The Philosopher's Eye

News and brain candy for the philosophy community

What we did and did not learn from 9/11

The ten year anniversary of 9/11 is just over and although I am well aware that many people are writing about it, I do feel compelled to do so too, since I have lived in New York City, and in the area of Ground Zero.  I am still shaken when I see the video footage of that day. And I believe so are many people. But the question is, if these pictures only make us think about past events, or if they make us reflect on the here and now. Since 9/11 we have lived under the constant threat that something similar would happen again. And it did, for example in London and Madrid. Although and mercifully on a smaller scale. But that does not make these events any less memorable. But what do we remember? The people that we have lost and the fear we felt that day? Or should we actually remember the feeling of companionship after these events? People on the street were caring about each other and were looking out for their fellow human being. Especially in New York the dictum was that a tragedy like this will not kill the spirit of the city and that the people will go on and make a better world. Were is that spirit? Sometimes it feels as if nothing has changed. In these ten years, most people have gotten back to their daily life and have lost the bigger picture out of sight. The ideal commonwealth of people that seemed to have been triggered by these tragic events seems to be farther off than ever. The financial crisis has triggered a new kind of fears. People do not seem to worry any more about a better life, but only about personal financial and market stability. Yes, I am well aware of the hierarchy of needs that shows that basic human needs have to be fulfilled in order for human beings to look beyond themselves. And as understandable as that is in personal situations in which the circumstances are really dire, it is not understandable when people who have many of the basic needs covered and could be behaving differently, are using the financial crisis as an excuse to not care anymore. But in the very moment in which we stop caring, we are not people anymore.

Related articles:
Psychopathy and Responsibility Theory
By Paul Litton, University of Missouri School of Law
(August 2010)
Philosophy Compass

Folk Psychology and Phenomenal Consciousness
By Justin Sytsma, University of Pittsburgh
(August 2010)
Philosophy Compass

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