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Thread: Morality

  1. #11
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Individuals benefit when others follow the unwritten rules of society (honesty, fidelity, etc). Individuals lose opportunities for personal gain by following those rules, themselves. The individual stands to gain the most when others live moral lives, but the individual doesn't.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  2. #12
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    So what makes you happy is moral, what doesnt is immoral.
    So if raping babies makes a child molestor happy, you would consider it moral? (assuming he could get away with it?)

    Would you encourage him to do it if he wouldn't get caught?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Individuals benefit when others follow the unwritten rules of society (honesty, fidelity, etc). Individuals lose opportunities for personal gain by following those rules, themselves. The individual stands to gain the most when others live moral lives, but the individual doesn't.
    I still think you're looking at "personal gain" much too narrowly. Money isn't always personal gain, and losing possessions isn't always a personal loss. The peace of mind you gain from giving charity (usually viewed as a moral act) can outweigh the benefit you lose from utilizing the money for your own end.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I still think you're looking at "personal gain" much too narrowly. Money isn't always personal gain, and losing possessions isn't always a personal loss. The peace of mind you gain from giving charity (usually viewed as a moral act) can outweigh the benefit you lose from utilizing the money for your own end.
    I'm looking at it from a material perspective. That's the only measure that affects everyone. Feelings cannot be quantified, and that 'peace of mind' varies between individuals. Some simply don't care.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  4. #14
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I'm looking at it from a material perspective. That's the only measure that affects everyone.
    From a material perspective, you're right, probably.

    Not all individuals care about feeling 'good' by doing 'good'.
    All individuals, I'd argue, are looking to feel good, and feeling good is the primary motivation behind all action. If peace of mind makes you feel good, it's beneficial.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    From a material perspective, you're right, probably.
    Karma does not exist. From personal experience, I've been most successful when I've been an asshole. It's when I've tried to accommodate others that I've been burned the most.

    All individuals, I'd argue, are looking to feel good, and feeling good is the primary motivation behind all action. If peace of mind makes you feel good, it's beneficial.
    That doesn't contradict what I wrote.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  6. #16
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Karma does not exist. From personal experience, I've been most successful when I've been an asshole.
    You're making the same mistake as above. Karma doesn't mean you get material reward for "good actions," what is commonly associated with "success." It's better described as a law of cause and effect. When you act like an asshole, you will gain benefit, but you'll feel like an asshole does, and usually want more and more for yourself, neglecting others. That leads to more thirst and more unsettledness. It's a logical principle, not a magical force.

    It's when I've tried to accommodate others that I've been burned the most.
    When I first read that I was confused. It's a good point. But if you flush it out, I think it starts to make sense a bit more.

    Accommodating others doesn't require that you get burned. You only get burned when people let you down in some way. If people let you down, it suggests that you formed expectations about what they would do for you. Those expectations can be thought of as attachments, in that you've internalized what that person is supposed to do. That karma dictates that you're liable to get burned. Cause and effect.

    That doesn't contradict what I wrote.
    You seemed to be saying that peace of mind doesn't qualify as a benefit because people don't care about it. If that's what you said, then I disagree. Benefit is measured by one's state of mind. How else do we know if something is beneficial or not? Maybe you remember that reclusive mathematician who won the Nobel Prize put rejected the million dollars, preferring to live simply.

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    You're making the same mistake as above. Karma doesn't mean you get material reward for "good actions," what is commonly associated with "success." It's better described as a law of cause and effect. When you act like an asshole, you will gain benefit, but you'll feel like an asshole does, and usually want more and more for yourself, neglecting others. That leads to more thirst and more unsettledness. It's a logical principle, not a magical force.
    I wasn't saying that good karma gives material rewards. Perhaps I should have left a blank line between that sentence and the next.

    Accommodating others doesn't require that you get burned. You only get burned when people let you down in some way. If people let you down, it suggests that you formed expectations about what they would do for you. Those expectations can be thought of as attachments, in that you've internalized what that person is supposed to do. That karma dictates that you're liable to get burned. Cause and effect.
    Of course you have expectations when you invest in others. The magnitude of expectations may vary between individuals, but everyone has some measure of expectation. Anyone who thinks they can truly have no expectations is in denial.

    You seemed to be saying that peace of mind doesn't qualify as a benefit because people don't care about it. If that's what you said, then I disagree. Benefit is measured by one's state of mind. How else do we know if something is beneficial or not? Maybe you remember that reclusive mathematician who won the Nobel Prize put rejected the million dollars, preferring to live simply.
    No, what gives someone peace of mind varies between individuals. Doing 'good' does not necessarily grant peace of mind.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I'm looking at it from a material perspective. That's the only measure that affects everyone. Feelings cannot be quantified, and that 'peace of mind' varies between individuals. Some simply don't care.
    You are overlooking an emotional aspect of morality that does affect everyone. It's called shame. It is imprinted upon people from such a young age through socialization that it is almost universal. In fact, those who don't have shame are so rare that we have a name for them. They are called sociopaths and they seldom do prosper because society usually ends up imprisoning them or executing them to protect the welfare of society. So clearly it can be quantified, and in more ways than one. Shame is the fundamental component of the superego, and it is what allows us to socialize with each other without constantly violating each other's rights. Without it, only fear of repercussions would keep us from giving into the primitive impulses of our id and the rationalizations of our ego.

    So, no, materialism is not the only measure that affects everyone. The social bonds and relationships that are made possible via nearly universal emotions like shame and love, and the benefits inherent in those to individuals, are a far greater measure of morality than materialism could ever be. In fact, would life even be worth living without social bonds? All the material wealth in the world would seem rather pointless if you didn't have someone to share it with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    You're missing the point. Many individuals have lied or cheated to get ahead, and that does not necessarily make them sociopaths. Individuals who use those tactics do so because they believe the reward outweighs the risk. Yes, many people miscalculate, but that does not change their perception at the time of the decision.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    You're missing the point. Many individuals have lied or cheated to get ahead, and that does not necessarily make them sociopaths.

    Individuals who use those tactics do so because they believe the reward outweighs the risk. Yes, many people miscalculate, but that does not change their perception at the time of the decision.
    Oh, you aren't talking about just morals, you are talking about character. And by character I mean, "the inherent complex of attributes that determine a person's moral and ethical actions and reactions." Obviously, the particular attribute you are debating here is integrity (as in honesty or virtue).

    The fact of the matter is, that materially, people can get ahead by sacrificing their integrity. However, as I said in my earlier post, they face shame (a painful feeling of dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation) and if that doesn't deter them, then they will begin sacrificing their much more valuable opportunities for social bonds and relationships for the less valuable opportunities of material gain. People generally don't like being associated with liars and cheats because it is difficult to trust them.

    So people who sacrifice their integrity for material gain may not be sociopaths, but they are certainly idiots.

    If you need a perfect portrayal of what it means to sell out your integrity then just watch the movie Shattered Glass which is based on the story of a real life reporter who sold out his integrity to get ahead.

    Of course, if people want to gamble with their lives by living a lie, then I suppose that is their choice. The payout will never be worth it if they got caught in the process of doing so. And they aren't just cheating themselves, but anyone who trusts or believes in them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

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