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Myth And Morality


romansh
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Myths for some are stories that can give deep insights into the human condition.

 

Personally I think they are fine, So long as we don't concretize them and convert them to some literal truth.

 

Similarly for morality and morals. I can't help thinking morality in an absolute sense is an illusion. So when we label something as moral then we can describe it carefully something akin to wise. But this boils down to our "wants".

 

But a morality play in one situation can be a disaster in another.

 

I must admit I am uncomfortable divvying up our world into moral and immoral. This kind of dualism I think is unwise.

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Rom,

 

I like or prefer the word prudent or wise instead of moral. Probably because many refer to it or consider morality in an absolute sense as right and wrong or good and bad which are precepts to regulate behavior or thought which i do not share .

 

I am reminded of a writing attributed to Paul in Corinthians that essentially said. . "All things are lawful to me but all things are not expedient. " and again "All things are lawful to me but all things edify not" and in another place i think he said....... All things are lawful to me but i shall not allow myself to be brought under the power of any. I think he would agree that morals are not absolutes in the sense of right and wrong but rather lessons from which we can judge if they are contributing or useful to our individual or collective goals in life or opposing them. (ie: if i find it desirable or it is my goal to make friends, it would not be expedient to that purpose to be unsupportive of others or be unkind toward others) So while i agree actions may in my view or lessons i have experienced may not be expedient to my goals, i would not classify them as good or bad.... right or wrong... but perhaps wise or unwise according to my experience.

 

Joseph

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But a morality play in one situation can be a disaster in another.

 

I must admit I am uncomfortable divvying up our world into moral and immoral. This kind of dualism I think is unwise.

 

I don't think "morality" equals mechanical dualism with ritualistic beliefs in actions which are "sin" or "not sin". Morality might aswell mean belief in some kind of guidelines or principles. There is a lot of ground between "morality doesn't exist" and that of ritualistic dualism where everything is either sin or holy.

 

Actually, I think the greatest things taught by Jesus are all more or less relative in nature, like "Treat others as you would want to be treated".

 

I personally like the symbolism in the story about the two trees of paradise in the Genesis. One tree offers precise knowledge about good and evil (like ritual morals and commands), whereas the other one seems to offer little concrete answers, just being a "tree of life". But the one with no uncertainty is not the one which keeps man in close relationship with God.

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I don't think there are any 'absolute' morals and things like do not murder, do not steal, etc may be 'good' morals to some but 'bad' morals to others (e.g. is it wrong to steal to feed your family instead of letting them starve?).

 

Nonetheless, morals exist in every decision we make. We make our judgements based on what we think is the 'right' thing to do. So usually we make a choice that we consider 'moral'.

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I don't think "morality" equals mechanical dualism with ritualistic beliefs in actions which are "sin" or "not sin". Morality might aswell mean belief in some kind of guidelines or principles. There is a lot of ground between "morality doesn't exist" and that of ritualistic dualism where everything is either sin or holy.

 

I agree; sort of.

Morality need not be a duality, but if it is not then it becomes a nonsense, As Joseph suggested, and I think you would agree, a prudent action might be considered a moral action. I have no problem with tis viewpoint. But prudence implies an intention, and again I have no problem. But if my intentions are in opposition to society's or perhaps yours and I act on my intentions in a way I consider prudent, am I being moral?

 

I personally like the symbolism in the story about the two trees of paradise in the Genesis. One tree offers precise knowledge about good and evil (like ritual morals and commands), whereas the other one seems to offer little concrete answers, just being a "tree of life". But the one with no uncertainty is not the one which keeps man in close relationship with God.

 

I too like Genesis 3 ... especially 3:22, arguably the second most useful verse in the Bible.

To get back into the Garden of Eden we could stop thinking in terms of good and evil.

Edited by romansh
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Nonetheless, morals exist in every decision we make. We make our judgements based on what we think is the 'right' thing to do. So usually we make a choice that we consider 'moral'.

 

Paul

I think when I am very, very honest with myself, I make judgements based on what I want, Sorry this goes back to the free will thread.

 

Mark Twain\

Where are there are two desires in a man's heart he has no choice between the two but must obey the strongest ...

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Yes Rom, but the decision we make is in line with our 'morals', that is, we find our decision acceptable to our way of thinking and our values.

 

Even if that decision seems on the face of it to be 'against' our morals (e.g. I choose to steal) it is still considered acceptable to us (hence why we made that decision) so it is actually in line with our morals (e.g. I only chose to steal so that I could feed my family).

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Yes Rom, but the decision we make is in line with our 'morals', that is, we find our decision acceptable to our way of thinking and our values.

 

Even if that decision seems on the face of it to be 'against' our morals (e.g. I choose to steal) it is still considered acceptable to us (hence why we made that decision) so it is actually in line with our morals (e.g. I only chose to steal so that I could feed my family).

 

I would say it is the other way around. Our decisions always have a justification or appropriate extenuating circumstances.

 

Ultimately we confabulate a reason, an excuse etc for our actions.

Edited by romansh
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Morality need not be a duality, but if it is not then it becomes a nonsense

 

What about shades of grey? Real life morals aren't, imo, a cases of "right" and "wrong" but rather cases of "How messed up this is in a scale from 0 to 100?".

 

 

But if my intentions are in opposition to society's or perhaps yours and I act on my intentions in a way I consider prudent, am I being moral?

 

Historically these situations are decided by force. Philoshopically, I can't really say much about it.

 

If we try to keep it practical, with some implications to everyday life, such cases are rather rare. Usually, like in case of murderous psychos, the case is not so much that one individual have very different idea of morality, but rather that the individuals are uninterested of following *any* standards of established morality.

 

I think ownership of land is a good historical example, when two cultures with different view on ownership of land encounter (one nomadic, and other one which believes that individuals can own a piece of land), there will be a conflict. But even in those conflicts, to me it's clear that some individuals acted in more moral fashion than others. Like for example, by trying to find a compromise or by trying to make agreements between different views to avoid violence.

Edited by Jack of Spades
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Jack of Spades

What about shades of grey?

50? Are the book and film immoral, "good", prudent etc? Totally in the eye of the beholder. What lessons about prudence can we learn from the film?

 

Real life morals aren't, imo, a cases of "right" and "wrong" but rather cases of "How messed up this is in a scale from 0 to 100?".

Are we arguing for a post modernist/relativist view here? Again if I meet my goals without too much collateral damage is that moral?

 

Historically these situations are decided by force. Yep the winners get to decide whether an action was moral or not. Of course later revisionists might get to revise the history. Philoshopically, I can't really say much about it. And yet it is a philosophical question.

 

If we try to keep it practical, with some implications to everyday life, such cases are rather rare. Usually, like in case of murderous psychos, the case is not so much that one individual have very different idea of morality, but rather that the individuals are uninterested of following *any* standards of established morality.

In everyday life I can go about my life quite happily amorally. To the outside person I could appear to be quite moral. Except of course if a devout Christian might ask me "do I believe in Jesus?" At that point I appear less moral in those eyes, because apparently I can't be moral without the appropriate beliefs.

 

I think ownership of land is a good historical example, when two cultures with different view on ownership of land encounter (one nomadic, and other one which believes that individuals can own a piece of land), there will be a conflict.

This is an interesting one for me. I sometimes listen to native elders speaking of their special affinity for the land or something similar. I was born in Canada, went to the UK at a very young age, spent all my formative years in there and then some. Worked in South Africa for six and returned to Canada for the last thirty years. My ancestors left Africa some 150 000 years ago, give or take. They wandered through Asia and Europe and ended up in the Baltic Sates.

 

We are all nomadic, but on different time scales.

 

But even in those conflicts, to me it's clear that some individuals acted in more moral fashion than others. Like for example, by trying to find a compromise or by trying to make agreements between different views to avoid violence.

Sometimes violence is seen as moral sometimes as not. Neville Chamberlin appeased Hitler to avoid violence to have peace for our time. Was that moral?

 

I think looking back on history it is wiser or perhaps more prudent not to describe events as moral or immoral. Be honest, and just say it does or does not agree with your wants. Describing something as immoral is an opportunity to blame and then forgive. Where in reality there was nothing to forgive in the first place.

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Jack of Spades

What about shades of grey?

50? Are the book and film immoral, "good", prudent etc? Totally in the eye of the beholder. What lessons about prudence can we learn from the film?

 

I wasn't referring to the film of that name. I meant "shades of grey" in sense of seeing more options than just the absolutes (moral action vs immoral action). Like for example, scale from 0 to 100 would be much better. I was referring to the fact that you seem to insist that morality must be decided in a on/off - manner when an action is either moral or not.

 

 

But even in those conflicts, to me it's clear that some individuals acted in more moral fashion than others. Like for example, by trying to find a compromise or by trying to make agreements between different views to avoid violence.

Sometimes violence is seen as moral sometimes as not. Neville Chamberlin appeased Hitler to avoid violence to have peace for our time. Was that moral?

 

I think looking back on history it is wiser or perhaps more prudent not to describe events as moral or immoral. Be honest, and just say it does or does not agree with your wants. Describing something as immoral is an opportunity to blame and then forgive. Where in reality there was nothing to forgive in the first place.

 

"Being honest" is not same thing as "agreeing with you". Just for info.

 

Chamberlains decision was, in hindsight, at least poor judgement of the situation. I don't know what his motives were, and from moral point of view, that's usually what makes a lot of difference. Like for example, was he a peace-loving person, or a coward, or simply a calculating, cynical pragmatist who thought war would be too costly for his other goals and thus wanted to avoid it. Nobody probably will ever know that side of the story, since participants have been dead for a long time and we can only guess.

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I wasn't referring to the film of that name. I meant "shades of grey" in sense of seeing more options than just the absolutes (moral action vs immoral action). Like for example, scale from 0 to 100 would be much better. I was referring to the fact that you seem to insist that morality must be decided in a on/off - manner when an action is either moral or not.

I know you were not referring to the book, but I was. Where is the film on your morality scale and why would some see it as depraved?

 

So what are the 0 and 100 on your behaviourally anchored rating scale?

 

"Being honest" is not same thing as "agreeing with you". Just for info.

I was referring to being honest with oneself.

 

Chamberlains decision was, in hindsight, at least poor judgement of the situation. I don't know what his motives were, and from moral point of view, that's usually what makes a lot of difference. Like for example, was he a peace-loving person, or a coward, or simply a calculating, cynical pragmatist who thought war would be too costly for his other goals and thus wanted to avoid it. Nobody probably will ever know that side of the story, since participants have been dead for a long time and we can only guess.

 

So where was Chamberlain in your behaviourally anchored rating scale? Or does morality even enter into the arena? What about the government that takes a country into war where is that in your rating scale?

 

A few years ago we had a person off his meds hack off somebody's head with a knife on a greyhound bus. Where do we put that on your scale? Recently he got released from psychiatric hospital, people are up in arms so to speak. How moral is it that he should get an early release?

 

What I am actually claiming is actions are not actually moral or immoral and that there is not some duality with an imaginary scale in between. The concept of morality is an illusion if you like.

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