Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Short Thought – Sympathetic Morality

A short thought….

Tonight I ventured to yonder Cineworld and caught an evening showing of the recently released film entitled “Chronicle”. Though, whilst exiting the cinema, I was unsure whether or not I liked the film, on later reflection, I decided that I did not only like the film, but I found that it, like many things, had managed to get me thinking.

My main line of thought was that the main character, we shall name him Andrew, commits actions which are almost wrong or evil  beyond questioning, and yet I found that, throughout the film, no matter how many bad acts he did, no matter how many people he hurt, I completely sympathised with him and found his character compelling. Not only that, I also found myself willing him to succeed, to win his battles no matter how morally questionably they might be.

This got me thinking about sympathy and morality. Most of the time, we are taught to sympathise with the “good guys” or the main characters which are fighting the good fight and who set themselves a certain moral standard, always doing the right thing, never compromising their views and such and such. However, perhaps it is not the fact that they are doing good things that makes us root for them, and sympathise with them.

Perhaps it is because they are good people.

I personally think that Andrew from Chronicle is fundamentally a good individual. If we allude to Virtue Theory, we would say that he possesses some degree of virtue and that he has deep and caring desires. However, his actions are still motivated by vices, thus even Virtue Theory declares him to be morally wrong. Yet, people can still empathise with him and want him to succeed, even though he is doing terribly evil things.

Perhaps it is the nature of the individual, not whether this nature is reciprocated in their actions, which leads us to liking or disliking people.

Just a thought.

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