1. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Does having the ability to change the world gives you the right to do so?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Acglaphotis, Sep 3, 2008.

    As my other thread finally died, I decided to make another thread based around a similar discussion (not as controversial, though).

    Does having the ability to change the world gives you the right to do so?

    Let's say you find a way to change the world. You, being the good person you are, try to improve the world as you see fit. How can you change the world is irrelevant, the point is that you can. Should you? Is reality as it is sacred (not in the religious sense) or disposable?

    This appears a lot in fiction. Some examples:

    We have Death Note. Death Note is about a really intelligent adolescent (Light Yagami) who finds a the Death Note. The notebook kills anyone whose name is written on it. Light decides that he is going to change the world for good, killing all criminals to create a world where people are too scared to commit crimes. His reasoning is that a world without evil is a perfect world (let's ignore the fact that he wanted to become a God more than he wanted to have a perfect world). His actions are, (as of right now) morally wrong but for the 'greater' good. "The ends justifies the means". His philosophy seems to be that of consequentialism (from consequentialist standpoint, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence). Take in account that the crime rate does drop consequentially.

    We have the antagonist corporation in Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy, who plan to kill everybody to allow nature to take over. They seem to think that a human-less world would be more beneficial for the world. We never got to see if they were right, but what if they were? Would that have given them the right to have done what they had to do for that to happen?

    The Paladins from Jumper: They hunt and slay Jumpers to protect the world from the Jumpers' sociopathy that descends into evil. A person who could be anywhere they wanted could be pretty bad for the economy and they could commit crimes and go unpunished. Does that give them the right to kill them?

    In the more idealist part we have Haruhi Suzumiya :)3). She can alter reality directly. Does that gives her the right to do it? When she bores of one reality she merely creates another one more to her liking. Do the people from the other realities, created by her, not get a say in the matter?

    Rephrasing the question (just to mess with the heads of people who already had their mind set): Do the ends justify the means?
     
  2. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes.
     
  3. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Care to elaborate?
     
  4. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I would say nothing gives anyone the right to alter reality (Or change the whole world against its will). The world is extremely diverse and that diversity is part of its beauty. All individuals are biased as true objectivity would require no experiences that would shift one from one side of an issue to the other. Since that's a complete improbability that will never occur its impossible to form on objective opinion. We all have opinions of our own (all of them most likely subjective). The concept of self in relation to the world around us is the dividing line between humans and other living things on the Earth.

    As such we're all biased. No one can really make a better world. They'll just make a different one. Life really does have a certain degree of balance. For all reactions there are equal and opposite reactions even if we don't notice them until long after they happen. In that respect no one could accurately predict the outcome of what they would change or what effect it could have.

    Even if that weren't true and someone really could make a better world they have no right to. People have every choice to live their own lives and suffer or reap the benefits of the consequences of their lives. No one individual or group has the authority or the right to change that.

    Just my opinion... :D
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I probably would change the world but only in a good way. The problem is that not everyone is going to agree with my decision because everyone has a different idea of what a "utopia" is. So that being said, no matter who gets the power to change the world, not everyone is going to agree with it, so might as well make use of it and employ utilitarianism to please as many as possible.

    This brings up the issue of power and corruption and a person's character but I won't go there.
     
  6. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's the answer to almost all of these types of questions. Sometimes it's obvious that not only do you have the right, you have the duty. Sometimes you can't figure it out until it's all over. Sometimes it's evil, sometimes it's good, and sometimes nobody can decide if it's good or bad, just that it changed things. There isn't a catch-all answer that fits.
     
  7. chad.sims2
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    chad.sims2 Contributing Member

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    I think that if you have the ability to change the world for the better then you also have the duty to do everything you can to make that change come around. Even if it's a small change for the better. (and yes if someone had the ability to unite the intire world as one thus end war, but had to wage war to do it I'd wage war.)
     
  8. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    In some cases. The end doesn't justifies the means if, for example, some one kill all murderers. By trying to stop murders, he is committing it himself, making him a target in his own list. The ends justifies the means IF that person doesn't falls as low as to commit what he is trying to stop.

    And, as for your other question: No, I'll prefer everyone to collaborate on changing the world, because if someone alters reality to make it the 'perfect world', it wouldn't be long for it to return to the state it is now.
     
  9. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Domine Kira!
    But what is better for one may not be the best for all. Or are you taking an utilitarian stand like thirdwind?
     
  10. chad.sims2
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    chad.sims2 Contributing Member

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    Killing all murderers wouldn't stop murder, most of it is a crime of passion, but war, can stop, or lessen future wars.

    Not a clue what Utilatarian is, LOL, and haven't read the book, but I'd say anything good for over 95% of the world is a good change.
     
  11. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Hmmm... Perhaps I should discount myself from this discussion, but I believe that everyone has the ability to change the world. This is actually tied into a system of beliefs that pertains to energy, and where/how people direct it. In point of fact, whether you think you have or not, I actually believe that everyone already has changed the world simply by being here, and continues to change the world by living... beyond that I will probably getting too far OT. :p

    I don't see it as a right or a responsibility (at its most basic level, that is), but just a matter of fact.
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Utilitarianism is the greatest good for the greatest number of people and came into existence because people realized it is hard to please each and every member of society.
     
  13. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Agreed. A forced change is a change that defies the rights of others who wish to live differently. Even if the way they choose to live is wrong (as subjective as that term is), its not our place to force them into our own lifestyle. If their lifestyle poses a threat to others we'll deal with that as the time comes.

    Unless everyone living by said change agrees to it, the change is essentially meaningless. Destroying a government (or world order if you so choose) that only you or a small or large group of people view as evil and totalitarian and setting one of your own is only the overthrow of one "forced rule" for another. nothing has changed beyond the surface appearance (Just an example).
     
  14. chad.sims2
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    chad.sims2 Contributing Member

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    Utilitarianism, then yes, their will always be people who are not content no matter how much they have, they'll always want more. The greatest good for the greatest amount of people.
     
  15. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Utilitarianism holds that in any given situation the 'right' act is that which produced the greatest good, while all other acts are wrong (not saying this is your particular belief). Therefore even charitable actions could be considered wrong under this theory. For example, if someone donated $1,000 to a charity that provided starving children with food when that person could have donated the money to a charity that does the same thing but is more efficient, and in doing so created even more good, that decision would be judged as incorrect by Utilitarianism.

    ^Criticism of Utilitarianism, from wikipedia^
     
  16. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    i think that the world is quite fine as it is. Like lordofhats said every action has an equal and opposing reaction. A balance is achieved.

    As far as utilitarianism is concerned i would not agree with the concept i kinda disagree. People as a whole live differently and there are certain things that make the world perfect for them which differ from others. Besides if you had the power to change the world it would be your perfect world and im sure everyone has their own vision of the perfect world.
     
  17. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    You make a good point, but it all depends on what you're doing. It can go on for hours whether or not Light is evil, but when you say change the world, do you mean something as large-scale as Death Note? I think changing the world could be as simple as helping somebody up, and I think you certainly have the right to help people. It's when you intrude on someone's business so you can do what you think that's right is where the line should be drawn. I guess if you end up changing the world, good or bad, it isn't easy so you deserve it, right?
     
  18. Silver Random
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    Silver Random Senior Member

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    If you mean something drastic like your example by "Change the World", then...

    If someone has some magical power or something that allows them to do whatever they want, then that ability gives them "the right" to do whatever they please with it.

    "Rights" are what you are allowed to do. And the only things governing that are what you are able to do and, to a lesser extent, the law of your country and the world. Then it is just your choice whether you choose to exercise those rights.

    But if you are talking about things beyond the law, like using some sort of God-Like power to do whatever you want, then the way i see it, the ability to do something is the right to do it. If you have this "Death Note" thing, then you have the right to do whatever you want with it, regardless of what others think about whether you are right or wrong.
     
  19. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Yes and no. Who or what is it that determines what rights you have? It all depends on the one who wields it. However, even if you have the right to do so doesn't mean you have to do it....
     
  20. chad.sims2
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    chad.sims2 Contributing Member

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    This question really comes down to a more basic one. If you can kill one person to save thousands, would you?

    Yes, I would, though I'd probably give the persons family/freinds permision to choose what they want to happen to me afterwards. Two deaths to save thousands would still be worth it.
     
  21. ciavyn
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    ciavyn Senior Member

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    That's an argument as old as time - and certainly as old as Star Trek! ;) The good of the one for the good of the many. But in that, I'm not sure I agree. If murder is wrong, then murdering one person because YOU believe it will change things for the better for thousands takes us down a slippery slope. It's the old time travel conundrum: if you could go back and kill Hitler as a baby, or perhaps just his mother, would that make you a hero, or just a murderer? How do you know another wouldn't have risen, under another name?
     
  22. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I think everyone has the right to try to change the world. However, there will never be a time when everyone agrees that that change was for the better or worse. If given power, or a chance people will always try change the world for the "better". Some will succeed (i.e. George Washington, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Ceasar, Joan of Ark), others will simply become another forgotten part of history.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you can make a change for the better, you should. If it's a change for the worse, you shouldn't. Who decides it's for the better? Future history will judge you if you choose poorly.

    If you want an absolute answer, there is none. But I can imagine no worse way to spend a life than not to make a difference at all.
     
  24. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Rights" are concessions granted by society. Imposition of change on others, without permission from those who are "governed", cannot be defined as exercising a "right". It is simply engaging in dictatorship and history is filled with such efforts.
     
  25. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I would have to reduce the question down to the concept of what is a right. A right is a human construct. It is a concept we have created and does not have an autonomous reality. Change is an autonomous reality. It exists regardless of our opinion of it. A right is as subjective and abstract a concept as one could create. It does not exist without our giving it credence.
    Does a cheetah have the right to take down a baby Thompsons Gazelle?
    Really, the concept of right does not apply to the above question. It is non sequitur.
    So, the question of whether or not we have the right to change things just because we can is really neither here nor there. The autonomous fact is that everything done by anything causes change. Classification of these changes into good or bad is a figment of our collective imagination.
     

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