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Passions in Poetry

On The General State of Things

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Essorant
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75 posted 08-11-2003 11:00 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephen

"My point in asking was ... if you think we deserve to live ... then why is death part of the picture?"

Perhaps I should have said it this way: I think we all deserve to have/live/be what we are given/are.  Nothing has a reasoned thought or vile intention to take away life but a thinker.  Nature in and of herself, or in her native most initial substance, is not a thinker.  "She" does not "think" we ought to die, she doesn't "murder".  Death just happens with the way she moves, if you will.  And I do not think that God is a thinker.  He knows all so what does he have to think for?  And he can make anything be anything so why would he have to kill?  The highest governments beyond human governments therefore do not seem thoughtful---they are knowing as a God or just flowing as a nature--but as we are humans bound and gagged and razed and smote by ceaseless thoughts buffeting and displacing knowings and flowings that try to work in us, we have should at least give ourselves the benefit of the doubt.  We do not necessarily deserve to live because God gave life it to us, or nature did, but  because we hold life dear to live and protect--that is enough, or it should be.  Having to die and be mortal is not a choice therefore there is no deserving or not deserving death...we just die because that is part of the movement of things.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-11-2003 11:33 PM).]

Stephanos
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76 posted 08-12-2003 11:57 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"And I do not think that God is a thinker.††He knows all so what does he have to think for?"


Yes.  But though knowing all, and knowing nothing, both deny thinking, one is below thinking, and the other above it.  They are not the same thing.  Either God has a personality and has given us a share of it, or we are part of a mindless, irrational, amoral cosmos.  My point is that your comparison of thoughtless nature, and God, doesn't really work, unless you are a Pantheist.  But then, if you are a Pantheist, you are taking the personality of God and attempting to project it on to nature.


Stephen.    
hush
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77 posted 08-12-2003 02:51 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

I dunno, Ron... do you really think Hester Prynne cared that much about what the other townspeople thought of her before they shunned her and plastered the A on her dress?

People can make you care what they think of you, and it's not always quite that obvious.
Essorant
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78 posted 08-12-2003 04:39 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"One is below thinking, and the other above it."  

How have you ascertained that one is above or better?  
Does that make the other then less worthy of moral attention?  


Ron
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79 posted 08-12-2003 04:56 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Good point, Amy. But I think our morality is defined more by what we believe than by what we do. Other people can and do punish us if they disagree with our moral standards, but that rarely changes our moral standards as much as it changes our actions.

In the story I wrote, I tried to make two points.

First, if someone doesn't have anyone in the world that they care about, they are not going to be constrained by morals. Our concept of right and wrong is defined by what someone we love thinks of us. We don't want to disappoint a specific person or have them think badly of us, so we adhere to their standards. Obviously, I'm over-simplifying a spectrum when I treat it as an extreme point, but essentially those who are deprived of love become the hardened criminals of our society. They are the monsters no one can understand.

Second, and this likely falls closer to your example, even those who love and are loved can fall foul of their moral code if they believe doing so will have no effect on their relationship. Remove the fear of exposure and you remove the moral imperative. Most people, I think, fall under this umbrella.

There is an important corollary to the second point. If the fear of exposure cannot be removed, then neither can the moral imperative. Who can you love and yet never fool? To the best of my reckoning, there are only two answers. God. And yourself.
jbouder
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80 posted 08-12-2003 06:01 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ron:

Been following this thread from afar ... thought I'd take time I should be devoting to the stack of papers on my desk to step into "the near" for a moment.

quote:
First, if someone doesn't have anyone in the world that they care about, they are not going to be constrained by morals.


I think I agree with what you're saying here, but would word it a little differently.  I wouldn't say a person such as the one you describe is not constrained by morals.  Rather, I think they are not constrained by a code of morality, or an ethic, that values others moreso (or at least comparitively to) than self.  To such a person, getting a colleague fired from a job to open the way for a promotion may be immoral to most of us, but such actions are no less constrained by the application of an individual ethic than yours or mine.  Not being able to ascribe value to the feelings and well being of others leaves only the self to please.  Not sure what you'd call a person who could experience neither love for others or self-love ... maybe a Dell?

In fact, I think such a person may feel badly if he/she succumbs to the weakness of not looking out for number one first and foremost, especially if it results in that person not fulfilling a selfish "need."

I think this first type of person you describe is an extreme version of the second.  He's a sociopath.  The object of love is the main difference, and we all have a sense of self-love.  Just (hopefully) not to that extreme.

quote:
There is an important corollary to the second point. If the fear of exposure cannot be removed, then neither can the moral imperative. Who can you love and yet never fool? To the best of my reckoning, there are only two answers. God. And yourself.


Good thing God doesn't leave us to our own devices ... and that raises the issue of guilt.  If there is a God, and if we can ascertain, to some degree, that He has certain expectations of us, how do we react to not measuring up to His standards?

Jim


[This message has been edited by jbouder (08-12-2003 06:03 PM).]

Stephanos
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81 posted 08-12-2003 09:01 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Stephanos: "One is below thinking, and the other above it."††


Essorant: "How have you ascertained that one is above or better?††Does that make the other then less worthy of moral attention?"


I'm not sure what you are asking here.  God is only truly God if he is a personal being ... and not a mythical or literary invention of mankind.  If he is a personal being, he created us with rational and moral capacity ... that's part and parcel of being "created in his image".  So our morality, though imperfect in a fallen world, is a reflection of his own.  

But if God has no personal aspect ... if we created him, then we really only have ourselves and nature to look to for guidance.  Many have personalized and even deified nature.  This is called Pantheism.  But I can see no basis for real morality in Pantheism.  Nature is not exactly moral.  It has a cruel and crushing side.  There are Cancers as well as Crowns,  and aneurysms as well as apples.  If we personify nature we have to come up with an arbitrary morality that is above her, since she does not provide the example.

The only alternative is to reject a transcendent truth altogether and look to ourselves.  So humanity becomes the measure of all things.  But to claim that we are the only source of morality presents a problem.  It is completely arbitrary, and we have no guarantee that what we come up with truly reflects what is good.  In fact those who choose to do what most consider to be evil or wrong, are only doing something different (in a naturalistic world).  How can we call them immoral?  Some say that we really can't until they harm others, but why is harming others wrong?  What if some develop an ethic that is actually closer to what we see in the natural world, and what is proposed in Darwinian Evolution ... destroy the weak, and prosper self.  That's what natural selection does.  Yet we tend to frown upon those who practice this in society.  Robbing widows and killing orphans is not what our society considers to be moral, and rightly so.  But if we are the sole creators of morality, what right have we to frown upon those who pick a totally different moral view?  We have none really.  In fact, it turns into "Might makes right".  It's whoever is in the majority.  You might say that being moral lends to better survival.  But I have two responses to that.  Firstly, what makes survival inherently better than non-survival?  Do we have a basis for any value judgement here that is more than completely arbitary also?  Secondly, we don't really see this in an evolutionary scheme of things, because if immorality is a "weakness", then natural selection has not done such a great job at weeding it out.  Those who like morality might be mistaken! ... perhaps in the "survival of the fittest" arena, nastiness is actually the top dog.  That's scary.  It's what Nietzsche believed.  Read "Beyond Good and Evil" and you will see what I mean.  His reprehensible ethics also had a firm foundation in naturalistic evolution.


So, to summarize, if you mean by "moral attention", moral obedience, then I do not see that there is any ground in nature to really obey.  It has a sunny side as well as a gloomy side.  But the theistic view has always been that God holds us to morality that transcends the natural ... it comes from the supernatural.  And unless we have a transcendent source from which our ethical obligations come, then you can say rightly that "I choose to behave this way", but you can't really speak of "moral attention" at all.  Morals imply obligation and incumbence.  And in a naturalistic world ... morality is only descriptive.  In a theistic model, morality is prescriptive.  


Stephen.      




[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-12-2003 09:15 PM).]

Stephanos
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82 posted 08-12-2003 10:35 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

There are many problems with trying to apply naturalistic evolution to explain human morality.  But to start with just one, I'd like to post a quote by Robert Wright, an evolutionary theorist.

  

"...The conscience doesnít make us feel bad the way hunger feels bad, or good the way sex feels good. It makes us feel as if we have done something thatís wrong or something thatís right. Guilty or not guilty. It is amazing that a process as amoral and crassly pragmatic as natural selection could design a mental organ that makes us feel as if weíre in touch with higher truth. Truly a shameless ploy"

from "The Moral Animal ó Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology"



This is insightful.  If our moral nature is a by-product of a naturalistic process involving a mechanism that only keeps that which is pragmatic enough to survive (a purely mechanistic principle which cannot have an a priori morality in it's basis whatsoever), then why do all of us feel keenly the moral judgement which says "That was wrong ... or .... That was right.  That is evil ... or ... That is good"?  Doesn't this questionable explanation negate morality rather than explain it?  


Let's pretend to concede that there really is no such thing as a transcendent right and wrong, and that survival is the supreme preference.  Where do we get that value from?  What standard is applied?  After all, we cannot deduce that survival is better than extinction from nature itself, because according to evolutionary theory, a lot more dies than survives.  So the naturalistic world itself does not really support this value judgement in any convincing way.  Also, there is no evidence that being moral helps toward mere survival.  Didn't Billy Joel sing that "Only the Good Die Young"?  And a lot of immorality is around to show that it's still quite a viable option in the evolutionary market-place.


And let me put it another way ...   When we get down to it, and someone makes a pass at our spouse (full knowing the marriage situation), we feel like they have truly wronged us, and not merely chosen an alternate path of survival.  


Stephen.          

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-12-2003 10:44 PM).]

hush
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83 posted 08-13-2003 11:16 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Ron-

'Our concept of right and wrong is defined by what someone we love thinks of us.'

I think that influences us, but I don't think it's the entire truth, either. I mean, I do my best not to drink because my boyfriend really disapproves of it. Do I still want to sometimes? Yeah... and I honestly don't see anything wrong with moderate drinking- beyond the fact that it would upset him.

Another example: I love my father, but I disagree with him most of the time. I shaved my head during my senior year of high school, and he wouldn't talk to me for about three months because I 'looked like a dyke.' The implication there that being gay is wrong wasn't even identified, because to him, it's so self-evident. But were I to find that I was attracted to another female, his extremely negative point of view wouldn't make me feel as if I were doing something wrong- because by my personal moral code, I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

I would agree that maybe our concepts of right and wrong are shaped while we're young by what someone who loves us thinks of us, and what they think we should do. And it's in those years that we're forming our personalities that a lack of love can lead to a lack of morality beyond an extreme selfishness.
Stephanos
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84 posted 08-13-2003 12:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Legion:  " I believe that individuals define their own morality and that morality is changing, evolving to suit the situation guided by a natural selection of the morals that most fit the circumstances."


You're associating Darwin's Natural selection with morals.  But natural selection, as I recall, has only to do with what "works", and how that relates to reproduction and survival.  It is an impersonal, amoral mechanism.


I was just wondering if there is any evidence that morality is better geared toward survival than immorality, or vice versa?  What do you see that gives evidence that natural selection is actually working to change morals?  For example, morals have changed drastically in America during the last 50 years.  How has natural selection played a part?  Remember, Natural selection functions on the principle of survival and reproduction alone.  If natural selection is the culprit, then it seems to me it is working very quickly ... but is there any evidence that this is the mode of change?  


Stephen.  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-13-2003 12:16 PM).]

Essorant
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85 posted 08-13-2003 11:45 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephenos,
I am unsure about imagining the Universe as a Hierarchy-like structure with God at the top, Man in the middle and Nature at the bottom.  Are God and Nature contraries, this beautiful and base that?  Is that then how our morality should morally serve them and things, as seems most befits their rank in an universal hierarchy?  How shall we mark out for sure what are more of God than Nature? Are we only as moral as we are ghostholy worshipers of God , or by how much we seem to know by God?  And is only what knows more more moral or more worthy of moral regard? Is God the only reason we do moral observance or the only thing we ought to do moral observance for?  Whatever seems someone's personality or lack of personality, knowledge or lack of knowledge, does not the person or creature deserve equal moral regard?  
Perhaps we need to try to find a mean that obeys God and Nature and Ourself all even at the same time.  If so I feel the first step to that mean is seeing there is always a moral observance deserved to each and all things.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-14-2003 12:12 AM).]

Stephanos
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86 posted 08-14-2003 12:31 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"†Are God and Nature contraries, this beautiful and base that?††Is that then how our morality should morally serve them and things, as seems most befits their rank in an universal hierarchy?"


No, Essorant, they are not contrary.  God is not "beautiful" while nature is "base".  I was simply making the point that creation is irrational, in the sense that it has no personal mind.  God does.  But that doesn't mean that nature is void of character.  Much like a painting may reveal the character of an artist, the beauties and wonders of nature reveal somewhat of God.

But if nature is not a person, then there can be from it, no imposed morality to obey.  But God can communicate his will through nature to a great degree.  There does seem to be a "rightness" communicated somehow through what we see.  I'm just not convinced that nature is the source.  If nature is the source, then nature also must be the standard of morality ... and the standard must be separate from what is judged.  If we take nature's face value "standard", then there is much to be lamented.  Nature, as C.S. Lewis said, has all the air of a good thing that has been spoiled.  It is not pure light and goodness, but a mixture.  Therefore our standard of morality must come from above nature ... because we judge natural things by this standard.      


So I think you are seeing a moral law to be adhered to, which is peeking through nature itself.  But perhaps you are mistaking this as merely "natural".  I think it has to come from beyond.  This doesn't mean that people must always be aware of the source, in order to follow it in some measure.  So you don't have to be a worshipper of God in order to line up with some morality.  (None of us measure up fully to the moral law).  Just like children can eat food without knowing the source.  But there is a coming of age, when the source is revealed.  I think God has done that in history, and still does that in individual lives.  

But when God is realized, this means that he has moral prescriptions for all ... He cares for his creation.  So the respect and honor that you see should be given toward nature, is still part of God's design.  We are the stewards of what he has made.  In that sense you are right, morality flows down into all things.  And part of the morality which God is so insistent upon is to care for the weak and defenseless in this world.


"Whatever someone's personality or lack of personality, knowledge or lack of knowledge, does not the person or creature deserve equal moral regard?"††  


I'm not so sure that we can get rid of all moral hierarchies and differing priorities.  Think about it.  Are you going to give a cow the same moral treatment as your fellow humans?  And a cow still has consciousness.  What about a plant?  Are you going to give a rock equal moral treatment?  How are you going to do that?  How does that play out?


"Perhaps we need to try to find a mean that obeys God and Nature and Ourself all even at the same time."

Again, I don't think we can "obey" nature in the same way that we can obey God.  She is not telling us anything original, only echoing her Creator when she seems to be saying anything.  And when it comes to obeying ourselves ... what do you mean?  Which part, the base, the profane, or the good and right?  Without obeying God, we don't have a measure by which to pick rightly among our conflicting desires.  Obeying God always means resisting nature at times, and disobeying some of our own tendencies.

For example, your initial post seems to point to the wrongs of pornography, lasciviousness, and lust.  But aren't these people obeying themselves?  


Stephen.  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-14-2003 12:40 AM).]

Essorant
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87 posted 08-14-2003 02:39 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"I'm just not convinced that nature is the source.  If nature is the source, then nature also must be the standard of morality ... and the standard must be separate from what is judged"

I'm not either.  
Yet I do feel it confers an undispensible matter to morality.  We must make choices that accord with flowings of nature for livelihood just as we must accord with knowings of God for wielding, and this is where obeying ourselves comes into play: we may trow all we want to trow and yet for that we are mortal and given to forget things, doubt,  misplacing things in thought, and making ornamental additions with imagination we may not fully  unconfusedly know like God or fully fluently flow pure nature.  We have to face that and agree on certain manners of having mind on things, on influences, and influencing things, togetherly, deem the effect of these manners over time on how life triumphs or falls down, and then obey them publicly and privately (sincerely) So in God and Nature and in and between ourselves we may live as fruitfully as we can.  How may we obey God if we cannot read and obey ourselves very clearly?  How may we agree with nature if we cannot?  


"I'm not so sure that we can get rid of all moral hierarchies and differing priorities.  Think about it.  Are you going to give a cow the same moral treatment as your fellow humans?  And a cow still has consciousness.  What about a plant?  Are you going to give a rock equal moral treatment?  How are you going to do that?  How does that play out?"


Yes, I agree.  But I think the rest of the world deserves a lot more respect today.  When we are not for the most part ignorant of nature absorbed in human business cares, prices, and media, we treat the natural world as if it is altogether like a pet, or should be made a pet handtamed, and the human world as if it is the master.   But the pet I think will turn on the master if he maltreats him much more.

"your initial post seems to point to the wrongs of pornography, lasciviousness, and lust.  But aren't these people obeying themselves?"

These are a natural instincts ill-influenced and twisted into vices.  I think people disobey their higher sense and begin to do it so casually they no longer realize it is immoral.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-14-2003 06:51 PM).]

Ron
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Y'all been busy. Let's see if I can catch up just a little?

quote:
In fact, I think such a person may feel badly if he/she succumbs to the weakness of not looking out for number one first and foremost, especially if it results in that person not fulfilling a selfish "need."

I think this first type of person you describe is an extreme version of the second. He's a sociopath. The object of love is the main difference, and we all have a sense of self-love. Just (hopefully) not to that extreme.

I understand what you're saying, Jim, and I certainly don't disagree. I just don't think the selfish-unselfish dichotomy has ever been a very productive way of looking at things. We're ALL selfish, and I'm not entirely convinced we're even selfish to different gradations.

Take two men with nearly identical values. One runs out of a burning building, leaving behind a child he cannot reach. The other man runs into the building, to at least make an attempt to save the kid. The first man, let's call him Sam, wants personal safety. The second, John, wants to be able to feel good about himself and avoid the guilt we'll be talking about later. In their pursuit of different desires, is either man really being unselfish? Both, I think, are acting in ways they feel will bring them the greatest benefit.

Let's redefine our terms for just a moment and see if they still make sense.

Selfishness serves short-term interest and is usually very simply stated and understood. Sam wants to save his own butt. By our new definition, this qualifies as a selfish act. Even if he didn't know there was a child in the building, running away from the fire is a selfish thing to do.

Unselfishness serves long-term interests and is often too complex to easily analyze. John wants to feel good about himself. He wants to avoid feeling guilt for doing nothing. He wants the acclaim of being a hero, the recognition of being courageous. Even if John only thinks there might be a child in the building, running into the fire will serve these long-term goals.

Sam and John want very different things, but both are acting in ways they believe will get them what they want. Selfish and unselfish isn't about ignoring self-interest, and it usually isn't even about other people. It's about agreeing whether the cost of something is worth the benefit of something. Sam risks his sense of self-worth and status in the community for personal safety. John risks her personal safety for a sense of self-worth and status in the community. The selfish one is usually the one we think was wrong.

Not incidentally, I think most charitable or self-sacrificing acts are the result of pursuing an increased sense of self-worth. We want to feel good about ourselves. But the rat that was never given a piece of cheese will never learn to press the lever. Those who never learn to love themselves will rarely place the value of self-worth about other, short-term benefits.

quote:
If there is a God, and if we can ascertain, to some degree, that He has certain expectations of us, how do we react to not measuring up to His standards?

I think guilt is another form of pain, Jim, and as such, it serves a purpose. Put your hand in a fire, and the pain will very quickly persuade you to remove your hand. If the pain is intense and prolonged, chances are you'll learn to avoid flames. Pain protects us.

To be useful, however, pain must be tied directly to its cause and, to be healthy, the pain should last no longer than is necessary to teach its lessons. In our physical world of fingers and flames, those criteria are usually easily met. When we deal with emotional pain, however, the first criteria can be a problem. It's not always easy, without help, to determine the sequence of choices that eventually led to our being hurt, so we often continue to make the same mistakes that result in the same emotional pain.

When we deal with spiritual pain, it's usually the second criteria that can be a problem for us. Guilt, like pain, is necessary and good. But prolonged, relentless guilt that refuses to fade and never quite goes away is unhealthy and no longer serves its original purpose. Fortunately, I think God provided an answer.

What happens when a small child disappoints their mother and the only apparent punishment is a disapproving look? The child immediately promises to do or not do as necessary, but even more obvious and predictable, I think, is the child's immediate need for a big hug. We assuage our guilts, as children and as adults, with the reassurance that love can indeed be unconditional. How strongly we believe that, I think, determines how much guilt we will carry beyond our promises to do or not do as necessary.

Running out of time this morning, and obviously I didn't catch up with y'all. To quote the next Governor of California, "I'll be back."
Stephanos
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89 posted 09-06-2003 11:43 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant "I think people disobey their higher sense and begin to do it so casually they no longer realize it is immoral."


If all aspects of nature, including humanity and everything else, are to be held in equal moral regard, then what do you mean by "higher" sense?

There are many, (Hedonists for example) who would argue that lasciviousness and lust are actually of the "higher" sense of humanity.  So here is at least one voice in nature that directly rationally contradicts what you say is wrong with behavior.  How do you hold your view to be the right one, without referring to a transcendent law?  You keep saying that to be more moral we need to get back to "nature".  But there is much in nature, and in the minds of people to counter what you say.  This is so much the case, that in the 60's sexual revolution, the move toward promiscuity was touted as "closer to nature".  Many nudists today even call themselves "Naturists"  

Remember Essorant, I agree with your views on Pornography and moral decadence.  But your constant reference to mere nature seems to lack a standard to support your absolutist view of morals.


Stephen.    

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (09-06-2003 11:44 PM).]

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90 posted 07-22-2004 05:37 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"If all aspects of nature, including humanity and everything else, are to be held in equal moral regard, then what do you mean by "higher" sense?"

Stephenos
I meant Morality in general is the higher sense already, and all things deserves observance thereof.  Perhaps not equal observance to each thing, but equal acknowledgement that a moral observance at all is due.  That much is due to everything.  All things are the honourable and the created; no things deserve to be cursed or corrupted.

Stephanos
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91 posted 07-23-2004 03:43 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

Let me recap, as to where we were (I had to go back and refresh myself).


You previously wrote:

quote:
Stephenos,
I am unsure about imagining the Universe as a Hierarchy-like structure with God at the top, Man in the middle and Nature at the bottom.

then you seemed to concede my point when you wrote:

quote:
I meant Morality in general is the higher sense already, and all things deserves observance thereof.  Perhaps not equal observance to each thing, but equal acknowledgement that a moral observance at all is due.

If I am understanding you right, you are in agreement with me that there is a moral standard that is more than mere opinion or complete arbitrariness.  But that being the case, there can be no strict egalitarianism among either ideas or created things.  Morals presuppose hierarchy of some kind or another.  
So we don't really disagree in any significant way.  But the question is, does morality require respect and responsibility for nature, and the particulars in nature?  The answer is yes it does.  I don't think the environmentalists are that far off on this point.  But start driving iron spikes in trees so that loggers are potentially injured by their own chainsaws, or killing whalers, and I think you've taken "reverence" for nature too far.


Stephen.  


Essorant
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Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


92 posted 07-24-2004 12:03 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"If I am understanding you right, you are in agreement with me that there is a moral standard that is more than mere opinion or complete arbitrariness. "

Yes I think we are in agreement for the most part.
But where I shall say we are serving what is irrevocably webbed with nature you may not agree.  To me it seems there is no escape from Spirit or Nature, spiritual aspect from natural, or natural from spiritual
that as I said earlier at their highest  don't seem to have "thought"  Direct being is supreme;  There is where instinct and knowledge must be at one, free from the kind of impediments and delayments that thought and doubt make in our behaviors.   We don't actually get to go to the swiftest currents of spirit and nature.  We only get to "sense" and try to make the most of that sense, and that sense directly leaves impressions on us, and we leave impressions again and again of it on ourselves, where lack of directness is thickened even more.  Whatever the case, a good standard to go by must be the "general state of things"  The overallness that was native and what we gave/give to life, togetherness, and the world; if oneness and some permanance in character are made in the interest of the "general state of things" as well no specific state things will make any difference that doesn't serve.  In other words, when we keep more observance clearly to general dearness and "laws" for life, togetherness, and the world first, we may probably may better serve them than imagining specific as if they are general, such as makeup, finance, filling the car with gas, that in culture and media we almost seem  as if they are universal and wordly issues, when they are not.  They are issues at the "center" of human, not at the "center" of the world.  The rest of the world and creatures don't need or busy themselves for cosmetics, money and making extraordinary haste a common mode.  Thus humans too often mistake their special (human/self) interests as allworldly needs.  And mistake their human structure-world as the native world and whole world, which not as it ought to be.  The world we must serve is the world of all earthly life, and activity, not just the human and human interest, or the individual and individual interest.  
More directly, it is my philosophy we must hold  general more closely in mind, and then the specific we conduct shall serve general and specific  better.  Thus just as "private" and "public" often divide us wrongly too much, I think "specific" and "general" do as well.  When it comes to upholding moral character "private" "public" "specific" and "general" should make very little difference to keeping a moral mind and approach; though to see and judge the agreement at once, it is the "general" eye that we must look through.    And as I try to look through this eye, I think we divide these into too many and too much and therein our moral mind becomes fragmented among them.  We overcomplicate and lose the sight of "general" for all the specifics.  People must revive sight of more general and common need due to all things, an undivded wholeness, rather than everything in specific isolations of things.  Once people remember what is most important generally again, they can go back to their specific work.  But right now it feels very much like our humankind needs time to pause from the confusion of specifics, to shed the mind of complexities and to step back and look at a "whole" that we may directly know we are serving again.
 
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