How was Light Yagami brought up
Morality is a common subject of ancient myths, television documentaries, Hollywood films, parental lecture theaters, animes, mangas et cetera etc. But is there really a right or wrong after we can judge? Since this question is not easy to answer, this topic fascinates us so much. Therefore, in the following, I will deal with the problem of morality using the anime Death Note represent.
For those of you who haven't seen the anime yet, I'll briefly explain the plot of Death Note. The story takes place in an alternative but contemporary society between 2008 and 2013. The protagonist Yagami Light (夜 神 月), a brilliant but bored high school student, finds a black notebook one day - the "Death Note". This was from one Shinigami (God of Death) dropped and every person whose name is written in the book dies. Light then vows to bring justice to the world by letting all criminals die. Soon, however, the master detective "L" shows up (left in the picture) and tries to stop Light (right in the Bils) because he does not agree with his idea of justice. Thus, humanity itself becomes the battleground for the form of justice that can prevail.
This brief summary should make the problem of morality clear. People's view of murder depends on the society in which they live and the values with which they were brought up. Unfortunately, there are many people who act violently and harmful, but hardly anyone describes themselves as evil. Ironically, there are even many who have committed cruel deeds and wanted to achieve something good through them. When looking at malice and violence, one should therefore understand the different perspectives of the perpetrator and the victim. With that in mind, when examining the anime, I'm referring to the book Is Killing Wrong ?: A Study in Pure Sociology by Mark Cooney. Here he describes one of the roots of malice as idealism: "doing good by doing bad". So violence is a necessary measure for the perpetrator to achieve something good. This way of thinking can be found over and over again in history. An example of this is the Stalinist purges, in which around 20 million people were killed to create a socialist utopia.
In one of the first scenes, Light walks past a television that shows reports of murders and violent crimes. Most people, however, walk past it undisturbed. This scene is repeated several times, emphasizing the high crime rate and Light's strong sense of justice. After doing that Death Note he hesitates for a moment, but ultimately decides to create a new utopia by killing all criminals. He too sees violence as a necessity in order to achieve good and assumes that he is the right person to judge others.
Light takes a misanthropic position throughout the series. He does not enter into close relationships and feels contempt and hatred for humanity. At the beginning he also asks himself whether it makes sense at all to want to change society. In this scene he sees a child berating his mother, girls giggling at trivial stories, and a motorcycle gang harassing a young woman. For him, all of these people are part of a morally decayed society. Could this degenerate and criminal society Death Notes be a criticism of our own consumer society, in which we become more and more numb to the violence around us? Do we need a “judge”?
As mentioned earlier, morality is something that is constantly changing. What is illegal today was normal a few decades ago. And even in our modern times, murder can even gain recognition. A police officer who shoots a notorious murderer is likely to be considered a hero. So murderers can also be heroes. So he would be an anti-hero. In Death Note there are also people who stand behind Light's actions and others who despise them. The fact of the anime is that when people realize that criminals are being killed, the crime rate drops dramatically. So is it okay to use fear to force people to obey the law?
Like a real culprit, Light does not consider himself evil. He knows that his actions are evil, but since he wants to achieve something good with them, they are justified for him. After his second sacrifice, he is overcome with guilt. He becomes aware that his actions will have consequences. Be it the punishment by the law or his deep guilt. Eventually he chooses to sacrifice his spirit and soul for humanity. However, it quickly becomes clear that Light feels superior to all other people through his job. In one scene he even reads Nietzsche's Übermensch. This again emphasizes the moral dilemma. In the past, our moral values were interpreted according to religion. But with the development of science and the realization that God may not exist, a problem arose. If we distinguish between good and bad rather than God, what is morality?
Whether someone is good or bad, guilty or innocent depends on who is judging them. Light and L have the same goal, but are enemies. This is due to their vastly different views of right and wrong. Light represents the utilitarian ethics (evil deeds are justified if they achieve the greatest possible degree of happiness), while L is a representative of the deontological ethics (what is right and wrong is decided by the deeds themselves, regardless of their consequences). Which of these two views is the right one? In any case, one thing is certain: if you want to get away with murder, you should consider who you are murdering. If the victim is low-status, poor, unemployed, with a criminal history and no family, and the perpetrator is socially integrated, married, has children and a good job, he will get away with it more easily. Moral or not, such are the statistical facts.
What do you think about that? Is there even an answer to the question between right and wrong? If you could kill a thousand criminals just by writing in a notebook and thereby create a world free of murder, rape and other crimes ... would you do it? What if there were ten thousand or just ten criminals? Has this anime changed your mind a bit?
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