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The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Morality And Law InThe Film Seven

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
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Post by NameRemoved » January 21st, 2010, 10:12 am

Izzy-I agree. I believe it was an unfair test since it was rigged. It would have been a different analysis had his wife died, a similar extremely heinous death, at the hands of another in accident, like a car wreck, and the Pitt character took the same action
That was the word I was looking for Juice it was an UNFAIR test that was RIGGED from the start. I agree Juice it would have been different had it been an accident or had DOE himself showed remorse. Or had Pitt taken him out of custody to shoot him, that would show premeditation.

Keith Russell wrote:
On Tusdays, Thursdays, and every other Friday I believe in "free will". On all other days, I'm far wiser. "Free will" is another of our "comfortable fictions", a way to live with something we'd rather not face.
and there lies the truth of it..HP John DOE had his brand of special freewill and choices, he evolved into thinking he was GOD and could ordain to take and give life. He sought in life only what he ENJOYS and the price of his enjoyment and freewill was paid by those he murdered and those left to clean his brand of freewill and his idea of wisdom up..he evangelised all the way in the car journey that his morality was right

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Post by DeathByThought » February 8th, 2010, 8:22 pm

I think it's wrong to say the test was rigged. As smart as John Doe was, he couldn't have known how Pitt's character would have acted in the given situation for sure. I don't exactly know what is the definition of free will and are two options enough to have free will but Pitt's character had the choice of not doing what he did.

It sounds very satanistic to say that the human thing in the given situation was for Pitt's character to kill John Doe and not to spare his life and "turn the other cheek". When we speak in terms of today's world (I'm just probably speaking in the position of where I'm from and what is my limited knowledge of the world and my sitting position in front of my PC) and it's justice systems, culture and well known cases of kindness, symapthy and empathy - the noblest and goodest ideals that have been created and thought of (and I'm not saying this all couldn't have been already thousands of years ago), I don't think it's very human to kill another anything.

Didn't John Doe fail at his mission already just by killing two innocent bystanders just to complete his mission and prove his point? And Pitt's character probably didn't die or wasn't killed but Doe's mission was to punish people by death not to just make them guilty of their sins?

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Post by NameRemoved » February 9th, 2010, 1:42 am

It sounds very satanistic to say that the human thing in the given situation was for Pitt's character to kill John Doe and not to spare his life and "turn the other cheek".
I don`t know who said it was the human thing to do, even so calling their thoughts satanistic is a bit strong don`t you think? I personally thought that Pitts character was driven over the edge and had a moment of temporary insanity..ie he lost the plot..he shot enough times at the end. he was driven away staring into space..and if you watch the car journey Doe planned for his execution..he rigged it all.

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Post by DeathByThought » February 9th, 2010, 4:39 am

Quote (Homicidal Pacifist):
You said, "...the audience will accept John Doe's killing without hesitation; we KNOW--even if Brad Pitt may not--that he deserves to die."

This audience member does not accept that the murder of John Doe (in the sense that I don't believe it to be the right choice in real life - in the film I squeal with ecstacy).


Quote (Keith Russell):
It isn't about what's right in "real life" (and, the fact that you wrote the above, makes me wonder if you even "get" films such as "Se7en"...)

The point is not what is right, but what is human. Given the situation--that he loves his wife, that his wife was very likely murdered (he hasn't looked in the box, and therefore doesn't KNOW his wife's fate) and by this person who has already murdered several other people--Brad Pitt's character WILL NOT DO what is "right". He will do that very human thing--MURDER--and ironically, he'll do it out of love for what is right: innocent people and the woman he loves.


Seems that Keith said it. And I don't think it's a strong word to use in the sense that satanists believe it is normal and human to destroy the person who has done you wrong and harmed you a great deal. But what I'm saying in general is that even though Pitt's character may have had a moment of temporary insanity and he may be forgiven because of the circumstances, it is still not human to kill another person for whatever reason. And though Doe rigged it all, Pitt's character still had a choice. It's alike when you do everything in you power to piss someone off (and excellent comparison - pissing someone off and having your wife with her unborn child decapitated) by doings things which would probably piss them off, then that doesn't mean that one has to become pissed off. One still has a choice to do sth else or walk away and just because your softspots are pushed, doesn't mean that you can't do otherwise.

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Post by Homicidal Pacifist » February 9th, 2010, 10:51 am

Right on, DeathByThought. P.S. - I dig your name.

I would say, however, that it is perhaps "human" to kill. It is also perhaps "human" to refuse to kill. The issue for me is not what is human, but what is HUMANE.


Revisited -

Keith said, "Brad Pitt's character WILL NOT DO what is "right". He will do that very human thing--MURDER--and ironically, he'll do it out of love for what is right: innocent people and the woman he loves."

He did it out of HATE, DISGUST, and SADNESS. What is right is not only justice for the innnocent and his loved ones. It is also 'the right kind of justice' for them as well as things like mercy, the preservation of an evil life so as to keep alive future opportunities for redemption and understanding; and patience, love, and a thoughtful mind and calmness of will even and especially in the hectic times of pressure induced fear, doubt, and concern.

The fact that Pitt DID kill him made me happy (in the fictional world only) because it showed the impact that sadness can make on our psyche and how weak we can become if we choose to be THAT affected.

Of course we are going to be affected, but there are strides we can make to counter-attack such depression and rage - at least to some positive degree.

Had Pitt chosen NOT TO KILL, I would have been pleased as well because it would have shown the impact that self-control can have. Imagine the strength of character that it would take to cry as he did but to power through the rage and discover undeserved mercy.

I was not proud of Pitt by the end of the film. But I would have been had he not been John Doe's willing puppet.

WRATH - oh, so tempting.
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world,
and that is an idea whose time has come."

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Keith Russell
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Re: .

Post by Keith Russell » February 10th, 2010, 7:02 am

Homicidal Pacifist wrote:It is also 'the right kind of justice' for them as well as things like mercy, the preservation of an evil life so as to keep alive future opportunities for redemption and understanding--
"The preservation of an evil life so as to keep alive" future opportunities to visit suffering and death on more victims.

No, thank you.

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Post by Homicidal Pacifist » February 10th, 2010, 1:26 pm

Keith -

More victims need not be an issue because we can imprison him.

I think it's a good idea to revisit incidences of suffering from time to time so as to not forget lessons learned from those experiences.

Additionally, if we keep him alive we can interview him both now and later to inquire as to why he did these things as well as gather other factors relevant to the case.

We can see if he develops remorse and gain a more conclusive insight into the mind of the killer in the hopes of understanding what creates a serial killer so that we can then aim at remembering those lessons when further developing our own societies - in our attitudes and approaches to child rearing and social interaction.

Awareness and prevention.
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world,
and that is an idea whose time has come."

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Re: .

Post by Keith Russell » February 11th, 2010, 12:56 am

Homicidal Pacifist wrote:Keith -

More victims need not be an issue because we can imprison him.
"We" can, but in the film, "we" weren't there. Only police officers, and Doe himself, were present. There were no news choppers, no "civilian" witnesses at all.

It's significant that those who were present at Doe's death were police officers; "we" (private citizens) cannot take the law into our own hands. But police officers can, and are often called on to do just that.
I think it's a good idea to revisit incidences of suffering from time to time so as to not forget lessons learned from those experiences.

Additionally, if we keep him alive we can interview him both now and later to inquire as to why he did these things as well as gather other factors relevant to the case.
Remeber, Se7en is a film, not an actual case. Nonetheless, I'm not convinced that "we" (whether citizens, police, or psychiatrists) actually "learn" all that much from interviewing sociopaths.

Further still, remember that I oppose the death penalty. I don't believe the state should have that much power. Yet, I think that--given the facts as they were described in the film--anyone in the situation that Pitt's character was in, would have killed Doe (and I believe the police would have covered up the murder, and Pitt's character would not even be brought up on charges. Further, even if someone did find out that the police had murdered Doe, I don't think anyone would have been able to mount any sympathy for Doe, enough to even conduct a rudimentary investigaion.)
We can see if he develops remorse and gain a more conclusive insight into the mind of the killer in the hopes of understanding what creates a serial killer so that we can then aim at remembering those lessons when further developing our own societies - in our attitudes and approaches to child rearing and social interaction.

Awareness and prevention.
I don't believe that sociopathy is the product of child-rearing and/or social interaction. Thus, I don't think there is anything that "we" can learn from sociopaths that will help "us" prevent future occurances of sociopathy.

There is a huge range of possible traits across the spectrum of humanity, and when you roll those dice, you will always get a few folks at both ends of the spectrum.

Always.

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Post by Isidorus » February 14th, 2010, 5:05 am

Ernest Hemingway didn't know Zen.

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