July 08, 2020, 02:37:02 AM

Author Topic: Is redemption possible?  (Read 247 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?

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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.

https://data.unicef.org/topic/maternal-health/maternal-mortality/

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.

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

YES!

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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Online 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).

Offline Caith

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2020, 11:34:20 AM »
Two authors have been in the news recently, for things they have said, David Starkey and JK Rowling. Do they need to redeem themselves?

In Starkey's case, it would seem to be an undeniable yes, if he wishes to continue as a respected figure in his field. In Rowling's case, it seems less clear.  Ultimately, its up to themselves to decide if they wish to be redeemed and up to their opponents if they wish to accept their redemption.

Therein lies the difficulty, how do you judge you have been redeemed? Whats the pass mark? Redemption favours the one on one. The Twittersphere will never wholly redeem anyone. The internet is changing our behaviour in ways we don't even understand yet. It may be we need to redefine what redemption means.

Does it matter? Yes, very much so, particularly in our new world of social media. My fear is that once you have been branded with your scarlet letter in social media, it would appear to be well nigh impossible to erase it. Gossip, scandal, apology, forgiveness were the kind of mental tools we developed to allow us to live together in small communities. In an incredibly short space of time, we find ourselves in a global community without the right toolset to cope with it. When we find it difficult to cope with new situations, we tend to do what everyone else is doing, and follow the herd. And its easier to condemn than forgive. 

Going a bit left field for a minute, there's a reasonable argument to be made that the Industrial Revolution, began around 300 years ago, is still in progress and is picking up speed. We don't seem to be doing a great job of keeping up with the pace of change.

Offline Rostum

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2020, 02:47:25 PM »
Thank you all for giving your time and thoughts to this. I also believe that people change for good and bad and that we learn as we age and if redemption were not possible we wouldn't have regrets or strive to do better.

So without looking to ambush anyone's views why is redemption not possible on social media?

There no forgiveness in social media why is there an absolutism that costs people their jobs and livelihoods and why does a single tweet nullify everything of any value that someone ever did.? Why is this acceptable?


« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 03:44:05 PM by Rostum »

Online ScarletBea

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Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2020, 03:15:31 PM »
Mob mentality?
Because the error/mistake/issue was so visible?
Because in social media we only hear the voices of the extremes, not the others who have understood/forgiven/decided to let go and accepted the 'redemption'?

I don't know, really...

That's why I'm not on twitter, where everybody can contact perfect strangers to shout abuse. I read it, but I actively search for people and so read everything in a sort of sequence, and I'm able to not read if I don't feel like it.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 03:17:07 PM by ScarletBea »
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Offline Skip

Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2020, 05:02:23 PM »
Social media is pretty representative of humanity. I've seen plenty examples of kindness and patient support on social media. I've also seen cruelty and stupidity and prejudice. That's us.

I am uncomfortable with the term redemption, which has strong religious connotations and doesn't seem to fit the specifics mentioned in this thread.

Single tweets. So we're really talking about Twitter here? Sometimes it helps the conversation to be specific. After all, this forum is a form of social media. Reddit can get pretty vicious, and usenet could get brutal (not to mention BBS wars).

Single tweets. Just one tweet has that effect? I can see one tweet that triggers a cascade of reactions that leads to terrible consequences. There have been many examples of this.

As for it being acceptable, by whom is this behavior accepted? I don't know of anyone who thinks this is okay. When I hear the topic broached, it's always in terms of condemning it. Usually because the tweets involved represent a point of view the person finds objectionable.

But there are different kinds of reprehensible behavior on social media. One form is when an individual or group targets an individual. Another form is when an individual seeks to smear a group. Still another is an organized protest that effectively thwarts a company or some other organization. I'm sure other folks can come up with other examples. Everyone is free to accept or reject any or all such behaviors. Once you move beyond personal reaction to government regulation (or even regulation by the platform), things get pretty sticky.

Anyway, I think there's much more to this than "social media" is X or Y.
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Offline Nora

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Re: Is redemption possible?
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2020, 09:18:57 PM »
I am uncomfortable with the term redemption, which has strong religious connotations and doesn't seem to fit the specifics mentioned in this thread.

Precisely. The dictionary definition that comes up first is :

the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.
"God's plans for the redemption of his world"

Sin and evil are both heavily religious and it's part of why I don't like using this word for an IRL setting. Characters have redemption arcs. People learn and grow and mend their ways. Some do some don't and most never become the paragons of justice that we'd wish for.

But it's really worth it to ask who is the exterior factor. Redemption in the eyes of whom? Every community, every religion, has a different opinion on that, and we can't please all.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty