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It feels good to do good, and it feels bad to do bad.

How do you want to feel today?

One can choose one's experience by being aware of, and choosing, one's actions.

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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Zach82 on July 15th, 2009, 3:37 pm

Doing what is right doesn't always feel good, though. What to do when the hardest thing and the right thing are the same?
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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Mossling on July 16th, 2009, 3:29 am

Doing what is right doesn't always feel good

This seems to be a prediction, rather than a conclusion made after the act has been 'completed'. One can evaluate straight after the act; that seems to be the best time to see whether what you say is true.

I believe the right thing only seems hard because we fear being alone and being reporached for our 'righteousness' - Jesus was nailed up on the cross, Buddha had boulders rolled down mountains at him, and assassins sent to slay him, and Ghandi got shot dead.

These kinds of famous examples don't appear to whet one's appetite; especially while one has not even begun to feel the 'goodness' of one's intended moral actions - there is little inspiration. And so it seems we settle for the same nails through our wrists, poisons in our food, and gunshots through our body - the same death pains, over our whole lifetime. By the time we die, it seems we have suffered just as much.

In the ancient ruins of what was a Buddhist University (part of the Angkor Wat complex) in Cambodia, one can see many statues of stylised lions (like this one: http://www.andybrouwer.co.uk/blog/uploa ... 794463.jpg) - these represented the courage one needs to summon from one's heart in order to break through such fears as I have outlined, and attempt to experience the good feelings of doing good things.

Not every good person winds up prematurely dead though - the Buddha lived to a ripe old age.
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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Zach82 on July 16th, 2009, 1:06 pm

It's not a prediction. When the Nazis occupied France, Hitler gave an ominous decree that the French could either cooperate fully with the occupation or "Vanish into the night." The French people were given a very obvious choice- either do the obviously right thing, fight against the occupation, and run the risk of a gruesome end, or do the easy thing and quietly cooperate. Your morality is absurdly simple minded if you truly believe that only good happens to people who do good things.
Last edited by Zach82 on July 16th, 2009, 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Mossling on July 17th, 2009, 5:24 am

The French people were given a very obvious choice- either do the obviously right thing, fight against the occupation, and run the risk of a gruesome end, or do the easy thing and quietly cooperate.

Was there only one obviously right thing to do? Ghandi would have possibly given another suggestion and advised the people not to fight and not to cooperate in bad deeds. It depends what cooperating meant here - pumping poison gas in to jew-filled chambers, or allowing German troops to pass through their nation? If they were aware of any action they may do which might support hurting people, then they could just refrain from that act even when the Germans were amongst them. Standing up for what was 'right' from that perspective would have made them feel good, would it not? How much better would it have made them feel to fire a bullet in to a German soldier's head? What proof is there that killing people makes any relatively sane person feel good?

The Buddha also recommended non-violence, and there is not one Buddhist record of him ever hurting anyone or advocating a violent response, so most Buddhists would support me here (I say 'most', because followers of the Dalai Lama, for example, would try and vouch for him training anti-China rebel fighters via CIA funding).

The French people were not perfect in the sense they could have made the same political and anthropological mistakes the Germans had made. Indeed; we see racism riots going on in France even to this day. I don't think we can view the Germans as 'bad' and the French as 'good' here; they both have unsavoury sides to their national stance on things.

For another example, just look at Bush vs Saddam - who was 'worse'? Was it 'right' for the Iraqis to fight the US when the US invaded? If they hadn't, then a lot less bloodshed would have been caused - did they really expect to defend themselves adequately?

Now look at Israel firing white phosphorus at the palestinians only 60 years later after WWII - are the Jews so innocent and unaggressive as a people? What did they learn about violence, oppression, human rights, and prejudice from Hitler? They illegally invaded Palestine within 20 years of WWII; committing acts of inhumane genocide, and are still in breach of UN Sanctions since that time.

The 'right' thing, to me would have appeared to be to advocate non-violence, tolerance of other cultures, sexualities, and ethnicities, and if I was to be killed for those beliefs (by being shot where I sat by the Germans), then to have faith in humanity that my death will make me a martyr of sorts, and that the 'inhumanity' of my death would go down in history as a beacon to all would-be Hitlers, would be my priority (if I could summon the courage!).

Someone has to represent the 'good' side of humanity at some point amongst all the negative fighting, and I don't think violence can ever be said to be good - whether in defense, revenge, or otherwise. Ask any person who has killed someone - did they feel good when the deed was done?
Last edited by Mossling on July 17th, 2009, 5:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Zach82 on July 17th, 2009, 7:53 am

Certainly, yes there are people who are happy to kill others. There are people who are pefectly happy being malicious and hateful. You continue to make lots of spurious presumptions. If doing what is right is always doing what feels good, then you fail to account for people with misguided assumptions about what is good. Some people just like to hurt others. Should they do what feels good? And if the case of the psychopath I have just described is so plausible, why is it that even ordinary people might be misguided in at least some matters, and have a preference for the evil thing in at least some situations?
You are also making some strange distinction between the happiness resulting from the action and the results of that action. The Nazis in Vichy France tolerated not even non-violent disobedience, and you suppose that people must be glad that surely gruesome results awaited them. Or do you suppose that those people should pretend that it was otherwise? Not even the most dedicated deontologist would pretend that the moral actions are completely separate from their results.
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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Mossling on July 17th, 2009, 11:47 am

Certainly, yes there are people who are happy to kill others.

Could you give an example?

There are people who are pefectly happy being malicious and hateful.

Again; evidence?

If doing what is right is always doing what feels good, then you fail to account for people with misguided assumptions about what is good.

As I said before - it is not about predicting how it will feel, but about feeling how it feels when you are doing it.

Plenty of people seem to do things under the misguided idea that it will feel good, only to end up feeling bad. I'm not talking about that; what I am talking about is that when someone does what is commonly understood to be morally 'right' (i.e. that which we would want to be done unto us), then it feels good. There is a difference.

And if the case of the psychopath I have just described is so plausible

I did say "What proof is there that killing people makes any relatively sane person feel good?"

why is it that even ordinary people might be misguided in at least some matters, and have a preference for the evil thing in at least some situations?

Maybe because they are misguided about what actually feels good? They think it will be good to do the 'evil thing', but afterwards they regret it. Society can convince them to forget that regret, however. Some people are very impressionable even when they have had bad experiences in life.

The Nazis in Vichy France tolerated not even non-violent disobedience, and you suppose that people must be glad that surely gruesome results awaited them.

I was suggesting that a human can feel good about standing up for their beliefs - possibly better than when they are hurting another person (psychopaths aside). Sometimes people die prematurely for their beliefs, just as sometimes people die prematurely by accidents.

Death is not always "gruesome", one must note.

Maybe I should have made it clearer that I was not talking about people chasing after good experiences in themselves, but that if one wants to guarantee good feelings, then one can do what is considered morally 'right'. One can chase after good experiences, but that will not necessarily provide one with good experiences. Doing the right thing will always do so, however, immediately after that right thing has been done.

Dying for one's beliefs in non-violence is probably the most extreme example of such a thing one could find, and as such creates a 'special case', because there is an argument that one will not reap any benefits (if one doesn't believe in any afterlife). If one does believe in some kind of transmigration of a soul or mindstream, then there is still an incentive there. My original post didn't really take dying as a 'right' deed as a consideration, because it assumed people would be alive in this lifetime to experience the 'goodness'.
Last edited by Mossling on July 17th, 2009, 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Aristippus on August 1st, 2009, 9:53 am

Mossling wrote:It feels good to do good, and it feels bad to do bad.

Is this defining good/bad feeling, good/bad action, or both?
If good and bad feeling, what is good and bad action?
If good and bad action, what is good and bad feeling?
If these concepts define each other, this statement is essentially tautologous and tells us nothing about how to make a moral decision.
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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Mossling on August 1st, 2009, 1:19 pm

Good and bad action are right and wrong action respectively - which, it must be noted are dependent on context, but I believe any adult can feel right or wrong in any context should they wish to.
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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Aristippus on August 2nd, 2009, 7:18 am

Mossling wrote:Good and bad action are right and wrong action respectively - which, it must be noted are dependent on context, but I believe any adult can feel right or wrong in any context should they wish to.

As that statement stands, I agree with it wholeheartedly.

I can only assume, however, that our individual feeling of right and wrong action which you speak of may vary considerably.
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Re: Morality is easy

Permanent Linkby Mossling on August 2nd, 2009, 8:30 am

I can only assume, however, that our individual feeling of right and wrong action which you speak of may vary considerably.

Interesting. How so? Could you give an example?
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