Animals

I don’t own a pet, primarily because I don’t have time to take care of an animal right now and make sure they are taken of properly. I live with my aunt and uncle, and they have a dog, so there is an animal in my house. He’s not my responsibility, but he’s always around-however, I still wouldn’t call him mine. I’ve always had a weird opinion about animals and was never able to understand how someone could feel so close with their pet. When I was little I had a dog named Charlie, but we had to give him away because we moved. Then I had two birds who died, two cats we had to give away because we moved again, two bunnies my mom gave away while I was at school (I heard they have therapy for that) and a dog named Sammy who we put to sleep because he had really bad epilepsy and was clearly suffering. When I think about it sometimes, it’s really sad that I don’t have the ability to connect with animals because any animal that I’ve ever been close with has left, one way or another. I definitely want to have an animal of my own after I graduate school. However, I think I would adopt a cat or dog from a shelter so that I don’t have a puppy that I would have to give my undivided attention to for a few months. I would also like to save an animal from whatever may come after life in a shelter; a win, win situation.

 I don’t have any real restrictions on my diet based on religion or culture, I would just rather not eat certain foods. One time I ate deer meat- but I wasn’t informed it was deer until after I ate it. That was upsetting, but undeniably delicious to say the least. I would never eat a rabbit or anything like that. I think I’m only comfortable eating what I consider ‘normal’ meats such as chicken, steak, beef, pork – pretty much just chicken, cows, and pigs. Some people eat deer, horse, rabbit, etc. I don’t have anything against it- it just isn’t my norm so it would probably disgust me. I don’t have any strong beliefs about what other cultures should eat, because I try to be accepting of their practices. As mentioned in previous posts, I accept slaughtering animals for food in moderation, enough for sustenance.

 My relationship with animals is weird. I feel like some dogs can legitimately smell fear on me and can read into my soul- barking at me uncontrollably. I also think I’m slightly afraid of dogs that I don’t know because my mom was bit by a German shepard when I was in the first grade, right outside of my elementary school. Other dogs I feel okay around. Some cats I’m allergic to, so I’m not fan of. Other cats I also feel okay around. My feelings vary on a case by case basis.

 My moral standpoints: I don’t love any animals in particular, but I respect them. Just like people- I don’t love many people, but I’d still respect them and don’t wish harm on anyone. I think my above comments express that I’m a respectful person and treat animals with the dignity that any living being deserves. 

images

I chose the above picture because I don’t have any animals of my own, and my cousin has a black lab named Albus, and he’s one of my favorites. 

 

 

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GloFish

I believe that fish do have rights. I believe every living thing with a heart beat has rights- a right to a life free from pain, manipulation and unjust mutilation. Anything with the sensory pathways to be able to feel pain has rights; and any living thing deserves respect. For example, a tree- a tree does not have the sensory capabilities to feel pain. However, it is living and is part of this beautiful environment we live in, and so it deserves respect and should be free from destruction unless there is a just cause.

Ill talk about Darwinism, survival of the fittest. Sometimes living things died because they were part of the food chain for the larger species, and so in my opinion that would be a just cause, and because of Darwinism and supporting ideas, that species would become extinct. However, nowhere in Darwinism did it mention genetically altering an animal to make it more esthetically pleasing or for pure amusement purposes. Don’t we have better things to do with our time and technology? Technology and science are such beautiful tools when used properly. I’m thinking about this the same way I think about iPads in school systems- yeah, they’re great, if they’re used in a productive manner to increase learning objectives and outcomes. Instead, 9 year-olds are free to go home with the iPad and go on Youtube and listen to songs that were made for literally no purpose- no expression of emotion, no art was put into that song- these ‘songs’ were made to make people with terrible senses of humor and minimal education laugh- and this is what America is coming to.

Anywho, getting back on topic, genetically mutating an animal for amusement is totally and completely wrong. I feel that we as humans are getting bored and are running out of ways to expend our energy and resources in a productive manner. Some individuals immerse themselves in these amusements which are disrespectful to other species and this world as a whole. Nothing productive is coming out of a Glo fish. Wouldn’t time and money be better spent on curing cancer or making an AIDs vaccine (crazy, I know). I just don’t understand what would cause someone to even go down that path. Perhaps someone imagined it, was amused, and realized he had the resources to do so and went ahead with the project. This seems a bit power hungry to me though. As humans I feel that we are power hungry sometimes, trying to see what other species (or even what other humans, sometimes) we can gain control of. I think its ignorant for humans to think they are dominant and when they are disrespectful to the environment around them. It’s a very humbling feeling to realize that not only are you one in billion of people, but those billions of people are only a percentage of the living things on this Earth and we all belong to something greater. We have to maintain a mutually respectful relationship with the environment if we want to be around for a while as a species. Otherwise, its all going to come crashing down on us- and that actually keeps me up at night sometimes.

Genetically altering a human is different because humans have the reasoning and ability to understand. For example, if they alter or decide the genetic composition of a child so that this child will have all the matching genes necessary to help his or her sick sibling, then the parents would have known that and would have consented to that. However, even with the parent’s consent and understanding, there is no way to completely delve into why this would be an unethical approach to child bearing and rearing. They didn’t have this child because they wanted him or her, they had it to save another child. Some would argue that this would be reason enough to have a genetically composed child. Others, like myself, for example, would strongly disagree. Think about the quality of life this genetically composed child would have now- serving as the life-line for his or her sick sibling. It doesn’t seem ethical to me to put either of the siblings in that position, and it doesn’t seem ethical for me as a parent (if I was a parent) to choose one child’s suffering over another’s.

I don’t think we have the right to genetically alter living things because we are not God. I suppose you have to believe in God or a higher power in control of our fate to take the same stand I have. I don’t think that we have the capability of understanding and taking in all of the repercussions of genetic altering; and I don’t think we should have to. I think genetic alterations make room for us as humans to put ourselves in situations we were never supposed to be in- situations our psyche can’t make sense of or handle. For instance, in the example I gave above, parents were never meant to have to option of genetically engineering a second to only prolong the life of their first. They were never meant to mull over those moral dilemmas and find peace in a totally impossible situation. It is beyond our ability as humans to process and accept and make sense of these situations. Think of how many things could go wrong- child #1 could die anyway, child # 2 could die from complications of surgeries only necessary to help child #1, both children could die, child #2 could live life feeling like a failure because he or she couldn’t save child #1, more scary- the parents could think of child #2 as a failure because he or she couldn’t save the first child- the list goes on and goes and only gets more complicated.

I do think that our motives do play a huge role in determining the morality of things, unlike Kant who thinks it is either right or it is wrong. If we had intentions of curing cancer by making this fish ‘glo’, I think it would be totally acceptable. If there were higher purposes, it would be a more moral thing to do. It would also be necessary to take into consideration how many people could be saved, how many lives could be changed by the sacrifice of the rights of this one living being- would be end point be worth the means?

cricket

At first my instinct was to pick some sort of insect, because I really don’t like bugs, and so I chose to post a cricket.  But bugs are necessary. Just like bees- I hate bees, but they’re necessary and apparently if we kill all the bees, we as humans will be in big trouble because bees provide a bunch of necessary natural resources for us. So then I thought snakes- but the more I thought about it, the more I kept contradicting myself. I originally stated that anything with the ability to feel pain has the right to a life free of pain, manipulation, and mutilation. And of course there are animals that cause harm to humans, like bears and sharks for example. Certain animals get a bad rep because they harm humans, but really a lot of the time it is the human that oversteps the boundary into the animals environment which causes the animal to be threatened. If we have  respect towards these animals, hopefully a mutually respectful relationship will result. Therefore, I posted this picture purely because it was first instinct. But after thinking about it, I take it back- every living thing has the right to rights.

Suffering

“Fortunately the case for upholding the equality of human beings does not depend on equality of intelligence, moral capacity, physical strength, or any other matters of fact of this kind. Equality is a moral ideal, not a simple assertion of fact. There is no logically compelling reason for assuming that a factual difference in ability between two people justifies any difference in the amount of consideration we give to satisfying their needs and interests. The principle of equality of human beings is not a description of an alleged actual equality: it is a prescription of how we should treat human beings.”

P. Singer, The Animal Liberation Movement

Old Hammond Press, Nottingham, England 1985

The paragraph was not difficult to understand. The paragraph explains that each human being is different qualities- opinions, looks, physical statue, appearance, knowledge, etc.- and no two humans are alike. Despite that, we treat people equally. In essence, people are not all equal, but we (are to) treat all people equally.

I absolutely agree with this excerpt from the assigned reading. I am one of the people that recognizes that everyone is absolutely not equal for a number of reasons- social class, looks, goodness, badness, smarts, spunk, etc. However, it does not mean that we should treat individuals any differently, for we are all people and should be treated equally. I do not think that all people should be treated equally in everything. For example, if you have good grades and are smart, you should get into certain colleges, while someone who is not as motivated and does not have the same kind of grades should get into schools of a lower caliber. Equality should be emphasized in terms of human rights, dignity, respect, and kindness.

Speciesism is the idea that those of a different species are thought of differently and have different rights than those of the species of higher status, which in this case would be humans. Just as with sexism, and racism- there is one cohort that is thought of as the dominant and ‘better’, while the other cohort is thought of as ‘lesser’ and not as significant. While I do not think that animals should be subjected to cruelty for no reason, or even ridiculous reasons such as testing animals for a certain type of toothpaste flavoring. However, I do think that some animals should still be used as sustenance for humans. I do think that animals have emotions, feelings, and sensations, and so I do not condone animal cruelty or negligence in any other aspect other than simply feeding humans. I also don’t think that slaughtering animals should be done to satisfy the gluttony of humans these days. For example, if one pig can sustain ten people- well then only one pig should be slaughtered for those ten people so that they may live and be healthy. Two pigs should not be killed so that those ten people can ‘stuff their faces’, for lack of a better phrase.

I think that it is a birthright to be treated equally as other humans. However, when individuals commit crimes such as murder or robbery, then they give up their right to equality. I feel that humans are given the right to equality because they have the ability to reason. In that sense, I also feel like individuals are able to endanger their equality because they have the understanding or right and wrong and the free will the to act upon situations at their discretion.

I feel that humans are superior to animals because they were given the gift of free will and the ability to reason this free will with the knowledge and grace they have been given from their parents, faith system, community, etc. They have the reason to act differently on certain things, while often times, animals just act as they are inclined to given their ‘nature’. Human nature vs the nature of animals. With that being said, I do feel that we have the moral obligation to treat animals with dignity and respect- because we know better than to torture them with no cause because it is immoral. I think we should be respectful to certain animals (pigs, cows) out of gratitude because they are a source of food for us. I think humans should be able to still slaughter animals for food. I also think that animals should be used for agriculture in a fair manner- I don’t think they should be whipped and beaten and I think they should be kept in a an area of reasonable condition. I do not think that animals should be hunted for fun- if they are going to be hunted, they should be eaten. I can’t help but recognize that countries with greater respect to animals have a high level of poverty- like India for example. If they could eat the cow- perhaps the market would go up, they would be better nourished, etc. At the same time, we have a high level of poverty. Also, we perhaps abuse our access to animals as a source of food.

Sea_Lion_Pup

Sea lions were actually taken off of the endangered species list within the last few days. Yesterday there was reportedly four sea lions that washed up on the shore of a beach in Malibu, California with multiple fatal gun shot wounds.  We should protect these animals because shooting animals for no reason is cruel. These animals do not have weapons to defend themselves and do not have the reason to protect themselves from humans. Some humans are bad people, and there needs to be a law in place to protect animals from such cruel human acts of cruelty. I don’t know if these sea lions do anything important for our environment or are an important member of the food chain for more important species, but they are defenseless and we have to protect them FROM HUMAN ACTION because what happened within the last few days in just cruel.

 

Introduction Part 3

The funny thing about fun is that it’s different for everyone. Some people think video games are fun, other people think reading is fun, and some people just don’t do anything and call it ‘fun’. I don’t feel like I have much time for fun, school pretty much takes over. I go to New York a lot, to visit my friends and family, and I always consider that a fun time. I dance twice a week for a few hours in the dance company at Worcester State, and I am choreographing two dances for the showcase in December. I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my cousins, and watching really good movies- like Oscar winning movies. Just recently I went to go see Captain Phillips with my cousin Julia, I recommend it. I also really appreciate nature. I don’t go camping or hiking or snowboarding or skiing, or anything like that. But the beauty of nature is just so mesmerizing to me. I really enjoy going to the beach and appreciating what God gave us on this earth.

I am a nursing major, and I will be graduating (God willing) with my bachelors degree in the Science of Nursing in May of 2014. I originally had a minor in Spanish, but decided against that. There are many reasons as to why I wanted to be a nurse. One of the main reasons I wanted to be a nurse is because of my grandpa. He was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2008 and spent a while in the hospital. Up until that time I wanted to be a pharmacist or a lawyer and he always told me I was going to be a nurse because they were good people. I laughed it off, saying I’d never be able to take care of someone like that. He passed away in April of 2009. That was my junior year of high school and it was time to start really thinking about my future and colleges. Over the next few months I felt really lost in my life and spent a lot of time praying and asking God for guidance. Before I knew it, I was accepted into the nursing program here at WSU. It wasn’t a definitive moment and it wasn’t a decision I made, I was simply going through the motions. I am so very thankful that I reached out to a higher power because through that and the guidance from my grandpa, I started nursing school. There isn’t a day that goes by that a doubt that I made the right decision (well, the decisions were made for me, rather) and there isn’t a second I toy with switching majors- this was what I was meant to do.

I’ll share another aspect of my life that reinforced my desire to be a nurse. My cousin was pregnant with twin boys and was sent to the hospital because of an incompetent cervix at 24 weeks- she was in danger of going into labor, and for lack of a better phrase, loosing her children. I wasn’t really present for her because I was 18 at the time and she was in New York. The boys ended up being born at 25 weeks and just had their 2nd birthday. The story she tells me always brings me to tears. She talks about when she woke up and she was bleeding, called in the nurse, and was in the OR within a matter of minuets to have these children. She says, “I was so scared- these were my kids, but I knew the nurses were taking care of me, I knew that I was there top priority”. And sometimes when I think about it, it really is so crazy how if something really hits the fan- there is like 30 people in the room waiting to help in any way they can. If there is a code blue or something goes wrong- there are people lining up to save someone’s life. Its really inspiring, and I want to be that strength for someone.

In order for me to attain my goals, I really just have to manage my time and my money. I need money to do everything- go to school, put gad in my car, eat, etc. Time management also plays into this because I have to figure out when I can work, when I can study, when I can spend time with my family. I don’t think that me achieving my goals has a negative impact on anyone directly. I recognize that I don’t spend as much time with my family and friends as I would like to, primarily because of time constraints and because a lot of my family is in New York. While I don’t think I cause anyone pain of suffering, I do recognize that my family does sacrifice in order to pay my tuition so that I can be a nurse and start my career at a young age, and for that I am so thankful because they are not obligated to contribute to my future in that way at all. My family always helps me out by feeding me, throwing me gas money, offering emotional support, etc. My happiness is directly related to the genuine happiness of everyone close to my heart- if they are happy, I can find a way to be happy.

The similarity between all three of our lessons so far, is that they are all based on goodness and happiness, and how one is in relation to the other. Aristotle spoke of virtues, and how to achieve happiness we need to use virtues in moderation. Kant stressed morality and how we should always make the moral decision, no matter what. I specifically remember that Kant did not allow for a gray area- it was black or white, right or wrong. Mills went towards the utilitarian approach and wrote that we much make decisions based on what is right for the greater good of society and that the greater good of society is what is most important. Aristotle focused on virtuous activities and their effect on our happiness, while Mills wrote about the happiness of others and the greater population. Mills wrote about always doing the moral and right thing, regardless of who is affected because it is simply the right thing to do.

I chose the following pictures because dancing and the beach make me happy.

pacific ocean

colorful pointes

 

I chose the picture of the stethoscope because it is my goal to be a nurse and work for the best interest of my patients in all aspects of life- medical, physical, emotional, and social.

stethoscope heart

 

Chemical Castration

I do not believe that chemical castration is an appropriate ‘treatment’ for sex offenders. It would be inhumane to force this treatment upon someone, or any treatment over anyone for that matter. Let me begin by stating that many of the individuals who are sex offenders, especially those who target minors, were sexually abused themselves. Sex offenders have psychiatric diagnosis and need psychiatric help. With that being said, many individuals who are sex offenders know they have a problem and want to stop- just like alcoholics want to stop drinking and drugs addicts want to stop using. There needs to be psychiatric services in place for people who are victims of sexual abuse so they do not become a part of the vicious cycle- a preventative measure. Sex offenders need to participate in psychotherapy to deal with the root of there problem- something chemical castration would not help or fix. As mentioned in the article, many of these individuals are not driven by a desire for sex- there can be many motives. It was also mentioned that sometimes the injection does not work.

However, if an individual would like to volunteer to be chemically castrated, then I believe that should be an option along with supplemental psychiatric services. I do not believe it should be done in exchange for a lower sentence, because as previously mentioned, chemical castration does not solve the root of the problem.

 

I believe that to force an experimental ‘treatment’ on someone would be a form of punishment because it would be taking away their right. Speaking on the ‘placebo’ effect- if the individual does not believe it helps or does not want to change, there is a good chance that it will not work.

 

I believe that convicted criminals give up their right to privacy for certain things. I do believe that they have the right to privacy in terms of medical conditions. Psychiatric issues are classified as medical conditions. With that being said, it would be a very gray area when it comes to sex offenders. It would be difficult to decide whether or not their actions would be a result of a psychiatric issue, in which case may be medical, and they would have the right to privacy.

 

Someone who holds the utilitarian position would suggest that it would be for the greater good to chemically castrate these individuals, even by force, and even it isn’t proven to work or deal with the root cause. The utilitarian wouldn’t dwell on the ethical and moral dilemma of causing harm to this one individual, or neglect for that matter, by not dealing with the root of the problem but rather dealing with expression of the root of that issue.

 

I chose the article below because it mentions that chemical castration has negative side effects for males. However, it does mention that it still would be the ‘way to go’ because it would decrease the likelihood that these men would go on to rape others. Therefore, this article follows the utilitarian approach, something I would not agree with. I think the main reason I can’t agree with this is because most of the people that are sex offenders have a psychiatric issue, maybe they were abused as children, and they don’t have the coping skills to deal with this effectively. I’m a big advocate of releasing the stigma of mental illness, and so I don’t think people should be punished or judged because they have psychiatric issues. At the same, I recognize that they shouldn’t be allowed near children so it’s really hard to say. In conclusion, I don’t believe that chemical castration should be forced upon sex offenders in an effort to prevent more damage. However, I recognize that many people, perhaps the majority, feels that it would be appropriate. I also think its worth mentioning that I do not have children- I would imagine that individuals with children feel very strongly about this. 

 

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1778

Pleasures and Morality

“Now it is an unquestionable fact that those who are equally acquainted with, and equally capable of appreciating and enjoying, both, do give a most marked preference to the manner of existence which employs their higher faculties. Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast’s pleasures; no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base, even though they should be persuaded that the fool, the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they are with theirs. They would not resign what they possess more than he for the most complete satisfaction of all the desires which they have in common with him. If they ever fancy they would, it is only in cases of unhappiness so extreme, that to escape from it they would exchange their lot for almost any other, however undesirable in their own eyes. A being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute suffering, and certainly accessible to it at more points, than one of an inferior type; but in spite of these liabilities, he can never really wish to sink into what he feels to be a lower grade of existence. We may give what explanation we please of this unwillingness; we may attribute it to pride, a name which is given indiscriminately to some of the most and to some of the least estimable feelings of which mankind are capable: we may refer it to the love of liberty and personal independence, an appeal to which was with the Stoics one of the most effective means for the inculcation of it; to the love of power, or to the love of excitement, both of which do really enter into and contribute to it: but its most appropriate appellation is a sense of dignity, which all human beings possess in one form or other, and in some, though by no means in exact, proportion to their higher faculties, and which is so essential a part of the happiness of those in whom it is strong, that nothing which conflicts with it could be, otherwise than momentarily, an object of desire to them.”

J.S. Mill, The Greatest Happiness Principle

The above paragraph states that individuals are too proud in their own form to switch to another form or status, regardless of whether or not it may bring you more pleasure or less pain. Pleasure and pain are subjective to the individual and the status. A person of high status will need more things or a better quality of things to bring him pleasure than a man of a lower status- it is proportionate. People are too absorbed in what it means to have a certain status and would rather be miserable in their situation than happy in a lower status.

I agree with Mill’s argument in that people would rather be miserable in their situation than toy with the idea of being happier in a situation that holds a lower status. Pride is one of the main issues at hand here, and people are reluctant to give up their position in society. The demand for and spectrum of pleasure and happiness is greater based on what you have. For example, a homeless man will be happy with a piece of bread, while a rich man will only use bread as a side to his actual meal, in which case, the meal may not even make him happy, because it would be the norm and he would be used to it. It would probably take much more to make the rich man happy, materialistic goods, for example.  It must be a very humbling experience to give up status for a life of greater pleasure in a different proportion. For example, a couple I knew lived in a large house with four children. The house was soon to be foreclosed on as the economy tanked, and the four children moved out of the house one by one for one reason or another. The couple soon came to the conclusion that it would be easier if they moved to a smaller living space even though it would mean leaving the gated community and giving up their social status. Looking back, the couple realizes that this is the best decision to have made at the time, for now they appreciate each other more and what they have more- rather than just appreciating the status which wasn’t entirely all that fulfilling.

The quality of pleasure is discussed in terms of, what I think, is a spectrum of pleasure. As in the given example, does reading a book by a well-known poet bring more pleasure than reading a book with nursery rhymes? Is it reasonable to say that things which society holds at a higher value are known to give more pleasure. Mill states that it is moral to do what makes society feel pleasure as a whole, or rather the larger proportion of society. Utilitarianism is doing what makes the majority of individuals feel pleasure. It would discriminate against the minority- especially if what brings the majority pleasure is truly against the minority’s beliefs and morals.

I don’t agree with Mill that higher pleasures have greater value that lower pleasures- but I do believe that society does agree with Mill. I think pleasure is judged by everyone on an individual basis, and pleasure is pleasure based on my own scale. I am a firm believer in, ‘it’s the little things that count’. For example, I find pleasure in getting my coffee every morning and driving to school or work listening to my country music station. It’s a habit I have and it makes me happy. This is one of the ‘little things’ in life that for one reason or another, I enjoy. Some people may not find pleasure in any part of their morning, but that is because they judge pleasure differently, and that’s okay- because in my opinion, pleasure is subjective and is not the position of society to judge.

I do think that utilitarianism does demand too much from people because it makes everyone focus on the pleasure of the majority- pleasure should be an individual thing. While we should be concerned with not doing harm to others, we should not concern ourselves simply with making other people happy or feeling pleasure.

images

 

I chose the above picture because society isn’t usually in tune with what many people value based on their religion. With that being said, it is very important to recognize that many individuals do hold their religion and belief system very close to their heart and it greatly influences their life style. Many people find pleasure in fulfilling obligations set forth by their religions.

Principles

kindness assingment 3 lesson 2

Honesty, integrity, dignity, respect, trustworthiness and kindness are the morals I find most important. I think most, if not all of the morals we live by are directly influenced by the people that raised us- for most of us, our parents. My parents were divorced when I was five years old, and separated since I was three. With that being said, I recognize that I’ve been raised by my entire family- aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, neighbors, family friends, all of whom I hold very close to my heart and very thankful that they have been able to make me the person I am today. Of course we can all be challenged by our own morals when exposed to something that may sway us from what we find most important. In this society some of those things may be popularity, money, material objects, etc. However, I feel that when we analyze what would make us most happy in the long run, the ‘little things’ that end up being the ‘big things’ in the end, its easier to stick to our morals and values. When we think about what really makes us happy at the end of it all, its makes sense to make sacrifices to stick to our morals and do the ‘good thing’.

My number one obligation in life is to be a good person, and I’m still trying to explore what that means in depth. What one person may characterize as ‘good’ could be described by another person as foolish or stupid. My duties are to graduate college, find a fulfilling job in nursing, get married, start a family, and spend the rest of my life teaching my children to be good people. A part of me want to save the world- but I’m not sure how that would even be fathomable. Sometimes I think this world could be saved just by doing a little bit of good here and there- spreading this goodness and being kind.

‘Good’ to me is kindness. Good is putting the good of others before the good of yourself (in moderation of course), and being selfless. Good is recognizing that you are a member of something bigger, a human race, and not everything is about you. You are just one in a world of many- and many people doing many good things can make one big difference.

In the last two lessons we touched upon the views of Aristotle and Kant about happiness and principles. I believe that in order to be an all-around sound person, you need to take both of these viewpoints into consideration. We need to use moderation and find balance in our lives in relation to the virtues to find happiness, and we need principles to guide our actions. I believe that both Aristotle and Kant took their viewpoints to the extreme- and neither of these extremes could be reasonably applicable in todays society.

 “Be kind and share your happiness with other people”

Many people say that happiness is contagious. Think about the last time someone greeted you with a smile, wasn’t it almost reflex to smile back? Unless we are innately bitter, it’s hard to ward off someone’s happiness.  Happiness harbors kindness. A bitter person is more than likely less prone to preforming acts of kindness than a happy person. I think that in order to spread goodness and the good feelings among society, we need to share these good things with other people so that the society as a whole can aim towards a movement in which there is widespread respect, acceptance, dignity, and compassion.

Elder Suicide

Dear Anonymous Man,

I was deeply touched by your argument regarding the topic of ending your own life. Being in the healthcare field, I find myself mulling over the topic of ‘quality of life’ quite often. I sympathize for your situation- living far away from your children, having a wife that passed away many years ago, having pain when trying to preform activities of daily living; that must be very hard for you to deal with. My life has been personally affected by the suicide of another person, so I find it shocking that I understand where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, sometimes suicide affects the people that are left behind more than it affects the actual person; when you die, it’s over for you, and it’s your family and friends that have to pick up the pieces you left behind. It seems selfish though, for friends and family to think ‘how could he do this’, when perhaps its what you really wanted. On the other hand, it may also be selfish of you to not think of how their lives might be affected. Food for thought, perhaps.

It’s hard for someone of sound mind and body to talk about the topic of suicide, or argue objectively whether someone has the right to end his or her own life. I think each patient should be looked at case-by-case. One of my main questions is- what is your belief system? I believe that wanting to die so you could meet with you wife is heaven would be received much better than just wanting to die so that your life would be over. Would suicide be the means to an end, or the means to something greater? I feel that it is more justifiable for elders to want to take their own lives to prevent the imminent suffering that will be in the years ahead, being alone, and having your quality of life decline right before your eyes- which can also be hard for the family. When you are younger, in your teenage years or in your twenties, there is so much to look forward to, and dying by choice would prevent the experience of many of the beautiful things life has to offer. In that sense, I do believe that being near the end of one’s life does justify wanting to end it to prevent suffering- regardless of age. If someone is in a terminal situation they should be able to die a peaceful death; if there is a cure, this should not be an option. The ‘right to die’, in my opinion is the ‘right to a peaceful death’ and should only be looked at after all options have been exhausted and a cure is not possible. I feel that people in these situations do have a right to seek assistance in dying, so that they don’t have to go through extreme measures. I know it may seem grim, but as previously stated, I look at the quality of life and I’m a ‘quality of life’ pusher. So I do believe that individuals should have the right to seek assistance in dying. I also believe that there should be a medical order written by a doctor stating that the patient is terminal, and I also believe there should be a psychiatric evaluation performed. Perhaps there should be a panel of doctors deciding whether a patient should be able to take his or her own life. I believe that people should have the right to give assistance in dying. However, I do not believe a first year resident should have the right to decide or give assistance in suicide. I think that there should be a panel of well experienced health care professionals who aid in this decision and weigh all of the options, incase the patient does not look at something clearly.

Summarizing all of my views on assisted suicide, I do believe that some individuals should have the ‘right to die’ and should be assisted by medical professionals. Individuals under the age of 18 should have their parent’s permission. The ‘right to die’ should only be given when there is a clear and unpreventable decline in the quality of life in the near future, and suffering is unavoidable. I also believe that psychiatry services and mental health counseling services need to be in place for a period of time before the final decision is made. Kant, however, would not agree with my statements and views, because he feels that everything is either right or wrong, good or bad. My course of action would be parallel to the hypothetical imperative- making one decision as a means to another decision. So while maybe killing a living being is not moral- preventing the long term suffering would be the moral decision, but we would have had to make an unmoral decision to get there. Kant would stick to the categorical imperative, which would be not to assist or support suicide because it is immoral to take a human life.There are many aspects to consider, dear anonymous man, and I hope my points will ultimately bring you some peace in whatever decision you make.

Sincerely,

Not sure where I stand

Rules

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“A good will is good not because of what it performs or effects, not by its aptness for the attainment of some proposed end, but simply by virtue of the volition; that is, it is good in itself, and considered by itself is to be esteemed much higher than all that can be brought about by it in favour of any inclination, nay even of the sum total of all inclinations. Even if it should happen that, owing to special disfavour of fortune, or the niggardly provision of a step-motherly nature, this will should wholly lack power to accomplish its purpose, if with its greatest efforts it should yet achieve nothing, and there should remain only the good will (not, to be sure, a mere wish, but the summoning of all means in our power), then, like a jewel, it would still shine by its own light, as a thing which has its whole value in itself. Its usefulness or fruitlessness can neither add nor take away anything from this value. It would be, as it were, only the setting to enable us to handle it the more conveniently in common commerce, or to attract to it the attention of those who are not yet connoisseurs, but not to recommend it to true connoisseurs, or to determine its value”

Kant, Emmanuel. “Metaphysic of Morals.” (1785). Translated by Thomas Kingsmill Abbott.

In my opinion, Kant is stating that it is important to have good will. I believe he is stating that we are not judged by what we do with our good will, the goodness inside of us, but just that we simply have it within in. If we have all of these virtuous qualities, for example courage, they can be used the wrong way if we do not have the motivation and goodness inside of us. If we use this courage in a productive manner, then we will be known for being good and for doing this courageous act. If we do not have or use our courage, then we will still be good and if will not affect the goodness within us. Virtuous qualities and acts can only embellish the good will that we may have- not having virtuous qualities or doing virtuous acts would not negate the goodness. It does not matter what we do with our good will, it just matters that we have it.

I agree with Kant in that good will is the basis of doing good things, both of which are extremely important. I liked this section because I believe we live in a world in which we are all trying to ‘one up’ the other person, someone we see as our opponent in this highly competitive society. We all look at what the other person accomplished- made a miracle drug for cancer, saved an elderly lady from getting hit by a car, advocating for the rights of the underprivileged- the list of good deeds can go on and on. However, one good deed can not trump another good deed- doing good is simply doing good. I think it is important to be a good person and try our best to do good deeds, no matter how big or small. For example, in my opinion, holding the door open for someone is just as much of a good deed as saving someone’s life. If we have good intentions, we can not measure how big our good intentions are to directly translate into how good we are as individual people. Being a good person just simple means that we have good will inside of us.

Hypothetical imperative is considered the action one takes in an effort to get to another point. The final result would be dependent on us making this decision, and that is why we make it. On the other hand, categorical imperative is the action we take because it is our moral obligation, it is morally the right this to do, and it always takes precedence over the hypothetical imperative.

I believe that every choice we have to make has to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Not every decision we make is black and white, and there may be very extreme consequences if we make the wrong choice. I think a mature and reasonable individual would be more inclined to follow the hypothetical imperative because it isn’t always the immediate result we are concerned with, and sometimes, the end result would be more morally important than the immediate choice we would have made driven by the categorical imperative.

Kant spoke of dignity, intrinsic worth, and autonomy all as interrelated concepts of being a moral person. Dignity is respect- respecting oneself. Autonomy is the ability and right to choose what you value and the ability to make your own decisions. The individuals with all of these qualities- dignity, intrinsic worth and autonomy, will be the individuals to make the moral decisions. I agree with Kant in that it takes all of these qualities to be able to make moral decisions. A big concern of society these days is, “I wonder what other people would think”. If we don’t have autonomy, we can have dignity and intrinsic value, but we wouldn’t be able to act on them because we would be too concerned with what other people thought of us.

I do not feel like any of those criticisms are justified. What we feel, in terms of our emotions or love, are human nature and often times there is no room for justice and rationality in love. Whom we love is a part of us and makes us who we are, and there is no making sense or rationalizing it. Oftentimes if we want true happiness, we have to be true to ourselves and act on our emotions.

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I chose the above picture because I believe that many people have good will, but are not always led in the proper direction by those who should have shown them the ‘way’. I believe that we are all human and oftentimes do make mistakes- but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have good will within us, which is the most important thing.

 

Who I Am

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My name is Cecilia Natkaniec. I am the daughter or Peter and Joanna, and I a first generation American with a strong family background in Poland. I live in Worcester, but I’m originally from the New York area. I am a nursing student, and hope to find a fulfilling career in helping people and meeting the needs of the population seeking health care. These are all facts about me, things people know about me. All of these facts answer what I am- not really who I am. I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about who I am, and why I’m here, and what the purpose of everything is. Sometimes it sounds depressing, as if I was depressed in asking these questions- “What is the point?”, “Why am I here?”, and “What is my purpose?”- the irony is that I have no depressed feelings when asking myself these things, I just really want to know!

I think qualities are a great way to describe who I am. I would like to consider myself a hard working individual, a type A personality, a ‘go-getter’(however, what other people think of me, I am not so sure).  I value a strong connection with friends and family. I pride myself on being trustworthy, honest, and loyal. I think it’s important to be a reliable individual, and be there for someone when they need you. I consider myself very positive and ‘happy’.

good qualities: positive, happy, giving, caring, loving, on-time, dedicated, loyal

bad qualities: ‘always in a rush’, easily stressed out, worrisome, perhaps a little too concerned with appearances, read too much into things, and I appreciate materialistic things a more than I care to admit

I think sometimes qualities can be good and bad. For example- I’m always concerned about other people. This has to be a good thing right, caring for other people? But what if I am so concerned about other people, that I can’t attend to my own life and my own problems- food for thought, I guess.

My immediate goals are to finish college with a Bachelors Degree in the Science of Nursing, and to be employed as a nurse within the next year. My goals in life are to have a family of my own and take care of the family I have now- my parents, grandparents, cousins, etc. Happiness, to flourish and have maintain a state of well-being is very important to me. The best way I can describe true happiness is “a heart warming feeling”. A pair of shoes, a new iPhone, nor an ice cream cone, can make my heart feel warm. Success, becoming a nurse, and knowing I had finished four years of college without getting eaten alive- that’s going to make me feel accomplished, and that’s heart warming. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and other milestones with your family- that’s heart warming. Getting married and having a family with the person you love- that is probably going to be the most indescribable feeling in the world. Those things are the only way I can describe ‘happiness’.

“Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” – Ayn Rand

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The picture directly above shows a very sincere act of kindness, which is a virtue that I think is very important, a virtue that I hope I have. To me, kindness is sharing your happiness with others.

The quote by John Lennon was a fantastic summation of Aristotle’s views on life.