I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

515. Responsibility And Liability Without The Myth Of The Free Will

515.  Responsibility And Liability Without The Myth Of The Free Will

Discarding the concept of the free will does not imply to accept, condone or excuse harmful behavior.   It only means a different approach how to protect people from being harmed.    Not harming others is a moral issue, no matter if there is a free will or not.  It requires to redefine the moral quality of behavior from the perception and experience of the target, recipient or victim.   The harm suffered by a victim does not depend on the ability of the transgressor to control his behavior or not.   The need to be protected from harm is independent from how this is done.

People's possibilities to harm others are drastically restricted by legal systems, and subtly also by social norms.     The myth of the free will limits the success of these protective methods for the innocent.   Without the myth of the free will, a person's inability to act responsibly is not a suitable and rational justification to release this person from all liability resulting from his actions.

Responsibility is the cognitive ability to behave deliberately without harming others.   The myth of the free will considers the ability to act responsibly as a part of human sanity.   Harming is legally punished for the purpose to enable the transgressor to learn how to apply his free will for not repeating the harm in the future.  
Only those declared as insane are not punished, as they are considered to have no free will to learn and to control themselves.  

As a consequence of this paradigm, the suffering of victims is considered the unavoidable collateral damage of the learning process of those, who are supposed as having merely strayed but have a free will to decide to change.    The focus is on the transgressors, the victims are considered the objects of their learning.  

The free will myth leading to dealing with a person lacking the ability to act morally by first allowing them to do harm and then punishing them is an inappropriate and cruel mistake.    It burdens too much suffering upon too many innocent victims by being too lenient with the transgressors.    Any person, who for the first time commits a crime causing serious physical or traumatic injuries to the victim, no matter if it is assault, robbery, rape, gets free after a few years.   Only when he has repeated harming innocent victims several times, is he considered as dangerous enough to be locked away for good.   

This is an outrage to the innocent second and further victims of known transgressors.   No punishment can ever undo and heal the damage to the victims.    Punishment may even impede those with lacking morals from changing their behavior.    They experience their time in prison as paying for the benefits of the crime.   Having paid is their reason to feel not or less guilty.  

Without the free will, the concept of universal responsibility has to be replaced by the concept of unrestricted liability.    Liability focuses upon the harm done by someone independent of the reasons for, causes and triggers of any behavior.   The focus is upon protecting the innocent from becoming victims, no matter, how this is accomplished and no matter the consequences for those, who are not able to refrain from harming.  

Responsibility does not require a free will, as it can be motivated by a cognitive calculation of preventing dishomeostasis and of expecting future stimulation of the pleasure center.    Responsible behavior can be the best behavior for the own long-term needs as already explained in entry 514.  

Under the liability paradigm of protecting the innocent, those able to act responsibly are the lucky ones, whose brain allows them to live without being externally restricted.    The others are less lucky, they need to be externally restricted from becoming the cause of harm. 

The ability to behave morally as experienced by the targets, to live without harming is a talent and a disposition, that people are either lucky enough to have wired in their brain or they are unfortunate enough to lack it. 

It is not in any way different from intelligence.    Logically, it should also not be dealt with differently.  
Most people take the benefits of intelligence for granted without even wondering about any injustice, when an intelligent person receives a lot of expensive formal education and reaches high positions of power in a factory.  He earns a lot more for a rewarding job than does the person lacking intelligence, who is given no choice but to do a dull repetitive job at the assembly line.  

Less intelligence is usually accepted as a justification for less quality of life, even though those with less intelligence are only detrimental to themselves.   But the lack of the ability to behave morally is even more detrimental, because suffering is imposed upon innocent victims, and the transgressors often get away with it.   It is time to accept the fact, that the inability to act morally is at least as much a justification if not much more than is intelligence for limiting and restricting the quality of life.   

Intelligence can be at least roughly measured and noticed by limited achievements, thus mistakes by wrong decision can be often prevented.  
Morals are more difficult to assess.  Unfortunately for the victims of first crimes, it is impossible or very difficult to predict the first occurrence of someone seriously harming another.  The first victim cannot be protected.   But after the first crime has been proven beyond doubt, the danger is known.   The second victim of the same criminal is not only a victim of him, but also a victim of a society, which fails to protect the innocent. 

I am not defending or justifying the inequality of chances.   Only when two needs are in conflict, then the needs of the innocent should have priority over the needs of the person known already as a potential danger.    The need to remain unharmed should have priority over the need to have a freedom, which includes the freedom to harm at the next occasion.