There are No Random Acts of Violence

4 04 2014

No human being has ever contemplated or taken a random action. Only nature is random. Human beings are at all times willful, while nature is not. Human action may be arbitrary, of course, but their actions may never be random.

Therefore, there can be no “random acts of violence,” or “random acts of kindness” either for that matter, when human beings take action – in any situation and under any circumstances.

Randomness implies a lack of conscious will, not simply a disregard for outcome. It also implies a lack of responsibility for outcome. However, an arbitrary action is a conscious act of will that is indifferent to the results of the action taken, yet the actor remains responsible for the result.

Words have meaning

The “gang banger” who fires a gun into a crowd without regard to whom the bullet hits has not committed a random act, and neither has the “do-gooder” who chooses a homeless man and buys him lunch. These actions are arbitrary, for the target of the action could easily have been different. The person taking action was indifferent to the identity of the individual involved, and cared only that the action affected someone – not anyone in particular.

However, in both cases, a conscious choice was made. It was a choice to take action. A will was involved. A predictable outcome could be foreseen for both choices, and alternatives could have been chosen. For good or ill, both actors are responsible for the choices made, and the results which followed. In one case positive, in the other negative.

When one applies the word “random” to human action, one relieves the actor of responsibility for the choices being made, which is morally reprehensible. In the case of harmful action, is just as condemnable as the action being taken without regard to the effects of that action.

Therefore, there are no random acts of violence, or of kindness.

 

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