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Philosophy: Am I my brother's keeper?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by hornet, Nov 6, 2007.

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  1. The phrase comes from the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. God had just asked Cain where Abel was. Cain had just killed his brother. In an attempt to avoid responsibility for the act, he asked God, "Am I my brother's keeper?". Of course, in the message of the story is that he clearly was, but in today's busy, dog-eat-dog world, am I indeed STILL my brother's keeper?

    Running into a burning house to seek to save a trapped person? We hear about that every day, and it's a great thing! But what about stopping to remove an object from the road, in case someone hits it and is injured, or, if a rider, crashes?? Are we too busy, or do we just shrug and say "Am I my brother's keeper?" What about graciously suggesting to a fellow rider that he/she should think a bit more about protective gear, or refrain from pulling wheelies past the local school? Do we shrug our shoulders and move on, or do we feel some responsibility for the welfare of our fellow-man, and put that feeling into action?

    Your thoughts, on the topic, please :wink:.
  2. I suggest things but in the end of the day I believe in every persons inalienable right to make there own decisions (and mistakes).
  3. And there's oh so many threads that show exactly what happens when people try that. Really every one has their own concept of what's right and wrong. I mean running into a burning building to save someone seems like the right thing at first, but if that person happened to be an arsonist responsible for starting the fire in the first place well then I'd be inclined to leave them there.
  4. But jd, surely most of the squid threads (love the avatar, BTW) are just riders whinging to fellow riders about what they saw. I don't remember ONE of them stating that the complainant went up to the rider and politely suggested that a change in riding gear would be a good idea....

    If you don't deal with the issue directly, then it's not being a brother's keeper, even if the intention is good, surely?
  5. Hmm good point although the response from most riders even to a "polite suggestion" about their riding gear would probably be a polite (or not so polite) "f*&k off". So there's certainly an element of why bother trying to help people who don't want to be helped.
  6. aha, now we're cooking. But is the intention to assist with advice a fullfilment of the requirement to be a brother's keeper, even if the advice is not taken?
  7. Ahh but you're assuming that your advice is right, what happens if the advice you give actually caused harm?
  8. Well i think if there big and ugly enough then its there problem.As previously stated conversation goes.Hi mate dont you think that a jacket or something would be better if you come off.Responce,So you dont like my riding gear and i dont like your face so i think i might rearange it for you and take your jacket if you insist :wink:
  9. That's always possible, Z900, but does that possibility mean we shouldn't even try?

    {we're philosophising here, remember}
  10. Well I thought I'd test the theory Paul. This morning I came across this guy riding his harley, wearing nothing but a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers :shock:
    At the next set of lights, I nodded ... NO acknowledement :?
    I raised my helmet and suggested I was concerned for his well-being and thought it may be a good idea if he wore appropriate clothing.
    His reply was that perhaps I should be more concerned about my own well - being.
    Needles to say, he got his point across ...

  11. And this is why squids fall into the same category as an arsonist in a burning building. It's their choices/actions that put them in danger so why should anyone bother trying to help them?
    After all if you really wanted to keep everyone safe surely the best option would be to lock them all up in heavily reinforced concrete bunkers so nothing from the outside world could possibly harm them (and I think there's been more than a few people locked up themselves for that sort of thinking).
  12. So, broadening the argument from squids, what about the removing an object on the road, or stopping and flagging down other motorists if you perceive a dangerous situation, etc etc?

    by the way, VCM, love the Tour de France pic :wink:.
  13. Paul,
    We should absolutely look out for each other in situations like that. I care deeply for my fellow man up and to the point when they ignore my polite suggestion. Then I just get the hell out of the way.

    I do not like people who make 'suggestions' more than once. I heard you the first time! and no I dont want to sell/buy/come to your prayer meeeting. That really gives me the SH1TS.

  14. I do this all the time. I will pull over, do a u-turn, whatever, and go back to move the object off the road. I ensure, at all times, though, that I don't endanger myself too much. I will also flash and flag down motorists when I know there's danger ahead ie: an accident just over a hill.

    I once stopped to help a guy put out his burning engine. Grabbed my extinguisher and went to work on it. Didn't put it out, though, so I stopped the traffic, that was blithely driving slowly past the "broken down" car, in case it went up. I stayed until the Firies got there.

    I'll also flag down cars in front of me if I see they have a flat. Scared the sh*t outta one guy at a set of lights, when I got out of my car and raced up to tell him. He wasn't aware of it and thanked me after he got over the shock! I even changed the tyre on one woman's car for her, after pulling her over to tell her. Turned out, she worked at my wife's school and she brought some home-made cookies into school for my wife to give me as thanks for helping her.

    I'm not a religious person, but I believe in helping my fellow man when I can. :grin:
  15. paul, there's a trick to it

    if you see something dangerous that could hurt anyone you fix it

    now, if the person is an arse you dont help them. YOU DONT HELP ARSES!!!

    if a person is decent you do everything you can for them.

    how can you tell the difference???

    well, if a person older than 30 is wearing shorts on their bike, then their an idiot, they never listened to anyone else, why are they going to listen to you?

    people are responsible for themselves, NOT YOU! but when you're in a position where you can do something FOR A PERSON WHO MAY OR MAY ENCOUNTER TROUBLE, WHO IS NOT ABLE TO AVOID IT THEMSELVES WITHIN REASON then you keep em

    i have a friend who took the whole 'keeper' thing too far and he would go to the point of insulting people.

    i said, if you knew a sandwitch was bad and the person who was eating it didnt listen when you told them, what you gunna do? you gunna rip it off them to save them getting sick?


    you dont do that! what if you were wrong, and you only thought the sandwich was bad but was convinced you knew it to be bad?

    its part of wisdom

  16. Hi Paul

    Who are we to judge whether a person should or should not be helped? Yes, they could be an arsonist or a squidder or even a murderer etc, but we don't know what plans the universe or the Big Fella might have for them. By letting someone know that you are concerned for their welfare is an act of kindness IF done the right way. No-one likes a holier-than-thou and no-one likes someone pushy.

    Also, it is a sign of our strength as human beings as to whether we put ourselves at risk to save the life of another (using an extreme example) regardless of what they may or may not have done. Who knows, your actions of saving that person from the burning building might steer the arsonist onto a path of helping others? Or not... you don't know if you don't try.

    My thoughts only. :)

  17. So, the philosophical question is, are we our brother's keeper, without reference to the possible outcomes of our actions/words?? and without reference to the brother's worthiness to be kept?
  18. as far as i'm concerned, there's only one reason to get up every day and that's to be good, do good, help others. i don't care what kind of a goody-two-shoes that makes me sound like, there is no other point to life that i can make out.

    HOW we 'help others' is clearly a matter of some discussion. do i give an alcoholic beggar in the street money to buy his/her next drink? i would call that enabling, not helping. in something undebatable however, like moving a dangerous object from the road, then of course you try to remove it. and i actually think most people do. on the whole i think people tend towards a reasonbly high level of responsibility so long as they're not under too much pressure or stress themselves. those who manage to support others even when they're going through their own difficult circustances are a far rarer breed and i certainly don't live up to this ideal myself in most cases.
  19. Jesus said in approximate words How can you remove the splinter from your neighbours eye when you have a plank in your own eye?
    Remove the plank from your own eye first.
  20. Well said.
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