• frank
    3k
    Ought statements, for the most part, are about resentment. The ought statement says: "That shouldn't have happened." It's a rejection of part of the universe in favor of other parts, or more bizarrely, in favor of a world that doesn't and couldn't exist. Looked at this way, morality, for the most part, is delusion.

    True kindness, on the other hand just proceeds naturally. Where it's in short supply, there's little point in trying to dictate it into existence. Although some old sayings do have an impact:

    'Be kind, for anyone you meet could be fighting a difficult battle.'
  • LuckilyDefinitive
    17
    Would say that morality is more akin to an ideal where as kindness is closer to a state of being or disposition?
  • Galuchat
    625
    Ought statements, for the most part, are about resentment. The ought statement says: "That shouldn't have happened." It's a rejection of part of the universe in favor of other parts, or more bizarrely, in favor of a world that doesn't and couldn't exist. Looked at this way, morality, for the most part, is delusion.frank

    Delusion is believing something contrary to fact. Case in point:

    Believing that an "is" (fact) can be separated from an "ought" (value) when awareness is both objective (fact-based) and subjective (value-based).
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    I am hungry, I ought to eat. According to you, that's a sign of resentment, a rejection of part of the universe in favor of other parts, or more bizarrely, in favor of a world that doesn't and couldn't exist.
  • Echarmion
    502
    Rejecting the world is only a delusion if you think the world cannot be changed.
  • frank
    3k
    Would say that morality is more akin to an ideal where as kindness is closer to a state of being or disposition?LuckilyDefinitive

    I agree. Kindness that's dictated is false. And the moral picture favors a perfect world.

    am hungry, I ought to eat. According to you, that's a sign of resentment, a rejection of part of the universe iMagnus Anderson

    No, I wouldn't say that. So not all ought statements reject the world. Mainly it's the ones you would hear in a criminal court.

    Rejecting the world is only a delusion if you think the world cannot be changed.Echarmion

    Change. The world will change. I'm talking about accepting the world as it is now; accepting life on its terms.
  • Possibility
    416
    I am hungry, I ought to eat. According to you, that's a sign of resentment, a rejection of part of the universe in favor of other parts, or more bizarrely, in favor of a world that doesn't and couldn't exist.Magnus Anderson

    In a way, yes. ‘Ought’ is a sign that one rejects/resents the experience of being hungry in favour of a world without hunger.
  • Echarmion
    502
    Change. The world will change. I'm talking about accepting the world as it is now; accepting life on its terms.frank

    But life has no "terms". Life just is. Morality is a part of humans, and therefore also a part of life, that which is. To contrast it with some supposed "natural" state of affairs is arbitrary.

    Ultimately, morality seeks to change the state of affairs, and therefore rejects part of it. But morality properly deals with human intentions, not outcomes. So it's not imagining a different descriptive reality, but building a normative order on top of it.
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    In a way, yes. ‘Ought’ is a sign that one rejects/resents the experience of being hungry in favour of a world without hunger.Possibility

    That's true. I refuse to die and prefer to live. But is that resentment? Most importantly, is that something negative? Consider the alternative, which is accepting reality as it is. What happens? I die.
  • Possibility
    416
    That's true. I refuse to die and prefer to live. But is that resentment? Most importantly, is that something negative? Consider the alternative, which is accepting reality as it is. What happens? I die.Magnus Anderson

    First of all, don’t get ahead of yourself: experiencing hunger does NOT mean I will die. The alternative is accepting the reality that hunger is a part of life, something we can experience many times in our life and even for a prolonged period of time without dying. That is reality as it is.

    Having said that, dying is also a part of the universe that we tend to reject/resent in favour of a world that doesn’t and cannot exist: one where we don’t die.
  • fdrake
    2.5k
    “All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

    REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

    "Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

    YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

    "So we can believe the big ones?"

    YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

    "They're not the same at all!"

    YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

    "Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

    MY POINT EXACTLY.”
    — Terry Pratchett, the Hogfather
  • st0ic
    3
    Ought statements, for the most part, are about resentment. The ought statement says: "That shouldn't have happened." It's a rejection of part of the universe in favor of other parts, or more bizarrely, in favor of a world that doesn't and couldn't exist. Looked at this way, morality, for the most part, is delusion.frank

    Very Nietzschean. It seems like you're getting close to determinism, no?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    Looked at this way, morality, for the most part, is delusion.frank

    I agree with your analysis except for the use of the term “delusion”, mainly because in psychiatry, delusion is something to be rid of. I’m not sure which word would be better, though. I think it’s a NECESSARY delusion.
  • st0ic
    3
    I agree with your analysis except for the use of the term “delusion”, mainly because in psychiatry, delusion is something to be rid of. I’m not sure which word would be better, though. I think it’s a NECESSARY delusion.Noah Te Stroete

    Perhaps necessary in a host scenarios, but there's something to be said about the type of bearing that things such as 'Ought' statements hold on our psychological health. "I ought to be this", but what if you just aren't? Should we feel ashamed because we don't uphold the principles of some external moral doctrine?

    I'm not really sure about the answer.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    Perhaps necessary in a host scenarios, but there's something to be said about the type of bearing that things such as 'Ought' statements hold on our psychological health. "I ought to be this", but what if you just aren't? Should we feel ashamed because we don't uphold the principles of some external moral doctrine?

    I'm not really sure about the answer.
    st0ic

    It depends I guess. If one is powerless to change in a way that they think they “ought”, then one “ought” not get down on oneself even if others do.
  • frank
    3k
    I agree.


    I think the lust for justice is part of a system like seed germination, but I only vaguely see how it works and what it's made of.

    Maybe nihilism is part of the same system. Justice and mercy are directly at odds. Mercy is a product of forgiveness and acceptance, so it's the bright side of nihilism. Maybe justice and mercy temper one another. Thanks for the Prachett quote, I get it.

    Very Nietzschean. It seems like you're getting close to determinism, no?st0ic

    I think determinism and free will are matters of identification. If I believe I'm moving my finger, I'm identifying with whatever it is that moves everything. To be a determinist is to objectify everything (including myself).

    I think it’s a NECESSARY delusion.Noah Te Stroete

    I agree.
  • csalisbury
    1.9k
    This has been occupying me a lot lately. I fall prey to moralizing constantly. And it usually has a (self) righteous anger associated with it. True kindness does give of itself, just as you say.

    I agree that that kind of moralizing comes from resentment. If true kindness gives of itself maybe the only worthwhile moralizing is a practical one, delicately removing the impediments that have blocked off access to that source? (One impediment would be righteous moralizing.)

    But that process is tricky because its hard to know yourself and to know what adjustments will have what ramifications. Also, building a little hamfistedly off of fdrake's discussion of the seed, its not only internal impediments to remove, but also seeing how you choose (or are drawn to) certain external circumstances which ensure dormancy. Being a person is sometimes as though a seed had another seed around it which not only reacted to certain parameters, but tried to ensure the parameters remained the same (perceptual control theory comes to mind.)
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    First of all, don’t get ahead of yourself: experiencing hunger does NOT mean I will die.Possibility

    If you're hungry it means that if you don't eat something soon you'll starve to death. You have two choices here:

    1) try to find food so that you can stay alive
    2) accept death

    So what one ought to do? Notice that either choice would count as an ought.

    The idea put forward is that every ought is a sign of resentment (maybe even ressentiment?) So whatever you choose, you're being resentful. Which is rather odd, don't you think?

    The alternative is accepting the reality that hunger is a part of life, something we can experience many times in our life and even for a prolonged period of time without dying. That is reality as it is.Possibility

    Yes and choosing not to be hungry (by eating) is not a sign of resentment.

    Having said that, dying is also a part of the universe that we tend to reject/resent in favour of a world that doesn’t and cannot exist: one where we don’t die.Possibility

    And that's not necessarily a sign of resentment either.
  • csalisbury
    1.9k
    The difference between hunger and, say, injustice, in my mind, is that the latter is subject to a moral judgement. A moral judgment is once for all - this kind of thing ought never happen. That doesn't apply to hunger (unless you're a full-throated pessimist casting a moral judgment on the world, on the idea that a thing hunger could even exist.) You don't condemn hunger, but you condemn the unjust.

    In Kantian terms, a separation of hypothetical and categorical imperatives.
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    "I ought to be this", but what if you just aren't? Should we feel ashamed because we don't uphold the principles of some external moral doctrine?st0ic

    You mean, what if you can't be what you ought to be? Nothing. Just accept that you can't be that thing. An ought merely establishes what is the best thing to do if you want to maximize your chances of attaining certain goal. So if you want to be physically fit, you ought to eat properly. That sort of thing.
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    It's not a good idea to kill other people if you want to cooperate with them. And it's a good idea to cooperate with other people because you can't survive on your own. So that's why one should not kill another person.
  • csalisbury
    1.9k

    But, say, I'm a powerful person and I did something bad to someone who is going to reveal something horrible about me which will prevent anyone from cooperating me. I have the means of killing this person and being free of anyone finding out what I did. If it's all about survival, I suppose I ought to kill that person.
  • frank
    3k
    This may be total bullshit, but imagine that moralizing is an aspect of social cohesion.

    You say something that reveals a flaw in me. If I respond by lashing out, we're like two wolves in a wolfpack attempting to establish dominance. Once that's accomplished (by my acceptance of your authority, or whatever), we now know who we are relative to one another. I think that's already happened on my side of things because I trust you.

    So maybe moralizing is like wolf cubs exercising their claws and teeth, not to kill prey, but to establish a social hierarchy that allows for sophisticated group activities.

    What is compassion?
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    If you can get away with it -- yes.
  • Possibility
    416
    If you're hungry it means that if you don't eat something soon you'll starve to death. You have two choices here:

    1) try to find food so that you can stay alive
    2) accept death

    So what one ought to do? Notice that either choice would count as an ought.

    The idea put forward is that every ought is a sign of resentment (maybe even ressentiment?) So whatever you choose, you're being resentful. Which is rather odd, don't you think?
    Magnus Anderson

    It amazes me that you honestly believe any experience of hunger is a sign of impending death.

    Yes, you have two choices, but they’re not so dramatic as that: eat or continue to experience hunger. Neither of these is an ‘ought’, because an ‘ought’ is not a choice. When you transform a choice into an ‘ought’, this is a sign that you resent having to experience hunger at all. When you equate hunger with death, and view death as unacceptable, then you are heading into moral territory. This, I believe, is the idea put forward.
  • csalisbury
    1.9k
    I think that does serve a purpose, but is ultimately its harmful for both parties in the long run. Or like it's a stage? I've been thinking a lot about the thread with Un a few weeks back, about AA and cycles. I feel like we all cycle through subpersonalities which leaves us at any moment blind to some things and more perceptive about other things. Maybe the idea of fellowship is that you all collectively balance one another out building toward something. Authority is good if its earned, but then its also like a thing that can harden whatever subpersonality currently has the microphone. Maybe authority is less something one person has, and more like, using the idea of play, deferring to one kid when he seems to have a cool game or idea or knows this neighborhood youre biking through, or how to deal with mike's dad etc. I think clinging to permanent authority is usually a sign of fear that if you yield to another person, youll be exposed, and hurt.
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    It amazes me that you honestly believe any experience of hunger is a sign of impending death.Possibility

    It means you will die if you eat nothing within a period of one month. That's hardly disputable. Of course, you won't die if you eat nothing for a week, but if you eat nothing for more than 30 days (or whatever the actual number is) you will die. The choice to eat is connected with this fact. Yes, we eat in order to be able to successfully carry out certain tasks but we also eat in order to remain alive (i.e. to avoid death.)

    Neither of these is an ‘ought’, because an ‘ought’ is not a choice. When you transform a choice into an ‘ought’, this is a sign that you resent having to experience hunger at all.Possibility

    You ought to eat something within a period of month if you don't want to die. That's an ought. Again, hardly disputable. What's strange is the claim that every ought -- which means this one as well -- is a sign of resentment. That's clearly NOT the case.
  • csalisbury
    1.9k
    If you can get away with it -- yesMagnus Anderson

    Ok, but if you actually feel that way, and aren't simply making the right moves in order to preserve an argument, then you're missing the moral sense which you need to criticize morality. You can't criticize music as just modulations of tone if you can't hear what others do.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    You’re smarter than me and most others. :wink:
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    I am not sure what you're trying to say. I am not trying to criticize morality. I am simply saying that:

    1) saying that one ought to do something or that things ought to be in some way is not necessarily a sign of resentment

    2) morality is not a delusion

    That's it.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    morality is not a delusionMagnus Anderson

    It is a delusion in the sense that it need not be the case that there are “ought” statements. Other animals don’t seem to have them, and if the universe is completely deterministic, then saying how things ought to be is a form of delusion. It is denying how things must be. If you believe that there is a Categorical Imperative that emerges from living in a community, then it is not delusion. If we have libertarian free will, then it is not delusion.
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