a question about the value of human life

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15 May 2015 23:42 - 15 May 2015 23:47 #192136 by OB1Shinobi
more than anything Gisteron, your last post to me has reminded me of how differently people think even when we all use the same words

also my use of words is not as precise as it needs to be

the meaning of "meaning" for example - or "inherent value"

these are things which i expect we all have some conceptualization of
but which our interpretations of are probably different enough that communication about them is challenging

Gisteron wrote:

  • We could be both part of a meaningful whole with inherent worth and still be the sole arbiters of what is right.
  • We could neither be the sole arbiters of what is right and still not be part of anything greater, inherently meaningful.
  • We could be part of a greater whole that still has no worth or meaning, ultimately.
  • We could be part of a worthy greater, meaningful whole and still have every right to break any part of it.
  • We could be part of a meaningful whole with inherent worth and no right to break it where it would still never grant us either purpose or value.
  • Our logic could be the sole arbiter of what is right but we might not be required for it.
  • We could be the sole arbiters of what is right but logic could have nothing to do with it.
  • We and our logic could be the sole arbiters of what is right and might alone could still not make right.
  • We and our logic could be the sole arbiters of what is right and we could be ignorant of that fact and thus think we needed more than we had.


this is getting to what i meant above

im sure that these are all consistent within your own framework
but by my way of thinking, which i admit is certainly not the ONLY way to think, nor likely to be the very BEST way, simply MY way, MY framework, many of these are not internally consistent, for the following reasons

"We could be both part of a meaningful whole with inherent worth and still be the sole arbiters of what is right."

if we are part of such a whole, i interpret that it would be something of an implicit obligation on our part to
do our best to acknowledge and "go with the flow" of that whole, or in jedi terminology, "follow the Force" (and this only if we have any choice about the matter at all) which would mean, by definition, we would not be the ones to determine

at best we wuld determine that we belong to that whole and then maybe we would have some say or some degree of interpretive freedom in choosing HOW to integrate

"We could neither be the sole arbiters of what is right and still not be part of anything greater, inherently meaningful."

if we are not a part of something greater (which i have to say, from my perspective it is obvious that we are, but if we werent) then we WOULD be sole arbiters of what is right, because there would be nothing above us or greater than us to which we ought conform

this is a likely conclusion if we use cold logic alone based only on the scientific understanding we currently have and are able to verify beyond dispute, in order to define our place in the world

also it would itself carry an implicit obligation (which i believe we have anyway, as sentient and conscientious beings, capable of abstract conceptualization) to do exactly that and "arbit" what is right for us - my idea is that it is up to us to recognize and accede to the greatest "truth" to which we are able to relate, and that this should always be a progressive and evolving process

a process which i call "developing ones religion"

"We could be part of a greater whole that still has no worth or meaning, ultimately"

and

"We could be part of a meaningful whole with inherent worth and no right to break it where it would still never grant us either purpose or value."

as your conversation with Ariane about "inherent value" gets in to, this is impossible (to my way of thinking at least)
because
we exist within the backdrop of the whole

our relationship to our origin and our destination (micro and macro) IS our value - its the source of our value, or the context with which we have value

being a part of something greater than ourselves, something which is "valuable" of itself, makes us "valuable" as well

now i feel like phaedrus losing his mind over the meaning of quality because in order to say something has value obviously we have to express some idea of what value is

which btw, is what i see as being the purpose and function of religious thought

we might say "but we have no "value" in the religious sense of gods and eternity and heaven and hell"

to which i would respond that religion, as far as i can tell, is a conscious act of deliberately integrating with or submitting to that which the individual determines is the most inherently meaningful / valuable / sacred / worthy / GOOD force/s of and within existence - which means god and heaven and hell only if one belives such things exist and that it does not necessarily require one to accept that they do

i personally dont belive in heaven or hell, except as states of consciousness here in life

i dont belive myself to have the capacity to determine if there is "life after death"
all i have is conjecture to choose from either way

my thought on the gods is vague - i have seen enough instances of "synchronicity" or "communication" from the universe to be without doubt to the validity of the phenomena

its real

the universe communicates with us

i can say that i have corroborated this to my own satisfaction through my own repeated personal experience

i cannot say that i understand it, really, or that i could explain what really causes it with any certainty

but it puts me in the position of having MEANING as a living being with whom the universe (multiverse? OMNIVERSE??) would deign to communicate, insignificant and ephemeral as my logic demonstrates clearly to me that i am

"We could be the sole arbiters of what is right but logic could have nothing to do with it."

this i feel is not possible simply we cannot separate ourselves from our logic - our logic must justify our belifes to some functional degree or else we lose touch with "reality"

its one thing to acknowledge that there are limitations to our ability to rationalize and logically understand everything, but to actually contradict our logic as a matter of course or habit leads to catastrophe -which i belive is what is meant when we say "lose touch with reality" (and which is basically one of the things which happen when religious people attempt to hold on to yesterdays myths as being todays facts - and catastrophe ensues)

the way i understand it, we shouldnt think that logic is the most powerful part of our cognitive system - clearly humans become overwhelmed by illogical forces every day

being "in love" is only one of many great examples of an overwhelming internal force which is absolutely not logical, experientially speaking

also it seems to me that one of the main functions of religious thought is that it gives us conceptual framework to understand these forces

which is necessary because we cannot help but be moved by them


"We and our logic could be the sole arbiters of what is right and might alone could still not make right."

and

"Our logic could be the sole arbiter of what is right but we might not be required for it."

i dont really understand what you mean with these :blush:


"We and our logic could be the sole arbiters of what is right and we could be ignorant of that fact and thus think we needed more than we had."

that is an interesting thought - and not without merit

there are a lot of mental roads this could lead us down but the one i want to look at is "if we and our logic ARE the sole arbiters of what is "right", is it not "logical" that we should adopt an interpretive framework which places human life as inherently valuable SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN and we consider ourselves valuable?

at least I consider myself valuable enough that i dont agree that someone else is entitled to simply DECIDE that its alright to wipe me out or make me into a slave

"We could be part of a worthy greater, meaningful whole and still have every right to break any part of it."

now THIS one is VERY interesting

how would we define "have every right" and how would we define "break" in this context?


im sorry i wont respond to your entire last post right now - ive been busy with some family stuff which limits my online time, and ive been working on this reply for a while already (plus its been indicated to me that my posts are too wordy-which im sure this one is too lol)
and id like to respond still to Ariane who specifically asked "tell me what you think"

People are complicated.
Last edit: 15 May 2015 23:47 by OB1Shinobi.

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16 May 2015 01:03 - 16 May 2015 02:21 #192145 by OB1Shinobi

Ariane wrote:

OB1Shinobi wrote: if a man has the power to kill off 99% of the human population and place himself as supreme emperor of the remaining - and devote the majority of the remaining workforce to ensuring the colonization of space

and the majority of the rest of his personal time to having as many children as posibble, does science offer any reason that he should NOT do it?



Hi Obi!!

Well there is no clear answer. If I were to say that science is both useful and a process. Devoid of any human values. However it is also not an isolated subject and a holistic view is that Science is a 'process' to find truth and that process includes everything that defines humanity such as art, science, philosophy, maths and other scientific subjects.

Because humans wanted knowledge to improve their chances of success, they tried to merge and combine ideas language and semantics was born and became important in philosophy and were both the tools to compartmentalised and defined or refined the many human ideas. So Science is also a philosophy. This idea merging wasn't always beneficial! The problem-solving principle devised by William of Ockham (1287–1347). The principle 'occams razor' explained that competing hypotheses that both predicted equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

Occams razor kick started the Renaissance and all this subjectivity and superstitions that had migrated from Alchemy ultimately was stripped away of useless assumptions and science was born. However during the renaissance the lines between art and science merged and so science has a distinctly human touch. The time of the great revival of art and literature, and learning in Europe. It showed that culture is important for emotional beings to inspire themselves to achieve scientific breakthroughs.

Back in ancient times such as Greece they pursued knowledge for the sake of knowledge. There was a development of ethics which was a major development for social cohesion. In philosophical thought the subject called geometry was a major academic subject for all citizens. They were able to make water flow up hill with geometry and used special aqueducts to transport water and invested many man hours, slaves and money to help create and sustain a larger population. Because humans realised, they needed 'man power' and that was the paradigm of such a successful civilisation. The primary reason for the success of the race (which was absolutely necessary) was to grow the population, for hard military power and to act as a buffer for the losses of humans through death.

Therefore science encompasses all academic subjects and if you truly understood chemistry you would understand that it is also merging with history, psychology, biology.

Simply said science is created by humans who placed their values upon it, it is our human thought that must embrace the nature of being human and that the we are biologically adapted to favour bigger societies. Part of that science and thought is competing with other ideas in philosophy which question the inherent value of humans or rather the necessity of larger populations. Removing 95% of humans would drastically increase the value of individual humans.

Yet such Eugenics is quickly becoming a pseudo-science. Because we can have the best of both worlds to perfect the species while maintaining strength in numbers and the benefits of social cultural society. With Large populations individual human value 'reduces' and human labour becomes 'cheaper' which is in the best interests of an emperor which is fantastic. Also maintaining a large gene pool is logical.

It's a great risk to expose humanity to the dangers of reducing the population by 95% because a virus could easily wipe you out and you cannot afford many human losses. Humans would become so precious and vulnerable that they would be treated like expensive commodities 'wrapped in bubble wrap'.

There is no clear answer, while we have strength in numbers in larger populations the balance of power would be difficult to alter and maintain. Larger societies the individual becomes insignificant. In smaller societies it would be the rise of 'individualism' individuals could have more autonomy and control and create favourable conditions for ourselves with abundant wealth and we wouldn't rely as heavily upon 'man power' yet there are consequences.

Humans in a favourable state of affairs would cease to develop themselves and become immortal. Since it is adversity and difficulty that is the mother of invention and the basis of evolution we would have to redesign ourselves but could a small population really have the will power to achieve this? It would require lots more work which would be easier with more people. There is a film that addresses this problem, with a small population we would need technological solutions and this is best described in a film called 'WALL E' made by Disney in 2008.

There are other potential questions such as 'what meaning do individual humans have', the answer they have no meaning. It is within in our nature to reproduce and multiply it is what drives life and all of human progress, to destroy the population would be opposite of what life and progression is about.

And this can be described in a 'Bugs Life' a film created by Disney/Pixar in 1998 a story of an ant who wants 'individualism' seeking meaning as an individual. The leader of the solider ants also wants 'individualism' to perfect the ant species but ultimately 'we are the colony' and to destroy 'the colony' would be self destructive the leader ant nearly wiped out every ant and was left with a few useless elites that were no longer elite.

In today's world it is not possible to replace humans yet... since our level of technology requires hard labour from other humans such as in agriculture. However the automation of mass manufacturing has removed the need for many humans and as Adolf Hitler called them 'useless eaters'. Humans are a liability and an expense economically its not logical to limit the amount of workers.

umm let me know what you think



hi Ariane!! :-)

i wanted to be able to respond to you well and in preparing for that i found these, which you may also enjoy (i enjoyed them)

criticalthought.com/2011/04/art-science-...same-only-different/


blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/...like-than-different/

your post brings up some very interesting ideas and i feel that your way of viewing the topic is at least a little bit similar to my own

you mention science emerging out of the renaissance
considering that the ability to print texts was a major contributing factor to getting us out of the dark ages, i am excited at the thought of how much greater the development of human understanding is going to be in our lifetime with the advent of the internet!

also id like to throw out the idea that science has been developing since the first ape man smashed flint to make sparks - or sooner, i dont know what it appropriate to mark as the beginning

i think that religious thought was actually highly scientific in its own right (and since we havent changed, fumdamentally in quite a long time, still is if we are willing to acknowledge the positives of what it can do for us, which the IP here demonstrates)

imo the divergence of science and religion in the minds of so many exists as a consequence of the dark ages, where the stupification of religious thought into religious dogma took us to a terrible place

to protect ourselves from it happening again it was necessary for the collective psyche to make a sharp distinction between "fact" and "superstition"

had the events of history been different, i think its perfectly reasonable that modern educated man might have no problem going to church on sunday and learning physics on monday

and no one would have a problem with this because the place and utility of both would be understood

jesus and sidartha and quetzlacoatl and einstein and newton and copernicus might all be equally welcome pictures at both the university and the temple

my personal opinion on it is that if life does have a motive and meaning and purpose other than pure random chance
it is not at all evident that we would be able to recognize it

again i refer to the 2% difference between us and chimps and i envision that E.T. who has a 2% advance on us, looking down as we determine "theres no point to any of it" and seeing us in a way analogous to us watching a chimp looking at a game of chess and accepting "it makes no sense" - of course the strategy of a chess board makes no sense to a chimp

that doesnt prove anything about the "value" or "meaning" of the game

its appropriate for us to acknowledge and allow for the inherent limitations to our cognitive abilities; its only when someone says "we cant understand it so we shouldnt even try" that there is a problem

because of this i belive it is important to value life - especially human life if it comes to a choice, but when its permissible to our existence, to value all life

as for us becoming immortal - i think its fair to say thats going to happen regardless

(some conspiracy theorists might argue that this is the reason for poison food unending war and intentional industrial poisoning of society - that it is the precursory reduction of human population before "the elites" are allowed to openly acknowledge that immortality has been attained - which is not implausible but IS another topic)

you mention eugenics

pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/tag/dna-methylation/

im not sure if its going to be through pharmaceutical manipulation of dna after birth or pre birth manipulation or if it will be nano technology which maintains and repairs cells and tissue or a blend or something else altogether, but its coming, and relatively soon imo

www.understandingnano.com/medicine.html

the conspiracy theorists might want to discuss the ominous side of what this technology could imply and link it to the question of chem trails and medical vaccines, among other things

my more ominous side envisions a day when nanobots can work together to send and recieve a myriad of signals

to the extent that a hundred billion nano bots working together could relay audio and visual transmissions AND could recieve "orders"

so basically someone would have non stop microscopic surveillance AND a "heart attack button" so if they dont like what youre saying or doing ...
but thats also another topic, and not the only possible outcome

also you mention "a favorable state of affairs"
i think you and Gisteron hit on this already but many organisms have developed themselves biologically so as to have reached "a favorable state" and therefore do not seem to be developing themselves at all any more, yet they are not as individuals, immortal

i think that the next 200 yrs are going to see (as a result of science) the greatest diversity of the human organism ever to exists and at the fastest rate

furthermore, it will be deliberate

www.mnn.com/leaderboard/stories/7-real-life-human-cyborgs

im enjoying the responses and conversation from everyone so far

People are complicated.
Last edit: 16 May 2015 02:21 by OB1Shinobi.

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16 May 2015 10:02 #192169 by Gisteron
To keep this short and manageable, I shall respond in the following format: Rather than addressing every point in particular, which never doesn't get out of hand with the two of us as you know (:lol:), I shall instead elaborate on why I think the alternatives from the list are indeed possible, so you can see where this is coming from. Bear in mind that since this is a purely metaphysical discussion, correspondence to reality is irrelevant and logical consistency only is required.


We could be both part of a meaningful whole with inherent worth and still be the sole arbiters of what is right.

Since we don't know what "meaningful" or "a whole" respectively entail, it is conceivable that we are part of a meaningful whole. That does not mean that there is something else out there arbiting what is right beside us. It is possible that eventhough we are part of that whole, we could still be the only moral agents and the only ones capable of making that judgement.

We could neither be the sole arbiters of what is right and still not be part of anything greater, inherently meaningful.

It may very well be that there is no greater meaning or purpose to any of this and that we are still not the only moral agents. There could be alien races, there could even be what we consider gods but the entire thing could still remain ultimately meaningless. In that case there would be other arbiters of what is right beside or above us but that wouldn't imply that any of this has any further underlying meaning, whether we know about it or not.

We could be part of a greater whole that still has no worth or meaning, ultimately.

Same reasoning. Even if we are part of a greater whole, and depending on what we mean by "greater" we most certainly could be, that doesn't mean that there is a meaning to it. Not that there isn't, but again, we are talking possibilities here. Nothing about us being part of something greater implies that the latter has meaning.

We could be part of a worthy greater, meaningful whole and still have every right to break any part of it.

One step further. Even if we are part of a greater whole and it is meaningful, that doesn't mean that we have no right to mess around with it. Maybe us messing about to the point where things break is the purpose. I don't even know how to say whether this is likely. My point is, nothing about us being part of a meaningful whole necessarily means that we ought to behave within it.

We could be part of a meaningful whole with inherent worth and no right to break it where it would still never grant us either purpose or value.

And continuing on that train of thought, even if all of these things were indeed correct, value or purpose are likewise not implied.

Our logic could be the sole arbiter of what is right but we might not be required for it.

We could be the sole arbiters of what is right but logic could have nothing to do with it.

You said that one of the possibilities was that we and our logic are the sole arbiters of what is right. I am responding that aside from neither being a possibility, any combination of the two could also be the case. Maybe our logic transcends us and is the sole arbiter of what is right, in which case we are but a medium and unnecessary for that determination. Maybe we are the arbiters of what is right and this is not a matter of logic, which in my opinion it cannot be anyway since logic begets morality the same way politics begets chicken soup.

We and our logic could be the sole arbiters of what is right and might alone could still not make right.

This one addresses particular what you wrote in brackets, namely that our capability to do a thing would in the former case be all the "right" we'd need. Again, this does not follow from either us being the sole arbiters of what is right or our logic contributing to that arbitration. Whether might makes right is a question that is to be answered - by ourselves or otherwise - independantly of whether we with our logic, something else or we and something else are the arbiters of what is right. Conversely, even if we aren't the sole arbiters, that would likewise not answer the question of whether might makes right and one of the possibilities is that it does eventhough we be not the sole arbiters thereof.

We and our logic could be the sole arbiters of what is right and we could be ignorant of that fact and thus think we needed more than we had.

Lastly I conclude with the possibility where eventhough we might be the sole arbiters, there is no way for us to know and effectively no way for us to act accordingly. In essence, with and without a conception of something greater, the problems we are faced with and the solutions we find to them are the same. Of no choice we can say that it was right in an ultimate sense nor that it was wrong. Maybe our sense is the ultimate sense but we wouldn't know it and stay in doubt for as long as that condition remains.


The reason I called the false dichotomy fallacy is because you presented two alternatives that weren't strictly mutually exclusive and incompatible. They both came as packages with a big bag of attributes each, and you presented a dichotomy between them as though no other combinations of parts of the states were possible. That I disagreed with, and when challenged, presented some of said other combinations. The above list likewise is not an exhaustive list of alternatives, and as long as so much as one of them remains within the realm of logical possibility, the dichotomy doesn't hold.

Better to leave questions unanswered than answers unquestioned

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17 May 2015 08:50 - 17 May 2015 09:23 #192219 by Ariane
Replied by Ariane on topic a question about the value of human life
In response to Gisteron Science is devoid of 'subjectivity' but has 'meaning' and 'value' but not limited by either of them it as example if we were the sole arbiters (which there is no evidence which refutes this) then the outcomes we wanted to create in terms of social politics, the arbiter would need to adopt a value system, perhaps using science to do this. Because the hierarchy of science implies natural inherent value of ideas and society also emphasis this implied worthiness of particular ideas merely by public attention the hypothesis, theory or law are degrees of acceptance. These hierarchies in science are the beginning of a reward system and the punishment to manipulate the emotional being to gain their support an attention of ideas.

In response to the opening post. If any being needing/wanting to provide social control they would need a 'volition' or 'impulse' that 'wants' to establish a peaceful society, if they had any chance or intention of working from within that society. So 'virtuous' policy is a requirement in any arbiters evil plan. However if the arbiter had not been working from within that society they would need to stimulate both a 'demagogue' and 'conformism' and abandon 'neutrality' as a domestic policy the later being the most likely.

If you want to be agents of social change set down from the arbiter you need to enforce or conform with this value system. So even agents of the arbiter would need an ideology, code, creed to evaluate particular humans, rewarding, punishing them. Which is why it is necessary to positively value some humans and the negatively devalue through indifference, isolation or hostility toward others. So while the arbiter can dehumanise dissociate value humans will have implicit worth.

Hierarchy was established to control others so any arbiter would need a 'hierarchy' system. I accept that evil can still happen without those conditions but I doubt it would be organised. So yes humans only have value if you want/demand something from a human society. An arbiter must also be able to understand the status of the wants of the people and facilitate or promise those dreams and aspirations so ultimately any evil arbiter would always 'work for the people'.

In response to the benefits or punishments the people will 'work for the arbiter'.

The truth is everyone would be the arbiter even if the dictator said he was in control and people believed him, that is far from the truth. The leader arbiter would provide and an illusion of power when he has just as much control as every other person who can equally kill. The arbiter would need to remain quiet about his plans and so if he wanted to gain support for his ideas he would need a 'draconian system' or be born into an established cult with views to also have a plan as grandiose as wiping out 95% of the population. To too keep the power struggle from becoming public knowledge would be overwhelmingly difficult because people start disappearing and the rise of missing people would become enormous. Or the self-promotion of the cult would be to obvious it would need to be extremely clandestine and a someone as empathetic to manipulate people on that level wouldn't destroy a crop of human slaves for no reason.

SO my question is why would he destroy 95% of humans? There seems to be no logical reason.
Last edit: 17 May 2015 09:23 by Ariane.

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17 May 2015 10:07 #192221 by Gisteron

Ariane wrote: In response to Gisteron Science [sic] is devoid of 'subjectivity' but has 'meaning' and 'value' but not [sic] limited by either of them it as example [sic] if we were the sole arbiters (which there is no evidence which refutes this [sic]) then the outcomes we wanted to create in terms of social politics [sic], the arbiter would need to adopt a value system, perhaps using science to do this. Because [sic] the hierarchy of science implies natural inherent value of ideas and society also emphasis [sic] this implied worthiness of particular ideas merely by public attention the [sic] hypothesis, theory or law are degrees of acceptance. These hierarchies in science are the beginning of a reward system and the punishment to manipulate the emotional being to gain their support an attention of ideas. [sic]

A few problems with this entire thing...
First, science is not devoid of subjectivity. Math is.
Second, science has meaning and value if, only if, when and only when we ascribe any to it - just like with everything else. In either case it wouldn't provide any.
Third, there is nothing to refute that we are in fact the souls of flower fairies trapped in a temporary purgatory between two incarnations in the Flower Garden. That something is not yet or cannot be refuted is irrelevant. Besides, Since we are not the only social animals and not the only ones making moral judgements even on our own planet, I would very much assert that we are indeed not the sole arbiters.
Fourth, no value system is strictly required to establish social politics. "Obey or die" is very convincing and for that reason works pretty well also.
Fifth, with and without that requirement, science cannot hope to provide a value system of this sort. It has no mechanism to do so.
Sixth is not so much an objection as it is an inquiry: What "hierarchy of science" are you talking about? Hypothesis, theory and law are not levels of acceptance or attention propositions get. The difference between theory and law is an arbitrary distinction of the scope, if you will - the amount of information contained. A hypothesis can have either scope but is called neither because it does not qualify as either and acceptance or attention are not criteria for that qualification. I would have made multiple points of this, but given this one alone, obviously the assertions that this implies values of ideas or their "worthiness", whatever that even means, fall straight out the window, since a false premise by definition never implies anything. The final statement falls flat for the same reason then.

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17 May 2015 17:36 #192247 by Ariane
Replied by Ariane on topic a question about the value of human life
Thanks Gisteron.

I realised how non-nonsensical I was in my last post.

I just think science relies heavily on objectivity of cause science is subjective because the interpretation is a matter of scientific philosophy which i am certainly not qualified to be a philosopher.

I just think humans are inherently social therefore conform naturally to the whole and would defend the whole. any threat to that whole no matter how severe the punishment for non-conformity wouldn't be a motivator. Which is why draconian societies would have a sense of honour and justice which when threatened creates division.

One power breaks another power into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then takes control of those pieces one by one. but when you threaten the whole of humanity you would not create division but solidarity and therefore couldn't conquer them. Creating division can be subversive rather than hostile but you would need to target minorities or inferiors. Rather than the majority but look what happened in world war two Nazi-Germany created so many enemies that when america tipped the balance and won the war it was because of Axis taking on too many enemies.

:)

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22 May 2015 22:33 #192879 by OB1Shinobi
i apologize for not responding sooner
my mother went in to the hospital last weekend and i started school on tuesday
this particular conversation takes up time and mental energy that i couldnt afford until now

OB1Shinobi wrote: at some point we either determine that we and our logic are the sole arbiters of what is right, (in which case having the capability to do the thing would be all the "right" one needs)
or that we are a part of a meaningful whole, which has inherent worth as it is, even if we do not understand it, and which we do not have the right to break, and within which we may even find purpose and value


the heart of the point that i am making, if presented in question form, could be "does an individual unit (unit meaning individual person or group or organization ect) have the right to destroy the whole simply by the fact of having the power?"

at heart this is a yes or no question, but the ambiguity of language and the range of potential conceptualization makes it not only debatable, but worse, TEDIOUS

im not really trying to work that hard now that ive started school

so i will simply say that it is, and has always been
what can generally be referred to as "religious thought"
which functions to teach humans that it is "wrong" to murder everybody else and take their resources

ethics have no foundation without religion

even the idea of social reciprocity or societal harmony is completely moot once the individual unit gains absolute supremacy

"tabula rasa" is rather appealing from a certain point of view

i present the definition for religion as "what people belive to be true about life, existence, and their place within it" and i suggest that we all develop a religion irrespective of its affiliation, as a natural consequence of being thinking cognitive beings

its practically inevitable

i dont expect everyone else to adopt this definition for their personal inventory

but for the sake of this discussion, going along with this definition, my question becomes;

since people will develop a religion no matter what

and since more than ever in our recorded history we have the capability for a small group of people to literally wipe out the majority of the species

does it make sense that we should intentionally promote ideas which place inherent value on human life?

and on us having a place with existence that we ourselves should not view as arbitrary or expendable?

People are complicated.

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23 May 2015 08:38 - 23 May 2015 08:40 #192935 by Gisteron
Sorry to hear you're having tough times, brother. My sympathies...

OB1Shinobi wrote: i present the definition for religion as "what people belive to be true about life, existence, and their place within it" and i suggest that we all develop a religion irrespective of its affiliation, as a natural consequence of being thinking cognitive beings

its practically inevitable

i dont expect everyone else to adopt this definition for their personal inventory

but for the sake of this discussion, going along with this definition, my question becomes;

Alrighty... I wouldn't say it is a very proper definition given that most people understand something different and so do the dictionaries. However, since at the end of the day understanding is what words are about we might as well use the shortcut "religion" to mean this. Therefore we can make a few paraphrases later on and I shall mark them as such. For now, a preface:

... "does an individual unit (unit meaning individual person or group or organization ect) have the right to destroy the whole simply by the fact of having the power?"

at heart this is a yes or no question, but the ambiguity of language and the range of potential conceptualization makes it not only debatable, but worse, TEDIOUS

Yeeess, unfortunately language is our only hope to communicate at this point. Anyway, about that question. Technically no, might does not make right. Not automatically anyway. Traditionally with increasing power people would tend to grow more careless and personally I find that distasteful. What I do reject, and this is not something you said or implied here, but earlier, is that the frowning upon such behaviour can at all, let alone only be rooted in religious thought. Earlier I thought that you refered to traditional definitions of the word but now we can use yours instead. "What people belive to be true about life, existence, and their place within it" can be just about anything and while this is where ethics must ultimately spawn from, no particular ethics can be deduced pending specific beliefs only few happen to ever share. In other words, even with reference to what they believe about these matters, we ought not expect them to conclude that what we think is the abuse of power is indeed wrong in their view also.
Likewise, someone who does not take base beliefs about their place in the universe into account much but instead makes a purely calculating decision might also in most cases not conclude that it is okay to get all genocidal all of a sudden. Ultimately it will depend on their current life goals and what they believe is most helpful to achieve those.

So even if we take your definition and plug it in, getting

[What people belive to be true about life, existence, and their place within it] functions to teach humans that it is "wrong" to murder everybody else and take their resources.

is strictly incorrect. Some people may believe things that would lead them to conclude that this is wrong, others don't. Some may have other beliefs outside of these that would deter them from such action, others don't. You are assuming that everyone's religion is one that places value on human life and advocates peace, yet that is not part of your definition of religion and frankly it doesn't take much to find people who are at heart hostile and aggressive. Most of them will be so because rather than in spite of their religion, again, using your definition of that word.

On the other hand,

Ethics have no foundation without [what people belive to be true about life, existence, and their place within it].

I would tend to agree with. Not every choice we make is an ethical one, albeit that many have ethical implications or application, but the purely moral judgements must ultimately stem from thoughts of this kind.

... does it make sense that we should intentionally promote ideas which place inherent value on human life?

Yes, I consciously omitted the conditions you placed on this and the following question, not because they are uncomfortable but because my answer would be the same irrespective of what the conditions entail, or so I presume. The question, and thus the answer, of course depend on what you mean by "making sense" in this context. Pending that, I shall propose that the answer is no however. What I mean is that while it may be immediately beneficial to promote these ideas, there is always something dark about promoting things we don't know are indeed true; this is even more important when the promoted idea raises more questions than it answers. Value does not need to be inherent in order to be there at all, so it is not necessary to asser that it is inherent. If we do assert that however, the question immediately arises what makes it inherent and why anybody should care unless the value is also subjective to our condition. Historically people have been forced into believing self-evident inherent capital-T Truths at gunpoint, or perhaps rather at the cold blade, which I don't think either of us wants. Maybe less of that would have gone on if the pronouncements were presented as subjective and tentative and accepted for their usefulness rather than for their sacredness. In my opinion, better say X is valuable because Y and not X is valuable, period.

Better to leave questions unanswered than answers unquestioned
Last edit: 23 May 2015 08:40 by Gisteron.

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23 May 2015 14:16 #192951 by OB1Shinobi
mom had an arterial bypass of the femoral artery and it was tense for a while - its a surgery with some risk
she is home now
the recovery takes a while but shes doing good so far
thanks :-)

about dictionaries; obviously i cant prove this but it was a little more than 15 yrs ago when i settled myself on the definition that i use and i referenced quite a few dictionaries in the process and more than one had a definition for the word which was essentially the same as i use here

also a google will still get the following

a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.
"consumerism is the new religion"

something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience:
to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

"natural religion"
a religion validated on the basis of human reason and experience apart from miraculous or supernatural revelation;
specifically : a religion that is universally discernible by all men through the use of human reason apart from any special revelation

so there are dictionary precedents which offer enough interpretive freedom even now to make a case for the definition that i use

also i think that it would elevate the quality of the discussion to free the word "religion" from the religious extremists

i also think that once that happens, the perception that intellectual integrity requires one to completely separate oneself from any hint of religion will be lessened - which is good imo
obviously i dont feel that religion and intelligence are mutually exclusive

about this

Gisteron: while it may be immediately beneficial to promote these ideas, there is always something dark about promoting things we don't know are indeed true; this is even more important when the promoted idea raises more questions than it answers.

----

i agree with this
what i would say is that people look at "religion" and often see only the past - its not ENTIRELY INACCURATE to say that we are creating/generating/influecing or at least helping to create/generate/influence, contemporary religious thought RIGHT NOW

every honest discussion that people have about the topic helps to do this, especially online

if you think about it, totjo, the jedi movement, and other similar, budding movements, are on the cutting edge of the global religious development

the ideas we come up with here WILL have significant cultural influence in the area of personal religious development, simply because of the intellectual and spiritual freedom and openness inherent to the jedi path

now, i do belive that there are certain things which are "right" about being spiritually healthy and certain things which are "wrong" and that these have not changed much in the last 150-2000 thousand years - but its up to every generation to acknowledge these things and to promote them in its own language

otherwise they stagnate into what many modern thinkers associate with the word "religion", namely crusades and jihads and superstitious ignorance

i think its well enough established that we have to develop our own religions for ourselves in the course of our lives - but this doesnt really mean that we just make it up, rather that we have the experiences which open us up to the value of religious thought without latching on to them in a way that alters the path from one of personal growth into societal control

but then also i think we DO have a responsibility, especially us personally as jedi, but also everyone who would stand at the forefront of thought in most any influential field, to be aware of the consequences of the ideas we promote

to my way of thinking it is perfectly reasonable to advance a sort of "faithful optimism" about our value

we dont have to claim certainty - but that not claiming certainty can go both ways
and rather than being certain that we DONT have inherent value simply on the grounds that we havent proven otherwise, we can hold out on the idea that the puzzle is still bigger than our eyes and that it JUST MIGHT BE REALLY AWESOME in a way that can best be described as "divine" and that JUST THE POSSIBILITY that this is so is enough to convince us to take care of it a best as we can

i think thats the best articulation im going to come up with of my view at the moment

People are complicated.

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28 May 2015 03:26 #193417 by Ariane
Replied by Ariane on topic a question about the value of human life
I am lost this conversation is confusing,

We should do a survey or a poll to find out what other people think.

Does human life have value?
Do people support a tyranny of this magnitude?

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