• MonfortS26
    250
    We have both selfish and altruistic urges, both of which we encourage in ourselves and each other: different urges at different times, depending... Which is ascendent?Bitter Crank

    The selfish urges. Even our altruistic urges are selfish to some extent in my opinion

    Our deepest root values are to get along with each other. In other words, to be good. That doesn't mean that we don't do bad things. Social life involves dominance, aggression, and power along with the nice stuff. Civilization and technology have given us the ability to amplify our negative actions well beyond the effort it takes to make them. It's easier to be really bad than it used to be.T Clark

    I think our deepest root value is survival. We want to get along with each other because it is beneficial to our survival. We seek dominance, power and behave aggressively because it beneficial to our survival. I agree with the notion that civilization and technology are capable of creating more bad than before, but it's also capable of creating more good than before. All civilization and technology are doing are making us more powerful, what we do with that power is what matters.
  • MonfortS26
    250
    Society, as I see it, is highly flammable kept below ignition point by the rule of law. The same can't be said of our good side. There's nothing that puts a cap on goodness and yet we don't see it effervescing to the surface. Rather what we see are instances where the law breaks down and the inevitable mayhem that follows.TheMadFool

    Isn't the rule of law existing all you need to see evidence of a good side?

    Objective or not we can't deny that our moral compasses align sufficiently well to find a common ground for my point.TheMadFool

    Maybe the reason our moral compasses align so well is because they are dependant on one another.
  • TheMadFool
    2.3k
    Isn't the rule of law existing all you need to see evidence of a good side?MonfortS26

    I think forbidding something, as the law does, is to acknowledge our propensity for evil.

    Maybe the reason our moral compasses align so well is because they are dependant on one another.MonfortS26

    That's a different topic but how does ''dependence'' translate into ''agreement''?
  • MonfortS26
    250
    I think forbidding something, as the law does, is to acknowledge our propensity for evil.TheMadFool

    Is the act of acknowledging our propensity for evil and act of good or evil though?

    That's a different topic but how does ''dependence'' translate into ''agreement''?TheMadFool

    Lol I completely misunderstood your original point there...Nevermind...
  • TheMadFool
    2.3k
    Where are you getting this statistic? What makes you say that few people practice "positive rules" of society?MonfortS26

    How many people are out there doing charity work? Compare that to how many criminals are out there?

    Why do we have CCTV cameras? Why do we have punishment through law? Deterrence, no?

    How many charity organizations are there? So few, right?

    I don't think you can label anything as inherently bad, just bad in relation to something else.MonfortS26

    Why not? We may compare two people to assess who's better or worse but each can be said to be good or evil.

    You're trying to find black and white in a very grey concept.MonfortS26

    But the grey lies between black and white.

    Does it matter?MonfortS26

    I think it does. What would an alien say about humanity?
  • MonfortS26
    250
    How many people are out there doing charity work? Compare that to how many criminals are out there?TheMadFool

    That's a false equivocation. How many people are living law-abiding lives as opposed to criminals?

    Why do we have CCTV cameras?TheMadFool

    To protect against people committing crimes. But just an example, if Wal-Mart didn't have security cameras, do you really think that people would steal more than they buy? Its to prevent the few from breaking laws, not expecting the many.

    How many charity organizations are there? So few, right?TheMadFool

    Are you implying that any for-profit company is inherently evil?

    Why not? We may compare two people to assess who's better or worse but each can be said to be good or evil.TheMadFool

    Under what criteria do you make that categorization though?

    But the grey lies between black and white.TheMadFool

    And expecting pure black or white is idealistic

    I think it does. What would an alien say about humanity?TheMadFool

    When I said does it matter, what I was trying to say was, does another persons wrongdoing affect your desire to do good? Should it impact your actions at all? I'll admit it wasn't a very good way of getting that point across but it's what I was going for
  • MonfortS26
    250
    I think the reason you see evil as being the predominant force is that you're viewing it from the side of good. Just as a thought experiment, imagine yourself to be the evilest person in the world. A pure evil incarnate. You want to rape, you want to steal, you want to commit genocide. You want to do every act of evil imaginable. Imagine how hard it would be to get away with it all. Is that not evidence of good? Good can't exist without evil. You can't measure one without the other as a comparison. They can't be anything but equal overall if you view it that way.
  • TheMadFool
    2.3k
    That's a false equivocation. How many people are living law-abiding lives as opposed to criminals?MonfortS26

    You have a point. If you do the math then, yes, there are more law-abiding people around than criminals. But don't forget our proclivities. Look at what happens when the rule of law breaks down - disasters, political unrest, war, etc. Atrocities are part and parcel of such events. Doesn't that tell us something about our nature - that it's just Mr. Hyde kept in check by Dr. Jekyll.

    But just an example, if Wal-Mart didn't have security cameras, do you really think that people would steal more than they buy?MonfortS26

    Yes, people would steal more without CCTV cameras.

    Are you implying that any for-profit company is inherently evil?MonfortS26

    No, but how many non-profit organizations are there compared to for-profit companies?

    Under what criteria do you make that categorization though?MonfortS26

    You said good and bad are relative terms. I agree but that doesn't do anything to relieve the burden of being guilty.

    And expecting pure black or white is idealisticMonfortS26

    I'm being as realistic as possible. I've weighed in both our benevolent side and our evil side. The only thing is I find the evil side is winning.

    does another persons wrongdoing affect your desire to do good?MonfortS26

    Kant's categorical imperative is an example of a belief that what others do is as important as what you do. What would be the point of being the only person in the world who tells the truth?

    I think the reason you see evil as being the predominant force is that you're viewing it from the side of good. Just as a thought experiment, imagine yourself to be the evilest person in the world. A pure evil incarnate. You want to rape, you want to steal, you want to commit genocide. You want to do every act of evil imaginable. Imagine how hard it would be to get away with it all. Is that not evidence of good? Good can't exist without evil. You can't measure one without the other as a comparison. They can't be anything but equal overall if you view it that way.MonfortS26

    I'm being balanced as possible.
  • MonfortS26
    250
    You have a point. If you do the math then, yes, there are more law-abiding people around than criminals. But don't forget our proclivities. Look at what happens when the rule of law breaks down - disasters, political unrest, war, etc. Atrocities are part and parcel of such events. Doesn't that tell us something about our nature - that it's just Mr. Hyde kept in check by Dr. Jekyll.TheMadFool

    Have you noticed my profile picture?? Because I agree with you.
    In my opinion, the reason he is called the Joker is because a lot of truth is said in jest.
    If you'll notice earlier, I said the deepest root value is survival. "When the chips are down, these 'civilized people' will eat each other". We have an innate instinct to not die, when people feel their life is threatened, they do monstrous things. But just as I said earlier, you're only looking at the evidence of evil and ignoring the good. Because more often than not, when the rule of law breaks down, it is built again. Good is not a perfect force. Sometimes it will lose in the short run. But the balance will always be there in the long run.

    Yes, people would steal more without CCTV cameras.TheMadFool

    You missed my point. If there were 200 people who shop at a store each day, without cameras, do you think more than 100 of those people would steal?

    No, but how many non-profit organizations are there compared to for-profit companies?TheMadFool

    Not nearly as many, but I don't understand the relevance to the conversation if you aren't implying that for-profit=evil.

    I'm being as realistic as possible. I've weighed in both our benevolent side and our evil side. The only thing is I find the evil side is winning.TheMadFool

    But how are you measuring the two? What are your definitions of good and evil?

    You said good and bad are relative terms. I agree but that doesn't do anything to relieve the burden of being guilty.TheMadFool

    That doesn't really answer my question of how you're categorizing them. Just because they're relative doesn't mean they're undefinable.

    Kant's categorical imperative is an example of a belief that what others do is as important as what you do. What would be the point of being the only person in the world who tells the truth?TheMadFool

    There is a reason I've never taken deontology seriously. The notion that the action itself is more important than the consequences of that action is like saying the ingredients of your soup are more important than the taste. If you're not invested in the consequences of your actions, what is the point in behaving ethically?

    I'm being balanced as possible.TheMadFool

    I'm not talking about your balance, I'm talking about the unending duality of good and evil. They are eternally balanced concepts, each dependant on the other for measurement of either. The can't be anything but equal.
  • Akanthinos
    826
    If you'll notice earlier, I said the deepest root value is survival. "When the chips are down, these 'civilized people' will eat each other". We have an innate instinct to not die, when people feel their life is threatened, they do monstrous things.MonfortS26

    This attitude right there is what annoys me the most out of every depiction of post-apocalyptic scenarios. When the chips are down, the vast majority of people, civilised or not, do the same thing they do when the chips aren't down : they band together and try to make the most out of it. A group will always be stronger than an individual.

    Saying that the deepest rooted value is survival is also somewhat faulty by tautology. Every value that is selected for is selected for survival enhancement. The general tendency of humans to band together is a value as "strongly rooted" as survival, because it was selected for it's benefit toward survival. It's likely that the remaining anti-social traits that we also find, like the sociopathy displayed by joker-types, were also selected for because, if they are present in very low percentages, they also have a positive influence on survival.

    You missed my point. If there were 200 people who shop at a store each day, without cameras, do you think more than 100 of those people would steal?MonfortS26

    I have worked at stores which didn't have security cameras, and while we might not have had 200 people every day, we certainly didn't have 50% of our walk-ins steal our stuff. This also doesn't represent properly how morals and moral action takes place.

    Shoplifting is small fries. Those that do it are mainly teenagers or poor people to whom it doesn't even strike out as a moral dilemma, just a cheap thrill with barely any consequences for the workers, or even the company they steal from. Even if someone admitted to me that they were an unrepentant shoplifter, I wouldn't consider them 'evil'.

    How many people would resort to violence if they knew they wouldn't get caught? And, perhaps more importantly, how many people would close their eyes and act as if nothing was wrong if they saw someone else being victimised, and they had nothing to gain or lose by helping?

    I think very few people would act out in a Purge-type thing, unless it was profoundly ingrained in the cultural fabric of the people who would do it. On the other hand, sadly, I think the default setting of most individual is to bury their head in the sand when they see an injustice that doesn't touch them. If we, as a specie, are 'evil', it's in my opinion more because of this propensity than because of war, of survival or because of capitalism and power.
  • MonfortS26
    250
    Saying that the deepest rooted value is survival is also somewhat faulty by tautology. Every value that is selected for is selected for survival enhancement. The general tendency of humans to band together is a value as "strongly rooted" as survival, because it was selected for it's benefit toward survival. It's likely that the remaining anti-social traits that we also find, like the sociopathy displayed by joker-types, were also selected for because, if they are present in very low percentages, they also have a positive influence on survival.Akanthinos

    The fact that they present in low percentages doesn't change the fact that they are present. To say that our desire to band together is as strong as our desire to survive is ignoring the fact that anti-social behavior exists, no matter how small their population.

    how many people would close their eyes and act as if nothing was wrong if they saw someone else being victimised, and they had nothing to gain or lose by helping?Akanthinos

    If studies on the bystander effect are to be believed, it depends on the number of people present. But you're right, it is a very dark side of our human nature.
  • Akanthinos
    826
    The fact that they present in low percentages doesn't change the fact that they are present. To say that our desire to band together is as strong as our desire to survive is ignoring the fact that anti-social behavior exists, no matter how small their population.MonfortS26

    No it is not. I have specifically acknowledged the presence and offered and explanation of 'evil' people. You are ignoring the point I was making : survival is not in itself a value, it's by what every acquired value is tested. Possibly, an overall population of 90% dogooders to 10% sociopaths is sufficiently balanced so that both dogooders and sociopaths have a decent chance of passing on their traits to the next generation. I find it very doubtful that humanity could prolong its existence much further if these numbers were reversed.
  • MonfortS26
    250
    How can you say that survival is not a value? I'm not ignoring the point you're making, I just disagree. You can value anything, why would survival be out of the running? I agree that a world of sociopaths could end very poorly, that doesn't exclude survival from being valuable. That's just indicative that working together is not a value shared by all, therefore rejecting the notion that it is the base-value of our species
  • Akanthinos
    826
    How can you say that survival is not a value?MonfortS26

    Well, that was because I was using your terms. I my own, I would say that survival is the only value by which a trait is selected. Sociopaths, people who buckle quickly under pressure and resort to violence, those aren't people "who value survival first", not anymore at least then the people who band together and try to progress morally despite the conditions. They are just people who value different methods of survival.

    Shit hits the fan, you'll find more people trying to rebuild society than people trying to abuse the lack of authority. They are all trying to survive. It's just that being generally polite, mostly good-tempered and sometimes altruistic is a better long-run survival strategy than being a dick.
  • MonfortS26
    250
    This attitude right there is what annoys me the most out of every depiction of post-apocalyptic scenarios. When the chips are down, the vast majority of people, civilised or not, do the same thing they do when the chips aren't down : they band together and try to make the most out of it. A group will always be stronger than an individual.Akanthinos

    I don't know that I agree with this. Not all of the chips are necessarily down in a post-apocalyptic society. Say for example there is a plane crash and it leads to 2 couples floating on the sea in a raft. There's a finite amount of resources needed to survive and it becomes apparent that they are running out with no rescue in sight. What do you think is more likely, that people fight to survive in this scenario, or that one of the couples sacrifices themselves and their loved one to let the other couple survive?

    Shit hits the fan, you'll find more people trying to rebuild society than people trying to abuse the lack of authority. They are all trying to survive. It's just that being generally polite, mostly good-tempered and sometimes altruistic is a better long-run survival strategy than being a dick.Akanthinos

    I agree with the sentiment behind this, but I'm talking about the ultimate shit hitting the fan.
  • TheMadFool
    2.3k
    I'm not talking about your balance, I'm talking about the unending duality of good and evil. They are eternally balanced concepts, each dependant on the other for measurement of either. The can't be anything but equal.MonfortS26

    You have a very optimistic view on our moral standards. I share this view but I'm also quite scared that all the good we see in this world is just a thin veneer and that below it lurks the darker side of our nature, just waiting for the law the look the other way.
  • BlueBanana
    854
    How many people are out there doing charity work? Compare that to how many criminals are out there?

    Why do we have CCTV cameras? Why do we have punishment through law? Deterrence, no?

    How many charity organizations are there? So few, right?
    TheMadFool

    There's an incentive to do evil, and there's often an incentive to not do good. The comparison is invalid. Most people do not do evil, even though there're incentives. Most people do not do huge amounts of good either, but that can be explained with incentives to not to.
  • T Clark
    3k
    I think our deepest root value is survival. We want to get along with each other because it is beneficial to our survival. We seek dominance, power and behave aggressively because it beneficial to our survival. I agree with the notion that civilization and technology are capable of creating more bad than before, but it's also capable of creating more good than before. All civilization and technology are doing are making us more powerful, what we do with that power is what matters.MonfortS26

    I think this shows a misunderstanding of human nature.
  • MonfortS26
    250
    I think this shows a misunderstanding of human nature.T Clark

    It's very easy to make a statement like that, but would you care to offer an actual argument?
  • charleton
    1.2k
    I think this shows a misunderstanding of human nature.T Clark

    We are mostly human culture.
    I don't think it is possible to distill what is human nature as it is so far subsumed by cultural logic, endemic assumptions, and normative imperatives.
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