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How to Morally Judge Amoral vs. Immoral Men

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On 10/23/2017 at 3:42 PM, Easy Truth said:

In a sense, being evil is doing something stupid, when you are NOT stupid.

Yes. Before discovering Rand I spent a few years as a LaVeyan Satanist. According to LaVey (who incidentally plagiarized Rand heavily) the cardinal sin anyone can commit is stupidity, which is very close to the Objectivist cardinal sin of irrationality (voluntary, self-inflicted stupidity).

As SL pointed out, material objects as such are neither good nor evil (many kinds of poison can current various diseases, in the proper dosages); as human beings, it's up to us not to be stupid.

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On 10/25/2017 at 6:05 AM, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Yes. Before discovering Rand I spent a few years as a LaVeyan Satanist. According to LaVey (who incidentally plagiarized Rand heavily) the cardinal sin anyone can commit is stupidity, which is very close to the Objectivist cardinal sin of irrationality (voluntary, self-inflicted stupidity).

It is hard for me to understand because I have done many stupid things, many things I regret, but I don't recall any time that I actually chose to do what I would regret. It has always been due to some mistake. But it is only when I knew that it was wrong, that I changed my behavior. To separate the actions that I did by mistake as not being wrong, does not work as a survival mechanism. This is where actual consequence, (consequentialism) is necessary for survival.

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On 10/25/2017 at 6:05 AM, Harrison Danneskjold said:

As SL pointed out, material objects as such are neither good nor evil (many kinds of poison can current various diseases, in the proper dosages); as human beings, it's up to us not to be stupid.

What about the issue of the "trained mind", the Pavlovian response. You eat something, it gives you a painful allergic response. Next time you see it, it is bad, evil. Not intrinsically, perhaps subjectively. But I don't like these words to describe it because of the fact that it will give you an allergic response is an objective fact, it is real, it will happen. Yet it is not a value judgment that a person without an allergy would make. In terms of a standard of what is good for bad for you, it is bad. How does one separate the two perspectives?

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Yet it is not a value judgment that a person without an allergy would make. In terms of a standard of what is good for bad for you, it is bad. How does one separate the two perspectives?

I'm all ethics-ed out at the moment, but this caught my eye.

Why would you suppose that there is any moral standard apart from what is good or bad for you? Imagine that we agreed upon such a standard; should any person act contrary to what is good for them, individually? Would we call that moral?

I don't anticipate I'll follow up on this -- 'cause as I say, I need a bit of recharge on these subjects -- but I wanted to leave it as food for thought.

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21 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Why would you suppose that there is any moral standard apart from what is good or bad for you? Imagine that we agreed upon such a standard; should any person act contrary to what is good for them, individually? Would we call that moral?

Objectively speaking, I don't recall being the center of the universe. I used to have that misunderstanding as a child.

As the center of the universe, I absolve you of all the guilt appropriate for someone shying away from discussing ethics. Go recharge.

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On 10/30/2017 at 12:19 AM, Easy Truth said:

... [It] is bad, evil. Not intrinsically, perhaps subjectively...

No; objectively. 

There's no such thing as truly intrinsic knowledge, unaffected by the mind which holds it (untouched by the associations, emotions, degrees of emphasis and every other messily subjective thing that all minds have). Neither is there such a thing as subjective knowledge which isn't somehow based on the facts of reality (even a belief in unicorns would be based on the facts that horses and horns do exist and the fact that the believer really, really wishes they were real); to be conscious at all is to be conscious of some thing. Since all knowledge (even a falsehood) is based on certain aspects of reality, as they appear to the observer, trying to separate the intrinsic from the subjective is a wild goose chase. 

In your example, it's an objective (and universal) truth that allergens are bad for those who are allergic to them. A belief that allergens can be good for the allergic, despite being based on whatever facts of reality, would represent an incorrect combination of those facts (and in all likelihood it'd also be irrational, since its self-contradiction is only a few mental steps away from being explicit).

There's a reason it's called "Objectivism"...

 

On 10/30/2017 at 12:14 AM, Easy Truth said:

In terms of a standard of what is good for bad for you, it is bad. How does one separate the two perspectives?

Intention. It's no different from how we separate manslaughter from murder.

 

On 10/30/2017 at 12:14 AM, Easy Truth said:

It is hard for me to understand because I have done many stupid things, many things I regret, but I don't recall any time that I actually chose to do what I would regret. It has always been due to some mistake.

As admirable as that may be, each of us is still free to choose what we know we shouldn't at any time.

For example, one recent night I had a bottle of vodka before wandering around town, looking for a fight. I knew that I was jeopardizing the quality of the next morning's work, serious bodily injury and a multitude of lesser concerns. All night long I felt this nagging little thing in the back of my head which, if consciously examined, would've told me how stupid I was being - but I didn't examine it. I'd just gotten off the phone with my ex-wife and I wasn't in the mood to think; I wanted to break something.

That's all I mean by deliberate stupidity. At no point was I consciously trying to hurt myself, nor did I actually suffer any ill consequences (thankfully); that isn't necessary. All it took was for me to have all the information I'd need in order to know better, if I chose to stop and think about it, and to simply choose not to. 

It's not hard; in fact, it's one of the easiest things that there is. Doing all of the thinking it takes to know better (and then going forth and doing better), whenever you should know better, is what's hard.

If you've never done that before then that's amazing. Seriously, dude, that deserves some kind of medal or something. But each of us is still fully capable of doing it tomorrow if we allow ourselves to.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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5 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

That's all I mean by deliberate stupidity. At no point was I consciously trying to hurt myself, nor did I actually suffer any ill consequences (thankfully); that isn't necessary. All it took was for me to have all the information I'd need in order to know better, if I chose to stop and think about it, and to simply choose not to. 

1

"At no point was I consciously trying to hurt myself" is what I am emphasizing. And I would add that at no point in your current life, in this current moment are you trying to hurt your self. So I still have trouble imagining how a person would actually choose to be stupid. One could talk about "jackass videos" people trying bizarre things for thrills, but I tend to think that at the time (not in hindsight), they genuinely think that what they are NOT being stupid.

One might not have the time or tolerance to see all the possible consequences. Is that the source of the moral culpability?

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