Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:16 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:29 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm
When I said the universe doesn't "owe" us anything, I mean that in an indifferent universe, one would have no justification of complaining of any lot in life.
Only a universe devoid of life, consciousness, and human minds is indifferent.
Actually, it's only different in what sorts of phenomena are in the universe. But about the legitimacy of those phenomena -- their aptitude to reflect a truth -- there's zero difference.

What I mean is that in a universe devoid of human consciousness, one is owed nothing. But in a universe that has only human consciousness, humans may think they are owed something, but they are still NOT. Their sense that they are owed anything is a mere illusion. The truth remains that the universe itself is not capable of promising them anything, and no injustice has been done them if they get nothing, because there's no objective justice anyway...all that really exists is their errant intuition that there should be. They're just factually wrong.

Only in a universe in which the Divine Consciousness bestows deserving on human beings, so that their intuition that they are owed something is then objectively true, is there any actual basis for a sense that one is owed anything.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm
I do not judge or condemn others,

Really? Are there no actions a person could possibly take, that you would condemn? I find that impossible to believe. You don't seem like a person devoid of a moral compass, however open minded.

If I broke into your house and stole your telly or your car, you would not regard my actions as reprehensible? Or if I were to prey on your children ...
I would regard your actions as extremely stupid, and in this state (South Carolina) probably fatal.
Well, that's the point. You would feel justified in taking action against me, if I did that.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm
... or to assault people in the street, you would turn a non-judgmental eye to that?
I really never quite know what to make of hypothetical cases like this.
Sure you do. We can clear up any details you like here, and make the case as clear for you as you might wish...but the question will remain: is there ANY point at which you will make a judgment?

And the answer is yes. That is, unless you were completely amoral and devoid of any interest, including even a self-interest in your own preservation, which I don't suspect.

And that's the key point. "I'm not judgmental" really only means, "I don't want to judge the thing you are presently pointing out to me," not "I don't have any of my own judgments," or "I don't think I'm justified when I make any."
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm
If I enslaved people, if I burned them alive, if I ate some...none of these things would strike you as worthy of any condemnation or judgment?
I don't know anyone like that.
Not the point. People have done all these things, in real life.

If you did meet one of them, would you have any judgment about what they were doing? I would hope so.
It has nothing to do with tolerance. It has to do with not setting oneself up as the judge of others who are not theirs to judge.
But what about the matters you ARE qualified to judge? If a man enters your home, steals your possessions and is in the act of assaulting your wife and children when you arrive home, are you supposing you, as homeowner, husband and father, should remain "non-judgmental". I'd bet my eye teeth not.
If one is truly a threat to me or mine, my awareness of that fact is a judgement, a practical one, not a moral one, and I'll take any measure necessary to protect myself and mine from such threats.
"A practical one, not a moral one." Well, now, there's a false dichotomy. A judgment is both. It is practical that you remove from your home the person who is stealing from you and assaulting your family...but he is also morally wrong to be doing that. It's not an either-or, it's a both-and there.
There is no doubt in my mind that such individuals are also, "immoral."

Very judgmental.
But what you mean by immoral and what I mean are totally different things.

Moral to me, means conforming to those principles based on the nature of human beings that determine how they must live if they are to live successfully as human beings.

But wait a minute: how does "moral" differ from "prudential"? If you wish to have eggs, it is prudential to buy a chicken. If you wish to be in Denver by noon, it is necessary for you to fly out of Chicago by 9. But neither of these prudential statements is a moral issue.

So if you conflate the two, you're not saying anything by using the word "moral." "Prudence" has only to do with what you must do if you wish a certain "successful" thing to happen. It says zero about whether or not that is a "good" thing. You can use prudential logic to do things that are obviously immoral -- such as, "If you wish to molest a child, you must psychologically groom and deceive her first." That's prudential, and will lead to greater "success as a human being" doing a vile thing...but no way is it moral.
Moral, to you, also seems to be some "social" thing making harm to others the basis of what is immoral.
No, I did not say this at all. You don't actually know what I think "moral" means, judging by your descriptions.
[I have based my assumptions of what your moral view is on what you have written.]
I did not write the things you say, though, so I can't find any reason to think this is true.
If I have mischaracterized your view of morality, please correct me.
Well, that's what I'm doing. I'm not offended, but I can see that you've missed my view widely.

Your chief problem, though, is this prudential-moral division. You seem to think the universe promises you that anything "bad" won't really work for the prudential purposes of "success," though it's very clear from real life that many "bad" or "evil" plans do, indeed prosper much more fully to produce the desired purposes of the actor than do "good" ones. In fact, that's the whole incentive for a person to choose evil -- it does "work" to make you "succeed" most directly in the thing you desire to do. But those desires may themselves be for either good or harmful things.

You see, to speak of a human being as being "successful" is to swallow a whole lot. Either it's to impose your own presuppositions about what "success" looks like, or it's to imply that what a "successful" human life looks like is unproblematic, and everyone "just knows" what it is -- that human beings all understand "success" the same way, or that they should understand it your way.

And if that's not what you're implying, then you're suggesting something far worse -- that you DON'T know what a "successful" human life is, and that you're trusting that whatever "success" is to different people, it's all just going to turn out to be good. And that, too, is manifestly not how things work out in reality.
Wishing you well!

RC
And you, of course.

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:30 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:16 am
What I mean is that in a universe devoid of human consciousness, one is owed nothing. But in a universe that has only human consciousness, humans may think they are owed something, but they are still NOT. Their sense that they are owed anything is a mere illusion. The truth remains that the universe itself is not capable of promising them anything, and no injustice has been done them if they get nothing, because there's no objective justice anyway...all that really exists is their errant intuition that there should be. They're just factually wrong.

Only in a universe in which the Divine Consciousness bestows deserving on human beings, so that their intuition that they are owed something is then objectively true, is there any actual basis for a sense that one is owed anything.
I have no idea how any of that is supposed to relate to the fact that human beings are conscious volitional beings, responsible for their every choice and action. It should be obvious from all I have written, I certainly do not believe any human being is owed anything just because they exist. I despise the evil idea that has been swallowed by almost everyone that individual's have, "rights," to anything just because they were born. No one is owed anything, and no one has a right to anything unless they produce it themselves or trade what they have produced for it.

The desire to have the unearned is the root of all evil. Yielding to that desire makes one believe someone else is responsible for providing whatever it is they believe they are, "owed," or, "have a right to." Taking action on that belief makes one a thief or a parasite. Since nothing required to sustain human life, [food, clothing, housing, medicine, education, health care, personal protection, etc.], exists in this world that is not produced by human effort, those who believe they are, "owed," what they desire must steal it form those who have produced what they desire. Since outright stealing is risky, most of those taught they have a right to the unearned use the government to do their stealing for them, [welfare, subsidies, financial aid, or, "government employment," for example].

If there were such a thing as an, "intuition that they are owed something," it would be a mental defect, no doubt induced by being taught by parents, religion, or government education from the time their brainwashing begins in government-child-day-prisons (public schools) that they are supposed to be loved, and admired, and honored as important and good, and have anything they want, just because they exist. Any idea one has, the source of which is unknown, like, "intuition," or, "mystic insight," is a kind of delusion usually based on some, "feeling," or, "impression," which ignores or bypasses rational thinking.

[Not that it matters, but I do not know a single individual who has a, "sense that they are owed anything," by the universe or anything else. I know many who believe individual's have a, "right," to the unearned, but that is a political view.]

Now you may use language in any way you like, and use words which have your own private meaning, but when others use words, if you choose to understand them, it might be a good idea to know what they mean by those words. I readily admit I have no idea what you mean buy the word, "deserving." When you say, "Divine Consciousness bestows deserving on human beings," what is it that you think is being bestowed?

"Deserving," as I, and the entire rest of the world, (except you and others who may be privy to your private meaning of the word) is something that cannot be bestowed on anyone.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
tr.v. deserved, deserving, deserves
To be worthy of; merit: She deserves a raise. He deserves to be treated with respect. See Synonyms at earn.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
tr.v. earned, earn·ing, earns
1. To gain especially for the performance of service, labor, or work: earned money by mowing lawns.
2. To acquire or deserve as a result of effort or action: She earned a reputation as a hard worker.

Synonyms: earn, deserve, merit, rate1, win
These verbs mean to gain as a result of one's behavior or effort: earns a large salary; deserves our thanks; a suggestion that merits consideration; an event that rates a mention in the news; a candidate who won wide support.
No one deserves anything they have not merited or earned by their own effort. No one, not another individual, or agent, or organization, or God can bestow, "deserving," on anyone, because deserving means something resulting from what one has done.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm
If one is truly a threat to me or mine, my awareness of that fact is a judgement, a practical one, not a moral one, and I'll take any measure necessary to protect myself and mine from such threats.
"A practical one, not a moral one." Well, now, there's a false dichotomy. A judgment is both. It is practical that you remove from your home the person who is stealing from you and assaulting your family...but he is also morally wrong to be doing that.
When a rabid dog threatens one of my children and I choose to shoot it, is my judgement the dog is dangerous a moral judgement? I do not judge the dog I've just shot immoral, and I do not judge the rapist I've just shot as immoral. He no doubt is immoral, but it is not his threat to me that makes him immoral, but what he has done to himself.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm
But wait a minute: how does "moral" differ from "prudential"? If you wish to have eggs, it is prudential to buy a chicken. If you wish to be in Denver by noon, it is necessary for you to fly out of Chicago by 9. But neither of these prudential statements is a moral issue.
"Prudent," which only means being careful and discreet in one's choices and actions hardly covers what I mean, but would certainly be included. If one chooses to survive, making wrong choices certainly won't succeed. Choosing and acting with indiscretion is immoral, because the objective of moral principles is human success, not human suffering and failure. I seriously doubt that having eggs is a requirement for successful human life, and am certain buying a chicken is rarely the best way to have eggs. What you have described is not even prudence.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm
So if you conflate the two, you're not saying anything by using the word "moral." "Prudence" has only to do with what you must do if you wish a certain "successful" thing to happen. It says zero about whether or not that is a "good" thing. You can use prudential logic to do things that are obviously immoral -- such as, "If you wish to molest a child, you must psychologically groom and deceive her first."
I really don't care what word is used. Both, "moral," and, "ethical," have become loaded terms, used mostly to put over someone's personal ideology or to repudiate the objectivity of those principles that determine how humans must think, choose, and live if they are to be fully human. If one's objective is to be the best human being one can be, molesting children could not possibly be a "prudent" means to that end.

If either word, "moral," or, "ethical," means anything other than those principles by which a human being must live to successfully be and achieve all he possibly can and to enjoy his life as much as is possible, I have no interest in either morality or ethics. There is nothing more evil than that which takes precedence over any individual's own life, success, and happiness.

I certainly hope you understand by now I have no such idea as the universe owing anyone anything. Otherwise, you've almost got it. It is not achieving or having anything one "desires" that is living successfully as a human being. Almost always, short-term, "success," means sacrificing the permanent, (the objective good), on the alter of the immediate to satisfy some feeling, or whim, or wish, or "biological impulse," surrendering the long-term success of achieving and being all one can be as a human being by indulging in those things that, long-term, are self-defeating and self-destructive. Even those things that others mistake for human success, like wealth, fame, celebrity, prestige, influence, power, glamor, and reputation are not, in themselves, successful human life, and are actually failure when they are sought for their own sake, even when achieved. Some of those things can be the by-products of human success, but are never success in themselves. Only being all one can be as a human being is human success and to whatever degree an individual achieves that, they are successful.

Most people do not know what it means to live successfully as a human being, though it is not so difficult to understand as religious teachers, philosophers, academics, psychologists, sociologists, and political ideologists have tried to make it. Every living organism has a specific nature that determines how it must live to survive as the kind of organism it is. The distinguishing characteristic of the human organism is the volitional, intellectual, rational mind, and that determines how human beings must live to live successfully as the kind of organism a human being is. It means using all of one's attributes and ability to achieve and be all one can possibly be as a human being.

If you want to know how a human being must live to survive and succeed, I wrote an article a couple of years ago that addresses two fundamentals: "The Only Path To Success And Happiness: Knowledge And Work."

Since I could not wish anything better for you, I hope you keep learning, working, and enjoying your life!

RC

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:30 pm
I have no idea how any of that is supposed to relate to the fact that human beings are conscious volitional beings, responsible for their every choice and action.
"Responsible"? To whom?

The indifferent universe asks nothing of them. Their society may choose to, but there's nothing that suggests the legitimacy of them doing so, or that the individual is somehow morally obligated thereby. And as for "responding" to themselves, that's the king of circular arguments. There isn't anyone for them to be "responsible" to, in such a universe.
I despise the evil idea that has been swallowed by almost everyone that individual's have, "rights," to anything just because they were born. No one is owed anything, and no one has a right to anything unless they produce it themselves or trade what they have produced for it.

What is this "unless" bit? :shock:

What is it about "producing it oneself" or "trading what one has produced" that creates "a right"? The universe doesn't promise that. It might just as easily turn out to be that you work like fury all your life, produce a bunch of stuff, then have the locusts eat it all. In an indifferent universe, who's to say that's not how it should be?
The desire to have the unearned is the root of all evil.
Whoa, whoa...what's this gratuitous moral term doing in here? What's "evil" in an uncaring universe? Nothing's "evil" there. There is only what "is." And what "is," merely "is." Some things you're going to like, and other things you're not; but either way, it's just not warranted to imagine there's any objective sense in which you can call any of them "evil."

And what's this "earned" thing? It's another gratuitous moral term. You can't "earn" anything in the indifferent universe; you may produce it, or create it, but who says it's "yours" in any meaningful sense? Who says you deserve to have it? "Unearned," then, is not a bad thing; it just means somebody got stuff for free.
Yielding to that desire makes one believe someone else is responsible for providing whatever it is they believe they are, "owed," or, "have a right to." Taking action on that belief makes one a thief or a parasite.
But wait a minute: what's wrong with it? Why ought one not to be what you term a "thief" or a "parasite"? Where is it written, "Thou shalt not do that?"
If there were such a thing as an, "intuition that they are owed something," it would be a mental defect, no doubt induced by being taught by parents, religion, or government education from the time their brainwashing begins in government-child-day-prisons (public schools) that they are supposed to be loved, and admired, and honored as important and good, and have anything they want, just because they exist. Any idea one has, the source of which is unknown, like, "intuition," or, "mystic insight," is a kind of delusion usually based on some, "feeling," or, "impression," which ignores or bypasses rational thinking.
And yet, you have this outraged sense of having earned and deserving what you produced. You're clearly morally up-in-arms about it here. You are saying you are "owed" what you produce; but now you say that the sense that you are "owed" anything is a mental defect.

Look, I'm not disagreeing with you that the government is a bunch of thieves today. And I'm not arguing against your right to own what you produce. But what I'm asking is how, given that the universe is indifferent to these issues, you feel this sense of moral indignation when you find you do not get to hold onto what you have produced?
[Not that it matters, but I do not know a single individual who has a, "sense that they are owed anything," by the universe or anything else. I know many who believe individual's have a, "right," to the unearned, but that is a political view.]
But that's what I'm asking: what is this right to the earned that you think we have? As a Theist, I know why I believe we have that right; but I don't know how you, from your perspective, justify that right. I can't see how you can, in all rationality.
When you say, "Divine Consciousness bestows deserving on human beings," what is it that you think is being bestowed?
Very simple, really.

IF there's a Creator (notice I'm only posing a hypothetical here) then it follows. The Creator made what is in the universe, and decided what role each should play, and what "rights" each should have, if any. So when God instructs humans to be stewards of the earth, He's affirming their right to make proper arrangements with the Earth (not to, say, pollute or exploit, but to nurture and arrange). And in giving things into their care, he's affirming the essential right to the disposition of property. Likewise, when he says "Thou shalt not covet," he's underlining this right, saying that it is wrong to greedily desire to take away from another person what he/she has produced as a result of his/her stewardship.

With those conclusions, I have no doubt you agree -- human beings have a right to property, one you have affirmed very strongly already. But whereas I can see how the Creator can create such a right for us, I do not know how you expect the indifferent universe to have done the same.
"Deserving," as I, and the entire rest of the world, (except you and others who may be privy to your private meaning of the word) is something that cannot be bestowed on anyone.
Well, in the indifferent universe, "deserving" is an illusion, so far as I can see.
No one deserves anything they have not merited or earned by their own effort.
But why do those who have "put in their own effort" somehow get "merit" or "earning" from the universe? You can't be supposing the universe cares who "puts in effort," can you? The one who steals gets more, and gets it with less effort; so what is this "meriting" quality of which you speak? The objective facts seem to count against it, so it's not the case that it's some sort of "law" written into the haphazard arrangements of the universe. From where else can you get this "meriting"?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm
When a rabid dog threatens one of my children and I choose to shoot it, is my judgement the dog is dangerous a moral judgement? I do not judge the dog I've just shot immoral, and I do not judge the rapist I've just shot as immoral. He no doubt is immoral, but it is not his threat to me that makes him immoral, but what he has done to himself.
Well, dogs, obviously, are not moral beings. They operate by instinct only, and you can't blame them morally for what they do. But humans are different. They do have a moral sense. And because the rapist can have chosen to do otherwise, morality becomes an issue. In fact, when he is arrested, one of the questions the courts will address is his state of mind; if he was mentally insane, and so running on a kind of "instinct," he'll be committed to mental health care; if he was in his full mind, then he will get a maximal sentence. But why the difference? Because human beings are moral agents.

You say, "He is no doubt immoral." Again, I cannot imagine what you mean in an indifferent universe, or how your doubt has been eradicated.
If one chooses to survive, making wrong choices certainly won't succeed.
Morally "wrong"? Sure it will. In fact, in many cases it will secure my survival ahead of all rivals. It's practically or strategically "right" -- or as "right" as anything can get, in the indifferent universe.
Both, "moral," and, "ethical," have become loaded terms, used mostly to put over someone's personal ideology or to repudiate the objectivity of those principles that determine how humans must think, choose, and live if they are to be fully human. If one's objective is to be the best human being one can be, molesting children could not possibly be a "prudent" means to that end.
But you've smuggled back in the moral word "best," which requires us to know what is "right" and "good" for humans to do and be. There is no rational entitlement to such language, in an indifferent universe.

A pedophile perceives an end he wishes to achieve. You and I might say it's the "wrong" or "immoral" or even "evil" end, but really, in an indifferent universe, what do these terms mean? He wants "success" in his project. He can maximize and get it by the vile practice of "grooming" victims. He may not thereby be what you and I regard as the "best" person; but he's the "best" at acquiring victims and achieving "success" in his project.

You don't like the word "prudent." Fine: I agree, it is ambiguous; while it is not always a value term, the dictionary allows that it can be one. Let's use the non-moral word "strategic" instead. And let's talk about the difference between what is "strategic" for a chosen purpose, and what is "moral" for it. The pedophile has his strategy effective; but has he got his morality correct?
If either word, "moral," or, "ethical," means anything other than those principles by which a human being must live to successfully be and achieve all he possibly can and to enjoy his life as much as is possible, I have no interest in either morality or ethics. There is nothing more evil than that which takes precedence over any individual's own life, success, and happiness.
The pedophile is going to agree with you completely. He could say those very words.
I certainly hope you understand by now I have no such idea as the universe owing anyone anything.
I don't, I'm afraid.

What I see is that you have a very strong moral sense that "a man has a right to what he earns" is a fundamental precept of the universe -- but I have no idea how you are getting to it, since the universe guarantees you no such thing. You are irate at the government or at thieves and freeloaders for taking what's yours. But nothing is "yours" in this universe. That you produced it is merely a contingent fact.

And it's strategic for others to steal it.
Most people do not know what it means to live successfully as a human being,
Wow. That's a judgment, if ever I saw one.

What makes it okay for us to define on behalf of other people what "successful" means? When did the indifferent universe impart this information to you and me?
Every living organism has a specific nature that determines how it must live to survive as the kind of organism it is.
This is teleology, and in fact, it's very nearly Natural Law Ethics. But in an indifferent universe, teleology is not rationalizable. There is no "specific nature" and "survival" itself isn't a value. What is it about the indifferent universe that cares whether or not any of its organisms survive? Extinctions happen every day.

So to sum up: you've "back doored" teleology and a basic moral right to property. You haven't explained how the indifferent universe provides either or these things, or makes us "bad" in any sense, moral or otherwise, if we choose to ignore them or fail to get them. But you clearly feel very strongly about both. Can you justify that feeling, rationally?
Since I could not wish anything better for you, I hope you keep learning, working, and enjoying your life!
I wish the same for you, of course. You seem a fine fellow. I trust that nothing in our exchange here suggests I think otherwise. I'm just testing ideas with you, in common project, I hope.

I'm particularly interested in this matter of how you get teleology, meaning a sense of the right "end" our "outcome" for human life, and this firm conviction of your right to property, out of a starting point in a totally indifferent universe. I can see no rational line of thought that grants you either; but I'm prepared to be convinced there is something that can do this, if you can put it together for me.

However, in the meanwhile, may your property remain secure and your life be achieving its right outcome. :wink:

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:12 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:30 pm
I have no idea how any of that is supposed to relate to the fact that human beings are conscious volitional beings, responsible for their every choice and action.
"Responsible"? To whom?

The indifferent universe asks nothing of them....
Nothing matters that does not matter to some individual human being, and no individual is responsible for anything but one's own life and is only responsible for that life to one's self. There is no other responsibility.

[Just to head off the obvious question, this has nothing to do with contractual or agreed to obligations. It is only about one's responsibility for one's own life.]

But I already explained this when I wrote: "Only a universe devoid of life, consciousness, and human minds is indifferent. Nothing matters to rocks, rivers, mountains, planets, stars, or galaxies. Things matter only to the living, conscious, and of course to human beings. The teleological begins with life, and is complete in human minds." Without human beings the universe does not matter or have any purpose.

If there were no human beings nothing would matter at all, anywhere at all. It is only because individual human beings exist, are conscious of the universe, must live by conscious choice, and care about their own life that anything has any meaning or purpose. All value, all meaning, and all purpose exist only as values, meaning, and purpose to individual human beings.

If we are going to continue this discussion you'll have to understand, nothing has any value or purpose that does not benefit or further individual human life, success, and happiness in this present world, and anything that would interfere with or take precedence over that is heinous and malignant. I regard anything that places value, purpose, or meaning outside of individual human life and interest anti-human.

There is absolutely no point in appealing to, "the good of society or others," or some supposed, "moral obligation," or the dictates of some authority, earthly or heavenly. If something is not demonstrably beneficial to an individual's own present life, it either has no value or is pernicious.

I know you do not agree with that, which is fine with me, but you have to understand what I mean so you won't have to keep asking what I mean by "evil" and what I mean by meaning, purpose, and values.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
I despise the evil idea that has been swallowed by almost everyone that individual's have, "rights," to anything just because they were born. No one is owed anything, and no one has a right to anything unless they produce it themselves or trade what they have produced for it.

What is this "unless" bit? What is it about "producing it oneself" or "trading what one has produced" that creates "a right"?
Is this really a problem for you? You really don't know the difference between producing what one needs to survive and stealing it from someone who has produced it. You could be just as happy knowing your existence depended on others productive efforts, because you were incompetent (or unwilling) to live by your own effort as you could be knowing everything you are, have, and enjoy were the result of your own intellectually guided effort? You must have some sense of personal integrity that would not allow you to be less than your best? Do you have no values of your own? Does everything that matters to you come from outside you?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
The desire to have the unearned is the root of all evil.
Whoa, whoa...what's this gratuitous moral term doing in here? What's "evil" in an uncaring universe?
Of course you now know the answer to that question. Unless your universe does not include human beings, while the physical universe itself does not care, the universe includes the only source of caring, meaning, or purpose there is, human beings. That, of course, explains what evil is. Evil is whatever is harmful to individual human beings, or interferes with any individual human being's pursuit of his own life and happiness, or is placed above any individual human being's life and interest.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
And what's this "earned" thing? It's another gratuitous moral term. You can't "earn" anything in the indifferent universe; you may produce it, or create it, but who says it's "yours" in any meaningful sense? Who says you deserve to have it? "Unearned," then, is not a bad thing; it just means somebody got stuff for free.
Do you have any idea how that sounds? You really don't see any difference between producing something by one's own effort and stealing it? There is a word used to identify things someone has because they created or produced it, and that otherwise would not exist. That word is property. There is a word used to identify things someone has they have not created themselves but has taken from someone who has. That word is loot. You're saying you see no difference between property and loot. If that is really what you think, I would not spread it around or take any action based on that view, or you will discover the universe full of beings who are definitely not indifferent.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
Yielding to that desire makes one believe someone else is responsible for providing whatever it is they believe they are, "owed," or, "have a right to." Taking action on that belief makes one a thief or a parasite.
But wait a minute: what's wrong with it? ... Where is it written, "Thou shalt not do that?"
You really don't know? If all you desire is the immediate gratification of your desires, whims, and wishes, with no thought to long term consequences or to what kind of being you are, and have no desire to be all you can be, there is probably no way you would see anything wrong with being a thief or parasite. If you cannot figure out for yourself what is truly in your best interest as a human being, if you require someone else to tell you what, "though shalt and shalt not do," you probably cannot figure out why being a thief or parasite is self-harmful and self-destructive. It's a terrible admission though.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
But that's what I'm asking: what is this right to the earned that you think we have? As a Theist, I know why I believe we have that right; but I don't know how you, from your perspective, justify that right. I can't see how you can, in all rationality.
Justify to whom? It does not matter if anyone else thinks what I have produced is mine, I know it is, and I do not need someone else to tell me it is wrong (harmful to me) to have what I have not myself produced.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
Most people do not know what it means to live successfully as a human being,
Wow. That's a judgment, if ever I saw one.

What makes it okay for us to define on behalf of other people what "successful" means?
I don't define what it means to be successful for others, because I cannot possibly know that. If you had bothered to read the link I previously supplied, "The Only Path To Success And Happiness: Knowledge And Work," you'd know I wrote:
No one can tell you what you must do to succeed and be happy. Everybody is different and what anyone is able to do, will enjoy doing, and what will truly fulfill them is different for every individual.

The path to success and happiness is not like a route marked out on a map or a particular highway that automatically leads to bliss. The path to success is marked out by principals beyond which lies failure and disaster, but within those boundaries there are no limits and success will be different for every individual. The path to a life of romantic adventure and joy must be discovered by every individual and no one else can possibly know what it is.

Nevertheless, the principles are certain and apply to every human being because they are determined by reality which no human being can defy and be successful.
I would never attempt to tell others what their diet should be, (a favorite pass time for all sorts of authorities these days), because it is true that what is good food for one is often poison for another, but there are certain principles of nutrition no one can violate and live.

I can say with certainty, if they eat nothing they will die, and if what they eat will not nourish them or is poisonous it will sicken them. In the same way, knowing what is required for human success and happiness I can observe that most people do not even begin to do what is required by reality and their own nature, and, by their own testimony, do not enjoy their lives and have endless problems and sources of unhappiness.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
Every living organism has a specific nature that determines how it must live to survive as the kind of organism it is.
This is teleology, and in fact, it's very nearly Natural Law Ethics. But in an indifferent universe, teleology is not rationalizable. There is no "specific nature" and "survival" itself isn't a value. What is it about the indifferent universe that cares whether or not any of its organisms survive? Extinctions happen every day.

So to sum up: you've "back doored" teleology and a basic moral right to property. You haven't explained how the indifferent universe provides either or these things, or makes us "bad" in any sense, moral or otherwise, if we choose to ignore them or fail to get them.
"'back doored' teleology ...? I couldn't have been more up front with it. I wrote two posts ago:
Only a universe devoid of life, consciousness, and human minds is indifferent. Nothing matters to rocks, rivers, mountains, planets, stars, or galaxies. Things matter only to the living, conscious, and of course to human beings. The teleological begins with life, and is complete in human minds.
Now I really have no idea what you mean when you say, "There is no 'specific nature.'" Do you really believe a cow's nature does not require it to be a grazing animal, and that it could succeed as a cow just as well by eating meat? Does not a fish's nature determine it must live in water to continue to exist? Can a bird decide to start living underwater and remain a bird? Every organism has a specific nature that determines how it must live, including human beings.

I'm also not sure what it means to say, "'survival' itself isn't a value." I know you believe there can be values that have no connection with any actual purpose or consequence, that is, "intrinsic," values. But nothing is simply a value, without being a value for something to someone and there can be no value where there is no life. I thought that was your whole argument. "The universe is dead, therefore nothing matters." It is only to living human beings that anything matters and there is nothing that matters to a human being, no purpose, goal, or objective, that can be realized if they do not survive. It does not matter a pickle that the dead, "indifferent," universe does not care, I care, as do all individual human beings.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
But you clearly feel very strongly about both. Can you justify that feeling, rationally?
You really do not understand me if you think "feelings" have anything to do with anything I think, believe, choose, or do. I regard any opinion or idea based on any "feeling," or any other basis than reason mistaken, and usually, dangerous. What I know is determined only by what my best reason convinces me is true. You may be mistaking my radical view of truth and my love of life for feeling. It's enthusiasm, not feeling.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
I'm particularly interested in this matter of how you get teleology, meaning a sense of the right "end" our "outcome" for human life, and this firm conviction of your right to property, out of a starting point in a totally indifferent universe. I can see no rational line of thought that grants you either; but I'm prepared to be convinced there is something that can do this, if you can put it together for me.
I'm not interested in convincing you, IC. It would not be possible even if I were, because we begin with totally different premises. As far as I can tell, you regard the basis of all meaning, purpose, and value as something outside yourself. I regard the basis of all meaning, purpose, and value my own life and nature as a conscious, rational, volitional being.

I don't think you are going to change your premise and I know I'm not going to change mine.

I'm still interested in what you mean by the word, "life?" In a previous post I wrote: "You describe God as, "living," but what you mean by living is a complete mystery to me. I know what life is, but I wonder what you think it is. So that is the question I would like to address next, if you are so inclined. What is life?

I think the answer to that question is the real difference in our view of everything else. You still do not need to address it, if you would prefer not to.

I know am thoroughly enjoying my life, and I hope you are enjoying yours.

RC

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:12 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:30 pm
I have no idea how any of that is supposed to relate to the fact that human beings are conscious volitional beings, responsible for their every choice and action.
"Responsible"? To whom?

The indifferent universe asks nothing of them....
Nothing matters that does not matter to some individual human being, and no individual is responsible for anything but one's own life and is only responsible for that life to one's self. There is no other responsibility
Then there IS no responsibility. You can't "owe yourself" anything, especially if you are merely the accidental byproduct of a random universe. In that case, it's all a blank.
Things matter only to the living, conscious, and of course to human beings.
This, it seems to me, confuses the claim, "People feel that they want to matter," with the claim, "Human beings do matter." Human beings "feel" a great many things that are not at all true. This is just another of them, if the universe has no opinion on the case.
All value, all meaning, and all purpose exist only as values, meaning, and purpose to individual human beings.
Then they are nothing at all but delusions imaginatively overlaid on an objectively uncaring universe. There's nothing to those feelings.
I regard anything that places value, purpose, or meaning outside of individual human life and interest anti-human.
"Individual human life" itself has no meaning -- no objective value, no hidden teleological implications, no right and wrong of living it, if the universe is an indifferent one. So it is utterly incapable of conferring any meaning on anything.
If something is not demonstrably beneficial to an individual's own present life, it either has no value or is pernicious.
The problem with a claim like this is that it's just LOADED with moral claims that have no justification in an indifferent universe. To make a statement like that, you would have to know what purpose something was "beneficial" for, and that it was already a "good" or "right" purpose teleologically. You'd have to have authority to say what had objective "value," and what did not, and what was "pernicious" to what teleological good of human life.

But in an indifferent universe, life is not FOR anything. It's got no teleology at all. So nothing can be said to be legitimately "beneficial" or "pernicious": only, as it happens, temporarily inconvenient or convenient for the contingent purposes of a being that does not itself matter at all to the universe.
I know you do not agree with that, which is fine with me, but you have to understand what I mean so you won't have to keep asking what I mean by "evil" and what I mean by meaning, purpose, and values.
I keep asking, because you cannot possibly rationalize a teleological purpose out of an indifferent universe; so these words, value, meaning and purpose refer to nothing at all -- in such a universe. They're all teleology-dependent concepts.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
What is this "unless" bit? What is it about "producing it oneself" or "trading what one has produced" that creates "a right"?
Is this really a problem for you? You really don't know the difference between producing what one needs to survive and stealing it from someone who has produced it.
I know the difference because I'm a Theist. But what I can't see is how you suppose you know the difference. :shock: I can't see how you rationalize jumping in an unsupported way from "I made something" or "I traded something" to "I deserve," or to "It is wrong for someone to deprive me of it." Those claims are not apparent from the perspective of an indifferent universe. They're irrationally moralizing, given that the universe neither promises nor secures your alleged right to any property at all.

You were born naked, and you will not be taking a moving van with you to the grave. What then does the uncaring universe guarantee you to possess?

I don't mean that insultingly; I mean that no such claim rationalize with your other claim that the universe is an indifferent place.
You could be just as happy knowing your existence depended on others productive efforts, because you were incompetent (or unwilling) to live by your own effort as you could be knowing everything you are, have, and enjoy were the result of your own intellectually guided effort?
"Happy"? When did the universe tell you that mattered?

Of course, I'm a Theist, so I know why I think what I think. I just can't see how you can justify it, based on your worldview.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
The desire to have the unearned is the root of all evil.
Whoa, whoa...what's this gratuitous moral term doing in here? What's "evil" in an uncaring universe?
Of course you now know the answer to that question.
Not a bit of it. It looks like a total show-stopper to me.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
And what's this "earned" thing? It's another gratuitous moral term. You can't "earn" anything in the indifferent universe; you may produce it, or create it, but who says it's "yours" in any meaningful sense? Who says you deserve to have it? "Unearned," then, is not a bad thing; it just means somebody got stuff for free.
Do you have any idea how that sounds?
Yes. It sounds awful. That's one good reason not to believe in an indifferent universe -- not a sufficient reason, but a good one.
You really don't see any difference between producing something by one's own effort and stealing it?
Of course I do.

I just think that your view has to be gratuitous. Because you can't explain to me at all why the fact that people think such things makes them so. There's a vast gap between "people want to believe" and "the truth." Some of us may well want to believe that producing is not as good as stealing; but some certainly DON'T believe this. How do we prove to them, given an indifferent universe, that they are wrong about that, and we are right?
There is a word used to identify things someone has because they created or produced it, and that otherwise would not exist. That word is property.
And yet, there are people like Communists who believe that personal property is the root of all evil. They think that living off the common avails, rather that personal avails, is the right way to live.

Tell me how the indifferent universe can referee this dispute for us. If it can't, then what makes you right, and the Communists wrong?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
Yielding to that desire makes one believe someone else is responsible for providing whatever it is they believe they are, "owed," or, "have a right to." Taking action on that belief makes one a thief or a parasite.
But wait a minute: what's wrong with it? ... Where is it written, "Thou shalt not do that?"
You really don't know?
Well, in the Bible: but you don't believe in that, do you?
...what kind of being you are...be all you can be...anything wrong with...a thief or parasite.
Every last one of these is a teleology-dependent term. In a universe without teleology, they not only have no moral standing, they have no referent in objective reality at all.

What I mean is this: what kind of "being" am I? What is it I can "be," and why must I "be" it? What is "wrong"? Why is a "thief" a bad thing to be? Why are parasites (which are, after all, a feature of the natural world) "bad," and when did the universe say I'm not allowed to be one?

Remember: I know the Theistic answer to these questions. So you needn't do the rhetorical, "What? You don't know..." and so on. I do know.

What I don't know is on what basis you claim to know these things. So far as I can see, they are incompatible and unknowable within an indifferent universe.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
But that's what I'm asking: what is this right to the earned that you think we have? As a Theist, I know why I believe we have that right; but I don't know how you, from your perspective, justify that right. I can't see how you can, in all rationality.
Justify to whom?
Rationally, to yourself. How do you know what you say you know? I can see you FEEL it strongly, but I can see no objective basis for calling such a feeling "justified." It's irrational, inconsistent and incompatible with an indifferent universe. And I'm taking the basis assumption that all of us have an interest in making our beliefs rational and consistent with reality, not merely emotive and gratuitous.
It does not matter if anyone else thinks what I have produced is mine, I know it is,
How? How do you know you don't just THINK, FEEL or WANT that. Because if that's all it is, you haven't created any rational obligation for it. Somebody else who thinks its not is on an equal rational footing with you, then.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
Most people do not know what it means to live successfully as a human being,
Wow. That's a judgment, if ever I saw one.

What makes it okay for us to define on behalf of other people what "successful" means?
I don't define what it means to be successful for others, because I cannot possibly know that. [/quote]
Well, then, you can't say that people don't know how to live "successfully." If they define their state as "success," then I guess it is, right? Or are they objectively wrong about that? But if so, how do you prove it?
No one can tell you what you must do to succeed and be happy. Everybody is different and what anyone is able to do, will enjoy doing, and what will truly fulfill them is different for every individual.
Big problem. When did the universe tell you "success," "being happy," "enjoying" or "true fulfillment" were real things? How do you know they're not all delusions? In fact, since everybody has different ones, that's pretty much a lock: they're delusions. They have no fixed or objective form, and no two people see them the same, you say.
...no human being can defy and be successful.
You keep making statements that imply you know what "successful" for a human being means. Then you say nobody can tell anybody. So you can't tell anybody how to be "successful."
Every living organism has a specific nature that determines how it must live to survive as the kind of organism it is.
This is teleology, and in fact, it's very nearly Natural Law Ethics. But in an indifferent universe, teleology is not rationalizable. There is no "specific nature" and "survival" itself isn't a value. What is it about the indifferent universe that cares whether or not any of its organisms survive? Extinctions happen every day.
So to sum up: you've "back doored" teleology and a basic moral right to property. You haven't explained how the indifferent universe provides either or these things, or makes us "bad" in any sense, moral or otherwise, if we choose to ignore them or fail to get them.
"'back doored' teleology ...? I couldn't have been more up front with it.
Oh? So you DO believe humans have a teleology? What is it?

And how did the indifferent universe confirm it to you?
Every organism has a specific nature that determines how it must live, including human beings.
"Must"? We don't even have a confirmation THAT it should live. The universe certainly doesn't care if it does. And it cares no more about human beings than about other organisms.
I'm also not sure what it means to say, "'survival' itself isn't a value."
Why is it a value? Just because organisms "want" it? That doesn't mean it's actually good. For example, suppose cancer "wants" to take over you body. And yet you fight it. But why? What makes its "valuing" less "valuable" than yours?
But nothing is simply a value, without being a value for something to someone and there can be no value where there is no life.
Of course. But as I Theist, there's God in whom to ground values. So I have no rational difficulty with that. But not all "life" grounds any "values." For example, you might despise the "values" of cancer cells. Okay. But what makes you "better" than the cancer cells? In an indifferent universe, you and I are just another form of contingent life. We're owed nothing.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
But you clearly feel very strongly about both. Can you justify that feeling, rationally?
You really do not understand me if you think "feelings" have anything to do with anything I think, believe, choose, or do.[/quote]
Good. Then we can cut straight to your rational justification.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:37 pm
I'm particularly interested in this matter of how you get teleology, meaning a sense of the right "end" our "outcome" for human life, and this firm conviction of your right to property, out of a starting point in a totally indifferent universe. I can see no rational line of thought that grants you either; but I'm prepared to be convinced there is something that can do this, if you can put it together for me.
I'm not interested in convincing you, IC.
Shame. I wish you would. I'd like to see if there's any line of argument that a person could use to justify suddenly introducing ideas like values and meaning into a Godless universe. I've never seen one, but I was hoping you might have something fresh on that.
As far as I can tell, you regard the basis of all meaning, purpose, and value as something outside yourself. I regard the basis of all meaning, purpose, and value my own life and nature as a conscious, rational, volitional being.
Well, to sum up: this is your fundamental rational mistake, so far as I can tell. You mistake the claim, "Humans like to believe in valuing things," with the claim, "Things are actually valuable." But the two are completely unconnected rationally, and in an indifferent universe, the first claim is true but the second claim is patently false.
I don't think you are going to change your premise and I know I'm not going to change mine.
It's not your premise I'm having trouble with: I understand it fully. I'm just not able to see any rational connection between your premise "The universe is indifferent to us," and your wanted conclusions, like "Property is my right," or "People's valuing counts for something." They just don't work together rationally. So your argument looks like this to me:

Premise 1: The universe is indifferent, containing no objective values, rights, or meanings. It's impersonal and uncaring.
Premise 2:
Conclusion: Therefore, I am owed my property / or alternately, therefore, when people value something, it becomes valuable.

Well, what the heck is premise 2? :shock:
I'm still interested in what you mean by the word, "life?" In a previous post I wrote: "You describe God as, "living," but what you mean by living is a complete mystery to me. I know what life is, but I wonder what you think it is. So that is the question I would like to address next, if you are so inclined. What is life?
The term "The Living God" is a term that is found in Scripture, a name God ascribes to Himself. It means that God is the originator and source of life, and also that whatever other "gods" people may imagine are not "living gods" -- not gods that are real, are actually there, or have personhood'' of their own.
I know am thoroughly enjoying my life, and I hope you are enjoying yours.
Thanks very much. I am. Life has its ups and downs, but mine is still a blessed life. I wish the same for you, of course. You're a good sort.

But on a morbid note, it's been tough this week. As I was poignantly reminded, it must end. And often when we think it won't.

I went to a funeral and a memorial service for a 19 year old. I had known her since birth, and her parents too.

We might live to 110: but one day, we must all meet God. As Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?"

That's one heck of a question. Good times eventually end. My plan: be ready.

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:05 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:12 am
Nothing matters that does not matter to some individual human being, and no individual is responsible for anything but one's own life and is only responsible for that life to one's self. There is no other responsibility
Then there IS no responsibility. You can't "owe yourself" anything, especially if you are merely the accidental byproduct of a random universe. In that case, it's all a blank.
Why do you make everything so difficult? The idea of responsibility is very simple.

Before you could feed yourself, your mother had to feed you. Before you could bath and dress yourself, your mother had to bath and dress you. When you were through playing with your toys, your mother put them away for you. When you learned how to feed yourself, if you wanted to eat, you were responsible for feeding yourself. When you had learned to bath and dress yourself if you wanted to be clean and not go naked, you were responsible for bathing and dressing yourself. When you were old enough to do it yourself, you were responsible for putting your own toys away. That is all I mean by the word responsible. It means simply that whatever you have the ability to do, if you want it done, you must do it or go without.

The principle applies to all of one's life. If you want to read, you have to make the effort to learn how. If you want to have knowledge, you must make the effort to learn what you want to know. If you want to ride a bike, or use a typewriter, or drive a car, you must learn how. If you want to do some kind of work, you will have to learn how to do it and find an employer who will hire you or become an entrepreneur. If you want to date a girl, you'll have to ask her and decide where to take her, and know how to treat her if you intend to see her again.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
Things matter only to the living, conscious, and of course to human beings.
This, it seems to me, confuses the claim, "People feel that they want to matter," with the claim, "Human beings do matter." Human beings "feel" a great many things that are not at all true.
I can see why you'd be confused. You apparently confuse, "feelings," with knowledge and beliefs. And you are right, people "feel" all sorts of things, which in itself is harmless. It is only when they believe, "feelings," are actually a source of information. It is a very dangerous view. One's feelings are never a source of knowledge about anything beyond that fact they have the feelings. Many, if not most of the the wrong things people believe and wrong choices they make are because they allow their feelings to determine their thinking and choices.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
All value, all meaning, and all purpose exist only as values, meaning, and purpose to individual human beings.
Then they are nothing at all but delusions imaginatively overlaid on an objectively uncaring universe. There's nothing to those feelings.
Nothing would matter in this universe if I weren't alive and conscious of it. But I am alive, and my life is the source of all value and meaning to me, and living and enjoying my life are my purpose and reason for living. If there were no living beings in the universe, nothing would matter because there would be nothing for it to matter to.

You keep talking about an, "uncaring universe," but only part of the universe is uncaring. Only those parts of the universe that are not living are uncaring.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
I regard anything that places value, purpose, or meaning outside of individual human life and interest anti-human.
"Individual human life" itself has no meaning -- no objective value, no hidden teleological implications, no right and wrong of living it, if the universe is an indifferent one. So it is utterly incapable of conferring any meaning on anything.
I'm beginning to understand what you are saying. You do not regard yourself as part of the universe, or, if you are part of the universe, nothing matters to you. Unless you really don't care how you live or have any values or purposes or objectives the fact you are part of the universe means the universe is not indifferent, because you are not indifferent. Neither is any other human being, my friend. Your reasons for regarding your life as something that matters to you may be different from theirs but, right or wrong, their lives mean something to them.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
If something is not demonstrably beneficial to an individual's own present life, it either has no value or is pernicious.
The problem with a claim like this is that it's just LOADED with moral claims that have no justification in an indifferent universe. ...
But I do not live in an indifferent universe. It is swarming with human beings who are anything but indifferent. No individual's claim to their own life and their pursuit of it needs to be justified by something or someone else. Their own life is their justification. I would not make habit to telling others their own life and existence are not justified.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
What is this "unless" bit? What is it about "producing it oneself" or "trading what one has produced" that creates "a right"?
Is this really a problem for you? You really don't know the difference between producing what one needs to survive and stealing it from someone who has produced it.
I know the difference because I'm a Theist.
In other words you believe it because someone else told you. I know it because I am alive, conscious, and have a mind and do not need someone else to tell me what is right and wrong.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
You could be just as happy knowing your existence depended on others productive efforts, because you were incompetent (or unwilling) to live by your own effort as you could be knowing everything you are, have, and enjoy were the result of your own intellectually guided effort?
"Happy"? When did the universe tell you that mattered?
Well, I might understand how someone might not be able to figure our what is right and wrong without someone else telling them, but I cannot imagine being so out of touch with oneself that they could not tell whether or not they were happy without someone else telling them, or whether or not it mattered to them.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
Of course, I'm a Theist, so I know why I think what I think. I just can't see how you can justify it, based on your worldview.
But you don't know why you think what you think, because you don't think it. You only accept what you have been taught. ...and I can't see how you can justify my supposed necessity to justify my beliefs based on your worldview.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
Oh? So you DO believe humans have a teleology? What is it?
Well I wouldn't say I, "believe humans have a teleology," like it were some kind of ideology. Otherwise I've already answered that question, about four times:
Only a universe devoid of life, consciousness, and human minds is indifferent. Nothing matters to rocks, rivers, mountains, planets, stars, or galaxies. Things matter only to the living, conscious, and of course to human beings. The teleological begins with life, and is complete in human minds." Without human beings the universe does not matter or have any purpose.

If there were no human beings nothing would matter at all, anywhere at all. It is only because individual human beings exist, are conscious of the universe, must live by conscious choice, and care about their own life that anything has any meaning or purpose. All value, all meaning, and all purpose exist only as values, meaning, and purpose to individual human beings.

Even if there were a God, it wouldn't matter if there were no human beings for it to matter to.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
And how did the indifferent universe confirm it to you?
I'm sorry for anyone who cannot know anything unless someone or something else, "confirms," it for them. If everything must be confirmed, when something is confirmed for you, what confirms that confirmation is correct. How can you live with this endless regress?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
Every organism has a specific nature that determines how it must live, including human beings.
"Must"? We don't even have a confirmation THAT it should live. The universe certainly doesn't care if it does. And it cares no more about human beings than about other organisms.
Even taken out of context, it is still true. An organisms nature determines what it does and how it does it. A fish must live in water and cannot choose otherwise. A cow must graze and chew its cud and cannot choose otherwise. A human being must consciously choose all one does, and cannot choose otherwise.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
But you clearly feel very strongly about both. Can you justify that feeling, rationally?
You really do not understand me if you think "feelings" have anything to do with anything I think, believe, choose, or do.[/quote]
Good. Then we can cut straight to your rational justification.[/quote]
Justify to whom? I've clearly explained my view. You don't agree with it. I know I'm right about meaning, purpose, and values and I do need anyone else's confirmation or agreement to know it. Your continued insistence that I justify my view is beginning to sound like those who continually insist you, "prove," the obvious. What they really mean is to prove it to them. The only one I need to justify my views to is me, just as the only one you need to justify your views to is you. I'm sure you aren't going to start doubting your own views because I question them.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
I'm not interested in convincing you, IC.
Shame. I wish you would. I'd like to see if there's any line of argument that a person could use to justify suddenly introducing ideas like values and meaning into a Godless universe. I've never seen one, but I was hoping you might have something fresh on that.
Forgive me if that sounds a bit disingenuous to me. You have already decided there is no such argument, and of course there isn't. There is not a language in this world that does not have words for concepts like meaning, purpose, and values to describe the relationship between chosen behavior and consequences. The religions (and some social ideologies) have usurped those words and given them mystical meanings having nothing to do with the original concepts. Since the religious meanings of those words have no basis in reality, there can be no argument for them.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
As far as I can tell, you regard the basis of all meaning, purpose, and value as something outside yourself. I regard the basis of all meaning, purpose, and value my own life and nature as a conscious, rational, volitional being.
Well, to sum up: this is your fundamental rational mistake, so far as I can tell. You mistake the claim, "Humans like to believe in valuing things," with the claim, "Things are actually valuable."
How can you possibly conclude that? I think most human beings would prefer a world without absolute values. They'd much prefer a world where values were disconnected from any real consequences that can be discovered. Values dictated by some authority are much easier to live with than principles one must use their own mind discover (or learn) and to apply to their choices and behavior. Values are not determined by what anyone would like to believe, they are determined by the facts of reality and real consequences of one's choices and actions.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
I don't think you are going to change your premise and I know I'm not going to change mine.
It's not your premise I'm having trouble with: I understand it fully. I'm just not able to see any rational connection between your premise "The universe is indifferent to us," ...
But that is not my premise, it is yours. The universe is all there is and that includes that which is, not at all indifferent, human beings.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
I'm still interested in what you mean by the word, "life?" In a previous post I wrote: "You describe God as, "living," but what you mean by living is a complete mystery to me. I know what life is, but I wonder what you think it is. So that is the question I would like to address next, if you are so inclined. What is life?
The term "The Living God" is a term that is found in Scripture, a name God ascribes to Himself. It means that God is the originator and source of life, and also that whatever other "gods" people may imagine are not "living gods" -- not gods that are real, are actually there, or have personhood'' of their own.
I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here. I do not think you intentionally evaded my question. I already agreed you describe God as living. Of course a person is living, whatever the made-up theological term, "personhood," means. The question is, what is, "living." What exactly is that attribute (or thing, if you think it is) that is called, "life," that differentiates between those things that have life, (called "living,") and those things that do not have life, (called, "non-living")?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
But on a morbid note, it's been tough this week. As I was poignantly reminded, it must end. And often when we think it won't.
I'm sorry you had that unpleasant experience. We lost a son when he was only 26 to cardiac myopathy. That was not pleasant either, but it was not the disaster it could have been, if my wife and I had entertained the unrealistic idea that such a thing was not possible, but we had already accepted that possibility and rationally discussed exactly what we would do if such a thing happened. Death, like all unpredictable events, should always be realistically regarded as possible. Most of the emotional devastation people experience is the result of unrealistic expectations. Nothing lasts for ever and everything changes.

I no longer participate in the empty (and morbid) rituals of death, like wakes and funerals.

Life consists of what you do, not what happens to you. Birth and death are events that happen to us, not something we do. The span of time between birth and death is also not chosen, which makes it irrelevant to life. The measure of a life is not how long it lasts, but how much living one does while it lasts. Anyone who has fully lived the life that is possible to them could not possibly want another. I can understand why those who have squandered the life they have might hope for another, but it is doubtful their life would be improved, even if it lasted forever.

I am totally satisfied with the life I am living which I have fully enjoyed living to the limit of my ability and am totally fulfilled as a human being, and having known the ecstasy of this life, I could not possibly want another.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
We might live to 110: but one day, we must all meet God. As Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?"

That's one heck of a question. Good times eventually end. My plan: be ready.
If God wants to meet me he better do it soon. I don't think my death is imminent, though realistically it could be, (I'm in my eightieth year), but after I'm dead He will have lost the opportunity to meet me, since after I'm dead I'll be exactly what I was before I was born, i.e., nonexistent. I have nothing to lose.

I know you think there is something to lose, but since you also believe you've taken care of that, please enjoy the life you have here and now as much as possible, just in case it's your last shot.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:05 pm
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:12 am
Nothing matters that does not matter to some individual human being, and no individual is responsible for anything but one's own life and is only responsible for that life to one's self. There is no other responsibility
Then there IS no responsibility. You can't "owe yourself" anything, especially if you are merely the accidental byproduct of a random universe. In that case, it's all a blank.
Why do you make everything so difficult?
Because justifying the claim that you have any responsibility at all is very difficult. You may never have realized how difficult it is, but it really is -- if the universe is a place of merely impersonal forces.

I suggest it's actually quite impossible, in fact.
The idea of responsibility is very simple...It means simply that whatever you have the ability to do, if you want it done, you must do it or go without.
Well, I can see I have to make my responses a little more curt and direct, in order to get across the essential points. Put more gently, their real import is being lost. So at the risk of seeming unfriendly, but not intending to be, I'm going to frame my responses with an indecorous directness. Please pardon that, for the sake of a bit more clarity, if you would be so good.

Back to "responsibility." I have to say that that's actually not responsibility. That's mere cause and effect. To be "responsible," one has to be "responsible TO" someone or something. But who's the candidate for that? It's not ourselves, because that's merely tautological: the phrase "I owe myself" makes no sense, unless you are somehow intrinsically valuable in some way, which in an indifferent universe, you simply cannot be. You're a contingent byproduct of an accidental and uncaring universe: you have no intrinsic worth. In actual fact, a fragment of a comet has exactly the same dignity that you have...which is to say, none in particular.

But who else could I be "responsible" to? My society? But they are just a bunch of undignified shards of an uncaring universe like I am. To the universe itself? It does not care. So to whom am I "responding" when I am being "responsible"? And why do I owe them to "respond" in particular ways -- such as granting them property rights, or working for them to earn my own keep? Why not just do whatever gets me the most of what I want, the fastest? Usually, that means some form of freeloading or stealing. And if the government will be my tool in this, so much the better; it will work for me far better than working for myself.

So I don't need to go without, even if I behave "irresponsibly." I can win by cheating. But actually, it's not cheating...it's survival of the craftiest.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
Things matter only to the living, conscious, and of course to human beings.
This, it seems to me, confuses the claim, "People feel that they want to matter," with the claim, "Human beings do matter." Human beings "feel" a great many things that are not at all true.
I can see why you'd be confused. You apparently confuse, "feelings," with knowledge and beliefs.
Not at all. I was suggesting that this confusion was on you part, not mine. I certainly don't think it. But you have several times jumped from the claim that people value things, or people feel meaning exists, or people act morally, to the sort of conclusion that implies that values imply the LEGITIMACY of objective value, that there IS meaning in the universe, or that the fact that people hold particular "moral" opinions means that those opinions have STANDING in the real world.

And there's no way that line of logic connects.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
All value, all meaning, and all purpose exist only as values, meaning, and purpose to individual human beings.
Then they are nothing at all but delusions imaginatively overlaid on an objectively uncaring universe. There's nothing to those feelings.
Nothing would matter in this universe if I weren't alive and conscious of it.
I'm sorry to say, but it STILL doesn't matter.

You are conscious? So what? So's a cat or dog. And a rock is not; but nothing makes the rock less important in this uncaring universe than you are. Living is not more interesting to the universe than dead stuff is: indeed, the universe produces vastly more dead stuff than living stuff. And conscious stuff...well, that's so rare that the universe can hardly be said to bother with it at all.
You keep talking about an, "uncaring universe," but only part of the universe is uncaring. Only those parts of the universe that are not living are uncaring.
THAT we care does not actually matter one whit, if we can't show why it does. It could easily be nothing more than an odd side-effect of merely material forces in the universe, undeserving entirely of any special consideration or status. Why would the universe care about it? And you, you might care, but you are a very temporary and vanishing quantity in this universe...as are we all.

In such a place, what boots it that you feel "caring"? Feelings, as you said, are simply not to be trusted.
I'm beginning to understand what you are saying. You do not regard yourself as part of the universe,
Perhaps. But that depends on what you mean. I do regard myself as, at least in part, a material being. In that sense, you could say I'm "part of the universe." But I also know I'm not JUST "part of the universe," not a mere accidental shard of the Big Bang or some such material event.

I am, and you are, the deliberate creation of the eternal God. We are not here by mere accident, and the universe is not a place that has no teleology, no moral objectivity, and no value other than mere human beings may deludedly imagine it to have. It has real meaning -- meaning that can be investigated and discovered. Objective meaning. And you, RC, you have objective value too.

God wanted there to be a you.
...the fact you are part of the universe means the universe is not indifferent, because you are not indifferent....
Well, that's merely contingent. If the universe itself (outside of human beings) is indifferent, then we could say that there happen to be entities in this universe that, for some inexplicable reason, have an evolutionary quirk that gives them a sensation of not being indifferent. But they will die eventually, and so will their planet and their race and the universe itself; so that's of no particular concern to whatever process is at work in the universe generally.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
If something is not demonstrably beneficial to an individual's own present life, it either has no value or is pernicious.
The problem with a claim like this is that it's just LOADED with moral claims that have no justification in an indifferent universe. ...
But I do not live in an indifferent universe. It is swarming with human beings who are anything but indifferent.
However, you've not shown why their values should count for anything.

Think of it this way. At one time, the old monkey-evolutionists used to insist, mankind had a tail. Now we have a tailbone. The tailbone, they say, has a kind of bump that was is the vestige of the old tail...it's a vestigial tail. The tail was a kind of evolutionary piece of dross...it had a temporary utility when men were monkeys, but became inconvenient as man evolved. It's actually a good thing that it's gone now, they say, as a tail is an impediment to a biped of the kind we are (they never precisely explained this claim, but there it is).

How do you know that these human attitudes...the longing for meaning...the belief in property...the valuing of certain things, and not of others...morality...are not "vestigial tails" of a psychological sort? Maybe they're all things that need to be "gotten past," because they're no longer adaptive.

Now, I don't at all believe that's true. But how, given the rest of the universe has no opinion about these things, do you prove to yourself that your values, your morals, your sense of meaning, and so forth are anything but a "vestigial tail" to which you would do well to become less attached? How do you prove they have objective quality?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
What is this "unless" bit? What is it about "producing it oneself" or "trading what one has produced" that creates "a right"?
Is this really a problem for you? You really don't know the difference between producing what one needs to survive and stealing it from someone who has produced it.
I know the difference because I'm a Theist.
In other words you believe it because someone else told you.
No. I know it because of the kind of reasoning John Locke used to get the right to property established in the first place. You can deduce it directly from our relation to the Creator.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
You could be just as happy knowing your existence depended on others productive efforts, because you were incompetent (or unwilling) to live by your own effort as you could be knowing everything you are, have, and enjoy were the result of your own intellectually guided effort?
"Happy"? When did the universe tell you that mattered?
Well, I might understand how someone might not be able to figure our what is right and wrong without someone else telling them, but I cannot imagine being so out of touch with oneself that they could not tell whether or not they were happy without someone else telling them, or whether or not it mattered to them.
Again THAT it matters TO ME does not imply for a second that it matters objectively, or to the universe in which I live. It's just my own peculiarity, perhaps. There's nothing in the rest of the indifferent universe that guarantees it dignity. Not even other people...who often disagree with me about what should matter.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
Oh? So you DO believe humans have a teleology? What is it?
Well I wouldn't say I, "believe humans have a teleology," like it were some kind of ideology. Otherwise I've already answered that question, about four times:
Only a universe devoid of life, consciousness, and human minds is indifferent. Nothing matters to rocks, rivers, mountains, planets, stars, or galaxies. Things matter only to the living, conscious, and of course to human beings. The teleological begins with life, and is complete in human minds." Without human beings the universe does not matter or have any purpose.

If there were no human beings nothing would matter at all, anywhere at all. It is only because individual human beings exist, are conscious of the universe, must live by conscious choice, and care about their own life that anything has any meaning or purpose. All value, all meaning, and all purpose exist only as values, meaning, and purpose to individual human beings.

Even if there were a God, it wouldn't matter if there were no human beings for it to matter to.
Well, I'm going to stop saying it, because I don't want to become exceedingly repetitive. But THAT something induces a feeling in you that something "matters" to you does not imply that the universe cares. It might be no more than an illusory feeling, that old psychological "vestigial tail" back again.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
And how did the indifferent universe confirm it to you?
I'm sorry for anyone who cannot know anything unless someone or something else, "confirms," it for them.
I did not say "someone." I asked how you get that confirmation from the universe. What facts count in showing that it is true? That's rational confirmation, not human confirmation.

I'm sure you see the difference.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
Every organism has a specific nature that determines how it must live, including human beings.
"Must"? We don't even have a confirmation THAT it should live. The universe certainly doesn't care if it does. And it cares no more about human beings than about other organisms.
Even taken out of context, it is still true. An organisms nature determines what it does and how it does it. A fish must live in water and cannot choose otherwise. A cow must graze and chew its cud and cannot choose otherwise. A human being must consciously choose all one does, and cannot choose otherwise.
These are only contingent things, though. Cows eat grass. That doesn't mean they get "meaning" from eating grass. It doesn't mean it's "moral" for them to eat grass. It doesn't even mean they "value" grass...I'm not sure you can ask them. All that is just a claim about how things work...but it's an IS with no power to create any OUGHT. But your word, "should" is a moral word. Should cows eat grass? Why not thistles, or grain, or oats or dandelions, if those work...or even if they don't? There's no reason.

How do you know that when humans imagine all this stuff about meaning, morality, property rights...they're not just chewing their mental cuds? And why couldn't they "chew" a completely different way?
Justify to whom?
To reason. Rational justification, such that you can explain to yourself and to any doubting others why you believe what you believe, and why they ought to as well, perhaps...unless you're content to believe irrational things.
I'm sure you aren't going to start doubting your own views because I question them.
Actually, I'd like to use your comments to refine them. And if refinement becomes to slight an improvement, to change them as well. But a man who changes his mind with little questioning probably never had an opinion worth holding in the first place, right? So it's par for the course that we should debate things.
There is not a language in this world that does not have words for concepts like meaning, purpose, and values to describe the relationship between chosen behavior and consequences.
Very true. But if the rest of the universe is impersonal, what does that matter? It's another human foible, maybe: but it's of no ultimate consequence. The rest of the universe does not care.
The religions (and some social ideologies) have usurped those words and given them mystical meanings having nothing to do with the original concepts. Since the religious meanings of those words have no basis in reality, there can be no argument for them.
It's possible to think so. But let me offer an alternate interpretation.

What if the intuition that meaning, values and morality refer to something is not just a quirk of the human race. Suppose that the reason it was universally experienced by human beings, including you, is that it actually referred to some real thing you were intuiting. Suppose the universe was not an indifferent place, but a deliberately created stage for human decision, coloured by real moral values that human beings do not actually create, but rather discover.

What if your feelings that, say, property rights are important wasn't just your personal quirk. What if it were true? And what if people who didn't get that were actually wrong about that?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
As far as I can tell, you regard the basis of all meaning, purpose, and value as something outside yourself. I regard the basis of all meaning, purpose, and value my own life and nature as a conscious, rational, volitional being.
Well, to sum up: this is your fundamental rational mistake, so far as I can tell. You mistake the claim, "Humans like to believe in valuing things," with the claim, "Things are actually valuable."
How can you possibly conclude that? I think most human beings would prefer a world without absolute values.
That's a two-edged sword, though. A world with no objective values is a world in which one is free to imagine value for anything (Yaaaay :D ). But a world with no objective values is a world in which none of those values have any objective worth or status (Boooo :cry: ). So that position gives with one hand, and takes with another.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
I don't think you are going to change your premise and I know I'm not going to change mine.
It's not your premise I'm having trouble with: I understand it fully. I'm just not able to see any rational connection between your premise "The universe is indifferent to us," ...
But that is not my premise, it is yours. The universe is all there is and that includes that which is, not at all indifferent, human beings.
Oh, I see. Your premise is inconsistent. That's the problem.

The universe, of which you say we are a mere part, has no values, meanings or morals. You can tell, because almost all of the stuff in it is not even capable of these things. And, of course, there's no Creator. Within this massively uncaring universe, we find humans. They are just a part of that meaningless, valueless, moralless matrix, but for some bizarre reason, they have a quirk which makes them think they're different. They think that their perceptions or choices of meanings, values, morals and so on, give them special status within this larger universe. But the truth is that they don't. These poor creatures are simply deluded. And soon, in the universe's timescale, they will be gone anyway.

You've accorded special status to human beings, which they have no reason to have, since the universe in general does not promise, guarantee, care about, or ultimately secure their values, their morals or their sense of meaning.
The question is, what is, "living." What exactly is that attribute (or thing, if you think it is) that is called, "life," that differentiates between those things that have life, (called "living,") and those things that do not have life, (called, "non-living")?
Oh, I see.

Yes, I misunderstood your question. Well, we have scientific definitions of "life" of course...a combination definition including things like ability to move, to reproduce, to respirate, to circulate, and so on. But what do you want to make of that?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
But on a morbid note, it's been tough this week. As I was poignantly reminded, it must end. And often when we think it won't.
I'm sorry you had that unpleasant experience. We lost a son when he was only 26 to cardiac myopathy.
I have no hesitation in saying I have no idea how hard that must be. I stood agog, watching the parents of the dead girl sink into a level of sadness and pain about which I have never known. But you would know more about what they were feeling than I possibly could.
Nothing lasts for ever and everything changes.
Yes; that's what the funeral orator said. I can't say I think it was terribly comforting to anyone.
I no longer participate in the empty (and morbid) rituals of death, like wakes and funerals.
This is going to sound strange, but I actually like Christian funerals. They are more a kind of "graduation ceremony" than anything morbid. They're a chance to say something about what life has amounted to, and to contemplate what it will be hereafter.

But I don't like the kind I went to last week, because I don't like to see my non-Christian friends in pain. Still, one goes because it is not about one; it is about those who are in pain, and whether there's anything, if only by standing witness, one can do to lift a modicum of that. Sometimes, too, one gets an idea for later. I've often thought that the funeral itself may be a blur for the bereaved; but about three weeks after the funeral, when all the relatives have gone home, friends have left, and life goes on with the bereaved expected henceforth to "be over it," it can be very kind to show concern and friendship at that point -- because that's when the worst pain can hit.
I am totally satisfied with the life I am living which I have fully enjoyed living to the limit of my ability and am totally fulfilled as a human being, and having known the ecstasy of this life, I could not possibly want another.
Well, how many people can say that? I'm glad for you.
If God wants to meet me he better do it soon. I don't think my death is imminent, though realistically it could be, (I'm in my eightieth year), but after I'm dead He will have lost the opportunity to meet me, since after I'm dead I'll be exactly what I was before I was born, i.e., nonexistent. I have nothing to lose.
:D He who created us in the first place will not have any trouble locating us afterward, I'm thinking.

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:32 pm

Hi IC,

Let's start here:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Well, I can see I have to make my responses a little more curt and direct, in order to get across the essential points. Put more gently, their real import is being lost. So at the risk of seeming unfriendly, but not intending to be, I'm going to frame my responses with an indecorous directness. Please pardon that, for the sake of a bit more clarity, if you would be so good.
Please be as frank as you can. I appreciate ruthlessness and rigor in any discussion. I would regard it as, "unfriendly," if you thought you had to be careful how you said what you mean to avoid offending me, as long as it's sincere and honest, which I know it alway is. Don't worry about my feelings. Why should you? I don't.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:05 pm
Why do you make everything so difficult?

The idea of responsibility is very simple ... It means simply that whatever you have the ability to do, if you want it done, you must do it or go without.
I have to say that that's actually not responsibility. That's mere cause and effect. To be "responsible," one has to be "responsible TO" someone or something.
No, that's what you mean by responsibility, which is just fine, but it is not what I mean by responsibility. What I mean by responsibility is exactly what I described, and that responsibility is only for one's own life and only to one's self.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
But who's the candidate for that? It's not ourselves, because that's merely tautological: the phrase "I owe myself" makes no sense, unless you are somehow intrinsically valuable in some way, which in an indifferent universe, you simply cannot be. You're a contingent byproduct of an accidental and uncaring universe: you have no intrinsic worth. In actual fact, a fragment of a comet has exactly the same dignity that you have...which is to say, none in particular.
You can tell people you think what they mean is wrong, but you cannot tell them what they mean is not what they mean. You may mean anything you like by responsibility, but you cannot substitute your meaning for mine when attempting to describe what responsibility means to me.

It is only your meaning of responsibility that requires someone or something else to be responsible to. It is only your meaning of responsibility that means owing something to someone. It is only your meaning of responsibility that requires some kind "intrinsic" value. None of that has anything to do with what I mean by responsibility.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Why not just do whatever gets me the most of what I want, the fastest? Usually, that means some form of freeloading or stealing. And if the government will be my tool in this, so much the better; it will work for me far better than working for myself. So I don't need to go without, even if I behave "irresponsibly." I can win by cheating. But actually, it's not cheating...it's survival of the craftiest.
You are free to do whatever you like, if you are able to do it and can get away with it. You are not free to escape the consequences of what you choose and do. Even if you choose to take what you think is a shortcut or "irresponsible" path to what you think you want, you still have to do it. You cannot escape the necessity of choosing and doing something to have what you want. The kind of self-deception one must engage in to believe they are, "getting away with something," by being a cheat, or thief, or crafty con-man does irreparable harm to one's own psychology, and the long term result of such attempts to evade one's responsibilty for one's own life is ultimately self-destructive.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
... But you have several times jumped from the claim that people value things, or people feel meaning exists, or people act morally, to the sort of conclusion that implies that values imply the LEGITIMACY of objective value, that there IS meaning in the universe, or that the fact that people hold particular "moral" opinions means that those opinions have STANDING in the real world.
There is everything wrong with this. I have never appealed to what, "people feel," or what people believe or do. What anyone else thinks or believes does not matter at all. Only what I know by my own ruthless (uninfluenced and unaffected by feeling or sentiment) reason matters.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Nothing would matter in this universe if I weren't alive and conscious of it.
I'm sorry to say, but it STILL doesn't matter.

You are conscious? So what? So's a cat or dog. And a rock is not; but nothing makes the rock less important in this uncaring universe than you are. Living is not more interesting to the universe than dead stuff is: indeed, the universe produces vastly more dead stuff than living stuff. And conscious stuff...well, that's so rare that the universe can hardly be said to bother with it at all.
I'm really sorry that you need something or someone else to give your life meaning or purpose. I do not need a universe, or God, or any other agency to give my life meaning and purpose. It doesn't matter if nothing else in existence, "cares." I care, and that is all that matters and all that is required to give my life meaning and purpose.

Isn't a bit of hubris to speak with such authority about what is true, or important, or has value or meaning, when none of those things come from your own mind and person, but must be, "given," or, "attributed," to you by some other agency. If something else does not care for you, does your life have no meaning? If something else does not give you knowledge, could you not know anything? If something else did not attribute value to you, would your life have no value or meaning?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
God wanted there to be a you.
I don't think so. If He did, He made a mistake. We'll never get along. I have no use for tyrants, and every description of a God I know of describes them as petty and vindictive. I am not any other agency's plaything.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
But I do not live in an indifferent universe. It is swarming with human beings who are anything but indifferent.
However, you've not shown why their values should count for anything.[/quote]
Not shown to whom? Individual human being do not have to answer to anyone else for their values. If their values are wrong they will suffer the consequences. If their values are right, they'll enjoy the rewards.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Think of it this way. At one time, the old monkey-evolutionists used to insist, mankind had a tail. ... How do you prove they have objective quality?
I reject the entire evolutionary fairy tale, so none of that means anything. In fact, the whole idea of a, "random," "accidental," universe is just as much mystical nonsense as the 'origins" (creation, evolution, cosmology) tales.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am
And how did the indifferent universe confirm it to you?
I'm sorry for anyone who cannot know anything unless someone or something else, "confirms," it for them.
I did not say "someone." I asked how you get that confirmation from the universe. What facts count in showing that it is true? That's rational confirmation, not human confirmation.
I wrote "someone or something." The universe is something. The fact is, it does not matter if the entire universe and everything in it disagrees, I care about my life and that is the source of all meaning and purpose. It needs no confirmation.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Even taken out of context, it is still true. An organisms nature determines what it does and how it does it. A fish must live in water and cannot choose otherwise. A cow must graze and chew its cud and cannot choose otherwise. A human being must consciously choose all one does, and cannot choose otherwise.
These are only contingent things, though. Cows eat grass. That doesn't mean they get "meaning" from eating grass. It doesn't mean it's "moral" for them to eat grass. It doesn't even mean they "value" grass...I'm not sure you can ask them. All that is just a claim about how things work...but it's an IS with no power to create any OUGHT.
I don't think you have intentionally obfuscated the fact that the unique nature of human beings is that their nature requires them to live by conscious choice, which no other animal is required by its nature to do, because they cannot. You are absolutely right, what any organism must do is determined by the fact that is, "how things work." The necessity to consciously choose one's behavior for human beings is how they work. It is the volitional nature of human beings that makes purpose and values both possible and necessary.

Why would you say a silly thing like: "Cows eat grass. That doesn't mean they get 'meaning' from eating grass. It doesn't mean it's 'moral' for them to eat grass. It doesn't even mean they 'value' grass ...," when you know purpose and meaning only pertain to beings that must consciously choose their behavior and animal behavior is determined by instinct.

I find it very difficult to believe a theist could swallow Hume's anti-moral sophism. But I do like the way you put it, because it illustrates exactly what is wrong with it, "All that is just a claim about how things work...but it's an IS with no power to create any OUGHT. "How things work," is the "IS" that determines what, "must be done," to achieve any goal, objective, end, or purpose. If your objective is to not starve to death, your biological requirement for nourishment is the, "IS," that determines the, "OUGHT," to eat, or die.

You and I disagree on what, "IS," but I do not see how you can object to the fact that, "what is," is that which determines, "what must be done," to achieve any end. If you believe God IS, and you desire to have a relationship with that God, can you do just anything and have that relationship, or does the fact that, God IS, determine what you must do? We may disagree with what one's ultimate objective or goal or end ought to be, but whatever it is, to achieve it, what IS determines what OUGHT to be done.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Justify to whom?
To reason. Rational justification, such that you can explain to yourself and to any doubting others why you believe what you believe, and why they ought to as well, perhaps...unless you're content to believe irrational things.
I have explained it, but it doesn't really matter at all that anyone else does not understand it or agree with it. If I know the truth, using my own mind, even if I'm the only one in the world that knows it, I know it. It is not necessary for me to convince anyone else, or actually my business to convince others. Everyone has their own mind and must use it to discover and understand the truth for themselves.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
You've accorded special status to human beings, which they have no reason to have, since the universe in general does not promise, guarantee, care about, or ultimately secure their values, their morals or their sense of meaning.
Human beings are living, conscious, volitional beings, which does differentiate them from other existents. I do not see how that recognition is according humans special status, unless everything with a particular identifiable nature is a special status. If you do not see that human beings are different from all other living organisms in this world, than you don't. Of course, "the universe in general does not promise, guarantee, care about, or ultimately secure their values, their morals or their sense of meaning." If there were no human beings there would be no caring, values, purpose, or meaning.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
The question is, what is, "living." What exactly is that attribute (or thing, if you think it is) that is called, "life," that differentiates between those things that have life, (called "living,") and those things that do not have life, (called, "non-living")?
Oh, I see.

Yes, I misunderstood your question. Well, we have scientific definitions of "life" of course...a combination definition including things like ability to move, to reproduce, to respirate, to circulate, and so on. But what do you want to make of that?
Those are features of some living organisms, of course, but not all, which does not describe what it means to say something is, "living," because those who attribute life to supernatural beings or even human, "souls," are not talking about biological features of organisms. I'm not trying to make anything of it. I think the question is fundamental. I do not believe there is any life independent of actual physical living organisms, you obviously do. The whole question revolves around what life actually is.

All my best!

RC

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:21 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:38 am
One of the most important basic and avoided questions is if a person considers themselves essentially an Individualist or a collectivist. It seems more enjoyable to argue over techniques or good and bad. But the question of Individualism vs. Collectivism as desired method to improve human nature puts us on the spot.

There are many ways to discuss it after we agree as to their basic difference so I'd like to ask you if you agree with the following distinction:

https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/is ... lectivism/
The fundamental political conflict in America today is, as it has been for a century, individualism vs. collectivism. Does the individual’s life belong to him—or does it belong to the group, the community, society, or the state? With government expanding ever more rapidly—seizing and spending more and more of our money on “entitlement” programs and corporate bailouts, and intruding on our businesses and lives in increasingly onerous ways—the need for clarity on this issue has never been greater. Let us begin by defining the terms at hand.

Individualism is the idea that the individual’s life belongs to him and that he has an inalienable right to live it as he sees fit, to act on his own judgment, to keep and use the product of his effort, and to pursue the values of his choosing. It’s the idea that the individual is sovereign, an end in himself, and the fundamental unit of moral concern. This is the ideal that the American Founders set forth and sought to establish when they drafted the Declaration and the Constitution and created a country in which the individual’s rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness were to be recognized and protected.

Collectivism is the idea that the individual’s life belongs not to him but to the group or society of which he is merely a part, that he has no rights, and that he must sacrifice his values and goals for the group’s “greater good.” According to collectivism, the group or society is the basic unit of moral concern, and the individual is of value only insofar as he serves the group. As one advocate of this idea puts it: “Man has no rights except those which society permits him to enjoy. From the day of his birth until the day of his death society allows him to enjoy certain so-called rights and deprives him of others; not . . . because society desires especially to favor or oppress the individual, but because its own preservation, welfare, and happiness are the prime considerations.”1

Individualism or collectivism—which of these ideas is correct? Which has the facts on its side?
As is obvious, America is moving more and more toward collectivism. All we read of are collectives. Is this desirable? Perhaps we can discuss the essential differences and potentials for both individualism and collectivism when life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness become our desired goal..
Quantify "greater good." And that's the problem. If ones premises are invalid their conclusion is necessarily false. Every human for themselves because the machine is currently flirting with disaster. Once the fear of death, thus greed and selfishness has been eliminated, and all are considered equal in every way, common goals shall be illuminated and accepted by all. Only then collectivism could be considered. But certainly not as you frame it.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm

Hi again, RC:
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:32 pm
Let's start here:
...Please be as frank as you can. I appreciate ruthlessness and rigor in any discussion. I would regard it as, "unfriendly," if you thought you had to be careful how you said what you mean to avoid offending me, as long as it's sincere and honest, which I know it alway is.

Same in return, I hope.
Don't worry about my feelings. Why should you? I don't.
I'm not so much "worried about feelings" as earnest that I should preserve the spirit of mutual respect you have cultivated. I think it worthy of preservation. But I take your invitation.
No, that's what you mean by responsibility, which is just fine, but it is not what I mean by responsibility. What I mean by responsibility is exactly what I described, and that responsibility is only for one's own life and only to one's self.
My issue with that is very simple: "responsibility" is premised on "response." And "response" is to something or someone external.

To speak of being "responsible to oneself" is not only circular, then, but also cannot be warranted without prior proof that the "self" has intrinsic worth...that one, so to speak, can "owe oneself" responses.

It is very hard to see any sense in which, in a merely material universe, one can "owe oneself" anything, since the "self" has no special dignity or standing there. But more than that, one is not actually "responding" or "being responsible" at all, if all one serves is one's own desires.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
But who's the candidate for that? It's not ourselves, because that's merely tautological: the phrase "I owe myself" makes no sense, unless you are somehow intrinsically valuable in some way, which in an indifferent universe, you simply cannot be. You're a contingent byproduct of an accidental and uncaring universe: you have no intrinsic worth. In actual fact, a fragment of a comet has exactly the same dignity that you have...which is to say, none in particular.
You can tell people you think what they mean is wrong, but you cannot tell them what they mean is not what they mean.
We can, however, point out to people that what they think they mean does not make logical sense given their own suppositions. That's merely to help them to become more rational, on the terms they themselves have offered.

You suggest you believe there is nothing outside the self upon to which one can owe a "response". But in a universe such as you have posited we live in. the "self" is no special thing. It's just another phenomenon of the material world, no more privileged or calling for "response" than the falling of a snowflake from the sky.
It is only your meaning of responsibility that requires someone or something else to be responsible to.
I actually think it's the analytic meaning of the term that requires it....that, and the ontological suppositions you've suggested.
Why not just do whatever gets me the most of what I want, the fastest? Usually, that means some form of freeloading or stealing. And if the government will be my tool in this, so much the better; it will work for me far better than working for myself. So I don't need to go without, even if I behave "irresponsibly." I can win by cheating. But actually, it's not cheating...it's survival of the craftiest.
You are free to do whatever you like, if you are able to do it and can get away with it. You are not free to escape the consequences of what you choose and do. Even if you choose to take what you think is a shortcut or "irresponsible" path to what you think you want, you still have to do it. You cannot escape the necessity of choosing and doing something to have what you want. The kind of self-deception one must engage in to believe they are, "getting away with something," by being a cheat, or thief, or crafty con-man does irreparable harm to one's own psychology, and the long term result of such attempts to evade one's responsibilty for one's own life is ultimately self-destructive.
This seems unlikely. What -- is there some "law" in the universe that says cheaters are not allowed to prosper? :shock: Is there a rule that says that conning does psychological "damage" of some kind? :shock: That will never be the case without some basis for such a law, for sure. And observationally, there are plenty of folks...some in high office, enjoying great fame, awash with cash...who have achieved their positions by all manner of what I would call "misdeeds," but which in a merely material universe would simply have to be called "successful gestures."
Nothing would matter in this universe if I weren't alive and conscious of it.
I'm sorry to say, but it STILL doesn't matter.

You are conscious? So what? So's a cat or dog. And a rock is not; but nothing makes the rock less important in this uncaring universe than you are. Living is not more interesting to the universe than dead stuff is: indeed, the universe produces vastly more dead stuff than living stuff. And conscious stuff...well, that's so rare that the universe can hardly be said to bother with it at all.
I'm really sorry that you need something or someone else to give your life meaning or purpose.
We all do. We cannot "give ourselves" any objective meaning, because we are not the authors of our own existence, and do not control our own fates. If life is to "mean" anything, it will not turn out to be simply because we decided it did. That would merely be to manufacture our own delusions of well-being or achievement, rather than to have lived "responsibly" within the role for which we were created.
I do not need a universe, or God, or any other agency to give my life meaning and purpose.

One doesn't need those things, perhaps, to give oneself feelings of having meaning and purpose. But objectively, those feelings are a fraud; there's no objective reality to them.

In a merely material universe, there is no inherent meaning, and no purpose for which one existed. All existence was accidental, like the Big Bang. And any perception of meaningfulness was a delusion, like the child who sees "faces" in the shadows outside his bedroom window at night in the random patterns of leaves and branches.
It doesn't matter if nothing else in existence, "cares." I care, and that is all that matters and all that is required to give my life meaning and purpose.
It's enough to give you feelings, for sure. But no more. It will not produce objective anything.
Isn't a bit of hubris to speak with such authority about what is true, or important, or has value or meaning, when none of those things come from your own mind and person, but must be, "given," or, "attributed," to you by some other agency?
No. It's responsible to the truth. But if that can look at all hubristic, it surely pales beside the hubris that says, "I am the source of my own meaning, and I (transient, contingent thing that I am) can make purpose and value magically appear."
If something else does not care for you, does your life have no meaning? If something else does not give you knowledge, could you not know anything? If something else did not attribute value to you, would your life have no value or meaning?
Correct. That thing would have to be the Creator Himself. For no other human is in any better state than I am, in this regard. All we humans can imagine purpose, meaning and value -- but we cannot make them into objective realities. They're no more than feelings...or worse, soul-anaesthetizing delusions, the detritus of egocentric imaginings.

We are all awfully small, fragile, and late in arriving in this world. If there was no objective meaning, plan or story into which we were fitted when we arrived, we can be sure there's none now.
...every description of a God I know of describes them as petty and vindictive....
That's a shame. I regret that people represent the facts so badly. But I don't think you'll find that that is God's deficiency.
I don't think you have intentionally obfuscated the fact that the unique nature of human beings is that their nature requires them to live by conscious choice, which no other animal is required by its nature to do, because they cannot. You are absolutely right, what any organism must do is determined by the fact that is, "how things work." The necessity to consciously choose one's behavior for human beings is how they work. It is the volitional nature of human beings that makes purpose and values both possible and necessary.
That is a very good reason for realizing that human beings are not just "a part of nature," or another kind of contingent animal. This business of living consciously, and with self-awareness is unique. So is the ability to project and create worlds that do not presently exist...a faculty essentially to all human planning and management of the future.

We are uniquely gifted, charged with making the real and important decisions pertaining to this world. Christians are fond of saying that the world was given into man's "stewardship" by God; but even the materialists of the environmentalist set sense that this is true, for they ask no animal on earth to become environmentally responsible for themselves, let alone for all other animals, and they attribute that unique responsibility to mankind. If they really thought man was nothing but an "animal," then they might as well ask the foxes, the rats and the paramecia to take care of the world's future.

Even they do not believe mankind is not special, no matter what they say.
I find it very difficult to believe a theist could swallow Hume's anti-moral sophism.
Oh, don't worry: I don't believe Hume was actually right. But I KNOW he was right if the world is a place of mere materials and causes. That's why Hume thought it was necessary: he began with the premise that there is no God, and ended up showing that -- under those suppositions only -- that there could be no morality either.

In a world in which there are only things that are, there is no justification of ought. Morality's dead, as Neitzsche so clearly saw. All that's left is illegitimate power, expressed as prohibitions and rewards imposed arbitrarily by beings with no more right to moral judgment than any other.

He was logically correct. But he was not factually right.
"How things work," is the "IS" that determines what, "must be done," to achieve any goal, objective, end, or purpose. If your objective is to not starve to death, your biological requirement for nourishment is the, "IS," that determines the, "OUGHT," to eat, or die.
But that's not morality. That's merely strategy. If that's how the world is, then if something "works" for me, I do it, then. It no longer matters whether people like it or not, whether they think it's fair or not, whether or not they approve of what I do...there is only what "works."

One effective way of spreading my DNA is by pollinating every woman I find...whether she wills it or not. One effective way of increasing my wealth is by appropriating the wealth of others who have done more work than I can possibly do myself in my lifespan. One way of dominating others is by convincing them to believe in lies I devise...all these things are strategic; but there's no element of the moral in them.
If you believe God IS, and you desire to have a relationship with that God,
I do.
... can you do just anything and have that relationship, or does the fact that, God IS, determine what you must do?
Absolutely.
We may disagree with what one's ultimate objective or goal or end ought to be, but whatever it is, to achieve it, what IS determines what OUGHT to be done.
Not morally "ought." Only strategically "ought." You need to detect the difference between those two.

To say, "It ought to rain tomorrow" is not to make a moral claim. It's only to make a statement about probability. To say, "You ought to study if you want to pass a test" is not to make a moral claim. It's only to make a claim about practical cause and effect. However, to say, "You ought to leave other people's property alone, because it's wrong to steal" -- THAT is a moral "ought." It has no other reason than rightness or wrongness, and often runs completely contrary to both probability and practicality. For it is often both practically advantageous to steal, and probable that one can thereby obtain quickly and effectively what one wants. But its morality is the real issue.

The word has more than one application. Most of them have nothing to do with morality, and non-moral "oughts" do not justify moral ones. In a universe without God, as Hume noted, there are no legitimate moral "oughts."
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm

To reason. Rational justification, such that you can explain to yourself and to any doubting others why you believe what you believe, and why they ought to as well, perhaps...unless you're content to believe irrational things.
I have explained it, but it doesn't really matter at all that anyone else does not understand it or agree with it.
Well, it does, if others are rational. It's often a signal that one has made a rational fault in one's own thinking, if one cannot cogently explain one's views.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
I do not believe there is any life independent of actual physical living organisms, you obviously do. The whole question revolves around what life actually is.
Is God "life"? He's more than that. He's the original source of all life. Life comes from Him, only exists by his creation, and is only sustained by relation to Him. All life is derivative, save the life that is inherent in the Originator and Source of life.

But there are also qualities and levels of life. Of people who were already technically "alive," Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." That's an interesting claim. It suggests there are people who are alive who don't yet really have what REAL life is.

God is the source of that, too.
All my best!
RC
Much life to you. :)

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:23 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
... What I mean by responsibility is exactly what I described, and that responsibility is only for one's own life and only to one's self.
My issue with that is very simple: "responsibility" is premised on "response." And "response" is to something or someone external.

To speak of being "responsible to oneself" is not only circular, then, but also cannot be warranted without prior proof that the "self" has intrinsic worth...that one, so to speak, can "owe oneself" responses.
As I noted earlier, that is what you mean by responsibility.

Since you refuse to accept my meaning of responsibility, as though there were some god of definitions that only allowed your definition, and, since it is not my meaning, wherever I have used the word responsible, replace it with what I do mean. I mean by "responsible" what it means when someone discovers the kitchen is a mess and asks, "who is responsible for this mess." No matter what the answer is, "Tommy did it," or, "the dog did it," or, "the wind did it," by, "responsible" is meant, who or what, "caused, did, or made happen," the thing in question.

When I say an individual is, "responsible," for his own life, I mean that individual is the, "cause of who and what he is," that all his behavior consists of what, "he chooses to do," that whatever his life is, "he is the one that made it happen."

If I mess up someone else's kitchen, I would then be answerable to whoever's kitchen it was. If I mess up my own kitchen, I am not answerable to anyone else. If I mess up someone else's life, I would then be answerable to the individual whose life I messed up. If I mess up my own life, I am only answerable to me.

That is all I mean by being, "responsible," for one's own life and only to one's self.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
Why not just do whatever gets me the most of what I want, the fastest? Usually, that means some form of freeloading or stealing. And if the government will be my tool in this, so much the better; it will work for me far better than working for myself. So I don't need to go without, even if I behave "irresponsibly." I can win by cheating. But actually, it's not cheating...it's survival of the craftiest.
You are free to do whatever you like, if you are able to do it and can get away with it. You are not free to escape the consequences of what you choose and do. Even if you choose to take what you think is a shortcut or "irresponsible" path to what you think you want, you still have to do it. You cannot escape the necessity of choosing and doing something to have what you want. The kind of self-deception one must engage in to believe they are, "getting away with something," by being a cheat, or thief, or crafty con-man does irreparable harm to one's own psychology, and the long term result of such attempts to evade one's responsibilty for one's own life is ultimately self-destructive.
This seems unlikely. What -- is there some "law" in the universe that says cheaters are not allowed to prosper? :shock: Is there a rule that says that conning does psychological "damage" of some kind? :shock: That will never be the case without some basis for such a law, for sure.
Of course there is a, "law," (a principle describing the nature of a thing) that determines the consequences of its actions. Do you think the human mind has no nature, that no matter how one uses or abuses it there will be no consequences? No one doubts the requirements of their biological nature and knows if they do not choose to be sick and die, they must properly nourish and exercise their physical body; they cannot abuse it without consequence, cannot put just anything into their stomachs or neglect keeping themselves clean without causing irreparable harm. But when it comes to the most important aspect of human nature, that which makes them human, their minds, they believe they can neglect to nourish them (learn) and exercise them (think) without consequence, and that they can put just any kind of lie or idea (intellectul poison) into them and remain psychologically healthy. They think they can evade reality and, "fake it," and can "believe," just anything that makes them, "feel good," without irreparable psychological harm.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
And observationally, there are plenty of folks...some in high office, enjoying great fame, awash with cash...who have achieved their positions by all manner of what I would call "misdeeds," but which in a merely material universe would simply have to be called "successful gestures."
If you truly believe that you are a very poor observer, deceived by the popular shallow view of what "success" is. I've already described what is wrong with that view:
It is not achieving or having anything one "desires" that is living successfully as a human being. Almost always, short-term, "success," means sacrificing the permanent, (the objective good), on the alter of the immediate to satisfy some feeling, or whim, or wish, or "biological impulse," surrendering the long-term success of achieving and being all one can be as a human being by indulging in those things that, long-term, are self-defeating and self-destructive. Even those things that others mistake for human success, like wealth, fame, celebrity, prestige, influence, power, glamor, and reputation are not, in themselves, successful human life, and are actually failure when they are sought for their own sake, even when achieved. [They are failure because they cannot provide the human psychological requirement for integrity, self-confidence, self-competence, and self-esteem.] Some of those things can be the by-products of human success, but are never success in themselves. Only being all one can be as a human being is human success and to whatever degree an individual achieves that, they are successful.
If you really believe such things as, "high office," or, "fame," or, "wealth," which you mentioned, and I'll add, "power," "prestige," or "social influence," are in themselves human success, perhaps you watch too many movies or too much TV. The glitz and flash of the media elite, in all ages, is all facade and show, and no one knows what anyone else's private personal experience is until it sometimes boils over, and then you know. If you examine what you can know about those admired by the common man, (i.e., the TV viewing public), and held up by the media as the "famous," the "beautiful," the "important," and the, "successful," they are nothing but hyped-up narcissistic exhibitionists who amaze the easily impressed and ignorant public, but in their private lives are anything but what they appear to be.

These are just of the top of my head. The billionaire, Paul J. Getti was a hopeless lothario (a slave to his own sexual desires) who regretted his failed marriages to his death. Howard Hughs, though wealthy and powerful was hopelessly paranoid.
Wealthy Jeffrey Epstein was patronized and socalized with the rich and famous like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Andrew. He committed suicide while in prison awaiting trial for sex trafficking, the result of his addiction to sex with underage girls.

These are some of the rich, famous, and powerful whose lives were so empty they tried to fill them with feelings provided by drugs and died: Art Bell, Tom Petty, Jose Fernandez, Scott Weiland, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Margaeaux Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, Abbie Hoffman, Chet Baker, Richard Burton, Truman Capote, David Kennedy, John Belushi, Freddy Prinze, Bruce Lee, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, Jack Kerouac, Marilyn Monroe, Billy Holiday, Joseph McCarthy, Tommy Dorsey, Sigmund Freud.

These are popularly assumed successes whose lives were so meaningless they chose to end them: Brian Keith, Marilyn Monroe, Anthony Bourdain, Ernest Hemingway, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, Virginia Woolf, Salvador Allende, Charles Boyer, August Anheuser Busch Sr., Capucine, Diana Churchill, Alice de Janzé.

One thing that has always bewildered me about Christians is their apparent lack of discernment, especially since they are encouraged to mature in their faith, "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil," (Hebrews 5:14) and learn to, "... not judge according to appearance (John 7:24) ...," which is exactly what you have done when you write: "And observationally, ... would simply have to be called "successful gestures." I know you said, "in a material world," as though that made the necessity of discernment unnecessary.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
I do not need a universe, or God, or any other agency to give my life meaning and purpose.

One doesn't need those things, perhaps, to give oneself feelings of having meaning and purpose.
What feelings? There is nothing I think or believe that is influenced by any feeling or sentiment. Everything I know is determined solely by my best (ruthless, rigorous, rational) thinking. Do you think, "feelings," are a source or basis for any knowledge or belief? What would a, "feelings of having meaning and purpose," even feel like and where would one feel it? What tripe! There is no such feeling.

If I had to estimate I would say at least ninety percent of the wrong things people believe, choose, and do are because they allow feelings and emotions to influence or determine what they think, believe, or choose. It is the sole and only basis for what is commonly called, "faith."
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
In a merely material universe, there is no inherent meaning, and no purpose for which one existed.
I think you are using the word, "material," to mean physical existence. If that is so, there is no such universe. The universe includes every physical existent which is fully determined by its natural physical attributes. The universe also includes existents that in addition physical attributes have the perfectly natural, but non-physical, attribute of life and are called organisms. The universe also includes organisms that in addition to their physical and life attributes have the perfectly natural attribute of consciousness. The universe also includes conscious organisms that in addition to their physical, life, and consciousness attributes have the perfectly natural attribute of mind called human beings.

There is no such thing as a, "merely material (physical) universe."
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
All existence was accidental, like the Big Bang.
All existence? Does God exist? (Just had to ask.)

I do not accept as valid any of the conclusions of what I refer to as the, "origins pseudo-sciences," (cosmology, evolution) or any other hypothetical explanations of, "where everything came from." Existence is NO accident. Existence is absolute and non-contingent and could not be anything other than what it is. (Just as your God is not contingent and could not be anything other than what you believe God is. The difference is, I can show you the universe, but you cannot show me your God.)
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
We are uniquely gifted, charged with making the real and important decisions pertaining to this world. Christians are fond of saying that the world was given into man's "stewardship" by God; but even the materialists of the environmentalist set sense that this is true, ....
There is, "we," again. I assure you, no, "we," includes me. If by, "we," you mean, "human beings," while a few do have some exceptional intellectual or other unique abilities, most human beings are hopelessly ignorant, stupid, and gullible. The most horrible events in history are the result of human beings believing they were personally chosen as the guardians (stewards) of the world. There is hardly a greater lie than the one that convinces individuals they are supposed to make the, "important decisions," pertaining to the world, which means, other human beings. Once an individual is convinced they are appointed by God, destiny, some ideological mandate, or their own superiority, to make the world what it ought to be, it is license to impose any form of tyranny or oppression on others to accomplish their sacred mission.[/quote]
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
He was logically correct. But he was not factually right.
What a perfect illustration of the Kantian abomination. Before Kant, the word, "logic," identified the formalization of correct reason to distinguish between the kind of poor reasoning that resulted in mistakes and falsehoods and the effective kind that resulted in the factual and true. After Kant produced his work to destroy all knowledge and reason, we now have your version of logic, which is capable of being correct even in defiance of facts or truth. In other words, whatever you call logic, it is absolutely useless for establishing any objective truth.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
To reason. Rational justification, such that you can explain to yourself and to any doubting others why you believe what you believe, and why they ought to as well, perhaps...unless you're content to believe irrational things.
I have explained it, but it doesn't really matter at all that anyone else does not understand it or agree with it.
Well, it does, if others are rational. It's often a signal that one has made a rational fault in one's own thinking, if one cannot cogently explain one's views.
Most others are not rational, but even if they were, how does one logically explain anything to someone else since no matter how logically correct the explanation, it would still be factually wrong, per you and Kant?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
I do not believe there is any life independent of actual physical living organisms, you obviously do. The whole question revolves around what life actually is.
Is God "life"? He's more than that. He's the original source of all life. Life comes from Him, only exists by his creation, and is only sustained by relation to Him. All life is derivative, save the life that is inherent in the Originator and Source of life.
The question is not,"who has life," nor "where does life come from," nor, "what is life's origin," and not, "what sustains life; the question is: "what is life itself?"

When you say, "God is more than life," you haven't said anything until you have identified what that thing is that God is more than. You don't even say what kind of thing it is. Is it a substance, an entity, an attribute, a quality, a relationship, an action, or some other kind of phenomenon?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
But there are also qualities and levels of life.
Life is like pregnancy. One either is (alive or pregnant) or they are not. It's a bit silly to be talking about levels of something when what that something (life) is has not yet been identified.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Of people who were already technically "alive," Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
Why would someone want more of something when they do not know what that something is?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
That's an interesting claim. It suggests there are people who are alive who don't yet really have what REAL life is.
That's why it's nonsense. Before you start talking about, "real life," shouldn't you at least say what "life" is? Now there are false pregnancies, which actually means not pregnant, but nothing is falsely alive. A thing is either alive (an organism) or not (a mere physical existent).
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Much life to you. :)
The same to you, of course. And enjoy it to the fullest.

RC

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:28 pm

Hi again, RC:

Sorry for the delay in getting back. It's been a busy week. But you're still being very interesting...rest assured.
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:23 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
... What I mean by responsibility is exactly what I described, and that responsibility is only for one's own life and only to one's self.
My issue with that is very simple: "responsibility" is premised on "response." And "response" is to something or someone external.

To speak of being "responsible to oneself" is not only circular, then, but also cannot be warranted without prior proof that the "self" has intrinsic worth...that one, so to speak, can "owe oneself" responses.
As I noted earlier, that is what you mean by responsibility.
Well, yes. But the meaning of words is not a unilateral thing, but a socially-agreed one. The real question is, "What is the right meaning to assign to the word 'responsibility'," not per se, "What does IC or RC think they want to make the word mean for their own theory?"

My suggestion is that the root "response" is intrinsic to that meaning. And "response" is a reaction to something that is more than the self. One doesn't have to "respond" to the self, because the self never does anything that the self doesn't already know is coming.
Since you refuse to accept my meaning of responsibility, as though there were some god of definitions that only allowed your definition,

Not a "god of definitions." Just a social convention, upon which meaningful communication is premised.
I mean by "responsible" what it means when someone discovers the kitchen is a mess and asks, "who is responsible for this mess."
Ah. Note what that means, though. It means, "Who is responsible TO ME or TO US for the condition of this kitchen?" It's a call for an individual self to recognize that what he's done has an impact on others, and that he thus "owes" them a response (like cleaning up his mess) which he has not yet given.

If "the wind did it," then nobody is, by definition, "responsible."
When I say an individual is, "responsible," for his own life, I mean that individual is the, "cause of who and what he is," that all his behavior consists of what, "he chooses to do," that whatever his life is, "he is the one that made it happen."
But this would only be possible with in a matrix of cause and effect that makes his "response" effective. So even there, you've got a case of the self "responding" to the universal rules of cause and effect...to external realities, not merely to himself.
If I mess up someone else's kitchen, I would then be answerable to whoever's kitchen it was.

Exactly so. You would owe her a "response."
If I mess up my own life, I am only answerable to me.
Well, you'd be responsible to the One who gave you life, because you didn't give it to yourself. But even if you weren't to believe in Him, you would not then be responsible to anyone at all. For you don't "owe yourself" any answer, because the self in that case is the question-asker, and what's the point of asking questions to which you already know the answer?
This seems unlikely. What -- is there some "law" in the universe that says cheaters are not allowed to prosper? :shock: Is there a rule that says that conning does psychological "damage" of some kind? :shock: That will never be the case without some basis for such a law, for sure.
Of course there is a, "law," (a principle describing the nature of a thing) that determines the consequences of its actions. Do you think the human mind has no nature, that no matter how one uses or abuses it there will be no consequences?
In a universe that is generated by random forces, rather than governed by a Law-imparting God? Of course there would be no "laws" in random generation. But the very fact that we look around and perceive laws of cause and effect argues quite powerfully that that is not the type of universe in which we actually live.

That there are "consequences" born of regularities, natural laws and patterns, is one very good reason to begin suspecting that the universe is not at all random in origin, but is instead gripped by teleological direction and intent, regulated by "laws" imposed from beyond it. Randomness is not capable of producing laws.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
And observationally, there are plenty of folks...some in high office, enjoying great fame, awash with cash...who have achieved their positions by all manner of what I would call "misdeeds," but which in a merely material universe would simply have to be called "successful gestures."
If you truly believe that you are a very poor observer, deceived by the popular shallow view of what "success" is.
I think not.

It is not evident that either in the short term or in the long term, people who behave badly are punished -- or if there's any vague sense in which they are, that that vague sense is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of their wrongdoings. And I think that's one of the remarkable facts of the observable world; justice is not done here. People get away with all kinds of things.
Only being all one can be as a human being is human success and to whatever degree an individual achieves that, they are successful.
But here, RC, you've gratuitously added the term "being all one can be." And you've said earlier, that the individual self is the determiner of that. So how can we then judge another's "success" by a standard they themselves refuse?

Let's take one of your examples:
Wealthy Jeffrey Epstein was patronized and socalized with the rich and famous like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Andrew. He committed suicide while in prison awaiting trial for sex trafficking, the result of his addiction to sex with underage girls.

Okay. Consider this. How many evil deeds did Jeffrey Epstein commit? How many girls did he hurt? How badly did he hurt them? How many years did he manage to do this? How luxurious was his lifestyle? How rich and indulged was he? How many were his "friends" and associates? How big was his influence on these people, and how many perks and how much power did he enjoy while he was alive?

Now, what is a punishment commensurate with what Jeffery Epstein did?

Would anyone argue that being strangled for perhaps a minute or two, before he passed out, at the ripe old age of 66, after a lifetime of riches, influence and sex with multiple underaged girls, was commensurate? :shock: Indeed, would not some argue he missed only the latter and less desirable years of decline...and that many better men die younger? In fact, would you have trouble finding many men who, if they could be guaranteed of such a bargain early in life, would not gladly take it, and accept the ending as a consequence?

So where is justice in the Jeffrey Epstein case? How did he pay for his crimes? Where is this cosmic law of cause and effect in the realm of justice, just when one needs it?

Is this sort of thing what "discernment" leads us to accept? :shock:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
I do not need a universe, or God, or any other agency to give my life meaning and purpose.

One doesn't need those things, perhaps, to give oneself feelings of having meaning and purpose.
What feelings? There is nothing I think or believe that is influenced by any feeling or sentiment. Everything I know is determined solely by my best (ruthless, rigorous, rational) thinking. Do you think, "feelings," are a source or basis for any knowledge or belief? What would a, "feelings of having meaning and purpose," even feel like and where would one feel it? What tripe! There is no such feeling.
I disagree.

There are, as is empirically obvious, plenty of "feelings." People have no end of "feelings" about things. But these "feelings" are only that. If God does not exist, then all we can ever have is the feeling of meaning and purpose. But the deep truth will remain that there IS no meaning or purpose outside of our personal fevered imaginings. The universe will neither know nor care what meanings and purposes we "felt" we had.
If I had to estimate I would say at least ninety percent of the wrong things people believe, choose, and do are because they allow feelings and emotions to influence or determine what they think, believe, or choose.

I would agree with that. Those "feelings" are not worth anything, unless perhaps, they are actually intuitions of something objective.
It is the sole and only basis for what is commonly called, "faith."

No, no...this is a common fallacy. "Faith" is not belief based on feelings. At least, Christian faith, as defined in the Bible, is decidedly not that.
All existence? Does God exist? (Just had to ask.)
No problem at all. The fault is actually in the assumption of the question. To speak of God as "existing" is problematic, if we conceive "existing" as "being in a contingent and temporal state," as is the universe. If, by "existing" we mean something more akin to "being real," then we can ask that question coherently. The Big Bang is manifestly of "existence" type 1 above, and God is of "existence" type 2.

So we will need to agree on the meaning of the term "exist" before we can answer the question and understand each other aright. God is the grounds of all existence -- as the Bible has it, His name is "I AM," meaning, "the lone self-existent One from whom all merely contingent existence is derived."
The difference is, I can show you the universe, but you cannot show me your God.
There is a sense in which this is true, and a sense in which it is not. The universe is, so to speak, "tame to our observation." It is there for us to "find," if we look with the right instrumentation. But God is not "tame" to us. He is not at our beck-and-call, and far less a subject of our observation by instrumentation. (If you ever invent a God-ometer, let me know. :wink: )

But what's marvellous about God is that He does, from His side, condescend to be known by us. We cannot demand it; but He has given us the right to ask for it. And He has given us the condition upon which He will agree to be found: "You will find Me when you seek me with all your heart."

So He's calling the shots on that. We're not. But what would one expect of the Supreme Being but that?

The most horrible events in history are the result of human beings believing they were personally chosen as the guardians (stewards) of the world. [/quote]
I think this is hyperbole. The worst things people have done in historically, if we judge by human fatalities, is to believe in collectivist social projects, from empires to regimes and reichs, to the consummate homicidal delusion, the Triumph of the Proletariat. I have not seen any bad effects of people regarding themselves as stewards of Creation, responsible to God for what they did.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 pm
To reason. Rational justification, such that you can explain to yourself and to any doubting others why you believe what you believe, and why they ought to as well, perhaps...unless you're content to believe irrational things.
I have explained it, but it doesn't really matter at all that anyone else does not understand it or agree with it.
Well, it does, if others are rational. It's often a signal that one has made a rational fault in one's own thinking, if one cannot cogently explain one's views.
Most others are not rational, but even if they were, how does one logically explain anything to someone else since no matter how logically correct the explanation, it would still be factually wrong, per you and Kant?
Oh, that's easy.

Hume had an erroneous view of the world. His belief that there was no God was factually wrong. But his premise, that there is no God, led him logically and inevitably to the conclusion that morality was also bunk. (He thought he could save it by Emotivism, but subsequent philosophers have obviously caught him out on the folly of that. And you are an objector to Emotivism as well, unless I judge your wrongly -- for you do not believe that "feelings" signal facts, like Emotivism requires us to believe.)

Logic is not a particular set of beliefs. It's a mechanism for sorting beliefs. It's like mathematics: mathematics doesn't tell you what particular numbers you have to put into an equation: but it tells you that if you plug in certain numbers, you'll get certain fixed results. Logic works like that: it's only as good as its premises. If one premise is faulty, then logic can be used to generate a bad conclusion. And that's just what Hume did: he failed to provide the right premise; and this made his conclusion both logically correct (rationally valid) and factually wrong (untrue and unsound, to use the proper technical terms).

Just don't share Hume's first premise, and we won't end up at his conclusion. But those who share Hume's first premise are compelled there by the mechanics of logic.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
...the question is: "what is life itself?"
Great question. I don't think anyone has that answer.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
But there are also qualities and levels of life.
Life is like pregnancy. One either is (alive or pregnant) or they are not. It's a bit silly to be talking about levels of something when what that something (life) is has not yet been identified.
Oh, it's not at all true to say we have trouble knowing where life exists. As I said earlier, there are all kinds of scientific tests for life where it exists already, and where it does not. But to get down to your deeper question, and ask, "What, precisely, is the thing 'life' that we are observing?" that's very difficult.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
Of people who were already technically "alive," Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
Why would someone want more of something when they do not know what that something is?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:33 pm
That's an interesting claim. It suggests there are people who are alive who don't yet really have what REAL life is.
That's why it's nonsense.[/quote]
Oh, I don't think so. It's more a paradox than "nonsense."

A paradox is something that may have the appearance of nonsense, especially at superficial glance, but examined more closely, articulates a deep truth.
Before you start talking about, "real life," shouldn't you at least say what "life" is?
I don't think that's possible -- even for the best of our scientists.

We are all merely observing life in action, not basically able to say much about its deep nature. Scientists don't even know how the first life could have even gotten started. Even Dawkins admits this, and he's pretty willing to jump gaps in order to claim Materialism is true. If he knew, he'd be the first to say. But nobody does.

However, we're really pretty good at identifying life once it actually exists. We don't have any trouble recognizing an adult, a child, a toddler, an infant, a newborn...and a pre-born is just one second prior to the newborn, and has all the newborn's features and abilities. Moreover, we know that pre-born babies are often viable outside the womb, so essentially, they're infants. And we know that fetuses in utero are definitely pre-infants, with their own lives (heartbeats, brainwaves, circulatory systems, and so on). And for sure, we know that even a zygote is a life form -- and a human one, at that.

So we're on pretty good grounds there. We're very good at knowing WHEN life is; we're not good at saying WHAT life is precisely. It's not merely the sum of its manifestations, apparently.

Well..."life goes on," as they say. :D May yours go on well.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:12 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:28 pm
Hi again, RC:

Sorry for the delay in getting back. It's been a busy week. But you're still being very interesting...rest assured.
I certainly understand. Not sure how soon this will get to you. I'm writing from a hospital bed; having a little congestive heart failure problem.

I'll not be able to address everything you wrote, which is probably just as well because I think we have pretty well made our views clear where we differ. I'm going to confine these comments to just .. . [four] points: "values," "feelings," "punishment," and "life." Please feel free to bring up any of your other points you think I should have addressed:
Values
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:28 pm
My issue with that is very simple: "responsibility" is premised on "response." And "response" is to something or someone external.
The real question is one of values. If there is no way of explaining why anything is objectively preferable to anything else, there would be nothing to be responsible for.

You and I begin with a fundamentally different premise related to values. That difference is what we mean by values. I mean a value, of any kind, is a relationship. Something can only be a value if there is some objective, goal, end, or purpose relative to which something is a value.

I cannot say exactly what you mean by a value, but you have stated in the past that you believe there are, "intrinsic," values. Perhaps you mean something else, but if by intrinsic value you mean something is a value without being a value to any specific objective, goal, purpose, or end, what does it mean to have a value?

Whenever anything is described as having some value, [this is good, that is important, these are necessary], if there is no answer to the question, "good, important, or necessary for what to whom?" there is no value. If a thing is not good to anyone for anything it is not good. If a thing is not important to anyone for anything, it has no importance. If a thing is not necessary to anyone for anything it is unnecessary.

I am quite familiar with the kinds of things intrinsuc values are subscribe to: "life is good," "happiness is good," "peace is good," "health is good," "beauty is good," "knowledge is good," etc. but such statements really do not say anything, and assume much more than is stated. "Life is good," does not say, "what life," is good or in what way it is, "good." The anopheles mosquito is living and the plasmodium parasite it injects into its victims causing malaria are living. The intrinsic view of, "life is good, would mean the forms of life that destroy the life of other creatures is an unqualified good, (so long as one blanks out the obvious contradiction). Nothing can just be, "good."
Feelings
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:28 pm
There are, as is empirically obvious, plenty of "feelings." People have no end of "feelings" about things. But these "feelings" are only that. If God does not exist, then all we can ever have is the feeling of meaning and purpose. But the deep truth will remain that there IS no meaning or purpose outside of our personal fevered imaginings. The universe will neither know nor care what meanings and purposes we "felt" we had.
Unless you are talking about your own, "feelings," there is no, "empirical," evidence for any feelings or emotions, because they are totally private (subjective) experiences. All feelings and emotions are our direct conscious perception (called interoception) of states of our physiology. There are two kinds of, "feelings."

The first kind of internal feelings are caused directly by the physiological states of the body and include nausea, fatigue, hunger, air hunger (shortness of breath), physical pain, excitement, feverishness, restlessness and more that we are all familiar with.

The second kind of internal feelings are caused by whatever we are conscious of: what we are perceiving externally, that is seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, or smelling and all that we are thinking. Those feelings are called emotions and are how the body reacts to whatever we are conscious of.

Emotional feelings include joy, ecstasy, fear, (and variations such as panic and terror) nostalgia, anxiety, sadness, grief, frustration, apathy, affection, antipathy, content, discontent, anger, nausea, hate, rage, confidence, enthusiasm, excitement, pride, and more. Notice that some emotional feelings have the same name as some physiological feelings, like nausea and excitement. Though the feelings may be very similar the difference is their cause. One may be nauseated because of an infection of the stomach (physiological feeling) or because they suddenly become conscious of something disgusting (emotion).

Except for those physiological feelings that inform us of physiological states, all other feelings are non-cognitive reflections of what we are conscious of, thinking, believing, and valuing, and provide no information or knowledge about anything beyond the feelings themselves.

Feelings And Emotions: Their Nature, Significance, And Importance



...................................
Punishment
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:28 pm
It is not evident that either in the short term or in the long term, people who behave badly are punished -- or if there's any vague sense in which they are, that that vague sense is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of their wrongdoings. And I think that's one of the remarkable facts of the observable world; justice is not done here. People get away with all kinds of things.

Only being all one can be as a human being is human success and to whatever degree an individual achieves that, they are successful.

But here, RC, you've gratuitously added the term "being all one can be." And you've said earlier, that the individual self is the determiner of that. So how can we then judge another's "success" by a standard they themselves refuse?

Let's take one of your examples:
Wealthy Jeffrey Epstein was patronized and socalized with the rich and famous like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Andrew. He committed suicide while in prison awaiting trial for sex trafficking, the result of his addiction to sex with underage girls.

Okay. Consider this. How many evil deeds did Jeffrey Epstein commit? How many girls did he hurt? How badly did he hurt them? How many years did he manage to do this? How luxurious was his lifestyle? How rich and indulged was he? How many were his "friends" and associates? How big was his influence on these people, and how many perks and how much power did he enjoy while he was alive?

Now, what is a punishment commensurate with what Jeffery Epstein did?
...................................



Before you start talking about, "real life," shouldn't you at least say what "life" is?
I don't think that's possible -- even for the best of our scientists.

We are all merely observing life in action, not basically able to say much about its deep nature. Scientists don't even know how the first life could have even gotten started. Even Dawkins admits this, and he's pretty willing to jump gaps in order to claim Materialism is true. If he knew, he'd be the first to say. But nobody does.

However, we're really pretty good at identifying life once it actually exists. We don't have any trouble recognizing an adult, a child, a toddler, an infant, a newborn...and a pre-born is just one second prior to the newborn, and has all the newborn's features and abilities. Moreover, we know that pre-born babies are often viable outside the womb, so essentially, they're infants. And we know that fetuses in utero are definitely pre-infants, with their own lives (heartbeats, brainwaves, circulatory systems, and so on). And for sure, we know that even a zygote is a life form -- and a human one, at that.

So we're on pretty good grounds there. We're very good at knowing WHEN life is; we're not good at saying WHAT life is precisely. It's not merely the sum of its manifestations, apparently.

Well..."life goes on," as they say. :D May yours go on well.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:49 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:12 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:28 pm
Hi again, RC:

Sorry for the delay in getting back. It's been a busy week. But you're still being very interesting...rest assured.
I certainly understand. Not sure how soon this will get to you. I'm writing from a hospital bed; having a little congestive heart failure problem.
Good heavens. I trust it's something you can overcome. :shock:

This might be presumptuous, and I hope you understand I'm not disrespecting your beliefs, but I'm going to be praying for you, if that's alright, RC.
The real question is one of values. If there is no way of explaining why anything is objectively preferable to anything else, there would be nothing to be responsible for.
Well, I would agree with that. But with nobody who has intrinsic worth, including the human self, there would be nobody to be responsible TO, either.
Something can only be a value if there is some objective, goal, end, or purpose relative to which something is a value.
I think that in a general way this is correct. There's really two ends to it, I would say: somebody has to be "valuing" something, in order for it to be a "value," but also, it has to be valuable FOR something, or relative to some good end that is perceived.

I don't think there's actually any difference between saying that and thinking of religious values either. The main difference is the question of whether or not values can be created on the one end, by being valued by God, and on the other, by being valuable for His intended good ends.
I cannot say exactly what you mean by a value, but you have stated in the past that you believe there are, "intrinsic," values. Perhaps you mean something else, but if by intrinsic value you mean something is a value without being a value to any specific objective, goal, purpose, or end, what does it mean to have a value?
Well, "intrinsic" meaning, "good regardless of the passing opinions of mere mortals." But that's only possible because in my thinking, God counts. His valuations supersede all ours. Ours are only for our personal, contingent purposes, perhaps; but His are for our ultimate good and the ultimate good of others and of the universe as well.

Feelings
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:28 pm
There are, as is empirically obvious, plenty of "feelings." People have no end of "feelings" about things. But these "feelings" are only that. If God does not exist, then all we can ever have is the feeling of meaning and purpose. But the deep truth will remain that there IS no meaning or purpose outside of our personal fevered imaginings. The universe will neither know nor care what meanings and purposes we "felt" we had.
Unless you are talking about your own, "feelings," there is no, "empirical," evidence for any feelings or emotions, because they are totally private (subjective) experiences. [/quote]
So far, I agree. But I would add that the validity of a feeling is determined by its relationship to objective good or a solid reality.

If I feel I have married the Queen of England, then no matter how compelling the feeling is to me, it's just that -- a feeling without any connection to facts or reality.

I was, of course, speaking only of one one emotionally "feels" to be true, not of physical sensations like pain, sight or hearing. What I was suggesting is that our feeling that there is meaning in the universe, or that we have chosen "meaningful" objectives for our lives are no more than mere "feelings" of the emotional kind, and are unrelated to the description of the universe as mere stage of material forces and causal chains. In other words, in the Godless universe, "meaning" is a delusion, a mere "feeling" some people find they have, or want to gin up, but is unrelated to objective facts.

The universe itself, in that case, has no "meaning." No one "meant" anything by it coming into existence, and it's not heading anywhere "meaningful." In the meanwhile, there's no "meaning" to anything we're doing, beyond the delusory feelings we gin up. Meaning is just not the kind of word one can fairly apply to such a universe.

........................

It is at this point that, if I judge correctly, you found yourself not able or inclined to remark further. Given your present condition, I invite you not to strain yourself on that point. When you are well, I would be happy to hear further from you on the above points and on the ones you were not able to cover. In the meanwhile, I regard it as an excessive kindness that you bestirred yourself sufficiently to manage these considerable replies to my previous missives. I am content.

Let me also offer this: if there is anything I can do to be of help, or anything you wish to say in a less public way, please feel free to use the private message section of the board to speak with me about anything you wish, on these or any other topics. My concern for the moment is entirely on your well-being, and being at some distance, there is nothing practical I can do, perhaps. But I am here for anything that might distract you from discomfort or ease your thoughts on any point.

And I shall be praying.

Get well soon.

IC

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:00 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:49 am
It is at this point that, if I judge correctly, you found yourself not able or inclined to remark further. Given your present condition, I invite you not to strain yourself on that point. ...
Thank you so much for you sincere concern. It's not quite as serious as that, I think. I actually did not intentionally end my response, but inadvertently posted what I had written, thinking it was only a preview, more tired than I thought I was, apparently. I'm home, but scheduling more tests. If you don't mind I'd like to finish what I started, and will post that when finished.

If you wonder why I truly appreciate your concern and appreciate your Christian values, in spite of my explicit disagreements, I think you would enjoy an article I wrote in 2006, when I still felt that, "Objectivism," was worth criticizing, An Atheist's Defence of Christianity. I think you will enjoy the article.

Now I'll get back to my original response.

RC

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