Deep Thought Thursdays: Right and wrong in the Hunger Games.Watch
I worry that the topic may have been unfamiliar to a lot of you due to Ursula Minor's publications not reaching you, so have decided to go with something I expect a few more of you to have heard of.
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is a fantastic description of one of many possible futures, dependent on probability of course. The Capitol make the Districts remember the consequences of previous rebellion by selecting two children from each district and having them fight to the death.
It brings to mind the old argument of right and wrong based on the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, saying that things are only right and wrong in relation to the time.
Given that explanation, how would Katniss justify leading a rebellion? The Capitol are representing the Zeitgeist, what makes her right compared to the Capitol? Clearly she thinks she is right, as do those in the Capitol, but as we know that doesn't always reflect upon what is the truth.
Do right and wrong exist? How do we tell?
When you look at the Hunger Games, there are actually 4 contradictory positions on how the games themselves are perceived:
As a punishment and control mechanism (the Capitol rulers)
As entertainment (the Capitol residents)
As competition (Districts 1 and 2)
As cruel and barbaric (Districts 3 through 12).
The four perspectives make moral judgements on the games, but they're all incompatible with one another. I just think we as humans can't accept that these four positions could all be individually right themselves based on the way of looking at it of the people involved. There must be a right and a wrong in this situation.
And the fact that it's cut and dry to us as readers in this situation and not so much in general real life situations doesn't make it not comparable, the truth can still exist even if we don't know it, and it's impossible for us to know it. And is the situation really so cut and dry in Panem? Three of the those four perspectives are pro Hunger Games, even if they are for very different reasons. Yet the conclusion we arrive at is that of the fourth perspective.
However, there are a few basic rules that seem to appear in all human societies and religions, and thus might be defined as "moral instincts". Things like laws against murder and theft. While there is disagreement about how to punish those things, no one disagrees that there should be a punishment.
I don't think this proves that there is an inherent morality in nature, though. Just that human beings have an instinct for morality. There is no God, and so all that matters is the pursuit of our own ideals.
The very way a person defines morality tells you what kind of society they want to live in, and what their ideals are.
I do believe that some societies and definitions of morality are incompatible with each other, and with certain goals, however.
Morality should be treated as absolute within a society or nation, but not between societies and nations.