Ethics: Its use and meaning

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on June 25th, 2017, 12:10 pm 

Braininvat » June 7th, 2017, 9:48 pm wrote:Yep. Not every curtailment of total freedom is a slippery slope to Kristallnacht. In the U.S. we have amended our Constitution 27 times, due to changes in society and the way certain liberties are abused. I don't feel that my freedom is all that cramped by not getting to walk around with an assault rifle or carry scissors on an airplane or not carry fresh fruit across the California border. The time to worry is when freedom to speak one's mind is compromised or the freedom to stroll through any neighborhood while in possession of dark skin or the freedom to choose your personal lifestyle. People have been managing to make a lot of noise about those freedoms the last few decades, and I think there's hope that our Constitution will remain a living document.


The time to worry is when authorities can illegally take our children and hold them, and even adopt them out to strangers in another state and we can not do anything about it. That time is now. In Oregon, we were able to do something about this because we went from a governor of one party to another party, and the new governor was wanting to make changes. We organized and got the policy changed. But I will never forget that fight for our grandchildren and my horror that such a thing could happen in the US and how lucky we were that a new governor was wanting to change things and prove he and his party were better. An old governor would have defended the status quo of at least ignore the problem.

Now we are facing a new threat to our liberty. Again this is one I would have never imagined. Our liberty and social justice has to mean health care and decent housing for low-income people, or we do not have liberty and justice. When we had more land than people, this was not a problem. Today we have more people than room to put them, so the poor are being pushed out, and now even people with incomes are homeless. This includes the elderly, people who are disabled and families. I never thought we would be like third countries but we are. We have a housing problem and we are not taking necessary steps to correct the problem.

The problem is not just lack of affordable housing, but the new property management where I live has ruled people can not let their cats out and we can not keep our table that we move around under the shade of apple trees and the lovely area full of flowers and cared for by a resident. This is destroying the community we have built over many years because we are adversely affected by this loss of liberty. We are old and sitting under the apple trees with the cats and flowers and neighbors dropping by to chat has been one of our biggest pleasures. This is where we form our support system and learn who needs help. What we had was for human beings and this is the kind of thing that improves our health and life expectancy, and it is being taken from us by people who are only thinking only about money and we feel powerless, unvalued and depressed.

As soon as I can, I am moving to a complex that is planned to meet human needs, with a recreation room and potlucks and garden area and allows pets. It will be hard to be torn from my friends and have to start all over again. It will be hard for me and my friends because we now are so intertwined, knowing who likes to go to yard sales, who likes to go to the cheap movies, who likes to cook for others, who will come help in the middle of the night, or who to call when something awful happens because she knows just the right things to say etc.. It takes years to develop relationships like we have, but we are being priced out of here, and stripped or our liberty to have a social life as we done for many years. It will take two years to work my way up the waiting list and I am really scared because no discretionary income means, not replacing things that are broken, not being able to keep up with car experiences, not being able to buy things for my grandchildren. This is no way to live, so I am not following through with a cancer check. Words just do not do justice to my changed vision of life. People in power are caring only about money, not about humans, and this is not the country we defended. I would never send a son or daughter to war to defend this.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on June 25th, 2017, 12:34 pm 

mitchellmckain » June 8th, 2017, 11:04 am wrote:I don't share Athena's naive faith in education as a solution to all problems. It fails to understand human nature which demonstrates a strong tendency to ignore what we know is right and to do things we know are bad for us regardless. Thus people still smoke and drink even when it kills them.

Furthermore, I think in practice such "education for good moral values" far far too easily becomes an excuse for people using the schools as a missionary platform to push their religion on other people. Any parent who lives in a place with a dominant religion would know this, because they see teachers constantly using even the slightest excuse to do this. And too too often this religious crap is down right sick and perverted and nothing you want to have pushed on your children.

MAYBE one day this will be different. Maybe one day we will have some kind of scientific basis for "moral behavior". And maybe one day people will not raise a stink to holy hell about Satan taking over our schools with godless science and that kind of BS. But that day is not today. Maybe even one day we can have a religion class in public schools which can go through all the world religions and look at them objectively to discuss the possible problems and dangers involved -- I am all for it! But that day is not today.


I said education for good moral judgment and you obviously do not understand what that means. You have made an argument based on a changed meaning of what I say.

You obviously do not understand the importance of culture to having liberty or a mechanized society without liberty. You do not understand that our democracy must be defended in the classroom or it is not defended at all. We have plenty of science for good moral judgment and it is increasing daily. It would be great of if you were aware of what you do not know, and therefore, open to learning, instead of being closed and disrespectful.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on June 26th, 2017, 12:36 am 

Athena -

You are being attacked not what you're saying.

moderator?
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Braininvat on June 26th, 2017, 1:03 am 

Tomorrow. Some of us sleep.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby NoShips on June 26th, 2017, 1:05 am 

We do? That's why you never got a Nobel Prize. My work will continue...
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby nameless on June 27th, 2017, 8:32 pm 

BadgerJelly » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:15 am wrote:Ethics: Its use and meaning

Ethics; "Do not do to others what you don't want done to you!"
Use and meaning, now, seem obvious. And it most certainly can answer all 'ethical' questions!
"Should I cheat this customer, even if I do it will blah, blah, blah...?" Does it violate ethics? Obviously. Do you want to be cheated? For any reason?
Laws are for those with no ethics.
Ethics are unconditional, born of unconditional Love!
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on June 28th, 2017, 2:16 pm 

BadgerJelly » June 25th, 2017, 10:36 pm wrote:Athena -

You are being attacked not what you're saying.

moderator?


Hum, I am wondering what you meant by this? Do you mean these words are not a personal attack?

I don't share Athena's naive faith


If we are to underestand logic and good argumentation that actually advances what we think, such personal statements, judging the character of a person, rather than what was said, needs to be avoided. One of the reasons I keep talking about this, is the point is not well understood. No one wants others to make comments about them not knowing what they are talking about, and doesn't the word "naive" mean showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment?

In this case I am quite sure I am more well read on the history of education than Mitchell. It is hard for me to imagine anyone knowing the schools' role in mobilizing us for war and keeping the wars going in WWI and WWII, would have little respect for the power of what public schools united by a purpose can achieve. And he is not just telling me that I really do not know what I am talking about, but he is telling all of you that as well, and considering what you know about the history education you all are apt to believe Mitchell knows more about what he is talking about, than I know what I am talking about when I speak of education. And yes, that puts me on the defensive, the same as any other expert in a field of study would defend his qualifications as an expert on a subject.

Let me be very clear about this. Mitchell is not arguing against a point I made. I wish he would because then the argument could advance. What Mitchell did was make a character judgment, that discredits me as a person who knows what I am talking about. That is the behavior that needs to be stopped. Our ability to resolve our differences with reason depends on it. Does anyone understand the point of logic I am making? It really is about logic and our ability to have reason, as oppose to throwing mud at someone and leading like Trump, over the hill of total destruction. Understanding the importance of education is vital and I will not be passive about someone who does not understand this telling everyone I naive, and not giving his reasoning for opposing what I said. Argumentation- restate what was said that you think is wrong, and explain what was wrong with the statement, not say what you think is wrong with the person who made the statement.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on June 28th, 2017, 2:48 pm 

Athena -

Do you have any dispute over what I have put across in this thread (refer to first page and exchanges made prior to your interjection)

I guess Mich made a mistake. It happens. I have sometimes gotten one topic confused with another, or one forum with another. He clearly seems to have replied to something you didn't say. It looked like an attack on you because of this, but lets just assume it was a mistake and move on if possible?
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on June 28th, 2017, 11:23 pm 

Badgerjelly this was in today's Register Gaurd, a local newspaper. I hope you think it is about ethics.

http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/357 ... g.html.csp

Are Americans losing the art of critical thinking? Or are they simply abandoning it as an archaic notion, of little or no value?

Instead of seeking information, people seem to be increasingly seeking verbal brickbats to throw at those with whom they disagree. And there are only too many people or companies who are happy to provide those weapons, regardless of truth and accuracy, because they can make money doing so.

The expansion of technology to virtually all corners of the country, regardless of class or income, has brought many benefits and made life immeasurably better for many. But it also has given these verbal arms dealers an almost unlimited marketplace for their wares. Regardless of who or what someone hates or distrusts, there is someone willing to provide fodder for that hatred and fear — because it is profitable. The money can come from advertising sold on sites distributing this material, from supporters willing to fund the sites for their own reasons, or in political capital.


That verbal combat is not just about profit. It seems to come up often in forums. The problem in reasoning is the same. Perhaps if we can eliminate the problem on the lower level of forums, we might also eliminate it at the higher level. Going along with the verbal brickbats, accepting them as equal to good arguments is part of the problem that is now at the highest levels of politics, a level where a civilization may hope to have people of quality.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on June 29th, 2017, 4:15 am 

Athena -

I will ask you again to please respond to the OP and the discussion that was happening prior to your interjection.

note: I am starting to think you've not read, or simply not understood, the point of this thread? This is not a general discussion about ethics. I outlined a very specific view I have and was looking for opposition to it. I am not going to explain it here again because I feel I have already with the help of Mich's misinterpretation which helped me put more put across more clearly (which is my over all aim here).

So if you don't understand after reading the posts mentioned then please point out what troubles you and I'll do my best to explain and/or counter any opposition you pose against my ideas.

Thanks.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on June 29th, 2017, 11:36 am 

For me ethics is about intent, forethought and hindsight. The point of posing an ethical problem is not to find a conclusive solution, but to equip ourselves for possible future conflicts of interest. Once we've proposed a problem we then expand it with "ifs" and "buts". The point of this exercise is to ready ourselves for a real life similar situation we've explored through ethical investigation.


This is totally amazing! How is that you do not see what I am saying is directly related to the OP? That thinking to equip ourselves for possible future conflicts of interest, begins with critical thinking does it not?

I speak of education for good moral judgment and that means learning concepts for ethics and principles to live by and how to organize our thoughts for critical thinking. How is that not on topic?

Badgerjelly said

I do regret saying a bad word to a medical receptionist, but only because the medical organization has the power to hurt me and those I am associated with. I think my reason for using bad language was fully justified and that their organization needs correcting not me. True bad language was not the most eloquent way to announce there is a problem, but it was in response to an uncaring tone of voice that shut down further communication.


Our liberty very much depends on doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. It requires the education to understand the logic for that. What is the result of saying bad words to someone? Please answer that question, because this is a test of logic and what logic has to do with good moral judgment.

Is the way you spoke to the receptionist, the way you want people to talk to you? If we agree it is okay to say bad words to someone when we feel like it, is there ever a time when this is not okay? Please, answer these questions with consideration of how you want to be treated, and what social agreements have to do with how you are treated.

Did the receptionist have the power to change anything? What is the logic that justifies saying bad words to a receptionist, and coming down on me for insisting people speak to me respectfully? You get to say how you will be treated and I do not? Really what is the logic?

You say ethics is about intent. What was Mitchellmckain's intent when he said I am naive about education? I would like to hear from both of you what his intent was. If his intent was good than his choice of words was ethical. If his intent can not be explained as good, then was his choice of words ethical? Is this not a practical exercise that is directly on topic?

If logic has nothing to do with education and ethics, just say so and I will pull out of this thread because I am totally confused by your objection to my post and I think what happens in a thread should be under the control of person who starts the thread. I am gone if you do not like my post. That is respecting you and your right to determine what happens in your thread.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby mitchellmckain on June 29th, 2017, 1:23 pm 

It has been a persistent conflict between myself and Athena, where she looks with nostalgia upon a time in the past where teachers wasted our time with pontificating personal ideas about good behavior and civic duty rather than keeping to the subjects they should be teaching. I see it as frankly an abuse of their position in a job which is for the purpose of imparting a body of knowledge and various skills and not a personal pulpit to propagate their religion or philosophy.

The reason I do not look at such things favorably is probably because of a very very different personal experiences where teachers used rather warped ideas on such matters to ostracize particular children and label them as bad to all the others. Perhaps I should relate three such experiences to illustrate.

In second grade, for reasons I never comprehended the teacher singled out myself and another as the two bad children. Perhaps she was simply a control freak and I was immune to her techniques. Anyway the amusing result is that I went through my teenage rebellion stage at a very early age because of her where myself and this other fellow played "hookey" from school and experimented with cigarettes and stuff. To put paid to the absurdity of this teacher's BS, the very next year in third grade with a different teacher I was an excellent student paying rapt attention with full participation.

My experience in fourth grade is even more illustrative. Again the teacher singled me out for reasons which mystified me at the time but about which I have now guessed some reasons for. All I really know is that she requested that I be removed from her class. I strongly suspected that she was the type of teacher who exerted control over student with verbal assaults and that with a bit of a mouth on me I repeatedly trounced her in the resulting engagements probably without even thinking about it very much. In any case, when moved to a different class where the teacher just focused on the material to be taught I had no problem and did quite well.

In high school, I compared experiences with two biology teachers. From one (a big guy from the south pacific), I had the regular biology class and his classes were quiet and focused on the subject to be taught. From the other (senior teacher in the biology department), I had a class on the topic of genetics and his classes were a noise-some racket where he spent most of his time lecturing students on proper behavior rather than on the topic of genetics. The comparison was quite instructive to me.


Perhaps this can help to explain why Athena's repeated talk of "education for American ethics and good moral judgment" does not engender a great deal of enthusiasm on my part. Instead I insist on teachers doing the job they are actually paid for and teaching the subject matter while keeping their religion and weird philosophical crap to themselves.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on June 29th, 2017, 1:50 pm 

mitchellmckain » June 29th, 2017, 11:23 am wrote:It has been a persistent conflict between myself and Athena, where she looks with nostalgia upon a time in the past where teachers wasted our time with pontificating personal ideas about good behavior and civic duty rather than keeping to the subjects they should be teaching. I see it as frankly an abuse of their position in a job which is for the purpose of imparting a body of knowledge and various skills and not a personal pulpit to propagate their religion or philosophy.

The reason I do not look at such things favorably is probably because of a very very different personal experiences where teachers used rather warped ideas on such matters to ostracize particular children and label them as bad to all the others. Perhaps I should relate three such experiences to illustrate.

In second grade, for reasons I never comprehended the teacher singled out myself and another as the two bad children. Perhaps she was simply a control freak and I was immune to her techniques. Anyway the amusing result is that I went through my teenage rebellion stage at a very early age because of her where myself and this other fellow played "hookey" from school and experimented with cigarettes and stuff. To put paid to the absurdity of this teacher's BS, the very next year in third grade with a different teacher I was an excellent student paying rapt attention with full participation.

My experience in fourth grade is even more illustrative. Again the teacher singled me out for reasons which mystified me at the time but about which I have now guessed some reasons for. All I really know is that she requested that I be removed from her class. I strongly suspected that she was the type of teacher who exerted control over student with verbal assaults and that with a bit of a mouth on me I repeatedly trounced her in the resulting engagements probably without even thinking about it very much. In any case, when moved to a different class where the teacher just focused on the material to be taught I had no problem and did quite well.

In high school, I compared experiences with two biology teachers. From one (a big guy from the south pacific), I had the regular biology class and his classes were quiet and focused on the subject to be taught. From the other (senior teacher in the biology department), I had a class on the topic of genetics and his classes were a noise-some racket where he spent most of his time lecturing students on proper behavior rather than on the topic of genetics. The comparison was quite instructive to me.


Perhaps this can help to explain why Athena's repeated talk of "education for American ethics and good moral judgment" does not engender a great deal of enthusiasm on my part. Instead I insist on teachers doing the job they are actually paid for and teaching the subject matter while keeping their religion and weird philosophical crap to themselves.


I can not think of one problem we have today that could not be corrected with education for good moral judgment, can you? You name it and I well reply. Give us your reasoning. Some think the US is in crisis, and I am one of them. I am saying it is the change in education that has made this so.

I came of age in Los Angeles county. The high school in the valley was middle class and very different from the last high school I attended in a low-income neighborhood in an older city within LA, where things got so bad the school was in the national news for having the most teacher suffering battle fatigue, because of the extremely stressful conductions of a school where teachers had no control over students and the students had no understanding of self-control. We can not leave moral training to the church because doing so results is ignorance and intense social and political problems.

Which philosophy are you speaking of when you say "philosophical crap". If you do not back that comment up with knowledge of philosophy, I will assume you are speaking in complete ignorance. When it comes to the subject of ethics what do your reference? Your own personal experience of life and what other source of information?
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on June 29th, 2017, 3:05 pm 

Athena -

I speak of education for good moral judgment and that means learning concepts for ethics and principles to live by and how to organize our thoughts for critical thinking. How is that not on topic?


Because it has nothing to do with what I am asking from you.

I give up.

Bye
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on June 29th, 2017, 3:29 pm 

Mich -

If you want to bicker go to the lounge please. Thanks for your initial posts though. They helped me outline a few things better.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on June 30th, 2017, 12:06 pm 

BadgerJelly » June 29th, 2017, 1:05 pm wrote:Athena -

I speak of education for good moral judgment and that means learning concepts for ethics and principles to live by and how to organize our thoughts for critical thinking. How is that not on topic?


Because it has nothing to do with what I am asking from you.

I give up.

Bye


I will try again with another quote from you.

So I am saying that ethics is not about saying "I would save the child", the ethics is about understanding the complexities of the situation and readying yourself for as many possible ethical problems as you can in order to act as you would want to act.


The best preparation for ethical behavior is to learn the virtues. In the past, we understood virtues as strengths. There are many different virtues, for many different situations, and a virtuous person has the strength of character to do the right thing in difficult moments.

For example, Idealism is a virtue. The following is from a virtue card made by the Virtue Project Inc.


A person with "high ideals" is a person who really cares about what is right and meaningful in life. When you practice idealism, you have beliefs that mean something to you and you follow them. You don't just accept things the way they are. Idealists dare to have big dreams and then act as if they are possible.

Signs of Success

I am practicing idealism when I....

Really care about what I value in life
Dare to have big dreams
Have a vision of what is possible
Have a plan to make my ideals real
Do something to make a difference

I live my ideas. My actions match my word. I believe in my dreams and have faith that they are possible.


Martin Luther King was an idealist. Patrick Henry and Ghandi and Mandella were idealists.

I sincerely hope you think what I have said relates to your concern about preparing people to do the right thing in difficult moments.

As the Greeks used the gods and goddesses to prepare citizens for citizenship, the US used stories of the founding fathers to prepare the young for citizenship. Greeks and the US attempted to prepare everyone to be heroes by telling stories of heroes. I am very sorry if you still don't think what I am saying is unrelated to the subject of ethical choices. My sorrow is manifested as a feeling of pain, and the notion that I am not valued, but rather have caused you distress because my efforts have so displeased you. Therefore I am bad and that hurts a lot.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Braininvat on June 30th, 2017, 3:13 pm 

I have valued many of your observations on instilling idealism and ethical understanding in young people, Athena. While I may not always agree on the optimal way to do that, I would not say your suggestions are irrelevant to the wider topic of the value of ethics. Nor do I think other members are distressed by whatever disagreements are presented. This is a message board, and we are all expecting clashes of ideas and how to frame the discussion. But we should be carried along by the common current, which is that we all want similar outcomes. If you or another member feel someone is just not getting your point, well, that just happens and is a signal to move on. SPCF is not really a board where any of us can be evangelists for our own particular faith in a particular system.

(well, except for the system of Civil Message Boards, hehe)

Personally, I think Ethics should be a separate course, at each level of schooling. As MM suggests, don't mix it in with other academic subjects. If it comes up, and is pertinent to, say, a historical topic, then certainly a class can discuss it, e.g. was our treatment of Native peoples, and the breaking of treaties, ethical? Since those issues, of how a particular minority is treated, are quite relevant to our nation's history, then there would be no sense ducking them as they come up.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on June 30th, 2017, 10:55 pm 

Athena -

I was looking for people to counter my position. Which is that the ethical question is a "non-question". Meaning it is not serving a purpose to be answered only explored and extrapolated from.

If anything I am saying that no one should be taught what is ethical or unethical. I believe we should explore the questions and see where we struggle. Other than that I wouldn't suggest anything other than letting empathy do its thing.

My view is based around doing what we feel to be right and being able to be proud of our actions. To act as we would wish ourselves to act. To say what is right and what is wrong is redundant if you stop and don't explore the situation further to the point where you are truly in a dilemma about what to do.

I live my ideas. My actions match my word. I believe in my dreams and have faith that they are possible.


This is an admixture of delusion and idealism. Believing something doesn't make it true and your actions may not be as you wish them all of the time.

My point is about trying to instill a sense of what you as an individual deem a "good action", like saving a child from a burning building. Simply saying "I would" and stopping there does not guarantee you would save the child. If you explore the hypothetical and make more complex and problematical scenarios then you'll more likely act as you wish to act rather than fall prey to instinctual reactions and an early death or hopeless remorse.

This is not to say it is a good idea to spend forever dwelling on every single scenario, or that there are particular things or scenarios we SHOULD dwell on (this would constitute pedagogy of ethics).

Basically explore your justifications where reason falls apart. You have to kill either a murderer or a rapist, which one you choose I don't care to know. It is a non-question. The point here being that if you wish to express your view publically you fall prey to the law of the land and how you think people will look at you for saying one or the other. No doubt you'll first try to evade the question and start asking "if" and "but". If you can answer the question with quick conviction then adjust until you find it more irksome to your sensibilities (maybe the number of murders or rapes committed would steer you more in one or another direction? Maybe the gender of the convicted person or age would sway you further one way or another?) What is important for me is not to go into this detail to avoid the simplistic question, even though it is a "non-question".

What we say and what we do are not anything like what we think. Thinking is generally part of the community not an individual private function. To get to the private the law and others opinions must try to be sidelined as much as they can to get to the heart of your justifications (if you so wish to!)

Hopefully that makes more sense Athena?
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on July 1st, 2017, 1:17 pm 

BadgerJelly » June 30th, 2017, 8:55 pm wrote:Athena -

I was looking for people to counter my position. Which is that the ethical question is a "non-question". Meaning it is not serving a purpose to be answered only explored and extrapolated from.

If anything I am saying that no one should be taught what is ethical or unethical. I believe we should explore the questions and see where we struggle. Other than that I wouldn't suggest anything other than letting empathy do its thing.

My view is based around doing what we feel to be right and being able to be proud of our actions. To act as we would wish ourselves to act. To say what is right and what is wrong is redundant if you stop and don't explore the situation further to the point where you are truly in a dilemma about what to do.

I live my ideas. My actions match my word. I believe in my dreams and have faith that they are possible.


This is an admixture of delusion and idealism. Believing something doesn't make it true and your actions may not be as you wish them all of the time.

My point is about trying to instill a sense of what you as an individual deem a "good action", like saving a child from a burning building. Simply saying "I would" and stopping there does not guarantee you would save the child. If you explore the hypothetical and make more complex and problematical scenarios then you'll more likely act as you wish to act rather than fall prey to instinctual reactions and an early death or hopeless remorse.

This is not to say it is a good idea to spend forever dwelling on every single scenario, or that there are particular things or scenarios we SHOULD dwell on (this would constitute pedagogy of ethics).

Basically explore your justifications where reason falls apart. You have to kill either a murderer or a rapist, which one you choose I don't care to know. It is a non-question. The point here being that if you wish to express your view publically you fall prey to the law of the land and how you think people will look at you for saying one or the other. No doubt you'll first try to evade the question and start asking "if" and "but". If you can answer the question with quick conviction then adjust until you find it more irksome to your sensibilities (maybe the number of murders or rapes committed would steer you more in one or another direction? Maybe the gender of the convicted person or age would sway you further one way or another?) What is important for me is not to go into this detail to avoid the simplistic question, even though it is a "non-question".

What we say and what we do are not anything like what we think. Thinking is generally part of the community not an individual private function. To get to the private the law and others opinions must try to be sidelined as much as they can to get to the heart of your justifications (if you so wish to!)

Hopefully that makes more sense Athena?


I am very hesitant to say anything, but you said want an argument. I question what you think is natural to a person? Or how much science is behind your consideration of ethics?

I don't think the logic for figuring out what is ethical comes naturally to us. To begin with, ethics is a concept, and we can not think about a concept unless we know the word and the meaning of the concept. Even with the word and meaning, logical abstract thinking is a learned skill, not a nature one. Next, we need a lot of information to know, if what we are doing will cause more good than harm, and I would bet $50 that most people don't think that is so. I am betting in two seconds most people will decide if something is right or wrong without doing much thinking, because most the time we are in fast thinking mode, and very few people know the difference between being in fast thinking mode or slow thinking mode.

Your example of running into a fire to save a child is an example of fast thinking. In such situations, a person will do as the person will do, without thinking about it. Here is where virtues come in to play. Learning virtues is learning directives, so in the moment we know what to do without thinking about. The virtue of courage is the half way point between complete recklessness and cowardice. This might be the person who grabs a wet sheet to cover himself before running into the burning house, or who stands in the front lawn and directs the properly dressed firemen to the room where a child might be.

Do you see any value in learning virtues? It is kind of like having a plan for how to handle difficult situations.
It is trying to be respectful when emotionally one may want to destroy. Respect being a virtue, and holding the idea that either we are respectful people or we are not. The next decision may be, do I want to engage with disrespectful people or not? For me, that is kind of like playing with fire because I can so easily become a disrespectful person, but I do not want to promote disrespect by being disrespectful. That is a lot of thinking about ethical behavior and I don't think it is normal for people to do that. Do you think people normally give so much thought to how they should behave and the consequences of their behavior? I don't think we have the energy to go through life making ethical decisions every time an ethical decision needs to be made.

A desire to be proud of our actions, can mean killing someone to meet the requirement for being a gang member. In some social groups going to jail is away of gaining status. I think you have assumed everyone shares your understanding of life and that is not so. We make most important life decisions before age 8, before our brains are mature enough to realize we are making decisions and need to weigh all the facts. From there we go through life trying to prove ourselves right. If you are a nice and successful person, you were lucky to have a good environment that lead to making good life decisions before the age of 8.

This is not to say it is a good idea to spend forever dwelling on every single scenario, or that there are particular things or scenarios we SHOULD dwell on (this would constitute pedagogy of ethics).


It is very important to communicate our thoughts with others and check what we think by getting feedback from others. Also, I have found reading books very helpful, especially history and philosophy! It seems normal for people to have very small lives, knowing no more about life than their own personal of life, and then they make a whole lot of assumptions from there, such as being sure if you don't know what the other is talking about, that person is jibbering, talking non-sense, etc... Rarely does anyone think the communication problem is their own failure to read and travel and know more about life? Not only can it be difficult to talk ethics with such people, but most likely they have no idea of the huge world of concepts that they know nothing about. The education we need does not stop with our school days but must be a life long pursuit and not everyone would agree with that, as they jump into the discussion with a mentality not developed beyond 30 years of age. You can not expect these people to be making ethical decisions. At age 30 we don't know enough about life to do the much ethical thinking. That is why religion is more popular than philosophy. You can do as the bible says without much thinking, but if you get into philosophy or world travel we can be shocked by how little you know.

I am not comfortable with the idea that without education we are any good at making ethical decisions. How large is the community? Is your community made up of people like you or people who are very different from you? Does everyone drink alcoholic beverages or smoke pot? Does everyone go to jail? Does everyone know the fear of needing medical care and not having the money to pay for it? Does everyone share your understanding of reality? Did the murder or rapist hurt someone I know personally? Without a strong emotional motive, I am not motivated killing anyone. On the other hand, if you are exercising power and authority over me, and are committing act that I think are unjust, I am ready to talk revolution and killing is a possibility. Emotions do make a difference in my motivation to take action or just ignore what is going on.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on July 2nd, 2017, 10:02 am 

I wish I could delete my last post. I think I found something that may be in line with what you want. I watched a movie about the banking collapse based on what really happened. A few guys made millions of dollars betting the mortgage market would collapse. They saw the signs that the financial system was about to collapse and no one would believe them. A couple of them were morally upset about what was happening and not only could they not stop the disaster but in the end only one guy was nailed for a crime when the banking system was full of people doing wrong, and knowing they were doing wrong, but they were justifying themselves. Hundreds of people should have gone to prison and this did not happen. Taxpayers had to cover this wrong and the bankers gave themselves bonuses! This should have started a revolution and it did not.

Now, the cost of housing is rapidly increasing again and pushing low income out of the cities they depend upon for wages, the cost of education and medical care is on the same money making fast track, while increasingly people suffer and we have a president making matters worse with people believing he can make them better. I think we have educated for this? How do we use ethics to resolve these problems?
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on July 3rd, 2017, 3:52 am 

In one sense I am with you on virtue ethics, but in another I am not.

Basically I just think about what I want to be like and try and act in that way. I aspire to be "better". What better means to me, in the way I look at it, is not taught to me, it is what I hold to be true.

If I feel like murdering children is a good idea then I live by that standard. Someone teaching me what is good or bad is utterly ridiculous to me, yet I have to pay attention to the law. My point being I should, the way I see it, not work to the moral values of the community just because they are the law. I should act as I wish yet understand that others may not like it. First and foremost I don't go around saying I am selfish and would do this or should do this. I keep it to myself and let my actions speak. If others disapprove of my actions when I don't, it does not change my view. To have my will bended by others or the law is bad for me. I may not act out my will for self preservation yet I will not pretend I can compromise it and adhere to others collective ideals.

From this I pose a question as a "non-question", as a question that should not be answered only used as a means to explore your own view not a means to express under the duress of public opinion and law what you think. The main point being the DURESS OF PUBLIC OPINION AND LAW.

This completely counters the idea of teaching ethics because ethics doesn't make sense to me on a public platform. What is more is that critical thought tries to look at situations as being a mathematic equation where we can "weigh" emotions.

For self worth and value it seems obvious I must be happy with my decisions even if they lead to my downfall. Also I cannot be happy with everything I do so would be good to guard against framing my decisions as if they are the best decisions (this is learning).
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on July 3rd, 2017, 10:50 am 

I seriously like this idea "that critical thought tries to look at situations as being a mathematic equation where we can "weigh" emotions." I think we have a lot of work to do before this is a mass idea of how to make ethical decisions, like should we have more subsidized housing or more subsidized employment opportunities? It would be great if we didn't answer these questions without knowing the number of people who need housing and their income level and what was available for these people, or with jobs, what does a 7% unemployment rate mean in terms are really human beings struggling to keep their homes, or get into a home? I could go on and on about all the decisions we make without knowing what we need to know to make good decisions!!!! We are a million miles from stopping to think about the facts, and we are voting with our emotions and unchecked opinions. Does that fit what you are wanted to discuss?

For example, I made the effort to knowing everything I could know about Iraq when Bush began speaking of invading Iraq. There were people for the war and people against the war, but how many knew Baghdad has been central to east/west trade for thousands of years, and that Britain stopped Germany from building a railroad to Baghdad and this has something to do with the first and second world wars and the New Century American Project that was the neocon's planned efforts to secure military control of the mid-east? At any time during the debate about that war, what did people know about the history that led to that moment in time? Things do not spontaneously happen. Bin Laden was not just an evil person with follows who had no reason to hit the Military Industrial Complex that now controls the US without citizen awareness of what is happening nor why. In a democracy, citizens should be much more informed than we are. So ethics means being well informed and that is not going to happen unless we accept that responsibility and do what we can to get information and keep our media honest.

The banking crisis would not have happened if we were well informed and Trump is leading us back into unregulated banking that may set off another economic melted down, and ethics means being informed, but are we? Yes, being ethical means looking at situations as being like a mathematic equation, so what are going to do about the fact that we are far from this?

I want to point out you are thinking of ethics in terms of private matters, and I am thinking about ethics as a public matter. I believe there is an important connection between private and public ethics, and that we are really missing the boat if we limit our thinking to personal decisions and don't think about the political ones.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on July 3rd, 2017, 1:40 pm 

Athena -

I don't understand why you think I am saying the opposite of what I am saying. If anything I am arguing against ethics being merely a mathematical equation.

You want to talk about how we find the right equation and I am arguing against any particular social formula for ethics. I am wholly against the idea of "teaching" good and bad, right and wrong, or cowardice and courage.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on July 4th, 2017, 10:29 am 

Okay, you saying understanding people are homeless in part is because .5 % of our population is schizophrenic and even more are bipolar, doesn't matter? Or when there is an economic crash and people lose their jobs and homes, we shouldn't take that into consideration when thinking about ethical decisions? Then on what are we basing our ethical decisions? I am sorry but I really am at a loss when it comes to understanding how you think ethical thinking should happen?

I don't want to frustrate you, but do you have children? Are you saying we should not teach children how to behave? Do you know that even horses teach their young how to behave? All social animals teach each other how to behave, it is a requirement of being social animals, not just a human concept.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on July 5th, 2017, 1:44 am 

It is innate. They learn from our actions and choices. Children observe and figure things out. We merely show them the acceptable social norm and they test this and learn (by thenselves) social dynamics. I am not saying what "we" should or should not do. I am saying ethical questions are best taken as "non-questions".

We can show them methods we find useful. This makes sense. Is this right or wrong? Seems like a strange question. We hand out what we think is of worth, but we're in no position (as far as I can see) to dictate to young minds what is right or wrong. If anything we can learn from them rather than impose our views, which will happen anyway because they are sponges.

What you're saying sounds a little like religion to me.

My point is you can do and say as you like. If you wish to tell people what is good or bad go ahead.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby Athena on July 5th, 2017, 10:50 am 

BadgerJelly » July 4th, 2017, 11:44 pm wrote:It is innate. They learn from our actions and choices. Children observe and figure things out. We merely show them the acceptable social norm and they test this and learn (by thenselves) social dynamics. I am not saying what "we" should or should not do. I am saying ethical questions are best taken as "non-questions".

We can show them methods we find useful. This makes sense. Is this right or wrong? Seems like a strange question. We hand out what we think is of worth, but we're in no position (as far as I can see) to dictate to young minds what is right or wrong. If anything we can learn from them rather than impose our views, which will happen anyway because they are sponges.

What you're saying sounds a little like religion to me.

My point is you can do and say as you like. If you wish to tell people what is good or bad go ahead.


Hum, what are using as your reference when you explain the nature and development of children? If a child is different from those around him and is dealing with prejudices, what does the child learn of social dynamics? If a child moves from school to school and is always on the outside, want does the child learn of social dynamics? If a child grows up with deprivation and insecurity does this child learn the same life lesson as the child who has only known security and the advantages of a well to do family? Do you think a child growing up in an inner city slum learns the same things as a child in a middle-class neighborhood? Are the life lessons for city children the same as the life lessons of rural children? Does a child growing up on a Native American reservation have the same life lessons? Why do some young Muslims, male and female, join with those who take violent actions?

Do you think humans are totally different from animals, or do humans and animals share much in common?
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby hyksos on July 5th, 2017, 12:28 pm 

I was asked to join this thread and so I will submit my two cents.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby hyksos on July 5th, 2017, 12:44 pm 

(cent 1)

BadgerJelly » January 18th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:As an example, if I was in a burning building with a child I would like to think I would help save the child. In a real life situation a may simply be too scared and panicked to consider the child. I would deeply regret not saving child. What I believe is through ethical investigations we can play around with given scenarios in order to act as we want to act, to ready ourselves for a stressful situation and to act as we see fit. If I did not save the child with hindsight I would learn the distress this causes firsthand and feel guilty.

I sympathize with your need to feel prepared for situations like this, but this has little to do with philosophy and even less to do with the part of philosophy called Ethics.

Mulling over a situation will likely have no effect on your reaction to these events in realtime. I hope that my example below will help you through the personal struggle you seem to be having about this.

The Boston marathon was bombed near its finish line by two radicalized guys who came from some ethnic region of Russia. There were likely others involved who eventually were either shot by police or taken into custody. I'm going to be discussing the way the crowd reacted in the moments following the explosion of the makeshift IEDs which were dumped near the finish line.

As Athena said, people will react as their constitution entails they react. Running for dear life is common and not to be assailed as cowardice. There will be women who stand around aimlessly screaming. (Hey -- it happens in all events like this). BadgerJelly should take notice of what the uniformed soldiers did here. In mere seconds after the explosion, the military guys started moving fencing out of the way in order to triage the wounded to ambulances. (Ambulances which I might add had not yet arrived). Soldiers have a way of thinking ahead like this. Some rare civilians knew to rip off their clothes and start using them as tourniquets to stop bleeding at the extremities.

The enlisted soldiers and the occasional 'trained' civilians were risking their lives openly here. There could have been another explosion. The terrorists could have opened fire after the bombs. Who knows. I don't know where this type of heroism comes from exactly... I would suppose you need years of military training, or if you have years of experience in emergency rooms.

There were amazing stories that came out the tsunami that hit japan. Like people swimming two miles to save an elderly man from the water.

BadjerJelly -- my best advice --- If you are not 105% confident in your ability to help the wounded, it is best that you stay out of the way of the professionals.

Something like this happened to me and an ambulance showed up and the house was suddenly full of 10 people. I was in full health, but the first responders were going to triage a person in critical condition. It was the middle of the night and my mind was not awake yet. I just made sure to pay very close attention to what the ambulance team was saying, even while they were talking to each other.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby hyksos on July 5th, 2017, 1:32 pm 

Athena » June 25th, 2017, 8:10 pm wrote:Now we are facing a new threat to our liberty. Again this is one I would have never imagined. Our liberty and social justice has to mean health care and decent housing for low-income people, or we do not have liberty and justice. When we had more land than people, this was not a problem. Today we have more people than room to put them, so the poor are being pushed out, and now even people with incomes are homeless. This includes the elderly, people who are disabled and families. I never thought we would be like third countries but we are. We have a housing problem and we are not taking necessary steps to correct the problem.

The problem is not just lack of affordable housing, but the new property management where I live has ruled people can not let their cats out and we can not keep our table that we move around under the shade of apple trees and the lovely area full of flowers and cared for by a resident. This is destroying the community we have built over many years because we are adversely affected by this loss of liberty. We are old and sitting under the apple trees with the cats and flowers and neighbors dropping by to chat has been one of our biggest pleasures. This is where we form our support system and learn who needs help. What we had was for human beings and this is the kind of thing that improves our health and life expectancy, and it is being taken from us by people who are only thinking only about money and we feel powerless, unvalued and depressed.

I am also in the United States and I will just tell you what I have seen change in my short life. Changes I never thought I would see.

(1.)
You cannot skateboard in abandoned lots. You cannot you go down to "old farmer Evan's pond" with your tackle box and fish in it. You cannot move around university buildings anymore. Today I would barely even try to pick wild raspberries next to a public school. Abandoned lots with buildings are armed with internet-enabled cameras like all over them like fort Knox. The speed and efficiency with which a police cruiser arrives boggles the mind. In some cases I swear the town is being surveilled by a high-flying police drone with a camera on it. I used to play music in uni building with a friend until the sun came up -- we often took smoke breaks. You could go in and out of the building all night. This is impossible now. Unis lock portions of their buildings with key cards. Fricking electronic key cards! Locked with key cards round-the-clock 24/7.

(marginal note: the police do arrive at the abandoned lot miraculously 12 minutes after you arrive. In every instance they will say "We're just doing a routine building check". That is a lie. They saw you through a camera. The fact that they hide this from you and lie is indicative of the state of our culture and society at large).

(2.)
Taking walks at night? Forget it. You will get two police cruisers in about 20 min flat, asking you to raise your arms so they can grope you all over "for weapons". I used to jog at night. in the middle of the night with distance runners. We called them "night runs". Not possible anymore.

(3.)
In the early 1980s I had a toy gun on a school bus. It was made out of metal, and had no red tip, and it looked identical in size and color to a real Walther P38. In 2017, if a kid even tried to have something like that in his backpack, it would cause a school-wide shutdown, 4 police cruisers, a helicopter and two TV news vans parked outside.

compare with (4.)
Cleveland police murdered a 12 year-old boy in cold blood in a park one day because he was playing with a toy gun. It was snowy outside and the kid was alone in the park. Video is available on the internet. I recommend not watching because it's disgusting.

(5.)
The word discrimination used to mean things like taking steps to make sure black people cannot vote. Well not anymore. In today's middle schools you have 13 year-old boys who declare to the world that they are gay. See... "coming out" used to mean that you are actively engaged in a homosexual lifestyle with your gay lover, Brad. "coming out of the closet" meant something like "Mom, dad -- this is Brad he is my lover." Now any 11 year old boy can declare to his guidance counselor that he has "homosexual feelings". No actual sex has taken place here.. just feelings. Or perhaps that boy now "identifies as a girl". On top of that, if any classmate teases him about this, that school lot teasing is now legally considered "discrimination" -- not bullying -- but discrimination requiring police intervention and courtroom drama. Because the school is not creating a "safe atmosphere" for little kids to declare that they "have no gender" and are now "non-binary".

You see me using lots of scare-quotes and you might get the impression that I am being overly cynical for dramatic effect or that my words should be taken half-jokingly as facetiousness. Well I wish. But no-- truthfully these things are all actually happening.
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Re: Ethics: Its use and meaning

Postby BadgerJelly on July 5th, 2017, 3:21 pm 

Sorry, this turned out longer than I thought! Keeps happening lately. Enjoy, or not, as the mood takes you ;)

Hyskos -

I sympathize with your need to feel prepared for situations like this, but this has little to do with philosophy and even less to do with the part of philosophy called Ethics.


Sympathize? Are you joking?

It is very, very much to do with "ethics". In some peoples eyes it may be seen as "anti-ethics", so that may hint at the difficulty of what I mean to be questioned about? (please no declaration of what ethics is or is not, no definitions or links - as fun as they can be ... I take it back, go ahead! OR just assume I either used the word in error or my bad composition presents it as looking like the writings of an erroring errorer ..maybe?)

Mulling over a situation will likely have no effect on your reaction to these events in real time. I hope that my example below will help you through the personal struggle you seem to be having about this


You also make a contrary statement by talking about "training" but not recognizing this as a part of what I am saying. The use of "mulling" is kind of a word that trivializes considered and investigative thought. I am not merely talking about blithely looking at such a scenario and saying X is the best thing to do. The point was to point out some particular scenario when you are under pressure to make a moral choice prior to some event occurring. It is pretty much in line with Athena's "learning virtues", but honestly it is more about "discovering" your "virtues" if that makes sense?

I was asked to join this thread and so I will submit my two cents.


And I have asked for arguments against what I propose rather than disclosed ideal solutions to some hypothetical scenario (which is ironically precisely what I am talking out against - see opening two posts and the brief exchange with Mitch over some of the confusion he helped me clear up)


Athena -

In simple terms I am not asking for some "greater good" or some "ethical standard" to be taught to the youth. As for the source of my information it is based on what I have read of child psychology, the terrible two's are about just this. The children "act badly" because they are trying to understand how people react emotionally, they are not "being bad" they are doing what is necessary to learn about human emotions.

Last I heard a great many people agreed that empathy is not learnt it is innate. We are not born selfish we are "taught" about being selfish. I do get the gist of what you mean though, and as people we do what we do regardless. Often children can do the most inspiring things for each other without the need for intervention. What is more the case, so it seems, is they need to refine their reasoning skills and this is not something that can be taught either only "fed". I don't know about you but being around children reminds me of myself as a child, they bring back to me a part of me I would have completely forgotten about without them. In this sense I mean we learn from them, they are a time machine into the past and we can glimpse through them how our world once was and what effect experience has had upon us for "better" or "worse".

Often adults just laugh at "silly things" children say rather than try to understand and recall such a perspective that they once had. To many these comments are glossed over as pieces of 'entertainment' for the adults rather than a window into an extraordinary mind.

(I think I've mentioned a book I read here before? It is called something like "Scientist in the Crib". Very interesting, although blatantly skewed to a scientists perspective.)

Before I read Hyksos's thingy I had come here because I thought of a way to explain this in a different way. First off you need to drop the idea of social norms and laws (I did mention this in the first couple of opening posts I think, or shortly after). In this sense it appears as "anti-ethics". I have not used the specific term "non-question" for fun, yet you keep trying to give some greater answer or solution to humanities ethical make-up? I am looking at it as personal first and foremost and the community as an extension. We most certainly cannot ignore social norms or the law, we act according to them, but we do so not because we agree but because we are conditioned to agree and to demark X as bad and Y as good.

I recently watched that scouse actor on TV talking about bullying and showing his shame. What he says is very interesting. He knew in his heart what he was doing was wrong and he still did it anyway. He refused to make accuses for himself (the guy from Doctor Who on This Morning interview I think?) It is very telling to see he doesn't try and reason away that fact that he bullied someone and blame his circumstances.

I am going astray .. to get to the point ... I am saying I don't do things because I think they are "good" or "bad" according to society and law (well this is most likely false, but let us assume that my subconscious doesn't get in the way of what I am saying). Doing the "right thing" may be to purposefully break the law anyway, let us not get caught up in this is all I am saying, but pause to recognize and consider the non-spoken, not written "law", of day-to-day life and common manners. A good British example would be our culture of queuing. For the Brit the idea of "pushing in" is deemed a cultural faux pas. This kind of attitude is not important.

As a person I act and do things, or wish to, not because I think they are good, not because my intentions are good, but simply because I deem them worthy and of value. Given your personal circumstance the idea of "good" and "bad" don't come into it. I write this now not because I think it is simply "good" for you or me or anyone else bothering to read it. I write it because I deem it of value to me and worth saying. It is not something I am merely "chatting" about or "mulling over", it is serious, intentional and of importance to me.

In light of this if we offer up a scenario where person A does act Y on person B causing X and Z, then T to C and F to person Q etc ... We can just break it down to a simple question ("non-question") not to find some ideal answer, but to merely explore and further intricate the scenario as a means of self exploration. The value I see it not merely in expressing to others what SHOULD be done and why I think so, for this is to prey to the game of culture and conditioning, or as you would have it some form of pedagogical system to enforce such ideals.

In even simpler terms I am essentially looking directly at what I can actively do. The key point being "I" rather than what "I should do for others", or "What I deem good for society". My concern is where it has the greatest impact, with me, not you or any other. I am part of everyone's and everything's environment and I have the jurisdiction therein. So by returning to the example (it is merely an arbitrary example, it could be anything) would I save a child from a burning building? I would want to rather than let it burn. I don't just stop there, because that is laziness. I explore the situation further and make the decision more and more difficult to cope with, I unearth the point where logic and critical thought lose value and meaning and I see at my core my value and worth, rather than some dressed up spectre of "good" and "bad", being mere ideals thrust in my face by social habits and cultural traditions. I was not born a blank slate for you to encode some ethical law onto.

note: Be very distinct in taking what I am saying as being against the idea of mass education into the "good" and "bad". I am the environment and I do what I feel is value to me and worthy. IF I start with me and people see me then they will empathise in some way. I will influence by proximity, they will learn, but I will never "teach" some doctrine only pose questions that they can expand on if they deem them worthy and of value. Understand I am some kind of "anarchist" (being one active in a challenge against authority, be it explored in self or in others, or in idealisations and traditions - this does not mean I am whole-heartedly opposed only actively engaged in questioning the questions)

(This brings up another point I mentioned some time ago here I think? The difference between "influencing", "encouraging" and "manipulating". Meaning an exploration of the ground where one fades into the other rather than ideal definitions - the ticking of convenient boxes and moving swiftly on to some other item to package and parcel neatly away as if dealt with!)
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