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Re: Morality & God

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  • james tan
    thanks swm, for providing a objective standard for comparison and measurement . i know what is ur view. james. From: swmaerske
    Message 1 of 66 , Jan 1, 2003
      thanks swm, for providing a 'objective' standard for comparison and
      'measurement'. i know what is ur view.


      From: "swmaerske <swmirsky@...>" <swmirsky@...>
      Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
      To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [WisdomForum] Re: Morality & God
      Date: Wed, 01 Jan 2003 18:29:20 -0000

      James said: "i cant decide for swm what his 'better self' should be,
      for i or nobody else has authority over his life except himself."

      I guess at least part of my claim here is that the choice of a better
      self is not merely a matter of complete contingency, that is to say
      it is not that just anything may be chosen. While seeing better
      selves is a matter of insight, on this view, I am suggesting that
      there is a certain reality about this insight that is more than just
      whatever anyone chooses arbitrarily as a "value" (based on purely
      free and contingent choice) or what happens to please the individual
      chooser based on certain genetically inherited predispositions.

      That said, however, I think we can agree that we are talking about
      the same thing in the end.

      I am claiming (rightly or wrongly and I'm not totally convinced,
      myself, that this really resolves the problem) that there is a
      process at work in all of us (by dint of what we are) which involves
      valuing selves and that this involves working with ideas of the self.

      This kind of thinking about the self can lead to an expanded view of
      the self, i.e., that the self is more than just a little "spiritual"
      person or soul inside our skulls or brains. When seen in this way,
      one is naturally moved to an expansive idea of being. Such an
      expansive concept, however, necessarily obliges us to think in terms
      of the range of existence within which we define the self and to
      realize that there is then no distinction between the self that
      perceives and the things perceived (and all those relations that
      obtain between subject and object as a result of perceiving and being

      Such a view of the self leads us then to adopt actions which are
      consistent with this way of seeing the self (and its world). Those
      actions will be: 1) the ones that reflect and/or contribute toward a
      continuation of this realization (i.e., they maintain the self in the
      relationship that is characterized by this kind of awareness); or 2)
      those actions that may be said to lead to such an awarerness. Actions
      that fit the first criterion are better than the second insofar as
      they betoken an already realized self (though they may only be
      something to be aimed for and yet never entirely realized). Actions
      fitting the second criterion reflect an as-yet unrealized self and so
      may or may not be closer to the final object of this spiritual

      The first thing that is going on here is a kind of spiritual process
      whereby being is seen in a way that makes it a matter of the
      interrelationships of all things that may be said to be. Being is
      seen as not any individual being's experiences but as the breadth of
      all experience which encompases all beings.

      At this level, we are engaged in a process which may also be called
      spiritual valuing, that is identifying, choosing and pursuing the
      better model of self (i.e., the least restricted, most fully realized
      form of self).

      Since human actions, insofar as they are more than just physical
      occurrences and thus mere objects to our subjects, entail intentions
      and since intentions arise from, and are aspects of, selves when we
      look at actions in order to value them, we must then look at how they
      contribute to (or detract from) the better self that we have
      identified on the level of this spiritual valuing. Thus morality, the
      valuing of actions has, at its base, the valuing of selves which is a
      spiritual activity. Thus, moral valuing is seen, at bottom, to be
      derived from something that is akin to religion though this is not to
      say it arises from religion in the ordinary way religions like to
      claim it (that is, it is not a matter of divine fiat or legislation
      but rather it is more of a necessary corollary to a certain kind of
      religious view and practice).

      All of this, then, is to say that moral valuing is grounded in a
      fundamentally spiritual experience (although I define "spiritual", as
      Chris previously noted, in a special, though not, I think,
      inappropriate, way).

      How do we argue then about fundamental moral values? We do so by
      arguing about better or worse ways to be in the world, better or
      worse selves. Those who disregard the well-being of others, who
      relish others' pain or discomfort, who turn away from kindness, who
      fly planes loaded with innocents into buildings loaded with innocents
      are those who fail to see and thus "feel" the connectivity with the
      rest of being. They are isolated, alienated from others, which is to
      say that they have more restricted, more limited selves. The selves
      they have or want to have are faulty on this view because they are
      separated from the rest of what constitutes self.

      How will they know they are wrong and those who advocate the fully
      expanded and integrated self (and the actions which are either
      consistent with that or lead to that) are right?

      The answer is they won't and no amount of reasoning will "prove" this
      to them. The desire to enhance the self can be manifested in ways
      that include bodybuilding, acquiring wealth, gaining power over
      others, etc. Our job then is to show others why none of these things
      really enhance the self and this can only be shown via a careful
      analysis of what it means to be a self in the end. Or through a
      sudden "seeing" on the part of the person involved. Sometimes this
      careful analysis of being-in-the-world is the path to the insight
      about what selves really are and sometimes a person just "gets" it.
      Once it is "gotten" though, it becomes the basis for how one decides
      one's actions thereafter. So, again, while we cannot convince another
      of the value of being moral by mere rational argument, we can seek to
      nurture and share that insight about being itself that leads, as a
      corollary, to the moral choices. In the end, morality is about
      religion afterall.


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    • Robert Keyes
      Hypothesis: Concepts exist independent of Humans. I think the concept of Rational thought exists like Math for instance This cause s many crazy thoughts. For
      Message 66 of 66 , Sep 23, 2005
        Hypothesis: Concepts exist independent of Humans. I think the concept of
        Rational thought exists like Math for instance This cause's many crazy
        thoughts. For one how can a concept exist which can only be recognized by
        the byproducts of Earth's Evolution over Billions of Years. (and what a path
        that was). It is Odd but I still think it is true. Some Concepts Like
        Religion are not real and do not exist like the concept of Rationalism.
        Because Rationalism is Linked to the Physical world it happens to be part of

        Speculating. Now Time for Chess.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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