Morality, good, evil, good people, evil people, assholes, cheaters, closed mindedness, open mindedness, good religious people, bad religious people, social health, socially destructive, socially constructive, tooth brushing, mannerisms and their contagion, the influence of one person’s issues on another, issues, rationalizing, over-rationalizing, feeling, intuition. Friendship. Culture. Belief.
Nothing beyond this point has not been said before by philosophers and common folk alike. I will include no references to where I leeched these ideas from, because the sources are too numerous and fuzzy for my troubles. One source I would like to mention, who helped me develop my understandings of most of the terms beyond, is Talia Cohen, sage and flower child. Please write to me if you disagree with anything I write, and if you know who wrote it first, you can tell me that as well. I might not write who wrote it first – it would be unfair to all those who wrote it afterwards as well, and many who spoke it before, but didn’t write it, wouldn’t it? And that topic alone could go on for a few pages, explaining why I don’t want to write any references, but still acknowledge my lack of originality. If you still wish to read on – “and he bows out of the way, softly motioning for you to come in with his hand.”
(make it more friendly)
Morality is said to be the distinction between good and evil. It is in fact, simply a set of rules by which a person abides, in order to give meaning to simple, everyday decisions. Since the beginnings of culture, mankind has struggled to comprehend the meaning for consciousness. Hence, religions and along with them, rituals were born. These religions concepts and habits combined with the already established social interaction - like that of the greater apes - and formed a rudimentary set of morals. These have always been very incomplete in the grand scheme of things, yet are more than enough to result effective.
In function, morals are a set of rules that serve to preserve a state of safety and survival of a group of people. It may even be argued that morals are present in many animal groups. In order to understand the modern concept of morals, one must look back, even before the formation of a cultural set of morals. The example goes as follows:
There are two colonies of ants in a forest. They are the same species, and release the same pheromones, so they cannot distinguish each other by any normal means. Colony A functions as follows: The soldier ants return to the ant hill to be fed by the worker ants. The soldiers from colony B however, are always fed outside of the ant hill. If a soldier ant from colony A goes to colony B, it will merely disrupt the traffic of the colony. However, if the soldier ant from colony B goes to colony A, it will starve. If the worker ant from colony A goes to colony B, it will be of no use. If the worker ant from colony B goes to colony A, it will fulfill its duty, but put in excess effort.
This example can translate into what people consider cultural barriers. How is this different than moral barriers? While their origins may be the same, their purpose lies in two separate realms. While culture is meant to provide higher chances of finding a good mate, morals are meant to define an individual as safe or dangerous to the group as a whole.
Let us give this practical purpose. Two women from different cultures and morals sets move in together. Janet’s cultural values are: She does not believe in shaving, or wearing makeup, and likes baggy clothes. Janet’s moral values are: She believes in an eye for an eye; she believes lies are deplorable. Julie’s cultural values are: She believes in dressing up and wearing makeup, as well as showing bits of her body with revealing clothing. Julie’s moral values are: She believes in forgiving any trespass; she believes lies are good because they protect people’s emotions. They are both very tolerant people
Janet tells Julie that she thinks the dress she is wearing makes her look easy. Julie gets offended, and cannot understand why Janet would say something like that. Her moral values would lead her to think that the only reason someone would say something hurtful would be because they had intent to harm the recipient of the phrase. Janet however, just felt that honesty was more important than emotional discomfort. Julie forgives this first infringement - however, she now becomes more sensitive to Janets “oddities.” On the reverse coin, Janet cannot understand why Julie would be offended, since in her virtuous state, Janet spoke the truth, even though it might be painful. This example continues on innumerable paths. The takeaway message is this:
The cultural differences between them could lead to arguments and discord, however, it is the moral sets that each person develops that determine the outcome of such an interaction. The cultural differences between people set the stage for miscommunications, but the moral differences between people cause misunderstandings.
Moral differences, not necessarily cultural differences lead to people being perceived as cheaters and assholes.
See also: evil people, good people, good, evil, tooth brushing
The idea of an ultimate good has been around for millennia. Some believed it is the rule set of some higher power that only grants favor to the select few that abide by it. Others believed that it is personal emotional gratification. Even others believe it is a combination of the two, where if a person out-steps the boundaries of the norm, they are no longer committing a good act, but they are perverts or psychopaths.
The idea of good, however has two forms. The first is the universal form, in which good acts are have no perceivable negative for either party: Bobby gives Billy his sandwich because Billy is hungry, while Bobby is full, and was going to throw his sandwich away anyway. This act cost Bobby the same, or less effort than throwing out the sandwich, and yet it is still considered a good act. The second is a local, social form: Bobby gives Billy his sandwich because Billy is very hungry and asked for the sandwich, even though Bobby is hungry too. This form of good is more easily disputed, where, even though it is similar to the previous example, Bobby is choosing to harm himself for Billy. Some would view this as an evil act because of the self-sacrifice. Others would praise it even more. And even others would hold Bobby’s sacrifice inconsequential, and consider Bobby a bad influence on Billy for encouraging his vagary.
Bobby’s good deed relies on two issues: 1) The current value of the sandwich to Bobby, and 2) The consequence of giving the sandwich to Billy. Let us say that for the first example, the value of the sandwich for Bobby was 0, and for Billy it was 5. Let us say that Bobby giving away the sandwich to Billy cost the same as throwing it out. This means that Billy receives 5 points for 0 expenditure. So the pair has a total of +5 points of social constructivism
Let us now say that the sandwich is worth 3 points for Bobby, and 5 points for Billy. The exchange would make Bobby be at -3, and Billy be at +5, making the pair be at +2. However, if Billy were a cheater, then the total points could fall into the negative.
The concept of good, as well as evil becomes engrained in a person’s moral set, as conscious and subconscious behavioral benchmarks that determine whether or not another person is safe to be in the same tribe with.
As to self-judgment and personal moral conflict, this emerges from the interactions between the self and another person of different moral value. In order for true moral conflict to occur, the person that is to experience it must have the qualities of a good person. This is because the process by which internal strife forms is from the assimilation of values from another person. A person who cannot change their personal values in the face of another set of values cannot gain moral internal conflict, since they tend to have a cemented set of morals. This is not to say that people that are not open to moral change do not have internal conflict. It is just to say that they cannot gain new ones (nor can they relieve themselves of their burden).
See also: good people, cheaters socially constructive, socially destructive, morality.
Evil is a concept as old as good, and just as debated. You could simply make the argument that evil is anything guided to be socially destructive. However, this would miss the point. To understand what society understands is evil, see morality.
Evil is that which characterizes inefficient social destructiveness. This means that while a person can be socially destructive, it may not be considered evil, unless it is done so in a gross manner. Take the following example:
Bobby refuses to give Billy his sandwich, even though Bobby knows Billy is hungrier than he himself is, because in the end, its Bobby sandwich, and he can do whatever he wants with it. Let us say that the sandwich is worth 3 points to Bobby (Bobby is hungry too), and 5 points to Billy. This gives the combined interaction a value of -2. Even though this interaction is socially destructive, it is not necessarily evil. Bobby is not a cheater, and might not even be considered an asshole. Now let’s look at another example.
Bobby refuses to give Billy his sandwich, and even though Bobby is not hungry, an he knows Billy is, he chooses to throw the sandwich away. In this interaction, Bobby actually makes a dedicated effort to be socially destructive, choosing to discard an item of value, instead of giving it to a ready individual. It is important to note that it is not the fact that Bobby is throwing away the sandwich when he is not hungry, and Billy is, it is that throwing the sandwich away is just as hard, or maybe even harder to do than giving it to Billy. Bobby, in this case shows the characteristics of a stupid asshole.
If Bobby is next to a trash can, and Billy is up three flights of stairs, then the same action might not be considered evil. This is the main dilemma when asserting moral judgment. It is difficult to compare values of things that aren’t directly related. How can you compare hunger to laziness? Physical pain, to the pain caused by failing an idea of duty? This is where a person’s individual morality comes into play. Just remember that when you judge other people’s actions, the value of a certain quality –say, how hard it is to get out of bed- is all relative.
See also: good people, evil people, socially constructive, socially destructive, assholes.
Good people: the phrase, while related to good, does not simply mean that “good people are those that are filled with the value of good.” Instead, good people is a phrase that I use to refer to those people which might not bring about the most social constructiveness, but are the most likely to.
There are two types of good people: Smart good people and stupid good people. I will begin by speaking about stupid good people to avoid any initial complexities caused by the layers of motives that smart good people accumulate in the course of a decision.
Stupid good people are those who commit to being socially constructive. The will give their last bit of food to someone that’s hungrier than they are. Stupid good people also make good listeners. In an argument they might get into, they will listen deeply to whatever the other person has to say, and they will try to incorporate the message into their moral system. If the thought does not grossly conflict with their moral framework, it gains strength, and begins to become part of how this good stupid person thinks.
These two qualities are what make stupid good people the second most dangerous kind of people in the world (the first being stupid evil people).
People do not posses inherent qualities which make them good, evil, stupid or smart, but instead it is how they interact with the world in relation to themselves that makes them such. This text attempts to describe people as they relate to the social dynamic that connects us all. Every interaction between one person and another creates a force that moves a group in a certain direction. Much like birds in a flock, people live independent lives, tied together by the movements of those around them.
The thing about schools that bothers me is not the academic side, not the lack of funding, not the underpaid, underappreciated, and sometimes sub professional teachers. What I have a hard time accepting is the culture that surrounds every child in “underprivileged,” and even “white” schools. Euphemisms dismissed, children in every school system I’ve heard of breed intellectual ignorance. This is born from social insecurities and power struggles amongst the hierarchies of adolescents. The previous generation will always try to keep the subsequent generations subservient by poking at the very essence of their existence in the social circles of a school. Group A, which has no determined leader, yet is led by the common idea of what is cool (what has come to represent power and fertility). The people who embody these principles become the alphas. The rest are in a constant struggle with each other to be close to the alpha (or alphas as is much the case), many times losing track of the big picture with such squabbling. When Group A, an emotionally torn group, encounters another group, they act outwardly united. This makes even the lowest in the pecking order of group A have the command of the alphas. This is all true as long as Group B is not considered a real threat.
I would like to break in here to explain a common phenomenon. When things are not considered a threat, and they are still dealt with and not ignored, it is because they ARE a threat, that has simply been made not a threat though careful –and sometimes inadvertent – manipulation. Take sibling rivalry. An older brother will always pick on a younger brother when competing for parental attention. However, an older brother will also protect a younger brother, as the younger one is a possible ally in any situation. The eldest will make a diligent effort to keep the younger subservient – which usually makes the sibling teeter on the edge of mutiny. However, this careful balance will create a social precedence which will allow the eldest to have an invaluable asset.
The same kind of interaction happens within and between groups of people. Group A will harass Group B and C, and D, but if group 1 ever threatens, group A, B, C, and, D will unite against the farthest group. Farthest culturally. The race for Genetics (check out “the selfish gene”) stops being one of alleles, but one of culture. Since culture is being preserved across generations, and can spread more quickly, and more securely than alleles, it becomes the new genetic currency, and the new reason for behaviors born of “natural” selection to emerge. This concept will be furthered in another chapter.
Back to the
breeding of aiming low in the intellectual food chain of at least
Empathy is one of those emotions people tend to place a lot of significance on without understanding its true meaning. The reason for this is that empathy is impossible. One can only understand and feel another beings experience as far as the vehicle can go. That is to say that one can only experience things by method of our experiential constructs. There will always be some aspect lacking when Bobby tells Billy he knows how he feels. Rationality creates a bridge and a roadblock to this end. Through reasoning and deduction, one can draw many conclusions about a certain situation someone is going through – from start, to precedents, to final outcomes. One might even be able to replicate these, as actors do with death and drama. However, to say that a person can know what it is like to die, or feel something they have not felt themselves is not quite erroneous, but unlikely in the literal sense. Bobby punches Billy. Billy cries, Bobby has cried, so he assumes he knows what Billy is feeling, and tells him to stop being a wuss. Bobby “knows” and “understands” how Billy feels, but this is far from feeling what Billy feels. Reason takes us far away from the confines of our bodies – into the minds of others, and into the depths of space – But reason does not open our emotions to greater experience directly. Reason might lead you to decide, but intuition does takes precedence over your thought-flow. As usual, people are emotional beings, and try to control their emotions with their weak side, becoming weak people. The key, I suppose, is to examine your emotions logically, but understand them intuitively. To tell someone to understand how you feel, when they understand things only in the logical sense, is to tell them to understand nothing.