Social Question

steppenwolf's avatar

Is a promise you make to a star while drunk necessarily binding?

Asked by steppenwolf (18points) October 11th, 2010

If you are drunk and you are wishing on a star, and after stating your wish you begin to ramble about some things, and you end up making a promise that at the moment you make it you would like very much to keep, even though in a few years you might feel differently, are you bound, in the morning when you are sober and better able to consider the consequences of such a promise, by that promise, or are you morally permitted to add certain reservations to that promise, so that is no longer as absolute as you first it when you first made it?

Note: I’m NOT talking about a situation in which a wish is made where the promise is dependent on the fulfillment of the wish; e.g.: I wish to win the lottery, and IF I do THEN I promise to donate half to the Red Cross. More like: My brother is sick and I wish for him to get better. Oh, and by the way, I promise not to steal out of his piggy bank anymore.
But something much more significant than those situations.

This is a serious question. Whether or not you believe in wishing on stars is irrelevant here. What concerns me is that I’ve made a promise to myself (with a star as a witness.) How much leeway do I have in reneging on that promise to myself if I should ever find myself in a place where I either can’t or no longer want to uphold that promise?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

19 Answers

meiosis's avatar

The degree to which you are bound to a promise made to a star is exactly the same as that of any promise made to anyone or anything. Basically, it is a balance between how much not fulfilling the promise will cause you personal anguish as to the state of your morality, good-faith etcetera, against how much actually fulfilling the promise will cause you inconvenience, hassle, grief etcetera. It’s a call only you can make.

downtide's avatar

The star cannot punish you or hold you to blame if you do break the promise. Only you can do that. How much would it hurt you (or others) to break it? Would it make you feel horribly guilty for the rest of your life? Would the consequences of breaking the promise be worse than the consequences of keeping it?

Personally I think that it can sometimes be quite harmful to make promises that are binding-forever, because circumstances change in ways that are out of our control and sometimes keeping a promise made under different circumstances can cause far more harm than breaking that promise.

Put simply, some promises come with an expiy date, and some are voided when certain other things happen.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Yes. Verbal contracts are legally binding.

downtide's avatar

@Lightlyseared Only if both parties are in verbal agreement. It wouldn’t be legally binding unless the star stated acceptance of the contract.

Also a contract can be declared void if you were not in “sound mind” at the time of taking out the contract. Whether drunkenness can legally be counted as being not of sound mind, or not, I have no idea.

cazzie's avatar

did anyone OTHER than the star hear you make the promise? It sounds like a wrestling match with your conscience. Good luck with that. If that is the case…only you can answer this question. You can ‘wish’ things were different and ‘wish’ you could do super-human things to fix things… but only you know if you are really able to do what you wish to do.

As someone who has promises and wishes broken to her all the time…. you get used to it and learn not to have high expectations of someone who does it.

Now.. if we’re talking…. giving a kidney or something… I’d never begrudge someone changing their minds or plans on THAT type of scale…. but if someone promises me they’ll make time for me, and then goes off and parties with friends…. that’s another story.

whitenoise's avatar

One can discuss and rearrange any promise, as long as all parties involved want to enter such a discussion.

Well… in this case you yourself make up for all parties, according to your own question. The star is your witness, but that holds no consequence if all parties that make up the actual promise are agreeing on a new course of action. You should therefore be able to change the agreed promise.

BarnacleBill's avatar

In the case of wishing upon a star, it’s not so much the exact wording of the promise you made yourself, as it is the intention of the promise. You are under an obligation to yourself to act in your own best interests, and to be a good steward of your own life, even if that means doing the hard thing instead of the easy thing. Not keeping a promise because on sober reflection, it was a ridiculous promise to make is one thing (“If I’m not pregnant, I’ll never have sex again”) or merely hard (“I’ll work hard this semester in school, even if it means no partying for the whole semester.”) In the case of the first, the correct promise should have been “I will not have sex if I’m not using birth control and will not have unprotected sex.” The later example, sucking it up and passing on the partying in favor studying is the correct thing to do.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Absolutely. That star will hunt you down and punish you forever if you don’t keep your drunken promise to it.

Frenchfry's avatar

I would say yes or you will have 10 years bad luck. I am little superstitious.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Keep it or lose your self-respect…or get your ass beat by a star

janbb's avatar

Only if the star heard you.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I would follow up the earlier oral promise with a written contract for the star’s acceptance and signature. Notarized, of course. In the written contract you can redefine terms, introduce disclaimers and caveats, resolve ambiguities, etc. Or you can do what Congressmen do when they “revise and extend” their oral comments into the written record, and simply change your mind diametrically.

You may want to seek the services of a qualified attorney to the stars for this effort.


janbb's avatar

@CyanoticWasp is on to something here.

HungryGuy's avatar

No. Stars are big balls of hydrogen fusion. They won’t hold you to a promise.

downtide's avatar

@HungryGuy if they did, I think it would hurt.

free_fallin's avatar

It’s completely up to you regarding the rules here. I wish on stars but I have never said if this happens, then I promise to do that. If you feel you can justify not holding up your end of the promise then that is the route to go. Only you can hold yourself accountable for the things you’ve wished for on stars and promised to do. How important are the wishes to you? Would you feel guilty if the wish came true and you didn’t hold up your end? Does alcohol really factor into the equation? What if you had made this promise to a person while drunk? Would it matter more?

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to offer the best advice I have inside me, and I feel I need more information to do so.

Still, it comes down to the rules you make for yourself.

HungryGuy's avatar

@downtide – Most definitely :-p

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes, unlike the drunk promises you make to live people. Mess with celestials at your own risk.

Foolaholic's avatar

I would say it depends on a number of things. Did you;

1. Shake on it? Did you have to spit on your hand before shaking
2. Swear on anyone’s life?
3. Bet money?
4. Sign any blood pacts?
5. Identify any binding witnesses?
6. Think the star was a celestial reincarnation of anyone? Were they important to you?

Aside from that, I’d say you’re in the clear.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther