Ethics, aesthetics, and morals

by onacruse 36 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • maybesbabies
    Why should I not simply do whatever I want to do?

    To those who don't have a conscience, this is exactly how they think. A rapist doesn't care that the act is illegal, they'll do it anyways. Consequences do not stop a person from doing that which they are hell bent on doing anyways. To me, the thing that prevents us from acting out like this is empathy. This is where the Golden Rule comes in, a basic concept that is echoed in all the religions of the earth. If I do not like pain inflicted on me, why would I find it appealing to inflict it on another? The fact that laws are not a deterrent to crime, but rather the punishment after comitting it, shows that we can not prevent a sick mind from acting out their most carnal of instincts, we can only hope to contain them for the greater social good. I believe in moral relativism, for the simple fact that it is true. What is commonly accepted by some is abhorrent to others. What makes it so? As NewSense said, it is what is considered normal by the community.

  • bikerchic

    Cuz yer married and your wife will kick yer ass !!!

    Yeah what xenawarrior said! And he knows it too!

    Kate (typing this as Craig is looking over my shoulder.......)

    PS FWIW, we've had many a discussion about these subjects and my head still hurts........xw you know what I mean girl! but really what NewSense and Blondie and LadyLee said, yep that's what I really mean forget that Craig guy and forget that Bradley put him up to this.............gawd my poor aching head.............baboombaboombaboombaboomkersplode!

  • myauntfanny

    The question kind of assumes a dim view of human nature, that all we really want to do is use and abuse each other, and only a fear of penalties stops us. But couldn't it be that we have other impulses also, towards love and justice and sharing, and usually, for most of us, they are stronger than our impulses to rape and kill and steal? I mean, we wouldn't consider it deviant, psychopathic behaviour if it were really the only thing driving us as a species. Even if you can't "prove" that we are all connected, I think most of us deeply experience that connection and want to preserve it. We recognise a psychopath in someone who doesn't experience it.

    I don't believe that most of us would embark on a crime spree if there were nothing to stop us. I read a book about killing, called "On Killing", written by a Ranger (whatever that is) that trains military men. He said that they've found that only about 2% of soldiers actually want to kill people, most soldiers really, deeply don't want to kill people. And that 2% is probably higher than the general population, since the military is bound to specially attract those who enjoy killing. Obviously, the 2% can wreak a lot of havoc and have to be dealt with somehow. But I don't think that on the whole we really need ethics and morals at all. They don't stop people, but most people don't need stopping.

  • Markfromcali
    Maybe because you love people?
    In the context of this thread, I would have to ask: So what? I do think (and attempt to conduct my life in accord with the principle) that "love your neighbor as yourself" is perhaps the most poignant statement in the NT, but even so, if I have no life to live but this life, then why, and how, does it matter whether I 'love my neighbor'?

    Hi Craig, It matters because you are no different and not separate from your neighbor, so it matters and becomes meaningful to you. Loving your neighbor IS loving yourself, in other words. It's not a matter of lack of reward in another life, it's a matter of the cause having an immediate effect in this life. Of course that doesn't do a whole lot of good as a philosophy, as some idea the intellect holds. There is no intellectual proof of this, it occurs on the level of being. It may sound cliche, but by using the word being I am trying to communicate that it is actual and not only conceptual. As such it is not something I expect you to believe just because I said so, which makes no actual difference if you believe me or not, but it is an invitation to see for yourself it this is true.

  • Midget-Sasquatch

    Then expect the same thing to happen to those you love. Hows that for a deterrant? Empathy was mentioned and the Golden rule and they were spot on. Most people acknowledge the gut feelings of these things, except for those few psycho/sociopaths.

    If you don't fancy ANYONE else then you're more than likely an aberration, even if you want to strictly talk about this from a darwinian and purely materialist point of view. Look up kin selection. Amoral evolution would not have kept selecting for such a behaviour if it didn't benefit the organisms somehow. True its only for those sharing the same genes. But we can be more than ill tempered chimps can't we and extend the sphere in which it operates?

  • Tim Horton
    Tim Horton

    Even from a totally selfish point of view, I would argue that the golden rule works for your benefit in the long run. Maybe not provable, but eventually things will work out in your favor, even if it is only a warm fuzzy feeling

  • Odrade

    and to take the animal analogy further, even the animal kingdom has behaviour patterns and pecking orders. If a creature is a marauder, they will likely be isolated or outcast eventually. Not because of any moral issues, but because it just doesn't work. A creature who destroys its environment will likewise eventually be affected detrimentally. Assuming no creature lower than man has any concept of afterlife, these codes of behaviour are in place because they are necessary for survival, not because of ethics.

    Now when it comes to humans, there is a vast social network that would be endangered by someone acting this way (rape, rob, rampage.) Eventually things have to come to balance, this behaviour is extreme, and one way or another it finds its equilibrium. Each animal family has its own code for things that are acceptable/unacceptable because that's what brings balance. It may be balance for one type of animal to kill all the males and take all the female and have a little harem. It may be okay for a bird to smash the eggs in another species' nest and lay their own for the other bird to raise. It may be okay for a pack of hyenas to watch a lion take down its prey and then steal it from him. But because of the human social network, aside from any religious or moral belief about the afterlife, our social structure is weakened by this kind of behaviour.

    Nature/nurture has been a huge debate, even among troglodytes since, well, probably since the original troglodytes. IMO this question is one of the keystones of that issue.


  • Brummie
    Everybody has a name

    I think this is a profound little statement that deserves echoing.

    We are all someone with our own identity, its not us to go around doing what we want regardless of others thoughts and feelings, we leave that to other identities, the ones behind bars.

  • truthseeker1

    So what is it you want to do? Do you want to rape and murder people? I sure don't want to.

    If you started raping and murdering everyone, would that somehow benefit you? I doubt it.

    I fail to see your point.

  • Farkel

    : 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?

    Because we need each other. Life would be an empty, meaningless and lonely, miserable thing if we all did what you suggested. Furthermore, there would be no banks if everyone was a bank robber, there would be no women if every man was killed, there would be no life if all plant life was destroyed. There would be no friends if we killed everyone we met.

    In short, it is in our own selfish best interests not to let anarchy be the rule. Selfishness is not necessarily a bad thing, you know.


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