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Right and Wrong

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Admittedly, this is easier said than done. I think the difficulty depends on the degree of one's "reality-disintegrated" by past traumas or irrational conditionings.

Although, frustration is an interesting emotion. It's so off-putting, yet I'm sure we all can agree that there is something to be learned in moments of frustration. So, there is that interesting tension between being frustrated and wanted to avoid learning anything, yet knowing that these are opportune moments to learn.

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I came to this thought because of long hours of frustration due to the blatant ignorance of humans (in myself and in others). Its purpose is to prove the folly of hating ignorance:

Imagine if humans always did "right," but had no understanding of "wrong." We wouldn't really be anything -- perhaps only beings with no purpose. The fact that we have the capacity for both right and wrong requires us to choose one over the other and, naturally, we have the desire to be right. This desire requires us to find out what "right" is, which requires the ability to implement reason in constantly challenging our basic beliefs. (Paranoid religious belief is the result of the absence of reason.) In our search for what is right, we come to deeply understand why something is right or wrong through the use of our own thought. The greatness is in the understanding of the doing, not merely the doing.

(A side note: this is analogous to the idea of a capitalistic, unregulated society, in which the government's only job is to protect the basic rights of the citizens. If people are allowed to fail, they have much more of an incentive to succeed. When they are given rewards for failing (i.e. welfare), they are demeaned because their want to succeed is replaced with contentment in failure. In other words, they are not required to use reason in order to survive, and therefore become comfortable with their ignorance.)

The point is: humans are great not because they have the capacity to be right, but because they have the capacity to choose right over wrong.

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The reasons that humans can choose between right and wrong is because they are living organisms with free will. The right consists of things that further their life as a human being, and their power of free will allows them this choice. Observe plants. They have no free will, so they cannot choose the wrong (i.e. to die). However, the things that further their lives as plants are right for them (e.g. minerals, water, sunlight).

From Ayn Rand Lexicon:

To make this point fully clear, try to imagine an immortal, indestructible robot, an entity which moves and acts, but which cannot be affected by anything, which cannot be changed in any respect, which cannot be damaged, injured or destroyed. Such an entity would not be able to have any values; it would have nothing to gain or to lose; it could not regard anything as for or against it, as serving or threatening its welfare, as fulfilling or frustrating its interests. It could have no interests and no goals.

As for frustration, are you saying that it is part of human nature (i.e. that suffering is normal)?

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On a scale from 1-10, loving knowledge must rank higher than hating ignorance.

They are not the same thing.

Nobody can avoid knowledge completely, although many try.

The thing is, having learned, there is no going back to one's previous state of lesser knowledge.

Those who attempt it, are the ultimate evaders.

But, I agree that dealing with such people, who you know DO know better, is frustrating.

Is this what you mean, Apkeeney?

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Dancing Bear said it: the continuance of my (happy) life is conditional on what I do next, and etc. This fact leads me to choose my life as my standard of value, and consistent usage of this standard leads me to scientific concepts of right and wrong.

whYNOT also pointed out a very interesting fact about knowledge: the accumulation of knowledge is a one-way process in the direction of greater knowledge. An individual's knowledge cannot decrease in the absence of dis-ease. One of the most common dis-eases today is the attempt to evade a conclusion after it is already formed: as whYNOT points out, this is the hallmark of ultimate evaders.

There are two choices when given the option of learning a fact: learn it, or avoid learning it. Those who consistently do the former are de facto Objectivists, at least epistemologically. Those who do the latter are classic, run of the mill evaders: they evade discovering knowledge in the first place, on the premise that facts are NOT facts until one consciously encounters them, which clearly violates the law of identity.

I would argue that the next level, what whYNOT terms "ultimate evaders", needs a unit concept to represent it and distinguish it from classic evaders. "Ultimate evaders" don't just avoid discovering facts; they intentionally eradicate facts from their minds after discovering them, on the premise that if they don't admit what they know, then they will be able to bend the facts away from their original state when necessary to maintain conceptual integrity.

I reserve the term "evaders" for the classic variety that refuses to discover; for those who go the full nine yards, learn the fact, then flush it from their conscious considerations, I use the term "ignorers". But maybe someone has a better word?

- ico

Edited by icosahedron
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  • 4 weeks later...

I came to this thought because of long hours of frustration due to the blatant ignorance of humans (in myself and in others). Its purpose is to prove the folly of hating ignorance:

I think it depends in what capacity they are ignorant; is it because they wish not to know, or due to a lack of experience?

My perspective of my own ignorance...

"I think life is infinitely better knowing that no matter the number of secrets we discover about the Universe, that improve our lives or satisfies our curiosity, there are still going to be an infinite number left yet to be discovered. What value can be gained if all the value in the Universe is known and implemented? Put a little differently: how could I add value to my life, if there is no future value to be gained from knowledge? My conclusion: I seem a perfect fit for this Earth and this Universe because I have the capacity to pursue that which makes me happy; which is an emotional response to adding that which I value to my life." --m082844

Edited by m082844
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  • 3 weeks later...

"I think life is infinitely better knowing that no matter the number of secrets we discover about the Universe, that improve our lives or satisfies our curiosity, there are still going to be an infinite number left yet to be discovered. ...

Not discoveries will be beneficial. Suppose we discover a comment (too large to destroy of to redirect) heading toward our planet.

Ludwik

.

.

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Not discoveries will be beneficial. Suppose we discover a comment (too large to destroy of to redirect) heading toward our planet.

There is nothing, nothing more frightening to me than the thought of a really, really large comment (like perhaps, "Get out of my way, Earth!") heading towards our planet. It would spell, if the spelling is correct, and state, if the grammar is correct, our very demise.

Let up hope that should such a comment be discovered that we will be able to redirect it (perhaps to God's attention and reply), or at least respond in a way that demonstrates that it is in error. If the comment is shown to not actually be true, that it is incoherent or irrational, that itself should suffice in saving our planet.

Edited by Trebor
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Imagine if humans always did "right," but had no understanding of "wrong." We wouldn't really be anything -- perhaps only beings with no purpose.

After knowking about and reading some Ayn Rand, but before reading her thoroughly I had a very clear idea of right and wrong, more universally applied than just to humans:

Extropy and Entropy.

The natural state of affairs is what is explained in the second Law of Thermodynamics: entropy: an imperial tendency in nature towards disorder (that is towards no life, that is towards death). And yet as some kind of an exception, life exists, and struggles to blossom, in spite of its environment and given circumstances.

If humans always did "right" they would still have to fight all the evil that lies in the empty desert of default.

Remember we come from literal and figurative Frightening Darkness where real man-devourig beasts roamed, and imaginary spirits ran loose.

Out of that evil by default, man and jackal made an alliance to keep each other's back and allow more food for the dogs and more sleep for the humans, and our species as we know it was born. Out of that darkness which remains.

My second point is Isabel Paterson's the Humanitarian with the Guillotine point: that most of the people act accordingly to what they think or believe is right, but that doesn't necessarily produce working (extropic?) results, but exactly the opposite.

So even if all men did always Right, then it would have to be the same kind of Right.

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Let up hope that should such a comment be discovered that we will be able to redirect it (perhaps to God's attention and reply), or at least respond in a way that demonstrates that it is in error.

It would take an international effort to refute such a comment.

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