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Cruelty is the law pervading all nature and society; and we can't get out of it if we would. Options
Daemon
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Cruelty is the law pervading all nature and society; and we can't get out of it if we would.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
leonAzul
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 12:36:15 AM

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I reject this assertion completely.

I would accept the notion that "indifference is the law…" but that is emphatically not the same thing as intentional cruelty.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
MTC
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 5:51:04 AM
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Inflammatory words, aren't they, guaranteed to provoke. Daemon plucked them out of Hardy's novel, Jude the Obscure, Part 5, Chapter 8. Meeting for the first time in many years, schoolmaster Phillotson and former student Arabella catch up on their marriages and mates:


Arabella: "Right you are. A contented mind is a continual feast. She (the schoolmaster's former spouse) has done no better."

Phillitson: "She is not doing well, you mean?"

"I met her by accident at Kennetbridge this very day, and she is anything but thriving. Her husband is ill, and she anxious. You made a fool of a mistake about her, I tell 'ee again, and the harm you did yourself by dirting your own nest serves you right, excusing the liberty."

"How?"

"She was innocent."

"But nonsense! They did not even defend the case!"

"That was because they didn't care to. She was quite innocent of what obtained you your freedom, at the time you obtained it. I saw her just afterwards, and proved it to myself completely by talking to her."

Phillotson grasped the edge of the spring-cart, and appeared to be much stressed and worried by the information. "Still—she wanted to go," he said.

"Yes. But you shouldn't have let her. That's the only way with these fanciful women that chaw high—innocent or guilty. She'd have come round in time. We all do! Custom does it! It's all the same in the end! However, I think she's fond of her man still—whatever he med be of her. You were too quick about her. I shouldn't have let her go! I should have kept her chained on—her spirit for kicking would have been broke soon enough! There's nothing like bondage and a stone-deaf taskmaster for taming us women. Besides, you've got the laws on your side. Moses knew. Don't you call to mind what he says?"

"Not for the moment, ma'am, I regret to say."

"Call yourself a schoolmaster! I used to think o't when they read it in church, and I was carrying on a bit. 'Then shall the man be guiltless; but the woman shall bear her iniquity.' Damn rough on us women; but we must grin and put up wi' it! Haw haw! Well; she's got her deserts now."

"Yes," said Phillotson, with biting sadness. "Cruelty is the law pervading all nature and society; and we can't get out of it if we would!"

(http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Jude_the_Obscure/Part_5/Chapter_8)

Through his characters Hardy was attacking what he saw as the cruelty of Victorian society, Christianity, and the institution of marriage.
StepB
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 10:41:26 AM
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...pervading all nature and society...
In the sense that cruelty, red in tooth and claw, is present throughout nature and is too embedded and innate to be removed, then yes, agree. Birds throw out chicks and runts, ants use aphids as live larders, jackals follow injured animals until they are exhausted and then tear them to shreds. There are numerous examples of animal behaviour that we humans consider cruel but we then enter into philosophy; can an animal without consciousness be cruel? And humans? Can anyone doubt that the proverbial observer from outer space would see more cruelty than compassion in human societies?
GabhSigenod
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 12:31:07 PM

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Cruelty is in the eye of society's beholder. Therefore, is society really unnatural?


Mise, tá mé lán de dea-fhortún.
Verbatim
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 2:58:01 PM
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Daemon wrote:
Cruelty is the law pervading all nature and society; and we can't get out of it if we would.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)



"and we can't get out of it if we would." But we wouldn't, why would we as long as we have the excuse that it is so decreed.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 5:42:46 PM
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If we are talking about 'nature', I agree with leonAzuel. I think nature is indifferent and incapable of cruelty, except by the fact of its indifference.

However if we are talking about society, I think 'society' is quite capable of cruelty.
jcbarros
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 10:31:20 PM

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Ever forgives God; the man, sometimes; the Nature...never!
Jimbob
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 11:14:44 PM

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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Cruelty is the law pervading all nature and society; and we can't get out of it if we would.
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Nature has its own set of values, and from a humanistic point of view the animal kingdom appears somewhat cruel. A cat for instance will kill its prey slowly and takes great pleasure in doing so, even though its inbreed instinct is one of survival, for a food source if you like. As far as humans are concerned there are many examples, for one, Adolph Hitler "I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature." Cruelty is a vice and only requires opportunity and a mind to carry out a dirty deed, what's worse it can have a flow-on effect. Yet in same instances one could argue you gotta be "cruel to be kind." But of course that is an excuse for a favourable outcome. Was it of a sound judgement for men to suppress woman’s rights throughout historical times gone by ? 'no.' was it cruel 'yes' maybe 'no' if you did not no any-better. So to conclude it is a type of corruption a power trip. As individuals I'm sure there are those who would not have a cruel bone in their body, unfortunately the opposite applies, "its a dog eat dog world."
Prim*
Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 11:01:48 PM
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MTC wrote:
Inflammatory words, aren't they, guaranteed to provoke. Daemon plucked them out of Hardy's novel, Jude the Obscure, Part 5, Chapter 8. Meeting for the first time in many years, schoolmaster Phillotson and former student Arabella catch up on their marriages and mates:

[...]

Through his characters Hardy was attacking what he saw as the cruelty of Victorian society, Christianity, and the institution of marriage.


The institution of marriage Hardy attacked exists all the time - not only in the Victorian era.

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