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Re: Do we need to justify our existence?

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Posted by Anitah on Thursday, December 19, 2002 at 07:25:42 :

In Reply to: Re: Do we need to justify our existence? posted by Anitah on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 at 22:27:23 :

Morally I agree, neither is justified to resort to killing "innocent" people, but I don't believe in moralizing. I feel it impinges on our ability to see reality for what it is.

Getting back to your original question -- "do we need to justify our existence?" I think we need to justify our actions. Life will test our justifications, and in the end, we will either stand or fall against the truth on every side.

It is therefore important that we try to understand all sides in order to make the correct determination of what is or is not justified.

Geronimo may not have acted morally, but he was justified. Terrorist acts are immoral, because they kill innocent people, but they are justified. Good drama helps us see beyond our own moral judgements to gain a more intimate understanding of human justifications in all its complex dimensions.

: Justification was something my mentor, Stella Adler, would talk about a lot. "You must justify your character" she would say repeatedly to each actor attempting to play a villain or anti-hero. Most amateur actors will play up the villainy of the character, she insisted that was the wrong approach. You have to play against the stereotype. That's why I consider politics amateur drama, because it plays on stereotypes.

: All villains justify themselves, all villains are right in their own eyes, and everyone is the hero of their own story. Therefore it is senseless to portray a villain as a fiend or monstor. To create interesting, true-to-life drama, you have to play him as a human being with valid justifications. And finally, it is then up to the audience to decide whether his justification was right or wrong, true or false.

: Let's look for example at the story of the American Indian Chief, Geronimo. According the white people living in Arizona at the time, he was a villain, a terrorist, a mass killer. But according to Geronimo, he was absolutely justified in killing white people. Why? Because one day while he was out hunting the whites came in and massacred his whole tribe and family. All the women and children were murdered. From that point on he went on a killing rampage.

: Whose justification was the correct one? The whites, who claimed to be retaliating against a psychopathic mass killer, or Geronimo? Obviously the "play" aims to reveal that the white man was the villain of the story concerning the American Indian.

: As they say, "When the white man kills Indians he calls it a victory, when the Indian kills whites, it is a massacre." Likewise today, suicide bombers justify themselves as "freedom fighters," while the west calls them "terrorists."

: Each side tries to justify thmeselves, but only one side is justified.

: : I think I can safely say that our existence in the present times, within most of the people, is free of the old assumptions that it had been given to us by god and is therefor justified. It now depends what we consider to be true ... whether this existence we have is totally free, that we're thrown into existence without any justification and therefor don't need one, or that this existence, just because of it being so free, needs us to justify it.

: : Then ... how can someone justify his existence? Several things come to mind ... by creating, by giving something of worth to other people, by acting responsibly, by caring for other people and the common work humanity means etc.

: : What do you think about that? Does someone who doesn't justify his existence loose its meaning?

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