From “The Blue Hotel,” it is stated in the story that “Every sin is the result of collaboration.” Do you agree? Please explain.
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I'm inclined to agree with others who have argued that sins may often be collaborative, they need not necessarily be. In fact, the statement quoted from Crane is open to a very simple logical objection. It is very difficult to imagine, let alone prove, a claim that includes all possible cases. Thus, all it would take to disprove the quoted assertion would be to find just one counter-example. Such absolute arguments, therefore, are often inherently weak. (They are also often rhetorically unpersuasive; they imply that the person making the claim is an unsubtle and extremist thinker.) Perhaps the quoted statement was meant merely as a way of emphasizing a point rather than as a strictly logical and rational assertion. If it was offered as a logical and rational claim, it is open to numerous objections.
It is possible to commit sin without collaboration, but it seems that "misery loves company". It is easier to commit an "evil" when you have others in agreement making it appear "all in fun" or "OK" to do. Only later does the grief and guilt come into play. Peer pressure has incredible pull, and it is much more difficult to stand up in the face of something you know to be wrong than to just go with it.
#4 and #5 raise interesting points regarding the nature of sin and whether it is possible to commit a sin without collaboration. I must admit, apart from rather inconsequential arguments about whether we can collaborate with the devil, I personally think that sin is often committed more without collaboration than with collaboration. This is because I think the majority of sins that we commit as humans are actually intensely personal sins and not something that we would want to discuss with others. I also think that we often commit sins without being aware of them ourselves very often, through what we do and don't do and our attitudes and beliefs.
Whereas I think that sin can be collaborative—some act committed by mutual agreement between two people—I also know that many crimes can be committed without anyone else being involved.
If someone robs a bank alone or kills someone in anger, these can often times be completed by a single person. Many things that are considered "sins" can be committed without the help of anyone else: such as stealing, attacking a person, threatening someone, etc.
On a purely theological note, one could argue that a collaboration exists between an inidividual and the devil. Giving in to the temptations of sin, one could say that when the person submits to the will of "the dark one" instead of resisting, sin takes place; a conscious decision is made to do something that God (and man) have governed to be wrong, and this could infer a "collaboration."
This has shades of an idea from an excerpt from the Bible found in Paul's Letter to the Romans 5:13:
To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law; ... (New International Version)
In the context of your quote, "sin" means "an evil done." In one sense, then, sin is collaborative, but in another, sin may not be collaborative. Take, for instance, the example of a sin whereby a person omits to act for someone's welfare when it is in their power to do so, which is a little different from the stranger's choice to not expose a local cheating at cards. It therefore seems to me there is such a thing as a sin in isolation.
I agree with the quote as well. While the collaboration may not be one with another person every time (one could collaborate with their own conscious in regards to morals), something must be decided when committing a sin.
The curious part of the quote though is that it comes from Stephen Crane. Crane was a Naturalist. Naturalists did not necessarily use religious thought in their texts. Instead, the most powerful aspect in the world was nature. Nature was more powerful then even man. naturalists did not believe in free will either. This being said, one could look at the fat that to commit sin, one would have to collaborate with nature in order to commit said sin.
For the Naturalist, life was an experiment and the author was the observer. Therefore, Crane would have been observing the fact that the sin committed was the act of a collaboration between two things given he could only observe and not intervene.
I do agree, but I believe the context in this particular story is important, in that the "collaboration" Crane refers to is a little abstract. That is, as opposed to characters directly collaborating with one another in conspiracy or life or what have you, he means to express that sin is a collaboration between the sinner and society. It is a collaboration between members of a society that define what is considered sinful and an individual that exemplifies it for them.
Without sin there can be no sanctity and vice versa. Without criminals there can be no judges, and vice versa. So in the modern day as well as in the story, the sinner and society are diametrically opposed, and ultimately, necessary to one another's existence.
No, not every sin is the result of collaboration, but many sins are the result of people doing things they normally would not do because someone else's presences or ideas spurs them on. However you can commit a sin all by yourself.
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