Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

bhealy's picture

The Algorithm of Plagues - But Not for Justice?

 In Anne's discussion group on Thursday we continued discussing/debating whether the plague itself serves as a form of justice, or whether its blindness means that there was no motivation or cause for administering such a punishment. We went back and forth in regards to the true meaning of justice, and if it can just stand on its own or if it needs to be for something (i.e. justice for...). In my opinion, justice is a punishment for actions or behaviors, a form of revenge. If we all agree that the plague itself is blind, or an equalizer due to putting everyone on an equal playing field in terms of death, then can it be a punishment for something/to someone? I don't believe that it can be- instead, the plague serves as a form of equality, reminding us that we are all going to die, and regardless of current situations any of us could potentially die at anytime, whether due to the plague or something else. Is this just? I don't think so. Just implies that the plague is some sinister Disney villain, riding in on its black horse and seeking revenge/power/control. 

However, we also wondered in class on Thursday whether the plague serves as a metaphor for randomness or an algorithm for justice. I still don't believe that the plague is a form of justice, but I'm very interested in it being an algorithm of sorts, for what I'm not sure then. But, the idea that the plague is fairly predictable and that it is going to go from the smaller creatures to the larger creatures, stay around for a while, kill a lot of people, and then eventually die down only to be potentially brought back years down the line and forced through the same sequence is intriguing to me. I'm not sure where I stand other than that I see the process as an algorithm, but not for justice. Justice to me still implies that the creatures (including humans) that die are somehow being paid back for hideous acts. So what is it an algorithm for? 




The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
12 + 5 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.