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  1. #41
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Did I? What isnt clear?
    hehe thanks, but I better stick to math. Philosophy makes me dizzy.
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  2. #42
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saudade View Post
    Ethics isn't black and white. /thread

    Jeffrey Dahmer was a nice guy and an animal lover. Hitler too for that matter. Apparently Ghandi was a pedophile.. Lol.
    My first reaction is to suggest Saudade place the bar a little higher for defining a "nice guy".

    However, I'm not saying that any or all of the above aren't true (although I have some serious, reasonable doubts), but the burden of proof is on Saudade to demonstrate the following:

    Jeffrey Dahmer was a "nice" guy.
    Jeffrey Dahmer loved animals (this contradicts psychological theories about serial killers, so if true, it is an important point to examine)
    Hitler was a "nice" guy
    Ghandi was a pedophile

    These claims are quite different from saying that there is "good and bad in everyone". @Mane, you can certainly see the logic here - those are positive claims.

    Ted Bundy worked a suicide hotline and was quite skilled at it. His coworkers didn't notice anything amiss. (info at wiki and other places online) In some analysis of his psychopathy, it has been suggested that he enjoyed exerting control over others. I work with individuals who have constrained empathy and high control issues who love dogs, in part because they can form a relationship based on control. The human psyche is complex and motivations for acts of kindness can range from personal needs of connection, to opportunities to exert control. It would be useful to also examine and define psychopathy and sociopathy since individuals with those conditions can mirror the emotions and behaviors of others without having actual empathy or compassion. Of course even in those cases there is a process that escalates over the years and every person began as an innocent infant.

    If there is disagreement with my position I wish people would address the issue of Self vs. Other, and methods of defining Self. Those are underlying dynamics I have proposed here to help to explain the inconsistencies in the behavior and ethics of human beings.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  3. #43
    ndovjtjcaqidthi
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    Jeff was different from most serial killers because he didn't torture animals, nor was he especially cruel. And everyone who met him thought he was a kind, but very quiet person.

    And when Ted Bundy worked a suicide hotline, he wasn't especially caring. In fact he would usually simply tell the people to "control their emotions better." Which was noticed by his colleagues.

    Did you know he also once ran down a thief who stole a woman's purse? He also was not cruel to animals as a child, in fact he had a dog named Lassie whom he loved.

  4. #44
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    sorry it took me time, i missed the quote

    anyway, while i agree that we are complicated systems rather than random, this over simplification is in no way a direct result:
    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    My assertion is NOT that people are all or nothing. It is true that individuals are not black or white, but they are also not black and white. What is happening in the assertions being made based on examples given is that people are equally good and evil. One cardboard cutout is being replaced by two equally shallow cutouts. There are degrees of cruelty that constrain a person's ability for compassion, and there are levels of compassion that constrain a person's ability for cruelty.
    first, you are assuming that people consciously make the choice to be cruel within an objective perspective, while i find that a lot of people who are cruel don't allow themselves to include the perspective suggesting that they are in the first place, rather they focus on a painted perspective formed around the reason & justifications of their actions, which usually have nothing to do with wanting to be cruel, but rather accepting that the means justify their own ends.

    for example, while someone else got robbed, someone else was just getting money to feed themselves and their family. or, as a result of a battle or a fight, many people will have just lost their lovers, children, parents, and ofcourse their own lives... but the person who did it will frame it as defending their friends & family or doing their duty (not necessarily their army - it can also be a gang for that matter). one person expresses their emotions and acts on their right for physical movement, another person gets kicked. one person frames things in a way that they find acceptable to others because their afraid to come to terms with the truth, but someone else got lied too. even in an argument - someone could say they weren't planning to offend anyone they where just protecting their own side, and hey maybe i could do the same and say i never offend or use anyone, i just make my points and speak my mind and try to understand them.

    ofcourse those are all false dichotomies, but the human mind loves them, and the compassion never kicks in to prevent us from causing it because it doesn't enter the subjective story we tell ourselves.

  5. #45
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    sorry it took me time, i missed the quote

    anyway, while i agree that we are complicated systems rather than random, this over simplification is in no way a direct result:


    first, you are assuming that people consciously make the choice to be cruel within an objective perspective, while i find that a lot of people who are cruel don't allow themselves to include the perspective suggesting that they are in the first place, rather they focus on a painted perspective formed around the reason & justifications of their actions, which usually have nothing to do with wanting to be cruel, but rather accepting that the means justify their own ends.

    for example, while someone else got robbed, someone else was just getting money to feed themselves and their family. or, as a result of a battle or a fight, many people will have just lost their lovers, children, parents, and ofcourse their own lives... but the person who did it will frame it as defending their friends & family or doing their duty (not necessarily their army - it can also be a gang for that matter). one person expresses their emotions and acts on their right for physical movement, another person gets kicked. one person frames things in a way that they find acceptable to others because their afraid to come to terms with the truth, but someone else got lied too. even in an argument - someone could say they weren't planning to offend anyone they where just protecting their own side, and hey maybe i could do the same and say i never offend or use anyone, i just make my points and speak my mind and try to understand them.

    ofcourse those are all false dichotomies, but the human mind loves them, and the compassion never kicks in to prevent us from causing it because it doesn't enter the subjective story we tell ourselves.
    This is interesting because I agree with everything you have said here. This is a very difficult topic to define because it combines the internal, subjective perceptions of the individual with the external, objective results of their behavior (combined with another set of internal, subjective perceptions of the recipient of a behavior).

    There are a couple of points that I am attempting to make. The first is that I do not think that an internal state of altruism (or as close to that ideal as a human can be) is capable of external harm because by nature it is combined with empathy (which is focused on the perception of another) and so it is not ego-centric. Charles Manson makes for an interesting example here because he claimed to be freeing people's souls when he murdered them, but such a perspective relies on ego assumptions and not empathy. So a human being like Jeffrey Dahmer who eventually has the capacity to murder and eat people is unlikely to have that state of altruism when mending a wounded bird. Because he had the capacity to act purely without empathy, I doubt his capacity to experience a state of pure empathy. If we use the metaphor of darkness and light, then I would say that someone capable of a state of pure darkness could be capable of experience states of partial light, but unlikely the a state of pure light. Cruelty requires a strong ego-investment and so the need to control can be the underlying driving force for acts of both "compassion" and cruelty. Likewise a person capable of a state of pure light and empathy is constrained from acting from a position of pure ego-centricity. I work with a woman with a high conflict disorder and brain injury who can be verbally abusive on a daily basis. Almost no one feels empathy for her because she rarely feels empathy for them. She does love her dogs very deeply and when she found out her service dog was sick and in pain, she was able to choose to have him put down before the dog completely stopped functioning because she feels compassion and empathy for this dog. Because she is capable of that level of compassion, I think there are limits on how much harm she can cause. When she is conscious of the suffering of another she will correct her behavior. Ego-centric thinking is what enables a sense of entitlement that can lead to cruelty regardless of how it is justified in the mind. I am aware that destructive behaviors are typically justified in the individual's perception. This does not mean that a human being's psychological system can be random enough to move between altruism and cruelty. The presence of one constrains the other, but that is not to say that each human being has a range of behaviors, a range within the light and dark spectrum.

    The second point that I think is in agreement with your position is that there are limits on what we "choose" to be. I do not know to what extent a human being has "free-will", but it has been demonstrated that it is at least constrained. It is possible that we are deterministic and that free-will is just an illusion that results from our inability to connect the trillions of bits of information that create cause-and-effect based on genetics and environment. My philosophical position of non-judgment is based on this questioning of free-will. It may be that each of us is merely what humanity looks like when subjected to a specific set of conditions of genetics and environment. It is at least theoretically possible that there is no choice in the process of creating a monster - that certain genetic variations trigger it, and/or that environmental processes of making a human being feel powerless combined with opportunities to exert power over other creatures is the cause that would produce the same effect in any of us.

    My primary doubt is that a state of pure ego-centricity that produces cruelty (regardless of perception or internal justifications) can co-exist with extreme states of empathy that focus on the other creatures feelings and perceptions. We each have a range within this continuum, but I do not see a way that the two ends of the spectrum can co-exist. I think they are mutually exclusive. If they can coexist, I would need to see a psychological theory to explain that process in order to be convinced. Does that make sense? I think we are actually in agreement, but use different thought processes to arrive at it and different approaches in language to describe the concepts.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  6. #46
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    what does the statement says to you? what meaning would you derive from it?
    IMO there's not really inherently good or bad people, just good or bad actions.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  7. #47
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Thinking about my previous post I think it important to attempt to define a broader sense of what empathy is:

    Empathy can involve a shared feeling and perception like when one sees another creature suffering and we feel an urge to cry and share in that suffering, or when we see another feeling happy and we too feel happy.

    It can also involve giving up control to the other person. When interacting with a sick or vulnerable person, if you let them tell you how they need help instead of imposing help on them, that too is empathy. In a multicultural class I read an article about a time when the government built housing for a Navajo tribe. The houses were all square, cement brick style government housing. This tribe culturally valued hogans which are igloo-shaped clay houses with a door facing East (I think). Because of this they didn't move into the government housing. Empathy would have been to give them the resources and control to create when they needed.

    I think at its core, empathy comes down to a sense of deep respect for other creatures that allows them control over their needs and their life. When one possesses a great deal of this, it can preclude acting in cruelty, even when the action is well-intended.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    My primary doubt is that a state of pure ego-centricity that produces cruelty (regardless of perception or internal justifications) can co-exist with extreme states of empathy that focus on the other creatures feelings and perceptions. We each have a range within this continuum, but I do not see a way that the two ends of the spectrum can co-exist.
    i think this might be a misconception:

    using your example, the woman you talked about is able to experience empathy to her dog (assuming i got this right) has a difficulty experiencing empathy with other humans. she might have any number of reasons for that - it could be humans were very mean to her but dog's weren't, or that she can't withstand judgement from others so she openly ups her empathy to subjects that can't judge her, or any other reason (or combination thereof). regardless of why, the fact seems to be she is turning her empathy selectively. likewise, the fact other people are able to not be empathic towards her when she isn't empathic towards them, shows that they are able to engage their empathy selectively.
    for that matter, the fact you, me and probably most people don't have much empathy towards hitler shows we can engage our empathy selectively. there are men buying their future fiance's african blood diamonds right now because they want to make her happy, or toys made in sweatshops because they want to make their children happy, choosing a closer subject of empathy over distance subjects of empathy, while others can easily shit on the needs of their closest loved ones and sacrifice themselves to whatever greater good they happen to believe in, like troops leaving their families to fight in a war, or for that matter entire households who will send their children to fight in a war they believe is for some greater religious good, and can quite possibly be doing so because they have empathy for the poor souls who they imagine suffering for eternity if their religious cause wasn't furthered. there are plenty of other examples - for example empathy for the animals we eat.

    the point being: regardless of one's capacity for empathy, people are able to compartmentalize it.

    it gets even more complicated after that, because even once you engage your empathy, it's still a process: you have the frontal process of gauging information about the perspective of another and how accurate it is, then you have the process of how much of the experience of another you relate to and to what degree, how you prioritize that experience and what do you value about that information, and probably quite a few more - all happening to a large degree on a rather subconscious level.

    so for example, someone can be entirely in tune with the information they gather about themselves from others, but value how they are themselves perceived from the perspective of others over the factor of relating to the experience of others. now add the fact that empathy itself is an ideal, and people can act not out of "genuine empathy" but out of wanting to appear empathetic so that they can maintain it as a positive belief about themselves.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I think at its core, empathy comes down to a sense of deep respect for other creatures that allows them control over their needs and their life.
    http://www.diffen.com/difference/Empathy_vs_Sympathy

  10. #50
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    i think this might be a misconception:

    using your example, the woman you talked about is able to experience empathy to her dog (assuming i got this right) has a difficulty experiencing empathy with other humans. she might have any number of reasons for that - it could be humans were very mean to her but dog's weren't, or that she can't withstand judgement from others so she openly ups her empathy to subjects that can't judge her, or any other reason (or combination thereof). regardless of why, the fact seems to be she is turning her empathy selectively. likewise, the fact other people are able to not be empathic towards her when she isn't empathic towards them, shows that they are able to engage their empathy selectively.
    for that matter, the fact you, me and probably most people don't have much empathy towards hitler shows we can engage our empathy selectively. there are men buying their future fiance's african blood diamonds right now because they want to make her happy, or toys made in sweatshops because they want to make their children happy, choosing a closer subject of empathy over distance subjects of empathy, while others can easily shit on the needs of their closest loved ones and sacrifice themselves to whatever greater good they happen to believe in, like troops leaving their families to fight in a war, or for that matter entire households who will send their children to fight in a war they believe is for some greater religious good, and can quite possibly be doing so because they have empathy for the poor souls who they imagine suffering for eternity if their religious cause wasn't furthered. there are plenty of other examples - for example empathy for the animals we eat.

    the point being: regardless of one's capacity for empathy, people are able to compartmentalize it.

    it gets even more complicated after that, because even once you engage your empathy, it's still a process: you have the frontal process of gauging information about the perspective of another and how accurate it is, then you have the process of how much of the experience of another you relate to and to what degree, how you prioritize that experience and what do you value about that information, and probably quite a few more - all happening to a large degree on a rather subconscious level.

    so for example, someone can be entirely in tune with the information they gather about themselves from others, but value how they are themselves perceived from the perspective of others over the factor of relating to the experience of others. now add the fact that empathy itself is an ideal, and people can act not out of "genuine empathy" but out of wanting to appear empathetic so that they can maintain it as a positive belief about themselves.
    This is an interesting foundation to this question - the extent to which this can be compartmentalized and the extent to which it falls on a continuum. I would need to see some evidence or psychological theory that could show the possibility for someone to compartmentalize to an extreme degree.

    I gave the example of the Aspberger woman who loves her dogs because it is an interesting and as you have said does show some aspect of compartmentalization. Having worked with her for a few years, I will say that she does have a brain processing limitation on empathy, and is especially verbally abusive when testing initial boundary, defending self, or dealing with "the system", whatever she perceives to be that. Having called her on her behavior, there is a genuiness to her response that is quite different from narcissists and shows glimmers of her ability to have compassion for her dogs. I see her processing as a combination of compartmentalization, but also showing that her intention to not gratuitously cause harm falls on an internal continuum. Her compassion for dogs places a constraint on her harm, because when she is convinced that humans are not dismissing her or attempting to cause her harm, then she can work to respond in a more thoughtful manner. She is especially complex and interesting, and many people despise her, but on a deep level there is more consistency that I see in her than what is viewed externally.

    I have also known individuals who have committed harm for pleasure, and even though they have displayed acts of tenderness and compassion, it has shown internally to be a performance for some other benefit. Perhaps the issue is that either reducing everything linearly on a continuum or leave it as unconstrained capacity for compartmentalism, it is better to look at both processes and make sense of how these combine.

    Regarding the contrast between empathy and sympathy, that is true that there is a distinction, but I think there has to first be a kind of respect and interest in their perspective before it is possible to understand, see or experience it, and so there is a relationship between the two.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

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