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Glanvillia, Saint John, Dominica
i am a mom/wife/textile designer gone haywire. I love to sing(music/arts AA degree), craft, exercise, and be goofy. Just living life outside the norm. And the norm thanks me for it. Oh yeah, and I like me some haikus. . . . . . . . . . What are we up to currently? Aaron recently started medical school at Ross University on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean, and the kids and I are along for the crazy ride :)


Monday, October 24, 2011

We had an in-class 5 minute Q&A assignment in English a week and a half ago. The question was an Aristotle quote: Law is reason, free from passion.  Agree, or disagree?
I just jotted something off the top of my head and turned it in, since I knew I wasn't being graded on what my response was, as long at it was well written.
Well, it turns out it did matter what my response was because we were assigned to debate groups based on our answers. BLEH!  We had a lot of fun developing our arguments and today was the debate.  The four members of my debate team each contributed about the same amount.  I had 4 minutes to present an argument and 2 minutes later in the debate to rebutt one of the opposing team's arguments.  We were totally in to it and my team did an awesome job! 
We were on team Disagree.  What's funny is I was always debating the other side during all of our group meetings- I told my group that it was good for them to practice, but really I believe the other side..... but I liked our argument anyway and believed everything I said. lol. long story)
 Here is my argument: (Sorry about the formatting- I copied and pasted from a notecard word format to blogger format.  I don't know about you but I'm not staying up all night to make it pretty.  It's all about content, right? lol)

There is more than one type of law- take for instance, the Law of Gravity.

Let’s say I decide to walk off a 3rd story balcony and I begin to fall.  Does it matter how passionate I am about living or not getting hurt?  Does it matter that I have small children at home?  Or that I cry on my accelerating trip to the ground?
No. Once action X has been taken, consequence Y will take place. (At this point I held up a large text book over a desk and let it drop to make a huge booming sound)

However, NATURE’S LAWS are not what we are debating today. Today we are talking about MAN’S LAWS.

A law is basically a rule that is enforced by an authority or by custom, or in the case of science, reality.  If we leave aside things like the Law of Gravity, then "man’s law" implies, simply, a rule or set of rules to be followed...a frame work of what is right or wrong to do. Whether a law is just or not is an ethical concern, but you cannot separate the fact that a law reflects some standard custom that has been adopted (or forced).
I call it Man’s law because these are not rules set up by some unknown infallible entity.  It’s important  to remember that humans can create laws and humans can change or abolish them.
 Humans also, can interpret them many different ways.
 (SHOW Oh. Card)
For example, this one little word can be read a number of ways (I said it many different ways for the class while I held up the Oh card- you should see how many you come up with, it's fun, even if you're not dirty)
That's just one word.  Think of the possibilities when you add another word to it, and another and another.   

And then look, for instance, at the world’s most popular book:
The Bible.  How many different religions exist that are centered on their different interpretation of this one book?  And how many interpretations within each sect do you think there are?
“Anything that is open to human interpretation is subject to passion”
(I paused and said this again distictly for drama and memorability. tehe) (I also had it up on the projector)

What a word.  Love, rage, selfishness, greed, seduction, anger, betrayal, revenge, sex…  these all have such strong feelings attached to them, but what about someone who is passionate about caring for the elderly or small children?  Someone who is passionate about art? Or music?  Passion is emotion.  Not insanity or chaos.  All humans feel it in one way or another, and it influences their actions.
Passion is why we have laws. 
Now, laws are just WORDS on PAPER.  Many people call it “the letter” of the law (letters make up words-makes sense). Another definition of the letter of the law is following the law exactly as it is written, despite the intent of the writers or the spirit in which the law was written.

 When such actions take place, it is called a loophole.  It is discouraged to use loopholes and is seen as dishonest. 

(this next pink part I cut out for time's sake, but got to use it in my rebuttal- which was awesome!)
I read an article about a man who found a loophole to homeownership.  By officially claiming that a foreclosed $350K house was his via paperwork that cost him $14 to file with the city, he gained ownership of the home; For a whopping $14 dollars. Squatters rights and all. Sounds fantastic.  But is this honest?  No, the bank, in good faith, paid the homebuilders money that they now will never see.  Personally I think that the judge was just amused and thought this dude was too clever to knock down
When one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, one is
doing what the authors of the law intended, though not necessarily adhering to the literal wording
The Letter of the law is balanced by the Spirit and visa versa, but since interpretation of the law comes through imperfect humans, the spirit is subject to our passions

If I would be so bold, I’d amend Aristotle’s words to say
"Law is reason, balanced by passion," but you all, being human, might interpret that differently than I intended, so I’ll just leave it alone.


Brenden+Nikki said...

Very interesting! Brings me back to philosophy my junior year. You just made me miss school. You also just made me not miss school. Ha ha.