Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby The Dharma Bum » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:04 am

I don't think it can be proven that ethics have any sort of objective basis, or all cultures would have the same or similar set of ethics. Instead what is seen as sacred or profane is wildly different from culture to culture. Since the basis for ethics is so clearly subjective it can be seen as a form of cultural aesthetic.
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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby Gnostic » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:25 am

The Dharma Bum wrote:I don't think it can be proven that ethics have any sort of objective basis, or all cultures would have the same or similar set of ethics. Instead what is seen as sacred or profane is wildly different from culture to culture. Since the basis for ethics is so clearly subjective it can be seen as a form of cultural aesthetic.


far more than aesthetic, it was necessary for the basic cohesion of large towns/states and so that thier ruling class could gain better control.

The subjectiveness of ethics is undeniable. But the use they are put to is what matters, and even Nietzsche, while at the same time ridiculing many, also highly praised them for contributing to an advancement in civilized society. Without moral codes there would be a reversion back to dog eat dog survival like it was pre-enlightenment/industrial revolution and ends justifying the means ideology.

The "thou shalts" of christianity and other religions reflect the desires of the ruling class to tame and reign over larger groups of populations under thier immediate control. They are designed to discourage attacks and violence and malcontent within thier borders to keep the peasants from causing chaos or revolt. Armies were maintained for outside attacks.

All this is very objective.

Religion as well as ethics relies on the subjective in order to maintain credibility and belief. Hence why many major religions rely on faith as opposed to reason. This can be much more powerfully persuasive when applied to overimaginative, superstitious, uneducated minds.

But ethics as well as religion have contributed far more than not, though time it may be to move on from it all.
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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby The Dharma Bum » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:59 am

All that is terrible, of course it is time to discard the suppressive thinking of the past. It is inarguable that humans accomplish far more in conditions of autonomy and freedom, simply compare the advancements we enjoy in the modern age, so your idea that without morals or religion the world would degenerate into "dog eat dog survival" is completely off base. To say the opposite would be far more accurate. Today the human individual is trapped in a life of drudgery, and to resist is to end up living under a bridge somewhere unless you are lucky enough to belong to the privileged class.

The truth is "morality", "religion", "tradition", "education" are suppressive programs promoted by the state system that do more to hold humanity back from realizing it's full potential in order to foster the exploitation of society by the ruling elite than they do to result in any type of competent or reasonable self-governance.

Indulging the outlandish whims of a small segment of society by lavishly granting access to vast resources is useless from a practical standpoint and we've wasted thousands of years on that because of the ideas you think are necessary to control and guide humanity to a positive result. None of that has ever resulted in any positive result. Whatever positive result and goodness that has ever occurred in the course of human events has usually been the result of intelligent people acting courageously in the face of authoritarian pressure so generally speaking it's despite morality and religion that people do good, not because of them.

Yes, of course it is time to move on from all that. We have the capacity to build whatever kind of society we want.
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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby Gnostic » Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:41 am

The Dharma Bum wrote:All that is terrible, of course it is time to discard the suppressive thinking of the past. It is inarguable that humans accomplish far more in conditions of autonomy and freedom, simply compare the advancements we enjoy in the modern age, so your idea that without morals or religion the world would degenerate into "dog eat dog survival" is completely off base. To say the opposite would be far more accurate. Today the human individual is trapped in a life of drudgery, and to resist is to end up living under a bridge somewhere unless you are lucky enough to belong to the privileged class.

The truth is "morality", "religion", "tradition", "education" are suppressive programs promoted by the state system that do more to hold humanity back from realizing it's full potential in order to foster the exploitation of society by the ruling elite than they do to result in any type of competent or reasonable self-governance.

Indulging the outlandish whims of a small segment of society by lavishly granting access to vast resources is useless from a practical standpoint and we've wasted thousands of years on that because of the ideas you think are necessary to control and guide humanity to a positive result. None of that has ever resulted in any positive result. Whatever positive result and goodness that has ever occurred in the course of human events has usually been the result of intelligent people acting courageously in the face of authoritarian pressure so generally speaking it's despite morality and religion that people do good, not because of them.

Yes, of course it is time to move on from all that. We have the capacity to build whatever kind of society we want.



But who is "we"? The elites who comprise the power base which controls the government economically have a very strong interest in maintaining the status quo as well as the laws and force necessary to promulgate thier order. This order is based on the same contrived "morality" and religion that has served them well for centuries. Domestic police forces, IMO, are primarily maintained for the cause of protecting the property and interests of this elite. Religion and morality are used as shields to prevent thier interests being undermined. Unless you propose violent overthrow ala Marx, things are going to stay the same for quite some time.

I take exception to the claim that this religion and morality is altogether negative. It has most definitely contributed to the state of society we have now, which despite all it's drawbacks is a much safer and civilized one than man had a century or two ago and further. It has contributed to many advancements. But yes, it's time to move on, but to where and how? I'm not sure humans are ready for such a leap forward. Maybe in another several hundred or thousand years? Society is too dependent and stuck forcibly on this moral code and law standard to move away from it safely or cohesively. Look at the global state of affairs today...countries still maintaining standing armies to keep each other at bay and prevent hostile takeover...that's not to mention the economic realm. It looks rather much like a Game of Thrones setup. And this is modern day gun barrel diplomacy...it hasn't come very far.

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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby The Dharma Bum » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:36 am

All great points. I wish I had a better answer for you.
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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby Gnostic » Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:42 pm

I guess I'm a pessimist ala schopenhauer. I don't have much faith in humanity or in individual human's ultimate aims and goals in life. We are animals whose self preservation comes first. And then after that comes base greed and consumption. It's in our very nature. On top of that, for some physiological reason in our "more developed" brains, we harbor capacities for "evil" and selfishness, destruction and violence, much more so than all the other animals on earth. We even get off on watching our fellow beings fight one another, such as boxing, football, etc. I'm not saying such agonistic games are altogether bad...agonistics can contribute to certain advancements in people. But I'm sure you get the point.

You are an optimist. Which is positive and I don't mean to argue with your excellent points. I guess I fall into the same category I'm describing for people...I like to debate and argue lol.

Anyway I just don't see the way things are with contemporary morality and ethics and religion changing anytime very soon.

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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby The Dharma Bum » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:14 pm

It's cool, I like to argue and debate too.

Anyway, it seems like those age old concepts are proving to be less and less comprehensive in their ability to help people solve contemporary problems. You can see cracks appearing in the edifice forming everywhere. Look how much society has transformed since the 1950s, that's not even a full generation. And like you pointed out we really are still very primitive in many respects. That doesn't necessarily preclude rapid advancement.

Anyway, I expect big changes. We are uncovering the truth about things, which is infinitely superior to believing untruth about our nature. This is really what morality and religion are all about. Noble lies, so-called. These systems are proxies for the truth, that emerged in a time when not much was known about the actual nature of human existence. They served their purpose when we were in darkness but in an age when we are rapidly unraveling the mysteries of the very universe itself they are no longer adequate.

People want to know the truth about things and they want to live their lives in a reasonable manner. At this point adherence to archaic ideas interferes with this pursuit. That's why so many social changes have happened in the last few decades. People want tolerance, equality, and respect. Let's as a society encourage this and it will solve most of our social issues.
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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby The Dharma Bum » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:47 pm

You see, the problem with appealing to the sensuous appetites of human beings as a method of pacifying society is that sooner or later human beings are going to drink that well dry and they will smash the system the very second it ceases to service those appetites.
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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby Gnostic » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:49 pm

The Dharma Bum wrote:It's cool, I like to argue and debate too.


But you are better at it than I am. I get carried away with unsubstantiated BS lol. Your posts are always well-thought out.

Anyway, I hope you don't mind if I break down your post so I can better respond.

The Dharma Bum wrote:Anyway, it seems like those age old concepts are proving to be less and less comprehensive in their ability to help people solve contemporary problems. You can see cracks appearing in the edifice forming everywhere. Look how much society has transformed since the 1950s, that's not even a full generation.


My opinion is that things have got worse, not better, in society and it's values. Alot worse. Sex, violence and immediate gratifications reign supreme now.

The Dharma Bum wrote: And like you pointed out we really are still very primitive in many respects. That doesn't necessarily preclude rapid advancement.


Agreed. Humans have experienced such rapid advancement in the brain just in the last 100K years. But is it all for the better?

I read Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler a long time ago. Quite eye opening on human behavior. He asserts basically that humans developed the cortex part of the brain astonishingly fast, while the more primitive part that ruled the brain for millenia still was in control...making humans very dangerous and unpredictable. He suggested drugs to make the cortex more controlling of the limbic. Because all other attempts at behavior modification awa from wanton violence and self interest have failed.

The Dharma Bum wrote:Anyway, I expect big changes. We are uncovering the truth about things, which is infinitely superior to believing untruth about our nature. This is really what morality and religion are all about. Noble lies, so-called. These systems are proxies for the truth, that emerged in a time when not much was known about the actual nature of human existence. They served their purpose when we were in darkness but in an age when we are rapidly unraveling the mysteries of the very universe itself they are no longer adequate.


True. The thing is, since the enlightenment, science and objective thinking have made mockeries of religion and morality. People still cling somewhat to religion out of a primal fear of death and it offers them a balm to that...the "afterlife". And a benevolent smiling god to protect them from a mean and nasty nature that doesn't give a damn whether we as individuals live or die. Nature is totally indifferent to our concerns and fears, and people search for the opiate that will drug them into feeling better about that.

The Dharma Bum wrote:People want to know the truth about things


Not always. Actually, I think people want to be lied to more than not, and religion again exemplifies this desire.

The Dharma Bum wrote:and they want to live their lives in a reasonable manner.


They haven't come anywhere close to that yet either.

The Dharma Bum wrote:At this point adherence to archaic ideas interferes with this pursuit. That's why so many social changes have happened in the last few decades. People want tolerance, equality, and respect. Let's as a society encourage this and it will solve most of our social issues.


Tolerance of what? That only goes so far with most people. Most will be fine with something long as they don't harbor some contrived or suspected threat against their own interests. Equality? How can that happen? Noone is equal to another and that won't ever change. People strive towards domination and excellence in their own persuits. That leaves others less than. If everyone were truly equal the world would stagnate and rot. People would become quite boring and dull. I don't buy the whole equality thing. Maybe for civil rights, but that doesn't even apply. Is a wealthy doctor sociologically equal to a homeless penniless drunk? Do they really have equality?
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Re: Boris Johnson's Philosophy fun-time. Part:1

Postby Gnostic » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:03 pm

The Dharma Bum wrote:You see, the problem with appealing to the sensuous appetites of human beings as a method of pacifying society is that sooner or later human beings are going to drink that well dry and they will smash the system the very second it ceases to service those appetites.


Excellent point.

This is what will happen to the US as well once the "well runs dry".

The Romans kept control by offering the citizenry bread and circus, which is pretty much what we are doing. Until the barbarians come and the empire falls.
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