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

HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 30
A "Group" does not decide. An individual who heads the group desides, or perhaps a compromise is agreed upon by the members in the group, but the group decides nothing. Just as society contributes nothing, neither does a group decide anything. Chistmas presents are exchanged between individuals. And sometimes even then many of us dont like what we get.
Every little bit of effort to make the world a better place has a fair chance of helping to do so.
We would have to really specify exactly which suffering people we are talking about here.
Why no more?
Because who has the authority to decide when enough is enough? And why would you provide more then the neccessities when all the evidence that has been done in recent years shows that a great many people can live perfectly happy lives as long as they have the neccessities to do it. Why would I assume that giving anyone above the essentials will lead to their life satisfaction? Many rich people kill themselves and many impoverished people lead long fulfilling lives.
-Why?
Because its done as a duty and not a pleasure. Because its self defeating instead of self uplifting. Because it makes others the ends of means instead of the self as the ends of means, which is a metaphysical impossibility. You must be the end of your own actions. They are your actions!! You own yourself and you and I have a lot to accomplish. We have one life to live. Why sacrifice my property (my life) to a cause I am not responsible for? Figuring out the puzzle of myself is in and of itself a hard enough goal. My goal is to understand the wonderful puzzle that is me and to make myself happy. Other peoples problems are their problems. If it gives me satisfaction I will help, but not at a cost to myself.
*Okay, most people vs very few people?
Accepted. I would much rather have people care for one another as opposed to the opposite. I wish that local communities were more involved in helping others in the community like they used to be, and not as they are now.
*But I don’t understand how the destruction would occur.
Because if man is not an end in and of himself, he is the end of something other then himself. This he gives his life up to will overtake him and destroy him. If not bodily, then mentally or spiritually.
*Do you feel an obligation to engage in that cooperation and mutual exchange? Why would you do it?
No obligation. Because I get selfish satisfaction from it. Not for any type of obligation.
*No, I want our species to undergo the third exponential change and become very different than it always has been so far. I am talking about going forward, not back. Do you want to be one of those who help us to move forward or who cause us to go or remain backward. Which people are more likely to help us move forward, those who try or those who don’t? I want to be a humanoblast, not a humanoclast. What about you?
I want progress and I want innovation and I want open mindedness. I want us to move forward, but the mindset of the majority needs to change. We need to start looking for ways of changing the dialogue away from the needy towards the strong and successful. I want to see people admire true achievement, new ways of thinking. I want the next phase of human development to emphasize strength, perfection, individuality, self sufficiency and beauty. I want the majority of people to turn their eyes away from what is weak, and focus on what is strong. Then I want the weak to aspire to whats strong, inventive, unique, and progressive. I wish that we would lay credit upon the doorstep of the men who move us ahead of our comfort zone. We need to build a bridge into this brave new world, but we cant do it by concerning ourselves with failure or tragedy. Man needs to become a heroic ideal, a divine being, not a lamb led to the slaughter of the mindless hordes.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,443
Vincent,

Tell me the definition of the word altruism.
One among several: “Altruism is a motivation to provide something of value to a party who must be anyone but the self.” (Wikipedia)
That is the center of this worlds problems.
I can’t agree. I think it is anger.
The quickest way to understand where it is I am coming from is to understand my hatred and opposition to altruistic philosophies. I dont hate the altruists understand, only that philosophical viewpoint. The different altruistic and destructive movements and attitides that I feel are out there include faith based religions, patriotism, liberalism, green party politics, and environmentalism. Having said this briefly I'm sure that you can tell that there is little that I agee with which is shared by the majority of "society".
I have the same problem, but I have different beliefs than you do, I think.
And on top of all else, how do you define that word and how can a society be behind any action as a society.
Why not? Without Society we would not be here. Without Society we die.
The reaosn we dont is that we couldnt possible owe something to an entity which does nothing for us in any purposeful way. Society didn't "give" you anything, you obtain benefits from society by circumstances you were born into. Society is not keeping you alive. Society does not care if you live or die.
I’m not following you. Food doesn’t do anything for us in a purposeful way and does not care if I live or die, but I still die without it.
If you die right now society would keep on going. Society doesnt care about individuals, society is indifferent. Without trees we wouldnt have oxygen. However, I dont feel that I owe trees anything.
If you cut them all down and use them for firewood, you will find out how important they are.
Without the sun I wouldnt have warmth and couldnt not live. I dont owe the son anything either. What makes society different then the trees, the sun, all the animals I eat to gain nutrients, my liver, or my lungs. I dont owe my lungs anything. They simply do what they do. I'm fortunate that they do, however, I dont owe them anything. You cant owe a vague construct like society anything. Society has done nothing "for" you, you have benefited from society by being fortunate, not because society cares.
I don’t think I said anything about owing society something. But we have to take care of trees and society if we want our species to thrive. If that is the goal, then we have certain obligations, certain things that it is ethical to do.

The parents are a part of Society, and represent Society to the child, right?
I would say that parents are a part of society, I am not sure I would agree that they represent society to the child. What if they were raising the child in a cult. That most certainly wouldnt reflect society. I think that just sort of depends on the individual circumstances.
They would be reflecting the society of the cult. They would be reflecting the subculture that they are a part of.

Okay, that is what I have meant by Society when I have used the term. How does that change anything?
It changes things because the individuals in society do not act in concert.
I think there are many examples of them doing so. What about a rock concert?
They have different goals from each other.
Some similar goals and some different goals, don’t you think?
Society is nothing more then a label for a group of people that live in an approxiamte location on the globe.
I think that it includes their interdependence and cooperation.
Its a fuzzy concept. However, no one should really take to seriously concepts which state "society does....." because these people are not acting together. Only segments of society try to achieve results through causes.
I never meant to imply that there is only one, global society. I was referring to whatever society one is in.

Are not children individuals?
Yes.
When does the child learn to reason? Suddenly at 18?
That would depend on the child. Arent you a former psychiatrist?
A current one, semi-retired.
You would have a better answer to that question then me. I didnt mean a concrete age that was universal, but a child becomes responsible for actions when he becomes able to reason for himself.
What criteria do you use to come to that judgment about an individual, that he or she can “reason for himself”?

Used to be that at age 12 the child would leave the farm and go work in the city.
I dont quite see the connection between this statement and what it is I'm saying. I guess that would be custom for that time>?
We regard 12 year olds as children, but they are able to take on adult roles, so how are you defining “children”?
That is not the same as owing someone something.
So it is a binary choice? Parents can be divided into two groups, good parents and bad parents, right? And the child decides to which group his parents belong? Or is it settled in court?
I think it would be in cases where the parents were more destructive then they were constructive to the child. I have a hard time imagining a child being morally expected to admire a father who beat him or a mother who locked him away. Even if they did provide for the child, in cases of child abuse or neglect I have a hard time believing that the child could owe such a person anything. As far as settling this goes, I'm speaking idealistically and morally. These are principals I'm laying down. I'm not stating what is, but idealistically how it should be.
But what if the principles can’t be understood clearly?

You have self ownership. You have every right to skip getting an education if that is your choice. A man can commit himself to being a total zero in life if that is his wish, however, he is immoral if he is doing it by leeching off of someone else. If he finds a way to survive and contribute nothing, that is perfectly fine.
So he doesn’t ask for help and he is dying. We let him die? Can we really not intervene?

And therefore have to be taken care of by others?
Absolutely NOT!! You should only be taken care of by others if they choose to help you. In that case its fine. You have no right to take from people and live off of them.
And you will pay my medical bills?
No. You will pay your medical bills. Or you will get sick and die. That is your responsibility. A persons health is their own problem. You own your own body. You are responsible for the ill health you have as long as its due to your own neglect.
Do you think it is realistic for us to make the judgment about someone that he has decided to neglect himself so we will just let him die?

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,444
(Continued from previous post)

But why not?
Because it is deeply immoral to place another persons life as the end of your own. You must reduce yourself to a zero if you put someone else FIRST.
But this is not my position, nor do I think it is consistent with Humanianity.
However, life is not a zero sum game. People can help one another and both people benefit from the activity. It gives people a great deal of happiness helping others often, and if it leads to this type of satisfaction it is perfectly fine and moral. However, I will illustrate the difference by telling what a friend of mine did not too long ago. He saw a homeless hungry man along the side of the road and stopped to give him his lunch. Then my friend sat in class hungry. This is a good illustration. Helping others is fine, but not to the point where it is detrimental to yourself.
What did your friend think about it? Is it all that bad to be hungry for a while?
This is what altruist attitudes lead to. You end up being eaten up by less decent people then yourself. There should never be a cost which outweighs the benefit for you.
You would not give up your life to save 1000 people? Of course I recognize this as a bad example, because we would have to know the details, including all of the predicted outcomes of such behavior.
This is what I mean when I say rationally selfish. Selfishness is good as long as its rational and geared towards the long term. It cannot be irrational and whimsical.
I of course know that the Objectivists have gotten hold of you.
Drug use is selfish, however it is whimsical and irrationl (often times) and this leads to people being self destructive. People should lead rationally selfish lives. Altruism leads to self destruction. The altruist becomes eaten by cannibals. Altruist creeds abound in statements like, "Turn the other cheek", "Take up your cross and follow me." "Happiness comes from making other people happy." Jesus was the ultimate altruist. He is a good illustration. He was crucified. He is eaten in the eucharist. I am not trying to be offensive. I am illustrating my point. It is this type of philosophical outlook that is the reason the world is often in shambles. Nothing should ever come before your self or your ability to rationally reason things through. Not God, the environment, government, society, your friends.....nothing. I havent got one friend I love MORE then I love myself. I have one friend in particular who I love deeply....in a selfish manner. Its honest. I talk to her because it gives me pleasure, not because I feel that I should or because I'm obligated to. She is the same with me. That makes the friendship that much richer because it is honest. There are absolutely no obligations.
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.

Yes, it provides self-satisfaction to know that I am of help to others and doing my part to make the world a better place.
This is good.
But why do you say that? What is the evidence? What is the reasoning?
As I said either you live life selfishly, or you give it up to some bigger cause. This group then becomes more important then your own self interests. You are consumed by this cause if it becomes bigger then yourself. and then you lose valuable time you might spend improving your own condition on this planet for whatever this higher cause might be. Whenever you give up even a little bit of your identity to a group you lose a little bit of your individuality. Give your "survival" prorogative over to the group, and you become a suicidal punching bag. A lamb to be slaughtered. You become that cause or that groups victim. Greater causes always cause destruction. Terrorists love greater causes, as do politicians, cult leaders….
I think this is an overstatement. I think you are seeing only the bad in a mixture of good and bad.

The evidence to and reasoning to back up this statement is quite simplistic. Individuals are greater then groups
Greater how? Not with regard to capability.
and all real progress comes from individuals.
Individuals working together in groups, I maintain.
Groups impede progress if they get in the way of individuals.
That can happen too. I call it “cultural victimization.”
All advancements take place in individual minds
(interacting with other individual minds)
and are then ennacted. No group comes up with an idea together all at the same time.
No, but why is that relevant?
If a revolutionary idea comes around, you can pretty much bet it came from the cranium of the sole person who stood outside of the safety of the group.
What about “inside the safety of the group”? I would say that such ideas come about through teaching/learning, dialogue, and debate.

Sure! 99% of people are not as good as the 1% that are best. But what difference does that make?
As I just stated. Its like the late George Carlin once stated in one of his stand up comedy specials when talking about children. "Kids are like any other group of people. A few winners, A WHOLE LOT OF LOSERS." When blood clots in the body it ruins circulation. People are much the same way. Especially governmental groups. Any group resting on force, or faith based thinking. Faith and force get in the way of more progress then does anything else.
That is sounding very close to what I believe.

I don’t understand.
C Elegans is a small worm with a very miniscule brain. It functions with no mind to speak of, simply using instinct. Based off of its sense of smell it will clump together into small groups when it senses danger is near, or it will go it alone if no danger is sensed. It has absolutely no awareness that it is doing this. Its need for survival is adhered to without any knowledge or self concsiousness whatsoever. This instinct for survival is in us as well. Even a suicidal person fights against urges which lay far underneith his self loathing. The man who hangs himself will still grasp at the rope once he's hanging. We have a need to survive. Our principals that we come up with have the aim of allowing us to survive efficienty. EVERYTHING IS SURVIVAL WHEN YOU LOOK DEEPLY ENOUGH!! Surviving is what all animals on this planet, what all living things on this planet, are geared towards doing. When your life is on the line your morals go away. Your morals are directly related to your ability to survive comfortably and efficiently for you to carry them out. Unless of course your an altruist and then your life doesnt matter and you live a philosophy meant to wipe out your existince and turn you into a victim of mediocre parasites. Altruism takes away the man and leaves in his place a sacraficial lamb.
Sounds like you see only two alternatives. Humanianity is a third.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,445
(Continued from previous post)

I am not aware that there is such an instinct. Animals do have instincts, and most of these instincts, perhaps all, were acquired because they led to survival. But that does not mean there is an instinct for survival. What would such a term mean? We could imagine an animal (human or otherwise) that had a particular instinct which in one environment leads to survival and in another environment leads to non-survival. So is that instinct the instinct to survive? Only humans, probably, know about “survival,” and we acquired our instincts prior to such knowledge.
That is true. Animals survive based off of their survival instinct. In humans instincts are overtaken by cognitive processes. Humans have an instinctual drive to reproduce.
I disagree. They have an instinctual drive to have sex.
However, we temper our instinctual urges with conventions. Mankind is the only animal who does not use instinct to survive, even though he holds within him a survival instinct. Unicelled organisms have a survival instinct,
I don’t agree. They don’t know anything about survival.
man is a multicellular organism, and within the very structure of our cells themselves is the drive for continuation.
I don’t agree. No such thing has ever been demonstrated.
However, mans primary tool which he alone uses for survival is reason. Instinct is not what guides man's survival, his means of reasoning is. Unless of course he is in a fight or flight/kill or be killed type of situation. In that case his inner instinctual drives take over.
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.”

You may be right, but actually I don’t understand what you mean yet.
Our nice big prefrontal cortex and limbic system has led to suicidal behavior. Our reasoning ability has led to suicidal tendencies.
I don’t think so.
We ruminate and animals do not. Isnt it only whales aside from humans who commit suicide?
I haven’t thought about that. Are they considered to be committing suicide?
And I think that in their case its for altruistic reasons. BIG SURPRISE!! :) An animal would never think to commit suicide, it would never occur to an animal of the lower orders.
Yes, an animal would have to have the concept of ceasing to exist and a concept of how to bring that about.
When reason trumped the survival instinct, it brought suicide along with it.
When we learned about the possibility of committing suicide, then, I agree, that became an option.
We are trully interesting critters. Nothing in the world is like mankind. I really dont know where were heading. I hope I stay alive a long long time though, just to be able to watch where our species is headed.
I wish you would read my book about this issue, then.

I’m not sure about this.
I promise. When Mao instituted The Great Leap forward and socialized aggriculture in China, people ate each others children because they were starving. Try chowing down on some random guy in the street just cause. The idea would be much more tempting if you hadnt eaten in a month and a half. Morals cave in under tremendous pressure.
To each his own. In my mind it would have to do with which would lead to the greater good.
I would never commit suicide for the greater good. What happens after I die is totally irrelevent.
Not to others.
Ultimately all experience ends when you die remember.
Just all of your own experience, not mine.
So what in the world would you end all experience for? Even if it led to some type of greater good, you would never know it.
I would know it while I was doing it. Afterward, it would not mean anything to me, but it might to others.

I think we vote on programs to help the disadvantaged.
I think people vote away their own autonomy. It doesnt matter what we vote for. The decisions dont rest with us. The decisions rest with the people "voted on".
Not following you here.
We vote on people, these people do what they want with our money. We do not vote on programs.
Can’t agree.
And why in the world would we. If we believe in just causes we should enact them. We shouldnt leave them up to someone else.
Not following you.

And I think that you have not yet realized that there is nothing you can have and nothing you can do (beyond the exceedingly trivial) that does not require others having done their part.
You have it backwards. What others do is the extremely trivial. What I do for myself is the extremely important element here. Its my skills, knowledge and actions which lead to my success.
How did you acquire those skills and that knowledge?
If I dont apply these things I die!! Just as you said, but the other way around. Its man's individual ability to mold this planet into the image of his will that is the reason for mans survival. Its my, or any individual's, ability to make the unique with my own mind that is what carries along "society". Society would stagnate without individuals creating new innovations.
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.

Strange idea, it seems to me. They didn’t do it for you; they did it for someone else, but you got the benefit? How can that be?
They were performing the job itself for themselves in the first place. I have been personally helped by teachers yes, and because they cared, but its irrelevent. If its hadnt been that teacher it might have been another. If it hadnt been me as a student it might have been another student. They did the job in the first place because it gave them personal satisfaction. This works because for one person to benefit in an exchange it does not neccessarily mean that another person lost.
Agreed!
Life is not a zero sum game, and your neighbors success bears nothing on your own success.
Seldom if ever true, depending on who you mean by “neighbor.”

I don’t understand.
I mean judge the intentions of individuals since they are the agents of actions. Not groups.
I believe there are actions of groups that cannot be described as actions of individuals. All the individuals do there separate parts in order for the group to accomplish something that no one individual could accomplish.

Sort of like if someone gives you a Christmas present, then you owe them something in return, right?
Not in the least. An exchange of Christmas presents is a face to face exchange between individuals. We are speaking of groups.
Why can’t a group get together and decide to do something for another group?

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,446
(Continued from previous post)
A "Group" does not decide. An individual who heads the group desides, or perhaps a compromise is agreed upon by the members in the group, but the group decides nothing.
What about the group agreeing to decide by group vote?
Just as society contributes nothing, neither does a group decide anything.
I think Congress decides things all the time.
Chistmas presents are exchanged between individuals. And sometimes even then many of us dont like what we get.
True. But the relevance?

Why no more?
Because who has the authority to decide when enough is enough? And why would you provide more then the neccessities when all the evidence that has been done in recent years shows that a great many people can live perfectly happy lives as long as they have the neccessities to do it. Why would I assume that giving anyone above the essentials will lead to their life satisfaction? Many rich people kill themselves and many impoverished people lead long fulfilling lives.
-Why?
Because its done as a duty and not a pleasure. Because its self defeating instead of self uplifting. Because it makes others the ends of means instead of the self as the ends of means, which is a metaphysical impossibility.
Then why so much protesting and advocacy, if there is no other possibility anyway?
You must be the end of your own actions.
Who says? What does this even mean?
They are your actions!! You own yourself and you and I have a lot to accomplish. We have one life to live. Why sacrifice my property (my life) to a cause I am not responsible for? Figuring out the puzzle of myself is in and of itself a hard enough goal. My goal is to understand the wonderful puzzle that is me and to make myself happy. Other peoples problems are their problems. If it gives me satisfaction I will help, but not at a cost to myself.
Doesn’t everything cost? If you donate money, due to satisfaction in doing so, it still costs, doesn’t it?

Okay, most people vs very few people?
Accepted. I would much rather have people care for one another as opposed to the opposite. I wish that local communities were more involved in helping others in the community like they used to be, and not as they are now.
But I don’t understand how the destruction would occur.
Because if man is not an end in and of himself, he is the end of something other then himself.
Please define “end.”
This he gives his life up to will overtake him and destroy him. If not bodily, then mentally or spiritually.
What is the basis for this statement? Why can it not be that one benefits by contributing to the group?

Do you feel an obligation to engage in that cooperation and mutual exchange? Why would you do it?
No obligation. Because I get selfish satisfaction from it. Not for any type of obligation.
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.

No, I want our species to undergo the third exponential change and become very different than it always has been so far. I am talking about going forward, not back. Do you want to be one of those who help us to move forward or who cause us to go or remain backward. Which people are more likely to help us move forward, those who try or those who don’t? I want to be a humanoblast, not a humanoclast. What about you?
I want progress and I want innovation and I want open mindedness. I want us to move forward, but the mindset of the majority needs to change.
Yes.
We need to start looking for ways of changing the dialogue away from the needy towards the strong and successful.
Why?
I want to see people admire true achievement, new ways of thinking.
Don’t we already? I see a lot of that.
I want the next phase of human development to emphasize strength, perfection, individuality, self sufficiency and beauty. I want the majority of people to turn their eyes away from what is weak, and focus on what is strong. Then I want the weak to aspire to whats strong, inventive, unique, and progressive. I wish that we would lay credit upon the doorstep of the men who move us ahead of our comfort zone. We need to build a bridge into this brave new world, but we cant do it by concerning ourselves with failure or tragedy. Man needs to become a heroic ideal, a divine being, not a lamb led to the slaughter of the mindless hordes.
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.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 32
*One among several: “Altruism is a motivation to provide something of value to a party who must be anyone but the self.” (Wikipedia)
I appreciate the definition however this definition does not reflect what happens when a person actually practices altruism. The definition of Communism given by wiktionary is :1.An advocate of a society based on the common ownership of property. This however is never what happens in Communisms actual real world application. The same is true of altruism, which Communism espouses in its core by the way. The individual is lost to the needs of the group. There is a cost to the individual.
*I can’t agree. I think it is anger.
Do you really think that that is the center of the worlds problems? We have always had anger. If we evolved with the natural tendency toward anger isnt it likely that it is good for something. Of course the same could be said of altruism, but I could see the benefits of communistic communities before the advent of technology. Anger I think still has its uses. A disatissfaction and anger is behind a great deal of societal changes which are enacted for the better. If a person were removed from their ability to have anger they would never assert themselves from an aggressor. I really dont think that I can agree with this statement at all. It would need a great deal of illustration or clarification or both. What is your chain of reasoning here?
*I have the same problem, but I have different beliefs than you do, I think.
*To stand outside society and the mindset of the majority is a healthy sign of independent thinking. Originality never ever occurs because of groups.
*I’m not following you. Food doesn’t do anything for us in a purposeful way and does not care if I live or die, but I still die without it.
Thats true but you are talking about "giving something back" to society. Of "doing your part" for everyone. How would you give something back to the food you eat? How would you give something back to the sun, or do your part to insure its health? I think your mistaking fortunate circumstances for causes. Society has done nothing for you. Its just as responsible for your aliveness as the sun. Why arent you talking about giving something back to the sun? Because it would be a silly meaningless phrase. To my ears that how it sounds when we talk about giving something back to society. Its meaningless in just the same way.
*If you cut them all down and use them for firewood, you will find out how important they are.
Thats true, but it sidesteps the issue. Who is going to cut down all the trees? All of them? To compare you would have to say that I am talking about killing off all the people. That isnt the same thing. I said I dont owe trees anything. I dont owe the people in society anything either. I owe them their own autonomy and their right to be left alone. Just like the trees. However, trees dont kill themselves off due to irresponsible behavior. People do, however, it is not my responsibility to help them. Having self ownership means you are responsible for the consequences of your own actions, not that you are responsible for the actions of groups or society.
*I don’t think I said anything about owing society something. But we have to take care of trees and society if we want our species to thrive. If that is the goal, then we have certain obligations, certain things that it is ethical to do.
Here we are again with the word owe. If you dont mean to owe society something, what do you mean by the language your using because to my ears that is exactly what it sounds like your saying. If you dont mean that people have an obligation to help society what do you mean when you use terms like "give something back", "Do your part", "Without society we die", "There is nothing you can do except the trivial without society and others". All those phrases sound to me exactly like someone trying to convince me that I owe something back to the society which make it possible for me to live. Is this not what you have been saying? Am I missing something?
*They would be reflecting the society of the cult. They would be reflecting the subculture that they are a part of.
I imagined that you would say that one. There are different definitions of a society and this is the one that I meant: The people of one’s country or community taken as a whole. At what point is a group not a society in your mind? Or are all groups societies? This still doesnt change my beliefs about obligations, but we really should clear that up because it will muddle up the discussion if its not clear.
*I think there are many examples of them doing so. What about a rock concert?
People at a rock concert dont act in concert. They are must lumped together. What common goal are they achieving. It is not entirely accurate to say they dont sometimes act in concert. What I mean to illustrate is that when you really look at it they dont do think in a unified manner mentally. The ideas come from individual people who convince larger groups of people to act on those ideas. All original thoughts come from inside individuals. Thoughts dont come out of groups. We dont think of things together, especially not original thoughts.
*Some similar goals and some different goals, don’t you think?
Yes, but ultimately when looked at as one big group the goals dont match up.
*I think that it includes their interdependence and cooperation.
Alright, I'll swing with that.
*I never meant to imply that there is only one, global society. I was referring to whatever society one is in.
So do I. I dont mean a global society.
*A current one, semi-retired.
Your better educated then me.
*What criteria do you use to come to that judgment about an individual, that he or she can “reason for himself”?
This happens at different ages. Society tends to have two ages, which are 18 and 21 for adolescents reaching adulthood. In the other time that you mentioned perhaps the majority of children had a more mature mindset at an early age. This is an idealistic concept, like I said. Its not black and white implementable could make it happen in reality. Lets say 18 because society has set that age, and at least in this rare instance I'll consider society a better judge then myself.
*We regard 12 year olds as children, but they are able to take on adult roles, so how are you defining “children”?
By the way that the majority of people in our society use the term.
*But what if the principles can’t be understood clearly?
Of course they arent understood clearly now and cant be. Its not a simple or easy thing to answer. It should be decided by coarts and social service groups.
*So he doesn’t ask for help and he is dying. We let him die? Can we really not intervene?
If it would bother you to let him die, then intervene and help him. However, dont feel obligated to. No matter what the situation, he doesnt have a "right" to your money or help. That doesnt mean that you cant help him if you think you should.
*Do you think it is realistic for us to make the judgment about someone that he has decided to neglect himself so we will just let him die?
Yes I most certainly do. He has the right to ask for help. However, we have the right not to help if we opt not to. This of course is revolving around the issue of helping with money. A doctor will not refuse to help someone in an immediate life or death situation. The hippocra
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 33
*But this is not my position, nor do I think it is consistent with Humanianity
Well then explain it to me. Illustrate how I'm mistaken. I welcome the criticism.
*What did your friend think about it? Is it all that bad to be hungry for a while?
He's an altruist. He holds that position. He feels like he did the right thing. I'm simply illustrating that he lost out for the benefit of someone who there is no way to know anything about. He holds just as much of a chance of being on the street due to bad dicisions then he does to bad luck. Probably even more. Myke knows he himself has value. He holds no evidence of this mans worth at all. If he hadnt had to go hungry I would see nothing wrong with the action. He made him self suffer over a nobody. This to me is pretty silly.
*You would not give up your life to save 1000 people? Of course I recognize this as a bad example, because we would have to know the details, including all of the predicted outcomes of such behavior.
No I wouldnt. You are right, what if the 1000 people were nazies. But that is beside the issue. If they were all saints I wouldnt either. My life holds more value then 1000 anonymous people. It most certainly does to me. And if the tables were turned and someone said you must kill 1000 people or die yourself, I would opt for the thousand to die.
*I of course know that the Objectivists have gotten hold of you.
My argument in this discussion is pretty much exactly the same as what an Objectivist would argue. I agree with Objectivist ethics completely. However, I was headed in this direction on my own, but I cant say I would think in this manner if it were not for Objectivist influence. I am NOT an Objectivist however. I consider the philosophy when taken as a whole to be pretty dangerous. I am closer to an amoral person when looking at other peoples moral beliefs. I think that altruism is every bit as destructive as I have said, however, if you believe it then its not like it does me harm. It does you harm. Only force to me is immoral. An objectivist would argue that thoughts themselves should be moral. I dont hold that view at all. A person must choose their own morality. I am in this discussion not to convert you, but because its giving me pleasure and entertainment. I dont think that everyone should adopt my personal philosophy. I want people to develop their own moral systems. Morality is a personal matter irrelevent to the group. I dont care what people overall morality does to society. A bad morality will lead to bad consequences to the person who follows it. 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.
*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. 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. Even though I usually dont believe in sacrificing life and autonomy for a group, its an exception in view for me when its military. I dont think the same kinds of rules of morality can apply on that scale. 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. 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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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. 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 disagree. They have an instinctual drive to have sex.
Alright I stand corrected. I misspoke. I know I certainly have this instinctual drive myself.
*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. They dont know anything about survival. That is my point. The need to survival is far deeper then reason or cognition.
*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.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 34
*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. 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. 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. 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 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.
*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. But I think its tied in also to a hedonistic trend emphasized by cultures influnece on our lymbic systems.
*I wish you would read my book about this issue, then.
Maybe one day, I dont have the time now.
*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. 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 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.
*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.
*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?
*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.
*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.
*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.
*I believe there are actions of groups that cannot be described as actions of individuals. All the individuals do there 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.
*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.
*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.
*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. A group decision would be where they all agreed. 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.
*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.
*Who says? What does this even mean?
It means that another person shouldnt come before yourself. I am speaking of self ownership.
*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.
*Please define “end.”
Point. Purpose. Ultimate Goal. Everything must center back upon the self and its survival as the primary purpose behind action. Other peoples influences or wants shouldnt take priority over your own self assessment and security. Other people dont come first.
*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.
*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.
*Why?
Because keeping our heads in the gutter by focusing on the trajedies and failures in life distracts us from our true capabilities.
*Don’t we already? I see a lot of that.
Not half as much as we should. We dont appreciate originiality.
*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.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,448
Vincent,
One among several: “Altruism is a motivation to provide something of value to a party who must be anyone but the self.” (Wikipedia)
I appreciate the definition however this definition does not reflect what happens when a person actually practices altruism. The definition of Communism given by wiktionary is :1.An advocate of a society based on the common ownership of property. This however is never what happens in Communisms actual real world application. The same is true of altruism, which Communism espouses in its core by the way. The individual is lost to the needs of the group. There is a cost to the individual.
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.

I can’t agree. I think it is anger.
Do you really think that that is the center of the worlds problems? We have always had anger. If we evolved with the natural tendency toward anger isnt it likely that it is good for something.
It is part of our basic animal nature. But we can do better than that.
Of course the same could be said of altruism, but I could see the benefits of communistic communities before the advent of technology. Anger I think still has its uses. A disatissfaction and anger is behind a great deal of societal changes which are enacted for the better. If a person were removed from their ability to have anger they would never assert themselves from an aggressor. I really dont think that I can agree with this statement at all. It would need a great deal of illustration or clarification or both. What is your chain of reasoning here?
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...­.

I’m not following you. Food doesn’t do anything for us in a purposeful way and does not care if I live or die, but I still die without it.
Thats true but you are talking about "giving something back" to society. Of "doing your part" for everyone. How would you give something back to the food you eat? How would you give something back to the sun, or do your part to insure its health? I think your mistaking fortunate circumstances for causes. Society has done nothing for you. Its just as responsible for your aliveness as the sun. Why arent you talking about giving something back to the sun? Because it would be a silly meaningless phrase. To my ears that how it sounds when we talk about giving something back to society. Its meaningless in just the same way.
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.

If you cut them all down and use them for firewood, you will find out how important they are.
Thats true, but it sidesteps the issue. Who is going to cut down all the trees? All of them?
We’ve already cut down too many.
To compare you would have to say that I am talking about killing off all the people. That isnt the same thing. I said I dont owe trees anything. I dont owe the people in society anything either. I owe them their own autonomy and their right to be left alone. Just like the trees. However, trees dont kill themselves off due to irresponsible behavior. People do, however, it is not my responsibility to help them.
It is the responsibility of all of us to be good people.
Having self ownership means you are responsible for the consequences of your own actions, not that you are responsible for the actions of groups or society.
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.

I don’t think I said anything about owing society something. But we have to take care of trees and society if we want our species to thrive. If that is the goal, then we have certain obligations, certain things that it is ethical to do.
Here we are again with the word owe. If you dont mean to owe society something, what do you mean by the language your using because to my ears that is exactly what it sounds like your saying. If you dont mean that people have an obligation to help society what do you mean when you use terms like "give something back", "Do your part", "Without society we die", "There is nothing you can do except the trivial without society and others". All those phrases sound to me exactly like someone trying to convince me that I owe something back to the society which make it possible for me to live. Is this not what you have been saying? Am I missing something?
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.

They would be reflecting the society of the cult. They would be reflecting the subculture that they are a part of.
I imagined that you would say that one. There are different definitions of a society and this is the one that I meant: The people of one’s country or community taken as a whole. At what point is a group not a society in your mind? Or are all groups societies? This still doesnt change my beliefs about obligations, but we really should clear that up because it will muddle up the discussion if its not clear.
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.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,449
(Continued from previous post)

I think there are many examples of them doing so. What about a rock concert?
People at a rock concert dont act in concert.
I’m talking about the performers.
They are must lumped together. What common goal are they achieving.
Producing good music.
It is not entirely accurate to say they dont sometimes act in concert. What I mean to illustrate is that when you really look at it they dont do think in a unified manner mentally.
No, they perform their roles and work cooperatively to produce something that could not be produced by one person.
The ideas come from individual people who convince larger groups of people to act on those ideas. All original thoughts come from inside individuals. Thoughts dont come out of groups. We dont think of things together, especially not original thoughts.
The final idea is often some agreed-upon amalgamation of the ideas of individuals.

Some similar goals and some different goals, don’t you think?
Yes, but ultimately when looked at as one big group the goals dont match up.
I think for any group there are some common goals. That is why they are a group, rather than just a bunch of individuals.

I think that it includes their interdependence and cooperation.
Alright, I'll swing with that.
I never meant to imply that there is only one, global society. I was referring to whatever society one is in.
So do I. I dont mean a global society.
A current one, semi-retired.
Your better educated then me.
That doesn’t follow.

What criteria do you use to come to that judgment about an individual, that he or she can “reason for himself”?
This happens at different ages. Society tends to have two ages, which are 18 and 21 for adolescents reaching adulthood. In the other time that you mentioned perhaps the majority of children had a more mature mindset at an early age. This is an idealistic concept, like I said. Its not black and white implementable could make it happen in reality. Lets say 18 because society has set that age, and at least in this rare instance I'll consider society a better judge then myself.
We regard 12 year olds as children, but they are able to take on adult roles, so how are you defining “children”?
By the way that the majority of people in our society use the term.
But what if the principles can’t be understood clearly?
Of course they arent understood clearly now and cant be. Its not a simple or easy thing to answer. It should be decided by coarts and social service groups.
So we agree.

So he doesn’t ask for help and he is dying. We let him die? Can we really not intervene?
If it would bother you to let him die, then intervene and help him. However, dont feel obligated to. No matter what the situation, he doesnt have a "right" to your money or help. That doesnt mean that you cant help him if you think you should.
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?

Do you think it is realistic for us to make the judgment about someone that he has decided to neglect himself so we will just let him die?
Yes I most certainly do. He has the right to ask for help. However, we have the right not to help if we opt not to. This of course is revolving around the issue of helping with money. A doctor will not refuse to help someone in an immediate life or death situation. The hippocras… [remainder was cut off]
But this is not my position, nor do I think it is consistent with Humanianity.
Well then explain it to me. Illustrate how I'm mistaken. I welcome the criticism.
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.

What did your friend think about it? Is it all that bad to be hungry for a while?
He's an altruist. He holds that position. He feels like he did the right thing. I'm simply illustrating that he lost out for the benefit of someone who there is no way to know anything about. He holds just as much of a chance of being on the street due to bad dicisions then he does to bad luck. Probably even more. Myke knows he himself has value. He holds no evidence of this mans worth at all. If he hadnt had to go hungry I would see nothing wrong with the action. He made him self suffer over a nobody. This to me is pretty silly.
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.

You would not give up your life to save 1000 people? Of course I recognize this as a bad example, because we would have to know the details, including all of the predicted outcomes of such behavior.
No I wouldnt. You are right, what if the 1000 people were nazies. But that is beside the issue. If they were all saints I wouldnt either. My life holds more value then 1000 anonymous people. It most certainly does to me. And if the tables were turned and someone said you must kill 1000 people or die yourself, I would opt for the thousand to die.
Of course no situation is that simple. But obviously you would not have been a firefighter going into the WTC.

I of course know that the Objectivists have gotten hold of you.
My argument in this discussion is pretty much exactly the same as what an Objectivist would argue. I agree with Objectivist ethics completely. However, I was headed in this direction on my own, but I cant say I would think in this manner if it were not for Objectivist influence. I am NOT an Objectivist however. I consider the philosophy when taken as a whole to be pretty dangerous. I am closer to an amoral person when looking at other peoples moral beliefs. I think that altruism is every bit as destructive as I have said, however, if you believe it then its not like it does me harm. It does you harm. Only force to me is immoral. An objectivist would argue that thoughts themselves should be moral. I dont hold that view at all. A person must choose their own morality. I am in this discussion not to convert you, but because its giving me pleasure and entertainment.
I’m trying to convert you.
I dont think that everyone should adopt my personal philosophy.
I want everyone to adopt mine.
I want people to develop their own moral systems.
I want them to work with each other to try to discover the best ways of implementing the REUEP.
Morality is a personal matter irrelevent to the group.
Ethics is primarily about the effect of one’s behavior on the group.
I dont care what people overall morality does to society.
I wish you did.

(Continued in next post)
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