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Re: [existlist] new religion

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  • Bill Harris
    Eduard, At the core of Buddist teaching is the concept of oneness of creation. A modern man who has correctly realised his relative place in this construct,
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 6, 2002
      Eduard, At the core of Buddist teaching is the concept of oneness of
      creation. A modern man who has correctly realised his relative place in this
      construct, could fulfill that Buddist goal of achieving oneness. He would
      accomplish it in an intellectual state, not a contemplative state. One has
      a real basis, the other an imaginary mind set. Religion rests on the
      imagined, the unreal. It is not our future because the construct is not a
      cartoon. Bill
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
      To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 10:21 AM
      Subject: [existlist] new religion


      > Bill,
      >
      > The problem with religion is the religion. My own view on the thing is
      that
      > there is a need for something different which is not only understandable,
      > but also user friendly. Religion of itself is not inherently evil. It is
      > the people who run the religion who are often the instigators of our
      > suffering.
      >
      > I see the 21st century as the era in which a new religion is developed.
      > Something on the lines of eastern philosophy. The oneness of the universe
      > and all that stuff. I hope to be alive long enough to witness its
      beginning
      > ...
      >
      > Stay tuned.
      >
      > eduard
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
      > Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 3:42 PM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Choice and Action
      >
      >
      > James, Icompletely read your wellthought out post. I have often stated a
      > preference for law over morals. We all agree that complete personal
      > freedom
      > is impossible in the real world. Law derived from a democratic process
      > would
      > seem as good as we can do. Theistic religion may take centuries to fade
      > away, it may destroy us in the interum. We must teach science and it`s
      > foundation as the progressive tool of mankind. The weight of personal
      > choice is bearable if an individual can deduce his relative place in the
      > cosmos. It is a huge order to supplant all the misinformation that
      > pervades
      > so much of society. When I saw I am crass I mean I wish to live my life
      > well. I would not martyr myself for some ideal. None of this will
      > transcend
      > this universe, nor will we. The affairs of man may be impossibly snarled
      > so
      > as to make Bookdocs absurdist principles the operant mode. If he is
      > correct
      > then the time and will we expend in attempting to order our situations
      are
      > wasted. I take a middle course, not a martyr nor one bent only on
      personal
      > gratification. You might call me a traitor to my personal freedom as I
      > bend
      > to democratic law, you may call me crass as I pursue my personal
      > wellbeing
      > rather than supposed ideals. I wish to live in the light of the
      possible,
      > that turns out to be a big job. It is an everchanging job. I think it is
      > the
      > job that does the most good. Bill
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
      > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
      >
      > TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
      > existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
    • iambiguously
      Ed, The problem with religion is that, sooner or later, a God gets attached to most of them and they devolve into the mental mush Nietzsche spoke of. As for
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 6, 2002
        Ed,

        The problem with religion is that, sooner or later, a God gets
        attached to most of them and they devolve into the mental mush
        Nietzsche spoke of.

        As for religion [or, for that matter, phlosophy] being or not
        being "inherently evil", that is exactly the sort of thinking I'm
        talking about, eh? The only way you can express something in here
        that is inherently good or evil is if there's an actual omniscient
        and omnipotent vantage point out there somewhere who is ready,
        willing and able to co-sign intellectually for you.

        Look, there must be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of renditions
        of The One And Only Really Really TRUE Truth. Why in the world would
        you go through your days waiting for someone to think up one more??!!!

        Biggie


        --- In existlist@y..., "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@v...> wrote:
        > Bill,
        >
        > The problem with religion is the religion. My own view on the
        thing is that
        > there is a need for something different which is not only
        understandable,
        > but also user friendly. Religion of itself is not inherently
        evil. It is
        > the people who run the religion who are often the instigators of our
        > suffering.
        >
        > I see the 21st century as the era in which a new religion is
        developed.
        > Something on the lines of eastern philosophy. The oneness of the
        universe
        > and all that stuff. I hope to be alive long enough to witness its
        beginning
        > ...
        >
        > Stay tuned.
        >
        > eduard
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@n...]
        > Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 3:42 PM
        > To: existlist@y...
        > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Choice and Action
        >
        >
        > James, Icompletely read your wellthought out post. I have often
        stated a
        > preference for law over morals. We all agree that complete
        personal
        > freedom
        > is impossible in the real world. Law derived from a democratic
        process
        > would
        > seem as good as we can do. Theistic religion may take centuries
        to fade
        > away, it may destroy us in the interum. We must teach science and
        it`s
        > foundation as the progressive tool of mankind. The weight of
        personal
        > choice is bearable if an individual can deduce his relative place
        in the
        > cosmos. It is a huge order to supplant all the misinformation that
        > pervades
        > so much of society. When I saw I am crass I mean I wish to live
        my life
        > well. I would not martyr myself for some ideal. None of this will
        > transcend
        > this universe, nor will we. The affairs of man may be impossibly
        snarled
        > so
        > as to make Bookdocs absurdist principles the operant mode. If he
        is
        > correct
        > then the time and will we expend in attempting to order our
        situations are
        > wasted. I take a middle course, not a martyr nor one bent only on
        personal
        > gratification. You might call me a traitor to my personal freedom
        as I
        > bend
        > to democratic law, you may call me crass as I pursue my personal
        > wellbeing
        > rather than supposed ideals. I wish to live in the light of the
        possible,
        > that turns out to be a big job. It is an everchanging job. I
        think it is
        > the
        > job that does the most good. Bill
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Eduard Alf
        Biggie, My point was that it is time in the 21st century to get away from Gods, or at least ones that others wish to use to condone evil. It is not
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 6, 2002
          Biggie,

          My point was that it is time in the 21st century to get away from Gods, or
          at least ones that others wish to use to condone evil. It is not
          necessarily the case that all religions devolve into mental mush, if any.

          I don't understand your second paragraph.

          Actually there are only a few renditions ... Brahman, Dharma-kaya or
          Tathata, Tao.

          What I see is a further evolution on these lines which it would be nice to
          witness in my lifetime. Why not spend my days in this manner. I cant think
          of a more worth while thing to do.

          eduard
          -----Original Message-----
          From: iambiguously [mailto:george@...]
          Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 6:54 PM
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [existlist] Re: new religion


          Ed,

          The problem with religion is that, sooner or later, a God gets
          attached to most of them and they devolve into the mental mush
          Nietzsche spoke of.

          As for religion [or, for that matter, phlosophy] being or not
          being "inherently evil", that is exactly the sort of thinking I'm
          talking about, eh? The only way you can express something in here
          that is inherently good or evil is if there's an actual omniscient
          and omnipotent vantage point out there somewhere who is ready,
          willing and able to co-sign intellectually for you.

          Look, there must be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of renditions
          of The One And Only Really Really TRUE Truth. Why in the world would
          you go through your days waiting for someone to think up one more??!!!

          Biggie


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • james tan
          mr khadaied, well, i have never gone deep into theological matters, but what my christian friends told me is that jesus did claim something to the effect that
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 6, 2002
            mr khadaied,

            well, i have never gone deep into theological matters, but what my christian
            friends told me is that jesus did claim something to the effect that he is
            god - but i am not about to spend my time debating with them or the muslims
            about this. while it might be interesting to hear a inter-faith dialogue
            between the christian and muslim, it is beside the point of my argument in
            the previous post on this. admittedly, it is true that buddha did not claim
            he is god, (but claimed that he is 'awakened' to the ultimate truth,
            whatever that means). but those theological points are not really the main
            trust of my presentation, and the reason they were brought out is each
            present a kind of 'absolute' in their own rights. also, i have no doubt that
            human and his intellect is not infinite, but within the limit he tries to
            comprehend - that is all he could do, no more or less. but what is not
            comprehended is not about to be explained by the concept of god either - to
            posit god to explain the taste of salt does not really further our knowledge
            of how we are able to taste salt, and at best it is pseudo explaination that
            may only please the more gullible and 'faithful'.

            james.

            From: khadaied <khadaied@...>
            Reply-To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
            To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [Fateha] Re: Choice and Action
            Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 14:15:19 -0800

            Mr James

            Jesus never say that he is God. Budha too never said that he was God. As
            much as I respect yr beliefs that the human mind is superior and that it,
            the mind is the vechile of determination, I must beg to difer as the mind is
            incapable of even explaining the taste of salt










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          • Eduard Alf
            Bill, I agree. The new religion would have to come out of Buddhism ... actually Zen or Ch an Buddhism ... or perhaps neo-Confucianism ... whatever. Something
            Message 5 of 21 , Mar 7, 2002
              Bill,

              I agree. The new religion would have to come out of Buddhism ... actually
              Zen or Ch'an Buddhism ... or perhaps neo-Confucianism ... whatever.
              Something which is not a cartoon.

              eduard
              -----Original Message-----
              From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
              Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 11:59 AM
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [existlist] new religion


              Eduard, At the core of Buddist teaching is the concept of oneness of
              creation. A modern man who has correctly realised his relative place in
              this
              construct, could fulfill that Buddist goal of achieving oneness. He would
              accomplish it in an intellectual state, not a contemplative state. One
              has
              a real basis, the other an imaginary mind set. Religion rests on the
              imagined, the unreal. It is not our future because the construct is not a
              cartoon. Bill
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
              To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 10:21 AM
              Subject: [existlist] new religion


              > Bill,
              >
              > The problem with religion is the religion. My own view on the thing is
              that
              > there is a need for something different which is not only
              understandable,
              > but also user friendly. Religion of itself is not inherently evil. It
              is
              > the people who run the religion who are often the instigators of our
              > suffering.
              >
              > I see the 21st century as the era in which a new religion is developed.
              > Something on the lines of eastern philosophy. The oneness of the
              universe
              > and all that stuff. I hope to be alive long enough to witness its
              beginning
              > ...
              >
              > Stay tuned.
              >
              > eduard
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
              > Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 3:42 PM
              > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Choice and Action
              >
              >
              > James, Icompletely read your wellthought out post. I have often stated
              a
              > preference for law over morals. We all agree that complete personal
              > freedom
              > is impossible in the real world. Law derived from a democratic process
              > would
              > seem as good as we can do. Theistic religion may take centuries to
              fade
              > away, it may destroy us in the interum. We must teach science and it`s
              > foundation as the progressive tool of mankind. The weight of personal
              > choice is bearable if an individual can deduce his relative place in
              the
              > cosmos. It is a huge order to supplant all the misinformation that
              > pervades
              > so much of society. When I saw I am crass I mean I wish to live my
              life
              > well. I would not martyr myself for some ideal. None of this will
              > transcend
              > this universe, nor will we. The affairs of man may be impossibly
              snarled
              > so
              > as to make Bookdocs absurdist principles the operant mode. If he is
              > correct
              > then the time and will we expend in attempting to order our situations
              are
              > wasted. I take a middle course, not a martyr nor one bent only on
              personal
              > gratification. You might call me a traitor to my personal freedom as I
              > bend
              > to democratic law, you may call me crass as I pursue my personal
              > wellbeing
              > rather than supposed ideals. I wish to live in the light of the
              possible,
              > that turns out to be a big job. It is an everchanging job. I think it
              is
              > the
              > job that does the most good. Bill
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
              > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
              >
              > TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
              > existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
              http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              >
              >


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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Eduard Alf
              james, khadaied is correct. Jesus never said that he was God. But regardless of what might or might not have been said, the saying of it is what is written
              Message 6 of 21 , Mar 7, 2002
                james,

                khadaied is correct. Jesus never said that he was
                God. But regardless of what might or might not
                have been said, the saying of it is what is
                written by others. When Jesus was walking around
                on earth, you did not have a CNN reporter taping
                his comments. The same applies to Islam and any
                other religion for which there is some kind of
                written record. The reality is that some
                considerable years after the event, the followers
                of the religion get together and put down what
                they think he/she might have said. And then they
                bless it and declare it to be the word of God.

                As to the taste of salt, it is unfortunate that
                the post does not explain the reasoning behind
                this point. However, no matter what you do, the
                explanation of this taste still remains that of
                humans, not of God. The words of God are produced
                by those who are creating the written record.
                Thus it still is a human explanation.

                eduard

                -----Original Message-----
                From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 11:15 PM
                To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [existlist] Choice and Action



                mr khadaied,

                well, i have never gone deep into theological
                matters, but what my christian
                friends told me is that jesus did claim something
                to the effect that he is
                god - but i am not about to spend my time debating
                with them or the muslims
                about this. while it might be interesting to hear
                a inter-faith dialogue
                between the christian and muslim, it is beside the
                point of my argument in
                the previous post on this. admittedly, it is true
                that buddha did not claim
                he is god, (but claimed that he is 'awakened' to
                the ultimate truth,
                whatever that means). but those theological points
                are not really the main
                trust of my presentation, and the reason they were
                brought out is each
                present a kind of 'absolute' in their own rights.
                also, i have no doubt that
                human and his intellect is not infinite, but
                within the limit he tries to
                comprehend - that is all he could do, no more or
                less. but what is not
                comprehended is not about to be explained by the
                concept of god either - to
                posit god to explain the taste of salt does not
                really further our knowledge
                of how we are able to taste salt, and at best it
                is pseudo explaination that
                may only please the more gullible and 'faithful'.

                james.

                From: khadaied <khadaied@...>
                Reply-To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [Fateha] Re: Choice and Action
                Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 14:15:19 -0800

                Mr James

                Jesus never say that he is God. Budha too never
                said that he was God. As
                much as I respect yr beliefs that the human mind
                is superior and that it,
                the mind is the vechile of determination, I must
                beg to difer as the mind is
                incapable of even explaining the taste of salt










                __________________________________________________
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                Hotmail.
                http://www.hotmail.com




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              • Bill Harris
                Eduard, I know you still believe there is a need for that translational inner reality. I do not doubt you feel that need, many do. I do not, but my life has
                Message 7 of 21 , Mar 7, 2002
                  Eduard, I know you still believe there is a need for that translational
                  inner reality. I do not doubt you feel that need, many do. I do not, but my
                  life has forced me to be a cold bastard and I probably am outside the
                  median group in this regard. Bill
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
                  To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 9:53 AM
                  Subject: RE: [existlist] new religion


                  > Bill,
                  >
                  > I agree. The new religion would have to come out of Buddhism ... actually
                  > Zen or Ch'an Buddhism ... or perhaps neo-Confucianism ... whatever.
                  > Something which is not a cartoon.
                  >
                  > eduard
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
                  > Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 11:59 AM
                  > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [existlist] new religion
                  >
                  >
                  > Eduard, At the core of Buddist teaching is the concept of oneness of
                  > creation. A modern man who has correctly realised his relative place in
                  > this
                  > construct, could fulfill that Buddist goal of achieving oneness. He
                  would
                  > accomplish it in an intellectual state, not a contemplative state. One
                  > has
                  > a real basis, the other an imaginary mind set. Religion rests on the
                  > imagined, the unreal. It is not our future because the construct is not
                  a
                  > cartoon. Bill
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
                  > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 10:21 AM
                  > Subject: [existlist] new religion
                  >
                  >
                  > > Bill,
                  > >
                  > > The problem with religion is the religion. My own view on the thing
                  is
                  > that
                  > > there is a need for something different which is not only
                  > understandable,
                  > > but also user friendly. Religion of itself is not inherently evil.
                  It
                  > is
                  > > the people who run the religion who are often the instigators of our
                  > > suffering.
                  > >
                  > > I see the 21st century as the era in which a new religion is
                  developed.
                  > > Something on the lines of eastern philosophy. The oneness of the
                  > universe
                  > > and all that stuff. I hope to be alive long enough to witness its
                  > beginning
                  > > ...
                  > >
                  > > Stay tuned.
                  > >
                  > > eduard
                  > > -----Original Message-----
                  > > From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
                  > > Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 3:42 PM
                  > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  > > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Choice and Action
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > James, Icompletely read your wellthought out post. I have often
                  stated
                  > a
                  > > preference for law over morals. We all agree that complete personal
                  > > freedom
                  > > is impossible in the real world. Law derived from a democratic
                  process
                  > > would
                  > > seem as good as we can do. Theistic religion may take centuries to
                  > fade
                  > > away, it may destroy us in the interum. We must teach science and
                  it`s
                  > > foundation as the progressive tool of mankind. The weight of
                  personal
                  > > choice is bearable if an individual can deduce his relative place in
                  > the
                  > > cosmos. It is a huge order to supplant all the misinformation that
                  > > pervades
                  > > so much of society. When I saw I am crass I mean I wish to live my
                  > life
                  > > well. I would not martyr myself for some ideal. None of this will
                  > > transcend
                  > > this universe, nor will we. The affairs of man may be impossibly
                  > snarled
                  > > so
                  > > as to make Bookdocs absurdist principles the operant mode. If he is
                  > > correct
                  > > then the time and will we expend in attempting to order our
                  situations
                  > are
                  > > wasted. I take a middle course, not a martyr nor one bent only on
                  > personal
                  > > gratification. You might call me a traitor to my personal freedom as
                  I
                  > > bend
                  > > to democratic law, you may call me crass as I pursue my personal
                  > > wellbeing
                  > > rather than supposed ideals. I wish to live in the light of the
                  > possible,
                  > > that turns out to be a big job. It is an everchanging job. I think
                  it
                  > is
                  > > the
                  > > job that does the most good. Bill
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
                  > > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
                  > >
                  > > TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
                  > > existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  > >
                  > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                  > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                  > ADVERTISEMENT
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
                  > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
                  >
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                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
                  > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
                  >
                  > TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
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                  >
                • Eduard Alf
                  Bill, Don t worry. When I get this thing together, you will like it. It will be an equal opportunity religion; open to even cold bastards. Stay tuned ...
                  Message 8 of 21 , Mar 7, 2002
                    Bill,

                    Don't worry. When I get this thing together, you will like it. It will be
                    an equal opportunity religion; open to even cold bastards. Stay tuned ...
                    but it may take me 10 or 15 years, so don't hold your breath.

                    eduard
                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
                    Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 12:42 PM
                    To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [existlist] new religion


                    Eduard, I know you still believe there is a need for that translational
                    inner reality. I do not doubt you feel that need, many do. I do not, but
                    my
                    life has forced me to be a cold bastard and I probably am outside the
                    median group in this regard. Bill
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
                    To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 9:53 AM
                    Subject: RE: [existlist] new religion


                    > Bill,
                    >
                    > I agree. The new religion would have to come out of Buddhism ...
                    actually
                    > Zen or Ch'an Buddhism ... or perhaps neo-Confucianism ... whatever.
                    > Something which is not a cartoon.
                    >
                    > eduard
                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
                    > Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 11:59 AM
                    > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: Re: [existlist] new religion
                    >
                    >
                    > Eduard, At the core of Buddist teaching is the concept of oneness of
                    > creation. A modern man who has correctly realised his relative place
                    in
                    > this
                    > construct, could fulfill that Buddist goal of achieving oneness. He
                    would
                    > accomplish it in an intellectual state, not a contemplative state.
                    One
                    > has
                    > a real basis, the other an imaginary mind set. Religion rests on the
                    > imagined, the unreal. It is not our future because the construct is
                    not
                    a
                    > cartoon. Bill
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
                    > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 10:21 AM
                    > Subject: [existlist] new religion
                    >
                    >
                    > > Bill,
                    > >
                    > > The problem with religion is the religion. My own view on the thing
                    is
                    > that
                    > > there is a need for something different which is not only
                    > understandable,
                    > > but also user friendly. Religion of itself is not inherently evil.
                    It
                    > is
                    > > the people who run the religion who are often the instigators of our
                    > > suffering.
                    > >
                    > > I see the 21st century as the era in which a new religion is
                    developed.
                    > > Something on the lines of eastern philosophy. The oneness of the
                    > universe
                    > > and all that stuff. I hope to be alive long enough to witness its
                    > beginning
                    > > ...
                    > >
                    > > Stay tuned.
                    > >
                    > > eduard
                    > > -----Original Message-----
                    > > From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
                    > > Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 3:42 PM
                    > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                    > > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Choice and Action
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > James, Icompletely read your wellthought out post. I have often
                    stated
                    > a
                    > > preference for law over morals. We all agree that complete
                    personal
                    > > freedom
                    > > is impossible in the real world. Law derived from a democratic
                    process
                    > > would
                    > > seem as good as we can do. Theistic religion may take centuries
                    to
                    > fade
                    > > away, it may destroy us in the interum. We must teach science and
                    it`s
                    > > foundation as the progressive tool of mankind. The weight of
                    personal
                    > > choice is bearable if an individual can deduce his relative place
                    in
                    > the
                    > > cosmos. It is a huge order to supplant all the misinformation that
                    > > pervades
                    > > so much of society. When I saw I am crass I mean I wish to live my
                    > life
                    > > well. I would not martyr myself for some ideal. None of this will
                    > > transcend
                    > > this universe, nor will we. The affairs of man may be impossibly
                    > snarled
                    > > so
                    > > as to make Bookdocs absurdist principles the operant mode. If he
                    is
                    > > correct
                    > > then the time and will we expend in attempting to order our
                    situations
                    > are
                    > > wasted. I take a middle course, not a martyr nor one bent only on
                    > personal
                    > > gratification. You might call me a traitor to my personal freedom
                    as
                    I
                    > > bend
                    > > to democratic law, you may call me crass as I pursue my personal
                    > > wellbeing
                    > > rather than supposed ideals. I wish to live in the light of the
                    > possible,
                    > > that turns out to be a big job. It is an everchanging job. I think
                    it
                    > is
                    > > the
                    > > job that does the most good. Bill
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • james tan
                    oh i see. james. From: Eduard Alf Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com To: Subject: RE: [existlist] Choice
                    Message 9 of 21 , Mar 7, 2002
                      oh i see.

                      james.


                      From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
                      Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                      To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                      Subject: RE: [existlist] Choice and Action
                      Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 11:51:52 -0500

                      james,

                      khadaied is correct. Jesus never said that he was
                      God. But regardless of what might or might not
                      have been said, the saying of it is what is
                      written by others. When Jesus was walking around
                      on earth, you did not have a CNN reporter taping
                      his comments. The same applies to Islam and any
                      other religion for which there is some kind of
                      written record. The reality is that some
                      considerable years after the event, the followers
                      of the religion get together and put down what
                      they think he/she might have said. And then they
                      bless it and declare it to be the word of God.

                      As to the taste of salt, it is unfortunate that
                      the post does not explain the reasoning behind
                      this point. However, no matter what you do, the
                      explanation of this taste still remains that of
                      humans, not of God. The words of God are produced
                      by those who are creating the written record.
                      Thus it still is a human explanation.

                      eduard

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                      Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 11:15 PM
                      To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [existlist] Choice and Action



                      mr khadaied,

                      well, i have never gone deep into theological
                      matters, but what my christian
                      friends told me is that jesus did claim something
                      to the effect that he is
                      god - but i am not about to spend my time debating
                      with them or the muslims
                      about this. while it might be interesting to hear
                      a inter-faith dialogue
                      between the christian and muslim, it is beside the
                      point of my argument in
                      the previous post on this. admittedly, it is true
                      that buddha did not claim
                      he is god, (but claimed that he is 'awakened' to
                      the ultimate truth,
                      whatever that means). but those theological points
                      are not really the main
                      trust of my presentation, and the reason they were
                      brought out is each
                      present a kind of 'absolute' in their own rights.
                      also, i have no doubt that
                      human and his intellect is not infinite, but
                      within the limit he tries to
                      comprehend - that is all he could do, no more or
                      less. but what is not
                      comprehended is not about to be explained by the
                      concept of god either - to
                      posit god to explain the taste of salt does not
                      really further our knowledge
                      of how we are able to taste salt, and at best it
                      is pseudo explaination that
                      may only please the more gullible and 'faithful'.

                      james.

                      From: khadaied <khadaied@...>
                      Reply-To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                      To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [Fateha] Re: Choice and Action
                      Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 14:15:19 -0800

                      Mr James

                      Jesus never say that he is God. Budha too never
                      said that he was God. As
                      much as I respect yr beliefs that the human mind
                      is superior and that it,
                      the mind is the vechile of determination, I must
                      beg to difer as the mind is
                      incapable of even explaining the taste of salt










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                    • Eduard Alf
                      what do you see??? ... From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@hotmail.com] Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 8:58 PM To: existlist@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [existlist]
                      Message 10 of 21 , Mar 7, 2002
                        what do you see???

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                        Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 8:58 PM
                        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [existlist] Choice and Action



                        oh i see.

                        james.


                        From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
                        Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                        To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                        Subject: RE: [existlist] Choice and Action
                        Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 11:51:52 -0500

                        james,

                        khadaied is correct. Jesus never said that he was
                        God. But regardless of what might or might not
                        have been said, the saying of it is what is
                        written by others. When Jesus was walking around
                        on earth, you did not have a CNN reporter taping
                        his comments. The same applies to Islam and any
                        other religion for which there is some kind of
                        written record. The reality is that some
                        considerable years after the event, the followers
                        of the religion get together and put down what
                        they think he/she might have said. And then they
                        bless it and declare it to be the word of God.

                        As to the taste of salt, it is unfortunate that
                        the post does not explain the reasoning behind
                        this point. However, no matter what you do, the
                        explanation of this taste still remains that of
                        humans, not of God. The words of God are produced
                        by those who are creating the written record.
                        Thus it still is a human explanation.

                        eduard

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                        Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 11:15 PM
                        To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: [existlist] Choice and Action



                        mr khadaied,

                        well, i have never gone deep into theological
                        matters, but what my christian
                        friends told me is that jesus did claim something
                        to the effect that he is
                        god - but i am not about to spend my time debating
                        with them or the muslims
                        about this. while it might be interesting to hear
                        a inter-faith dialogue
                        between the christian and muslim, it is beside the
                        point of my argument in
                        the previous post on this. admittedly, it is true
                        that buddha did not claim
                        he is god, (but claimed that he is 'awakened' to
                        the ultimate truth,
                        whatever that means). but those theological points
                        are not really the main
                        trust of my presentation, and the reason they were
                        brought out is each
                        present a kind of 'absolute' in their own rights.
                        also, i have no doubt that
                        human and his intellect is not infinite, but
                        within the limit he tries to
                        comprehend - that is all he could do, no more or
                        less. but what is not
                        comprehended is not about to be explained by the
                        concept of god either - to
                        posit god to explain the taste of salt does not
                        really further our knowledge
                        of how we are able to taste salt, and at best it
                        is pseudo explaination that
                        may only please the more gullible and 'faithful'.

                        james.

                        From: khadaied <khadaied@...>
                        Reply-To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                        To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [Fateha] Re: Choice and Action
                        Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 14:15:19 -0800

                        Mr James

                        Jesus never say that he is God. Budha too never
                        said that he was God. As
                        much as I respect yr beliefs that the human mind
                        is superior and that it,
                        the mind is the vechile of determination, I must
                        beg to difer as the mind is
                        incapable of even explaining the taste of salt










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                      • james tan
                        mr rahman, in the name of humanity, most ...... i appreciate u taking the interest to join in the debate. it has been fun for me listening to ur views, and i
                        Message 11 of 21 , Mar 7, 2002
                          mr rahman,

                          in the name of humanity, most ......

                          i appreciate u taking the interest to join in the debate. it has been fun
                          for me listening to ur views, and i think i will have some fun replying to
                          u.

                          u asked:
                          >>>Through the suppositions and theories laid out by those names you have
                          >>>quoted, such as satre, heidegger, kierkegaard ? And how were these
                          >>>theories and suppositions derived by them?<<<

                          what are provided by sartre, heidegger, etc are not exactly theories, rather
                          phenomenological description of human consciousness and situation. if u have
                          really understood my post, u would have known that those views by sartre,
                          etc, are precisely about the impossibility of finding ultimate justification
                          for ethics universally valid (other than one's - individual or societal -
                          choices and committment).

                          u said:
                          >>>If none of us believe that we are speaking to you now, does that mean
                          >>>that you don't exist ?<<<

                          ur urge to dispel this notion is understandable; in fact when i wrote that,
                          i am already waiting for someone (in the wisdomforum; but none did; it seems
                          they know what i was referring) to pounce on that. i anticipated this
                          response esp when i did not bother to elaborate what i meant by saying that
                          truth is subjectivity. of course, any man of minimal intelligence & mental
                          development is able to tell that rahman exist even if i don't believe he
                          exist; my disbelief does not make u disappear. common sense. i :) need to
                          elaborate (to entertain u): the category of being of a god and the
                          'mundance' being such as chair, stone and rahman, for examples, are
                          different. of course, if god already exist, my disbelieving in him exist
                          does not make him non-exist. but there is no way to know whether god exist
                          or not other than by faith; i cannot intuit god as i can intuit a chair;
                          ontologically, god does not have the same status as a chair. when i said,
                          "for even a god will cease to be god if he dont believe in him", the full
                          explication de texte is this: one never knows god as one know the properties
                          of say, matter and energy. while it is a objective truth that the chair
                          exist, this knowledge is impersonal. knowing objective, impersonal truth
                          does tell u something about the world, but it does not tell u how to live.
                          what i am to know, and how i am to live, are separate issues; most people do
                          not make that distinction. consider a muslim: he prays 5 times a day, he
                          spends considerable time learning about islam, he learns arabic words and
                          memorise verses from the koran, he wants to go to mecca, the ladies feel
                          obliged to wear the headscarf, all manners of activities center around what
                          they understand to be god's will to them. all these are activities that are
                          intensely meaningful to him; but a non-muslim will not do any of them
                          because it has no meaning at all to him. there are 'truths' which cannot be
                          determined as valid for all men, or even a group of men, but can only be
                          determined by the subjective individuals. these truths, and it is this sense
                          of truth which i meant in the quote, are expression of individual commitment
                          rather than objective detached truth which can be established by any
                          rational impartial observer. belief in god, as i meant it, is a matter of
                          passion (the passion to pray 5 times a day!! for example), not knowledge (no
                          one can prove god's existence logically). if u think i am saying that faith
                          is wrong, then u have misunderstood me yet again; on the contrary, what i am
                          saying is, god is something intensely personal, and not objective; just
                          because i dont believe doesn't mean it is not real to u, and just because u
                          believe doesnt mean it is meaningful to me. (but living in a multi-racial
                          and multi-religious country like singapore, we can respect each other's
                          decision to believe whatever they want to believe or disbelieve, tolerance
                          is we all believe). one cannot prove that god exists; one must simply commit
                          himself to god in the face of the absence of such a proof. it is the manner
                          and intensity of one's belief, and not the object or objective necessity of
                          belief, which determines truth. if u think that god is the kind of issue
                          which can be finally and disinterestedly settled by clear reflection and
                          understanding, u are in illusion. u may not be aware of ur own illusion; ie
                          to be deluded about ur own illusion. god is something that is true only
                          insofar as u believe in him, and ur belief determined not by scientific or
                          philosophical proofs, but by choices and commitment. god either exist or he
                          does not; there is no way we can know empirically. we can, however 'know' he
                          exist by faith - i.e. choice. we can only reason from existence, not towards
                          existence; we do not, for example, prove that a stone exists, but that
                          something existing is a stone. a person who does not believe in allah will
                          not pray 5 times a day and take the trouble to learn arabic - in practical
                          terms, it is meaningless to him, and he will not give it meaning by doing
                          those things; as far as he is concerned, allah does not exist. as far as u
                          are concerned, allah exist. neither provide proofs (it is impossible to
                          prove existence), and both are happy in their own respective worlds.

                          u asked:
                          >>>How do we know for a fact that Hitler, or anyone else who is unable to
                          >>>recognize the validity of the argument against him or her, cannot be
                          punished by an authority?<<<

                          hitler did not recognise the moral authority of the one who punished him,
                          but he did (have to) accept that he was in front of a superior power with
                          enough ability to destroy his third reich. a military might and moral
                          authority is different. i am a non-muslim, but if i am punished by islamic
                          law (say in malaysia or saudi arabia) for staying in the hotel with my
                          girlfriends, i may not recognise their moral authority over me though i am
                          totally powerless to resist their arrest and 'punishment'. punishment as a
                          word do imply that one accept the moral rights of the entity who inflict
                          pain on u. do u know what i am saying? it is a matter of words used, which
                          reflect attitudes. consider the distinction different criminal and traitor:
                          the criminal accepts the value system of his society and intentionally
                          breaks what he recognises to be a valid law. therefore he accept his
                          punishment as a fair and 'natural' consequences of his act. the traitor, on
                          the other hand, rejects the values themselves. he need not break the laws
                          which codify these values in order to be traitor. if he does, he may be
                          caught and punished, but he does not recognise their validity (but he still
                          suffers the punishment anyway whether he accept or not). u may say i am hair
                          splitting here, but there is a difference.

                          u inquired:
                          >>>You may argue that I am falling back on an absolute. But my answer would
                          >>>be : If one sits on a fence on any subject ? Has one come to a conclusion
                          >>>? NO. Therefore has one found the answer to the question he/she was
                          >>>asking in the first place ? NO. Therefore one must make a stand on the
                          >>>matter.<<<

                          well, of course if u are interested in my stance on the matter, i wouldn't
                          mind sharing with u my point of view. but the discussion was not about my
                          views, or anyone's; it was a discussion about the possibility of finding a
                          universally valid normative ethics irrespective of races, cultures,
                          religions, society, countries, etc. it is about finding ultimate
                          justification. are u still interested in my view? i am not sitting on the
                          fence if u want to know.

                          u commented:
                          >>>If he is unhappy with that status quo and chose to leave the status quo
                          >>>but he feels pressured by family/society not to leave the status quo,
                          >>>does that mean that he is subjected to their will ? NO. It means that he
                          >>>chose not to make a choice and remain in the status quo by the act of not
                          >>>making any choice. Whether it is too much to bear emotionally or not, is
                          >>>a subject that only the particular individuals themselves will be able to
                          >>>answer and my opinion is that no science or study of human psychology
                          >>>should base their FACTS on their assumptions on what and why people make
                          >>>or choose not to make a choice...<<<

                          excuse me, but really, there is no such thing as not making a choice. even
                          for what u said about "he chose not to make a choice" is in itself a choice.
                          choosing not to choose. man is condemned to choose all the time. it is only
                          the manner he choose it, and choosing not to choose is one of the manner.
                          what i was saying is, a choice is defined to a certain extent by his
                          situation, and i have learned from my muslim friends that choosing to
                          disbelieve in islam among the malay/muslim community is considered a
                          earth-shaking, sea-boiling decision. one malay friend i know from college
                          was actually disowned by his own parents, ostrazied by his own relatives,
                          and not before he was intensely 'counselled' by islamic authorities from
                          being 'deceived' by the 'evil one'. he was chased out of the house, totally
                          condemned. the chinese families are more 'democratic' in that sense; no one
                          force no one to believe or disbelieve what they want or don't want with no
                          fear of such social repurcussion the muslim faces. not much of a question
                          asked except for curiosity. although it is true that there are individual
                          differences in their ability to cope with such emotional stress, it is a
                          fact that it is a much more dead serious matter for the muslim malays than
                          say a chinese buddhist to renounce his faith, and such 'cultural' and
                          'emotional' environmental factors do have a influence on choices or the
                          process of making those choices, like it or not.

                          u asserted:
                          >>>Unfortunately, the only "authority" that psychologist agree with to have,
                          >>>if any, an effect on the actions and behaviour of a person is his/her own
                          >>>mind.<<<

                          nay, it is more complicated than that. ur rendition on psychology is a bit
                          simplistic. (i have degree in psychology, so i know what i am talking
                          about).

                          u say:
                          >>>However does the fact that a contravention of a law has happened "proof"
                          >>>that the law is void orunsustainable or inappropriate ?<<<

                          of course not. but what i was trying to say is, just because there is a law
                          does not always necessarily mean it is obeyed (with consequences). it was
                          man's freedom that i was talking about, not that the laws are invalid.
                          reading in the straits times i can't remember dated when, teen aged
                          pregnancies among muslim malays in singapore seem much higher than, say,
                          chinese, although chinese are, as a group, generally non-religious. although
                          i wouldn't say there is a inverse correlation between professing in a
                          religion and teen aged pregnancy, the irony attested that professing to
                          believe in a religion (as a independent variable) in predicting behaviours
                          (dependent variable) is not valid and reliable. of course, no one is saying
                          that professing will automatically mean actual practising, and that is
                          precisely my point: the freedom of man.

                          u asked:
                          >>>How does one commit oneself to morality if one is unfamiliar with what
                          >>>one is trying to commit oneself to ?<<<

                          again, the topic is not about individual commitment. i am sure u have urs
                          and i mine, and we as citizen of singapore have our pledge. i am not arguing
                          this. it is a general discussion about the possibility of finding
                          metaphysical validity of ethics other than what is relative to the
                          individual or society.

                          u said:
                          >>>The theory that one's own mind alone is capable of moral actions, without
                          >>>the need for the "forces of authority of good" is a rosy and simplistic
                          >>>view of the whole situation of human morality. It propagates the notion
                          >>>that humans are self-subservient and is not in need of a controller of
                          >>>their actions. Wishful thinking, don't you agree ? The statutes of
                          >>>Singapore and other man-made laws are proof that it
                          is otherwise......<<<

                          no body is saying that society does not need laws. i did not say that, and i
                          am not sure if u are intentionally misreading what i said. and, what is
                          legal is not necessarily moral (vice versa); the post was about the
                          metaphysical validity of morality. the legal aspect is a consensus of
                          society that every body in that society accept.

                          u said:
                          >>I seek only clarifications and friendly discourse. Not to seek any
                          favour, name or glory from anyone of what I have said. So, if I have
                          offended, please forgive me.<<

                          i hope i have clarfied something, and doesn't sound too unfriendly. one
                          thing is for sure: it was fun. and no offense intended too on my part.

                          james.


                          From: "Rizal Bin Abdul Rahman" <Farizal1@...>
                          Reply-To: Fateha@yahoogroups.com
                          To: <Fateha@yahoogroups.com>
                          Subject: Re: [Fateha] Re: Choice and Action
                          Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2002 03:25:24 +0800

                          In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.



                          Mr James Tan,

                          How are you. I hope you have had a good day. I seek to make the
                          following clarifications for a better understanding of your perspective.
                          Therefore, please allow me to begin.

                          > i think the most convenient way of finding absolute and ultimate
                          > justification for ethics & morality is through religion. but what is most
                          > convenient is not necessarily correct.

                          True. What is most convenient is not necessarily correct. What is most
                          difficult is also not necessarily correct, if I may rephrase these words.
                          Therefore, where and how do we find "absolute and ultimate justification for
                          ethics and morality" besides through religion ? Through the suppositions and
                          theories laid out by those names you have quoted, such as satre, heidegger,
                          kierkegaard ? And how were these theories and suppositions derived by them?

                          > dostoyesky said: if there is no god, all things are permissible. clearly,
                          > there is nothing objective about ethics, and i think this for the
                          > existentialist constitute in part the absurd. i believe man is built in
                          with
                          > a strong psychological need for the eternal, the absolute, but yet there
                          is
                          > none; man yearn for foundation, but he is standing on quicksand; all in
                          all,
                          > it is absurd. he wants to know absolutely what is good and bad, but he is
                          > bombarded with a diversity of 'absolutes', in the end he is still reduced
                          to
                          > himself: he still has to choose a 'absolute'. he hopes he could have a
                          guide
                          > to choose, but alas what then is the guide of choosing that particular
                          > guide? he can regress forever in this way, and if he is to live at all,
                          he
                          > has to stop somewhere at some point; guess what, that point is not god,
                          it
                          > is himself. for even a god will cease to be god if he dont believe in
                          him;

                          I felt an urge to dispel this notion. Let me make an attempt......
                          If none of us believe that we are speaking to you now, does that mean that
                          you don't exist ? To suppose that God's existence is dependent on people
                          believing in him in order for Him to exist is similar to suppose that there
                          is no James or Rizal or anyone else in this forum simply because no one
                          believes that the postings posted under a particular name actually belongs
                          to a person named James or Rizal. Therefore if I post an email in this
                          mailing list under the name of Rizal A Rahman and no one believes that the
                          email came from me therefore I do not exist ? Even if all of the people were
                          like the most pious among the people, it will not increase His Kingdom a
                          little bit and even if all of the people were like the most disbelieving
                          among the people, it will not decrease His Kingdom a little bit.

                          > u may judge that hitler
                          > is morally wrong; but he would not recognise the validity of ur judgement
                          > even if u could catch him and blow his head off point blank - he would
                          only
                          > feel his freedom is being interfered by a superior power, his only regret
                          is
                          > his military failure, not moral deprivation. hitler, therefore, cannot be
                          > punished by an 'authority' even though he could be forced to endure pain
                          and
                          > inconvenience that would otherwise constitute punishment.

                          How do we know for a fact that Hitler, or anyone else who is unable to
                          recognize the validity of the argument against him or her, cannot be
                          punished by an authority? Not submitting to a superior power, whether
                          explicitly or implicitly does not exempt a person from acknowledging or
                          disavowing the existence of the "superior power". Either he acknowledges the
                          existence or he says that it does not exist. He and anyone else surely
                          cannot be sitting on the fence on this matter. You may argue that I am
                          falling back on an absolute. But my answer would be : If one sits on a fence
                          on any subject ? Has one come to a conclusion ? NO. Therefore has one found
                          the answer to the question he/she was asking in the first place ? NO.
                          Therefore one must make a stand on the matter. Whether to go left or right.
                          If one stays put at a junction without making a left or right turn or
                          without going forward, does that mean that the person has made a choice ? It
                          simply means he has NOT made a choice. Perhaps to some people, NOT making a
                          choice is a choice. However, not making a choice in response to a question
                          that originates from the person himself is an absurb proposition. For
                          example, I ask myself - Should I stand outside my house or should I stay
                          indoors. I decided not to make a choice. Ultimately, if I was outdoors when
                          I did not make that choice, technically speaking I am already standing
                          outside my house. If I was indoors when I did not make that choice,
                          technically speaking I am already inside. Coming back to the topic, Either
                          Hitler acknowledges the fact that he is bound by a "superior power" or he
                          does not acknowledge that fact. The next question here is - if he does not
                          acknowledge that he is bound by a "superior power", does that mean that the
                          "superior power" does not exist and therefore he cannot be punished by that
                          "superior power" ? It simply means that he chose not to think about it.
                          Whether not thinking about it will cost him dearly or not is a question that
                          will be answered surely on the day when no soul will be able to aid another
                          soul.

                          > it is somewhat akin to a muslim becoming a muslim
                          > because he is born in a strongly muslim family and society, and much as
                          he
                          > could choose not to become a muslim, the severe and intense social
                          > repurcussion that is sure to occur is too much to bear emotionally.

                          My example above-mentioned should apply to this also. If he chose not
                          to
                          make a choice on the matter, and he happens to be born into a strongly
                          muslim family and society, does that not mean that he has made any choice at
                          all or that he was unable to make any choice due to the pressures of the
                          family and society. Equally correctly, can we also say that he made an
                          unconscious decision, by not making a choice, to remain within the status
                          quo? What is his status quo ? He is a muslim. If he is unhappy with that
                          status quo and chose to leave the status quo but he feels pressured by
                          family/society not to leave the status quo, does that mean that he is
                          subjected to their will ? NO. It means that he chose not to make a choice
                          and remain in the status quo by the act of not making any choice. Whether it
                          is too much to bear emotionally or not, is a subject that only the
                          particular individuals themselves will be able to answer and my opinion is
                          that no science or study of human psychology should base their FACTS on
                          their assumptions on what and why people make or choose not to make a
                          choice...

                          > presume man will naturally kill, plunder, rape, molest. traditional
                          > christianity is not so optimistic about man: it explicitly see man as
                          > pathetically unable to resist temptation to 'evil' without the most
                          horrid
                          > of threats, such as burning in hell forever and ever. the freedom that
                          man
                          > have and allowed to have, sartre, nietzsche, kierkegaard and the likes
                          > believe, will not lead to chaos and moral deprivation, but to artistic
                          > sensitivity, deeply felt religion, new conscience. man will, without
                          being
                          > ordered, instructed, forced by man or nature, choose to be humane.

                          Unfortunately, the only "authority" that psychologist agree with to have, if
                          any, an effect on the actions and behaviour of a person is his/her own mind.
                          This theory however does not explain "Who controls the mind then ? " If the
                          mind does not need a control factor for it to work, therefore the next
                          question posed would have to be "Then who determines when the mind should
                          stop functioning - i.e. when we die ?" If we say that it is the mind itself
                          that determines all of this, then the next logical question to ask would be
                          "Then why doesn't the mind tell itself not to stop functioning and to
                          continue on and on and on and on for eternity "

                          > is forced is not necessarily followed also (many religions have very
                          strong
                          > sanction against premarital sex, for example; ironically, what is
                          sanctioned
                          > is not necessarily obeyed - the number of incidents of premarital sex
                          among
                          > those who profess to be in a religion is much higher than those who
                          profess
                          > without religion - this happens in my country but may just be a
                          coincidence
                          > with no strong correlation).

                          Similarly, there are clauses in the constitution that are not being
                          followed. There are people who commit theft, house-breaking, in
                          contravention of the Statutes of the country. However does the fact that a
                          contravention of a law has happened "proof" that the law is void or
                          unsustainable or inappropriate ?

                          > priori is not to take the role of a moral depraved, rather, it is to set
                          > aside invalid justifications and become moral for the right reasons -
                          > because one commit himself. nietzsche's superman or overman is not a nazi
                          > prototype. why should we suppose man will do evil if we remove the forces
                          of
                          > authority of 'good'? is man so degrading?

                          How does one commit oneself to morality if one is unfamiliar with what one
                          is trying to commit oneself to ? How are you to commit yourself to the fact
                          that "We the citizens of Singapore, Pledge ourselves as one united people"
                          when you are unfamiliar with the definitions of what is the concept of unity
                          ? or what is the concept of honouring a pledge ? Therefore, who teaches a
                          person what is the concepts of morality that are correct ? Our own mind ? I
                          beg sincerely to differ ........The theory that one's own mind alone is
                          capable of moral actions, without the need for the "forces of authority of
                          good" is a rosy and simplistic view of the whole situation of human
                          morality. It propagates the notion that humans are self-subservient and is
                          not in need of a controller of their actions. Wishful thinking, don't you
                          agree ? The statutes of Singapore and other man-made laws are proof that it
                          is otherwise......

                          I have included the full text of your email below for anyone else to read if
                          they are unable to follow my postings regarding the matter as I have stated
                          above. May these exchanges bring about better understanding of the matters
                          at hand. I seek only clarifications and friendly discourse. Not to seek any
                          favour, name or glory from anyone of what I have said. So, if I have
                          offended, please forgive me.


                          Rizal Bin Abdul Rahman











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                        • james tan
                          swm, for one, i highly suspect ur average man will think u are a better person than hitler or bin laden on the basis of normative pt of view to which i am
                          Message 12 of 21 , Mar 10, 2002
                            swm,

                            for one, i highly suspect ur average man will think u are a better person
                            than hitler or bin laden on the basis of 'normative' pt of view to which i
                            am committed. but one individual's (or culture, or society, or religion's)
                            pt of view may be too subjective, let me try a route (other than religion)
                            towards a universally valid and definitive moral statement against which i
                            could make 'objective' judgement. i am not sure if chris will think i am
                            taking a step back towards the 'absolute' or 'universal'. i will just drop
                            jean-paul sartre, and will instead pick up charles darwin and maybe
                            merleau-ponty for my purpose.

                            i suspect that evolution has the key to the idea of an ethics that is
                            universally valid. one area that is 'universally valid' is our biology, we
                            have generally the same biological and physiological configuration as humans
                            whether we are muslim, nazis, african, or american, so that qualified muslim
                            doctors could treat a chinese just as well as a fellow muslim or american.
                            in "the merchant of venice", shakespheare, shylock asked, "if u cut me (a
                            jew), would i not bleed just as a christian would? if u insult me, would i
                            not feel just as hurt as a christian would?". and whether the man is a
                            religious teacher, a honourable politican (clinton), monk, ur family man
                            with a loving wife, so long as he is healthy, ALL man would appreciate (very
                            likely desire as well) the 'feminine charm' of a pair of supple, young
                            breasts of a young lady
                            and her long, slender legs doing those catwalks - of course he would not act
                            on his id if his ego and superego is intact (freud). the point is, there are
                            something which is universally valid regardless of race, culture, religion,
                            even time, so long as u are talking about humans. u don't 'choose' to get an
                            erection when u see a striptease by your sweetheart (erection could be
                            offered as a kind of valuing - u say it is good enough for u to 'stand up'
                            and 'applause'); u just get it. u don't 'choose' to feel hurt when someone u
                            respect insult u, u just feel u are less of yourself, ur self-esteem just
                            got shaken, if only a little bit or a little while. 'humaneness' could
                            possibly be something that is hard-wired into us, not by choice, but by
                            evolution; just like our sexual desire. it seems it is a fact we All
                            appreciate respect and unconditional positive regards from others, esp our
                            significant others; i think a univeral ethics could be built and constructed
                            on this peculiar fact about the humans. i would suspend my speculation about
                            the dogs, cats and the goldfishes.

                            what i am to say is just speculation. now, kant set out to prove hume wrong
                            by demonstrating that some truths were not based on subjective experience
                            alone. kant proposed that humans make sense of the world by categories of
                            thoughts, such as time, space, causation. he did not deny the the importance
                            of sensory experiences, but he thought the mind must add something to that
                            data before knowledge can be obtained, that something is ur a priori
                            categories of thoughts. i speculate that values such as love, peace,
                            humaneness, sympathy, duty are a kind of a priori categories of thoughts
                            that enable us human to perceive morally. these ability to perceive morally
                            both ourselves and others may have helped us to survive as social animals.
                            and surviving is something that human wants, at least according to
                            schopenhauer (and freud, the life-instinct): in his book, "the world as will
                            and idea", he claimed that the only reality is a universal will, and this
                            will has no other purpose other than to continue itself - to survive. man is
                            a meaning-seeking creature, and the world has no more meaning to the
                            non-existing man (dead).[is it any wonder that man actually project his
                            existential fears into the world, such as positing a heaven or even hell
                            where he would go after death? even a hell where he will be tortured
                            forevcer is better than his total non-existence or oblivion. of course he
                            can always package it in the form of religion - and this explains also why
                            religions has such powerful draw for man, no matter what is his academic
                            qualification or social or financial status - it is the only entity or
                            construct that answer to his existential needs]. we all want to live and
                            survive on, and our will arises from that. morality has her part to play in
                            that will.

                            but why bother to perceive morally? i believe it has evolutionary values;
                            ie, it serves the function of surviving the human kind. consider the nazis:
                            they may have killed about 6,000,000 jews but these people (nazis) know how
                            to love their own children, relishing the hope that the third reich will
                            last a thousand years - a indication of the correlation between love and
                            survival on 2 pts: 1, their hatred for jews and disregards for others
                            'elicit' a counter-attack and destruction from a superior force, 2, they
                            don't hate their children to want them to survive, ie they 'know' love is
                            important to the survival of humans. darwin talked about the survival of the
                            fittest; but survival can be long termed or short termed. daily lives and
                            normal interaction with others will be impossible without a sense of what is
                            right or wrong. for example, we often hear, how would u like it if someone
                            did the same to u?; leave him alone, he is not doing u any harm; come on, u
                            promised; i will respect u if u respect me. we see these kinds of things not
                            only between individuals (educated or not), but between nations as well; it
                            seems they are all understood and unwritten rules. no philosophical
                            discussion bringing up darwin, sartre, or popper is about to begin when such
                            universal norms are being expected from one nation or individual to another,
                            or "to hell with ur point of view and standard; u have ur commitment and i
                            mine". a war is to break up and we have to 'justify' it to the world,
                            justifying words such as "terrorists", "axis of evil", "corrupt". these
                            words immediately ring a bell among free people of all nations, they
                            immeidately know that some violation of universal human decency has
                            occurred. bush kept stressing that islam is a religion of peace, his war is
                            against terrorist, so that on the one hand he is morally justified among
                            free countries to destroy al-queda and teleban in the eyes of most people in
                            the world, on the other hand he is appealing to the universal notion that
                            peace is a acceptable value in an attempt to defend islam; i guess he
                            wouldn't have bothered to say islam is peace if peace has no value in the
                            eyes of the world, regardless of race, religions, cultures; not least some
                            misled americans venting their anger at american muslims. there is some
                            values that are simply universal, and we may call it as ethics or morality,
                            about which we all really agreed. if there is no agreement, then there will
                            be fights like animals, but they would not argue or try to reason or quarrel
                            in the human sense of the word. when u argue, u try to reason out on some
                            common ground (of what is meant by right or wrong, or common values)that the
                            other person is wrong. there will be no foul in nba if there is no rules to
                            basketball. taking the human race as a whole, there is indeed a human idea
                            of what constitute behaviours that is obvious to all (whether or not he
                            choose to do it is another story); if not, indeed, i dont why smw is more
                            decent than a nazi officer who order children to be buried alive or conduct
                            grisly human experiments or to kill thousands of human everyday. against
                            this backdrop of universal human decency, i believe the nazis or bin laden
                            rationalise their behaviours, ie, putting forth false reasons (with which
                            they convince others, even themselves) to justify their behaviours so that
                            they would not feel the cognitive dissonance as a result of their behavours.
                            they may even have manipulated their 'categories of thoughts' so that such
                            choices and actions are totally consistent with their 'new moralities', so
                            much so that for muslims not to kill americans or jews will not be true
                            muslim, for nazis not to kill jews means impurity in the blood of that
                            german. such manipulation of 'categories of thoughts' is nothing less than
                            brainwashing.

                            when we look at different religions, or cultures, or nations, we see that
                            there are some slight differences in their moralities, but these hve never
                            amount to anything like a total difference. compare the teaching of the
                            jews, muslims, chinese, europeans, greeks, what really impress is the
                            similarity. think of a country where people were praised for betraying their
                            country, or killing the man who has been kind to him, or ... u may as well
                            have 2+2=5. different cultures have different construct as to what is
                            modest, or what is good, or what is kind, but all would want to be modest,
                            good, kind. a japanese may bow, a american may shake hands, but the idea is
                            to greet and respect for both cultures. such is the differences, such is the
                            similarity. men have differed as to whether u should have one wife or four,
                            but they have always agreed that u must not simply have any woman u liked.
                            as for the man who insist that there is no definite moral statement, u will
                            find that even he will appeal to it. say, he break his promise to u, but
                            trying breaking ur promise to him, he will complain, "it's not fair". sartre
                            believed in freedom and dignity of human being, and what are those things if
                            there are no human decency? nietzsche may talked about overman, but i
                            believe what he have in mind is not someone who has military or political
                            victories, but someone who has incredible self-control. someone who
                            overcomes himself, he who masters (through sublimation) all of the beastly,
                            destructive; esp self destructive drives within himself; the all too human
                            passions and fears will lead him to be comfortable and secure rather than
                            creative. hitler is not what he had in mind of his overman. in fact, he
                            intended that the power and strength he lauded were as often as not to be
                            found apart from strength over others.

                            the existentialist is right that there is no ultimate court of appeal by
                            which any moral conception can be justified (other than one's subjective
                            commitment). but what i feel is, morality as a social or human construct
                            does keep him surviving as a species of humankind, and this alone might be
                            enough to uphold it. in the long run, it does not pay to be immoral in terms
                            of individual (or social) happiness, or well-being, physical or
                            psychological (in part, i believe, due to our biological hardwiring that
                            propense us towards morality to be happy, and this particular biological
                            genetic inclination, in turn, decided by the 'wisdom' of evolution).
                            actually, what is more ultimate than mankind surviving? there is no world
                            (no need for ultimate justification anymore) when there is no man. when
                            evolution give us sexual desire, it does not care about metaphysical
                            validity; its concerns is brute and pragmatic: survival of the species. for
                            all u know, morality as a invention of man serve precisely the same purpose.
                            man's wisdom, dictated by evolution, can be instrumental in his survival as
                            a species.

                            james.



                            From: "swmaerske" <SWMirsky@...>
                            Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
                            To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [WisdomForum] Re: Choice and Action
                            Date: Thu, 07 Mar 2002 00:41:23 -0000

                            I guess, James, I feel that there ought to be some way of making
                            definitive moral statements, that this is important within our very
                            human experience. But I admit I am stymied by this issue. I have
                            found no firm philosophical grounding for any of this and religious
                            dogma just doesn't work for me. Certainly an existentialism that
                            endorses pure relativism, as I think you were offering, and which
                            seems to lead into nhilism, doesn't satisfy me either. I am
                            interested in Chris' exposition of morality and values, generally, as
                            a kind of social construct but I am not yet fully convinced. I think
                            even this Popperian view leaves us without the ability to tell people
                            they should not do certain things and should do others. And that, I
                            think, is a critical need or else guys like Osama bin Laden and Adolf
                            Hitler are no worse than the rest of us. And I do have a problem with
                            that. Because if it's so, then why shouldn't we all do what they did
                            if that's what we want to do or if it's in our interest? -- SWM


                            --- In WisdomForum@y..., "james tan" <tyjfk@h...> wrote:
                            >
                            > oh yes, intentionally or unconsciously, i have committed something
                            i have
                            > talked about in the presentation itself: i have projected my
                            subjective pt
                            > of view onto the objective. indeed, at the end of my previous post,
                            i have
                            > presented humaneness as if it is the good, universally valid. that
                            was a
                            > flop, a blunder; it is clear that it is not neutral. it has no
                            basis other
                            > than my point of view. but i am fuzzy about what u meant by: "leave
                            me
                            > unmoved as it (existentialism, as i render it) does not answer the
                            real
                            > question (the content of ethics?)"; if u have in mind that
                            existentialism
                            > should provide a set of moral values universally valid, or even
                            something
                            > remotely what moore has done, i guess existentialism as i
                            understand it is
                            > gonna disappoint u. existentialism, strictly speaking, is not even
                            a
                            > philosophy, rather it is an attitude; it does not provide u with
                            the 'what',
                            > rather it is infinitely more concerned with the 'how'; it is
                            process more
                            > than content. if there is one word that may sum up, it is
                            heidegger's
                            > "authenticity", in the broadest sense of the word, and authentic
                            relative to
                            > each individuals. i am sorry to have introduced that contradiction
                            u pointed
                            > out. u said that chris said morality is a social artifact; well,
                            anything
                            > that is not in the objective is a artifact, or construct, be it
                            social or
                            > personal; it serve a very human function of predicting and
                            understanding the
                            > world for any course of action (independently of the metaphyical
                            validity).
                            >
                            > james.
                            >
                            > From: "swmaerske" <SWMirsky@a...>
                            > Reply-To: WisdomForum@y...
                            > To: WisdomForum@y...
                            > Subject: [WisdomForum] Re: Choice and Action
                            > Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 01:31:16 -0000
                            >
                            > So existentialism, as you have described it, offers us the ultimate
                            > form of moral relativism? And yet I note that, at the end of your
                            > presentation, you talk about man choosing humaneness, when he is
                            free
                            > to choose and when he recognizes that freedom, as
                            though "humaneness"
                            > were obviously a good thing. But without a concept of "good" how do
                            > we know "humaneness" is a good thing? Why is not inhumanity a good
                            > thing then, as well? How can you assume that this is preferable, or
                            > at least the more desirable outcome, since there is no basis for
                            this
                            > claim? At bottom, though you argue for moral relativism, you promise
                            > a humaneness of values which, if nothing else, is certainly not
                            > neutral.
                            >
                            > Certainly your argument offers the proposition that a person
                            > espousing what we deem to be "bad" or "evil" will not see himself as
                            > bad, i.e., Hitler and bin Laden would both deny our
                            charactersization
                            > of their views and actions as bad or wrong! And I agree with you,
                            > they would do that indeed! But my question is would they be
                            justified
                            > in doing so? Though your explanation of the Existentialist view
                            > suggests they would, your claim ends with the implicit assertion
                            that
                            > they would not. (At least not if humaneness is to be preferred.)
                            >
                            > And yet you seem to be asserting that they would be justified, if
                            > they did what they did sincerely and out of a sense of their freedom
                            > to make such choices.
                            >
                            > Similarly, Popper, per Chris, would have held they would have been
                            > justified within their own terms of seeing the world, though that
                            set
                            > of terms may be shown, on the Popperian view, to be wrong
                            empirically
                            > (though until it is shown to be wrong definitively, based on the
                            > evidence or a convincing empirically grounded argument, there is no
                            > reason to suppose it is wrong, hence there is no way to argue about
                            > the moral rightness or wrongness of their actions).
                            >
                            > In the case you present, it seems to me you are trying to have it
                            > both ways: you say there are not and cannot be moral standards and
                            > that the only good is to act in good faith, whatever you do, whether
                            > you kill millions wantonly or try to overrun the world, and yet, in
                            > the same presentation, you praise the result of such actions as
                            > leading, in the end, to humaneness, a clearly moral value. That is
                            > you are suggesting that people who act in good faith will,
                            > ultimately, choose not to wantonly destroy millions or to overrun
                            the
                            > world. In an argument based on contradiction and paradox, such as
                            > Existentialism seems to love, I guess this makes sense. But it
                            > clearly doesn't stand up to careful analysis of what has been said.
                            >
                            > I do agree with you that religion is one of the historical bulwarks
                            > of morality though I think morality may actually pre-exist religion,
                            > or at least religion as we understand it today. Certainly, a
                            morality
                            > that depends on a particular religious belief is highly problematic
                            > and suspect. In fact I think, like Chris and his idol, Popper, that
                            > morality is a social artifact, though I'm not sure I can agree with
                            > their ultimate formulation of it. But, certainly, Existentialism as
                            > you've sketched it out, while sounding intriguing for all its
                            > apparent contradictions and mysteriously obscure formulations,
                            leaves
                            > me unmoved as it does not answer the real questions. In fact, it's
                            > clear to me that the moral premises that concern us in these sorts
                            of
                            > discussions are already embedded quite deeply in the bedrock of the
                            > Existentialist argument and are there to be mined by the careful
                            > prospector.
                            >
                            > SWM
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > _________________________________________________________________
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                          • james tan
                            From: swmaerske Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com Subject: [WisdomForum] Re: Choice and Action Date:
                            Message 13 of 21 , Mar 10, 2002
                              From: "swmaerske" <SWMirsky@...>
                              Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
                              To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: [WisdomForum] Re: Choice and Action
                              Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002 02:49:30 -0000

                              I think the question of the reality of rights an interesting one.
                              Note that I was not denying that rights and duties exist. I was
                              trying to say something about their nature, namely that they exist
                              because individuals acknowledge them. My pet cat is unaware that she
                              has any rights and yet one might say that the laws prohibiting
                              certain kinds of cruelty to animals affords her some protection in
                              our society and thus, in a sense, some rights. If she cannot
                              recognize or enforce them by taking me to court or invoking
                              governmental oversight and authority, certainly my neighbor could if
                              he caught me torturing her or otherwise treating her inhumanely.

                              My point is that rights exist as artifacts of society. They are a
                              social phenomenon. If one takes away society, rights go as well. In
                              the case of Gyges' ring, it is not a question of whether he is a
                              thief (as you seem to be suggesting) but 1) whether the ring has
                              enabled him to step outside of society and 2) whether he now feels
                              that he has stepped outside of it and is no longer bound to act
                              within the realm of society's rules.

                              Today I put in a little time reading a philsopher named Alexander
                              Sesonske. He is little known and did not make a huge contribution to
                              the world's philosophical opus, as I recall. But his little book,
                              Value and Obligation, is an interesting (if rather dry) one. He
                              suggests in it that moral valuing has two components: valuing and
                              obligation (should have figured, huh, from the title?). He argues
                              that valuing words in the English language can be used in both
                              senses, in most cases, but not in all cases. Therefore he concludes
                              that the two functions, "value" and "obligation" are largely
                              different. But he views them as co-equal. (Haven't finished the book
                              yet so I don't know how it turns out!)

                              After doing a little thinking about his points I have concluded that
                              they are not co-equal. I think the valuing function precedes the duty
                              function. In other words, it seems to me that the concept of rights
                              (the corollary of obligations and duties) is very clearly an artifact
                              of social entities. Societies exist because individuals come together
                              to cooperate. In the context of such cooperation, systems of rights
                              and duties arise between social members and may become quite
                              sophisticated. But if you take the individual out of the social
                              context, these things (rights and duties) evaporate. Now when an
                              individual remains physically within a society and chooses to break
                              these ties, to no longer follow the rules, he or she becomes a threat
                              to the integrity and very viability of the social entity. Therefore,
                              either implicitly (through religion and taboo) or explicitly (through
                              legislation of leaders or assemblages), society acts to enforce these
                              rules.

                              Valuing, on the other hand, is inherent in our mode of rational
                              thinking about our world (that is we couldn't do very much if we
                              didn't have the ability to distinguish between better and worse aims
                              to pursue, or things to do). Thus, while rights and duties arise as a
                              consequence of our social institutions, valuing is already embedded
                              in our language which makes the kind of relations which define human
                              societies possible in the first place.

                              I would argue further that the decision to adhere to certain rights
                              and duties, for instance, and to disregard others, is based on a
                              person's decision that doing so will or won't help to sustain a
                              particular society and its viewpoint. Therefore, the individual
                              decides that doing so is a good thing and therefore acts to sustain
                              that society by accepting the rights and duties that come with being
                              in it. So valuing, on my view, precedes accepting and discharging
                              duties (the essential condition for rights to exist).

                              Now this, I think, starts to get to your Popperian viewpoint, unless
                              I miss my guess!

                              Your suggestion has been that Popper argues that this is the basis of
                              morality, if I am reading you right. In other words a system of
                              implicit values (and here I mean standards or principles of
                              behaviour) is inherent in each society. One cannot argue about these
                              values because they are a social "given". If one participates in the
                              society, one accepts them. That is why ethical rules are often
                              portrayed as god-given. But, in fact, sets of written rules, such as
                              the Ten Commandments, do not initiate the existence of such moral
                              codes, they merely present them in a new medium (in writing where
                              before they may have been only recited or consensually acted upon).
                              However, the idea that they come from above evokes the sense of
                              special authority they must have as social givens. Of course
                              different societies offer different authorities. In Chinese
                              Confucianism it's the Mandate of Heaven (the rightful order of the
                              universe), in Taoism, it's the Way (the natural flow of all things),
                              in Buddhism it's the Law of Karma. In the West, it's the Bible or the
                              Koran. The point is that all these societies generate a "tale" to
                              represent the embedded givenness of their fundamental principles of
                              behaviour.

                              Now there will be differences from society to society but given that
                              humans are largely the same and tend to combine in similar ways and
                              develop similar social institutions throughout the world, it follows
                              that there will be great similarities in underlying values. Lying and
                              theft would generally be wrong. Honor and affection generally right.
                              Differences would exist, of course, e.g., some societies will honor
                              aggressiveness more than others, some will countenance cannibalism or
                              polygamy or even suicide bombers while others won't. The point is
                              that the moral viewpoints of these societies will have quite a few
                              similarities but also some differences.

                              Given this, how are we to argue between societies or, in a world such
                              as we now find ourselves in where societies collide so readily, even
                              among ourselves? I think you have been telling us that Popper's
                              formulation, while stating that one cannot argue about values within
                              social frameworks (except on a factual basis, i.e., is this or that
                              thing an example of this or that value?) and cannot argue across
                              societies because the different members cannot "hear" the others'
                              points, that one can still argue about the relative values of the
                              societies themselves and that this is a factual matter worthy of
                              discussion. Thus Popper argues for the "Open Society" and all those
                              values that are inherent in it. Your point earlier was that one can
                              say that bin Laden or Hitler are wrong because their values are
                              inconsistent with this preferred form of society and that one can
                              argue for the relative merits of this society as opposed to the
                              presumed merits of the societies their values belong to.

                              This means, of course, that while we cannot argue about values per
                              se, we can argue about facts which values somehow adhere to. Open
                              societies are better as a matter of fact because they are more likely
                              to advance their members in knowledge and wealth and they are better
                              (more comfortable) to live in, therefore the values that belong to
                              them are the values we should support.

                              Now this also means that there is no reason why we should choose an
                              open society if a better mousetrap came along, i.e, if it could be
                              shown that a closed system like the Byzantines, for instance, was
                              superior, then that's what we should adopt. Or a corporate state that
                              somehow proved more advanced and effective than our sloppy
                              democracies. (In fact, the Byzantines, though they got a rough press,
                              really lasted about a thousand years and were, for most of that
                              period, a singularly successful civilization in the world they found
                              themselves in, for all the oppression and narrow mindedness they
                              espoused. So, on this view, in their time and place, an open society,
                              with its concomittant values, would not have been right for them and
                              therefore one could not have espoused our ethical viewpoints, and all
                              that these entail, in that time and in that place.)

                              Have I about got it, Chris?

                              SWM


                              --- In WisdomForum@y..., "Christopher Bobo" <cbobo@m...> wrote:
                              > SWM commented:
                              > >>They are external in the sense that they
                              > depend on enforcement either through contractual arrangements or
                              > through the oversight of a social authority. Take these away and all
                              > rights go up in smoke. Yet one could argue that we still have
                              certain
                              > moral sensibilities and that these, at bottom, drive and inform
                              right
                              > action. That is, the intention to do no harm to another may not be
                              > enforced (though it may be required in the external aspects of the
                              > actions we perform in certain social contexts) and yet it may still
                              > be laudable and praiseworthy.<<
                              >
                              > Rights are not external in the sense that they require an authority
                              to enforce them before they come into existence. Even in the absence
                              of enforcement, the claimant of a right would still have the claim,
                              and the one who owed the duty would still have the duty. It is not
                              merely our "moral sensibility" that is at issue. The person's whose
                              rights have been violated will feel that he or she has been wrong,
                              even if the law does not recognize their rights. Similarly, the one
                              who owes them a duty will perceive that he or she is causing and
                              injury to the person, even if he or she believes that there is no
                              requirement to respect the other person's rights. Thus, far from
                              going up in smoke in the absence of a contract or where civil
                              authority is lacking, our intuition that rights exists is what fuels
                              our desire to right contracts and to create civil authorities to
                              enforce the existing rights. The facts that rights are pre-
                              institutiotional is borne out historically. In The Declaration of
                              Independence, it is declared that all men have the right to life,
                              liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (In the Declaration of
                              Independence, men were endowed with these rights by their creator,
                              but we need not concern oursevles with the initial supernatural
                              grounding of rights. Even if God falls away as the foundation, that
                              doesn't mean that there is no such thing as a right, any more the
                              denial of the divine creation of the world entails the non-existence
                              of the world.) The fundamental point here is that we experience
                              rights just as we experience the world.
                              >
                              >
                              > SWM also said:
                              > >>Given Gyges ring, would we still be
                              > obliged to honor the rules which rights imply? If not, then the
                              > concept does not yield a justification for the idea of morality. If
                              > we would, then the existence of socially recognized and enforceable
                              > rights doesn't suffice to justify morality itself. I think the real
                              > issue is what is good and how does that drive our understanding of
                              > anything, including the concept of rights and duties. <<
                              >
                              > The ring of Gyges did not prove that Gyges was not a thief, only
                              that it would be hard to catch him at it. Thus, simply because one
                              can get away with not following the rules or recognizing one's
                              duties, does not mean that rules to not exist or that one has no
                              duties. We can easily agree what rights people have reflecting upon
                              what rights we think that we ourselves have. Some fundamental rights
                              we have simply by being a human being with a certain constitution or
                              condition.
                              >
                              > I concede that merely being human entails the existence of some
                              primary human goods, which are goods that people have simply by
                              virtue of being human beings.










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