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  1. #11
    Broud Balestinian G-Virus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Well, if you're really concerned with maximizing pleasure and being efficient and smart about it, you'll probably realize that stealing shit from people is not as gratifying as giving to them. A little investigation into human psychology, I think, reveals that satisfaction from material acquisition is fleeting; you habituate and want more. The satisfaction from altruism is much deeper and lasts longer.

    That, and what Night said (I think). A lot of it depends on how you define your SELF. If you look at yourself as an isolated independent thing, you'll probably be more inclined to be selfish than a person who sees themselves as integrated and feels a sense of duty to help others -- a desire that flows from feeling unified and integrated.

    I personally did not know that you are a hedonistic utilitarian Edahn. You are starting to give lawyers everywhere a good name. Tisk, tisk, did you check with Satan about your comments before you posted them.

    /stupidity

    In all seriousness now, I personally agree with you about the notion of giving being more gratifying than taking, but it honestly depends on how you are wired (as other people have mentioned here). In the US of A, we are wired with a mentality of individualism and personal independence. This is a major contrast to how society is wired in the East, and probably almost everywhere else in the world. Do you remember the whole Army add campaigns trying to appeal to the general public by promoting the idea of individualism by toting the campaign slogan “an Army of one.” In the United States, we have been progressing this way for quite some time. People may state that things are changing by referencing the election of Obama, but the truth of the matter is we as a nation were placed between a rock and a soft spot in this last election. It was not so much the will of the people as it was an outcry to the wanton destruction of our society. All I am trying to say here, is that I agree with you to an extent, but it all comes down to how you were brought up and the society that influences you.
    Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.

    "If you go looking for something in particular, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. If you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

  2. #12
    Broud Balestinian G-Virus's Avatar
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    For the sake of clarity, even though it probably goes without saying, the use of such an extreme example as the million dollar scenario was just a point of clarification and an aid for a thought experiment. When you think about it, use ideas like turning in a wallet/purse you found in the bathroom to the person who owns it without taking anything from it, and other examples of that nature etc . . .
    Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.

    "If you go looking for something in particular, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. If you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

  3. #13
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    thinking of the universe with 4 dimensionality give one enough perspective to see that there is a fundamental difference between a universe of happy people and one with less happy people. the space-time object would be different depending on the decisions. So even if it made YOU happy, how could you live with the idea that you have fundementally created an "unhappy" 'object' (the object of 4 dimensionality space-time)?

    humans are generally unhappy when they feel guilty, most humans cant divorce themselves from empathy, therefore, even if committing crimes was in your best interest, it would ultimately make you unhappy.

    second, one should have the understanding that if everyone adapted selfish behavior (in the colloquial sense, not the deterministic sense which is true), then one's life would be rather UNhappy (less property rights, rights to live, rights to do what one wants without malicious coercion etc).

  4. #14
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Maybe it's a matter of type?

    I'm just as selfish as the next person when it comes to personal comfort. And I like to feel good. When I violate my values system I feel like crap so it just isn't in my nature to do a lot of hurtful or illegal stuff.

    That doesn't mean I haven't done my share of it. But I finally figured out that if I want to live a comfortable life with myself I need to pay attention to what makes me feel bad. And not do it!
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  5. #15
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    I'm largely in agreement with Night. The vast majority of human beings have principles. The penal system exists for those who lack them.

    In general, though, contemplating things in a vacuum is an exercise in pointlessness. There will never be a situation where you can get a million dollars with no repercussions whatsoever.

    You aren't doing it, but it's irksome when people use these sort of context-free hypothetical situations to advocate the belief in something.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  6. #16
    Broud Balestinian G-Virus's Avatar
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    Cool replies guys, each and every one of them, please keep them coming.

    By the way, I am not personally trying to advocate anything here, there is enough people doing that these days, so no thanks. I am just trying to get an inner look into the human psyche and what makes most of us tick.

    Thank you all for your responses.
    Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.

    "If you go looking for something in particular, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. If you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Virus View Post
    Yesterday on Ventrilo, an age old topic was brought to life and discussed again. The question therein, was why anyone should worry about others in this life when they can plunder and take it for all its worth? The premise of the question is only valid when it revolves around the idea that there exists no such thing as an afterlife or reprisal in the form of consequential punishment from the law.

    The idea here is that humans are naturally selfish creatures and need fear to be controlled. Human laws are one method of social control, whilst fear of God might be the ultimate form of control because if God exists then nothing can be gotten away with.

    In simple terms, if this is the only life one is given, and one knows that they can get away with certain things, why should they not do it? Think of it from a Darwinian/animalistic stand point of dog eat dog world. So if you could get away with stealing one million dollars and no one would ever know and you would never be punished, would you do it? Why or why not?

    PS: I was going to use the word moral but I didn’t want people to come on here and derail the topic by asking stupid questions like what is morality when they can easily infer the meaning from the context.
    Morals appear to be constructed from social necessities. In a dog eats dog world, dogs get eaten by dogs as well as eat them. Hence social rules have formed about things like murder, stealing, etc. People observe the social rules, because to not observe them is to be constantly under attack. Observing them raises the quality of life. And if for some reason all these laws disappeared, they would eventually reevolve as they give our species a means to live comfortable long lives.

    If you could take the million dollars without ramifications, why not though? The only thing stopping you is empathy. As a single isolated incident a person could detach enough from the impact on the person who lost a million dollars to not care. Especially if you didn't like them in the first place. If it started happening on a larger scale though and we all got a chance to, then empathy or a clear idea of the impact would set in, because someone would eventually take ours, and we would no longer have security in what we have. To have a million dollars would be to be in the firing line.
    Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

  8. #18
    Senior Member millerm277's Avatar
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    Before getting into this: I am an Atheist, and I do not believe in any sort of afterlife/soul/whatever.

    The idea here is that humans are naturally selfish creatures and need fear to be controlled. Human laws are one method of social control, whilst fear of God might be the ultimate form of control because if God exists then nothing can be gotten away with.
    I disagree with this idea. I don't think humans are naturally selfish creatures, there are plenty of selfish ones, and plenty of giving ones as well. Personally, I don't think I'm very selfish.

    I also don't think that without the "rule of law", that most humans will naturally start just committing random crimes or the like....

    In simple terms, if this is the only life one is given, and one knows that they can get away with certain things, why should they not do it? Think of it from a Darwinian/animalistic stand point of dog eat dog world. So if you could get away with stealing one million dollars and no one would ever know and you would never be punished, would you do it? Why or why not?
    No. Not because I give a damn about laws (because, quite frankly, I could figure out ways to get away with ANYTHING, even murder or something on the scale of Madoff), but just because it goes against my internal ethics.
    I-95%, S-84%, T-89%, P-84%

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