Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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reasonvemotion
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Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by reasonvemotion »

If a person associates with people of "good" character, will that person also become good or if that person associates with people of questionable character will that person become the same. There is a saying, look at his/her friends and you will know the person. Nurture over nature. How important is environment. Are people born good, but need a similar environment to remain this way?
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Notvacka
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by Notvacka »

reasonvemotion wrote:If a person associates with people of "good" character, will that person also become good or if that person associates with people of questionable character will that person become the same. There is a saying, look at his/her friends and you will know the person. Nurture over nature. How important is environment. Are people born good, but need a similar environment to remain this way?
I think that you could perhaps pose a better question.

We are each other's environment. Everybody tries to adapt to the environment; everybody tries to be "good". And what's considered "good" is defined by the environment. If one fails to adapt, one will seek some other environment. If one can't meet the standards of being "good", one will seek other standards, less hard to meet. Everybody needs to find a place to fit in. If society doesn't provide such a place, a place will be found outside of society.
reasonvemotion
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by reasonvemotion »

Desire can be disciplined but never eradicated. If a mind is disciplined, actions can be controlled. If, on the other hand, a mind is untrained, the few desires one has, will surely be acted upon. Desires can never be forgotten as they are a natural part of every human being.

You might say, if it is natural that human nature is flawed, how did society arrive at the idea of morality, as this would be foreign to one's own nature. If people were born good, there would be no need for law enforcement or regulations as there would be an absence of crime. History has proven laws are needed and required. Yet, what if people could be born with the ability to become good. If this is the case, then principles need to be created, and abided by, which can be taught and learned.

Environment is important or is it THE most important aspect if people were born good, to maintain this goodness or, only a good environment can alter a person's propensity to indulge in immorality/corruption. Look at his/her friends and you will know the person.
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Notvacka
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by Notvacka »

reasonvemotion wrote:You might say, if it is natural that human nature is flawed...
A flaw is recognized as such in relation to perfection. What would human nature be then, if it was not flawed? This needs to be defined before it being flawed makes any sense.
reasonvemotion wrote:...how did society arrive at the idea of morality, as this would be foreign to one's own nature.
Why would it be foreign? Because one's own nature is supposedly flawed? To begin with, flawed does not mean all bad. A chipped cup is flawed, but it might still be used as a cup. Furthermore, you seem to assume that society's idea of morality is not also flawed.
reasonvemotion wrote:If people were born good...
You need to define "good".
reasonvemotion wrote:...there would be no need for law enforcement or regulations as there would be an absence of crime.
This suggests that you equal "good" with not committing crime. But that's not all, is it?
reasonvemotion wrote:History has proven laws are needed and required. Yet, what if people could be born with the ability to become good. If this is the case, then principles need to be created, and abided by, which can be taught and learned.
Could? The rules of society, both formal laws and informal conventions, are already taught and learned. And abided by in most cases. However, it seems to me that the rules and laws are not necessarily always "good".
reasonvemotion wrote:Environment is important or is it THE most important aspect if people were born good, to maintain this goodness or, only a good environment can alter a person's propensity to indulge in immorality/corruption.
The implied line between individual and environment is illusory. As I said before, we are each others's environment. The propensity to indulge in "immorality/corruption" resides not only within the individual, but also in society, which consists of individuals. Often corruption is part of the structure.
duszek
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by duszek »

Objections:

I can choose an exotic friend in order to grow to the occasion and thus try to enlarge my horizons.

I can choose a friend for the sake of complementarity.

I can put up with a friend because in a certain period of life he is better than nothing. (sad but realistic).

I can choose a friend because I want to practice a language with him and he is a native speaker. (He is informed about my motivation and does not mind.)
reasonvemotion
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by reasonvemotion »

reasonvemotion wrote:

You might say, if it is natural that human nature is flawed...

Notvacka wrote:

A flaw is recognized as such in relation to perfection. What would human nature be then, if it was not flawed? This needs to be defined before it being flawed makes any sense.
Replace it with malevolent

reasonvemotion wrote:

...how did society arrive at the idea of morality, as this would be foreign to one's own nature.

Notvacka wrote:

Why would it be foreign? Because one's own nature is supposedly flawed? To begin with, flawed does not mean all bad. A chipped cup is flawed, but it might still be used as a cup. Furthermore, you seem to assume that society's idea of morality is not also flawed.
If one was born with a malevolent nature, to be good would be foreign to that nature, as if one was born good, to be malevolent would be foreign to that nature.
reasonvemotion wrote:

If people were born good...

Notvacka wrote:

You need to define "good".
That which is morally right, how does that sound.
reasonvemotion wrote:

...there would be no need for law enforcement or regulations as there would be an absence of crime.

Notvacka wrote:

This suggests that you equal "good" with not committing crime. But that's not all, is it?
You can include morality.


reasonvemotion wrote:

History has proven laws are needed and required. Yet, what if people could be born with the ability to become good. If this is the case, then principles need to be created, and abided by, which can be taught and learned.

Notvacka wrote:

Could? The rules of society, both formal laws and informal conventions, are already taught and learned. And abided by in most cases.
So it works.

Notvacka wrote:

However, it seems to me that the rules and laws are not necessarily always "good".
Nothing is perfect, there is always a flaw.

reasonvemotion wrote:

Environment is important or is it THE most important aspect if people were born good, to maintain this goodness or, only a good environment can alter a person's propensity to indulge in immorality/corruption.

Notvacka wrote:

The implied line between individual and environment is illusory. As I said before, we are each others's environment. The propensity to indulge in "immorality/corruption" resides not only within the individual, but also in society, which consists of individuals. Often corruption is part of the structure.
There lies the difference between nature and conscious practice.
AphroditeGoneAwry
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by AphroditeGoneAwry »

reasonvemotion wrote:If a person associates with people of "good" character, will that person also become good or if that person associates with people of questionable character will that person become the same. There is a saying, look at his/her friends and you will know the person. Nurture over nature. How important is environment. Are people born good, but need a similar environment to remain this way?

What do you mean by 'associate with?'

Friends and associates are two different things.

Only God is good. One usually likes to associate regularly (friends) with those of like mind. If your mind is questionable, then so too might be your company. Not so much that your company determines your mind...And if you just get 'caught up in who you hang out with,' then I'd ask if that person's life is always so passively caught up in things. And why she isn't more assertive about what she wants.
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Notvacka
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by Notvacka »

reasonvemotion wrote:
Notvacka wrote:A flaw is recognized as such in relation to perfection. What would human nature be then, if it was not flawed? This needs to be defined before it being flawed makes any sense.
Replace it with malevolent.
Assuming that human nature is somehow flawed, regardless of what a perfect human nature would be like, seems pretty safe. But assuming human nature to be malevolent is something else entirely. And why not go for "evil" right away, since you already use "good" for its opposite?
reasonvemotion wrote:If one was born with a malevolent nature, to be good would be foreign to that nature, as if one was born good, to be malevolent would be foreign to that nature.
Yes. But I don't think people are born "malevolent". Nor "good" for that matter. And neither do you, it seems, since this thread of yours appears to be about the influence environment (friends) has on the individual.
reasonvemotion wrote:
Notvacka wrote:You need to define "good".
That which is morally right, how does that sound.
Worse, actually. I'm more comfortable with a loosely defined notion of "good" than a loosely defined notion of what's morally right. The reason I questioned your OP to begin with, was that it seemed too loose and general. And I still think that you could pose a better question here. Because if all you mean to say is that the environment/society (friends) influence individual behaviour, then I think most would agree. But that's not all, is it?
reasonvemotion wrote:
Notvacka wrote:The implied line between individual and environment is illusory. As I said before, we are each other's environment. The propensity to indulge in "immorality/corruption" resides not only within the individual, but also in society, which consists of individuals. Often corruption is part of the structure.
There lies the difference between nature and conscious practice.
I honestly don't understand what you mean by that.
reasonvemotion
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by reasonvemotion »

But that's not all, is it?

You tell me, as I think you are ready to now.

Help me prove/disprove my point.
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Notvacka
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by Notvacka »

reasonvemotion wrote:
But that's not all, is it?
You tell me, as I know you have been holding back, but I think you are ready now.

Help me prove/disprove my point.
If your point is simply that the environment influences individual behaviour, then I don't think you need to prove it, since nobody questions it.

As for "holding back", I'm not here to argue your point, I only wish to help with clarity. If you're interested in my view on ethics, you can find it in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7744
reasonvemotion
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by reasonvemotion »

Everybody tries to adapt to the environment; everybody tries to be "good".

Everybody? I disagree with this statement.

At birth we are not moral in any way, but are inherently naively selfish, because of the will to survive. Our natural dispositions do not provide us with any guidance for becoming good, but, we do have the capacity to become virtuous by our own wish to do so. With this in mind I asked are we born bad, I don't use the word evil as it has connotations implying sinister, which is beyond what I am trying to convey. If we are bad, is it only the environment which can save a person, or is it our own wish which can change a person from bad to good or from good to bad, regardless of where we are or who we are with. With this in mind environment would take second place to our own free will and desire.
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Notvacka
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Re: Look at his/her friends and you will know the person

Post by Notvacka »

reasonvemotion wrote:Our natural dispositions do not provide us with any guidance for becoming good, but, we do have the capacity to become virtuous by our own wish to do so.
This seems a bit contradictory to me. Where does this capacity come from, if it's not in our natural disposition? Where does our "own" wish come from? Either it's inherent in our nature, something we are born with, or we learn it from others. But it has to come from somewhere.
reasonvemotion wrote:With this in mind I asked are we born bad, I don't use the word evil as it has connotations implying sinister, which is beyond what I am trying to convey. If we are bad, is it only the environment which can save a person, or is it our own wish which can change a person from bad to good or from good to bad, regardless of where we are or who we are with. With this in mind environment would take second place to our own free will and desire.
"Nature or nurture" doesn't really matter, because it's all circumbstance anyway, either internal (as our genes) or external (as the society we are born into).
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