# Forgetting Abuse

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Let's suppose there's a person who's lost the ability to create new memories. Introduce yourself to him, then step out for a few minutes, and he won't recognize you at all when you come back in.

So this person won't remember anything, even pain, for more than a few minutes.

Is it immoral to cause him temporary pain?

If I hit him -- not hard enough to break something, of course, since he'd at least notice that something was broken, even if he didn't remember why -- and caused him pain, he would never remember it. It's like it never happened. He'd not hesitate to meet me again, not knowing that I'm likely to hit him. To him, being hit doesn't matter, because he never remembers it. His life goes on, and if he's a happy person, he's happy no matter how many times I hit him.

But is hitting him immoral?

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Given the presumed premise that causing someone pain normally is immoral, then yes, I would say so. It's not the fact that the memory of abuse lasts a long time that makes it immoral. If it was, then it would never be immoral, because we all forget everything eventually, when we're dead.

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I think this goes along the line of argument that something isn't wrong unless you get caught doing it.

OTOH, it gives you a sequel to 50 First Dates where you get Dan Aykroyd's character to continually abuse Ten-Second-Tom

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I think this goes along the line of argument that something isn't wrong unless you get caught doing it.
I agree. At some point, I think a moral standpoint should be based on what *you* think is wrong, not on what others might think of you for doing it.

And I think hitting Mr. Forgetful is immoral, since he's done nothing to deserve it, it's wrong *as* he's feeling the pain, it continues to be wrong after he's forgotten it. What about the psychological damage it does to you for hitting an innocent person, and for going unpunished because of his disability?

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As long as you wear a condom, is it ok to rape someone whilst they're passed out?

If you catch someone doing that, should you not make a fuss so as to ensure that the woman never finds out, and thus never suffers?

Hmm... relatedly, if it happened to you, would you like to know (and thus suffer) or remain in blissful ignorance?

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• 2 weeks later...
If you catch someone doing that, should you not make a fuss so as to ensure that the woman never finds out, and thus never suffers?

Before or after I rip his head off and nail his balls to a wall?

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Almost NSFW, but somewhat relevant.

xJyelcnINH0

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Before or after I rip his head off and nail his balls to a wall?

That's a good answer JohnB, I'm glad you know how to handle tough situations

I think this is a good question:

relatedly, if it happened to you, would you like to know (and thus suffer) or remain in blissful ignorance?

Personally, I would want to know if there was some jerk hitting me every 12 seconds for no reason at all, but if I didn't, it really wouldnt' matter. At this point, I would agree with Phi that it would depend heavily on your own sense of morality since the victim wouldn't remember enough to care - and personally, I would find it highly immoral, the same as beating on someone that is unable to defend themselves

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A more trivial example, if someone prepared some of your favorite food while you were gone, and then everyone ate it all before you got back, would you prefer that they tell you about this or would you rather be blissfully ignorant?

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Hmm... that's interesting:

Hmm... relatedly, if [you were raped in your sleep], would you like to know (and thus suffer) or remain in blissful ignorance?

yes, very much so: and inpalatable truth over a pleasant lie any day

A more trivial example, if someone prepared some of your favorite food while you were gone, and then everyone ate it all before you got back, would you prefer that they tell you about this or would you rather be blissfully ignorant?

No: i'd just get pissed for no reason.

so, below a certain threshold, i'd rather remain ignorant, but beyond a certain point i'd want to know..?

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I was abused as a child, for most of my life i wished I could forget, but it is a apart of me and at least partly makes me who i am so to forget it would mean forgetting at least part of who i am. i came to grips with it a long time ago but the idea of not knowing abuse or knowing is an interesting concept but the abuser is still immoral whether the abuse is remembered or not.

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In the case described it is pretty clear that it is wrong because the guy still feels pain at the time you hit him, even if he can't remember it later.

Raping a coma patient is much more interesting. If the patient is completely unaware they are being raped, suffer no pain and have no ill after effects or memory of the event, then is it immoral?

I say yes, because my morality is not based on having a victim - my morality comes from God. I think this is a nice example of why one should not construct a system of morality around the notion that everything is allowed unless it hurts or disadvantages another.

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And what does your morality say about having sex with, say, an inflatable doll? I suspect the specific circumstances and rights of the coma patient isn't too relevant to your morality. I'd say that raping the coma patient is definitely worse than having sex with an inanimate object though.

Oh, what if the coma patient is your wife?

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And what does your morality say about having sex with, say, an inflatable doll? I suspect the specific circumstances and rights of the coma patient isn't too relevant to your morality.

Why would you think that?

I'd say that raping the coma patient is definitely worse than having sex with an inanimate object though.

I agree. Can you explain why you think that though?

Oh, what if the coma patient is your wife?

What does that have to do with it? Rape is rape, irrespective of who the victim is. Do you think raping your wife is OK?

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I say yes, because my morality is not based on having a victim - my morality comes from God. I think this is a nice example of why one should not construct a system of morality around the notion that everything is allowed unless it hurts or disadvantages another.

I don't necessarily agree with morality coming from a divine savior - but I do agree that a system saying something is bad because it hurts or disadvantages another isn't a good one. In the example given, raping a coma patient, I'd say is completely immoral simply because you have no consent from that person to do what you're doing (and the fact that you're doing it to someone who can't protest or do anything about it is detestable)

In the blow-up doll example, that's really nothing more than masterbating with something to assist - I don't like the idea, but I don't find it immoral, whatever makes you happy in this respect. Dolls are neither people nor do they harm anyone using them (or not using them)

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By my definition it is immoral, because you're taking advantage of somebody because they will not recall the incident. And also over time if you think it's OK to rape an unconscious girl or hit a forgetful guy, then eventually you will reach a point that you will naturally start to think that it's OK to do other related stuff, then from there onto other related stuff, until you are either caught or have lost all inhibitions.

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Why would you think that?

Because you get your morals from God and not based on having a victim?

I'd say that raping the coma patient is definitely worse than having sex with an inanimate object though.
I agree. Can you explain why you think that though?

Well at best, you are using something that does not by any right belong to you. The coma patient could be brain dead, in which case I would consider that person to be dead -- but their body still belongs to them and deserves some respect. In the worst case, it is just plain rape, though arguably not as traumatic (assuming they don't find out).

What does that have to do with it? Rape is rape, irrespective of who the victim is. Do you think raping your wife is OK?

I'm pretty sure some people have sex with their wife while she is asleep. I think in general a marriage partner can be considered by default as consenting to have sex unless there is evidence otherwise. It is after all one of the main points of marriage. I guess it would depend on the circumstance though; an open marriage or a marriage of convenience would be different than a strictly monogamous marriage.

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Because you get your morals from God and not based on having a victim?

That was the entire point. It is immoral for me because I get my morality from God, not by identifying a 'victim'. As Dudde said, if I reasoned things are immoral only if they hurt or disadvantage another, then this would not be immoral.

Well at best, you are using something that does not by any right belong to you. The coma patient could be brain dead, in which case I would consider that person to be dead -- but their body still belongs to them and deserves some respect.

Obviously I agree with you, and I understand my reasoning as to why I believe this. But I would like to understand your logic - so can you explain why it is wrong to "use something that does not by any right belong to you" if it has no negative consequences for the owner, and why the body of a dead person "deserves some respect"?

I'm pretty sure some people have sex with their wife while she is asleep. I think in general a marriage partner can be considered by default as consenting to have sex unless there is evidence otherwise. It is after all one of the main points of marriage. I guess it would depend on the circumstance though; an open marriage or a marriage of convenience would be different than a strictly monogamous marriage.

I hope you are not serious. Sex with anyone is rape if you don't have explicit consent first. It doesn't matter whether or not you are married - there is no implied consent to sex implicit in marriage (nor is it one of the main points of marriage). The only issue is that it is very hard for a spouse to prove the sex was non-consensual and therefore rape.

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Anyone see an analogue between raping a coma patient vs. normal rape and 'borrowing without persmission' (vs. theft)?

I think in general a marriage partner can be considered by default as consenting to have sex unless there is evidence otherwise.

...

......

You know that doesn't count if the only reason there's 'no evidence otherwise' is because she's asleep, right?

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I am an atheist and I do not get my morals from god but I see the whole sex with a coma patient as fundamentally wrong on every level I can possibly conceive of, and just how deeply does your wife sleep skeptic? I am skeptical any one could have sex and not wake up. I thought my wife was a heavy sleeper

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In relation to the OP, if you think and you have been educated in your society, that any kind of abuse on a weaker person is OK and well accepted, than it wouldnt be inmoral.

If you think otherwise and the society in which you have developed yourself considers it as an act of abuse and not accepted, than youve committed an inmorality (this is how I ve been taught and what I believe, btw).

Good or bad morals and/or ethics, are defined by what one thinks about any actions or by what the society that you live in, thinks about it, so they differ widely from one place to another, and you cant standarize what is good or bad for the whole human society. It always depends on what part of the human society you are in. Anyhow, for most of the civilized world any kind of abuse is considered wrong.

Let me rephrase the OP exagerating a lot : if you can destroy a whole culture, by killing every member in it without leaving no trace that can bond the destruction to you, and you think it is correct.

- Would it be inmoral ?

The German National Socialists (Nazzi), during WW2, thought it wasn`t inmoral, so they tried to execute their "Final Solution".

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I am skeptical any one could have sex and not wake up.

Of course they wake up. I've never done this, but from what I hear there is some relation between real world stimuli and dreams, which I guess is one of the reason people do this. It's certainly a different way to wake up...

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Of course they wake up. I've never done this, but from what I hear there is some relation between real world stimuli and dreams, which I guess is one of the reason people do this. It's certainly a different way to wake up...

If I woke up to find my wife 'molesting' me I certainly wouldn't react very well. In fact, I would regard that as rape.

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I don't think morality is about harm done, I think it's about intent to do harm. Attempting to kill someone and failing is far worse than causing someone's death by accident. If you're having sex with a coma patient, then presumably you think of them as a person (otherwise you wouldn't be having sex with them), and you are violating that person. Would you mind be raped as a coma patient? Do you think the victim would mind? Yes? Then it's immoral.

Edited by Sisyphus
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If I woke up to find my wife 'molesting' me I certainly wouldn't react very well. In fact, I would regard that as rape.
Many years ago, I had a girlfriend who woke me up this way once. It actually started a dream about having sex and when the stimulation woke me up, it was a little unnerving to find the dream was really happening. I did react well, though, at least in that context, since it was completely appropriate in terms of timing and consent.

The only part I felt bad about was that the girl in the dream was not the girlfriend who woke me up. The girl in the dream was my next girlfriend, though.

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