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Where do ideas of good and evil come from?

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Sepsis, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. Fourka

    Fourka Forget it

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    what he probably means is that if you analyze it a bit further, you will realise that you actually want to feel like a good person that cares for your sibling and so you buy them an ice-cream. It reminds me of my friend that at some point she had been so devastated with herself because she didn't really care about how her father is doing in his work and so on, so she bought him a present and called him and talked with him on the phone about his problems. She then came back to me and said that she felt better about herself doing that. She forgot about him then for the rest of the month and if there was ever a hard time for her father she wouldn't call him so that she does not have any problems herself....(right...it's like i'm telling you a tale from the bible now...)
    Anyways, what i want to say actually is that most people think that they care about everybody, though they actually care about themselves by doing favours and stuff to "satisfy" others, only to serve the feelings they have towards themselves. Phew..i said it. I hope you got the point cause everybody knows that i suck in english.
     
  2. NeverIsForever

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    This isn't selfless. You see it throughout the natural world, in creatures that lack the mental capacity to consider the benefits and implications of altruism. Organisms have a vested interest in raising their offspring, preferably strong, healthy, and plentiful offspring, so that their genetic material is passed on to future generations. Hence you have numerous species that care for their young after they have been born/hatched/whatever. Maybe we as a species believe ourselves to be past that but it has been the basic motivation since life began, especially because most if not all environments force competition among the individuals that share them.
     
  3. no country for old wainds

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    Selflessness exists in that sometimes the thing that makes a person feel best is the welfare/happiness of another, but nobody can do anything genuinely *selfless*, that would defy the concept of self. It's unimportant though, much like the free will/determinism argument.

    What's important in this case is that it's worse on a far larger scale AND more selfish (in the sense most people mean) to be a champion of the little guy (virtually the accepted definition of selflessness these days) than to actually try to push us in the right direction as a species (i.e. by doing things like not contributing to the pollution that's making our extinction guaranteed - something most don't bother with, mainly because they're so hooked on serving the egalitarian nature-hating cause that they're busy resorting to superficially defeating the self).
     
  4. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    Well it depends on your concept of the self as well. which is a whole other realm of philosophy
     
  5. Under The Oak

    Under The Oak Ens Causa Sui

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    Selflessness is a kind of bitter-sweet thing, I take it. It's like voluntarily allowing yourself to die to save your husband/wife, one of your best friends, or someone who means a lot to you. You may be happy that they get to live on, but isn't the point that you're happy for THEM and not for YOU? In that instance you would be dying and allowing someone else to live on. There is no gain from that, even if we know they will be spared, because our focus is on saving their life, though it may cost our own.

    I don't think there are many people who would allow themselves to die for someone else just because they want to feel better about themselves. Don't tell me it's some kind of subconscious satisfaction either, because selfish pride is not going to make us want to sacrifice our lives for someone else. On the contrary, pride would put us before them and leave them to die.
     
  6. no country for old wainds

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    It's not feeling better about themselves, it's just feeling better. Nobody can do anything that they themselves don't want to do, and people only want things according to their own values. Your definition of selflessness is basically "someone who is made happy by the happiness of a loved one" and that's fair enough. Again, I don't really consider it relevant to issues in the world, just quite interesting.
     
  7. Demiurge

    Demiurge This user has no title

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    This will have nebulous results. What, for instance, happens if a genocide(something I'm sure you oppose) occurs in the interest of ridding the earth of a dysgenic group? What if the person in control believes he is doing this not for himself, but for his countrymen(or the rest of humanity)? A person can take almost any action, so long as his motivation is to help others.

    The relationship between parents and children can be explained on a strictly evolutionary basis. Also, the more closely we're related, the more likely we are to help. Identical twins are more helpful to one another than fraternal twins.
     
  8. Darth Kur

    Darth Kur Misanthropic Naysayer

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    It could always be that parents raise their children and treat them well in a hope that when they become old and decrepit their offspring will feel obliged to repay all of the good done to them instead of throwing the parents asses in a nursing home. :D
     
  9. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    Well selfish things tend to harm other people, so genocide is selfish, regardless of what the person is thinking. Killing someone, is selfish.

    Then selfless things would be helpful to others, and not distructive or selfish towards others. Its not that hard of a concept to grasp.

    Most of you have missed the point.
    That isn't what I said, and I meant only to see them being happy, no other reason other then to know that someone you care about is happy, or feeling better.

    well if people acted in a more selfless manner, the world would be better?

    Our capitalist societies are very selfish, and because of that, we destroy everything for money, and we don't have huge companies saving the environment, or even reducing the pollution, because it would cost more of their money, regardless of the effects of the poison to the rest of the world.

    Democracy is suppose to be a fair system, but it doesn't work right in a capitalist society. I mean the legal system is a winner/loser system. Why is it never comprimise, or a way for it to be mutually exceptable by everyone?
     
  10. Demiurge

    Demiurge This user has no title

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    You want to define selfish as something that hurts other people now. Actually, it means to act entirely or mostly in self-interest. Whether this action helps others or hurts them isn't relevant. Additionally, killing someone can be selfless if the person who commits it does so in the interest of helping others.
     
  11. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    It is still selfish to take someone else's life, regardless of the situation
     
  12. no country for old wainds

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    "Selfish things tend to harm other people" is not the same as "everything that harms other people is selfish", for a start. Secondly, the current collective mindset is stagnant precisely because of the so-called "selfless" pity people live by, and said stagnancy leads (and will lead) to more harm for others than even genocide.

    Everyone will always be selfish. Every single person in the world is selfish. Some people value their social status so they obsess over trivial materials that give them a superficial feeling of worth. Others value their children and obsess over making them happy. It's still selfishness, no more no less.

    The trick is to guide people into valuing something that humanity needs to value to survive and flourish, not to make them value caring about other people's values more than their own - a concept that's essentially paradoxical and ends up staling the mind.
     
  13. Demiurge

    Demiurge This user has no title

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    "Selfish" is determined by motivation only.
     
  14. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    you say things, but can never back them up. I can on the otherhand.
     
  15. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    well think of it this way, life isn't "I" it is the experiences you have, esp with other people. This is what makes up life as we understand it.

    So as you treat others in a selfless manner, which is kind and compassionate towards their existance as another being experiencing, you find that it is good, and good things happen.

    But selfish acts work against those who use them. One quick example of evil associated with selfish is the seven deadly sins(im not christain btw) All of those are based off of selfish acts. And yes, Intentionally causing pain, is evil, when others suffer because of your actions.

    I can't believe that anyone would think that Murder, Rape, stealing, are good things and that sharing, equality, and kindness are bad. That is insane
     
  16. speed

    speed Member

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    Im not arguing that selflessness is bad Silver Incubus, just that it is not as pure and wonderful as you were making it out to be.

    And selfishness is a very very serious problem in our society because so many fucking idiots think they are special, and so many people are isolated psychologically and emotionally. However, selfishness can be quite beneficial as I was saying before.

    It's a complex world that cannot be reduced to set beliefs and ideas, fairy tales about freedom, right and wrong, etc. This basically my argument, well chaos that is.
     
  17. no country for old wainds

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    ...Because you've been conditioned by modern society to think so. Certain things like random murder and rape have been discouraged in virtually all societies because they obviously lack productivity, but none of your morals are universally and unquestionably "good" and you're the one who's insane if you think so. Get off your high horse.
     
  18. Under The Oak

    Under The Oak Ens Causa Sui

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    I agree, only self-destructive societies would apply those to themselves. There are, however, other cultures that believed it appropriate to murder, rape, and steal from their enemies or foreign lands. Still, thats very one-sided and selfish, but only lunatics would create a society of reverse morality because it damages all involved with it.

    GoD, you basically defended his point and then said, "but its not universal". There are people who enjoy pain and suffering in a sadomasochistic sense, but they are, in my opinion, brought to that level by things that also condition them to reject common morality. No one truly wants to be murdered or raped, but they feel it perfectly fine to do it to others. That is not inverse morality, it's merely "I'll do what I please, but don't dare do it to me" - and that is contradictory.

    I believe even people who say they want to die or willing subject themselves to pain don't wish that deep down inside. As I said, they've been conditioned to use that as an emotional outlet for their other forms of suffering they endure which they think can be eased by cutting themselves or letting others break them down. It is twisted morality, not another kind of it altogether.
     
  19. no country for old wainds

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    Equality = far more self-destructive than the naturalism I encourage.
     
  20. Under The Oak

    Under The Oak Ens Causa Sui

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    Aha, so there's the problem. When equality is taken out of the picture, I can understand how morality becomes relative for you. Care to explain why you might think equality is destructive? Do you not believe everyone is entitled to life on their own terms, since we are all of the same species? I don't say that we should all wish for peace, love, and happiness, because I don't believe that will ever fully come on this earth either, but that still gives us no right to treat other human beings as lesser.
     

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