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The Murderer’s Math of 1+1= 0

This excerpt from page 84 of Robert Anton Wilson's Schroedinger's Cat: Book 1 explains the irrationality of revenge.

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March 27, 2013 - 2:00 pm

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All Comments   (10)
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The fact that some people may be personally offended does not change the reality that risk of retaliation is all that keeps most people in line.

To remove that is to remove law itself, we descend into anarchy, where the strong take, and the weak forgive.

It's not a liberal vs conservative or civilized vs barbarian thing- it is not even a Human thing- wolves also retaliate. It is a social thing. Even in the most progressive societies, there will be retaliation against those who do not pay their taxes, for example. No retaliation for wrongdoing, no society.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The author's premise holds only if you are willing to concede to his rationale. Some of us are not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not deterring people like Hitler is the barbarian ethos - and a suicide cult. Evil only fears force and it's own demise. It has no regard for karma.

Execute everyone who does an armed robbery and armed robbery would drop sharply. Risk-reward. Right now we're housing a couple of million criminals. To what end? So we can say we're not cruel - to cruel people? People make their own case for walking this Earth - or not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It must be frustrating for you, being perfect and all, to have to tolerate people who make mistakes. Many people, especially when they are young, end up hanging out with the wrong people and making stupid choices. Apparently you never went through that phase- good for you. Although maybe if you had you wouldn't advocate killing all criminals.

Who decides who is "making their case for walking this Earth"? You? To you maybe having a good job and a nice house in the burbs is "making your case." Maybe there is more to it. Maybe not being selfish and self righteous is part of it too.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cutting classes because one day you'll be a pro basketball player so you don't need all that math... stupid choice. Not taking your job interview seriously because you are certain you'll have a better offer any day now is a stupid choice. Day-glo sneakers at a funeral, stupid choice.
Armed Robbery.... naah, just not the same thing.
As for "who makes the case"? Society. When it declares armed robbery to be a crime.
It is not selfish to wish that people can live in a world without criminals.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And you don't think that some people read themselves right out of humanity? You don't think that we're doing the world a favor by removing those people. The Spartans had a solution. "To be cast out from all protection of law and custom, to be declared among the enemies-general of humankind, to be dealt with as wolves are."

They had a point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately, the author (or possibly his mouthpiece character) entirely misses the point of why vengeance part of pretty much every human culture throughout history.

The idea is not that one death nullifies another, it is that a horrific, painful vengeance acts as a deterrent to someone with a grievance (real or imagined) from taking things too far. A Frank who knows that the local Roman detachment is likely to burn his village to the ground and crucify his family in retaliation is less likely to rob and kill a drunk legionnaire.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah but revenge based systems always get taken too far and people live in terror that they'll do the wrong thing or someone will say they did the wrong thing and they end up on the receiving end of the vengence. And you seem to cite the Romans and Franks example as a system that works- I think we'vemoved beyond slaughtering innocent people for the sins of another as a deterrent. If you like that system, I'm sure they'd put you up in North Korea. There is a reason why most of the civilized world has a law system that takes vengeance out of the equation for the most part.And you say "vengeace has been a part of every human culture.." Yeah and it has been considered a sin in Christianity for 2000 years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you for proving the point by describing the barbarian ethos.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You do realize the same ethos holds between nations? Indeed it's the only thing that permits civilization to exist. Nations remain at peace with each other only because they fear retaliation should they go to war.

This particularly holds with the various paces which have held over the centuries. The Pax Romana, the Pax Britannia, the current Pax Americana only hold because nations which might break the pax fear our vengeance should they do so.

This fear of breaking the Pax Americana is fading, as our vengeance has become less and less terrible, and the world is becoming a more dangerous place thereby.

Moreover, vengeance, as applied by law, remains the cornerstone of all western jurisprudence at core.

We've simply made it the province of the State rather than the individual.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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