Classic ethical questions… What do you guys think?
Ethics vary among every society, race, and even genders. Social paradigms as well as the laws in our nation set the ethics code for right and wrong. Although so does human nature, Darwin said sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature, which is really a beautiful thing. I disagree with many of human ethics because we like to pick a choose. Morals shouldn’t be something where you can say “oh hey, it’s fine to kill every type of animal on the planet, but killing a human is just morbid.” Morals should be balanced. Nature always has a way of finding equilibrium and so should everything else. We’re an arrogant species and as a society we’ve been jaded by self interest, and dreams and goals that have been set up for us since we we’re born. The “American Dream”. In theory though, right and wrong doesn’t exist. But, there is always a consequence to an action and the consequence is what is favored as right or wrong, and from there we decide what actions are right and wrong. As for the good life, it should be of personal interest, but most people want what everyone else has, what we’re taught is the good life. That more is better, but the more you have doesn’t mean the happier you’ll be. To be happy, you only truly need the basic necessities. You won’t be any happier because you have a more expensive blanket to keep you warm. The hedonic treadmill is the fire that keeps consumerism alive though.
Right and wrong exist for humans. We can’t ask if something is “inherently” right or wrong, as if it mattered to the universe. A mistake a lot of people make is assuming an act must be right only if it were also right if humans didn’t exist. That’s the equivalent of saying “if the moon didn’t exist, would we still have a moon?” It’s utter non-sense.
The problem really lies in defining the spectrum–of right and wrong–objectively. It should look some thing like this(in my opinion):
unnecessary gratuitous suffering———————————————Prosperity
Where the left side of the spectrum is bad, and the right side good.
@mikethemazz, right and wrong are subjective and dependant on various circumstances. Bad is simply the lack of good. There’s no polar opposite or absolutes. This is only an illusion for the purposes of providing definition to a circumstance. The “line” between the two extremes moves depending on individual bias. The illusion is just a creative tool.
@mikethemazz, We are the only animal that values love, but we are by far not the only one that displays it. This tells me that right and wrong is ultimately irrelevant, but constructive relationships are natural and so constructive behaviour is logical. This doesn’t mean it is right, just that it is the normal direction of the universe.
@mikethemazz, People could argue all the destructive elements of nature, but the fact we have such diversity tells us that the constructive outweighs the destructive. In fact; for a destructive force to exist, or to at least have purpose, there must exist something to destroy, so the constructive is logically more fundamental to the nature of the universe.
@vovinawol, Social structure is the same in humans as it is in species that have no concept of society, but have it nonetheless; A sharing of strength and weakness with the goal of making each unit whole, to the greatest possible degree that each can better contribute to the structure.
@rexrf, Values are concepts, no animal but humans display an understanding of concepts, at least nothing beyond the most rudimentary. The fact that animals have thrived without a value system means that values are irrelevant to the success of a species.
We are capable of concepts so that should mean values are necessary for our progress, but for the fact they aren’t. Even our best value, our value of love, causes love to be an object of desire, something feared to be lost. In the presence of desire and fear, rational thought is dangerously affected and altered away from reasonable objectivity.
In this sense; morality is the knowledge of good and evil, the original sin, values are what tempt us away from the natural constructive direction of the universe.
@trek79, To value to something only means it is of importance of you. Animals eat, because life is of importance to them. They reproduce because prolongation of the species is valuable to them. These are the same biological processes that lead humans to value things.
Morality is simply acting in a right or wrong manner, you don’t need to know you’re doing something bad, for you you to do something bad. Knowledge of good and evil is church jargon. And again, values are just something that is of importance to a given subject.
@rexrf, Animals eat and reproduce because evolution ensured that those that didn’t did not survive, it has nothing to do with valuing life. The lines between right and wrong are different with every person, ranging from subtle to extreme, there is no universal right or wrong.
Religious people are the biggest advocates for morality, what I said was using their own jargon to contradict their very foundation, don’t dismiss what I said as a promotion of religion.
Values are just something important to us, yes, but attachments to values are what cause all manner of irrational behaviour.
@rexrf, Out of Yin and Yang; which is the good and which is the bad? Which is right and which is wrong? If you know anything about Yin and Yang, it is neither, everything in the universe can exist without a positive or negative connotation, in fact it does, it is only humans who throw that balance out with their artificial and subjective value systems.
well we can agree it depends on there being people, right? We judge the Shepard, not the dog, as immoral. or dumb.
I act out of a combination of empathy and respect with others, and a will to life with myself.
if you dont kill me i dont kill you. if you steal one of my sheep im going to try and get it back. if i can’t, I’m getting the hell away from you.
if you do none of these and say hi, I say hi back. I may offer you a scone. what’s that, you’re allergic to gluten? how about some of these gluten-free pretzels?
the good life must be a life examined. one comes to his own definition of good, whether purely of his own merit or not, and lives in such a way to fit the definition. and the irrational man must examine himself as he knows himself to be: prone to fickle and individualistic emotions.
in this way, one’s code of action cannot be taught to him, but must be learned and understood genuinely alone. Why do you act the way you do to people? You have the best idea.
Consider someone who thinks it’s polite to smile and keep eye contact. They meet someone who finds this invasive and disrespectful, because back in _______, people do not maintain such prolonged eye contact with strangers. Very unique codes
@rexrf, It is not so much a case of no longer valuing things that I am talking about, I am really just saying that things will still exist without them, things do not need our evaluation to validate them. It is probably impossible to stop from seeing some things as needed or necessary while others are an obstacle, but what you can do is know that any of the worth, or lack of, that you assign to any given phenomena is just a label that only exists in your mind.
I think everything has a purpose, but just because that purpose does not directly serve us does not mean its existence is invalid. What we do is we liberate the constructive, we invent and create in order to improve the quality of existence, with the destructive we either harness it to serve us or we avoid it.
Values are just in determining between the constructive and destructive, that which heightens the quality of existence and that which harms, but these are natural directions of constructive beings, when you dabble in values you require discipline over the fears and desires that inevitably arise with them. The key to this discipline is knowing the curse of values.
@rexrf, I just mean our ideas of right and wrong are sources of desire, fear, guilt and pride. People think that our ideas of right and wrong protect us from desire, fear, guilt and pride, but they don’t, they actually make them possible in the first place.
There is no universal or objective right or wrong. Right or wrong is whatever you want it to be. If there is no God, then the concept of ‘rightness’ is entirely subjective. If humans ceased to exist, would the concept of ‘rightness,’ cease to exist too?
“It is our needs that interpret the world.” Nietzsche