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  1. #31
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondBest View Post
    I would agree there, too. When I said you were tentative, I didn't mean it as a criticism as much as an observation. And you're right, it's a tall order.
    I didn't feel criticized. I just wanted to confirm that your observation was accurate.

  2. #32
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    That's as maybe, but it's not the question that was asked. You're harmless when you're dead, it doesn't make you good all of a sudden.
    With free will not taking an action is still a choice, i.e. doing something. Our instincts as oragnisms are to take action. It is most natural for us to take resources, take space, attack, cajole, coerce. I still maintain it's good to choose not to do that.

    Like I said, it's about intention. A rock has no intention, therefore it is not 'good' for just sitting there. A human does, therefore a value judgement can be made on its choice not to do something.

  3. #33
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    That you didn't rise beyond such infantile conceptions yet and probably never will ?
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
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    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  4. #34
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    Being a good person means walking through life without leaving a trail of shit behind you for others to clean up. Taking personal responsibility for your actions and how they affect others, things, the world you live in.

    I think if you live by the rule to leave it better than you found it, or at the very least neutral, you are essentially a good person.

    This doesn't mean always kissing ass, being a push over, or anything like that. If you allow someone make a victim of you, you have permitted ugliness to exist. A trail of shit is a trail of shit, regardless of who is stepping in it.

  5. #35
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    If you take everything into account and consider the food you eat to be literally taken from someone poorer than you, then suicide is the most moral thing to do. The fact that I live makes it harder for other people live in a very real way.
    That's why taking things too literally is pretty stupid. Suicide causes harm to others (to loved ones, to those who have to clean up the mess). A level of harm that outweighs the benefit of the additional resources you consume by living. And, as someone else said, a morality which leaves everyone dead has no benefit. Unless you consider human life a scourge on the planet.
    A less drastic option is not to reproduce, which I personally hold to be a moral choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    With free will not taking an action is still a choice, i.e. doing something. Our instincts as oragnisms are to take action. It is most natural for us to take resources, take space, attack, cajole, coerce. I still maintain it's good to choose not to do that.
    Which is essentially what I was saying. Good = that which is not natural = the suspension of individual self-interest. When seen in this way, the fundamental meaninglessness and masochistic nature of "goodness" becomes self-evident.

    Like I said, it's about intention. A rock has no intention, therefore it is not 'good' for just sitting there. A human does, therefore a value judgement can be made on its choice not to do something.*
    You can't eat intentions. I think intentions are largely irrelevant and impossible to know. (rationalisation, self-delusion, etc)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  6. #36
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    You can't eat intentions. I think intentions are largely irrelevant and impossible to know. (rationalisation, self-delusion, etc)
    The results of casuality are too complex to be able to predict an ultimately good effect. People have different comprehension levels, but they should all have the capability to do 'good'. This is the only type of good that everyone is capable of.

    I think everyone having the ability to do 'good' is more of a prerequisite for goodness than being able to easily judge if someone has done good.

  7. #37
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    Self-sacrifice is the theme that links them. Putting aside self-interest for a "higher" purpose.
    "Good" is typically what we want other people to do to make our lives easier (essentially).
    In a very technical way, all actions are done in self-indulgence. If I gave away a personal fortune to fight poverty, and personally oversaw that it was being done as well as possible, even then I would be doing it because it is my pleasure to do so. However, being that this particular self-interest is entirely an abstract feeling in my mind, and the route to getting it is physically aiding others, it seems both frivolous and unpragmatic to address as though it were self-interest. The self-indulgence was unobservable and intangible, the route to achieving it was an observable and tangible assistance to others. That is altruistic enough to satisfy me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    Why did we invent morality? So that we could repress our natural self-interest long enough not to tear each other to pieces. Morality is nothing more than the triumph of group self-interest over individual self-interest.
    /cynic
    We did not invent it. We have a compulsion to try and determine what it is when dealing with others stemming from innate psychological mechanisms we evolved, of rather varied form, from empathy to shame to the desire to imitate. So we didn't invent it any more than humans invented language. It's not really an accurate way of looking at it (sorry if you were just being imprecise with your words).

    But I say again, our natural self-interest is not necessarily going to make us fail the lessons of game theory, because of those innate mechanisms I speak of. And why, here we are now! How did we get here? The very concept of this natural and unnatural behavior is dubious to me. I've never heard a cogent argument for why anything we are doing right now isn't natural. Rather, it all must have come forth from nature, no? Even our ability to learn as we grow, and be socially conditioned, is itself a natural thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    It's subjective whether you believe that these people did harm or not.
    Certainly many lives were lost in their names. (So, it's not even subjective, really.)
    There, I suppose, will always be a subjective element in so far as all morality is rooted in an arbitrary view point eventually (although I am often itching to deem my moral philosophy objective). I think the subjectivity of it is exaggerated a bit, though. Looking at the question of whether or not Gandhi was an example of a good being is not so much a problem of subjectivity, as it is a problem of working with masses of information so huge that we have a very hard time figuring out the score. It is, in other words, about our limitations in processing objective information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    Good to me all has to do with intentions. A person can only perceive the effect of their actions to an extent and the limits of that extent depends on the person. So for me it all boils down to: Don't do unto others as you would not want to have done onto you to the best of your abilities.

    Yeah, I prefer the negative version of the golden rule.
    But would good is an inconsequential set of morals? This concept is almost inherently self-contradictory to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    If humanity could achieve harmlessness that's as good as I could hope for. I think active do gooding causes more negative effects than harmlessness.
    And why would acheiving harmlesness be good exactly?..

    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    If you take everything into account and consider the food you eat to be literally taken from someone poorer than you, then suicide is the most moral thing to do. The fact that I live makes it harder for other people live in a very real way.
    If you're taking everything into account, that probably wouldn't be correct. You do actually do damage by killing yourself, and there is also a cost in terms of permanently mitigating your potential to ever aid anyone else in the pursuit of happiness. For some people, particularly in certain circumstances, suicide would be the most moral thing to do. It does not logically follow as a general rule, though, and in fact I suspect it do be a minority.

    And Morgan is right about this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    That's why taking things too literally is pretty stupid. Suicide causes harm to others (to loved ones, to those who have to clean up the mess). A level of harm that outweighs the benefit of the additional resources you consume by living. And, as someone else said, a morality which leaves everyone dead has no benefit. Unless you consider human life a scourge on the planet.
    A less drastic option is not to reproduce, which I personally hold to be a moral choice.
    Indeed, taken to its logical conclusion we'd have to kill all sentient life and thus remove all beings that could appreciate any kind of goodness anyhow. No value in that.

    An even less drastic option than that would be to continue to reproduce but find a way preserve tolerable conditions on earth and even improve them. Is that physically possible? I cannot say, but I can absolutely say it would be the more morally desirable result if it were.

    Technically, though, I'd say the problem here wasn't a matter of taking things too literally, it was actually the quite different mistake of not really paying attention to or comprehending the formula.

    [QUOTE=Morgan Le Fay;1321471]
    Which is essentially what I was saying. Good = that which is not natural = the suspension of individual self-interest. When seen in this way, the fundamental meaninglessness and masochistic nature of "goodness" becomes self-evident.

    Nope and nope. It is serving a kind of self-interest and that self-interest is natural in origin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    With free will not taking an action is still a choice, i.e. doing something. Our instincts as oragnisms are to take action. It is most natural for us to take resources, take space, attack, cajole, coerce. I still maintain it's good to choose not to do that.

    Like I said, it's about intention. A rock has no intention, therefore it is not 'good' for just sitting there. A human does, therefore a value judgement can be made on its choice not to do something.
    To what effect? My impulse in response to these statements is just to blurt out "so what!?" Why should I care about any random person's intentions regardless of what happens as a result of their intentions?


    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    You can't eat intentions. I think intentions are largely irrelevant and impossible to know. (rationalisation, self-delusion, etc)
    Indeed. My being alive and happy is far more interesting to me than whether or not I think myself or anyone else was governed by good intents. It is the case with may that being conscious of causing harm to others makes me feel bad, it even makes me feel bad if I (in my own sense) felt I was trending toward a wrongful decision in my mind, but that just factors into my desire to be happy again, rather than resting directly on the importance of intent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    The results of casuality are too complex to be able to predict an ultimately good effect. People have different comprehension levels, but they should all have the capability to do 'good'. This is the only type of good that everyone is capable of.

    I think everyone having the ability to do 'good' is more of a prerequisite for goodness than being able to easily judge if someone has done good.
    I feel like this is mixing up ethics with logic and epistemology. Ethics and morals, are not fundamentally about what is physically possible or what we know how to do, it is about what would be good if it could be done. A moral goal may not appear to be do-able now, but it may become so later. It never in that time became any more or less moral of a goal.

    The fact that one knows how to have good intentions is meaningless. It has not tangible or observable impact that should be relevant to anyone, and to make matters worse, it can be defined by the person with the intent themsleves so they could theoretically claim all their intents are good.

    Use your morals to establish a goal. Use your logic to find a way to achieve it or more realistically the closest thing you can to it. Morals should never be defined themselves but what we know how to do. That's self-impeding.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigensa View Post
    Again in vent, someone said 'to have transcended ego'. I responded with 'well that's impossible'. I'm tired and brain is hurting, so someone take this up please!
    whatup

    It's impossible and idealistic, sure, but I think that "true goodness" is itself idealistic.

    Many religious leaders (as portrayed by their various religious texts) are perceived to have transcended ego, most are seen as "good," and their transcendence seems to be the very basis of many of their teachings. Gautama Buddha rejected "I" and embraced "not-self," for example, as one of the primary causes of suffering. These leaders, again as portrayed, are archetypes whose examples can be strived for but never fully attained.

    This isn't meant as an argument from authority, nor is it an attempt to explain why this is seen as good.


    There are definitely differing definitions of "good" out there, and mine's pretty well incomplete. "Good" encompasses lots of virtues, including:

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatGirl View Post
    Taking personal responsibility for your actions and how they affect others, things, the world you live in.

    I think if you live by the rule to leave it better than you found it, or at the very least neutral, you are essentially a good person.
    I also think that this is apt

  9. #39
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    We did not invent it.... It's not really an accurate way of looking at it (sorry if you were just being imprecise with your words).
    I was being imprecise.

    /unpardonable INTP crime

    Of course by us, I meant sentient life via the mechanism of evolution. Altruism isn't limited to homo sapiens.

    The very concept of this natural and unnatural behavior is dubious to me. I've never heard a cogent argument for why anything we are doing right now isn't natural. Rather, it all must have come forth from nature, no?
    Gosh, don't go all aspie on me!
    The "natural" (or default, whatever you want to call it) response to any threat is to preserve self. Even seemingly cooperative societies - like ants and bees - are self-serving when you do the genetic math (all individuals in a unit are closely related). One of the hardest things for evolutionary psychologists to explain has been 'from whence, altruism?' or kindness to unrelated individuals. And we have game theory to thank for the solution, as you suggest. Competitive altruism, etc. Everything reduces to self-interest - if only at the level of the gene. Morality and altruism are illusory. We value them in ourselves because society values them. And society values them because it means this person might sacrifice themselves for ME. It's ultimately selfish to love goodness.

    Sometimes I hate being a Rational.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  10. #40
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    But would good is an inconsequential set of morals? This concept is almost inherently self-contradictory to me.

    ...

    And why would acheiving harmlesness be good exactly?..

    ...

    To what effect? My impulse in response to these statements is just to blurt out "so what!?" Why should I care about any random person's intentions regardless of what happens as a result of their intentions?

    ...

    I feel like this is mixing up ethics with logic and epistemology. Ethics and morals, are not fundamentally about what is physically possible or what we know how to do, it is about what would be good if it could be done. A moral goal may not appear to be do-able now, but it may become so later. It never in that time became any more or less moral of a goal.

    The fact that one knows how to have good intentions is meaningless. It has not tangible or observable impact that should be relevant to anyone, and to make matters worse, it can be defined by the person with the intent themsleves so they could theoretically claim all their intents are good.

    Use your morals to establish a goal. Use your logic to find a way to achieve it or more realistically the closest thing you can to it. Morals should never be defined themselves but what we know how to do. That's self-impeding.
    No one defined what good actually is. I admit, I believe in the existance of a metaphysical good and this is what I refer to when I discuss the subject. Honestly, I'm still working on the concept. But, the character of what I consider is good, is not just confined to what benefits me personally.

    As far as I can tell the most definite good is letting other people achieve their own goals as long as they are not at others expense, which is why harmlessness is more important in my mind than active do-gooding. And arbitrary morals make for more damage when actively enforcing them than when your focus is not trying to infringe.

    There's little that is certain in life. You can give a hobo $20 and he could use it to buy everclear and drink himself to death. You can murder someone in cold blood and stop the multi-lane multi-death traffic accident that he would've caused tomorrow. Suffering can create art, pleasure can blind. Judging by outcomes is flawed, at what link do you stop judging? The first in the chain, the second, the third? Which effects take precedence?

    In the end, I know that I want to live, so I will not impede others from the same. Goodness is not something that I enforce on other people's actions, but is something that only I can truthfully exercise. I do good if, with the knowledge I have, I know that no one was dimished by my actions. If I was mistaken, I take warning on my next decision. Goodness is being able to live with my own decisions. It's an internal process.

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