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Old 04-14-2005, 03:53 PM   #1
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Thought vs. Behavior

I believe thought should always be amoral; behavior always ethical. Any opinions?
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Old 04-14-2005, 05:01 PM   #2
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Amoral doesn't necessarily mean immoral. With that said, I can agree to some degree with your conclusion.
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Old 04-14-2005, 05:22 PM   #3
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I carefully chose the world "amoral". I believe all sides of an issue should be considered without internal censorship, whether it is a thought that makes us uncomfortable or not. All options should be considered without prejudging them. I think letting our personal morality determine our thinking or limit our thinking is dangerous.

Is any thought evil if our behavior is ethical?
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:52 PM   #4
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#1 It would probably be hypocritical of me to fully agree on this, as I often halt at a conclusion when I feel something is not right. I am inclined to go with my heart more often than my head, if that shines any light on it. Rationality isn't usually opposed to morality, but I guess there could be exceptions. Yes, I'll listen to some line of thinking, but when I feel it is downright wrong, I am likely to oppose it, rather than see it as a necessary evil.

#2 We all have evil thoughts. Sometimes there are things I want to say on here when I get riled up, but I don't say them because it would (a) be so cruel and heartless that it would discredit me as a human being, (b) only further stir up tension, and (c) would probably have consequences I am unaware of.
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Old 04-14-2005, 10:00 PM   #5
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I would say that there is a morality about what we think ~ I would also venture that it is our concience that bridges the gap between thought and behaviour.
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Old 04-15-2005, 01:53 AM   #6
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I'm not sure that I agree that any thoughts are inherently evil. I think thoughts themselves are beyond morality. I've killed a hundred people in my thoughts who have pissed me off. I was then able to pleasant to them. I've slept with another hundred people in my thoughts, but broke up no marriages.

I don't think you have to come to an amoral conclusion, which is why I made the distinction between thought and behavior. I think in thought everything is fair game. It hurts no one. Macfist mentioned that he will oppose a line of thinking when it is "downright wrong." I agree. And I think you often need ultimately to discard your own conclusions but not before we have played them out. Nor do I think all thoughts should be voiced, but I think for some reason, we censor our own thoughts. And I think this limits us. We are afraid to free associate. I think most interesting art and interesting science comes from not letting our preconceived notions of right and wrong interfere. We then can challenge our sacred cows. Thought doesn't not necessarily equal behavior and should not.

Macfist says: "We all have evil thoughts. Sometimes there are things I want to say on here when I get riled up, but I don't say them..." But do you consider the thoughts you had evil or cruel, or would they only become evil or cruel if you enacted them? I agree you may want to monitor your thoughts if they impel you to act on them or you become obscessed with them or you start using them as a rationale. But the entry of any thought into your head has no moral consequence whatsoever. We often behave as if it does.

For example, you may consider cloning to be wrong. A scientist may come to that final conclusion. But I would not consider him/her to be much of a scientist if they were unwilling to even entertain the notion in their heads. How do you sort out the grey areas without looking at them from all sides? And how can you look at something from all sides if you have an internal censor?
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Old 04-15-2005, 02:27 AM   #7
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I think most interesting art and interesting science comes from not letting our preconceived notions of right and wrong interfere. We then can challenge our sacred cows. Thought doesn't not necessarily equal behavior and should not.
But simply because something is unethical and yields results does not make it good science. At it's core science is about understanding and revealing the facts ~ as an example you used cloning, presumably human. From a scientific position at this time the technology is not 100% and any attempt would almost certainly yield plenty of miscarriages, even if the clone survived it could quite possibly suffer from defects and die young. If on the other hand more investigation proceeded and the sucess rate was brought to a safer level then I suspect that opposition would be reduced.

There are plenty examples of where research has been conducted unethically ~ such as vaccine testing on wards of the state or the Tuskegee syphilis study. In art such action could yield a death metal video or a book of poetry but when ethics are just abandoned people can wind up dead.
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Old 04-15-2005, 02:42 AM   #8
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I'm not saying that anything dangerous or unethical should be allowed outside the head. Thus, the distinction between thought and behavior. Cloning is not ready and I am not sure whether I believe it should ever be practiced or not. In the outside world, ethics should always be the standard. In the head, ethics are not necessary.

For example, a scientist may choose not to clone; however, allowing himself to consider cloning and ruminating about how it may be done can lead to other thoughts that then help the scientist pursue something more ethical to his/her way of thinking.
When thought stops based on preconceived notions, progress stops.

Uh-oh, I'm about to go on a critical limb here. Much Christian literature (fiction) and much Christian music is crappy because the "artist" won't go out of the box. I don't know that I would have appreciated HTDAAB if the artists had not been capable of an Achtung Baby.
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Old 04-15-2005, 05:52 AM   #9
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I think thoughts that aren't verbalized and/or acted upon can only hurt oneself, so as long as you don't hurt others w/ them it's OK so to speak, only in the sense that you aren't hurting someone else.

Once you cross that line into expressing them and acting upon them, it can become unethical and immoral. I think so many people don't even recognize that distinction-regarding when they should keep certain thoughts to themselves.

I also think if you don't have any qualms about certain thoughts you may have, that's a real problem too.
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Old 04-15-2005, 03:29 PM   #10
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I think that most good artists are amoral thinkers. They inhabit worlds they would never dream of inhabiting in real life. A writer writes from the point of view of a murderer, he loses his own morality for a time to inhabit the mind of that murderer. A lot of U2's Pop has a wonderful amorality about it. So does Achtung Baby. It's when you learn about yourself, learn how to get into someone else's skin, to know what your feelings are , what their feelings are without censoring them. To see what is without any artificial coloring, to begin to understand what goes on in someone else's mind without judging them for a while, to understand what goes on in your own.
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Old 04-15-2005, 03:45 PM   #11
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I think that even The Bible has moments where it can be described as amoral. Bono recognizes David as a blues singer.

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At the age of 12, I was a fan of David. He felt familiar, like a pop star could feel familiar. The words of the psalms were as poetic as they were religious, and he was a star. Before David could fulfil the prophecy and become the king of Israel, he had to take quite a beating. He was forced into exile and ended up in a cave in some no-name border town facing the collapse of his ego and abandonment by God. But this is where the soap opera got interesting. This is where David was said to have composed his first psalm -- a blues. That's what a lot of the psalms feel like to me, the blues. Man shouting at God -- "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me?" (Psalm 22).

[...]

David was a star, the Elvis of the Bible, if we can believe the chiselling of Michelangelo. And unusually for such a "rock star," with his lust for power, lust for women, lust for life, he had the humility of one who knew his gift worked harder than he ever would. He even danced naked in front of his troops -- the biblical equivalent of the royal walkabout. David was definitely more performance artist than politician.
I think of the Pop album, and even Achtung Baby to mirror it in a way. Some daring lyrics are expressed without self-censorship, such as "God's got his phone off the hook babe/Would he even pick up if he could/It's been a while since we saw that child hanging around this neighborhood..."

I don't know if this example helps at all, but one could argue with the holier than thou that amorality isn't always a bad thing.
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Old 04-15-2005, 03:51 PM   #12
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Now we're getting somewhere. Thank you, Macfist.
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Old 04-15-2005, 04:31 PM   #13
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I agree with Christ, who said that if any man lusts after a woman, he has committed adultery with her in his heart. He also said basically that if you hate your brother you have murdered him.

Thoughts are dangerous, because uncontrolled thoughts mold you into that kind of person. If you let hate live in your heart, it will shape you into a hateful person.

When a wicked thought pops into my heart, I do my best to vanquish it, and to concentrate on the good things. I do not want those thoughts to manifest themselves in my life, so I try to nip them in the bud. You can't generally help that first thought or temptation, but once you start to dwell on it, it becomes yours.
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