Wednesday, August 31, 2011

[Mind's Eye] Re: "Confessions of an Ex-Moralist"

None of the above stops duties for an individual like not killing,
stealing and so on being simple ways to express rules of thumb for a
decent society, or thinking by individuals trying to improve same or
come up with ideas free of socially approved epistemic authority -
indeed, given human collective history this is probably a rule of
thumb itself.
Orn often suggests that there are errors in nihilist thinking (as a
broad label) - I agree. Modern deconstruction ends up telling us some
things are undecidable and we have to do our best with them. A bit
like playing a leg-spinner when you can't spot his googlie. This is
unremarkable - what might be important is that socially decision-
making is broadly established in an elite and the decisions need not
be - often obviously decidable. This is very animal stuff and we
surely can't be sensibly voting for it. How can we vote for
autonomy? We might start thinking that there is a moral cause against
representative government that so inevitably decides in the interests
of such a small group. Moral thinking against established authority
is easily justified - our literature once praised it - often with
existential heroes battling torpid discrimination masquerading as
objective good sense. I suspect what goes wrong in merely
deconstructive thinking is a point at which authority is banished as
we recognise its violence and forget that this is merely the ground of
default to might is right.

On Aug 31, 12:50 pm, archytas <> wrote:
> Getting out of the mess we're in is perhaps a forlorn hope, but the
> odd one of hem came off! History as taught is useless other than in
> creating factional madness.  Biology might help us overcome our
> failure to recognise how animal we are and history could show us the
> repeated blunders we keep falling for.  My thesis is that argument
> hasn't helped us much - my guess being we are broadly ineducable
> through schooling and need a more technological form.  I think we have
> the hard technology but have failed to make this socio-technical to
> date.
> I see some of this as 'moral' in that we can clearly challenge all
> morality - this leading to something rigsy said on the hapless ego
> state of making this mean 'other people are wrong' - surely (the ego
> state - not rigsy) childish.  Most of us still live and die very
> parochially and one lesson is that the apparent differences in moral-
> religious thinking are just cultural.  I would be more like Vam and he
> more like me if our birth places and families been exchanged. Born in
> Islamic families we would both likely be Muslim.  This was recognised
> before Descartes (Maupassant I think).  Some of my Muslim students
> think this is not the case because they are chosen.
> The question is less one of the nihilist rejection of morality and
> more one of a global morality we can sensibly adhere to.  The term
> 'global morality' is scary as is any totalising solution.  And many of
> the issues we need to grip and grok are scary too - population control
> is one - not least because we presumably want people to be able to
> live in comfort and plenty - something likely to raise breeding
> potential.  If we think of the Earth as a commons, then we should
> expect the issue of the tragedy of the commons to arise.  How do we
> tell the people who want then 'no more big families'?  How do we
> justify issues on disability that would arise?  If we want power to be
> democratic, How do we prevent power through wealth, whether through
> capitalist accumulation to a few individuals or the State =both of
> which have a history of either war or oppression or both?  Some will
> say we are better off not addressing such matters as human planning is
> always a mess and we are better off leaving things to the chance of
> evolution, war being part of this - the purpose of man is to be a
> warrior and women's to be recreation for the warrior and such rot.
> Others are more fatalist in that none of this mat matter much as the
> overall plan goes on whatever human trivia makes some believe.
> My view is that religion and various other myths of origin, all
> containing perverse views amongst their elites that ordinary people
> can't cope with the recognition they are myths (Plato is the classic)
> and only the priests or guardians can, are rationalist fantasies - but
> what bigger such fantasy as the very idea of anything global that
> would ask all to take on a 'morality'!
> We leave out a major 'purpose' in economics in much of our moral
> thinking - that of the West (still currently the major military power)
> being on top and staying on top.  The idea in this is that to prevent
> a "backward change" the West needs to dominate economically in order
> to attract the innovation needed to stay on top.  What, for instance,
> would the current situation be now if Muslim states had equivalent
> military power, or a dominant one?  It is also clear that the same
> economics is profoundly anti-democratic in that our own ability to
> manage through it is severely restricted, probably by the accumulation
> of capital in very few hands.  Capital that has invested in such a way
> as to hand over manufacturing (the essential means of war) outside the
> West - something that is treason in some thinking.  This form of
> capital has remained imperialist and one can make a good case that it
> is a form of organised crime.
> The key 'moral' issue in all this - which needs book length
> elaboration - is that there isn't much moral in the form of thinking
> that doesn't consider what is happening to all people and that moral
> thinking should be by social animals who recognise that is what they
> are and that we all start with entrenched views that can merely seek
> conversion in others without needed reciprocity.  I believe strongly
> in humility - yet this cannot be a one way process.
> I don't believe we can change much through argument and that
> technology is the way forward - even such technology as agrarian
> living alongside 'hot fusion' energy.  I live in a country about to
> evict 'travelers' from their homes and the frustrations on all sides
> is clear.  I wouldn't want them at the end of my garden, yet the law
> seems inadequate.  We have around 8 million people unemployed (real as
> opposed to government figures) and yet continue to be a country with
> net immigration.  It becomes more and more obvious that we can't
> educate our way out of this - indeed, one wonders what effect
> education, after some basics such as women having fewer babies =
> actually has - rather like milk yields in cows and genetics/
> environment equations.  50% of our kids hardly pass go in schooling
> terms and we seem content to 'replace' them in our workforce with
> "better genetic specimens" because this is how economics works.
> Despite the blarney on only bringing in these highly skilled people
> (itself morally dubious as this means taking doctors from elsewhere),
> our taxi drivers are becoming exclusively 'brown' just as jobs are in
> short supply.
> Given the practical mess I'm not surprised the moral flight is into
> the subjective where an individual can experience control.  My guess
> is this is a flight from the social, much as the wealthy move
> practically away from the problems, to areas where their kids can go
> to the schools without the problems or in private schooling and so
> on.  Even Plato, especially Plato, wanted his Guardians free of the
> normal, corrupting social. My own view is that this may be simply the
> first step to the immoral.
> On Aug 31, 12:34 pm, Lee Douglas <> wrote:
> > Indeed OM indeed.
> > I asked once or perhaps twice or even thrice what is it about human
> > life that many see as sacrosanct, I don't see life that way at all and
> > so it confussed me why again the majority of us would view the takeing
> > of a human life by another human as immoral.
> > I guess I'm just in a strange place at the mo, beliving in a creator
> > God without beliving that life is somehow sacred.
> > I can see both sides though, I think most would thank their parents
> > for the 'gift' of life, but I can certianly understand why some would
> > not.
> > Myself I'm a little differant.  I had no choice about my birth and so
> > I neither thank nor revile my parents for their choice in makeing me.
> > I mean I, Lee, the human and the soul and the mind that makes up the
> > indivudual we call Lee, had nowt to do with my birth.
> > It was my parents choice, and their desire to have kids, I know this
> > desire, I think most of us humans do at some point or other in our
> > lives.
> > Now of course I have two teenage boys, I don't ask them for their
> > thanks, not for mine and my wifes desires, our choice.  We did not
> > gift them with life, we simply followed our own wills.
> > No I'm more intersted in arming them for their own lifes, so that they
> > can make their own choices independant of me and their mum.  They are
> > not really my kids but humans that own their own lifes.
> > On Aug 31, 11:53 am, ornamentalmind <>
> > wrote:
> > > "…Those born into abject poverty or under the rule of a despot may
> > > not
> > > see their life as agift at all. " – Lee
> > > Conversely, those born into affluence or under the rule of an
> > > enlightened and benevolent leader may not see their life as a gift
> > > either.
> > > On Aug 31, 3:50 am, Lee Douglas <> wrote:
> > > > Indeed that is the way I see it, but of course others may not.
> > > > Those born into abject poverty or under the rule of a despot may not
> > > > see their life as agift at all.
> > > > On Aug 31, 5:29 am, rigsy03 <> wrote:
> > > > > Yes- but there are so many ironies and surprises and turn-abouts in
> > > > > life that it offers possibilities, as well. It still is a chance
> > > > > given.
> > > > > On Aug 30, 9:47 am, Lee Douglas <> wrote:
> > > > > > Heh and of course there is an argument to be made that life is no gift
> > > > > > at all!
> > > > > > On Aug 30, 2:59 pm, rigsy03 <> wrote:
> > > > > > > Yes- a lively topic! The whole matter rests upon the spirit in which
> > > > > > > the gift is given or received and it can get tangled up in some pretty
> > > > > > > strange emotions!
> > > > > > > We can never repay parents for the gift of life.
> > > > > > > I have sometimes given a gift to get rid of a person! And it
> > > > > > > works! :-)
> > > > > > > "The moon belongs to everyone, the best things in life are
> > > > > > > free" (song)
> > > > > > > On Aug 30, 4:46 am, Lee Douglas <> wrote:
> > > > > > > > Hey Neil,
> > > > > > > > The word debt is a good one to bring to the convo.  It is ridden with
> > > > > > > > subjective morality.  I think it true to say that nobody likes to be
> > > > > > > > indebted to anybody, and that payment of debt whether that be fiscal
> > > > > > > > or favours owed, is paramont for the individual to feel free from debt
> > > > > > > > agian.
> > > > > > > > Of course the corraspanding thought is that the individual can also
> > > > > > > > feel empowerd by the depts owed to that person.  It is like a slavery
> > > > > > > > light.  If a man buys you a beer you remember it and do not rest untll
> > > > > > > > you have returned the favour.  If a freind helps you to move it is
> > > > > > > > perfectly exceptable to ask of him the same favour when you in
> ...
> read more »


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