an annoying little philosophical conundrum

bananabrain

awkward squadnik
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i got into an argument with a mate the other day when another friend mentioned that some of the people he knows from inner-city estates have told him that there's a new fashion for kids to wear clothes with the price tags still on to show how "bling" they are. i said "well, when i hear things like that, i'm quite glad i'm religious" and this other mate of mine took me to task.

the basic thrust of her argument was that i had no right to consider the outside-tag fashion as a self-validating life-choice as being inferior to my own self-validating life-choice of being religious. my position was that such a vacuous, narcissistic consumerist fad is self-evidently less worthy/moral/ethical than following a 3500-year-old religious tradition. but apparently, this can't be demonstrated using philosophical methods alone. i tried a thought experiment to depersonalise it:

a man receives £50,000 as a gift. he can either buy a porsche with it or donate it to charity. all other things are equal - in other words, he pays his taxes, has a job, doesn't have a functional need for a car, isn't socially excluded, etc; this is disposable income which he has a right to do with as he sees fit.

my question is whether his decision is "morally neutral" or not. is there a way of demonstrating that donating it to charity is morally superior, or that spending it on a showy motor is morally inferior?

to help, it seemed to me that much of the question rests upon whether either outcome is "harmful" in some way. for example, if you go back to the original choices, my position is vulnerable to the argument that "religion can be used for evil, but clothes don't hurt anyone".

basically, this is really annoying, because as far as i can see it reduces everything to the level of "personal choice" and thus to utter moral relativism, whereas i can't accept that my choice is in any way (other than that of being a choice) distinct from that of this putative conspicuously-consumptive little scrote.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
I agree - we're dealing with moral relativism, and as such you're not going to be able to validate one "personal choice" as better than another, as then you're invoking absolutes that relativism simply does not accept. :)
 
wearing the tag out or not I don't believe is a definition of religious and one thinking they must be more of anything or another less due to this seems just a little predjudice and a lot judgemental which others might see as not being religious (but then they'd be judgemental hence the conundrum.

Dali Llama says, 'you know you are enlightened when everyone you see, you see as enlightened'

so my preacher says, 'so I go to the mall to see how far I have to go'..
 
but i can't believe that, say, an atheist couldn't find reasons to demonstrate that one wasn't superior to another without recourse to absolute statements of faith; i mean, isn't there some way to demonstrate that this tag thing is harmful?

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
If the tag provoked someone who didn't have money into a fight to obtain a nice new jacket for pawning or somesuch...

edit: charity would be less likely to provoke violence.
 
wil said:
Dali Llama says, 'you know you are enlightened when everyone you see, you see as enlightened'

so my preacher says, 'so I go to the mall to see how far I have to go'..

there is a thought that when we react to something we see in another, it tells us that there is something we are still working on within ourselves .... so the Dali Llama quote seems to fit 'you know you are enlightened when everyone you see, you see as enlightened' .... any preacher need only look at the congregation and doesn't need to go to the mall (lol) .... the real conundrum seems to be what is unconditional love and how do we begin to approach it .... I don't have an answer because I have little tolerance for those that are intolerant and therefore I am intolerant myself .... I tend to judge what I see and have to step back and ask questions about why .... I cry if my feelings are hurt because I still rely on the opinions of others and buttons can be pushed .... I understand unconditional love on a philosophical level, but it is not easy to apply in my daily life on earth .... I hate war .... and therein lies the big question, what is it in myself that I must work on that I react so vehemently to war (I react almost warlike) .... what must happen for our young people to want to turn toward spiritualism instead of materialism .... or perhaps turn toward humanism instead of materialism .... perhaps I can see them as human first following the patterns we have set and think about new patterns and new role models, then I remember that we are all role models and begin to life my own life in a better way with more love ..... me ke aloha pumehana, pohaikawahine
 
Namaste,

I've been dismayed by 'peace' rallies due to all the kill Bush rhetoric...wondering exactly what they think peace means...and wondering what lesson I was to learn there...

Years ago I was sitting on a curb with my old tai chi instructor. We were discussing unconditional love, I told him I was gaining on the idea. And could always tell when some event or someone lowered my consciousness, and caused me to explore what it was that I was tormenting over. I was thinking I was really gaining locally, but venturing into the world of Hitlers and Attila the Huns or Rasputins, how I was to grasp this...concept of unconditional love.

He told me that we need to grasp these concepts spiritually, all encompassing, and if we can't we need to explore them intellectually and find our conduit back to a spiritual understanding...but should that fail, and we are striving for understanding, then spirit will be generous enough to bring an event into our life so we may learn it physically, personally..."And I suggest you develop an understanding before that must occur."

I wanted to punch him....but I got it.
there is a thought that when we react to something we see in another, it tells us that there is something we are still working on within ourselves
yes isn't the mirror a pain! And the like all things the first step to understanding the concept is denial....oh no, that isn't me...

I love the knowledge that every single person, every single event that contacts our life is their for our soul growth, some to emulate, some to find our misgivings and some to test our faith...we have to thank them all!
 
If the tag provoked someone who didn't have money into a fight to obtain a nice new jacket for pawning or somesuch...
but isn't that like to the argument that i mustn't "dress jewish" in the street so as not to provoke an antisemite, or that i mustn't wear a short skirt to provoke a rapist? (not that i would wear a short skirt, of course. it would look stupid with my beard) either way, it's still not the provocative "tag behaviour" that is to blame. no, what i need is an argument that shows that it is the values that require the "tag behaviour" itself that are causing harm.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
IMHO, the "tag behaviour" by itself isn't causing more harm than the "religious behaviour". The problem is that the tagged item is most likely to be a Nike shirt or a Fubu pair of pants that are produced by exploited childrens or that reflect racial intolerance...

I guess we would need statistics to prove it but my guess is that the average religious people are more often helping others than the average egocentric tagged-shirt-guys. Anyone wants to do a research in that field? :cool:
___
Kal
 
bananabrain said:
but isn't that like to the argument that i mustn't "dress jewish" in the street so as not to provoke an antisemite, or that i mustn't wear a short skirt to provoke a rapist? (not that i would wear a short skirt, of course. it would look stupid with my beard) either way, it's still not the provocative "tag behaviour" that is to blame. no, what i need is an argument that shows that it is the values that require the "tag behaviour" itself that are causing harm.

b'shalom

bananabrain
Which is healthier?:
  • 1. Drinking out of cup that has been polished on the outside, but left dirty on the inside?

    2. Drinking out of cup that has been cleaned on the inside, but not highly polished on the outside?
 
just an aside folks...

a Llama with two "L"s is a beast,
a Lama with one "L" is a priest. :)

i suppose, bananabrain, that you could make an argument along the axis of materialism and consumerism and attempt to demonstrate that those sorts of paradigms can unduly influence certain beings which has a deleterious effect on their moral fiber, especially in regards to the lovely emotions such as greed and jealousy.

however... and i think that we both agree... it is a difficult thing to determine the contents of ones character by their outward appearance. whilst it may be such that we can gain valuable clues about certain aspects of ones nature based on what they wear, i'm not convinced that this isn't anything more than suppositionally supplying the stereo-type knowledge to round out the picture.

or.. something like that ;)

Tich Naht Hahn once said that he could tell a persons religion just by watching them walk. how he managed to do this, i cannot say. i suppose that i'm including it because there is, seemingly, some aspects of our being which are readily apparaent to beings that know how to look.

metta,

~v
 
This is how I see it. Behavior vs. Nature. It doesnt matter what behaviores we display because they are all the same regardless of the form of it. Whether price tags or dress or words behavior doesnt in and of iteself reveal motive or Nature. No matter what we do if we believe in loss or if what we are doing is motivated by the fear of loss then its all the same motive. Judge not according to appearances for example. No matter what we do if it is motivated by the fear of loss then its all the same thing. For exapmple, jealousy, envy, pride, theft, wrath, saving face... is all the same thing with different behaviors being displayed. Its all the fear of loss and all fear is the idea that loss is possible. In order to maintain this idea accusations have to perpetuate. This is how our modern market is perpetuated. By accusations. It keeps our minds in a state of continually fearing loss. This however produces hypocirsy because all fear is motivated by the same root idea. Loss. So when we accuse someone we then become hypocrites. We are fighting over behaviors when each one is triggered by the same motivation. We are taught this from the craddle to the grave because it is the fear of loss that perpetuates merchandise. There would be no merchandise if there were no fears of loss. Thus treasure is turned into merchanside and what was freely given is now bought and sold by the fear of loss. The entiere world wide web or our lives have many strands with different names but the nature of each one is the same. The fear of Loss. So when one accuses another it turned into hypocrisy.
 
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