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Is Morality constant?
Posted 5/8/11
* Please read this first post first *

This all started when a friend and I got into a lively discussion on our justice system
He believes that Justice and morality is a universal constant, that there is a set code of right and wrong that runs the world, and that all actions made by people can be placed into one of these 2 categories: right or wrong
My arguement to this was that opinions on what is right and what is wrong, what is justice and what is moral, changes all the time, and can therefore not be constant
I believe that we all have our own sense of what is good, but these values differ from person to person
And over the years the general opinion on many subjects has changed, things such as war, GM crops, climate change and so on

In short, while my friend believes in a set list of white and black areas, one action is either good or bad, I believe life in general is coloured in shades of grey, one action can be viewed from many different perspectives

So I wanted to know some more peoples opinions, what do you think?
Feel free to rant, please behave yourself as per the normal set of rules in Crunchyroll forums

(I couldn't find another forum like this but if there is, please notify me and I shall bring this one down if necessary)
Posted 5/8/11
Subjective. Everyone has their own definition of morality. Right and wrong certainly exist in the context of what does harm and what doesn't. Then we think about justice and its equality. You pay the price for what wrong you do and learn from it. Arguable as it all is, there are certain things which most can agree on. Murder, theft, and rape are certainly wrong, but people will bring up all manner of technicalities to avoid being criminalized.
Posted 5/8/11 , edited 5/8/11

The_Roy_42 wrote:

* Please read this first post first *

This all started when a friend and I got into a lively discussion on our justice system
He believes that Justice and morality is a universal constant, that there is a set code of right and wrong that runs the world, and that all actions made by people can be placed into one of these 2 categories: right or wrong
My arguement to this was that opinions on what is right and what is wrong, what is justice and what is moral, changes all the time, and can therefore not be constant
I believe that we all have our own sense of what is good, but these values differ from person to person
And over the years the general opinion on many subjects has changed, things such as war, GM crops, climate change and so on

In short, while my friend believes in a set list of white and black areas, one action is either good or bad, I believe life in general is coloured in shades of grey, one action can be viewed from many different perspectives

So I wanted to know some more peoples opinions, what do you think?
Feel free to rant, please behave yourself as per the normal set of rules in Crunchyroll forums

(I couldn't find another forum like this but if there is, please notify me and I shall bring this one down if necessary)
First of, I think your friend was partially right about the existence of certain objective morality, as in there's ought to be a right thing to do at all time within certain context. However, due to humans evolutionary tendency of false positive belief, our superstition tends to led us into believing the wrong patterns. Thereby we had been relying on what's actually superstition as some sorta self-righteous feel-good conceptual models of security mirage, not objective morality that's quantifiable and identifiable within the context of the science on human wellness. And all these false beliefs can cause additional unnecessary harms when they became some sorta organizations through the process known as institutionalization, which can contribute all the psychosocial inequality and social injustices that we've seen insofar around the world.

So you're also partially right about the different perspectives on life, but that's deeply rooted in our ethnic culture of mythology and languages, and not in our biology. For you see human evolution itself doesn't make sense, except only within the context of biology, not morality. And biologically speaking we humans are, and I hope you've been paying enough attention in order for yourself to notice the correct pattern here, a specie of uniquely complex social animals among the great apes family. What's more, we were evolved through favorites of natural selection alone, two neurological engines that enable us to develop our social behavior models through socialization with others: the mirror neuron which allows us to experience both empathy and self-hood, and the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction which allows us to perceive the possibility of other minds that are different.

However, after all that's been said and done, I want to present you with an institution of what I know can only be the instrumentation of evil incarnate: the corporations and their manipulation on children. Through themselves marketing, advertising, dramatizing, and motivating wasteful consumption as a behavior model. As opposed to what they could be as an individual or as a collective. And if your friend doesn't agree with my argument, then you'll know for yourself that some dangerous memes are probably lurking inside his/her mind, and not because of humans' buggy moral codes.
Posted 5/8/11

DomFortress wrote:


The_Roy_42 wrote:

* Please read this first post first *

This all started when a friend and I got into a lively discussion on our justice system
He believes that Justice and morality is a universal constant, that there is a set code of right and wrong that runs the world, and that all actions made by people can be placed into one of these 2 categories: right or wrong
My arguement to this was that opinions on what is right and what is wrong, what is justice and what is moral, changes all the time, and can therefore not be constant
I believe that we all have our own sense of what is good, but these values differ from person to person
And over the years the general opinion on many subjects has changed, things such as war, GM crops, climate change and so on

In short, while my friend believes in a set list of white and black areas, one action is either good or bad, I believe life in general is coloured in shades of grey, one action can be viewed from many different perspectives

So I wanted to know some more peoples opinions, what do you think?
Feel free to rant, please behave yourself as per the normal set of rules in Crunchyroll forums

(I couldn't find another forum like this but if there is, please notify me and I shall bring this one down if necessary)
First of, I think your friend was partially right about the existence of certain objective morality, as in there's ought to be a right thing to do at all time within certain context. However, due to humans evolutionary tendency of false positive belief, our superstition tends to led us into believing the wrong patterns. Thereby we had been relying on what's actually superstition as some sorta self-righteous feel-good conceptual models of security mirage, not objective morality that's quantifiable and identifiable within the context of the science on human wellness. And all these false beliefs can cause additional unnecessary harms when they became some sorta organizations through the process known as institutionalization, which can contribute all the psychosocial inequality and social injustices that we've seen insofar around the world.

So you're also partially right about the different perspectives on life, but that's deeply rooting in our ethnic culture of mythology and languages, and not in our biology. For you see human evolution itself doesn't make sense, except only within the context of biology, not morality. And biologically speaking we humans are, and I hope you've been paying enough attention in order for yourself to notice the correct pattern here, a specie of uniquely complex social animals among the great apes family. What's more, we were evolved through favorites of natural selection alone, two neurological engines that enable us to develop our social behavior models through socialization with others: the mirror neuron which allows us to experience both empathy and self-hood, and the right-partial-temporal-junction which allows us to perceive the possibility of other minds that are different.

However, after all that's been said and done, I want to present you with an institution of what I know can only be the instrumentation of evil incarnate: the corporations and their manipulation on children. Through themselves marketing, advertising, dramatizing, and motivating wasteful consumption as a behavior model. And if your friend doesn't agree with my argument, then you'll know for yourself that some dangerous memes are probably lurking inside his/her mind, and not because of humans' buggy moral codes.


Could it be... that religion is immoral? The feelgood security it offers, but more; threatens with, leads to inequality through prejudice.

And corporations see people as a resource to consume and manufacture their products on an ongoing cycle. They own governments since they have the most leverage financially. Without them, there isn't the economy most people alive today are used to. What with the sheer volume of wares being put out indicating the avarice of not only the corporations, but those demanding what they produce, or simply needing an occupation to support their own corporate standard lives.
Posted 5/8/11

Sonovabitch wrote:


DomFortress wrote:


The_Roy_42 wrote:

* Please read this first post first *

This all started when a friend and I got into a lively discussion on our justice system
He believes that Justice and morality is a universal constant, that there is a set code of right and wrong that runs the world, and that all actions made by people can be placed into one of these 2 categories: right or wrong
My arguement to this was that opinions on what is right and what is wrong, what is justice and what is moral, changes all the time, and can therefore not be constant
I believe that we all have our own sense of what is good, but these values differ from person to person
And over the years the general opinion on many subjects has changed, things such as war, GM crops, climate change and so on

In short, while my friend believes in a set list of white and black areas, one action is either good or bad, I believe life in general is coloured in shades of grey, one action can be viewed from many different perspectives

So I wanted to know some more peoples opinions, what do you think?
Feel free to rant, please behave yourself as per the normal set of rules in Crunchyroll forums

(I couldn't find another forum like this but if there is, please notify me and I shall bring this one down if necessary)
First of, I think your friend was partially right about the existence of certain objective morality, as in there's ought to be a right thing to do at all time within certain context. However, due to humans evolutionary tendency of false positive belief, our superstition tends to led us into believing the wrong patterns. Thereby we had been relying on what's actually superstition as some sorta self-righteous feel-good conceptual models of security mirage, not objective morality that's quantifiable and identifiable within the context of the science on human wellness. And all these false beliefs can cause additional unnecessary harms when they became some sorta organizations through the process known as institutionalization, which can contribute all the psychosocial inequality and social injustices that we've seen insofar around the world.

So you're also partially right about the different perspectives on life, but that's deeply rooting in our ethnic culture of mythology and languages, and not in our biology. For you see human evolution itself doesn't make sense, except only within the context of biology, not morality. And biologically speaking we humans are, and I hope you've been paying enough attention in order for yourself to notice the correct pattern here, a specie of uniquely complex social animals among the great apes family. What's more, we were evolved through favorites of natural selection alone, two neurological engines that enable us to develop our social behavior models through socialization with others: the mirror neuron which allows us to experience both empathy and self-hood, and the right-partial-temporal-junction which allows us to perceive the possibility of other minds that are different.

However, after all that's been said and done, I want to present you with an institution of what I know can only be the instrumentation of evil incarnate: the corporations and their manipulation on children. Through themselves marketing, advertising, dramatizing, and motivating wasteful consumption as a behavior model. And if your friend doesn't agree with my argument, then you'll know for yourself that some dangerous memes are probably lurking inside his/her mind, and not because of humans' buggy moral codes.


Could it be... that religion is immoral? The feelgood security it offers, but more; threatens with, leads to inequality through prejudice.

And corporations see people as a resource to consume and manufacture their products on an ongoing cycle. They own governments since they have the most leverage financially. Without them, there isn't the economy most people alive today are used to. What with the sheer volume of wares being put out indicating the avarice of not only the corporations, but those demanding what they produce, or simply needing an occupation to support their own corporate standard lives.


I used to believe that religion was immoral, that it was just a means of controlling people, but then I had a think about it.
What is the main purpose of religion? To give hope, to unite people, to help people
I don't see these as bad things. Granted, the hope bit isn't entirely useful in a logical sense, but there are many charitable organisations devoted to helping people less fortunate who have a grounding in religion.
There are those who use religion as a means to satisfy selfish needs; a documentary I saw on faith healers in America pointed out that major problem.
But after reading some books by the likes of the Dalai Lama, I've begun to believe that religion itself isn't evil or immoral, its simply one way people have tried to find an answer to the greater questions in life, and as a way to help people.

A corporation's main goal is to keep itself alive, much like any organism really. It will exploit the selfish nature of humans to get people to buy things they don't really need, but in the end these temptations can be resisted, its all down to mental willpower, which I believe we gain from our family as we grow up, and perhaps even through religion.
Posted 5/8/11 , edited 5/8/11


I have seen this phase occur in myself where I doubted my own perspective. Truthfully, the Dalai Lama has himself gone against the teachings of his faith, as many before did. To use him as a model of morality, no, for it is a model of morality itself implemented for oneself. The control of people is often forced, overriding the morality of their rightful freedom.

Business is just business they say. True. It survives, thrives, or dies depending on an long list of factors. People are the cogs in the machine of modern industry, but should a business cater to their more specific and personal needs? They can, but given how some businesses operate, they can leave that up to someone outside their own influence, which often works all the same, perhaps better.

Then you have businesses ran by religions. Charities or otherwise. Really, religion is a business in the trade of spirituality, or at least, that is the way I personally view it with my own subjective morality.
Posted 5/8/11

Sonovabitch wrote:



I have seen this phase occur in myself where I doubted my own perspective. Truthfully, the Dalai Lama has himself gone against the teachings of his faith, as many before did. To use him as a model of morality, no, for it is a model of morality itself implemented for oneself. The control of people is often forced, overriding the morality of their rightful freedom.

Business is just business they say. True. It survives, thrives, or dies depending on an long list of factors. People are the cogs in the machine of modern industry, but should a business cater to their more specific and personal needs? They can, but given how some businesses operate, they can leave that up to someone outside their own influence, which often works all the same, perhaps better.

Then you have businesses ran by religions. Charities or otherwise. Really, religion is a business in the trade of spirituality, or at least, that is the way I personally view it with my own subjective morality.


its not that I believe the Dalai Lama's teachings after reading them, I just like to see the world from as many different perspectives as I possibly can, as I believe that is the only way I could find any sort of universal truth if there is one, but i must say he is a very wise man, and his belief on morals, not religion, are very logical instead of hopeful, and I like to see myself as a very logical person

Another topic that came into the discussion with my friend was our Justice system. He asked me that, as I believe the accepted morals of society change over time as we become more intelligent and events occur that change the way we think, how could we possibly maintain any form of Justice system, as we cannot say for sure that today's justice will be accepted tomorrow
An example, long used, the death sentence. When is it ok to use it? Here in England, I don't believe our justice system can indeed give out the death penalty (correct me if i'm wrong) whereas go back a hundred years, or even not that long, people were sentenced to death.
So my question is this: how do we define justice in todays society?
Posted 5/8/11

Sonovabitch wrote:


Could it be... that religion is immoral? The feelgood security it offers, but more; threatens with, leads to inequality through prejudice.

And corporations see people as a resource to consume and manufacture their products on an ongoing cycle. They own governments since they have the most leverage financially. Without them, there isn't the economy most people alive today are used to. What with the sheer volume of wares being put out indicating the avarice of not only the corporations, but those demanding what they produce, or simply needing an occupation to support their own corporate standard lives.
Well the different types of religious practice within certain religions, can determine the kind of social behavior model of just that organization alone. Case in point, a religious organization with a monotheistic doctrine tends to have an authoritarian mentality, whereas those with polytheistic perspective tend to have an authoritative mentality, while others with pantheism or even animism associations tend to have an egalitarian mentality. And they all offer a certain degree of security, the difference is to whom. As in what different social groups benefiting the most wealth, power, and prestige, from themselves institutionalizing these mentalities.

That being said, however, I think it's interesting how the corporate social behavior tends to mirror the authoritarian mentality.


The_Roy_42 wrote:



I used to believe that religion was immoral, that it was just a means of controlling people, but then I had a think about it.
What is the main purpose of religion? To give hope, to unite people, to help people
I don't see these as bad things. Granted, the hope bit isn't entirely useful in a logical sense, but there are many charitable organisations devoted to helping people less fortunate who have a grounding in religion.
There are those who use religion as a means to satisfy selfish needs; a documentary I saw on faith healers in America pointed out that major problem.
But after reading some books by the likes of the Dalai Lama, I've begun to believe that religion itself isn't evil or immoral, its simply one way people have tried to find an answer to the greater questions in life, and as a way to help people.

A corporation's main goal is to keep itself alive, much like any organism really. It will exploit the selfish nature of humans to get people to buy things they don't really need, but in the end these temptations can be resisted, its all down to mental willpower, which I believe we gain from our family as we grow up, and perhaps even through religion.
That's really misinterpreting the selfish-gene completely beyond recognition, so says the man who wrote the book on how our genes behave within nature's morality of tit-for-tat.
Posted 5/8/11

The_Roy_42 wrote:


Sonovabitch wrote:



I have seen this phase occur in myself where I doubted my own perspective. Truthfully, the Dalai Lama has himself gone against the teachings of his faith, as many before did. To use him as a model of morality, no, for it is a model of morality itself implemented for oneself. The control of people is often forced, overriding the morality of their rightful freedom.

Business is just business they say. True. It survives, thrives, or dies depending on an long list of factors. People are the cogs in the machine of modern industry, but should a business cater to their more specific and personal needs? They can, but given how some businesses operate, they can leave that up to someone outside their own influence, which often works all the same, perhaps better.

Then you have businesses ran by religions. Charities or otherwise. Really, religion is a business in the trade of spirituality, or at least, that is the way I personally view it with my own subjective morality.


its not that I believe the Dalai Lama's teachings after reading them, I just like to see the world from as many different perspectives as I possibly can, as I believe that is the only way I could find any sort of universal truth if there is one, but i must say he is a very wise man, and his belief on morals, not religion, are very logical instead of hopeful, and I like to see myself as a very logical person

Another topic that came into the discussion with my friend was our Justice system. He asked me that, as I believe the accepted morals of society change over time as we become more intelligent and events occur that change the way we think, how could we possibly maintain any form of Justice system, as we cannot say for sure that today's justice will be accepted tomorrow
An example, long used, the death sentence. When is it ok to use it? Here in England, I don't believe our justice system can indeed give out the death penalty (correct me if i'm wrong) whereas go back a hundred years, or even not that long, people were sentenced to death.
So my question is this: how do we define justice in todays society?


Wise as the Dalai Lama is, he is all the same as the rest of us; a beast under pressure. If you take a given morality and see it from different perspectives, you then have bastardizations of that morality. It loses its original meaning. As for a "universal truth", that is an oxymoron, since not everyone will accept that, much less everything.

Society will change due to the fact that part of our inherent nature is to become bored with sameness. Like how all people are unique, but that is a sameness in and of itself.

Logically, the best thing I feel that we can do is avoid the chopping block of other people's morality. The many justice systems might "have your head" for anything conflicting with their morality, but you might feel the instinct to preserve yourself, which is biologically logical.
Posted 5/8/11


Wise as the Dalai Lama is, he is all the same as the rest of us; a beast under pressure. If you take a given morality and see it from different perspectives, you then have bastardizations of that morality. It loses its original meaning. As for a "universal truth", that is an oxymoron, since not everyone will accept that, much less everything.

Society will change due to the fact that part of our inherent nature is to become bored with sameness. Like how all people are unique, but that is a sameness in and of itself.

Logically, the best thing I feel that we can do is avoid the chopping block of other people's morality. The many justice systems might "have your head" for anything conflicting with their morality, but you might feel the instinct to preserve yourself, which is biologically logical.



Perhaps I misspoke, my attempt at a metaphor for organisations may have backfired earlier
So would you say then that what a person views as "evil" is simply a confliction of each of their own moral views of right and wrong?
certainly seems logical
I myself don't believe it is human nature to be evil, perhaps lazy or selfish, but never truly evil
This is of course excusing mental sickness
A person may make up excuses for themselves for committing "evil" acts such as murder, so much so they fool themselves into thinking that what would generally be seen as wrong isn't so
How about you?
Posted 5/8/11


Religion and business now seems like a collective pyramid scheme to me. It all works together in society and there are surely ranks. More often than not, people's investments get them caught up in debt. Morality pertaining to this is overshadowed by the fact that there is a conglomerate with a mentality of semi-conscious consumerism consisting of everyone alive. Our sociological landscape is for an every expanding, global business capitalizing on everything.
Posted 5/8/11 , edited 5/8/11

The_Roy_42 wrote:




Sonovabitch wrote:

Wise as the Dalai Lama is, he is all the same as the rest of us; a beast under pressure. If you take a given morality and see it from different perspectives, you then have bastardizations of that morality. It loses its original meaning. As for a "universal truth", that is an oxymoron, since not everyone will accept that, much less everything.

Society will change due to the fact that part of our inherent nature is to become bored with sameness. Like how all people are unique, but that is a sameness in and of itself.

Logically, the best thing I feel that we can do is avoid the chopping block of other people's morality. The many justice systems might "have your head" for anything conflicting with their morality, but you might feel the instinct to preserve yourself, which is biologically logical.


Perhaps I misspoke, my attempt at a metaphor for organisations may have backfired earlier
So would you say then that what a person views as "evil" is simply a confliction of each of their own moral views of right and wrong?
certainly seems logical
I myself don't believe it is human nature to be evil, perhaps lazy or selfish, but never truly evil
This is of course excusing mental sickness
A person may make up excuses for themselves for committing "evil" acts such as murder, so much so they fool themselves into thinking that what would generally be seen as wrong isn't so
How about you?


Good and evil, in this instance, begin to blur in definition.

Mental illness cannot make a person evil, then again, they might come to know that they are mentally ill, and use that as an excuse for their "evil" actions.

Some people who stand on the outside of popularly accepted morality see those accepting it as wrong. It can be viewed that these outsiders are mentally ill, but then again, they may just have the benefit of their own perspective, depending on whether or not they can even operate in some "beneficial" manner for themselves, or someone else.
maffoo 
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Posted 5/8/11
I think that there are a few "core" morals that are constant, however in general what is seen as moral or immoral varies over time and between societies. For example, we look at slavery in horror, but for thousands of years it was considered morally acceptable.

Even with behaviours that society defines in general as wrong or immoral, there are grey areas. Is it wrong for example to steal food to feed your starving family? Some might say it's fine to do so, but what if that theft then pushed someone else into starvation and poverty? There is no definite, black and white answer, and it would depend on the circumstances and the individual perspectives. Which I would argue is where law comes in, with (in principle at least) the State acting through its legal system as an independent moral arbitrator.
Posted 5/8/11 , edited 5/8/11

The_Roy_42 wrote:



its not that I believe the Dalai Lama's teachings after reading them, I just like to see the world from as many different perspectives as I possibly can, as I believe that is the only way I could find any sort of universal truth if there is one, but i must say he is a very wise man, and his belief on morals, not religion, are very logical instead of hopeful, and I like to see myself as a very logical person

Another topic that came into the discussion with my friend was our Justice system. He asked me that, as I believe the accepted morals of society change over time as we become more intelligent and events occur that change the way we think, how could we possibly maintain any form of Justice system, as we cannot say for sure that today's justice will be accepted tomorrow
An example, long used, the death sentence. When is it ok to use it? Here in England, I don't believe our justice system can indeed give out the death penalty (correct me if i'm wrong) whereas go back a hundred years, or even not that long, people were sentenced to death.
So my question is this: how do we define justice in todays society?
IMHO, I think we can arrive at social justice through us practicing the art of democratic debate. And it's through that debate we can maintain a justice system of information aggregation, such as the one I had regarding the morality of capital punishment here.


The_Roy_42 wrote:




Perhaps I misspoke, my attempt at a metaphor for organisations may have backfired earlier
So would you say then that what a person views as "evil" is simply a confliction of each of their own moral views of right and wrong?
certainly seems logical
I myself don't believe it is human nature to be evil, perhaps lazy or selfish, but never truly evil
This is of course excusing mental sickness
A person may make up excuses for themselves for committing "evil" acts such as murder, so much so they fool themselves into thinking that what would generally be seen as wrong isn't so
How about you?
However, there are certainly particular personality disorders that can cause antisocial behaviors, which can result unnecessary harms all the same. Case in point, just as how psychopathic individuals can cause white collar crimes within corporate institutions, narcissistic individuals OTOH can cause bullying within societies. And yet, we can all see how these personality disorders can be socially modeled, by certain mainstream popular entertainment cultures acting as powerful agents of socialization. As the likes of reality programs and social networking sites that are normalizing these behaviors through confirmation bias and programed incentives.


Sonovabitch wrote:



Religion and business now seems like a collective pyramid scheme to me. It all works together in society and there are surely ranks. More often than not, people's investments get them caught up in debt. Morality pertaining to this is overshadowed by the fact that there is a conglomerate with a mentality of semi-conscious consumerism consisting of everyone alive. Our sociological landscape is for an every expanding, global business capitalizing on everything.
Which is why this recklessness based on sheer arrogance alone is just plain wrong.


maffoo wrote:

I think that there are a few "core" morals that are constant, however in general what is seen as moral or immoral varies over time and between societies. For example, we look at slavery in horror, but for thousands of years it was considered morally acceptable.

Even with behaviours that society defines in general as wrong or immoral, there are grey areas. Is it wrong for example to steal food to feed your starving family? Some might say it's fine to do so, but what if that theft then pushed someone else into starvation and poverty? There is no definite, black and white answer, and it would depend on the circumstances and the individual perspectives. Which I would argue is where law comes in, with (in principle at least) the State acting through its legal system as an independent moral arbitrator.
However, the nature of the human laws is such that they are both a reaction and reflection of human society. Thus unfortunately, it's forever a backward-looking system of consequential reasoning. Now if we can somehow honestly admitting to ourselves of our own wrongdoings, this system would have had a smoother information aggregation process of self-correction. Yet our limited consciousness on long-term problem-solving, can get very easily distracted by addictive sort-term desires. And our modern society is making such distraction very addicting, through the use of powerful medias as a means for manufacturing consent, by itself further filter out our already biased human societal preferences.
Posted 5/8/11
Simple answer:


No.
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