討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 5: What do we owe our parents?


This is the transcript and notes to our fifth Hands-on Philosphy workshop at Becoming, "What do we owe our parents?".
The transcript below actually starts at the end of the discussion with the Concluding Statements, which was where all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class or answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.
After the concluding statments are the notes and transcript from the first part of the c
lass.

Concluding Statements:
-I kept wondering what should i say after this, because we were discussion and discussing, the conclusion is i said what i wanted during the discussion. Today i heard a lot of stories, it was more interesting than the other ones, because more stories.
I still think i owe my parents something. Especially when i grew up and i realized that it's not easy. When i grow up and go through what they did before i realize it. Knowing it's hard and noticing they went through it although it is hard. But i still don't believe that i owe i don't agree that i owe them what society thinks that i owe them. Sometimes i will complain that they didn't give the things that the others had, but they give the things that others don't have. Not have enough money or go do university in debt, tickets to paraguay, and we were happy, there was no suffering. Later i realize a lot of people have suffering [in their family]. So i think i would find a way to, to not sacrifice, but rethink my ability to pay back to them, to pay back my parents.

-I think, owing is an old chinese concept, and i think i don't like this kind of, i don't like this idea, it's negative, it's passive, it doesn't create good relationships because if you think you owe someone, you need to pay it back in the future, which creates pressure between you and them, and this pressure will turn into a tension between you and your parents. Um, i want to, i think it's better for us to treat this kind of relationship as a learning process. You know, parents need children needs to learn how to be a better person by raising kids.
-that's what you were saying earlier
-yes
-and children and kids can watch their parents, how they do their best to raise kids, they learn from their parents. So we are all learning it’s not that we are in mutual debt. I want to turn this kind of relationship to a positive relationship, not a negative one.
-you're reframing our today's discussion framework, you're saying it shouldn’t be about debt or not debt, it should be a bout mutual learning.
-because we have this kind of idea all in our lives, and it doesn't give any good to us
-it doesn't help us!
-right, so we have to change our concept.

-That's a good segue way, changing the framework. I see if it's a debt, or an obligation, owing is part of debt, it's not voluntary, it's a social bond that can't be quantified. I think that we do have our duties obligations to each other, we can obviously pay back, not pay back our debt, but try to fulfil our obligations to all the people that raised us, influenced us, our bodies, minds, spirits, we came from somewhere, we were inspired by people, we can't think we have to match that exactly, but the past can be, not paid back, but we can fulfil this obligation with the people who will come after, whether it's trying to raise our children well, or maximise their chances of being okay, not going into parenting lightly, and acknowledging the sacrifices our parents made, but also doing what we can to improve the quality of the world. But i think parents owe their children, it's a lesser time frame, but from 0 to 18 or 20, they owe them so much to keep them safe, and put them into a good enough environment to be at least okay. Success means being able to reach self-sufficiency? There has to be more than that. Children should acknowledge what the parents did for them. That they can look after them in their old and frail age, not equivalent at all, but they can show themselves in what they do in their life.



Transcript/Notes from the first part of the class:

-Why can't we put a price on our relationships?
-Because money makes it so clear
-I accept the price but other person may not
-Too clear takes it from individual knowledge into mutual knowledge

-Would you hate them? Yes 3 complicated 1
-I would see the logic behind their actions, it would be hate with a bit of respect. I see where you're coming from, but fuck you. As a cold logic. "We spent so much time and money and money and money raising you, cradle to now. Look at what we spent! And pay us back right now!"
-I would say, i would be grateful because i learned something from that. And if all of society was like that, children would think it's normal. But the problem would be that i'm the only one, it's unfair and abnormal, and would hate then.
-If it was just the norm, it would be transactions, but would people be interested in each other behind that?
-The ultimate market society.
-But it would be the fairest!
-Maybe.
-Why is it complicated for you?
-In a sense i want to be 100percent independent from my family, but the relationship itself is not possible to cut completely
-They're always going to be your mother
-Is there love involved in this kind of transaction?
-That's a really good question
-Because when you're growing up, you receive ideas from your parents how much they love you, their compassion for you, but when they present this kind of bill, all of a sudden, the process these years you grow, these years they raise you it's a fake thing.
-You're saying it falsifies the relationship to bring money into it.
-Relationships are not quantifiable, and so brining money into it makes it hollow and turns people into instruments.
-A period of time you can't exist on your own, so your parents help you through this time, but as an adult, you pay it back and then you[re independent. Like scientist build a robot, we give you the chip, we give you the system. Now you're independent, you have to pay it back.
-Thousands of dollars of research went in to you~~
-Kind of like a slave, you're owned by us.
-There's kind of two sides, if you want to be independent, you have to pay back, if you don't, you have to be a slave controlled by us
-So you're a slave or a slave.
-But you can pay it back, and then be independent.

Do we owe our parents? Are we obligated to them?
-We do owe them, we are obligated to them, but they owe us too. They need us to have the experience of being a parent. My father has some unfulfilled dreams, so he put pressure on me to fulfil his dreams. I did it to make him proud, so he can boast in front of relatives and friends, and i did that
-So now you paid him back?
-No, now he owes me.
-So you both owe each other, it's a relationship!
-So people owe each other different things, it can't be calculated,
-Compared?
-There’s' no way to make it equal.
-One kilogram cotton equals one kilogram steel, but there's no measurements between what we owe our parents and what they owe us.
-Our obligation is to recognise what they've done for us. There's no imperative for reproduction for the survival of the species. But there is something to paying them back by showing what you've made of yourself.
-And that makes your parents life, we fulfil them, we make them cry, we make them happy.
-But a disappointed parent is the worst thing, it's worse than an angry parent. If you're doing something fulfilling to you that they hate. But if you've failed to make anything of yourself, the parents will still take care of you but you've failed.
-Background culture is you have to be independent after 18
-That's why i want to never move back. My friend said "this is not my home, this is my parents house. My house i pay the bills, i control the house, i take care of the thing." So i'm thinking to go home after i graduate or not, and i decided not.
-When you're at home there's conflict with your parents. They don't think of you as an adult. People have their habits.
-Parents failed to realize you're not family anymore, you're like friends. When you're small, you listen to them, but now you have a different way of being. Parents tend to not respect their children, they think of them as rebellious.
-"you're strong now, you don't need us, we're abandoned". But it's not like that!
-There's a key point here.
-Honouring the family and preserving it was important in every society, but now you have the same dna, you have the same physical features, but now everyone's separate, we should all be individuals.


-Do you agree with this?

-How would you describe the relationship we have with all the other people on the planet, and/or all the people who came before us?

-Do you feel we owe humanity or the people who came before us anything?

-Would you think of our relations to all of humanity as a debt?

-We don't have to pay them back if they're dead
-Death cancels out debt
-That's not true in modern times, like you said before, the 3rd world democracies are still paying back the debts of their long-dead dictators
-We are in debt to all of society and preceding civilizations and relationships and people that made us everything, because we are continuing the legacy of what was first the caves and is now the indoor plumbing. It's important to realize that we are where we are now because of everything that came before. We don't have to think of it as debt as much as we have to keep expanding the world, we
-like the constant expansion of capitalism
-our relationships to the world we live in now is different because it should be a community-based relationship. The last two classes were about entirely different ways of seeing value, as people or as instruments. It can't be quantitative, we can never hope to pay back, but there is so much that came to be, all the influences what raised us, genetic influences, read and listened to as a teenager. And we have an obligation to leave the world less of a mess for future generations
-could you say that we could pay the obligation to the people in the past by paying it forward, so to speak? To make things better for the future people?
-The present is detached from the obligation
-I'm a little bit lost, what's his idea, the idealism, that the past and future thing?
-I think our building for the futures paying our debt to the past.
-My question is, why do we need to owe humanity, or the people who came before us?
-But it's like an obligation, not a debt, a voluntary thing, not a debt. Not like, were' going to make you pay and interest to.
-So did we do something wrong so that we owe humanity?
-So debt is about wrongdoing to you/
-Based on my definition. Why do we need to feel we owe?
-It's like what we are today is because the people who influence us, so we got things from them, so we owe them something, because they give us but we didn't give something back to them
-We can't!
-Yeah.
-But i’m interested, it's negative to be in debt, it's immoral to be in debt, can we talk more about that?
-The ancestors gave us this stuff, the facility to go better, but we don't owe them.
-I don't think of owing as voluntary, owing is part of debt. Obligation is what you do, it's part of the genuine social bonds. We need to appreciate what people have done for us.
-Just like right now, i think we owe our children a better life
-Absolutely
-Because we created a chaotic world for them to face in the future.
-That's why i’m trying to do my part for a better world. I don't want to raise kids myself because i would feel terrible about bringing them into this fucked up world. You are in obligation to your children to help them become better people but you have to make sure that children are in a good environment to prosper from the first place. You're starting from a really bad point in a teen pregnancy, for instance.
-Because teens don't have economic ability to take care of their children
-And emotionally unprepared.


Do parents owe their children? Do parents have the responsibility, if they create a life, to make that life successful? If they fail to help them set up successfully for life do they owe the child a debt? If you create a life, do you incur a debt–do you owe the person for creating them?
-If i save your life i owe you, i become your servant
-If you do some nice things for someone it's construed as being weak. In the us it is about establishing dominance.
-You're seeing it as a dominance thing, that's not what it's about
-But then you're the slave
-It's not like that though, it's like an honoured service.
-That person should be a great person, the one who is saved. Then the person feels it's an honour to serve you.
-Because you’re right it doesn't encourage people to save other people

-The more complex an animal you are, the more work you’re expected to put in to bring your offspring to successful adulthood. So you owe your children to make them successful according to definitions of success.
-If your dad can brag about you, he's discharged his obligation to the species.
-So, i've brought this in, is species-obligation a thing?
-But people won't think that when they're doing a thing
-You don't think about releasing poisonous waste from your body when you take a shit though.

-Species obligation is probably a thing {biological clock}

-Parents are not responsible for the child becoming, but they're responsible for setting them up for success
-That's a fine line!
-It is. They can do the work to set them up and it still wouldn’t ensure they would be successful
-I agree.
-I think this gives parents too much pressure to raise a kid, to ask them to make sure their kids will be successful.
-But it's an inherently pressure full

-What's the benchmark of a successful adult
-Self-sufficiency
-Let's be more detailed, and first world about it
-Living in your own place, and taking care of your daily life.
-Yes that's the basic.
-Make enough money to feed, clothe and house yourself
-That's actually a pretty low standard then. That's not putting any pressure on parents. If your kid can feed itself, you’re doing okay!
-But that's like first-world expectations, before it was able to hunt, able to reproduce, keep the family going. It used to be just survival. But now it's like, you're living at the lowest possible expectations
-So we're all successful now! That's great
-But that's not easy, because look at all the 啃老族 in society.
-But are they actually unable to take care of themselves? Or just doing what's easier?
-But in the west the 啃老族 they're not being freeloaders, it's the economic condition of staying with the family. Not like parents charging rent or whatever.

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