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Help, I Have a Very Odd Ethical Question

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kingofthething
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I obviously know it is unethical to use force against someone in return for monetary gain. But what if the person paying you is also the person being injured? I know this sounds bizare, believe me it's bothering me more every time I consider it, I just can't come to any sort of conclusion. What's worse is that this is a real situation.........long story.

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I guess, but the conflict I see is a distortion of reality that is being accepted in a way. I know it's all very odd. Also, there is a big difference between being paid to have sex with someone as opposed to being paid to harm someone.

Of course, but what this still boils down to is: you're being offered profit to serve someone's irrationality. A trader seeks to exchange value for value, not value for disvalue. You'd be sanctioning his irrationality, and also not engaging in productiveness.

Obviously, this cuts into some deep themes, but perhaps that explanation is enough for you? You seem to understand this on some level, already. Feel free to ask questions.

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Obviously, this cuts into some deep themes, but perhaps that explanation is enough for you? You seem to understand this on some level, already. Feel free to ask questions.

I think you need to consider exactly what constitutes initiating force in a political context. The essential reason force is problematic, according to Objectivism, is that it severs the connection between mind and action. Simple physical contact can be an example of the initiation of force, if the person I am touching does not wish to be touched. (Legally, that's assault.) What this tells us is that, in determining whether a given physical action constitutes the initiation of force, the context is vital.

It's possible to cater to another's irrationality without using force. It is also possible to engage in physical acts that are paradigms of force (e.g. punching somebody) in a consensual way that does not constitute the initiation of force or involve catering to irrationality (e.g. a boxing match).

Catering to irrationality is wrong. "Consensual force", as such, is not obviously right or wrong; it depends on the nature and goals of the consent.

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I obviously know it is unethical to use force against someone in return for monetary gain. But what if the person paying you is also the person being injured?

What's the context? I knew someone who was an actor in a play about Jesus, and he wanted to make a certain scene as real as possible...he wanted to actually be whipped, have pain inflicted upon him, for the sheer dramatic effect...Would that be "unethical" regardless of any monetary exchange? He's certainly not a masochist or a fetishist...his means may be arguable, but I can't see this as being unethical, just theatrical.

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It is also possible to engage in physical acts that are paradigms of force (e.g. punching somebody) in a consensual way that does not constitute the initiation of force or involve catering to irrationality (e.g. a boxing match).

Catering to irrationality is wrong. "Consensual force", as such, is not obviously right or wrong; it depends on the nature and goals of the consent.

This assumes that boxing isn't catering to the irrational.

:):D:D

What makes boxing any more rational than someone who is into S & M or some other bizarre practice?

In response to the original question:

Why do you continue to associate with people who are involved in bizarre practices especially if those practices make you uncomfortable? If you find that such an activity is so bizarre that it is irrational then it would be wrong to support it.

Edited by Drew1776
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This assumes that boxing isn't catering to the irrational.

:lol::lol::lol:

What makes boxing any more rational than someone who is into S & M or some other bizarre practice?

In boxing the pain is not relevent. It is a side effect of the activity. In S&M the pain is the goal. For boxing it is a cost the boxer is willing to pay, for the S&M practitioner, pain is equivocated with pleasure.

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I think you need to consider exactly what constitutes initiating force in a political context. The essential reason force is problematic, according to Objectivism, is that it severs the connection between mind and action. Simple physical contact can be an example of the initiation of force, if the person I am touching does not wish to be touched. (Legally, that's assault.) What this tells us is that, in determining whether a given physical action constitutes the initiation of force, the context is vital.
This made me wonder if as the person administering the beating, kingofthething could be prosecuted by the state? Certainly if the beating went too far and the "victim" (for lack of a better term) died, king would be prosecuted. I wonder if he would also be prosecuted if the police became aware of the beating, even though it was consensual.
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This assumes that boxing isn't catering to the irrational.

:lol::lol::lol:

What makes boxing any more rational than someone who is into S & M or some other bizarre practice?

Boxing is a sport. Even though it is a violent sport, there is a substantial level of skill involved and of course the object is to not get hit, while hitting your opponent. The situation is somewhat siimilar in other contact sports like football and hockey. When you play, you accept a certain risk of injury, but you're not hoping to get injured and you're not supposed to be attempting to injure other players.
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Thanks everyone for your input. To clarify, some guy at my school who is really weird has been propositioning basically every athletic guy at our school to kick him in the groin. I had pretty much decided that I wouldn't do it for two main reasons. Number one is that it is in a sense a sanction of his irrationality (major credit to inspector for helping me with the words for the abstract). Number two is that I would feel like my act sexually pleased another man, which would bother me a lot. Plus I don't need the money, even though he has been offering people ridiculous amounts.

If it wasn't for the purpose of pleasure, I think I could engage in force for compensation. If someone paid me to box or wrestle I would not feel weird at all. But those examples do not conflict with the two reasons I stated above.

Intellectualammo's point about the actor that wished to be whipped to play his role reminds me of a favorite story of my acting teacher. I forget who the American actor was, but he was starring in a film alongside Sir Lawrence Olivier. The American actor for a few scenes was supposed to be in pain from some sort of "mistake" made by a dentist. The actor decided to drink heavily the night before in order to have a hangover when he acted in those scenes. When Lawrence Olivier heard what the actor had done he simply told him, "Son, next time you might want to try acting."

Edit: It was Marathon Man (1976). Olivier played a Nazi dentist alongside Dustin Hoffman as the protagonist, Babe.

Edited by kingofthething
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To clarify, some guy at my school who is really weird has been propositioning basically every athletic guy at our school to kick him in the groin.

I was in a similar situation to this in college: I once had someone offer me money (or anything else I wanted) for my immortal soul. No, they weren't kidding. I told them no. Their response: "You're an atheist, so why not? You wouldn't think that you'd be losing anything." Why? Because the offer is so divorced from reality that I'd be screwing myself up by even entertaining it.

I do notice there is a bit of what might be considered rationalism (by someone more qualified than I) going on in this thread, but the manner in which the question was first asked tends to encourage it. Ideas about initiation of force aren't really pertinent here . . . it's more of a sideline, because the guy is asking you to kick him. Well, would it be an initiation of force if he wanted his genitals removed because he sincerely believed he was a woman in a man's body? No . . . it's a psychological problem. It's not a question of rights (and thus legality), but a question of morality.

I see three basic approaches to this situation (well, four, if you count reporting the guy as a pervert to someone else that claims the right to exert moral authority, but the I find the very idea of a moral authority outside of the regular legal authority to be repugnant, so I'm not considering that option).

1. You decide that he has a problem and tell him so.

2. You decide to let him go to hell in his own way and react neutrally.

3. You decide that, since he has a right to go to hell in his own way you may as well give him a push and accept the offer.

I think #1 is the way to go: it's roughly analogous to not keeping your mouth shut when someone says something blatantly evil about socialism . . . it's just the scale is a lot smaller.

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I was in a similar situation to this in college: I once had someone offer me money (or anything else I wanted) for my immortal soul. No, they weren't kidding. I told them no. Their response: "You're an atheist, so why not? You wouldn't think that you'd be losing anything." Why? Because the offer is so divorced from reality that I'd be screwing myself up by even entertaining it.

How so?

Incidentally, one of my friends tried to sell his soul on eBay for $100 - which deleted the auction.

(I wonder if selling one's soul twice is fraud?)

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In boxing the pain is not relevent. It is a side effect of the activity. In S&M the pain is the goal. For boxing it is a cost the boxer is willing to pay, for the S&M practitioner, pain is equivocated with pleasure.

My understanding was that pleasure was the goal in S&M. For as perverse as it is at least there is tangible sexual pleasure from pain. Boxing is about pain NOTHING is boxing is not painful. What pleasure do you derive from watching two people beat each other up?

Boxing is a sport. Even though it is a violent sport, there is a substantial level of skill involved and of course the object is to not get hit, while hitting your opponent. The situation is somewhat siimilar in other contact sports like football and hockey. When you play, you accept a certain risk of injury, but you're not hoping to get injured and you're not supposed to be attempting to injure other players.

The fact you consider boxing a sport is irrelevant. The object is to HIT your opponent. That is the purpose which makes boxing quite unlike football and hockey. You claim that in boxing “you're not supposed to be attempting to injure other players” so I suppose striking someone repeatedly in the chest and head isn’t a blatantly obvious way to injure them. Besides, isn’t the best way to win in boxing to knock your opponent out? That sounds like a really healthy and rational activity.

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Boxing is about pain NOTHING is boxing is not painful. What pleasure do you derive from watching two people beat each other up?
I wonder if the boxers themselves would agree with your first statement. I've never boxed, but most boxers seem to believe that the sport is about fame, wealth, glory, even notoriety, among other things. I actually enjoy watching the competitive aspects of the sport. The skill levels of some fighters are incredible, in my opinion.

The fact you consider boxing a sport is irrelevant. The object is to HIT your opponent. That is the purpose which makes boxing quite unlike football and hockey. You claim that in boxing “you're not supposed to be attempting to injure other players” so I suppose striking someone repeatedly in the chest and head isn’t a blatantly obvious way to injure them. Besides, isn’t the best way to win in boxing to knock your opponent out? That sounds like a really healthy and rational activity.
The primary object of boxing is to win the fight by scoring more points than your opponent. Of course hitting your opponent is an integral part of the sport, but that is also the case in American football, where the object is to score points by moving a ball over a line or kicking it through a couple of posts.

There are serious injuries in boxing the same way there are serious injuries in other sports. Despite what you may think, boxers are not supposed to enter the ring and attempt to seriously or permanently injure their opponents. The various organizations that run boxing matches go to some lengths to prevent injuries, however they still occur. Clearly a risk of injury goes along with the sport. My advice for you would be to simply not watch boxing, since you obviously don't enjoy it.

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The fact you consider boxing a sport is irrelevant. The object is to HIT your opponent. That is the purpose which makes boxing quite unlike football and hockey. You claim that in boxing “you're not supposed to be attempting to injure other players” so I suppose striking someone repeatedly in the chest and head isn’t a blatantly obvious way to injure them. Besides, isn’t the best way to win in boxing to knock your opponent out? That sounds like a really healthy and rational activity.

Oh...there is a lot more then hitting your opponent involved. I'm not a western boxer, but I have enjoyed semi to almost full contact fighting and wrestling in martial arts for years and can tell you it requires absolute mental focus and serious integration(to the point of automation) of a great number of concepts and specific indefinately modifiable movements. The further you go in it the more mental it becomes. Rules in games limit the possibilities. Fighting is a game where most of the rules are removed so almost anything can happen. It requires an extremely fast and adaptive mind.

As I explained a little in an earlier post, the pain is largely irrelevent since the feeling of the use of you mind and body in perfect coordination borders on ecstatic. Very few activities I have come across allow that.

My understanding was that pleasure was the goal in S&M. For as perverse as it is at least there is tangible sexual pleasure from pain. Boxing is about pain NOTHING is boxing is not painful. What pleasure do you derive from watching two people beat each other up?

You'll notice that I also wrote that pain is equivocated with pleasure in their minds. They hold what I think is a psychological disturbance which causes them to hold both as desirable or possibly the same.

Edited by aequalsa
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Incidentally, one of my friends tried to sell his soul on eBay for $100 - which deleted the auction.

Wow. One of my undergraduate roommates (a devout atheist) parted with his soul for $15 to my other roommate. I suppose he could have held out for more! Now he can never become a famous jazz artist.

Anyway, we probably did get at least $15 of fun out of owning his soul through a variety of silly activities. My friend got it blessed at church and we expressed thanks on Thanksgiving that his soul was in good hands.

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How so?

Incidentally, one of my friends tried to sell his soul on eBay for $100 - which deleted the auction.

(I wonder if selling one's soul twice is fraud?)

From ebay's rules:

Prohibited and restricted items

Policies about listing items are often based on country and state laws. However, many restrictions involve the sale of controversial or sensitive items and are not necessarily prohibited by law. The limitations are a result of input by the eBay Community.

There are three aspects of item restrictions – prohibited, questionable, and potentially infringing items.

Prohibited –- These items may not be listed on eBay.

Examples of listings that are not allowed include:

* Items that are illegal or that encourage illegal activity.

* Items that are racially or ethnically inappropriate. For policy and examples, see Offensive Material Policy.

* Listings that do not offer an item or service for sale. For policy and examples, see Listing No Item.

(emphasis mine, LOL!)

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From ebay's rules:

(emphasis mine, LOL!)

* Listings that do not offer an item or service for sale. For policy and examples, see Listing No Item.

So this would seem to imply that ebay does not regard the soul as an item. I wonder if their religious users are aware of this sacriligious policy.

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How so?

Because I don't believe that such a thing as a "soul" exists and I'd be taking advantage of his insanity/gullibility rather than actually earning the money. It's be just like selling stock in a non-existant company or any other form of stealing. Yeah, he *gave* me the money of his own free will, but in exchange for something that doesn't exist.

I don't think it's utterly necessary for everyone else to behave this way, but this is the way I behave.

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So this would seem to imply that ebay does not regard the soul as an item.
Not necessarily. A (probably former) student tried to auction my boss off, and the bidding hit $99 million before they pulled the plug, deciding that there wasn't really anything for sale. She exists, but isn't for sale.
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I obviously know it is unethical to use force against someone in return for monetary gain. But what if the person paying you is also the person being injured? I know this sounds bizare, believe me it's bothering me more every time I consider it, I just can't come to any sort of conclusion. What's worse is that this is a real situation.........long story.

Isn't that also called professional...boxing, wrestling, UFC fights, etc? If two people voluntarily engage in a fight then what's the problem? The reason initiating force is generally wrong is when the other person doesn't want to be on the receiving end of that violence.

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