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  Topic: Good?, A burgeoning ethical issue< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,10:44   

Quote (Robin @ Mar. 11 2011,10:27)
[quote=OgreMkV,Mar. 11 2011,08:59][/quote]
I have often considered this as well and I am left wondering not so much how to conduct myself in an appropriate manner, but how the hell to convince every else to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner.

Nice post Ogre. I just wanted to address this one point though because it's something I tend to think about a lot.

I've come to believe over the years - in many ways from reading and joining in discussions on boards such as this - that the worst thing we as humans do in the world is try to convince others to live by our own codes of "appropriateness". Think about the creationist/ID movement for just a second, or better still places in the world where dictators rule or the Taliban runs things, and you can quickly appreciate the extreme of this mindset.

I truly believe that the one thing the bible gets absolutely perfect is the caution against judging others. There is absolutely no way that holding some else accountable to my standards and expecting them to behave as I would in all situations could ever possibly lead to anything other than frustration and bad feelings in the long run. Why? Because *I* can't even live up to my own standards all the time. How can I expect anyone else to fully comply with them and ever be satisfied? Worse, how can I expect anyone else to be satisfied with him or herself in such a situation and ultimately not end up resenting me for how he or she feels? I really don't see any situation in which the outcome could be anything other than strife.

In fact, I attribute nearly all social ills to this one human tendency and truly believe that if we humans genuinely sat down with ourselves and agreed to judge only our own actions by our own standards and hold ourselves accountable to those standards, 80% of the problems in the world would go away.

Now, this is extremely idealistic. I know that. It's also highly unrealistic and, in many ways, impractical, particularly with the world as it is now. For example, we are, for better or worse, societal as well as nationalistic now. I don't see any practical means of sustaining us as organisms in such groups at this point without some form of governing. And I think Churchill was right - democracy is the worst form of such governing except for all the others that have ever been tried from time to time. So it's what works at the moment, but it still requires judging folks against standards that are not their own.

Oy, it's Friday... two posts that require thinking on the same day?... sigh.

Now that you state it thusly, I agree with you... up to a point.

My philosophy is much like the pagan's.  Do what you will provided no harm comes to others.  

If someone really wants to kill themselves with a gun or drugs or whatever, then I can't stop them.  If that person wants to make poor life decisions, I can offer them my support and love and advice, but I can't stop them.

On the other hand, if someone's lifde decisions are harming others (like their children), then I have a duty to stop them.  Not for them, but for the harm that could be avoided for others.

Likewise, with (especially) the environment.  I feel very strongly about the damage done by fossil fuels because I grew up in a refinery town.  Most people, even avid environmentalists, have no concept of what it's like to live in the middle of a refinery... I do.  (See my blog on why global warming deniers hate you.)

So yes, when it's one person, I don't care.  When they are actively involved in harming others by action or inaction,then I think we have a duty to redirect their behavior (by legal means, I don't advocate threats or application of force to do anything except protect my family).  

Again, it's a question of society vs. the indivdual.  I think that we evolved from tribal creatures and the concept of a society is in our genes.  Some members tend to take advantage of that to gain power or other percieved benefits (like the people you mentioned).  But it's pretty easy to identify them, they are working for themselves, not for the good of the society.

Thanks for helping me to articulate these things.

Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

  46 replies since Mar. 11 2011,06:13 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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