Open Forum: Questions and Answers  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

The question is: “What is the question?” What we mean is that the questions for our discussion on Sunday, September 4 at 8 AM SLT will be up to you, the participant. You may ask a philosophically related question for anyone to answer, or you may direct your question to anyone present, including Plato Greybeard.

If you wish, you may moderate the discussion following your question, or you may turn it back to Plato Greybeard to do so.

Please prepare your question in advance. Plato Greybeard will do a quick survey at the beginning of the session to see how many questions we will need to cover.

Due to the nature of this experiment, we will ask the local chat be used only to address the specific question on the floor at the time.

How do we handle Consequences?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

Norman Cousins said, "A human being fashions his consequences as surely as he fashions his goods or his dwelling. Nothing he says, thinks or does is without consequences." Let's look at how consequences are frequently managed, be they intended or unintended.

Consequences and forgiveness. Take a situation where one person harms another, either by accident or deliberately, and the victim decides to forgive the perpetrator. Does that change the consequences for either one? Can the victim pretend that nothing has happened and go about life as it was before? If forgiven, should the perpetrator escape the consequences that would otherwise follow?

Consequences and freedom of choice. If one elects to exercise freedom of choice, thereby harming himself, should there be any consequences? If one has freely chosen to act in a way that harms another, should the consequences be more severe than if the act had been committed by accident or involuntarily?

Consequences and making decisions. Think of an instance where someone attempts to shift consequences away from himself by blaming others. "It's not my fault that the check to the electric company bounced. You didn't record the debit card payments you made the last time you went shopping."

Consequences and responsibility. How do we attempt to escape responsibility for the consequences of our actions? Ignore them? Blame others? Make amends? Accept the consequences, learn from the experience and move on?

Consequences and freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is such a valuable right that there seems to be few consequences for those who abuse the privilege. Whether in private conversation or in the mass media, appealing to emotions and outright lying many times accomplishes the speaker's objective without penalty. How can those who subvert the noble purpose of freedom of speech be held accountable?