July 04, 2020, 10:21:26 AM

Author Topic: Is redemption possible?  (Read 142 times)

Offline Rostum

Is redemption possible?
« on: July 01, 2020, 11:03:45 AM »
Do any of us really improve? Do we learn? Do our views change? Does any of it matter?

In light of political upheavals in the real and the allegations made in the virtual do apologies matter more than group shaming in our new social media society? Do we live in the best of times or the worst of times? Are we dicing with our mental health and a Pavlovian serotonin habit that we can't kick that leads to a herd mentality rather than the urge to speak out? Is anyone using this?

If only I could express myself. Is redemption possible?

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2020, 11:48:26 AM »
I have to believe this is possible, I couldn't live otherwise.
But I also believe that there will always be "irredemable" people, those that simply don't want to change and/or feel that changing a previously held idea is against their identity, as if changing is the same as dying.

Interestingly, I was thinking about this indirectly yesterday, remembering that back in February/March I was still very complacent about Covid-19 and thinking people might have been exaggerating somehow. Of course I then changed when I realised/learnt/read about the health impact and consequences on so many people, more than the "illness similar to flu" that I believed.

Some issues are also all about the shades of grey, instead of the stark black and white of the extremes* and most of the time internet discussions are all about the extremes.
I can think of a couple of subjects that I haven't discussed with anyone because I kind of see both sides, so would be attacked by both.

But I also think that changing someone's mind on twitter is 99.9% impossible.
It's hard enough on a forum or through an article, where people can express themselves at length and explain their arguments... The best way will always be a face to face, one-on-one, discussion, or on a visual medium where we can see the body language.

It's a very difficult subject.

* please, not refering to race here...
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 11:52:24 AM by ScarletBea »
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Offline NedMarcus

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2020, 02:17:35 PM »
I believe that redemption is possible.

We've always lived in the best of times and the worst of times, in my opinion. Although humans seem tilted towards seeing the negative rather than the positive, which is understandable, after all, in life, the truly negative is death, and death is quite bad.

Despite everything that's happening today, there's good too. One example is that maternal mortality is dropping internationally.


And I think that is really big. Another is that absolute poverty is declining around the world—even if relative poverty (which is also really important) seems to be increasing.

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2020, 02:24:02 PM »
I can think of a couple of subjects that I haven't discussed with anyone because I kind of see both sides, so would be attacked by both.

I'm often in a similar position. These are the types of discussions I usually have offline, and even then they can be difficult.

But I also think that changing someone's mind on twitter is 99.9% impossible.


Offline Skip

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 05:38:33 PM »
>Do any of us really improve?
Yes. Of course. Demonstrably we can find at least one person in all of human experience who has improved. This is probably not what you are really asking.

>Do we learn? Do our views change?
Same as above.

>Does any of it matter?
Ah. Therein lies the rub. It surely matters for the individual, and probably for those in contact with that individual. Where that individual has much influence, it probably matters quite a bit. Think of someone like St Francis of Assisi, for example.

>Is redemption possible?
Now, that sounds like a good theme for a fantasy novel. <g>

But these questions are posed at the level of the individual, and I suspect the OP is as much about Society writ large as about the individual.

I'm a historian and I'm old, which means I've had the opportunity to look at quite a few people and societies. That alone doesn't make my opinion any more valid; I offer it as context.

It looks to me like there has always been a percentage of humanity that I would put into Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables". It was a stupid thing to say politically, but she's quite right. This basket includes people who are ignorant (wilfully or not), stupid, or deeply racist/sexist/tribal. It also includes psychopaths and sociopaths. While education and social reform can address a percentage, there's a percentage that will remain unchanged, and every new generation creates a new batch of deplorables. At the same time, every new generation creates a new batch of saints, courageous leaders, and inspiring artists. Let's call them the basket of admirables. And then there's the rest of us: the basket of muddles.

I don't see any evidence that the proportions change much over the centuries, except on two points. One, technological change seems to have made it easier for small groups of people to do greater harm than they could, say, a thousand years ago; yet, it doesn't appear a small group of people can do greater good. Odd.

Two, social reform really does seem to produce significant change, and perhaps here lies your societal redemption. For example, slavery was absolutely the norm in the West until Christianity arrived. The shift didn't happen *because* of Christianity (it was under way in Rome prior to the Christianization of the Empire in the 4thc), but Christianity reaffirmed and gave a moral and theological framework to it that had not existed before. All through the Middle Ages, owning slaves who were Christian was mostly forbidden (there are always exceptions). This got dislocated in the 17thc and after, but I regard that as an aberration. When abolitionist movements gained the upper hand, the arguments were again couched in moralistic and religious terms.

There are other examples, such as the end of serfdom, fair treatment of children, political and economic rights for women, and so on. I also see a general suppression of tribalism as a great good.

So, one can take comfort and hope in these larger changes, or one can despair at chronic warfare and hate crimes. One can be cheered by a Mr Rogers or your philanthropist of choice, or one can be depressed by the loud-mouthed bigot down at the local pub. Especially when we elect one.

I did try to change the world once, but all my friends got arrested and we didn't really know what the hell we were doing anyway. Now, I just watch the passing parade and try to write good stories.

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Offline Bender

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 05:59:05 PM »
It depends. Opinions and views are subject to change. I can't think of anyone who hasn't changed their view or opinion ever over their lifetime. So say if a person has a racist or sexist views, I can imagine he can change them.

Crimes like paedophilia for example, are not redeemable.   
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2020, 01:04:51 AM »
I believe redemption isn't just possible, it's essential. Anyone who screws up can apologise and work hard to do better in the future. It is important to all of us that this avenue is open, because we are all human, and we will all screw up. That doesn't mean anyone who gets hurt is obliged to accept an apology or interact with the person who hurt them.

Redemption is not just the apology. Redemption is the genuine effort to understand, make amends, and improve.

Offline Nora

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Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2020, 03:13:03 AM »
Not engaging with the nitty gritty here, just my own general platitude :

We have to believe in redemption.

We must, because otherwise there is no hope for us, no hope for our loved ones, and no sense to our religions, and all of our stories since time immemorial become wishful thinking.

The act of undergoing a redemption (arc) is the act of bettering onself, learning from our mistakes, changing. It's hard but it happens. We can see it everywhere around us, and it's so full of hope for ourselves and others, that it's a favourite trope in storytelling in all its forms.

To be perfectly grim and dramatic, I think, if you don't believe in redemption, then after commiting something really bad, I guess you'd have nothing left to do but to kill yourself, right? If you can never make right, never truly change, what hope is there left for you? The reason we don't, and push forward, and reach out to learn more, or get help, or turn to faith, is because we have that glimmer of hope, or the assured knowledge, that redemption can be achieved.

But then I may as well ask you : redemption in the eyes of who, precisely? Because in the eyes of some groups I'm a perfectly normal and worthy being, and in the eyes of others I'm a filthy, sin plagued villain, ready to be doomed for being unapologetic to boot. So yeah... it's a wide topic. But I don't see how we can doubt redemption exist at all.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 03:20:21 AM by Nora »
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Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2020, 04:15:19 AM »
Improvement, sure. Changes in goals/ worldviews over time, sure. Redemption? Well I guess it'll depend on the moral perspective you're seeing from, I reckon. I've always been pretty morally grey, so I couldn't comment much on that. 

Offline Christopher C. Fuchs

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2020, 12:38:05 PM »
>Is redemption possible?
Now, that sounds like a good theme for a fantasy novel. <g>

Just so happens I explored this in one of my novels, titled The Depths of Redemption. A colonial knight who has wrestled with his past must confront it when faced with a conspiracy that lays it bare. Redemption can be a long road.
"Top 5 Novel of the Year" --Liviu Suciul, former co-editor of Fantasy Book Critic, review for my debut Lords of Deception (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3016003847).