Finished a book of selected writing by Cicero. It was interesting to think about the idea of doing what is right and how this can be of advantage. It is a simple concept that becomes difficult to apply in a world where we are constantly having to compromise. It is at once a great idea and makes you think about your own motivations which it can seem are more focused on advantage than what is right. I know myself that when I consider the best action I wonder whether it is intrinsically a good act after reading Cicero.
Thinking that what is right in itself brings advantage but in the world today advantage rules over what is right or at least seems to. For example illegal immigration in Australia puts people in offshore processing to avoid laws governing immigration. It seems to be of great advantage as it discourages immigrants who only have recourse to illegal attempts but even though there is an advantage peoples rights are foreclosed and they have literally no rights. So in effect the advantage of stopping illegal immigrants lends itself to doing what is wrong.
The humanitarian obligations become moot though they are the best for the incarcerated and there are more advantages doing what is right to promote humanitarian values. It is said the harsh policies are successful as they keep people smugglers from operating successfully but when the idea of having total control over immigration when Australian immigration is quite high anyway it seems the advantages come back to those who can pay the government rather than the people smugglers. In effect the government is simply filling its own purse to deprive the people smugglers and their operations.
It would seem better to provide more options for illegal immigrants but the law is now set to repel the disadvantaged which is still arguably wrong. The other question remains whether you can afford to reward those who seek to take advantage of lighter laws? The fact is the government in a bipartisan agreement has made people smuggling a thing of the past but they remain punishing the disadvantaged or misguided even though they have been successful.
Some people are incarcerated for several years leading to mental health issues and great hardship simply to make their point that they have won the battle. This is not only unfair but callous. They have taken the advantage and used it to further punish the boat fairing immigrant. There is a constant worry of being forced back to where they came or being punished further with detention. They in effect have been forgotten and left in limbo a greater punishment still.
The Australian government took the easy way out rather than using international laws to punish the smugglers they instead decided to route the innocent and punish them indefinitely.
This in effect leads me to the book Metamorphoses by Ovid where there are many transformations. For one we can look at Daphne and her becoming a Laurel tree. She despairs her own beauty and pursuit from Apollo becoming through her own desires granted from in this story by her father to become a tree. A tree is set in its place and provides at once shade but also a home for birds. It has a perspective connected to its position free of movement from its perspective. In a way Daphne couldn’t deal with the ideas and desires around her arriving at her particular self. She needed to grow in the wilds still being beautiful but at one with her surroundings. She could in every respect change through her own desire.
If we desire to change can we? Daphne was good at this though had some help from others. Others though if stripped of their rights may never get the chance to change. Do we want to help people change? Also can we change when even the law aspires to commit a great wrong on peoples heads? Even if we ourselves change can we also change the plight of others? Not for our own advantage but for a collective advantage and essentially for what is right in advantage.