Under The Sun

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Re: Forgivability

Sarah points out the obvious-to-anyone-but-a-philosopher fact that sometimes an individual can forgive a group. We must amend the theory to take this into account. When the group-wrong is small enough to be commensurable with an individual's capacity for forgiveness--the theory is quantitative, not qualitative, so the only difference between individual-wrongs and group-wrongs is size--then the individual may be able to forgive the group. And that is mostly indepedent of the individual forgiving the individual members of the group.

Sarah also raises another important issue, which may be summarized thus: "Time heals all wounds." Clearly this is true. "Eventually" any wrong, no matter how large, will diminish until it has become forgivable. But "eventually" might be a period of centuries, or even longer. If forgiveness is to happen within the lifetime of the wronged, other helps than time alone--such as God--are still crucial.

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