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Thread: What do you think it means to be TRULY good?

  1. #41
    He pronks, too! Array Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    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.
    But deciding you must not act is an arbitrary moral, too, and it certainly does harm when you have the power to relatively easily prevent murder, or starvation, or something like that. Those people having their lives cut short are certainly having the chance to achieve their own goals taken away from them, and I can blame you in part for not saving them when it was in your power.

    I myself don't assume letting someone achieve a goal is inherently good (unless we extremely vaguely take the other person's goal to be achieving happiness, not at the greater expense of the happiness of others). I try to go by a kind of quantitative happiness principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    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?
    Everything is flawed. This gets back to why I say moral behavior shouldn't be judged like it's boolean. It may not be satisfying to a lot of people, but my answer is that you do the best you can. You try to encompass the broadest scope of time, space, and degrees of separation that you can. The better our knowledge and rationality, the better a job we'll do on that front. And as flawed as our minds typically are right now (and may always will be) I do believe, in a general sense, that the odds of getting something done becomes a lot higher where there is a rationale and knowledge driven attempt to do it. No where near perfect, but better than nothing at all.

    The effects that take precedent would relate to a kind of philosophical number crunching, if you will. If you go buy a typical mantra like the most happiness, for the most people, for the longest period of time, then you have something of an outline (my thoughts get more complex than those words left in their own vagueness). Sometimes a prediction is very difficult to make, but then sometimes, not so much.

    The obvious one being that if you know everyone is going to die, you know about as well as you can know anything that they aren't coming back, that the human race is done, and there won't be humans appreciating anything anymore. It's a prediction I can make into eternity. That prediction can then be factored into a moral analysis whenever it might come up (blowing up the earth is bad, mm'kay?). I know most predictions won't be that easy, but rather than being the basis for getting rid of what is probably the most functional approach to morality, it should instead just be more incentive to gain insight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    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.
    There are some people that want to die, and they may be justified in that. Would you not do them the kindess of killing them? And would you still stand idle as those who want to live are killed by others? Isn't your decision inevitably going to be interpretable as the allowance of a person's death one way or the other? Is it okay if someone is diminished by your inactions?

    And how would you know? You say you would with the knowledge you have. How is that much easier than trying to know what I say you should try to know in moral matters?

    If goodness is ultimately that internal, based that much on how you feel about yourself, then it really is of no relevance to anyone else and I think it qualifies as sort of a solipsistic ethic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    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.
    Nahh, you're pardoned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    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.
    Hmm. But often not even at a human level, but the gene like you say. In this case both the impact is ultimately one that you could think of as a greater good and the intention and self-awareness of the persons involved is not consciously calculating or selfish. In the sense of the selfish gene, is self-interested behavior, but it almost falls off the human radar. From a similar level of analysis it would be true to say that ego and will are also illusions. I'm not exactly sure how to put this, but it's sort of like these things are beneath the grasp of human thinking, not even capable of entering into a consideration of how to actually try living.

    I wish I could come up with a better way of putting that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    Sometimes I hate being a Rational.
    It was one rational to another in a philosophy discussion. The power of persnicket compels you. Or frustrates and stifles you. Pretty much the same thing, right?

    I often regret entering lengthy discussions on this forum, too. This time, I'm not the one. I still have time yet, however.
    Last edited by Magic Poriferan; 09-11-2010 at 05:53 PM.
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  2. #42
    RETIRED Array CzeCze's Avatar
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    A good person is not necessarily innocent and guiless. If you lack an u derstanding of the world you can be "good" but also ill equipped to survive in the world. I think it is more than possible to know evil, to understand the basest motivations ans tendencies in humanity, and be good precisely bevsuse of and not in spite of this knowledge.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  3. #43
    Writing... Array Tamske's Avatar
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    I think it's doing the best you can do. Human morals have changed and will change still.
    The Romans kept slaves, the Americans kept slaves while in Europe it was abolished in the Middle Ages. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that slavery still existed (or is it EXISTS??) beyond the Middle Ages. But they didn't have problems with it.
    In the same vein, I'm sure I'll hold opinions and maybe do things that people from a later century will deem evil.

    What's a good human? Someone who, given all the knowlegde and opinions he's heard and understood, chooses the path which would lead to the least of pain and the most of joy. For everybody.

    Not only for the embryo who probably feels as much pain as a fish but also for the mother who knows she won't love the child and won't be able to raise it properly. Not only for the traditional medicine user who looks forward to a wild night but also for the rhinoceros who gets killed because his horn looks like a strong penis.

    Do I sound bitter? I'm sorry. These are just a few topics I'm quite concerned about. Just because, I'm sure, the mother who decides against abortion and the man who uses powdered rhinoceros horn, meant do do well. They are not evil. They just lack the knowledge and the alternative opinions. It makes me feel so powerless.
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  4. #44
    Nips away your dignity Array Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Knowing that you can't be truly good but still making the best effort you can to try and be truly good, based on all information you gather. That is being close enough to truly good.

    Conceited hipocrits are the source of all evil.

  5. #45
    Lungs & Lips Locked Array Unkindloving's Avatar
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    My stereotypical view of a good person is one who is selfless. A person who genuinely cares about a great many things and puts forth the effort to help at any point they can. Someone who has deep-rooted moral standards and so on.
    I don't believe in this though. It's just what I would call good at a glance and in comparison to myself.

    My real view of a truly good person is one with balance. Someone who can balance being selfish or selfless when necessary. A person who holds a strong sense of who they are, but still gives what they can if they see fit. A good person will be honest and stand their ground, but make it so others aren't mowed down in the process.
    Do I feel that I fit either of these definitions? Not really. The first- certainly not. The second- close, but no cigar. I do feel that anyone who finds their balance is a truly good person, but they are very few and far between.
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  6. #46
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    I have to say that this topic is one of those which has driven me to much in the way of investigation, consideration, musing, reading, discussion. Once I reach a final conclusion or understanding I'll probably be happier, I dont think I'll be able to do that for some time if ever though.

    Some keynotes in my consideration of it have been Rudyard Kipling's poem "If", some passages in Mathew in which Jesus describes the final judgement and makes for his criteria not simply refraining from doing evil but failing to do good by meeting the, mainly material, needs of others.

    More recently I've given serious considerations to the sorts of risks and sacrifices people make and why.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Array You's Avatar
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    There is no such thing.
    Oh, its

  8. #48
    Senior Member Array alcea rosea's Avatar
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    For me, goodness is not hurting anybody physically or mentally but rather treating people well with respect in a positive way.

  9. #49
    Senior Member Array Saslou's Avatar
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    I believe being good to mean awareness/consciousness of your own actions via deliberation, consideration and such.

    However what i may perceive as good may not mean the same for the next individual. Ultimately it is going to be subjective to the individual.

    I perceive the great spiritual/philosophical leaders of the present world to be good but i am not prevy to what goes on behind closed doors so possibly the illusion could be that of good to the audience looking in however on the inside a different picture can be portrayed.
    “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don't.”
    ― Georgia O'Keeffe

  10. #50
    Senior Member Array Journey's Avatar
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    Forgive me if I overlooked this answer in the posts above. If so, I reiterate, good has to be established against a standard. I know this is not a popular view in this post-modern world of relativism.

    You can measure yourself against humanity's norm or God's Law. To be ultimately good you would have to be God Himself as Jesus Christ was. Jesus was ultimately killed on a cross for being good. That doesn't bode well for people who are being formed in His image. No man is truly good by God's standard except His Son, Jesus.

    Good has been watered down in every way by the observations made above. Their definitions and standards are different.
    "My Journey is my Destination."

    "Today Counts Forever." R.C. Sproul

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