On the impossibility of doing good

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Bulletcatcher, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. Bulletcatcher

    Bulletcatcher New Member

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    I should have better named it "on the impossibility of knowing that you are doing something good".

    Have you ever tried to save some people and it turned into absolute mayham? You are not alone!

    As an environmental scientist I guess that it is impossible to improve the earth or the economy lastingly. Because the earths ecosystem is subject to the laws of thermodynamics, especially entropy, its ecosystems repair rate and hence as well as how many humans it can sustain lastingly is limited by the amount of sunlight coming in and getting lost. More on this in the extended part*

    But if earth in a material sense is a zero sum game beeing good in a material sense is not possible and hence can not be condishioned:

    - neither by a (visible) god giving you (visible) treats for "correct" behaviour - he is not revealing himself
    - nor by a (in reality not possible) material progress giving you likes on Facebook. This likes could be misleading when it comes to moral.

    If our earth is a zero sum game in a material sense you have nothing to orientate yourself clearly to towards in your search for good - besides your own consciousness. Free will deluxe (and an infinite search in Konfuzius sense).

    Building free will could hence be the reason why this existence scientifically looks or even is build to be amoral (the fall from Eden).

    That choosing to be evil will be punished by god (although possible) does not purely logically follow from the last conclusion - because giving us free will and hence a true personality could be gods only aim. I am not sure what would be to high a price for this.






    *Sunlight gain and loss is at a steady state setting a firm limit on civilisation and the fuels we are using in the moment can be pictured as "frozen sunlight" that is irreplacably used up.

    In theory real break through technologies like nuclear fusion could break this limitation but it has to be noted that most progress can and has been used as an arm.

    It is impossible to predict how progress backslaps on us: first we blow us up with a bombs, now we are apparently posioning ourself accidentally with microplasics. What have abombs to do with entropy? We build them to protect us from the entropy in certain dictators brains and we use them when entropy degenerates or own minds :)

    The interesting lesson from the laws of entropy is that even if you might want to do good things you never accomplish anything lastingly good in a material sense: it all boils down to redistributing energy back and forth, power back and forth and so on. If you want to do something lastingly good you should focus on improving the soul (treasures in heaven)?
     
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  2. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    So anything you do to improve your soul is not subject to the laws of thermodynamics?

    Speaking of thermodynamics and entropy: that's a mighty strange definition of entropy you give there. You might want to double check your environmental science textbook.
     
  3. Bulletcatcher

    Bulletcatcher New Member

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    Heterotrophs like you and me need to feed on the energy of other life forms to counteract entropy and hence stay alive. The ecosystem itself as well needs energy (feeds on the sun) to repair itself against the information loss through entropy, a destruction which is a continous process per second. The sun is only pumping repair energy in at a limited rate per second = equilibrium state. The eternal unresolvable fight life versus death, ying and yang if you want.

    But yes I guess that a logical conclusion (and thanks to make that more clear) must be that anything that you could do to really improve your soul lies outside the laws of thermodynamics. For example certain aspecst of good character seem to lie inside the laws of thermodynamics.

    Examples:

    1. Brain plasticity by training impulse control through meditation which needs time and food

    2. Beeing a psyhopath or not - the later which basically boils down to not spending energy on emotions however that was originally set in motion.

    The next question to ask would be: since entropy is what defines the arrow of time and we want to set as premisse that the soul is improvable - must the improvable part of the soul not as well lie outside of time? An eternal timeless soul like gods?

    Does not let us think this question through as partners in philosophy and not as enemies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  4. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Sure, this forum is about dialogue. Critical questions are part if that.

    The question you posed about improving souls through time: Well, first of all we'd need to agree on what we are discussing, right? What is a soul to you? Does it interact with matter and energy? If it does, then I'd say it is subject to thermodynamics, and any improvement of it must show up in the grand ledger of entropy.
     
  5. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    Interesting subject.

    Curious - Is the soul soul subject to entropy ? And what do you think could be the Divine purpose of entropy ?

    You are an Environmental Scientists - what is your take on this piece from George Carlin on "Saving the Planet" ?

     
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  6. Bulletcatcher

    Bulletcatcher New Member

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    I would define the soul as that part of your character which is not part of the laws of thermodynamics and the material world in contrast to the more primitive part which is. A better definition is not possible for something you can't measure-

    I am not sure how it in a dualistic sense this material and immaterial part can connect because that was always the problem with dualism. But I once under strong pain and felt how my soul seem to split intwo two parts. Maybe there is an interaction (this connection between the two parts of my soul) but to week for science to measure. As a consequence the world would not be completely amoral anymore but you could not measure the moral part. This however would come at the cost that your real soul would be to some degree conditioned by rewards from the real world unless - the real world can not inflict rewards or pain on that non-material soul but only transmits information.

    I do not think that an improvments of the soul - in form of making it more moral - should be part of the book keeping of entropy. To the opposite: if it would be, it could never be a "true" improvment. Let's see it this way: if improving your soul takes energy and you take that from other souls, than you could morally degrade them by taking that energy so. How can that be a "good" improvment of your soul?

    There are more options but I can not continue now because someone is sick.
     
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  7. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Thank you for your thoughts! Speedy recovery to the sick person!
     
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  8. KnowSelf

    KnowSelf Active Member

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    whew! mind overload. In the most simplest terms explain what you wish to discuss in two or three question.

    On the possibility of doing good (why are keeping track) Do you gage good deeds as a measure happiness or achievement? It is not necessary to prove yourself to whatever. The Heart guides motive, motive is thought and behavior is motive and heart in action
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  9. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    There are many ways to talk about this topic. One, which is also found in philosophical and political discourse, is the distinction between materialism and idealism. Grossly oversimplified, materialism goes, "circumstances determine the course of events", whereas idealism is, "ideas determine the course of events". Now most idealists will also admit that circumstances play a role, but ideas really are the driving force, and vice versa, materialists don't rule out the power of ideas, but still think that circumstances are the driving force.

    Then there are some materialists who really reduce everything down to circumstance - much of the current scientific world-view, for example. And there are also reductionist idealists, who think circumstance plays zero role - a lot of literalist bible readers seem to fall into this group.

    Your thoughts about a soul completely untouched by circumstance (what I called matter and energy), and unable to change material circumstances, would be an entirely new slice off this cake.

    I'm probably overthinking this, as I often do :)
     
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  10. Bulletcatcher

    Bulletcatcher New Member

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    I am just doing it as an incomplete thought experiment, and I have no clue if I will ever arrive at anything meaningfull with it.

    The only thing that seems to me relatively clear now is that no mind subjected to the laws of thermodynamics can be truly good and that the situation gets even worse if that mind wants to have free will - because free will preconditions that you have a lot of information to base your descisions on. And in turn that means you have to spend a lot of energy to find so many informations and process them, energy you derive from diminishing the energy and free will of other life forms. Interestingly minfullness practices that stop your logic information gathering and pondering make you less violent already (improved impulse controll).

    The soul in contrast that is just untouched by material or emotional circumstances would be like a pure information gatherer and could be good at the same time. It might build his own "non-material reward system" aka emotions however when pondering the information: like this is what I should do if I could chance anything in the real world. This emotions could be different enough from your normal emotions that you actually hate your material self. Maybe we hear this voice very rarely as some kind of intrusive thought, that we do turn down immediately because it is not connected to any material reward (endorphine etc) in our brain and it would be more like a kind of telepathy or hallucination that we do not recognize as our own thoughts.

    In this case it would be clear that this part of the soul can as well not be punished for our actions, as it is not responsible for our actions, nor could it be destroyed by the usual proccess. The material part can (be punished and destroyed).

    Another option would be to hypothetically not only seperate the true soul from the laws of thermodanymics (for some moments at least) but give the soul some superpowers over thermodynamics such as beeing able to reverese time and hence entropy. (Retroaction seems to be possible at least in quantum mechanics.) The true soul would than act on the laws of thermodynamics (form them) to make the material soul to behave as it should (this is more like idealism I guess). I picture this as a fight back and forward in time where your material soul makes the time for example pass two seconds, the non-material soul is dicontent with the resulting thoughts and turns the time back one second to correct the connected brain states (the assumption is that when time is moving backwards other laws of nature fall too so that the non-material soul can mess with brain states). The fight between good and evil would than be basically a fight between you and (superpower) you, where material you is stronger and wins as long as you are alive. However whatever thought-solutions superpower-you comes up to convince normal you to behave halfway moderately would propably create your true personality (formerly called soulbuilding) - not that what you think are your normal linear memories of life. And this line of memories would be able to survive together with super-power you.

    Ceterus paribus I would consider it impolite to think that if superpower forms of us exist any of this is evil - because entropy and the fight to survive it could be sufficient to explain where all the evils in the material world come from.

    This is all very very speculative but I always had the instinct that to be able to think at all the mind should be able to travell a bit in time. Furthermore brains science as well seem to have big problems to find a clear now in the brain.
     
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  11. Bulletcatcher

    Bulletcatcher New Member

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    If the soul soul is subject to entropy I must guess it will as well be evil. I constructed the hpyothesis of the soul soul in the hope that I can avoid this outcome that all souls are (to some degree) evil.
     
  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Nature is subject to entropy.Nature is subject to time (and space). Is Spirit subject to time and space?
     
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  13. KnowSelf

    KnowSelf Active Member

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    Why do you "try" to be good? How do you measure goodness and why would you? One's goodness or badness are reflections of a good (godly) heart and the same is true involving deceit and evil. Matthew 7:18 'A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit" If your keeping track of how good are bad you are, be as you are. It's a lot less taxing
     
  14. Bulletcatcher

    Bulletcatcher New Member

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    KnowSelf I do not exactly try to be good, I start with the premisse that the human soul is good, to see where it leads me to (and if it produces paradoxes). It is a philosophical technique.

    But I made a very haunting discovery this night: If the world is build to be amoral humans are by necessity than amoral too and the following becomes a real real problem: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/nov/11/oliver-burkeman-just-world-bias

    The wrong believe that a world that in reality and as a sum possibly is neither good nor bad (nor can be improved by the way) would bring in an unnecessary level of lies and and falsehood. I would even call it the ultimate lie for it's destructive effect on the victims of bad luck.

    If there is an unecessary level of lies and falsehood than the world is not just amoral anymore - in total and as a sum it is evil!!!

    While an amoral world can be explained by evolution a world that has an overhang to evil can't be explained that way.

    Proof of gods existence by proof of the existence of evil? Has anyone ever tried that?

    That would cause a paradox too I guess. Because if a good god exists than the world would be mainly good - unless he really has completely seperated himself from this world and the cosmos is good but this reality is evil and will be as long as we are alive (the hidden god that is just watching and never interferes).

    Now the atheist might break the paradox in the sense that he denies the existence of all moral and refrains from the good world bias (the good world builds anyways on the concept of moral because of course you can not have a good world if you don't believe in moral) - a complete nihilism without the future utopia of the "√úbermensch".

    But this gets him into a paradox too: if the world is amoral and no good exist, what shall be the good in atheism?

    If you really would comprehend nihilism you would feel no drive to fight for it. You could fight to make it more known out of the pleasure for fighting and intelectual dominance, but other options don't remain (and if you are a halfway honest nihilist, you would addmit that).

    I feel by instinct that it might be our drive to search for moral that brings evil into our souls just as the desire to eat the fruit of knowledge about good and evil describes.
     
  15. Bulletcatcher

    Bulletcatcher New Member

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    Because I try to preserve human dignity I try to argue it it is outside of time and space. But I could need help here :)
     
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  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I believe it is choices, everyone is a mentor, some for what to do and others for what not to do.

    Our ability to determine which is which greatly affects the results
     
  17. KnowSelf

    KnowSelf Active Member

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    Preserve human dignity, please explain.
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Lol, you know, like slaughtering or enslaving the indigenous wherever we go. The wanton extermination of plants and animals because they taste good. The exploitation of resources without concern of repercussions, because we can...
     
  19. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    I think perhaps @Bulletcatcher is talking about the secular humanist idea of man as a coincidental by-product of evolution whose consciousness is a coincidental by-product of animal brain activity?
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  20. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Of course not denying evolution, but as a part of the Spirit method and mechanism of 'weaving' nature.
     
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