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  1. #1
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    Default A World Split Apart -

    Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Address

    Read it for the sake of the perspective, not for beliefs. I just found it interesting (had to read it for class) and thought I would share. It discusses some interesting views of things such as moral decline in America. The author was exiled from Russia. I also find interesting the fact that the students that came were expecting him to be "omg, America is so wonderful!" instead of

    "But should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively. No, I could not recommend your society in its present state as an ideal for the transformation of ours. Through intense suffering our country has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive. Even those characteristics of your life which I have just mentioned are extremely saddening."

    But it should be noted (for those who HAVEN'T read it but are trying to just make a response to the above quote) that he doesn't think his country is any better. He seems more hopeful of American Society, causing him to be frank. I admit it's idealistic, but I have no room to talk. I am just another idealist crammed into a sensate culture.
    Last edited by wedekit; 01-23-2008 at 09:39 AM.
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    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    Every pietist wishes he were standing at the head of a denouement. Solzhenitsyn was no different.

    Even more interesting than how wrong Solzhenitsyn turned out to be are the staggering contradictions necessary to support the speech's argument. "When the modern Western States were created, the following principle was proclaimed: governments are meant to serve man, and man lives to be free to pursue happiness.... Now at last during past decades technical and social progress has permitted the realization of such aspirations: the welfare state." Freedom through confiscation and allotment by the bureaucracy? What nonsense! And on and on.

  3. #3
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    For certain people, the written laws of state and country, act as the sole guideline in determining what they deem to be an appropriate, and therefore adoptable code for ethical conduct. For these people it holds true that if an act is law abiding, then it so too, must be ethical, whereas if the act happens to be against the law, then so too, it must be unethical.


    Hogwash, I say!!!

    Right and wrong are not defined by the external laws of the land, but are rather highly dependent on what I believe to be internally perceived universally accepted laws of human conduct and behavior, as well as independent circumstance.

    Sociopaths and other extreme cases excluding, I believe that most people know when they are acting fairly, or unfairly, when they are acting with good intentions, and when they are not. Such human traits as empathy, and guilt, I believe, help guide us in finding our moral selves.

  4. #4

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    This is a concept I've thought about a lot in the past. I've always felt that goverment should have very limited rights to redistribute wealth but that it is ethically incumbent upon the wealthy to make an effort in that direction. Not to make everyone's standard of living level, but to at least eliminate extreme poverty. I know that's not realistic, but that's how I think it SHOULD work.

    In short, I think government should create free-market capitalism and that individuals should practice a limited form of socialism. I don't think our human responsibilities should be satisfied by fulfilling our legal responsibilities.
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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I really don't like what that speech was saying. All that highly spiritual stuff. I don't think it sounded fair at all. It's not true that most people loot everytime there's a power outage. I think it's unfair to demand that kind of behavior, to expect us to embrace and react to some kind of weird, unfair relative framework that isn't based on anything reasonable. People shouldn't be under pressure from such things. I think people have to be free of demands like that in order develop further mentally. I also hated that criticism of the Enlightenment.

    Although I agree with the part about the media being too powerful. I think people need to learn how to find things out for themselves rather than trusting what they're told. We increasingly have the resources to do so, and I think people would make better decisions if this were done.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Sociopaths and other extreme cases excluding, I believe that most people know when they are acting fairly, or unfairly, when they are acting with good intentions, and when they are not. Such human traits as empathy, and guilt, I believe, help guide us in finding our moral selves.
    I read that 1 in 30 people is estimated to be a socialized psychopath. Someone who has no conscience and who values power in place of love but has learned to work within the frameework of the law because of their own self perservation instinct.

    Dumb psychopaths are caught, smart ones cause pain and misery for a lifetime.

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    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    If you don't read it really would like to politely ask that you don't respond to just what I've said.
    didnt read it, but im gonna post here anyways... because i can.

    if there are no real consequences for something, why shouldnt someone do it? right and wrong are subjective and thus replaced with best guesses (aka laws) which are decided and enforced by the people with power. of course, many will often disagree, and it's their choice whether or not to follow the laws, however there is risk of consequence that should be understood. hell, you could even consider adverse feelings as a result of disobeying your moral compass as a consequence.

    the "honor system" is very idealistic and, for the most part, only serves a more advantageous situation to the dishonorable. respect and understanding of cause and effect is a necessary component of society.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    I have a strong feeling a lot of you didn't read all of it. Especially this last post that at least admitted it. I wasn't trying to debate. It was meant to be taken a foreigners view of America. I value people's perspectives, whether I believe them or not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    if there are no real consequences for something, why shouldnt someone do it? right and wrong are subjective and thus replaced with best guesses (aka laws) which are decided and enforced by the people with power. of course, many will often disagree, and it's their choice whether or not to follow the laws, however there is risk of consequence that should be understood. hell, you could even consider adverse feelings as a result of disobeying your moral compass as a consequence.
    You probably should have read it, or at least thought about it a bit more. The examples given were things with negative consequences of the type that tend to cause more people to loose out than gain (to which you may say "but that's how it goes", however, it makes for a less efficient way to run the system if you have to be watching other people all the time for doing these things rather than focusing your energy elsewhere.). the argument was that the western system (including laws) is very poor at dealing with these types of problems, or effectively making other useful changes.

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    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    I have a strong feeling a lot of you didn't read all of it. Especially this last post that at least admitted it. I wasn't trying to debate. It was meant to be taken a foreigners view of America. I value people's perspectives, whether I believe them or not.
    Feelings don't constitute proof, nor does consideration necessitate appreciation. Nor can you control our responses as long as we act in accordance with forum rules.

    Now, if you value valuation: I found it worthwhile to review the moment in time from which Solzhenitsyn made his predictions and defend my own beliefs, since the speech challenged them.

    William F. Buckley, Jr. responded, gently but critically, to the speech shortly after it was delivered; two articles, each titled "The Estrangement of Solzhenitsyn." He thought a lot of the man, however wrong he believed Solzhenitsyn to be. "The weakness in this judgment lies, I think, in Solzhenitsyn's confusion of his own greatness of spirit with that of most Russians," Buckley wrote, which is a good read.

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