morality within evolution

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by juantoo3, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Vaj!

    Thank you for your post.
    Thank you for the insight! :)

    I accept that rational discussion does not a path make. If I want pizza, I can't eat the recipe. In the end here, I am concerned we may eventually walk away with puzzles still unanswered. That is OK. That is one of the things that makes life worthwhile: the mundane is rather, uh, well, boring, but there is a certain excitement to be had from exploring unanswerable questions. :) Did not one of the old philosophers say something like "the unexamined life is not worth living?" Besides, maybe I might find myself, or an important piece of me, in the search.

    I understand my chosen path, as well as my heart and conscience will allow. There is room to continue to build, but there is also concern over whether or not it is the most valid path for me to continue on. A path should be followed with diligence, or why be on the path at all? If my heart is not fully in my path, where is it? Or is the path even important at all?

    Religion, in the purest sense, is for answering unanswerable questions. A great deal within religion, as I have learned in every example I have looked into, must of necessity be taken on faith. I have long suspected, and this exercise has given me cause to believe my suspicions were correct, that NO religion has all of the answers. There exist, in every religious tradition, myths or stories that must be taken with a grain of salt. Those myths likely serve a purpose of demonstration, of passing along a message (most often a bit of wisdom or morality), but they cannot always be viewed rationally. Naturally, I can see these things better in other traditions (its so hard to look at the face in the mirror!). But I must admit, and so many here have presented viable arguments, that even in my tradition there are components that have to be considered as, well, a little less than fact, even if they do contain wisdom or truth.

    This exercise provides a vehicle to verify or falsify the validity and equality of every path, if indeed they do all lead to the same end. If they in reality do not lead to the same end, will it not become evident? At least with a line of inquiry such as this, of import to all, and fully answerable by none?

    If my heart is not where I feel it should be, then I either need to renew my love, or seek a new one. If I choose a new love, it is a choice I will not make frivolously. Divorce is a difficult thing in the best of circumstances.

    Chalk it up to midlife crisis! :D

    I can accept this. However, have you noticed that a raw lesson presented in a neutral (read: boring) manner makes little impact. A raw fact out of context is trivia at best, soon forgotten at worst. Did you ever notice, the teachers that taught you the best, engaged you in the learning process? Those teachers that handed you a book and assigned homework, got a bunch of factoids regurgitated on a test sheet, the student got the grade and went away not truly learning anything. "This is the way it is, because I said so!"

    Every once in a while, a genuine teacher comes along that engages you in the process, that lights your mind and heart on fire. Homework is not a chore, in fact, the student goes above and beyond the call, because that interest has been sparked. The potential is there to ignite a lifelong passion. "Let's see, if this causes that, and that causes something else, what do you think will happen if you take this away from something else, and why? Or what if you double that?"

    One way to engage the student is to make the lesson relevent.

    What lesson is more relevent to all religions, including ultimately even the religion of science, than the subject of morality?

    The praxis of all seems, to be moral to each other. And an awful lot seem to believe it is important also to recognize, with respect, the source from which all come.

    I love late night rambles, sometimes the thoughts simply flow, without being screened internally.

    Ah yes, symbolic thinking. Hmmm, symbolic thought being a connection to the subconscious? Is this not dreams (perhaps even the time consequence applying to prescient dreams and visions), and/or Jungian archetypes? Do I see the implication of outside intervention through this method? Is that outside intervention spirit, or is it internal, mental energies that happen to coincidentally agree between individuals to a great degree, even across cultures and faiths? Is it the spiritual connection that lies between all living creatures? Is it any combination of the above, or none at all? Or is all an illusion, in the Western, fraudulent, defeatist sense of the word (as alluded to by Doestoyevski?) In other words, if there is no outside influence, then is all an invention of religion in the political sense?

    Even if we are misleading ourselves, collectively, I would tend to think that may yet come to light in the course of this line of inquiry.

    Perhaps a lot will remain conjecture, but when conjecture applies relatively equally across the board, does that not lend circumstantial weight? :D

    I cannot experience everything. I might try to experience all that can be made available to me in my lifetime, but I cannot simultaneously experience the experiences of 6 billion other human lives, and those of countless other living creatures. Or if I am somehow capable, I have not yet discovered the way. I must, at some point, gain from the experiences of others (what we call "teaching"). Even those individuals that do connect, do not in my estimation connect to all at all times, experiencing everything always. I suspect it would lead to madness. (We may all be connected, but there is a certain distinction that makes each and all lives unique) How relevent to morality is it to connect to all spirits/experiences willfully and consciously anyway? Can we improve our moral capacity, does our inner voice gain strength, by deliberately connecting to the collective experiences of all? Is it necessary for understanding? How connected can we truly be while still in this vessel? :)

    How ready are we to see reality as reality is, if it is beyond our ability to comprehend?

    Or do we sate ourselves by saying, "why bother?"

    I hope my ramble doesn't discourage or insult.
     
  2. alexa

    alexa somewhere in time

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    Dear Juan,

    This is really another monkey wrench ! :D

    You forget something. Humans represent a part of this nature.

    This is a human interpretation. Plants and animals may revendicate the same thing about fairness and equality. From this aspect of morality, I'll put humans and nature on the same side of a trial.

    Nope, the sense of equality and fairplay is not different in humans either. That's why we have leaders and followers among us.

    Catch the monkey now ! :D

    Alexa
     
  3. granni

    granni old is....new, again.

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    morality: what is best for the many, at the expense of the few.

    of course, that smacks more-so of the definition of 'law'. yet, has not law through the ages impressed upon the masses (and reinforced by religions), exactly that..... the good of the many.

    as wee tiny children, it's not so often what we hear that is taught, but rather what we see...that is taught.

    add to that, that a number of children... X.... are raised in a family that is loving, kind and considerate. (re our understanding of the general personality construct of familial birth order)....yet, not all of them 'turn out' the same. and, indeed, there will be what is considered anomolies within that family structure.

    it would seem that environmental/nature is the deciding factor.
    for that anomoly, it is evolution. to the plus or minus direction (that directional placement guaged by the existing societal definition of norm).

    we do have 'throw-backs' in animals, and in plant life.
    and, we do have the anomolies that seem to be more than the currently existing masses in both plant and animal species.
    to me, that says that all is evolution. nurture/environment does play a role, but not necessarily the dominate role.

    in just the last 40 years, i've seen not only mankind (in general) being what s/he's always been.... but, a huge leap in the sheer numbers who are compassionate, empathetic, kind, and caring amongst mankind.

    or, is it that mankind's finally becoming what s/he's always been..........

    granni
    *****

    p.s.


    precious juantoo3,

    re:
    Quote:
    in this thread also has come up the concept of love. ...it's that love thy neighbor stuff. a thing most difficult for most. yet, we try.
    Indeed. Just curious, why do you personally think this is so?


    aww shucks honeychile, it's cuz they ain't yet learned to love themselves. and when a folk doesn't know the what and how of self, it jes ain't possible to begin to extend even a wee bit of self to another.
    then, add to their consternation, that they jes plain don't know what love is.
    love doesn't demand. it doesn't punish. in short, it doesn't hurt... either in the givin or the receivin.
    for most, love is full of self-projected-expectations. and, that ain't love.
    it's carin conditionally. and lookin to others to find the mirror of self. that isn't going to happen. we recognize love according to how we, personally, feel and express love. ie., if we get what we give, we think we're being loved. ex., if when i feel and show love, i give a BigMac. wal, when someone smiles at me and hands me a BigMac, i'm shur as shootin gonna think they Love me, cuz they jes did what i do. ifin those i give the BigMac to never give me one in return, i ain't never gonna believe that they love me...no matter what they say. oy........

    we recognise it according to our knowledge and perception current at the moment.



    and a personal belief, is that most don't recognize how wonderfully unique they are. and, that that makes each and every one extrodinarily special. in the recognition of that comes the recognition that all others are just as wonderfully special. yes, of course, i realize that sounds surgary sweet, but, i definetly don't mean it that way. i see all as being beyond special. i see them (including myself) as being absolutely..... precious. it is in the awe of that, that i find 'love thy neighbor' to be a very very easy thing.

    your question of "why do we try".....
    cuz something in us knows 'that' is the right thing to do.
    and that somehow, in someway..... 'that'...... is going to make a difference.
     
  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Alexa!

    Thank you for your post!

    For what its worth, I made it through this storm in much better shape. My electric stayed on this time.
    Well, uh, no I didn't forget. :) That was actually what I specifically had in mind at that point.

    Revendicate??? I am not familiar with this word.

    I suppose it is a difficult thing to gauge, because animals do not think in the sense that we do, and we have a difficult time understanding their language. I am not convinced that animals think in terms of fairness, so my comment about equality not stemming from any example in nature.

    Yes, at some point we still rally around a (representative) strong man (or woman), a protector. But when socially interacting with our peers, we seem to have an innate sense of fairness. If that fairness is infringed upon, we tend to get upset. Come to think of it, when applied to social animals, maybe something like this does manifest, as among young apes playing together, maybe? It is a stretch to make that presumption though.

    Slippery little sucker, ain't he? :D
     
  5. alexa

    alexa somewhere in time

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    Hi Juan,

    Glad to hear you are all right. I hope Karl will be an easy one, too. Is it my impression or this year are a lot of hurricanes there ? I know there are still a lot of them on the list (11 left), too many for me.

    Oups, I mean "to claim". I mixed up the languages. Sorry.

    I think this makes us more complex as beings than animals.

    I have to think about this one. In this moment, I think some of us are born as leaders. I mean the kind of "I make the rules here. Do It !" Not every time in an agressive mode. Some are very persuasives in their demandes. And those with less strenght of will, just follow.
     
  6. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, granni!

    Thank you for the thoughtful reply!

    I promise, I have tried to respond earlier. This will be my third attempt, after a virus scan, defrag, and cookie dump maybe this thing will work again.
    I think I understand what you are saying, but is there not a problem inherent in this rationale? This form of thinking can lead one to justifying something like the halocaust. Isn't morality in the purest sense the best for all? Even if morality could be said to be "at the expense" of the few, shouldn't love and compassion insist that the few are covered and cared for as well?

    Unless by few you might mean self, that is, morality is born of self-control and delayed gratification, then yes I agree emphatically.

    Yes, but law is also often at the expense of the many for the political power benefit of the few.

    I absolutely agree children learn best by example.

    This is what distinguishes us as individuals, and separates our personalities. We may all be connected, but there is a distinguishing line that separates us and makes each unique.

    Maybe its just me, but folks seemed a whole lot friendlier when I was a kid. Used to be you could sleep comfortably at night with the front door unlocked, and drive around without locking the doors or carrying a weapon. In the cities, those days are long gone, and they are fast disappearing in the woods now too.

    There have always been kindhearted souls who have looked for bettering the plight of others. I was taught they are called "angels."

    OK, I like this.

    Wal, iffin I read you correctly, you are saying it is both nature and nurture as well. That is, above you said specifically that it was an evolutionary matter, yet what I see here is the nurture end of the bargain you said played a lesser role.

    I'm sorry, I didn't mean for that to sound antagonistic. I am just having difficulty following.

    Yes! :) I agree, wholeheartedly and with no reservation! What I am attempting to discover is whether that "something in us" is a product of evolutionary development, or is it an outside influence? Is it animal in essence, or is it spirit in essence?
     
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Alexa!

    OH MY! Please don't scare me! Last I looked, both Karl and Lisa were heading out to sea. Now they are watching a spot on the top of South America, in the Southern Carribean. Nothing formed yet, just an area of stormy weather. Yes, this is an almost unheard of year for hurricanes. According to the weather guys, the last year Florida recorded 4 hurricanes was almost 120 years ago. I am pretty sure a fifth storm would be unprecedented. That's a record we can live well without breaking.

    That's OK, I don't mind learning new words, even in other languages. Its just nice to know when and what they are at the time is all. Thanks.

    Well, I am thinking Vaj might disagree. I can also think of at least one former contributor who spoke knowledgeably from the evolutionary standpoint that would likely disagree as well. About the only thing I can think of that humans have that is truly more complex than other animals, is the brain. Other than that, most mammals are mechanically very similar to us.

    OK, I'll grant you this. I think you are speaking of Type A driven personalities as compared with Type B passive personalities. I was thinking a little differently. Either one, Type A or B, still gets hurt feelings if they feel they are not getting a fair shake in something. Each type handles the situation differently. The Type A often vocalizes and confronts the offender, whereas the Type B is more likely to internalize and sulk and pout.

    In short, yes, I agree, people are born either as leaders or followers. Even loners either lead, or follow, themselves.

    Generally speaking, all of them have an innate sense of fairplay, and feel wronged if they do not get what they feel is a fair shake.

    But life is not fair. So where does the concept of fairness come from?

    I've got a craving for a banana about now...:D
     
  8. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    interesting turn the conversation is taking...

    let's talk about leaders for a moment.

    Alexa and Juan both assert that there are "born" leaders, which, i heartliy disagree with :)

    why?

    well... good thing that you asked ;)

    perhaps.. it would be good to talk about the Type A and Type B personalites. i would not view Type A as a *leader* type of personality, it is a dominant/aggressive personality, which does not mean that the person would be an effective leader.

    leadership is a skill, like any other, that one can acquire. obviously, people are of varying capacities so not everyone will be able to hone their skill to the same degree. nevertheless, it is a learned skill.

    i'll admit that my bias in this regard is due to my own experiences in various leadership positions both in the private and military sectors. i know people of Type A personalities that couldn't lead themselves out of a dark closet :)

    i suppose, it might also be of some benefit to discuss what we actually mean by "leader".

    it is my view that a leader is a person that can present a vision and get other beings to "buy in" to that vision and agree to work to make it come to frution. the way in which a person gets others to "buy in", in my opinion, is to lead by example. to not shirk the work, to be "one of the guys", as it were.

    let me put it this way:

    you are a soldier in an army fighting somewhere. you are given an order to take a heavily fortified position. which commander is likely to inspire his troops to victory, the commander that leads from the rear or the commander that leads from the front?

    it's a bit of a rhetorical question... though perhaps it helps illustrate the point a bit more clearly.

    so... to sum up... leaders are trained, dominant personalities are born :)
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Vaj!

    Thank you for your post. Glad to hear you are doing better!

    I stand corrected. I can only think it was a semantic confusion given the context, but in the end your assessment is the more valid one.

    So true.

    Yes, and this is a good thing.

    Of course, it remains that both aggressive and passive personality types have what seems to be an innate sense of equity and fairplay. And that this sense of equity does not appear to have an evolutionary/natural selection basis to it. Unless I missed something, which is always a possibility. :)
     
  10. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    b'shalom Juan,

    thank you for the post.

    as an aside... i almost always find the conversations on this forum to be polite, educated and well articulate.

    sometimes... i'm rather intimidated to post! i know it may not seem like it, but it's true nonetheless :)

    indeed! better living through modern chemistry :)


    hmm... i suppose that i've two thoughts on this, at this time.

    i would posit that whilst both personality types do have an innate sense of fairplay, what those personality types view as "fairplay" differs to some degree in the details.

    what's the old saying... the devil is in the details? :)

    having said that, i can certainly see how humans, for instance, that were able to form close knit groups to collectively rear offspring, combine their efforts to bring down large and dangerous game and form cohesive tribal groups would have a greater chance of propogating then humans that were solitary hunters. in this vein, i can certainly see this sense of fairplay as an evolutionary advantage.

    the human groups that were able to retain the size of the group and it's internal cohesiveness would be able to have more offspring than solitary hunters. the offspring of the group would carry the same genetic traits as the parents and so forth and so on. no need to get bogged down in Mendelian genetics here :)

    given the nature and tenor of the discussion on this, thus far, i'm quite tempted to open the inverse thread... i.e. can it be established that morality has a basis in anything other than evolution? however, i've not really thought that much on it yet...
     
  11. alexa

    alexa somewhere in time

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    Namaste Vaj,

    I've just heard we were ill. I'm glad you are all right now. :)

    As far as I am concerned, I always enjoy to read your posts. Please don't be so shy, at least not with me ! ;)

    That's a good question ! I think it's worth to find some good answers for it.

    I do not have the time right now, but I'll be back for it.
     
  12. alexa

    alexa somewhere in time

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    Juan,

    I'm caught with the end of the month's staff.
    As you and Vaj gave me something serious to think about, I have to postpone my replies.

    See you soon
     
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Vaj!

    Thank you for your post!

    I share your sentiments, but I have always included your posts among those I appreciate most.


    I hadn't really given it much thought, I presumed "fair" to be "fair", other than perhaps individual interpretation of what that might mean.



    I am not sure I see fairplay stemming from the hunt, I do not see this as a "natural" progression. The successful hunter would more likely take the choice parts for himself and presumably his family, and leave the balance for the assistants, "catch as catch can" or "first come, first served." Fair I suppose, in the sense that everyone gets to eat, but not everyone eats equally. A pride of lions works similarly. It could be argued that since the hunter did the hard work, "he" was entitled to the "lion's share," and the balance meted out to the others in proportion to effort, but that returns us to "life is not fair," and serves as no example to develop the concept of equity.

    I suppose a great many scenarios could be invented to justify this or that, but as with human social interactions in general, there are the more common displays or situations, and there are the exceptions. My statement above I am presuming here to be the more common situation.


    You are welcome to begin another thread, but I had hoped this one to address both sides of the issue, in an effort to retain open-minded balance, and follow where the evidence leads. To this point, I don't think we have firmly established anything. The closest might be perhaps that there are both nature/evolutionary and nurture/non-evolutionary components to the innate sense of "ought and ought not." In other words, there is no "cut and dried" answer, or so it is beginning to seem to me. :D
     
  14. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,


    only a moment to respond this morning...

    thank you for the well wishes, Alexa, they are appreciated.

    Juan.. you'd think that with 21+ pages in this thread we'd have come to some sort of firmer understanding of the subject... well... at least i would :)

    that's part of the appeal, for me at least.
     
  15. granni

    granni old is....new, again.

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    hello juantoo3,

    okee dokee.....

    i am comfortable with either evolutionary or spiritual. however, i lean strongly toward spiritual, with that aspect gently pulling us along in the direction we need to go. kinda like a tour guide *tongue in cheek*. and, based on the jump in compassion and empathy, i'd say we've had a 'giant step for mankind".

    there's morality (as we understand it) in wolf packs, in whale familes, and in dolphines towards humans. dare we think that's evolution? well, of course, we dare. we're human. that's what we do.

    i think morality has been there since the beginning. i don't think it's seperate from life at all. i do think that it's ignored in the face of the 'i wants' of various life forms....mankind being the greatest insult in this area.

    i'm not really contradicting myself. i do understand the argument for evolution, and can see the reasoning and actually feel comfortable with it for awhile. then, i slide right over to spirituality being behind all good that comes with and from mankind. that inner thing in 99.9999999% of people.

    yes, morality is taught. yet, it's also innate within all... except the sociopath and psychopath. all others do have a natural morality.

    other than the above two personalities, being a class A or a class B personality has nothing to do with morality. one chooses to do what is 'right' or chooses to ignore what is known to be 'right'. the class A and class B are simply examples of how they do what they do.

    pssst.... juantoo3.... i didn't take what you'd said in any remote way as anything negative. nahhhhh *smiling*.

    granni
     
  16. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    This thread remains interesting, although I tend to doubt that we will solve the questions of morality that have so far stumped the philosophers of the ages. However, it is fun to see what everyone here thinks.

    Juantoo3, I have to wonder whether the sense of fairplay you refer to in children really is moral or altruistic. I hate to be cynical, but it seems to me that children are fair, extrememly fair, out of a sense of wanting to be sure to protect their own share. You know the old rememdy for children who are fighting over who gets which piece of cake: You tell one child they can cut the cake but the other child gets first pick of the resulting slices. But out of this selfishness we teach children the importance of sharing and eventually even thinking of others before oneself. As children get older they are more able to delay gratification, and to see the benefits of ensuring that everyone is taken care of. I've read before that the ability to delay gratification is one of the largest indicators of "emotional intelligence," which relates to successfulness in life.

    I think that this type of morality is taught, nurture above nature. I also believe that this potential for compassion/love is divine, neither nurture nor nature (say that three times fast), but affected by both.
     
  17. alexa

    alexa somewhere in time

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    Hi Juan,

    The time flies too fast and here we are in October.

    I don't want to scare you. I hope Jeanne did the plan for this year and Karl and Lisa will appear as rainy days only.

    You read my mind ! ;)

    I agree both can be hurt and respond differently. So the sense of faireness appears to be something beyond or apart from personality.

    Maybe it's a consequence of a social life.

    I hope you still want it, so here you have it ...:D
     

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  18. alexa

    alexa somewhere in time

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    Hi lunamoth,

    I agree with you this thead remains interesting. Maybe because we are not looking for black and white answers. We are humans after all.

    After all these posts I'm inclined to believe all kind of morality is taught, whatever the source : divine, nature or human society.

    P.S. May I ask you a favor ? Can you change the title below your user name, please ? You are not a new member from quite some time now. ;)
     
  19. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Thanks for the nudge, but I always have trouble picking titles for myself. :)
     
  20. alexa

    alexa somewhere in time

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    I hope I didn't offend you, lunamoth. The title bugs me as mine has changed three times and I didn't do anything for it. Maybe this is something from the set-up.:confused:
     

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