MORALITY: what is it really?

by Terry 60 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Terry

    CZAR says:

    So, Terry, I'm confused. Are you saying that morality IS relative or that it isn't?


    The need to determine our standard of behavior is absolute. The practical nature of finding the most efficacious way of solving life's problems is absolute. The solution each of us chooses will be relative. But, the end we reach and the means we used will be judged by success and the impact on others.

    Society has much to say about our behavior. Society's values are consensus driven in democracies. In totalitarian society there is no consensus. It is obedience to the dictates of the soverign that is pronounced: moral. In Theocracies, it is the pronouncements of God as interpreted by the priests that is regarded as moral.

    But, in reality, what works best works best regardless of who is making the rules. That "best" is often regarded by different people differently. That is what "seems" relative about morality.

    If I could make just one point clear, it is this: Conversation about Morality has to be viewed through how many __recursions__it is made. *(Recursive: Referring back to itself)

    If I make a choice for myself based on my goal of a good life well lived; I am making a moral choice. The results of that choice will prove or disprove the accuracy of my choice in absolute terms. That is to say, do I reach my goal by the consequence of my action?

    But, if I talk to you about the choices you make; in terms of the methodology of my morality, the discussion steps back recursively. This added dimension flavors the soup with the seasoning of one person's opinion about another's choices. To wit: not all moral choices can be absolutely judged to be THE best choice because of the long term test of the consequence.

    So, the point of having an understanding of morality in the first place is to have SOMETHING on which to base our choices rather than mere NOTHING.

    We do as our parents tell us.

    We do as our teachers tell us.

    We do as our religion tells us.

    At what point do we do what we think is best? Or, to put it bluntly, "how the hell do THEY know what is best for MY life?"

  • czarofmischief

    I think it took you a little long to state that what you consider morality is also called pragmatism. I think a lot of people were confused, because morality is usually connected with conscience.

    However, now that we are all clear where you are coming from, I can dispute you.

    That which may seem "pragmatic" at a certain point in time may still be the wrong moral choice. For instance, it was "pragmatic" of certain French citizens to cooperate with the Nazi occupiers. After all, there was no indication that Hitler would ever lose. So why not sell out their Jewish neighbors, abandon their illusory "groupthink" ideology of French sovreignty, and just get by? After all, they could not possibly have a logical reason for opposing the Nazis.

    But it turns out that not only was that a wrong choice on my "instinctive" level; it was wrong on a pragmatic level, because those that cooperated with the Nazis wound up being arrested and hanged when the war was finally over.

    Logic failed and emotion triumphed in that day.


  • Terry

    Myelaine asks: Are you trying to say that, our emotional REACTION to a CHOICE determines the choices we make.

    I reply: Huh?

    No. No. No. No I'm not!

    Here is what I am saying.

    1.Emotions have a cause (they are not uncaused and mysterious).

    2.Emotions are a physical reaction to something. What? Emotions are a physical reaction to something (person, place, incident, thought,etc) which we have placed a VALUE on.

    3.Whatever value we attach to anything will invoke the emotional response that matches the value. (If you decide somebody tripping on a banana peel and falling is funny you will laught).

    4.What we value and how we value is determined by our personal standards of what is best for us (if we are healthy and rational). Else, our values will be determined by something __other.

    5.All our emotions do is wave a flag in our face and tell us what VALUE we have attached to what just happened. Laughter=funny. (If your mind disagrees with the emotion you just experienced it means something is wrong. Somebody else attached a value to the incident and you are forced to react against your will. You have been mind-raped).

    Where does CHOICE enter in to all this?

    Unless we choose to attach our own values to everything; we will end up feeling the WRONG (i.e. emotions we disagree with; emotions that feel inappropriate or mysterious)EMOTIONS.

    We must root out our hidden values. We have to locate each and every subversive non-elective value and replace it with our own or we will be surprised by our emotional unhealthy response.

    When I use the word VALUE I mean this. Thumbs up or thumbs down=Positive values we seek to obtain and keep. Negative values we avoid and disdain.

  • myelaine

    Logic failed and emotion triumphed in that day.

    Faith in God failed and FEAR triumphed in that day.

  • Terry


    You've sneaked relativism into the equation!

    All I said was that you were using "pragmatic" in the same way I was using "morality" in my discussion. I do not mean for you to conclude that Morality is Pragmatism.

    What is the difference?

    There are enormous differences in what I intend as Morality and what you intend as Pragmatic.

    1.Pragmatism has no use for the concept of objective reality. I, on the other hand, only accept and deal with the universe as an objective reality. Reality is what it is regardless of anybody's opinion. Reality is real. Reality is the final arbiter of any human action. Jumping off a skyscraper in the belief that one can fly will meet with objective reality. Reality will trump belief every time.

    2. In Pragmatism, the collective (society, your religion, the government, the priesthood) determines what is true. The individual must comply with what the collective decides. I, on the other hand, believe I am the sole judge of what is right for me. The devil take the rest.

    3.Dewey and Kant subverted the idea of the rational mind being any good at all for determining what is true. I, on the other hand, regard man's rational mind as the only tool he has for sanity and survival.

    4.Pragmatic philosophy tells us that thinkng is impractical and thus "if you perceive it--it must not be real". This leaves man prey for any charismatic or any dictator to rule him with ease inasmuch as he is defenseless.

    Logically, pragmatism can only destroy the human mind by denying its efficacy.

    The French govenment under Petain?

    The French military was never a match for Hitler's armies. After sustaining massive losses and having the "invincible" Maginot line collapse, Henri Philippe Petain took over the French government and tried to bargain with Hitler. Hitler knew France had no power to resist and granted no guarantees. Petain was a figurehead. Any steps he took contrary to Hitler's policy were immediately rebuffed and he was powerless to resist. The patriots who attacked the occupying Germans (The French Resistance) were an endless source of trouble, but, their actions only brought strong reprisals from the Nazis. Hitler had his boot heel on the neck of the French. Those who could resist did so. Petain pursued a policy of appeasement; but, the French people did not vote on his policies and actions.

    The immoral actions of French citizens in co-operating with Hitler were proven immoral by the end that came to them. They suffered because of PRAGMATISM and not Moral action.

  • peacefulpete

    Recognition of the natural pressures and biology that coalesced into what we call 'conscience' is essential to understand the universialities and individualisms observed in any population. Group and kin selection have produced an species that is an often contradictory mix of selfish and altruistic. Modern and mixed societies are a relatively new developement in human evolution and this complicates the subject of group behavioral norms. We seem equipped to deal with these new challeges to survival but only if we suppress ideologically inflamed 'morality' mongers.

  • willy_think


    I believe that most people do wish to benefit society and are quite willing to surrender part of themselves to that endeavor. The question is why? My belief is that at it is rooted in the social conditioning we receive mixed with a healthy dose of romanticism.


    who among us is not part of a collective, who does not buy in to something? Woman want mirage even though it consists of washing, cleaning and caring for others, the everyday grind that drains us. if a wife and mother is not careful to find fulfillment out side of the other, the loss of self can result. How many woman climbed upon a cross for there family only to find themselves alone in the end, looking at their reflection and asking; who am i? what do i want? am i here at all? Chasing ideals, the perfect house or the perfect code of behavior is to chase what others tell us to desire.

  • myelaine

    who among us is not part of a collective, who does not buy in to something?

    Can I answer this one? GOD!


  • willy_think


    If you believe in God and God is not part of your collective are you sure you are in the right one?

    Isn't he the one who made society? Didn't he make a host of angles who worship him perpetually? Isn't he the one who kicks creatures out of the collective if they differ too much from him?

    I sometimes wonder if Satan called out like, Brave Hart, as he was cast from heaven "CRY FREEDOM!"

    The garden of Eden was a society, perhaps a perfect one, but still one was expected to sacrifice individual freedom in exchange for there place within the culture. Adam and Eve could not eat of the tree. Why? Because it was the will of the leader. Violating the will of the leader comes at a price.

    Some believe that freedom comes through total submission. They clam to know why the caged bird sings.

  • Terry

    Aren't we all a part of some collective?

    The important question becomes: do we forego our identity for the privilege? Is what we get worth what we give up?

    When the line is crossed and we pay more than we receive; who has the courage to face that reality instead of inventing excuses?

    Faking reality is the biggest symptom of joining a collective.

    It is the death of who we are because the world we join isn't real and our role inside is just wishful-thinking.

    Life is a transaction. We pay with our time and we collect with the life we get.

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