Lindil (lindil) wrote in art_of_debate,
Lindil
lindil
art_of_debate

So I keep running into these  "value scenarios" in my social work classes.  I'm posting the most recent edition because I find it interesting to see how people react to them.  I have two questions, but first, the scenario:


Jeff and Tom are best friends.  Jeff is madly in love with Jane and they are engaged to be married.  Jane's mother has insisted that if Jane were to sleep with Jeff before they were married, she would kick her daughter out of the house and disown her forever.  Now, there suddenly occurs a natural disaster which causes a huge flood to seperate Jeff and Jane.  Jane is lonely and longs for her fiance, and just about this time Roger the ferryman shows up and offers to take Jane across the lake if she will sleep with him (Roger).  Initialy she refuses, but eventualy her lonliness drives her to sleep with Roger in order to get across the lake.  She tells her mother, who promptly disowns her, and Roger takes her across the lake.  She is reunited with Jeff, but feels such guilt that she confesses to him that she slept with the ferryman.  He casts her out and tells her he never wants to see her again.  Having nowhere else to go, so goes to Tom, who, after hearing her story, says that he's willing to marry her if she is willing.

1.    The task is to rate each person in this scenario on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the "best behaved" and 5 being "worst"
I'm interested in hearing how you guys would rate this, and also why.

2.    The vast majority of my class decided that Roger the ferryman was "worst behaved" and most to blame for Jane's misfortunes because of the selfishness and unfairness of his "fare."  As one classmate put it, "he was intentionaly taking advantage of her.  He knew she was going to cave and put out eventualy."  I'm interested in other people's perspective on this point, and especially on the issue of what constitutes a "fair" fare, or for that matter, a "fair" or "reasonable" price for any given service.

In talking with derwolf about these scenarios, we made the observation that while people often talk about the differences in their values, they often shy away from discussing the idea that some values may actualy be more beneficial, or even "correct" than others.  This is, I have noticed, a problem especialy prevelant in social work.  We get so concerned with accepting people as they are, that we often feel that we are not allowed to challenge them when they may be out of line.  Thoughs on this observation as well if you like.

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[Apologies to lindil for the duplicate response.]

In order of worst behavior:

1. Tie: Jeff and Mom. Following one's "morality" without regard for circumstances pretty well constitutes closed mindedness, which I consider one of the Great Sins of Humanity (tm).

2. Jane. She chose to break the trust of her relationship with both her mom and her fiance. On the other hand, props to her for actually telling the two other people involved.

3. Tie: Roger and Tom. Roger was honest and up front; he had a service to provide and named his price. Tom is sort of the "extra" here.
Note that these are my "kneejerk" responses. I'm sure they'll be refined as I think about them throughout the day.
kneejerk was all I was looking for really, but feel free to change/elaborate upon oppinions as you will :-)
Worst behaved? That is a loaded question, as the assessment of good/bad here is based on my own values, which really is not applicable to any of the participants in the story. That caveat being covered, I will continue to play along in the spirit of the game.

In my opinion, Jane is aware of the conesquences of her actions, and if she decides that her need to get to Jeff out weighs her concern for those consequences, then that is her choice. The deal was put forward to her, and she made a choice (I am assuming that Jeff would have the same deal as mom, otherwise, we will have to address that separately). The choice to forgive or not, is completely up to the parties that feel as though they were wronged (mom and Jeff). She is not entitled to their forgiveness.

Circumstances were tough, but that suck it up. That is the point of a promise or a pledge. If you only hold it up when it is easy, then where is the value in that? (again, assuming that Jeff had a similar agreement to mom) The reason your word is valuable, and the reason that it is important is so that you build trust that when the going gets tough you will do as you said you would. You can't dilly-dally with your word b/c you are in a bad mood, don't feel like, were drunk, were really depressed, etc...etc....etc... I also will give her kudos for being honest.

That being said, I think it is preposterous for parents to make such conditional love for their children. (I have my own, values that would lead me to distance myself from a child, but that is another story, and naturally, few of them have anything to do with sex.) Follow my rules and live my way or I will not love you? That is rather poor behavior, but her choices.

Roger made a price that he decided was fair to provide a service. That is totally within his power. If she didn't like it, she could wait or find some other solution to her problem. Her life was not immediately on the line, so I believe she deserves what she got. (when your life is immediately on the line, then I have a different set of ideas for taking advantage) Roger is under no obligation to acquiesce to her ideas of "just" and "fair". Honey, build a raft....take a long swim.....devise a system of smoke signals to summon the helicopter....or just wait it out. There are other options.

What the fuck is up with Tom? Did he love her in the beginning or is he marrying her out of pity? If it is the latter, then he is the most poorly behaving person here.

To continue a previous discussion, I have issue with deciding which values are more "beneficial" or "correct". That is completely conditional on the person involved and the situation. I agree that we come to a grey zone when we try to "accept people for who they are" and that we should definately tell someone when we think they are behaving out of line (in accordance with our own value set) or point out to them how their actions do not espouse the values that they set forth and seem counter productive to their professed goals.