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Old 11-16-2008, 05:48 PM   #1
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Sd.408

Sunday Dispatch .408


Good or evil--you cannot build your life apart from this distinction.

~Alexander Solzhenitsyn
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:17 PM   #2
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Good luck with that one. Most people want to avoid such a distinction especially people who are fans of Friedrich Nietzsche:

YouTube - Monty Python - Bavarian restaurant
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:35 PM   #3
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Sunday Dispatch .408


Good or evil--you cannot build your life apart from this distinction.

~Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The problem is, who defines good and evil?

Even within FYM you have some posters that will look at the same thing and some will define it as evil and others will define it as good.
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:40 PM   #4
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Very good German by John Cleese, and the others too. Only mistake: In Bavaria they don't speak high German.

But apart from that I love Monty Python sketches involving Germans/Bavarians.
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BonoVoxSupastar View Post
The problem is, who defines good and evil?

Even within FYM you have some posters that will look at the same thing and some will define it as evil and others will define it as good.
This is all based on semantics ultimately. It's arguing on how the terms are used. Good and evil has it's intentions and people can have good and evil thoughts. If someone makes a mistake despite good intentions it's different than knowningly doing evil. People can knowingly do evil since many get pleasure from doing it.

I usually give a basic test for people on a scenario like if you went jogging and some guy beat you up anal raped you and then took your money, would you feel that that a moral "wrong"/"evil" has been done to you? Yes.

I've also seen relativists try to explain their ideas in anthropology class and still say that damning Hitler is possible when you are a relativist. At that point I had to concede that what they really mean is relativism in certain situations and "good/evil" in other situations. This means we have to look at somethings being morally indifferent and others morally significant. The good to me is being able to make decisions that don't unduly interfere with other people's freedoms. At that point you need a law system and government to arbitrate between people's conflicting interests to decide on how much freedom should be allowed. Philosophers usually use arguments that include different forms of the golden rule and categorical imperitive to see things from different points of view before they define evil.
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:31 PM   #6
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Very good German by John Cleese, and the others too. Only mistake: In Bavaria they don't speak high German.

But apart from that I love Monty Python sketches involving Germans/Bavarians.
They like to make fun of German philosophers.

YouTube - monty python football
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:59 PM   #7
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This is all based on semantics ultimately. It's arguing on how the terms are used. Good and evil has it's intentions and people can have good and evil thoughts. If someone makes a mistake despite good intentions it's different than knowningly doing evil. People can knowingly do evil since many get pleasure from doing it.
You should really rethink this...

So if someone honestly believes that black people are evil and should be enslaved or killed, it's just good intentions?

You honestly fall for the shit that homosexuals want to rape children therefore should have fewer rights, that's just good intentions?
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:08 AM   #8
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You should really rethink this...

So if someone honestly believes that black people are evil and should be enslaved or killed, it's just good intentions?
You should read the part about conflicting interests in my last post. Eliminating thoughts of what is good and what is evil can't happen when personal interest is involved. If people are mugged like in my scenario above or if people are enslaved they will feel like a moral wrong is done. Then they will have some argument on what grounds it is wrong and should be able to explain it to people. Abolitionism was based on ethics which in itself is a discussion on "the good" or "the greater good". I honestly think that humans naturally use relativism when it's convenient for themselves but when it comes to threats like Hitler they abandon it.

Racists believed that negros were inferior in race but the evidence showed otherwise. They felt that negros were a bad influence on their children. Again you would need evidence to show that and there wasn't any. Now with science starting to understand DNA you can see that there is very little differentiation between blacks and whites.

Now I'm sure we wished slavery didn't exist in the past but until evidence and understanding was attained on the subject you couldn't expect people to know better due to ignorance. I'm sure we have beliefs today about the universe that are dead wrong but until we gather more information about the universe we will be making judgments about choices in a moral vs. immoral context based on our prior history and knowledge so we can make decisions in the present moment. Discrimination cannot completely be taken away from daily life because at it's most basic, when we go shopping we often discriminate one product from another based on what we think is good. If evidence shows later that our product is not really that good because it doesn't meet our expectations then we will have to use that information to revise our judgments. It's efficient to have some judgment just so you aren't paralyzed by relativism all the time.

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You honestly fall for the shit that homosexuals want to rape children therefore should have fewer rights, that's just good intentions?
If people worry about raped children then it is good intentions even if it's a wrong assertion I made about homosexuals. Now if my facts I brought up to defend my opinion were wrong (study with mainly religious sources) then it can be disproved like Irvine did by getting me to be less lazy and look at the sources that were quoted in that study. That doesn't mean I should abandon the idea of good and evil. I'm sure Irvine has arguments that the study I brought up was evil because it wasn't accurate in its assessment and was forcing an opinion by ignoring other evidence that shows otherwise. Good evidence is the key. What I learned from my discussion with Irvine is that the preying on children aspect needs to be proven with better studies and since I haven't found any and I read other studies by actual psychologists that say children are not adversely affected by living with homosexual guardians I came to the conclusion that all preying on children whether straight or gay should be a police matter on a case by case basis because that would be more accurate. There are other studies I have to look into with the definition of marriage in Europe and I'm sure there are going to be some in Canada and if they are against the definition of marriage being a man and a woman then I should judge whether their evidence is good or not. Certainly if a generation passes and there is no discerable problem with marriage or society due to a new definition then there would be overwhelming evidence.

The reason why my mugging example is good at showing that good and evil can't be ignored is because if it happened to you it would be real to you because the evidence would be obvious. The difficulty is when the evidence is not obvious. If a study says that homosexuals like to prey on children and celebrate it in their literature and that study is cherry picked and doesn't have a wide set of sources to back up its assertion then it's up to me to make sure I pay attention to those sources before I offer an opinion.

A reason why Monty Python made fun of German philosophers is because relativism has been used by fans of Nietzsche like Hitler and has been used by Communists to narrow debates and arguments and shut people up so their ideas can go uncontested.

There's also a problem that I can't really say "everything is relative" because that statement would be an absolute creating a double negative. How can I state a truth that there is no truth? You can see how relativism can be used to stifle moral questioning.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:14 AM   #9
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All I'll say, for now, is that there's more to discourse than just dualism and relativism. A rejection of relativism does not automatically mean dividing the world into "good" and "evil."

Let's focus on identifying and solving problems, rather than coming up with counterproductive "Axes of Evil" (and, yes, "axes" is the technical plural of "axis").
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:41 AM   #10
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They like to make fun of German philosophers.

YouTube - monty python football
Not only German philosophers but also another part of German history.

And I'm sorry for England, but in three days we will beat them again.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:15 PM   #11
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All I'll say, for now, is that there's more to discourse than just dualism and relativism. A rejection of relativism does not automatically mean dividing the world into "good" and "evil."

Let's focus on identifying and solving problems, rather than coming up with counterproductive "Axes of Evil" (and, yes, "axes" is the technical plural of "axis").
I agree that good and evil if over simplified can be a problem, but the countries named evil by Bush were very accurate and they haven't become nice overnight because Obama is there. I really do think that Americans are now in the syndrome where they need a huge catastrophe greater than 9/11 to make them think otherwise. Also when you look at Putin you can see the machinations of evil when he pretends Russia is a democracy.

FOXNews.com - Aide to France's Sarkozy Reveals Putin Wanted to Hang Georgian President 'By the ...' - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News

Also you can see his relativism when he equates Georgia with Iraq under Sadaam Hussein, and intelligence errors vs. simply wanting to control oil resources to Europe. He has evil intentions. We can't just stop and call the guy evil and we do need to "solve problems" as you say but knowing the difference between what they present to the public and what they actually think is important so you don't get tricked by being overly cooperative with their non-cooperative stance. I think Putin and Hussein have more in common than he will readily admit.

Bush's problem was his belief that Iraq and Afghanistan would change like Japan did but he obviously didn't get the difference between nationalism and tribalism. Tribalism takes longer to reform. Hence West Germany and Japan recovered faster.

The problem is the cooperation of people. When you start getting into game theory, Nash Equilibrium, Robert Axelrod's ideas of cooperation you can see the complexity and it usually has to do with self-interests competing for resources, power, whatever humans desire. From Robert Axelrod's prisoner's dilemma studies he saw tit-for-tat being a successful strategy to induce more cooperation. Reagan did an example of that when he bombed Libya.

George Bush is a neo-conservative but also he is religious. Christianity is heavily influenced by Platonic thinking and when you make assumptions of the inherent need of freedom in all individuals you are starting to make assumptions that all humans desire freedom. I don't know what the outcome of Iraq and Afghanistan will be if we actually complete reconstruction there. If his belief that humans look for freedom (not all stages of human history show that) it should be evident in what happens a few years from now and how the new govenrments are working and that will be the evidence required to judge Bush on. He's expecting Afghanistan and Iraq will be U.S. allies in the future. The proof is in the pudding. We shall see.

So if we are going to focus on solving problems a good area to study would be the history of how laws changed. How do we reform properly? Are there reforms that don't work?

There's always a push from radicals who want to do numerous changes in society and those reactionaries who want to conserve insititutions in society. If reform happens and it's not based on our knowledge of human nature there is a risk that we can fall flat on our face when the reality shows otherwise.

Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions: Chapter 1 of 5 - Uncommon Knowledge on National Review Online

The conservative economist Thomas Sowell does a good job of showing this dichotomy or dualism in politics. If Obama strays too far from what we've learned in our history it will be evident. Of course if Obama knows some reforms that he thinks conforms to human nature and applies them he will be able to take credit for that success. Idealism may have it's faults but people believed in the past that democracy couldn't work because of human nature. If people fight for it and make it work the old idea can be defeated. Americans have elected lots of Democrats and now it is their time to apply their vision and the people can judge for themselves if it's the right course. "Right course" meaning what we think is good.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:23 PM   #12
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I agree that good and evil if over simplified can be a problem, but the countries named evil by Bush were very accurate and they haven't become nice overnight because Obama is there. I really do think that Americans are now in the syndrome where they need a huge catastrophe greater than 9/11 to make them think otherwise.

What the hell does this even mean?
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Old 11-17-2008, 02:33 PM   #13
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I agree that good and evil if over simplified can be a problem, but the countries named evil by Bush were very accurate and they haven't become nice overnight because Obama is there.
Well, this neatly exhibits the problem. I don't think that because a country (Iran) chooses to follow a different path to the Western system (the 'One Best Way', or so neo-liberal and neo-con writers like Francis Fukayama have been assuring us for decades now; though I'm not sure how that theory is looking with all the banking collapses) makes it evil. Granted, with North Korea you might have a point.

I take it you wouldn't call Pat Buchanan a relativist?
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:21 PM   #14
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Good and evil is oversimplified, but when Bush calls entire countries evil it is very accurate. Has some nice irony to it.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:37 PM   #15
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Well, this neatly exhibits the problem. I don't think that because a country (Iran) chooses to follow a different path to the Western system (the 'One Best Way', or so neo-liberal and neo-con writers like Francis Fukayama have been assuring us for decades now; though I'm not sure how that theory is looking with all the banking collapses) makes it evil. Granted, with North Korea you might have a point.

I take it you wouldn't call Pat Buchanan a relativist?
I believe Iran's attitude towards Israel and the West is quite evil, and certainly their aid for insurgents in Iraq it would be hard to argue otherwise. I don't find dictatorships stay in their own country and usually they start threatening in order to justify their position. Many regimes like to steal wealth from other countries as opposed to earn it or trade wealth. This is why I love the Seven Samurai because it looks at that problem of how to defend wealth.

Western markets and the bubble is something that can be dealt with in many ways but certainly crashes do provide opportunities to fine tune and update regulations. There are things individuals can do as I've belaboured in the past like making a budget and sticking to it. We have enough freedom to create better lives for ourselves but if people get spoiled, (like we can see now), people may make bad choices for a while before they feel the hurt. Hurt is necessary for people to learn. The past 60 years has shown more wealth and opportunity in human history and people got complacent and took it for granted. Stock markets aren't for gambling but people got into gambling with the attitude that a downturn wouldn't happen. I think the west is decaying because self-discipline is not being taught and in fact it is being ridiculed.

This Keynesian thing is really starting to bug me. Because of Paul Krugman economists have convinced Harper in Canada to go into a deficit. I know that liberals will take advantage of it. Many times you can't rely on "experts" because they are politicized. The "economy" is not an entity. Getting individuals to keep spending when they are over leveraged is not good for the individual and individuals make up an economy. This interventionist tinkering that social engineers want to do shows they are too impatient to wait for the economy to recover (deleverage). People will feel more confident about the economy when they feel confident with their own personal finances.

Buchanan to me is a Bismarckian conservative. He's really into trade barriers. He's also obsessed with who is really American vs. not American. I convinced of his opinions from what I've seen of him so far. I think this downturn is making people want to overreact as usual.

I believe nobody is a relativist including relativists. They don't follow their beliefs all the way and eventually they have to admit something is "truthful" or not.
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