Yeah, I know. Very few of you give a damn aboot what I write, but I feel like sharing. If you've ever seen the movie The Mission with Robert Deniro, you might have a better grasp of what I'm talking aboot. Nathaniel Rich 4/20/6 Introduction to Ethics Don ForanThe MissionI found the single-most interesting conflict in The Mission to be the comparison between pacifism, represented by Father Gabriel, and militarism, demonstrated by Rodrigo Mendoza. Although both these men bear positive intentions, the methods they use to exhibit them take very contrasting routes: Father Gabriel relies on his faith in his fellow men to guide soldiers from the low roads of slaughter and oppression, whilst Mendoza holds a less optimistic opinion of his fellows, and relies on his sword to stand before the Portuguese. Not only do these two stances establish the differences in the characters who hold them, it lends a look at what may have caused these views to be adopted. Regarding Father Gabriel, his calm response to imminent bloodshed may indicate either, or perhaps a blending of two possibilities: that Gabriel is a coward in that he refuses to aggressively stand before the assailants of his parish; or that Gabriel is the bravest of all the persons present, in the fact that he looks to weather a violent onslaught with nothing but his certainty to protect him- certainty that the men opposing his position will do what is right. Alas, the soldiers in this case did as servicemen throughout history have, and continue to do: they followed nefarious orders. His confidence in humanity did naught to prolong his existence in the physical sense, but in another manner, he continues to exist in his message, which endures to this day: "If might is right, then love has no place in the world." In reference to Rodrigo Mendoza, one also has numerous judgments available to make respecting his character's choices. Does abandoning his prima facie duty as a religious figure indicate strength, or weakness? Strength, in having the courage to confront the enemies of the Guarani with weapons in hand, and to use the power to take lives to support his conviction that the Guarani's home is now the mission, or weakness: weakness as indicated by his inability to hold true to his oaths of obedience and to take the "high road" of passive resistance. "Those who stand up are singled out for removal; those who lie down are trodden upon." One of the other ethical issues that piqued my interest was the matter of population control. Being a particularly touchy subject with the world today, perhaps another analysis of the topic is necessary. Perhaps not. In either case, Cabeza (Portuguese ambassador) brought the fact that the Guarani effect a limit on the number of children allowed unto their society, to induce shock in those gathered at the conference, and succeeded in his goal. As members of a "civilized culture," a term that must be used relatively, the Europeans considered this practice barbaric, largely because they originated from communities that had no real need for the rule, communities that had no natural predators stalking their streets, no slave traders lurking in the brush. The matter of controlling the number of children a group has as a method of enabling safe flight is a far cry from the motives of modern population control, which is based on limitation of resources both human and environmental. Finally, I would like to touch on the theory of divine command. According to the Hinman text, the divine command theory claims that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on whether or not they correspond to God's commands. The tricky part of this doctrine obviously is interpreting "God's will." The Church utilized the all encompassing power of being God's instrument on earth in the following exchange leading up to the engagement between the Guarani and the Portuguese: Altamirano: Tell them they must leave the missions. They must submit to the will of God. Gabriel: They say it was the will of God that they came out of the jungle and built the mission. They don't understand why God has changed his mind. Using the Church's position as the voice of God, manipulation of followers is easy as pie, right up to the point that the followers realize that when they gave an inch, a mile was taken. Imagine while exploring in your grandparent's attic you find an extensive set of letters addressed to a person you do not know, from a person who is equally mysterious. When reading this correspondence, you find some insightful pieces of wisdom- enough that you come to respect to writer of the letters. Being that you are going through a difficult time in your life, you decide to take much of the writings to heart, and feel that it would be positive to share the tidbits of philosophy with others in your neighborhood, and leave the letters for another to find. How are those you share with what you remember to interpret the original writings, and the feelings and beliefs of the writers? Here one comes to be in a similar situation as the Church, and the natives as illustrated in The Mission. With the previous example, how are your neighbors to react? They see the strengths of the knowledge gained from the correspondences, but to adopt the learnings requires a major change in convention. After some discussion, they decide to accept these changes, as the benefits are easy to see. The undertaking is extensive, but everyone buckles down, and the changes are made rather successfully, bringing everyone to a higher level of strength in the community, and allowing everyone to be productive members of society. As soon as everyone begins to settle into the new routines and grow comfortable, you come back to town explaining that you mis-read the letters, and everyone should immediately return to the previous state of living, because another neighborhood is jealous, and moving in. I leave this with a final question, and a quotation. How would you expect everyone in your neighborhood to react? "I'll take it all, arrows or guns Hundreds more, to save you from one..."