So, in the course of tonight's prolonged conversation with one of you JWD recalcitrants , I propose the following:
If, in fact, this life, this life, is all there is, and nothing remains after...no resurrection, no reincarnation, no transformation, no metamorphosis; that is to say--these bags of salt, water (and a few hydrocarbons and genetic variations thrown in for good measure) are all that we are, and all that we ever will be, and then "poof":
Why should we refrain from whatever brings the "greatest" personal pleasure to our measured and time-limited existence? Why not rob every bank, rape every woman, kill every man, squash every animal, burn every tree and plow every square inch of land, as long as it brings our personal human organism the greatest possible pleasure, for the duration of our limited existence?
"Ethics" is not the answer, because ethics speaks to the coordination of multiple human beings in a social environment. Translate: "If I can get away with it, then I will." The only force of "ethics" is the fear of punishment. So, if I am sure that I can rob banks, rape women, kill men, squash animals, burn and plow indiscriminately, and (at the worst) pay a penalty I can "afford," then why not do so?
"Morals" is not the answer, because that speaks to some objective standard to which I have ultimately to answer. But, if, in fact, there is no such objective standard (and who can absolutely prove that there is such a standard?), then I have no need to provide such answers, or even concern myself with such questions.
"Aesthetics" is not the answer, because it speaks to the "beautiful" of life, the "things as they ought to be." But who defines "things as they ought to be"? Just, and no more than, pure social conditioning, including 'what we were raised to be.' Purely extraneous, and superficial. If the first faces, and the first sounds I heard, were hyena, I would think of myself as a hyena, and behave like a hyena.
Legal systems and religious systems are simply a subset of the above.
So, my question is:
Why should I not simply do whatever I want to do?