Not My Student Anymore

If I could tap my temple, draw forth a silver sliver of thought, and place it in a Pensieve, what would I see today?

I don’t know. I feel conflicted, pensive.

How much is too much? When is a choice not a choice?

I’ve cultivated a sense of… I’ve formed a mindset that all people are good people. That bad choices do not make people bad. But does there come a time when continued choices make a person good or bad? Does there come a point when choosing to make the choices we’ve made makes us either good or bad?

Where is the line between being and behavior?

If it is true that people are neither good nor bad, that only our actions have moral value, then when is a man responsible for his actions? If a fourteen-year-old cannot consent, can he own any choice at all?

And suppose it is that only actions matter, is it not also true that actions can be forced? Should we judge a person by their obedience, whether the laws they obey are benevolent or otherwise? Should a person then be judged not upon their actions, but their motives? And if the motive for an action is an impulse, can we say with certainty whether that impulse was itself good or bad?

Does it matter? Intent is not impact. High-meaning motives, for Machiavelli, mean more than the means themselves.

But does it really matter? Is there such a thing as good or bad, or is it all a reflection of the white-supremacist, patriarchal culture within which we have been raised?

And then, I ask, where is the line between choosing to do bad things and following the bad models set forth by the world we live in? By unfortunate circumstances? By nature or nurture or neither or both?

Does such a line exist? And would it matter if it did?

Choices were made. People were hurt. Trust was broken. And trust was broken again. And consequences, both punishment and support, were laid forth, and opportunities offered became opportunities not taken.

Yesterday I could not say not my student. Today I can.

Does the difference matter?

May 31, 2017

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