Does our modern age lack human dignity?

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Kuznetzova
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Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by Kuznetzova » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:18 am

I feel like a man who is charged with placing a note into a bottle, which will only be received by people centuries in the future.

On this note I would scribble:

We are an animal from Africa. All values are suspect or temporary fads.
We are targets of nuclear missiles. All parts of society are militarized.



How can we re-obtain human dignity in contemporary times?
What is the foundation of human dignity today?

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:52 pm

K,

Which is more meaningful (and practical)?

That I am 'dignified' because I belong to a species (with its aggregated 'culture'), or, that I am 'dignified' because I am *'me'?

Perhaps the more appropriate questions are:

-How can one obtain (or, re-obtain) individual dignity in contemporary times?

-What is the foundation of individual dignity today?








*autonomous, recursive, self-directing, etc.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:34 am

Kuznetzova wrote:I feel like a man who is charged with placing a note into a bottle, which will only be received by people centuries in the future.

On this note I would scribble:

We are an animal from Africa. All values are suspect or temporary fads.
We are targets of nuclear missiles. All parts of society are militarized.



How can we re-obtain human dignity in contemporary times?
What is the foundation of human dignity today?
You are assuming, perhaps falsely, that there was ever such a thing as human dignity.
You are also assuming that for the sake of two rather poorly observed facts that there is no such thing as human dignity.
There is nothing here that indicates that the present age has any more or less human dignity that it have ever had.

Felasco
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by Felasco » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:03 am

Kuznetzova wrote:What is the foundation of human dignity today?
That's a great question, thank you. While not claiming to have a great answer, I'll blunder forward anyway, in the hopes of encouraging you to continue.

I'll propose the fundamental problem we face to day is an antiquated relationship with knowledge.

We are clinging to a "more is better" relationship with knowledge that was entirely appropriate in previous eras, but is very rapidly going out of date, and we can't adapt fast enough. Knowledge development is an exponential process, while human cultural shifts tend to be incremental. The mismatch between these two data streams is perhaps the primary threat to human dignity.

You mentioned nuclear weapons, which are the classic example. Although hardly the only threat presented by uncontrolled knowledge development, they are perhaps the easiest threat to perceive.

Human dignity might be restored when we grasp the reins of power in our relationship with knowledge, and stop acting like slaves to it.

thedoc
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by thedoc » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:02 am

Human dignity has a lot to do with how you treat others, Pedophiles lack it altogether.

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Kuznetzova
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by Kuznetzova » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:23 pm

We are targets of nuclear weapons. Nobody has addressed this.

We are pawns on an international chessboard of competing nation states. Expandable pawns. Targets, in essence. This is not a situation which is leveraged on human dignity. This is a political situation that is maintained through the extortion of violent destruction.

Where in that situation do you somehow retrieve "well, I don't launch the missiles because I have a deep philosophical respect for human life?" Instead the way we act appears to be saying "Give me an excuse to kill all of you. And I am capable of such." The homo sapien species, acting in praxis as ICBM extortion schemes, holding each other hostage under the constant threat of annihilation.

Where in this situation is something even remotely resembling: "We recognize human dignity"?? I don't see it. Your thoughts.

tbieter
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by tbieter » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:44 pm

Kuznetzova wrote:I feel like a man who is charged with placing a note into a bottle, which will only be received by people centuries in the future.

On this note I would scribble:

We are an animal from Africa. All values are suspect or temporary fads.
We are targets of nuclear missiles. All parts of society are militarized.



How can we re-obtain human dignity in contemporary times?
What is the foundation of human dignity today?
The other day I finished reading "The Sum Total of Human Happiness" by James V. Schall, S.J. Schall reminds the reader that in Fides et Ratio,
John Paul II referred to "the very ground of human dignity."pp. 129-130 :


"90. The positions we have examined lead in turn to a more general conception which appears today as the common framework of many philosophies which have rejected the meaningfulness of being. I am referring to the nihilist interpretation, which is at once the denial of all foundations and the negation of all objective truth. Quite apart from the fact that it conflicts with the demands and the content of the word of God, nihilism is a denial of the humanity and of the very identity of the human being. It should never be forgotten that the neglect of being inevitably leads to losing touch with objective truth and therefore with the very ground of human dignity. This in turn makes it possible to erase from the countenance of man and woman the marks of their likeness to God, and thus to lead them little by little either to a destructive will to power or to a solitude without hope. Once the truth is denied to human beings, it is pure illusion to try to set them free. Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery. (106)" (Emphasis added)
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_ ... io_en.html

Schall comments at p. 130:

"If there be no objective order in being, including human being, we lose "the very identity of the human being." If the human face reveals its soul, which in turn reveals the image of God in which each person is created, then we deny the dignity of what we we are if we deny any order or substitute our own norms for what is given. Freedom is a consequence of truth, not its creator."

http://www.amazon.com/Sum-Total-Of-Huma ... dp_product

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Kuznetzova
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by Kuznetzova » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:00 pm

thieter ,

I have already read Mirandola's defense and proposition of human dignity from the renaissance. Mirandola was a genius. Schall is a kid playing with toys in the sandbox. In quoting Schall, you have presented nothing here but christian apologetics lifted hot-off-the catholic seminary press.

The defense of human dignity as humans being "in the image of God' is simply not consistent with the facts of our existence. The planet earth is a speck going around the sun. Our species has existed on this planet for one fraction of one percent of the age of the planet. We exist only on the very outer sphere edge of the planet in what is called the "biosphere". We have to remain in this narrow band, because our lungs are in constant need of air from the atmosphere that is tuned to the right temperature and has the right amount of humidity. (Completely dry air actually burns human skin in a process called dessication.) The sun is a star and there are 200 billion more stars in the milky way galaxy. A nearby neighboring galaxy, called Andromeda, contains nearly a trillion stars. Most, nay not "most". 99.999999% of the universe is completely dark, frozen near absolute zero, and teeming with deadly radiation.

The facts laid end-to-end show a more accurate picture. Namely, the universe has little or nothing at all to do with human beings. God created it? Fine. He created it, and gave humans one fraction of one billionth of a percent of the universe so we could kill each other in battles with tanks and lob nuclear missiles at each other. Good for "Him". Is this really a situation worthy of a God? If we are the image of God, then God is a petty, weak, violent animal with nationalistic and religious motivations. Our species is too stupid to travel to nearby stars. We will probably go extinct as many other hominids have before us. The universe and its million billion billion star systems will continue without us, just as they continued in the eons prior to us wandering out of Africa.
Last edited by Kuznetzova on Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

uwot
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by uwot » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:09 pm

What are you banging on about now, Kuznetzova? What is this dignity that you think is diminished, by the scale of the universe and the ability some nations have to blow us to bits?

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Kuznetzova
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by Kuznetzova » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:16 pm

uwot,

I was responding in turn to thieter's post.

He quoted some guy named Schall who says that the "very ground of human dignity" is objective truth. So I made sure that my post contained lots of objective truths about the universe. Thus neatly destroying that argument. I'm not a guy arguing to solipsism and denial of scientific facts. Quite the opposite. I'm lining all the objective facts up in a row.

He quoted Schall continually repeating that an examination of human beings turns up the "image of God". That is clearly apologetics ripped straight out of the book of Genesis. So I described human beings as having "nationalistic and religious motivations.". I wonder how thieter will talk himself out of this claim that he does not have religious motivations. This should be interesting. I mean, short of him deleting his post and pretending he did not make it in the first place, he will not and cannot conceal his motivations now.
Last edited by Kuznetzova on Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:22 pm

"That kind of murder is acceptable now"

That kind of murder has always been acceptable, K.

Study history.

#

"No human has dignity or rights."

Never did, don't now, never will (though a great many like to pretend otherwise).

#

Again...

Perhaps the more appropriate questions are:

-How can one obtain (or, re-obtain, or, hold on to) individual dignity in contemporary times (or, any time)?

-What is the foundation of individual dignity today (or, any time)?

#

"...short of him deleting his post and pretending he did not make it in the first place..."

You mean like you you just did?

HA!

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Kuznetzova
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Re: Does our modern age lack human dignity?

Post by Kuznetzova » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:46 pm

quirk,

I don't know what you do for a living or what you did for a living prior to becoming retired. But there is an entire sector of modern nations involved in education. There is an entire sector of campus involved in Fine Arts, and the Humanities -- things such as history, creative writing, poetry, music, philosophy and so on. Since I'm lumping these together, there is even an entire half of mathematics that is called "pure mathematics" which formally declares that its findings have no application in the real world.

All western nations have public education system for their children operated by a state-run monopoly. Education is a value shared across the boundaries of modern nations. The underlying value judgement is that education can solve many problems of society and that people can be perfected through literacy and exposure to artistic and athletic endeavors.

We can point at the two world wars as a breaking point -- this is where certain branches of inquiry and certain disciplines on campus suddenly came under the "umbrella" of military sector. Science, physics, and chemistry appeared to have its ultimate application to high explosives, nuclear weapon research, the creation of chemical and biological weapons, the creation of computer tech to break ciphers in a military context, and so on. These disciplines were NOT concerned with "Let's make all children better!"/"Let's perfect mankind through the arts!" anymore. The expressed value judgements was "Let's do this so we can spy on the enemy, destroy targets, and kill our foes in battle!"

The former, orthodox system of literacy/athleticism/art perfecting all of us is under continuous attack and deterioration by the militarization of all aspects of human inquiry.

The trend is frightening but I think very real. To try to distill it down into one motto -- "I don't want to heal illness, or make the world better, and I don't even care what Truth is anymore. I want to kill the enemy and I will use all sectors of society to do this."

So in the coming two centuries we could be looking at a Dark Ages of Militant Violence. Militarized societies where the police state spies on the citizenry all day with robots that hover in the sky, and all our communications on our cellphones are all stored in a giant NSA database. The police are militarized against the citizens. And nothing stops the trend. Nothing exists which could reverse the trend. People have no rights, and therefore have no dignity, no right to privacy, and the only authority is the "authority" of violent force against them.

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Kuznetzova
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Re:

Post by Kuznetzova » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:47 pm

henry quirk wrote:
"...short of him deleting his post and pretending he did not make it in the first place..."

You mean like you you just did?

HA!
Yeah I deleted that post because somewhere I realized I misinterpreted what uwot was asking.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:54 pm

K,

You posted, "That kind of murder is acceptable now", as though this is a recent turn.

I responded with, 'That kind of murder has always been acceptable...'.

You're pining away for sumthin' that's never been (a Golden Age of Human Dignity).

What you see as the "Dark Ages of Militant Violence" is just the latest iteration of what always has been and always will be ("the authority of violent force").

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Kuznetzova
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Re:

Post by Kuznetzova » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:02 pm

henry quirk wrote:What you see as the "Dark Ages of Militant Violence" is just the latest iteration of what always has been and always will be.
That's fine. But you should subject that to scrutiny. There are ramifications to universities even existing in the first place, because the conclusions have a direct bearing on their value system. These values are themselves the motivation behind constructing universities in the first place. They are expressed in the underlying motivation to engage in this discipline called "philosophy" at all to begin with. You have an internet connection, quirk. You have access to a philosophy forum. Expose your ideas to scrutiny by taking the message directly to the academics themselves.

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