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"After the Wall"

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Referring to an example from After the Wall and The Lives of Others, Hensel and Dreyman provide a good example of Brecht’s definition of goodness. By this, it is obvious that goodness does not consider to the act committed, but the intentions and satisfaction after the act.  This is evident by the way they responded to the historical event; Jana thinks because of this event she lost a big part of her childhood memory. On the other hand, Dreyman wanted to terminate the socialist system and welcome the new system, in which he could enjoy his freedom in his works. As we can perceive from the two different perspectives and believes on such historical event, like Fall of Berlin wall, these examples clearly shows the irony of defining goodness as perceived by Brecht. Although Brecht and other examples reject the universal definition of good, but emphasize the perception, belief and ego as being the main factors defining the good, is it also possible to say good morality depends on one’s belief as well? If so, how about immoral acts such as killing or murder? Can murder also be defined “good” depending on what side one believes in?

It is often said by many historians that human history cannot be discussed without wars.  By definition war is a conflict carried on by forces of arms, in which associate killings. By all means killing is immoral, evil act and many people are against war and go for protest against it. Even if we discern firmly that war and killing is immoral, we still see nations enforcing national armies and constructing destructive, killing, weapons. And even the recognition of war’s immorality, throughout those war histories, we can often find stories of war heroes and their stories at war. Their stories are often praised and pass from generations to generations how they have killed thousands of people at war. It again correlates to the irony that Brecht brought up in his poem about good. We all distinguish the killing is evil and immoral, but our world still proceeds wars, produce killing weapons and praise big time murderers like war heroes. Then, in what belief and perception can one define war, or killing, good?

Morality is the term employed in everyday activities of a person and in every circumstance, and the judgment we make. However, to be in a moral situation, it is the ability of one to be capable of differentiating the right things from the wrong; and this is based on one’s believes and what side or perception one is willing to take. There is no universal definition of the right and wrong things. This is because everyone develops his or her own ego. Morality is the rules of behavior in terms of doing right and wrong. Morals are practices that are being made by and demarcated by one's society, philosophy, religion, or individual conscience. And from my personal experience of 2 years in army, I have learned that soldiers and army develop new belief, new perception of morality that can justify the killing acts.

When I joined military, as any other male Korean citizens, the first thing they taught us, the newly enlisted soldiers, was the evilness of North Korean government and Kim, Jung-il’s army. And the second thing was that the killings in the war are an extreme method of protecting our country and our family, just as killing thieves who have broken in to my house and threaten my life. They have shown us all these kinds of Medias and articles of evil acts by North Korea, which made soldiers to get mad and naturally develop hatred feelings toward the North Korea. There was one time in the military; we watched the documentary filmed by Chinese that unveiled the aspect of North Korean governments selling Korean females to China as prostitutes or cheap worker, similar to slaves, and stockpile their military supplies with that money. North Korean government promised those females who are being sold to China that by their sacrifice their families will be prosper and well in home country by North Korean government. But it was lie and most of those families were all killed after their daughters were sold, because it was secret business that no one should know about. By watching numbers of films, everybody in the floor had fires in their eyes, including myself, literally wanted to kill all the North Koreans. It felt like it would be just, even good, to kill North Koreans because they are evil and evil must be terminated. And ironically, I believed because I have learned that it will not be immoral or evil to kill them but good protecting our people, fellow Koreans, our sisters and daughters that are being sold, treated as merchandise, to China. In other words, North Korean government is evil, so their acts are also evil but my immoral act of killing is good because I am not evil and it is a tool protection. Before joining the military, I have always believed that murder is the most brutal and unforgivable sin whatever the reason behind there is, but by learning the idea that killing can be protection for goods, my idea and definition of good has totally changed in the military. As my experience in military, one’s morality, beliefs and definition of good can change by environment, religion or individual conscience.

As Brecht ‘s idea on defining good in his poem the interrogation of Good, there is no universal definition of good the fall of berlin wall was good or not good depednign on which side you choose to perceive.

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