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Old 2012-03-02, 13:49   Link #1
relentlessflame
 
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Death Note - General Franchise Discussion

Now that the sub-forum is retired, this thread is for any lingering general discussion of any aspect of the Death Note franchise, whether anime, manga, light novel, or other relevant news and information.
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Old 2012-03-30, 22:52   Link #2
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Exclamation Death Note Philosophy

Death Note thread is retired, as you surely know, but i just recently finished watching it and basically read almost anything that got posted in the DN thread, and there found a topic that picked up my interest, which was http://forums.animesuki.com/showthre...723#post724723 . I read kinda everything, but i wasn't really satisfied of users's answers: i actually felt like they were skipping something about this anime and its contents, so i wanted to bring up this matter again, but widening the discussion to a more philosophical level(and that's why i'm posting in here):

The matter i'm going to discuss is quite serious and delicate, and it's easily misunderstandable, so try to pay the maximum attention to the points i'm trying to make, because i have no bad intentions:

Before introducing you to my reasoning, i have to put some premises and hypotesis, so that i won't get misunderstood:

We are born, we don't know why, we don't know what we really are, and why we actually think. However, while we deal with these existence problems, we understand that we actually enjoy what's called happiness, and while we think about what/why/how we are, we seek happiness, eventually forgetting the main question. This is a thing one subconsciously does, and heavily influences our actions. Eventually the men come up with the concept of good and evil, and a good amount of people agrees with that concept, but what about those who don't? Are their opinions somehow inferior for who knows what reason? Then, are their opinions superior? Neither of those: they have the same weight. But then, who is right and who is wrong? Noone, simply because noone is in the posistion to state such thing. If it existed, only a superior being, often labeled as God, could say what is right and what is wrong, but so far noone showed up.

But then, what is good and what is evil? As stated before, we aren't in the position to say what is right and what not, therefore neither good nor evil exists: good and evil are only nouns that identify a set of behaviors, actions, traits, etc that are easy to use in the common language (With good you identify: altruism, charity, loyalty, sincerity or a set of actions considered good, such as helping others, not envying others, not stealing nor killing nor torturing etc. With evil you identify: egoism, greediness, lust, avarice or a set of actions considered bad/wrong, such as envying others, stealing, killing and so on. I just named the first that came in my mind, the lists could go on forever). My point is that with good and evil we can only identify a set of actions and behaviors or traits, but this doesn't imply whether those actions/behaviors/traits are right or wrong (where by "right" i mean something "that should be")

Now, as stated before, we seek happiness, but if i put it this way, you surely won't get the message, so i'll make an example:

Before being born i don't think, i'm not doing anything, i simply am not(or maybe i am, but i'm not conscious of it). When i'm born i wonder what is it, why i am here, who i am, but since i can't answers those questions for the moment, i start moving onwards and see what this world is about: i come to understand that i enjoy "happiness" (Put between "" because the concept of happiness is different from person to person, even tho there are some COMMON TRAITS), and since i'm here, i do my best to achieve it. I eventually grow up, get used to the society's stereotypes, get used to society's fashion, go to school, university, get a job, make a family and die happy. That is what people would define a "normal" life and a good goal of life(Even tho, in this case aswell, the concept of normal only identifies a set of behaviors and actions that are shared by a good percentage of people, but this doesn't mean that this is the right or wrong way of living a life). So, since i'm not able to answer the questions about myself at the moment, i put happiness as my main goal, and eventually forget about them.

I don't want to be misunderstood when i say "we seek happiness", because it may sound selfish; the thing is, it is selfish. You say that you would sacrifice everything for someone's happiness, therefore trying to tell me that it isn't true you seek your own happiness? The truth is that that person's happiness is your happiness, and what you are doing is according to your own goals of being happy. It surely sounds harsh put this way, but this is because everyone sees the word "selfish" under a very bad light, and tries in any way to deny it. I'm sure many of you won't agree with this, but i can easily understand why. I myself put a huge effort to admit it, and it wasn't easy, but after some reasoning i came to that conclusion. There is a person i would sacrifice everything for, but i understood that that person's happiness makes me happy, and eventually doing so would directly or indirectly lead to my happiness anyways. Once again, i put it in a quite harsh way, but there is no offense intended. Just trying to move a step towards the comprehension of ourselves, so i'm asking you to be a bit more open minded than usual.

Now, if it was this simple, and people didn't interfere with others' happiness, everything would be fine: people wouldn't steal/kill/rape etc in the first place, therefore not disturbing others' happiness, we wouldn't have the need of police, of laws, of a kind of government, or the need of locking our own house's door. Such thing exists only in our fantasy, and is commonly labeled as utopia.

Since that kind of happiness is very far from reality, the only thing we can do is to minimize this problem, by applying come corrections, that come in the ways of laws, by making a corpus that is able of administrate a society (democracy, monarchy, ....), by creating a corpus called police to prevent or stop the "bad" people (Once again, i'm using the term "bad" or "evil" just for ease of speech, identifying, with it, a set of actions and characteristics) that will eventually get arrested for their "evil" deeds etc etc.

However, i think all these things are wrong (i don't want to get misunderstood, so i'll explain myself): laws obviously go against a man's freedom, but it's the least "evil", since it prevents many other potential "bad" things. Democracy or any kind of government itself is wrong, for many reasons that i won't list here (i do not want to start some politic flamewar), but it's considered (by some) the least "evil", since it prevents many "bad" things; arresting someone is wrong, because you are in no position of destroying someone's freedom, but it is the least "evil" since, by doing so, you prevent a lot more of evil.

All these things are corrections; i would define them as an approximation of "good" (this time, by good i mean anything that allows the maximum amount of happiness for everyone, considering all the "bad" things there are at this world; this doesn't imply that everyone is getting the same amount of happiness, or that everyone is going to be happy, but just that this set of measures and corrections is intended to provide the maximum obtainable "good". Yes, we could do better than this, and that is why i said an "approximation" of good.). If this isn't enough clear, i'll make another example that should be easier to comprehend:
- Let's say i wanted to exactly determine the distance between earth and the moon, from where i am at the moment, to the center of the moon: by doing some calculation i come up with a result: is that result correct? Hell no, but since it is impossible to exactly make ANY determination without making some error, i'm happy with a good approximation of that distance.


After these premises, i'll get to the point:
- Light of Death Note wanted to clean the world from evil, by killing any criminal with the note. Countless debates went on for long, with the main subject being "Is light right or wrong? Is he some mad dude with a god complex or a good person? Is he morally right or wrong?" and everyone just kept answering "right" or "wrong", justifying their points.

However, i felt all the way like they weren't putting much effort in deeply thinking about it. What is the real answer? Is Light wrong or right? Both:
What Light is doing is (morally) "wrong", because he's in no position to judge, and hasn't any right to put an end to someone's freedom or life just because he thinks it's the right thing; on the other side, what he's doing could be considered a good approximation of good, since he's minimizing the overall evil, taking the burden of becoming himself evil. This is how i tend to see it. I'm not saying that Light is right (I am against any kind of penalty involving death, and stated before that we are in no position of judging others), but that he's the least evil, let's even say the best compromise, since he's favoring the COMMON TRAITS of our happiness (Meaning that he's making everyone happy, no matter what concept of happiness we have). Let's say he's eliminating what could constitute an obstacle to our happiness, even tho what he's doing is wrong. Once again, don't get me wrong: i'm not saying that what Light is doing is right.

I'm naturally referring to Light's initial intentions of cleaning the world. We all know he later became corrupt and started killing anyone getting in his way, even if they were innocent. I'm talking about Light's initial goal.

Now, i wanted to hear again your opinions about this subject, hoping this time you'll think a bit more about it.

IMPORTANT:
My intention isn't that of causing a flamewar, neither of igniting your spirits; i would like you to reflect some more before replying, and to try to comprehend my points. I'm aware that not everyone will agree to this, but that's the reason why i made this topic: i wanted to share my thoughts with you and learn your points of views on the matter, eventually confrontating our points and ideas. As i tried to say many times, i didn't make this topic with the intention of offending anyone, so if something about what i said bothers you, let me know about it, because it may just be a misunderstanding(since the matter is quite delicate and things easily equivocable): i am very willing to further explain my views, in the case i hadn't been enough clear. I hope we can build up a constructive conversation without deviating in some raging battle.

Last edited by Classified Info; 2012-03-31 at 08:27.
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Old 2012-03-31, 04:08   Link #3
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Originally Posted by Classified Info View Post
But then, what is good and what is evil? As stated before, we aren't in the position to say what is right and what not, therefore neither good nor evil exists: good and evil are only nouns that identify a set of behaviors, actions, traits, etc that are easy to use in the common language (With good you identify: altruism, charity, loyalty, sincerity or a set of actions considered good, such as helping others, not envying others, not stealing nor killing nor torturing etc. With evil you identify: egoism, greediness, lust, avarice or a set of actions considered bad/wrong, such as envying others, stealing, killing and so on. I just named the first that came in my mind, the lists could go on forever). My point is that with good and evil we can only identify a set of actions and behaviors or traits, but this doesn't imply whether those actions/behaviors/traits are right or wrong (where by "right" i mean something "that should be")
...You want to know what is really ironic?

Despite the notion that good and evil supposedly do not exist because it is essentially a matter of perception, the words you associated with good and the words you associated with evil have such a connotative meaning behind them that nothing could be segregated anyway. If good and evil are just labels to the words, then how are the words seen as positive or negative if good and evil doesn't exist in the first place?
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Old 2012-03-31, 05:29   Link #4
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Eventually the men come up with the concept of good and evil, and a good amount of people agrees with that concept
I think that good and evil are just useful and easy concepts to use in order to make some actions and behaviors appear positive/negative, right/wrong, and as you said, i think it's a matter of perception:
Quote:
If good and evil are just labels to the words, then how are the words seen as positive or negative if good and evil doesn't exist in the first place?
Society has the "duty" of instructing people to what is good and what is evil, by using those concepts, and make people see some things under a positive light, and others under a negative light.

If the society didn't tell you that killing is evil, you probably would have grown up anyways with the idea that killing isn't the right thing to do, but someone else could have grown up with another idea of what is right and what is wrong (this is because people people often see "good" as "right" and "evil" as "wrong"). What i'm trying to point out is that the society, made by people like that person, isn't in the position to state something that objective, and that's why the concepts of "good" and "evil" just become labels to words. They are still seen by people as the right/wrong things to do, but only if you remain on the surface: if you analyze a bit deeply you'll eventually come to my conclusion.
TL;DR there is the probability that the concepts of good and evil we are given are fake, and this only leads to subjective views of them; subjective views => there is no objective concept of good and evil => you are in no position of saying what is good and what is evil => good and evil do not really exist until we are given an objective definition of them, and that definition can only be given by someone who is confirmed to be a superior being, often called God.

And while we wait this mister to come with the real definition of good and evil, we make up two concepts that fit those definitions the most, according to our ways of thinking. The problem is that not everyone thinks the same way, and even tho you manage to gather a large amount of people thinking the same way, there is still that small percentage that thinks in a different way that should be taken into account.

I hope i made myself more clear: i'm not denying that i agree with most of what society says of being right/wrong, but like everyone else, i think that not everything society says is wrong is actually wrong.


Anyways, once i woke up, i came up with a good example to further prove my point about Light being right/wrong, and it's even a classic example:
Let's say you were given the chance of getting back to the past, before Hitler killed 6M of people, and let's suppose that by killing Hitler the only change in the current world would be the salvation of those 6M people (I'm saying this in order to avoid speculations on the butterfly effect, such as: if i kill him, probably something worse will come, so better leave things as they are. Let's suppose nothing worse comes after). Let's say you were given the chance to kill him: would or wouldn't you kill him?
Since you are in no position of putting an end to someone's freedom or life, whoever they are, killing whatever human would be considered wrong(and i actually think it is wrong) and so you "shouldn't" kill him, even tho this would cause the death of 6M of people. On the other side, if you kill him you would become the evil, but at the same time you would have saved 6M of people from certain death: the question is, are you going to take the burden of having killed a person and have become the evil for the sake of millions of people, or do you prefer being in the "right" and leave things as they are? I think the choice Light operated was the first: he took the burden of becoming the evil in order to prevent the lives and happiness of people being in danger.

Even tho i would be deemed as evil, i would take the burden of killing one person for the sake of humanity, even tho this would mean i'm doing something wrong, and that i shouldn't expect the respect of anyone, but only disgust.
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Old 2012-03-31, 06:46   Link #5
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Light was right in the beginning if killing convicted criminals was his intention. It only went wrong when he included polices and law enforcers who were just doing their jobs. He was consumed by greed, power and fear, which corrupted him later on.

L was correct when he called Light a "kid" or someone "who called himself God or God's chosen one".
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Old 2012-03-31, 07:43   Link #6
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Classified, the flaw with your argument defending Light as a martyr(correct me if I'm wrong) for the greater good is Light himself. You can put that argument in his defense only upto the point when he was killing criminals who posed a danger to the life of others. The moment he decided to start killing FBI agents and anyone who got in his path to becoming the "GOD" of his new world, your argument fails. The reasoning you've given prior to your stating that Light decided to carry the burden of being evil for the greater good does not apply to him for almost the entire show. The rest of your reasoning is really, subject to each persons perception.
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Old 2012-03-31, 08:22   Link #7
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Ye, i forgot to mention an important thing: i am referring to Light's initial intentions. Later on he became corrupt and just started killing anyone getting in his way, which deviates from his initial goal. In the last episodes he even showed clear signs of madness and went totally crazy. It really looks like a man given a huge power will sooner or later become corrupt by it.

I am talking about the Light willing to clean the world of criminals, and not the Light killing anything that gets in his way. I didn't approve at all when he killed Rey Panber and his wife, and neither when he murdered all FBIs involved in the investigation on him. In the second half of the anime he was just getting more and more consumed by power. However, even tho he did what he did, you can't deny the "evil" that got prevented of happening because of him in those 7 years. Once again, i'm not saying that he was right, hell no, killing anyone for whatever reason is not up to us, but i think we should consider both weights of the evil and the good he did.

Thank you for notifying me of this, because it really could be misunderstood. I'll edit my first post.
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Old 2012-03-31, 08:33   Link #8
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^ Sure no problem. But even before the moment L made a mockery of him in front of the public, he went insane. Light's "good" intentions were only meant to last for two episodes. But even in that people will have different views like some would not approve of killing a criminal serving his sentence in jail, or killing only those who committed crimes such as murder or rape - for me these two are the most heinous of acts. Whereas Light made no such distinction. He was ready to kill even a petty thief, or a criminal serving his sentence which in my eyes hardly constitutes as an act of a martyr for the greater good.
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Old 2012-03-31, 09:11   Link #9
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Shouldn't this be in the Death Note forums?

Anyway...the whole point is, the right to kill someone isn't something that should be so easily obtained and flaunted with like you were doing it in a video game or watching a movie. Toying with life defiles the right for people to be able to live in a world/society with some form of conscience and law. Killing someone to achieve a supposed just end for a free world will not lead to such a world. And there are several reasons for that:

1. Using violence/hate to achieve such an end will only inflame victims/relatives of victims in the long run. Half the world is under such circumstances thanks to war, terrorism, etc. Hate begets hate. Reading about Montana senator Frankie Wilmer's experiences in the Yugoslavia war and the 9/11 aftermath, led her to this comment the day after:

Quote:
Only by the rule of law, only through a just response which punishes the individuals responsible, can we preserve what cannot be destroyed through violence, our commitment to democracy.
This is something that the modern world forgets too much. The reaction to a crisis is increasingly becoming to eliminate the enemy. That doesn't always work. To think that one part of the world is righteous and the rest isn't is arrogant, narrow-minded and assumes that there can be one person or one country to decide what is best for all. Not possible.

2. One person doesn't know what is best for all. The concept that Light or someone else in the world knows best for all 7 million plus people on the planet is absurd. Cultural, language, nature and nurture experience shape and define us very differently. Diversity is essential within society or things stagnate rather quickly. There is more than one valid opinion at times. The idea that one person is wise or justified enough to judge all people is utterly perverse and impossible. That is effectively the essence of tyranny right there.

3. People will NEVER 100% agree on anything. From the variance of life experiences, backgrounds and the like, people are very different within a collective. The idea of one opinion being applicable to all or one way of life being THE way is pure fantasy/delusional. The right to decide and to have an opinion within the laws and moral principles is one of the fundamental rights of a human being. Again, to take that away is tyrannical.

4. Fear doesn't effect a good solution in the long run. Fear leads to resentment, to hate, to a violent end in some casesm, or leading to someone else thinking they can do a better job than the person in charge and eliminate them (which is what happened within Light's followers in the final third). Using fear to rule will lead to those under the cloak of the tyrant to flaunt their position and live in immoral, unjust ways, which is what happened in the long run. Fear doesn't make peopel respect someone. It makes them wary and want them to fall. That's not an effective way to rule/serve justice. It's a pathetic, childish way.

5. Death should not be taken so lightly. Life may be all we have. There are no guarantess in life except that we were born and that one day we will die (and be taxed during it). Sure, they may be no afterlife or justice for what one does in life. But that doesn't mean one should simply do whatever they want. It may not have consequences when one is dead but it does for society/other people. If we lived in a world where the concept of consequence didn't exist, law and stability would be defunct and anarchy would prevail (which again, did prevail to an extent in the latter part of Death Note). One has the right to live. One should be held accountable for crimes. But there is no one set form of punishment/judgement for all. There is no one truly impartial person in this universe. There is no one way of life that everyone on this planet should follow. Circumstances, cultural influences and the like will play a major part in them. They may not be just in all cases. They certainly aren't and never will be. But to simply abandon the concept and principles of law and justice and cave into simple, child-like ways of thinking will only lead to ruin for society as a whole. There needs to be a system to hold society and its members accountable, but society has to be able to hold the system accountable as well.


In all, Death Note did traverse interesting territory in terms of morality. But in the end, the concept that killing to achieve a good end is impossible. Commiting injustice to invoke justice would defile the point of justice.
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Old 2012-03-31, 09:48   Link #10
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Shouldn't this be in the Death Note forums?
Quote:
Death Note thread is retired, as you surely know[...] i wasn't really satisfied of users's answers: i actually felt like they were skipping something about this anime and its contents, so i wanted to bring up this matter again, but widening the discussion to a more philosophical level(and that's why i'm posting in here)
Reading your post i can see we share some thoughts, but i don't think you are getting the same feeling; perhaps i didn't express myself enough clearly, and therefore i'll try to let you notice on what we agree:

Quote:
Anyway...the whole point is, the right to kill someone isn't something that should be so easily obtained and flaunted with like you were doing it in a video game or watching a movie. Toying with life defiles the right for people to be able to live in a world/society with some form of conscience and law. Killing someone to achieve a supposed just end for a free world will not lead to such a world
Quote:
What Light is doing is "wrong", because he's in no position to judge, and hasn't any right to put an end to someone's freedom or life just because he thinks it's the right thing
I wanted to strengthen this concept: killing someone is wrong, no matter what kind of ugly human he/she is. Even having killed Hitler is wrong.

Quote:
Only by the rule of law, only through a just response which punishes the individuals responsible, can we preserve what cannot be destroyed through violence, our commitment to democracy.
Quote:
if it was this simple, and people didn't interfere with others' happiness, everything would be fine: people wouldn't steal/kill/rape etc in the first place, therefore not disturbing others' happiness, we wouldn't have the need of police, of laws, of a kind of government, or the need of locking our own house's door. Such thing exists only in our fantasy, and is commonly labeled as utopia. [...] Since that kind of happiness is very far from reality, the only thing we can do is to minimize this problem, by applying come corrections, that come in the ways of laws [...] laws obviously go against a man's freedom, but it's the least "evil", since it prevents many other potential "bad" things
Quote:
One person doesn't know what is best for all. The concept that Light or someone else in the world knows best for all 7 million plus people on the planet is absurd. Cultural, language, nature and nurture experience shape and define us very differently. Diversity is essential within society or things stagnate rather quickly. There is more than one valid opinion at times. The idea that one person is wise or justified enough to judge all people is utterly perverse and impossible. That is effectively the essence of tyranny right there.
Quote:
I'm not saying that Light is right (I am against any kind of penalty involving death, and stated before that we are in no position of judging others), but that he's the least evil, let's even say the best compromise, since he's favoring the COMMON TRAITS of our happiness [...] Let's say he's eliminating what could constitute a common obstacle, shared by kinda everyone, to our happiness, even tho what he's doing is wrong
You are of course right by saying that one person from one country doesn't know what is best for 7M of people, but if you eliminate (for example) terrorism, isn't that a common gain for everyone? Maybe i'm over generalizing here, but i found that what Light wanted to do could constitute a general gain for everyone, no matter the country and the culture, even tho what he was doing was wrong.

Quote:
People will NEVER 100% agree on anything. From the variance of life experiences, backgrounds and the like, people are very different within a collective. The idea of one opinion being applicable to all or one way of life being THE way is pure fantasy/delusional. The right to decide and to have an opinion within the laws and moral principles is one of the fundamental rights of a human being. Again, to take that away is tyrannical.
I agree on this: i didn't approve when Light started killing anyone opposing him. That's really killing someone's freedom.

Quote:
Fear doesn't effect a good solution in the long run. Fear leads to resentment, to hate, to a violent end in some casesm, or leading to someone else thinking they can do a better job than the person in charge and eliminate them (which is what happened within Light's followers in the final third). Using fear to rule will lead to those under the cloak of the tyrant to flaunt their position and live in immoral, unjust ways, which is what happened in the long run. Fear doesn't make peopel respect someone. It makes them wary and want them to fall. That's not an effective way to rule/serve justice. It's a pathetic, childish way.
This is basically when Light became totally overwhelmed by power and engaged full madness mode. I didn't like much Light afterwards, and it just showed how a person with a huge power in hands is bound to become corrupt.

Quote:
If we lived in a world where the concept of consequence didn't exist, law and stability would be defunct and anarchy would prevail
I wanted to insist in this: anarchy is actually a quite utopic way of imagining life. It's just that today anarchy is seen under a bad light, but if everyone was "good", it would be the best condition: everyone would be free of laws, but that wouldn't be a problem, because people in the first place wouldn't do things that would require laws to forbid them. If noone did steal, kill, rape, mock, insult or psychologically/phisically exerted violence, there wouldn't be the need of laws. If everyone was able do administrate himself, controlling himself and not doing any "bad", and not having this hunger for power, money, lust and so on, we would live peacefully. Fantasy indeed. Not going to discuss further on this because i'm very aware that such thing is truly IMPOSSIBLE, and this time by impossible i'm not meaning a very small probability (You know, if you charged yourself against a wall, every second, for 3500000 years, you probably would be able at least once to pass through it. Since the probability of it happening is dramatically low, you say it's impossible), but a 0% probability. With this i just wanted to point out that anarchy shouldn't fall under this bad light. On the other side, i understand your use of this word, in this case.

Quote:
But there is no one set form of punishment/judgement for all. There is no one truly impartial person in this universe. There is no one way of life that everyone on this planet should follow.
Quote:
Eventually the men come up with the concept of good and evil, and a good amount of people agrees with that concept, but what about those who don't? Are their opinions somehow inferior for who knows what reason? Then, are their opinions superior? Neither of those: they have the same weight. But then, who is right and who is wrong? Noone, simply because noone is in the posistion to state such thing. If it existed, only a superior being, often labeled as God, could say what is right and what is wrong, but so far noone showed up.

But then, what is good and what is evil? As stated before, we aren't in the position to say what is right and what not

I just wanted to point out the thoughts i thought we shared. I have comprehended what you said, but i was just left with the impression that you didn't. If you did, then this post is meaningless

Last edited by Classified Info; 2012-03-31 at 10:01.
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Old 2012-03-31, 09:59   Link #11
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I have never liked Light or his ideal view of the world from the beginning. He was no better than the people he was killing. He didn't think twice about the people he was using. He was willing to get rid of anyone getting in his way perhaps even his family. He was just as bad as any dictators willing to abuse his power to fulfill his ideal.

Good and bad always have been subjective terms. There's absolutely no way to define it. The way I see it, good deeds have been done by the bad intention and vice versa. It really depends on the circumstance and the background of the involved person.
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Old 2012-03-31, 10:22   Link #12
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Originally Posted by Classified Info View Post
But then, who is right and who is wrong? Noone, simply because noone is in the posistion to state such thing. If it existed, only a superior being, often labeled as God, could say what is right and what is wrong, but so far noone showed up.
Well, with a premise like that, it's no wonder your next several paragraphs are what they are. I would say that the root of your argument is flawed right now, but it's not the only place. However, I won't touch that particular topic any further, because a religious debate never goes anywhere.

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Originally Posted by Classified Info View Post
(With good you identify: altruism, charity, loyalty, sincerity or a set of actions considered good, such as helping others, not envying others, not stealing nor killing nor torturing etc. With evil you identify: egoism, greediness, lust, avarice or a set of actions considered bad/wrong, such as envying others, stealing, killing and so on. I just named the first that came in my mind, the lists could go on forever). My point is that with good and evil we can only identify a set of actions and behaviors or traits, but this doesn't imply whether those actions/behaviors/traits are right or wrong (where by "right" i mean something "that should be")
Actually, it does. Good is good. Evil is trying to obtain good improperly or for the wrong reasons. Everyone deserves happiness, but only if they can get it without costing someone else happiness of their own. Buying an item is good, because both parties are happy. Stealing is bad, because one party is happy and the other is unhappy. This is also the same reason that a child dying is a tragedy (life, potential, and happiness stolen from them), while a sick old man dying is, in some ways, a relief (no longer has to deal with hurt - negative happiness if you like).

I agree with you that good is what makes people happy and bad is what makes them unhappy. That's a valid conclusion, and it's the correct conclusion. We call certain things good because they ARE good. We can argue all day about whether or not an action was justified, or whether it promoted the "greater good," but at the end of the day, altruism is good and selfishness is bad. Courage is good and cowardice is bad. Humility is good and arrogance is bad. No one ever questions those things because no one has to.

Could we go by a different system? Could we say both altruism and arrogance are good, while selfishness and courage are bad? Of course we could. But how would you justify it? How would you convince yourself it's anything other than random, and how would you cope with the fact that it goes against everything in your core?

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Originally Posted by Classified Info View Post
What is the real answer? Is Light wrong or right? Both:
What Light is doing is (morally) "wrong", because he's in no position to judge, and hasn't any right to put an end to someone's freedom or life just because he thinks it's the right thing; on the other side, what he's doing could be considered a good approximation of good, since he's minimizing the overall evil, taking the burden of becoming himself evil. This is how i tend to see it. I'm not saying that Light is right (I am against any kind of penalty involving death, and stated before that we are in no position of judging others), but that he's the least evil, let's even say the best compromise, since he's favoring the COMMON TRAITS of our happiness (Meaning that he's making everyone happy, no matter what concept of happiness we have). Let's say he's eliminating what could constitute an obstacle to our happiness, even tho what he's doing is wrong. Once again, don't get me wrong: i'm not saying that what Light is doing is right.
Light is simply acting as a one-man government here. He's improving society by eliminating things (people) that hurt society. The difference is that government is a system, and that system has checks and balances to limit or eliminate abuse of such power. In other words, if government is bad, Light is worse. The problem is, you can't take a utilitarian mindset about this, because then good and evil become completely irrelevant. Want to increase happiness in the world? Then eliminate everyone who is unhappy. Want to decrease hunger? Have the hungry people eat each other until the ones left alive aren't hungry anymore.

You can see how that just doesn't work.

The best we can say is that Light was ultimately doing good, but he was doing it in the wrong manner. However, as we've established, that makes his actions evil. Did people benefit from them? Of course. But people also suffered for them. Wrong with right intentions is still wrong.
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Old 2012-03-31, 10:27   Link #13
Xenio
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for me, if he only kill murderer that take other's life just for his own greed or fun is right. but kill police and FBI is wrong.
one thing that bother me is why light being treated as a criminal for killing criminals, yet soldier get honored for killing his enemy, and war itself is also legal organized mass murder that drive thousands to death and millions to despair.
another thing to mention that light also seem to created a peace world by killing politician that start war
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Old 2012-04-01, 13:09   Link #14
Classified Info
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By some of your posts i deduce that you consider laws or a system able to govern the society a positive thing, while you consider what Light is doing a wrong thing:

what i'm trying to point out is that both are wrong: even laws are a wrong things, but we are educated to see them as a necessary things, and in the conditions we are in, they actually are necessary. By seeing them necessary, we eventually tend to see them as positive, but they in fact aren't. In regard to this, i brought the example of an utopic view of the world, where everyone is able to control himself and is "good": there you wouldn't need laws, because there wouldn't be people doing things that would require laws to forbid them.

But the world is polluted with "evil" (remember my initial definition of good/evil), and so we need some countermeasures in order to reduce it to minimum, and those measures comes in the terms of: laws, a governative system, a police body and so on. They are all wrong, but they are the least evil, and we tend to see them as positive, but in reality they aren't since they limit our freedom (don't misunderstand here: in the conditions we are, they are necessary, but you can't say they are "right"). The fact is that man should be able to auto impose to his own self these rules, still having the freedom of doing everything. Since the man isn't able to do so, we need laws that try to prevent, stop and punish "evil".

Now, taking into account that such measures (Laws, governative systems, etc) aren't right, so isn't what Light is doing. The only difference is that we come to the point that we see the first as "right" and the second as "wrong", when they are both wrong. They both aim to the "greater good", but the second does it in a harsher way, and especially, in a way that doesn't hide the evil within. This said, if you go again through what i wrote, they could both be considered an approximation of good (remember the example of measuring the distance between moon and earth? The result of your measure will be wrong, but it's a good approximation of the right value). What i invited you to do was to try to see what Light was doing as an approximation of what is right, still being wrong within.

The issue of "killing criminals" is still wrong, but i guess it can't be helped: the anime was made in a way where the only real weapon was a note able to kill. Maybe if that note was able to indefinitely paralyze those so called criminals, we would have seen it under another light, but the only thing it can do is killing, and Light tried to extract the most "good" out of it, even tho, as you previously said, you cannot obtain good from evil deeds(here laws come again: they are an evil way to obtain good, even tho the evil is barely noticeable in them, taking into account how the society educates us.)
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Old 2012-04-01, 18:41   Link #15
Dop
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I thought the philosophy of Death Note was "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Light Yagami was a star pupil, and without the death note, would have gone to university, graduated with honours, followed his father into the police force and become one of Japan's most respected lawmen.
But the death note gave him absolute power over life and death, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The other philosophy of Death Note is "No man is above the law". Light puts himself above the law, appoints himself judge, jury, and executioner, and so the power of the law is sent to deal with him, and it's a servant of the law who eventually defeats him.

In many ways, Death Note is a very moral series.
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Old 2012-04-02, 15:58   Link #16
KiraIsJustice
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We need to get to the point about what we do know, and what we can't know for now : What actually is life ?

{???}-Non-Existence--[Birth]---->Life----[Death]---->Non-Existence---{???}


I have an abstract view of some sort of afterlife, but not as people used to define it. From a logic view, the fact that I once came out of nothing is a hint that it might work again so the ? would be again some sort of birth, but not in the classic idea of reincarnation, much more abstract.
This is only a thought of mine, feel free to believe in what you want. The main question about our existence is presented in my little drawing, and everyone has a different answer for "?", some say that there is no "?" and you just stay in Non-existence, but I kind of find that hard to believe, because well I already came out once out of non-existence why can't that work again. And if the goal of every life would be to be for ever dead, then there would be no life at all.

Just my opinion, feel free to answer.

It seems that there are 3 main issues in society about afterlife:

1. You go to heaven/hell and there's some huge explanation for why no one knew **** about religion.

2. You die. That's it, you can't think anymore. You can't feel. You're dead, you're gone.

3. Or this, 2 happens, and you die and wait. So time goes by like immediately since you're dead, and you wake up either born as someone else, or something else. The explanation for this would be some sort of atomic crap like your atoms finally eventually being put back in the spots they were in. Either that or something to do with mysterious quantum physics.


I think idea number 3 seems to be more logical. A life doesn't last for ever but life itself does. So your life will may end someday but your individual existence will somehow form itself new in far future (you won't recognize the time, since your dead/non-existent), like it did to form the existence you are living in now, of course this new existence will not have anything to do with the old one, you start from 0 again I think.
And yeah it's too optimistic to think of a place like heaven,
but it's also too optmistic beeing dead forever,
just now you are alive,this is by far the best proof that nothing can possibly be dead for ever.


The process that makes your existence works by itself, no one needed to do anything to exist ,it just happens.


As you can see, I am trying to argument against that "Forever and ever dead"-attitude to death, just because it doesn't make any sense at all. You once came out of nothing, so why shouldn't that work again and again after your dead (for this life at least).
Please keep in mind, that even this idea sounds great and logic, the real event that will happen after death won't change no matter what we believe in, so it's very likely that everyone of us might be wrong, or the death is in fact for ever.


The rational answer to the question of afterlife would be: Due to lack of information, I have no other choice but waiting till I am dead. And even though, if you didn't believed in anything, you can't be disappointed if there would be an afterlife and that you've would have lived life-long believing in a lie.

What do you think about Number 3?

Last edited by KiraIsJustice; 2012-04-13 at 17:07.
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Old 2012-04-02, 23:54   Link #17
NoemiChan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dop View Post

Light Yagami was a star pupil, and without the death note, would have gone to university, graduated with honours, followed his father into the police force and become one of Japan's most respected lawmen.
But the death note gave him absolute power over life and death, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I also want to add that its seemed Light thought that he achieved everyone was wanting to have. These things made him think that life is boring and that he want to know more about "his real purpose". Discovering the Death Note made him think he is special like "a Chosen One" until the Shinigami told him the "real truth" why the DeathNote was put into his possession ridiculing his believe of "heavens divine mission for him". I don't know whether Light has realize it or he was too blinded by the power that was put to him.

Funny to recall when the Shinigami said that "Humans are interesting." Well, the statement has many meanings...
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Old 2012-05-03, 03:22   Link #18
Hollowend
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I don't think many think of the possession of Light. Being that he was technically possessed by a shinigami, the actions that led up to his death could have been due to ryuuk. All ryuuk wanted was to see how a human used a death note, 'have a little fun' as he calls it. All that light thought about was his agenda, and he never once handed the note over to ryuuk and said "here's your turn". That's not fun. he could have easily used him as an alibi while L was suspecting him... gave him a cheat sheet on what to do, who to kill, but he never thought once of including ryuuk in his game. I don't believe at all that a death god would wait around on a human for 3 years, and not fuck around with him. Besides, doesn't ryuuk get the life spans of all the names written in the note? That makes him more likely to beam down to earth and find someone to manipulate. Of course, maybe the shinigami were supposed to be secondary to the plot or whatever, but what did ryuuk do behind the lines?

Light made a lot of mistakes, one is trusting a shinigami. I believe that there was some manipulation on ryuuk's part.

Last edited by Hollowend; 2012-05-03 at 03:49.
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Old 2012-05-03, 03:29   Link #19
Hollowend
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiraIsJustice View Post
3. Or this, 2 happens, and you die and wait. So time goes by like immediately since you're dead, and you wake up either born as someone else, or something else. The explanation for this would be some sort of atomic crap like your atoms finally eventually being put back in the spots they were in. Either that or something to do with mysterious quantum physics.


I think idea number 3 seems to be more logical. A life doesn't last for ever but life itself does. So your life will may end someday but your individual existence will somehow form itself new in far future (you won't recognize the time, since your dead/non-existent), like it did to form the existence you are living in now, of course this new existence will not have anything to do with the old one, you start from 0 again I think.
I like what you put here. It's good thinking. Maybe... born knowing with the fresh conscious we have as a baby, but then we forget. and *cheesy symbol transition* then we just are again.
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Old 2012-05-03, 14:19   Link #20
mystogan
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Light's vision of making a perfect world by killing wasn't right from the start and he wanted to be the god of this world and make it a better place. and in his view he would also kill people who do not work hard or do not contribute much to the society,
how will there be a proper world like this?
and on the other hand he starts killing the officers and other people. and there is already law where criminals are given death sentence for commiting severe crimes, so basically light is killing criminals who are given jail sentence for commiting small crimes like theft.

i think that light's vision and his methods of creating a perfect world were a failure from the start
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