

She stepped out of her box

She can breathe again

She is happy

Translation: Idea to Image

It started slowly
At first it could have been stopped
If somebody would have pulled her back
She wouldn’t be drowning under the ice

The silence of being unnoticed and unwanted has silenced her
The words I’m fine have now lost all meaning
It adds another scar to her heart each time somebody walks over her
Each time somebody walks over her and doesn’t notice she is there

She waits
She waits wishing that somebody
That anybody
Will try to break through the ice that is blocking her from life

She screams as the tears run down her face
Nobody seams to hear her pain
Though all that divides her from them is a thin sheet of ice
It blurs their vision from seeing the truth

The water is crushing her
Making it difficult and slow
She is barely holding on
She is barely holding on to the thought that she could one day come up for air

The last breath of strength have escaped her lips
She is no longer living
She is simply being
She has become a dusty object on the back corner of the dark sale shelf

Her salty tears extinguish the last flames of hope inside her
All she can do is wait
Wait until she can no longer struggle
Wait until she can no longer live without a breath, without a voice, without a hope

The Terminal Poem

Expressions grim from seemingly endless journeys

Locked in the seemingly endless cycle of time    

That seem to stretch off into infinity

And all we can do is wait

 

Why am I here?

How long will I be staying?

Who am I?

All I can do is wait and see

 

Stand by

I will wait

We all wait

60 seconds per person

 

We are trapped

Why don’t we try to escape?

There is nowhere to go

And nowhere to hide