Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,450
(Continued from previous post)

A bad morality will lead to bad consequences to the person who follows it.
I think if you were a member of the Mafia, others would endure bad consequences because of your ethical system.
That is the opposite of the Objectivist worldview. So in ethics yes, in application most certainly not.
I understand what you mean, I believe. My position is not altruism. Mine is Humanianity. As a part of doing my part to make the world a better place, I must assume responsibility for taking care of myself. I am at the center of my sphere of influence. I believe that the thing that is lacking in your position is the recognition of the importance of everyone doing his or her part to make the world a better place for everyone, self included.
I like the line here which says, "I am at the center of my sphere of influence." That is along the line that I mean. I dont miss the contributions people make in my life, I just dont feel that I should thank them for it or owe them anything. I already gave my money for what I own.
When a good friend comforts you, you haven’t paid money for that.

I think this is an overstatement. I think you are seeing only the bad in a mixture of good and bad.
I can see how you would think that but notice that i used the term "survival prerogative". This was meant to portray the sacrifice made to the group. If you sacrifice something which is important to your survival to a group its immoral. My morality bends a little here when it pertains to national service of course.
Of course?? What do you mean “of course”? How does it bend? Why? Should it? Were you unethical when it bent?
I served myself not long ago, and even though I dont believe in the death penalty I believe we should have killed Osama Bin Laden.
I don’t.
Even though I usually dont believe in sacrificing life and autonomy for a group, its an exception in view for me when its military.
But why? Why not be a conscientious objector?
I dont think the same kinds of rules of morality can apply on that scale.
Why??
Much like the rules of physics and how they change depending on the size of particles, the morality of whole nations is a different matter then the morality of smaller groups.
Why?
Just like how i feel capitalism is a good system for the nation, little communes was a good system for primitive people. This all depends of circumstances and how they relate to survival.
I am swimming in confusion. What is the line of reasoning?

Greater how? Not with regard to capability.
What i meant was in regard to capability. I mean nothing more then that. No progress comes from individuals. Ideas lead to progress and ideas come from persons not groups. Groups maintain the structure of society, they are the glue which holds it together. Groups consist of the maintainers of the structure of society. You and me are maintainers. Progress does not come from us. It comes from individual innovaters.
I thought you were maintaining there is no such thing as a group. I think progress does come from us, working together cooperatively, making use of each other’s ideas and coming to agreements as to how to implement them.

That can happen too. I call it “cultural victimization.”
ok.
(interacting with other individual minds)
That is implimentation. That is not innovations. Alright, I will concede that "progress" must be a combination of both. But innovations, the seed of forward movement, always comes from the minds of individuals.
I never said that individuals did nothing and made no contributions.

No, but why is that relevant?
Because in order to give "society" or a group credit it would have to work that way. Credit has to be given for the person HIMSELF whoever came up with what it is I'm using. And the specific group that manufactured it. That is why that is relevent.
But that person quite possibly could not have come up with that innovation without the dialogue and stimulation of thought provided by others in the group. And such innovation is always an outgrowth of an enormous amount of thinking and knowledge contributed by other people, especially as provided through formal education.

What about “inside the safety of the group”? I would say that such ideas come about through teaching/learning, dialogue, and debate.
Because in history if a revolutionary idea is acted upon it is opposed by the group because it goes against the status quo. That is the very meaning of the word revolutionary.
I think it is more accurate to say that “revolutionary” refers to a group process.

That is sounding very close to what I believe.
Good.
Sounds like you see only two alternatives. Humanianity is a third.
To me it sounds like the Objectivists with an altruistic swing. It sounded like you wanted everyone to put others first as the primary end of their actions.
No, not others. Everyone, including the self.
I dont want to compel people to believe the same thing. You talk about rationality just like the Objectivists. The difference to me sounds like the Objectivists want their in group to define rationality, and you want rationality to be voted on by the majority. Am I wrong in my assessment?
I use “rationality” as trying to be consistent with the rules of logic and the rules of evidence.

I disagree. They have an instinctual drive to have sex.
Alright I stand corrected. I misspoke. I know I certainly have this instinctual drive myself.
Yeah, and I wish it weren’t so darned complicated implementing that drive.

I don’t agree. They don’t know anything about survival.
The reason that feelers were developed on unicellular orgainisms was so they could flee other unicellular organisms that might eat them.
You mean that’s why God gave them the feelers? Or do you mean they decided it would be a good idea to have them? I think they just happened to turn out to be useful, so those born with them survived and produced more of the same.
They dont know anything about survival. That is my point. The need to survival is far deeper then reason or cognition.
I think you are attributing thought processes to things that are not usually thought of as thinking.

I don’t agree. No such thing has ever been demonstrated.
As a psychiatrist you know that the body will continue to strive for survival whether the concious mind works or not. We are survival machines for our genes.
I would not say it that way. In fact, there is much slow suicidal behavior. Look at how we eat.

I know the Objectivists talk this way, but I don’t agree that there is that much reasoning involved in most of our behavior. Of course this depends upon what we mean by “reason.”
Thats my point. Who decides on what is reason. I think that progress and survival (at least almost always) comes from reason.
How are you using the term?

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,451
(Continued from previous post)

But progress comes only from people who are sometimes reasonable. I still maintain that logic is the ability to successfully discern cause and effect relationships.
That is not the usual meaning.
However, as the great Gandalf the Gray once stated in the Lord Of The Rings "Even the very wise cannot see all ends." I think that usually we decide due to a combination of reason and intuition.
What do you mean by “intuition”?
I think we need some intuitive impressions in our decision making. Its not all reason by itself. The most reasonable and perceptive people in this world are the most successful. Most people are not that successful though, keep in mind.
I probably agree.

I don’t think so.
It certainly seems that way to me.
I haven’t thought about that. Are they considered to be committing suicide?
Its a given that they are. When people try to push a beached whale back into the water they struggle against the effort. I remember it having something to do with the whole group of whales, but I dont remember the details about it.
There could be other mechanisms than suicidal intention producing that behavior.

When we learned about the possibility of committing suicide, then, I agree, that became an option.
I think that it had to due with depression brought on by rumination.
Usually “rumination” is considered a symptom of depression, not a cause of it.
But I think its tied in also to a hedonistic trend emphasized by cultures influnece on our lymbic systems.
I think it is most related to punishment of children.

I wish you would read my book about this issue, then.
Maybe one day, I dont have the time now.
Maybe you could take a quick glance.

Not to others.
Others wont be a factor once I'm dead. Nothing will. Experience will end.
Just all of your own experience, not mine.
Your experience is not tied into mine and mine isnt tied into yours. When I die experience will stop. From your perspective you could utter the same sentence and it would still make total sense. I cant be concerned with your experience.
Well I’m concerned with yours.
All that exists for me at all is the experience that "I" experience. Everything I know about your experience is just another part of the experience that is me.
I know what you are talking about. It has to do with the mind-body problem that I am working on. But I don’t come to the same conclusions.

I would know it while I was doing it. Afterward, it would not mean anything to me, but it might to others.
But everything stops, all experience stops, when you die. Others wont matter to you when you wont have a mind to care about others. Yourself is all that you have.
My experience includes you. And what I want is what I want while I’m alive. And I want you to have a satisfying life and to help others to have a satisfying life.

Not following you here.
We vote on people who advance programs. We dont vote on programs. Elected representatives vote on programs. We have no say in the programs voted on. We arent invovled in that process at all.
We vote on representatives because of the programs that we think they will vote on, called representation.

Can’t agree.
Why in the world not? What program have you went out and voted for? Dont you go out and vote on people?
Actually, I don’t usually vote, because I know how little I know. But occasionally I have, because I have thought that the person would vote on programs that would be consistent with how I think the world should be.

Not following you.
Causes. Look at causes. What is the orignator of programs. Where do the programs, the legislation, come from? It doesnt come from the public.
I think it does. The more popular some idea is, the more that politicians feel obligated to vote for programs consistent with it.

How did you acquire those skills and that knowledge?
From individuals. No matter what skill were talking about I probably gained it from a person or small group of individuals.
And where did they get it from?

But without “society” going along with such ideas and adopting them with some commitment as a group to see them through that those ideas will ever have an impact.
Thats true. But it is a big step to take the idea from its original source and place credit on the people who ennacted and benefited from the knowledge.
Shouldn’t everyone who had something to do with it get some credit?

I believe there are actions of groups that cannot be described as actions of individuals. All the individuals do their separate parts in order for the group to accomplish something that no one individual could accomplish.
There are things that groups do that individuals cant, yes, but I said the AGENTS of actions. The agents of these actions, the originators of the cause of the actions were individuals.
But you don’t seem to have an awareness that each of those individuals is imbedded in groups that strongly affect the individual. Individuals are to a great extent products of groups, e.g., the family group.

Why can’t a group get together and decide to do something for another group?
Because groups dont make decisions. Groups are led by indivdials who dictate, or individuals who compromise reaching agreement.
But all of that is group interaction.

What about the group agreeing to decide by group vote?
A group vote is not a decision by the group. A group vote is a compromise that a small minority makes conceding to the wishes of a majority in the group.
But as a group they decide to decide that way.

I think Congress decides things all the time.
Congress has never decided anything as Congress. There is always dessent. There are minority factions. Its a comprmise.
Yes, such compromise is indeed decision-making.
A group decision would be where they all agreed.
No, it would be where they all agreed as to how they would make the decision.
They dont all agree to what is done. The majority decides. The minority does not get what it wants. That is a compromise, not a group decision.
Compromise is a group decision. You can’t conceive of compromise (with its usual meaning) without considering a group of two or more people.

Then why so much protesting and advocacy, if there is no other possibility anyway?
No there isnt when it comes to this issue. It is one or its the other.
I was referring to your statement that it was a “metaphysical impossibility.” But I think our linguistic processes are breaking down.

Who says? What does this even mean?
It means that another person shouldnt come before yourself. I am speaking of self ownership.
Unclear.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,452
(Continued from previous post)

Doesn’t everything cost? If you donate money, due to satisfaction in doing so, it still costs, doesn’t it?
No. It cant be a cost if you came away more satisfied then when you went in. That is an exchange where you deicided that the benefits outweighed the cost. You arent on the losing end if you benefited. That is more gain then loss.
You’re speaking as if it is impossible to benefit in one way and lose out in another.

Please define “end.”
Point. Purpose. Ultimate Goal. Everything must center back upon the self and its survival as the primary purpose behind action.
Most of what I do has nothing to do with an effort at survival.
Other peoples influences or wants shouldnt take priority over your own self assessment and security. Other people dont come first.
It seems like I ought to be able to make that decision for myself.

What is the basis for this statement? Why can it not be that one benefits by contributing to the group?
If he "gives his life up" to the group. If the group becomes his meaning to existence. If he no longer exists for his own self worth. If he defines his self worth by the group. If he "gives his life up to it." He can contribute to groups and thats fine. That isnt altruism. He shouldnt make himself a sacrifice to them or to anyone.
Seems like he ought to have that option. But to judge the ethics of doing so, one would have to try to predict the total set of outcomes of the behavior.

There is a linguistic problem here, I believe. Why can’t you say that it is impossible to be anything else other than selfish, because whatever you do, you do it for a reason, something you want to accomplish, so you are getting selfish satisfaction by doing it.
In a sense that is true. However, its not a rationally selfish action if there is a cost which outweighs the benefits. There is always a cost which outweighs benefits if all actions are based off of how they effect others. Then you dont live for yourself but for how your actions effect others. That is the greatest cost of all. Now your life isnt yours, it belongs to everyone else.
But suppose it is important to me to do what I can to help others?

Why?
Because keeping our heads in the gutter by focusing on the trajedies and failures in life distracts us from our true capabilities.
Sounds like I would agree with that. Good mental hygiene.

Don’t we already? I see a lot of that.
Not half as much as we should. We dont appreciate originiality.
I do.

I think we need to understand ourselves as a species and figure out how we can elevate the level of functioning of our species in general, referring to all of its individuals. Caring about others who are less fortunate benefits us all. Turning our backs on the less fortunate leads to two classes and ultimate conflict. We are all in this together.
What two classes? Rich and poor? That is painfully simplistic. Who decides how much wealth a person should have? We are not all in this together. We all happen to be here at once. There is a big difference.
I don’t see the difference.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 36
*The fact that so far we have not been successful in implementing a certain idea in no way means that the idea is bad (or good). Democracy, especially constitutional democracy, is quite an improvement over totalitarianism. The fact that we still are not good at it does not mean the idea is bad. We have to change ourselves in order to have whatever system we are using work well. And that begins with child rearing. And that in turn begins with understanding. We have not gotten there yet.
The fact that certain ideas fail over and over and over again is a very valid indication that they rest on unsound principals. Altruism at its base does not have different varieties. The outlook is still the same no matter what the implimentation is. Democracy is totalitarianism. There is only the difference in who tells everyone what to do. Totalitarianism wants the decision to rest with the state, pure Democracy wants the decision to rest with the majority of the public. Either way someone in the system is forced into complying with someone elses wishes. There is only the difference on who decides what is best. We are very fortunate that this country was not founded on principals of Democracy and we are very unfortunate to have the word become so saintly in recent times when Democracy is such an awful thing. The same goes for faith. I'm beginning to feel the same way about hope (only as pertains to hope in the afterlife). I think hope in the outcomes of actions on this earth are healthy and make life worth living, hope in a life after is very neurotic and unhealthy. These ideas are influenced by Albert Camus's philosophy of Absurdism which is a branch of Existentialism.
*It is part of our basic animal nature. But we can do better than that.
Your instinct is your true God. It must be followed. It must be followed with a mind projected into actions centered into future outcomes. Cause and effect thinking. Man cant worship the immediate fulfillment of whims, but he can work to achieve his pleasures from a rational perspective. I'm not saying all men should be like this, I'm saying that to be successful in getting what you want this is the best ethical philosophy to follow.
*Anger is produced by certain problems. It is an indicator of the existence of a problem. What it motivates us to do, however, is quite different from what actually works best. You could try reading the chapter on Rational-Ethical Anger Prevention at http://www.HomoRation...­.
Not neccessarily. Problem is personal to. Some things make some people angry which will have no effect on other people. I think that anger can be an indication of a problem, but continuous anger could also just indicate a worldview. Thats like saying when coming back to suicide that all suicides arise because of some concrete problem. Most do, but some people just have depressive thoughts and worldviews which leads them to commit the act. Everyone is different, and life is not that clear cut.
*The sun functions the same no matter what we do. But we have to work hard and skillfully and wisely in order to have our society be good for us, and we are that society. We have to make ourselves into good people that in turn create a good society that in turn helps us to be good people.
You have to clarify this since you specified the word society. Do you mean this philosophical society? This country? This state? This messageboard? Which society are you refering to? Since the decisions on laws and public policy for this country (which are created by legislatures) make the decisions how do you play a part in changing behavior when you cant create the laws. I'm talking on the level of this country. If you arent making progress through innovations how are you improving the public? Your not creating laws and your not making progres and you havent defined the word "good". Good based off of your conception of how everyone else ought to think? What criteria is it which makes a person good in your eyes? I think that progress is good, I think that laws which inhance freedom are good, I think that independence is good. I think that happiness is the ultimate good. How are you going to effect "society" (in whichever way you mean that word in this particular instance) for the better?
* We’ve already cut down too many.
So at what number should we have stopped? How many fewer houses and how much less paper should we have? Would you rather have trees then have technology that will aid peoples happiness and make life easier? Paper, houses, and all else made from trees has a utility and use. Trees are just there. They dont provide you shelter, you cant write on them, and you still have plenty left over to have a healthy amount of oxygen. So how have you come up with the conclusion that we have chopped down to many? What is your reasoning? Why do you want us to have those trees then have the uilities created from them?
*It is the responsibility of all of us to be good people.
Based off of your conception of what a good person is? What if my definition of a good person is better then yours? Are you smarter then me? Have you such good judgement that you can guide me in the direction that I should live my own life by? If we both contradict each other over what a good person is, and if most people disagree with you on what a good person is, then what gives you the idea that your ideas are so good that everyone should adopt them? If your that smart where are the good fruits that have come from your intellect? It seems to me that to tell others what their morality should be you would have to be either God or the smartest most perceptive person alive.
*You are responsible to do that which is good for everyone. You may not accept that responsibility, but what you decide to do will have an impact on others. I wish to live in a world where we indeed care about each other and do our best to make this world as good a place as we can. It is only by virtue of our trying to do so that our world becomes a better place. The more people who try, the better off we are. The more that people don’t try, the worse off we are. All the good in my life, and even my own existence, has been made possible by humanoblasts. And humanoclasts have hindered us from having the kind of life that would be so much better.
How have you the right to tell me my own responsibilities? Who gave you this authority? What makes you an expert in this matter? This sounds to me to be a very liberal attitude. I believe in your sincerity, I think you want to do good based off of your conception of what good is, but you think your wiser about how people should be conducting themselves then people themselves. I dont think you are that smart, I dont think that I'm that smart, and I think that of all the goods that I do know about the only one I have a right to judge is the good that is good for myself. I dont know whats best for others, and I dont think that you do either.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 37
*Well, you may well have a point, that there is lack of clarity with regard to this. It has to do with the kind of motivation we are talking about. I associate “owe” with the concept of an agreed upon contract, in which A says he will do X for B, if B will agree to do Y for A, and B agrees to the contract. When A does X, B owes doing Y. But I’m not talking about an agreed-upon contract. I’m talking about a fact that what we do has an effect on others and that it is through cooperation that we have lives that are as good as they are. It is the motivation to chip in and help because one appreciates and values what has been accomplished by others, especially since one has benefited so much from their doing so.
How is what your saying different then what is already happening? People by adopting this attitude are not going to come up with new technology or aid progress. People "chip in" and "help" by pursuing their own seperate interests regardless of how it effects everyone else. The more were concerned about how what we say effects others the more we censor our thougths, the more we are concerned about others judgement of us the less were willing to try different things. The more we want to pull people together and create "good" people the more we hard that wonderful individuality which is to thank for all we have.
*Yes, it’s good to clarify how words are being used. I am using “society” as a general term referring to any group that one can be a member of. The Charlotte Folk Society is an example. The United States is an example.
Alright, but you have been using society in a context here. What society are you trying to chip in to help? Which society that we identify as a group? That is a fine definiton of soceity as used overall, but it doesnt get at what your self identified group you refer to on this post. Does your concept of society seperate groups that someone opts to join and those one has no choice about. I for instance didnt choose to be white or American, I did choose to be Libertarian and a part of this philosophical group. I am assuming that your definition of society does not destinguish.
*I’m talking about the performers.
Alright, I misunderstood.
*Producing good music.
Voluntarily, for their own self satisfaction.
*No, they perform their roles and work cooperatively to produce something that could not be produced by one person
For their own self satisfaction. They have no obligations in this matter. They arent doing this for the good of the band. If the band sucks, the members leave. This is not altruism. This is not an example of what I'm talking about. The good of the band is not the purpose behind the members joining the band. No one had to become a member of this philosophical system you espouse and talk them into joining. The good the overall band gets is not gained by the cost of the individual members happiness. Everyone in that situation wins.
*The final idea is often some agreed-upon amalgamation of the ideas of individuals.
Yes and that is a compromise. Pure progress never comes from compromise. Actions taken by groups can be compromise, but pure inventions which leads to actual progress is never a compromise. Inventors dont compromise vision, they dont have to because inventions are created based off of logical utility or use. Incidentally it is no accident that I have noticed in the world of art that all of the best art is almost always produced when it is left up to the hands of the individual creater not having to compromise his vision. That is why books are almost always better then movies. The best movies are created by the directors who are given the most leeway in making the films. The most imaginative films are indi films far removed from beurocratic Hollywood studios. Law making is different, but law making is not progress or creation. We give politicians credit and admiration for rules they lay down. They deserve none. They create no progress. Only individuals create progress. The further removed decisions are taken from the individuals themselves the worse off are the results. Implementation itself is a different story and you keep overlaping implementation (done by groups) with ideas (always created by individuals). The idea is not an agreed upon amalgamation, the implementation of the idea is agreed upon by the group.
*I think for any group there are some common goals. That is why they are a group, rather than just a bunch of individuals.
Every group is a bunch of individuals. If not for individuals there would be no group. You have to start at the idea of individuals without losing that idea. You cant understand groups unless you realize first that they are composed of individuals. Most groups consist of individuals who want some result and compromise with the majority to get the results they seek. The two major political parties in this country consist of all types of factions, many of whom are completely opposed to each other but yet reside in the same group. Blue Dog Democrats are nothing whatsoever like Progressive Democrats. In the other direction, Conservative Republicans have totally seperate goals then Libertarian Republicans. All groups use the group as a vehicle for their own means. The bigger the group, the further the common elements in the group disagree. The world's Mormons are far more in agreement and unity then the worlds catholics. Why? Because there are far fewer of them. The larger the group, the more they stray from the individuals who make them up, the more the unity which made that group a group in the first place is lost. The more the unity of the group is lost, the more they stray from effectiveness is getting things achieved together. This is why "Democrats" dont achieve anything, only the Democrat in charge achieves what he wants. When the group gets big enough and powerful enough, it is even more about lack of cohesion in achieving things together. At that point it becomes yet again a vehicle for the achievement in the goals of a powerful individual. First and foremost a group based around ideology is a label and less an attempt to achieve with unity common goals. People become lost in labels and lose their way.
*That doesn’t follow.
I'm showing humility in saying I dont know whats best for someone elses children. I dont know the minds of children so I dont know.
*So we agree.
This decision must be decided by a group in authority.
*What do you mean by the word “should”? Doesn’t that contradict what you have said? Haven’t you said that I should not believe that I should?
No I havent said that. I didnt say anything about what you decide about what you "should" do. That is your decision to help him or not help him. I'm saying you shouldnt do it because its your responsibility or duty. It should give you satisfaction and the benefits need to outweigh the costs. That is if you want to be a person of self esteem. If you dont, that is your call. I never said what you should or shouldnt do, thats your decision, what I'm talking about is what in my opinion is "survival" centered behavior. To help some one from a sense of feeling obligated to, or feeling its a duty you have to carry out, is to undermine your own existence for the sake of someone elses. That is action which centers around lack of self worth. However, its your call. I dont believe in idea that ethics are universals. They are guidlines. Bad ethics are going to cost you, the responsiblity of them rests on you, not on me.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 38
*You seem to see the possibilities as two: Either you care only about yourself and care nothing about others, or you care only about others and nothing about yourself. Humanianity says the REUEP applies to everyone, and that includes yourself. The heart and the lungs work together. One without the other will die.
The actions themselves center around your self satisfactions, or others self satisfactions. Its not that you dont care about others, its that you care about them selfishly. Honestly. Not due to altruistic duty. That isnt the same as not caring. You care about others based off of how you honestly feel about them. You can feel honest empathy for a total stranger. You could feel total empathy for someone you know personally. You shouldnt be dishonest about your instincts or needs is my point. You shouldnt let the pressures of others moralities dictate your conduct. And the heart and lungs are different then are people relations with each other. If you die I go on. We are not all in this together. My survival doesnt depend on you. Many people trapped on desert islands have survived. There was no society to aid them. They survived through their own ingenuity.
*It is your judgment that the man is a nobody. There is also the issue as to what Myke makes himself into by being concerned for someone else and being willing to share a little of the suffering.
He makes himself into a punching bag for no good reason that is what he makes himself into. Now he's hungry, this person who has less worth then him is eating his food, and the conditions of neither of them have changed. Tommorow the man still is homeless, Myke still has all he ever did, the conditions of neither have changed. The whole thing is really dumb. He felt a sort of guilt in not helping this total stranger who had less worth then him. By worth I mean that Myke has more resources and more ways of influencing the lives of more people for the better then this stranger. This is the silly behavior that altruist guilt leads to. No one's lives were improved, everyone has lowered there own self esteem and self worth. The bum has lost his self esteem by accepting the fact that he cant feed himself, Myke has lost his self esteem by giving up his worth forth the worth of a lesser value. In this case of altruistic stupidity everyone loses.
*Of course no situation is that simple. But obviously you would not have been a firefighter going into the WTC.
Untrue. I have nothing but respect for those firefighters. They were not practicing altruism. If they had killed themselves to save anothers life that would have been altruism. They did not give up their lives for a lesser value. Altruism is giving up a greater value for a lesser value. Since the individual is the greatest value, to give up the cause of the individual to the cause of a group you have practiced altruism by handing over the greatest value to the lesser value. The firefighters did not give up their lives to save the lives of a greater majority, there was no sacrifice, so there was no altruism in that particular instance.
*I’m trying to convert you.
Yes you are. Because you feel you know more about what my morality ought to be then I do.
*I want everyone to adopt mine.
That is an arrogant attitude. You must be saying you know more then others about what they ought to feel is right or wrong. How do you justify your rationality as being so much better then mine or anyones?
* I want them to work with each other to try to discover the best ways of implementing the REUEP.
In other words, just like Objectivist thinkers, you want everyone to conform and think just like you. To develop your standards of right and wrong. I dont think your qulified to make that assertion. Individuals decide on ethics and ethics are not absolutes. If someone adopts a poor ethical stance, they pay for that viewpoint by receiving bad results. One persons idea of "good" should not dictate another persons concept of "good". We are living this life of "absurdism" ( a word for our condition rightly defined by Albert Camus) without any real meaning. We develop our own ethics as individuals. Ethics are carried out and decided by individuals living this life and finding their own individual meaning inside of a meaningless universe. No one is more of an expert on "ethics" then anyone else. There is no expert on a correct conduct of living life because life have no overreaching meaning. Everything is completely obliterated. The only ethical postition is to conduct ourselves in such a way so that we extend our lives as long as possible, and that we dont try to dictate to each other how to live each others lives. No man is more of an expert on what is best for himself then himself. I understand that others views can give a person greater perspective on the puzzle of who he is, but no one will know himself overall better then he will about his own condition. This is the biggest disagreement I have with Objectivism. I dont want everyone to agree on a worldview, we never got anywhere from everyone agreeing. Everyone could be wrong. How many mistakes have been made because of the sentence "Well everyone knows." No, everyone doesnt.
*Ethics is primarily about the effect of one’s behavior on the group.
Ethics is about the best way of making sense of senselessness and leading a satisfying life. The burden of ethics is placed on every person. They either live a life of criticism and self assessment, or they join some group and find comfort in having faith in some doctrine.
*I wish you did.
I dont live for others. I live for my own existence. You want me to accept responsibility for others when I have no responsibility for them being born, or their life conditions, or their feelings for me. I accept no responsiblity for things that I didnt cause.
*I think if you were a member of the Mafia, others would endure bad consequences because of your ethical system.
Bad consequences are caused by aggression and force. Force is the cause of all of societies problems. Unjustified force that is. If force is not used to enhance freedom, then force should be done away with. The only just laws are laws that advance freedom. No bad ethical stance can be a bad stance for another person where force is not in some way invovled. Without force, anyone can walk away from bad moralities.
*When a good friend comforts you, you haven’t paid money for that.
I get much more satisfaction from a friend who comforts me then a stranger. A friend has more selfish love invested then a stranger. The more I judge a person and their character, the more I feel for a person I know personally. It would be hard to care for a serial killers suffering as opposed to the suffering of a loyal friend. A stranger may feel an obligation to care, my friend is far more likely to care in a more heartfelt deep way.
*Of course?? What do you mean “of course”? How does it bend? Why? Should it? Were you unethical when it bent?
It bends because of applicatio consequences. Principals are guidlines, they are not universals. This is another way in which I disagree with the Objectivists. Actions should be judged based off of their consequences not off of principals. I adhere to non aggression in such situations whereby it leads to more freedom. If freedom and happiness is best achieved through a little aggression, then the ends justify the means. I dont believe that ethics are universals an
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 39
Absolutes. Ethics are trumpet by survival, principals lead to ethical conduct, ethical conduct contributes to surviving and thriving. Never should survival be overtaken by ethics. Ethics depend on circumstances. If it were a univeral that every time someone aggresses against another in any form, then I would say that taxation is always wrong. If taxation is always wrong then I cant create a national means of defense. If I cant defend the country my freedom can be taken away by invaders. If my freedom is taken away, what the hell good did the none aggression do? I take it as a principal that aggressing against another is a bad idea. If my survival is my prime motivation this means that aggression is objected to in any situation where the means dont justify the ends. Principals are ideas we work towads, they are not applicable in every situation. Objectivist's believe that a libertarian is an amoralist. Ayn Rand would have stated that I believe that all ethical systems are as valid as all others. That is not the case. Some systems are better then others, the burden is placed on the individual in my view not on the effects this places on society. This is very different from an Objectivist viewpoint. My ethical views on my own conduct are Objectivist, my ethical views on other peoples conduct are sort of existentialist, and my opinion on matters of implementation of this philosophical viewpoint in politics is Consequentialist Libertarianism. In my mind all these viewpoints are consistent and build on each other. I am unique in believing that though. I know of no one else who adopts this view, and I understand that most Existentialists were marxists and socialists. This to me is very inconsistent. I believe that Rand and all the existentialists were bad at applying principals unjustly to situations and treating them as universals. Principals are laid down according to the circumstances involved.
I don’t.
Conduct in war is different then conduct in society. The best rules are not the same when applied on a national scale. Killing innocent people is in no way justified on an individual level. On a national level such as war its often unavoidable.
*But why? Why not be a conscientious objector?
To every war? Do you believe 9/11 shouldnt have led to any action on our part? Is way never justified in your view? This I could see an altruist believing. When were aggressed against, just accept. Passivism can work "Situationally". If the jews in nazi Germany had done sit ins like the blacks in the sixties, do you believe it would have taken away nazi anti semitism? No it would not. Lots of people would have died. The situation was different.
*Why??
Because they lead to different outcomes. Ethics are not universals. They depend on the situation.
*Why?
Because its a nation against a nation. Circumstances change and rules to aid survival change.
*I am swimming in confusion. What is the line of reasoning?
Consequencialist. You're thinking like an Objectivist, applying ethical standards universally to all situations. That is not practical.
*I thought you were maintaining there is no such thing as a group. I think progress does come from us, working together cooperatively, making use of each other’s ideas and coming to agreements as to how to implement them.
I never said that groups didnt exist. I said that "society" doesnt exist. Groups ultimately are individuals. Implementation of ideas does come from groups often, but progress shouldnt be ascribed to these groups because progress cant come from the implimentation of nothing. The idea is where it starts. Ideas are the seed which leads to implimentation. If a group impliments the idea of an individual innovater, the group shouldnt get credit for the benefits accrued from the idea. The individuals who impliment it do so for their own self interest usually. The person who came up with the idea to be implimented should get the credit. The group is a tool of implimentation, it is a means to an end, if it loses some members it gains others. Your brain is to thank for your actions. Implimenting good ideas leads to success. You should look up to the implimentation of the "idea" not just blind implimentation. Ideas which are carried out lead to progress, but the idea is what matters. How could you thank the workers? They can be replaced. The "group" is anonymous in the task. They impliment and maintain, they are not the cause. The cause is what matters.
*I never said that individuals did nothing and made no contributions.
Individuals make all contributions. Groups impliment ideas arrived at by individuals. Individuals are responsible for progress. You seem to want to aspire progress to the maintainers in society. The progress is the idea. The implimentation is the maintinence of the idea put in play. This is like the leftists who believe that the workers of a company should run the company. The brains of the operation should run the company. The workers maintain the implimentation of the ideas. They dont hold responsibility for progress, they are tools implimenting progress. Workers who create execute the ideas are simply workers, they would work for the sake of old ideas or new ideas. If you feed yourself the right types of food and you get healthy. Are you going to credit your body or your conduct? Your body would do the work anyway. Workers would do the job one way or another. The credit rests with ideas and not with implimentation.
*But that person quite possibly could not have come up with that innovation without the dialogue and stimulation of thought provided by others in the group. And such innovation is always an outgrowth of an enormous amount of thinking and knowledge contributed by other people, especially as provided through formal education.
"In the group" Which group? Its provided by individuals. Groups are not responsible for progress gleaned from ideas. Ideas come from individuals. All contributions are contributions made from thoughts that came from individuals. The groups that may supply an idea, even if it comes from a group hypothetically, got the idea that it is transmitted from a person. You could pump all kinds of knowledge into a persons head, he could walk around with this stuff bouncing around his cranium for the rest of his life. Unless he sorts through this information "on his own" he wont come up with any contributions which the rest of us will use. The group transmits data which was provided by individual initiative, or they impliment the ideas of an individual, or they maintain. They are not the "cause" of progress. They are the cause of societies maintainance.
*I think it is more accurate to say that “revolutionary” refers to a group process.
Anything that is revolutionary is carried out by a small minority who acts against the wishes of the largest group. Revolutionary ideas like all ideas come from individuals. I hate to sing the same old tune, but absolutely all ideas of any kind are to be ascribed to individual thought. Implimentation and maintainance are all that anyone can ascribe to a group.
*No, not others. Everyone, including the self.
Every act done for others must include the self. Every act must include the self. Its impossible to do any act without involving the self. The point is the role the self is given in the conduct conducted.
*I use “rationality” as trying to be consistent with the rules of lo
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 40
As you currently understand them. You however are not a divine being. Your concept of ethics is not perfect and applicable to all individuals because you dont know every individuals situation. Your rules of evidence are incomplete. With incomplete evidence how can you aspire to hope that everyone adopts your ethical stance? Life is absurdist, you are in a situation which provides no way of giving you complete and perfect knowledge.
*Yeah, and I wish it weren’t so darned complicated implementing that drive.
?
*You mean that’s why God gave them the feelers? Or do you mean they decided it would be a good idea to have them? I think they just happened to turn out to be useful, so those born with them survived and produced more of the same.
I dont believe in God. I think that they have them because it was evolutionarily advantagious. It aided survival. Before they had the feelers, the only way to get by was to bump into things and be consumed, or bump into other organisms and be consumed. This is a poor way to survival. All of everything comes back around again to living things trying to sustain their state of life for as long as possible.
*I think you are attributing thought processes to things that are not usually thought of as thinking.
You are wrong. I'm ascribing action to things which dont have thought processes. The need to survive is deeper then thought is.
*I would not say it that way. In fact, there is much slow suicidal behavior. Look at how we eat.
We eat that way because of the prefrontal cortex and complicated thought processes. We eat that way do to hedonistic behavior. This behavior has overrided our basic need to survive. This is because of "society", the same one you keep refering to.
*How are you using the term?
I'm saying that the term is bendable. I'm not concerned with how I'm using the term, I'm not talking about the way that I apply the term. What worries me is the way that people who adopt the term to back up their own ethical systems use the term.
*That is not the usual meaning.
What is the usual meaning then? How is it discerned from what I'm saying. I am talking about Inductive logic. Deductive logic rests on premises. The only way to understand the outcome of actions is to match up present actions with past actions. If you dont do that then you would have to act on whims or notions.
*What do you mean by “intuition”?
Feeling. How something strikes you. When someone rubs you the wrong way, thats intuition. It helps to make decisions quickly which aids survival. Relying on only reason would mean it would take us forever to act.
*There could be other mechanisms than suicidal intention producing that behavior.
The behavior is suicidal.
*Rumination feeds depression and depression feeds rumination. Its a chicken and egg scenario.
*I think it is most related to punishment of children.
If children are not punished, children become spoiled.
*Well I’m concerned with yours.
You dont have mine. You only have your own experience.
*I know what you are talking about. It has to do with the mind-body problem that I am working on. But I don’t come to the same conclusions.
You are alone ultimately. Born alone and destined to die alone. This is the human condition. Your own experience is all that you have. Your knowledge of what I tell you is my experiene is only your own experience.
*My experience includes you. And what I want is what I want while I’m alive. And I want you to have a satisfying life and to help others to have a satisfying life.
I am working to achieve a satisfying life. I have to achieve that on my own. If you were to do all my classwork for me, I think I would be more satisfied.
*We vote on representatives because of the programs that we think they will vote on, called representation.
Exactly. And they do what they want. You are not invovled.
*Actually, I don’t usually vote, because I know how little I know. But occasionally I have, because I have thought that the person would vote on programs that would be consistent with how I think the world should be.
Yes, but you have no say so in the matter. The decision does not rest with you.
*I think it does. The more popular some idea is, the more that politicians feel obligated to vote for programs consistent with it.
This is not an obligation. Obama has recieved hell for his socialist leanings, he has not budged one iota in his agenda. The same applied to Bush. Public outcry against his policies was enormous, he did not budge an inch.
*And where did they get it from?
Other individuals. All knowledge comes from individuals.
*Shouldn’t everyone who had something to do with it get some credit?
No.
*But you don’t seem to have an awareness that each of those individuals is imbedded in groups that strongly affect the individual. Individuals are to a great extent products of groups, e.g., the family group.
I read a book the other day which illustrate that the school of philosophy you are reflecting is the school of Naturalism. You have a Naturalistic viewpoint. Here is the excerpt from the book:
"Psychologically, the whole of the Naturalist movement rode on the premise of volition as on an unidentified, subconcious "stolen concept." Choosing "society" as the factor that determines man's fate, most of the Naturalists were social reformers, advocating social changes, claiming that man has no volition, but society, somehow, has."
This sounds to me to be exactly what it is your saying. Everything you have said thus far sounds to my ears like it takes away responsibility from individuals and places it on Parents, or Society, or Groups or anything other then the person themselves. We have to remould ourselves by the way we raise our children. Bad adults are due to incorrect parenting. Suicide is not due to the individuals thought processess or worldview, it is due to guilt brought about through punishment. Individuals to a great extent are products of groups. Absolutely they are not. To say that takes away all free will and volition from an individual. Individuals make choices for themselves individually, the choices an individual makes are on his own head and the responsibilities for the outcomes rest of him. His behavior rests on him. We are not the products of parenting, society, punishment or groups. Jeffrey Dahmer had a nice normal childhood. The same goes for Ted Bundy. We cannot ascribe the actions of these people to outside influences. There are none to ascribe. The instinct was natural (brought about by nature), the actions were brought about by free will and volition, and the consequences rest of their head. Society is not to be blamed for monsters such as these, and it is not to be thanked for successes such as Thomas Jefferson. The best educated and most successful in our society were not men who were taught in the best schools. They were men who were self educated. Man is not created by his society, he has a self made soul. He's not a product of culture, he is able to sculpt his own figure. The greatest of all advice a man can be given is the statement "Make Yourself!"
*But all of that is group interaction.
No. The group is individuals interacting.
*But as a group they decide to decide that way.
No as indviduals some people cave in on principals surrendering their wants to the majority. It is a democratic process. For some there is total cost. There is no group decision, groups dont decide, groups implement.


vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 41
*No, it would be where they all agreed as to how they would make the decision.
That is the process whereby the majority gets what it wants and the minority gives up what it wants. If it were a "group" decision, and if groups decided issues, then the whole group would have to be in aggreement. The group impliements decisions made by the majority. If there is dessent in the ranks of the group them the group didnt aggree, if the group didnt aggree then the whole group didnt decide, that means that the decision rests with the majority of the group. Therefore the group didnt decide, the majority decided, this is all just an example of Democracy, and groups dont make decisions.
*Compromise is a group decision. You can’t conceive of compromise (with its usual meaning) without considering a group of two or more people.
There is no such thing as a group decision. The only way there could be a group decision is if everyone aggreed to it. If anyone disagrees, it is not a group decision. Just because you go along with something does not make the decision yours. If your boss tells you to come in at two, and you want to come in at three you still come in at two. You didnt decide between each other. You caved in to your boss. The same applies to a group. The majority wins. The decisions always ultimately end up in the hands of one or few or the majority. The group does not decide. It impliments. Its even individuals who decide how the process to decide how things are decided is reached. Just because compromise takes place inside of groups does not mean that the group is compromising as a group.
*Unclear.
People have free will. They are responsible for their own actions. They are not products of society.
*You’re speaking as if it is impossible to benefit in one way and lose out in another.
That's what your asking not me. You were the one who said, "Doesnt everything cost?" I'm saying not everything costs. I'm not saying its impossible to lose because you make a bad decision or investment. Loss isnt a given in every transaction however. There are many transactions whereby both people gain over losses. I have a hard time with coming to the conclusion if a person comes away with a net benefit that they have somehow lost.
*Most of what I do has nothing to do with an effort at survival.
If you think about it I think that every minute of the day you are doing something which consists in your trying to survive. Your always breathing. "Survival" You eat throughout the day. "Survival" You sleep half the day. "Survival" You get rid of waste. "Survival" You make money somehow. "Survival" At the end of everything a man does (unless he's an altruist or a hedonist) there is survival waiting as an excuse. You think that your actions dont revolve around survival because technology has advanced to such a degree that we have leisure time. We can lose focus of the fact that we are trying to survive.
*It seems like I ought to be able to make that decision for myself.
I agree, you can I'm speaking in the idea of idealistic abstracts. I dont mean you as in "you" personally.
*Seems like he ought to have that option. But to judge the ethics of doing so, one would have to try to predict the total set of outcomes of the behavior.
Yes, and we do this with every decision we make if were rationally. We cant do it, but we try to.
*But suppose it is important to me to do what I can to help others?
Then help others. I'm not against helping people. I'm against sacrificing a higher value to a lower value. There shouldnt be a cost which outweighs the benefits.
*I do.
Thats a good attitude to have.
*I don’t see the difference.
The difference being we are not all acting for the same things. We dont all have a common goal. Just because "My Country" decides to invade Iraq, does not mean that I am to be held responsible for the actions of "the nation". I am an American due to a label placed on me. I am not an American because I'm a product of the country. I dont act the way I act because I'm white, but because I have volition. My anger is not due to punishment, I'm often angry but my parents were very lenient when I was a child. That is an inaccurate phrase to state were all in this together because were not all trying to achieve anything together. Were all here at once by coincidence. We arent working together to achieve some abstract goal for each other. I certainly dont want us to either. I want us all to get out of each others way. I want liberty expanded and I want individuals to be held accountable for their own actions. (As long as they are adults) I want everyone to realize they arent all in this together, that we are not products of anything but ourselves, that we can achieve our own self perfection by our own initiative, and that we can sculpt our own sculpture. I dont want you to think like me, I just want you to question your premises. I think that you are bad mistaken. Its possible I'm the one who's wrong, but if that is the case you would have to convince me. I just hope that i'm not having a back and forth with someone who wont admit he's wrong if he is. I know that I might be wrong, I'm ready and unafraid to be proven wrong. I think you are to. I look forward to finally having these discussions in person.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,454
Vincent,
The fact that so far we have not been successful in implementing a certain idea in no way means that the idea is bad (or good). Democracy, especially constitutional democracy, is quite an improvement over totalitarianism. The fact that we still are not good at it does not mean the idea is bad. We have to change ourselves in order to have whatever system we are using work well. And that begins with child rearing. And that in turn begins with understanding. We have not gotten there yet.

The fact that certain ideas fail over and over and over again is a very valid indication that they rest on unsound principals.
Not necessarily. Perhaps incomplete principals. In order for us to become very different socially, we will have to modify drastically our basic model of child rearing.
Altruism at its base does not have different varieties. The outlook is still the same no matter what the implimentation is. Democracy is totalitarianism.
This is using words differently than their normal usage.
There is only the difference in who tells everyone what to do.
You seem to consider only the two extremes of absolute independence and absolute obedience. There is also the possibility of individuals benevolently working out procedures which, if followed, will produce a better life all.
Totalitarianism wants the decision to rest with the state, pure Democracy wants the decision to rest with the majority of the public. Either way someone in the system is forced into complying with someone elses wishes. There is only the difference on who decides what is best. We are very fortunate that this country was not founded on principals of Democracy and we are very unfortunate to have the word become so saintly in recent times when Democracy is such an awful thing.
I understand that we have a constitutional democracy, not just one where everything is determined by majority vote. But the basic difference is that our system of government is a contract that we have agreed to go by, pertaining to everyone, as opposed to our being subject to the wishes of whoever is most powerful and able to kill the most people.
The same goes for faith. I'm beginning to feel the same way about hope (only as pertains to hope in the afterlife). I think hope in the outcomes of actions on this earth are healthy and make life worth living, hope in a life after is very neurotic and unhealthy. These ideas are influenced by Albert Camus's philosophy of Absurdism which is a branch of Existentialism.
Again, I think I know where you are coming from. I have observed that belief in an afterlife, while having some very good benefits, also tends to distract us from what is most important, namely, how we should treat each other now.

It is part of our basic animal nature. But we can do better than that.

Your instinct is your true God. It must be followed. It must be followed with a mind projected into actions centered into future outcomes. Cause and effect thinking. Man cant worship the immediate fulfillment of whims, but he can work to achieve his pleasures from a rational perspective. I'm not saying all men should be like this, I'm saying that to be successful in getting what you want this is the best ethical philosophy to follow.
I think that we agree to a great extent, but that we use different languages. For instance, you are using phrase "cause and effect thinking." This is an undefined phrase in our discussion. It is not a phrase that I would use. If you read my chapter on "Basic Concepts: Determinants of Behavior," I think you would see what you are talking about discussed in great detail, and you would probably agree.

Anger is produced by certain problems. It is an indicator of the existence of a problem. What it motivates us to do, however, is quite different from what actually works best. You could try reading the chapter on Rational-Ethical Anger Prevention at http://www.HomoRation...­

Not neccessarily. Problem is personal to. Some things make some people angry which will have no effect on other people. I think that anger can be an indication of a problem, but continuous anger could also just indicate a worldview. Thats like saying when coming back to suicide that all suicides arise because of some concrete problem. Most do, but some people just have depressive thoughts and worldviews which leads them to commit the act. Everyone is different, and life is not that clear cut.
I am not sure what you are disagreeing with. Indeed, I believe that many people have a depressive worldview, that has been produced by their experiences in childhood, primarily through the use of formal and informal punishment. I say "primarily," because the issues are quite complex.

The sun functions the same no matter what we do. But we have to work hard and skillfully and wisely in order to have our society be good for us, and we are that society. We have to make ourselves into good people that in turn create a good society that in turn helps us to be good people.

You have to clarify this since you specified the word society. Do you mean this philosophical society? This country? This state? This messageboard? Which society are you refering to?
All of them.
Since the decisions on laws and public policy for this country (which are created by legislatures) make the decisions how do you play a part in changing behavior when you cant create the laws. I'm talking on the level of this country. If you arent making progress through innovations how are you improving the public? Your not creating laws and your not making progres and you havent defined the word "good".
In the field of ethics, it would be consistency with the REUEP, namely, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species, but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future.
Good based off of your conception of how everyone else ought to think? What criteria is it which makes a person good in your eyes?
How consistent their behavior is with the REUEP.
I think that progress is good, I think that laws which inhance freedom are good, I think that independence is good. I think that happiness is the ultimate good.
And I would consider "happiness" to mean as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible.
How are you going to effect "society" (in whichever way you mean that word in this particular instance) for the better?
By behaving as ethically as possible, and thereby having as good an effect as possible within my sphere of influence.

(Continued in next post)
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