Wednesday, January 30, 2013

453: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 18

The  question today is: Is altruism in fact egoism in disguise and aren't we by nature touch and ruthless egoists?

The general meaning of the word 'egoism' is self-interest, seeking advantage in our actions. I guess, that in this general sense we all are egoists.

It can not be denied that consciously or unconsciously we get some benefits from our actions: relaxing ourselves, evading a quarrel, feel good, not making a bad impression….

You even could suppose that such a holy nun like Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910 - 1997) with all her care for the poor, 

will have felt a reward for her actions in the form of  a feel good experience or the expectation of a nice place in Heaven.

That I want to experience some positive effects or benefits from my actions, you can not call bad. There is nothing wrong with cheering up yourself with such 'benefits' as a feel good moment or preventing a quarrel with your friend.

We only can be good to others, when we are good to ourselves. Even Jesus said "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Math. 19: 19)

Would this incentive to self-love or the feelings of Mother Teresa justify, that we call ourselves Egoists?

Not a single philosopher in our history, who assumed that man was basically good has opposed to the idea that you may expect some benefits from your actions.

The purely selfless altruism is  so utopian, that it is completely pointless to describe humanity against the background of this figment as selfish or egoistic.

When every altruistic action is basically motivated by some kind of self-interest, then the word egoism looses its meaning. 

When we all are egoists in this sense then it is an exciting observation equal to the observation that human beings have two legs.

Yet we don't like to be called egoists. Thence there must be a second meaning of this word: egoism then is a more straightforward preoccupation with the self at the expense of others and an excessive use  of "I".

Egoists in the sense of ruthless self-interest are people who never would accept to be treated like they treat others.

They don't see others as equals, use others for their personal gain only. Others are only means to personal advantage.

Ok, maybe we all recognize this  in some of our own actions, but real die-hard egoists are a rare species with no friends.

And this is the reason of the mistake a lot of bio-philosophers make. They assume that deep inside human nature rules this hardcore egoism.

According to them, some moment in evolution the homo sapiens discovered that cooperation was more effective than the lonesome cowboy strategy.

The basic idea is that men like mushrooms pop up above ground and suddenly discover that cooperating with each other eventually benefits the survival of his personal genes.

But we are organisms with plans and intentions and there are more intentions in life than only the survival of our genes.

We'd better say that the homo sapiens probably is motivated more by his fears, scruples, his vanity and sudden hunches than by his well calculated self-interest.

If the later were true then he is the most stupid Gen-egoist ever. While he is depleting natural resources, destroying valuable forests, creating a huge pollution of land and sea,all which endangers the survival of his genes, 

he is worried about the opinion of his boss, loves to be a couch potato watching TV, plays senseless computer games, spends many hours in SL, and so on….

I guess being a real hardcore egoist isn't that simple at all….., because egoism and altruism are both part of our nature.

The Discussion

[13:22] herman Bergson: Thank you .. ^_^
[13:23] Lizzy Pleides: thank you herman , that was great again!
[13:23] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:23] Ajatar (alpheratz): thank you herman
[13:23] herman Bergson: Main point is that both behavior patterns...selfish and altruistic are part of our nature
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you say an egoist has no friends..but I think he doens't care if he has a friend or not..
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well I was not quite sure what you meant by egoist so you have certainly clarified it now
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): beware of confusion with egotist of course
[13:24] herman Bergson: That is the issue Beertje.....
[13:24] herman Bergson: ebcause we are basically social animals this hardcore egoism is almost anti social
[13:25] Lizzy Pleides: we probably have a natural egoism and a pathologic egoism which is antosocial
[13:25] herman Bergson: Egotism is the stronger word for it indeed Merlin
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes..I know one in RL who behaves like an egoist..and he is a very anoying person with no friends at all
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): There is man called David Starkey who is famously rude to (some) people
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): BUT....
[13:26] herman Bergson: A logical consequence of his behavior I would say Beertje
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): He has lots of money so he can afford to be
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I guess he still has friends
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): friends who like his money
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): it helps
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not him as a person
[13:27] Lizzy Pleides: we know macho types who are very egoistic bust despite have many friends
[13:27] herman Bergson: There are various kinds of anti social behavior....
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): but the point is, he gets by, and seems happy enough
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can an egoist really be happy?
[13:27] herman Bergson: You must make a difference between individual instances and geneal behavior
[13:28] herman Bergson: That is a complex question beertje....
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): or has he a 'happy mask' on his face?
[13:28] herman Bergson: for who defines Happiness?
[13:28] herman Bergson: defines
[13:28] herman Bergson: Take empathy....
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: i guess everyone does.. and redefines during life
[13:29] herman Bergson: people with little ability to empathy can be very happy while others call them cold and calculating
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes true..but that is not egoism
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the are unable to feel empathy
[13:30] herman Bergson: such people think only of themselves...not bothered what others experience due to them
[13:30] herman Bergson: Lack of empathy seems to me a good quality for a hardcore egoist
[13:30] Ajatar (alpheratz): so they don't even suffer for the other people reactions as they don't care
[13:31] herman Bergson: no...
[13:31] herman Bergson: kind of autism in fact
[13:31] Ajatar (alpheratz): nods
[13:31] herman Bergson: But our basic question is about human nature....
[13:32] Ajatar (alpheratz): What if we see our social group - in which we live or we feel part of it - an extension of ourselves? I mean, we are part of it.
[13:32] herman Bergson: and in the 80s, but before that Hobbes of course too, these bio philosophers thought to have found THE explanation of human behavior....
[13:32] herman Bergson: selfish genes....
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): oh no
[13:33] herman Bergson: But to reduce the homo sapiens to just one single drive is a mistake...
[13:33] herman Bergson: If you look at the construction of our brain then you learn that we are mainly driven by basic emotions like fear and joy
[13:34] herman Bergson: Like most animals do...
[13:34] Ajatar (alpheratz): we are animals
[13:34] herman Bergson: Besides that we do a lot of things that have no effect on our evolution of gen survival at all
[13:35] herman Bergson: We like to have a religion....
[13:35] herman Bergson: Ever seen a religious monkey.....needing religion for his survival for instance ? ^_^
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: lol
[13:36] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): genes are simple agents and can only push us in certain directions. They don't totally define us even if they would wish to
[13:36] Ajatar (alpheratz): I did see elephants caring for dead elephants
[13:36] herman Bergson: and even that direction is a mystery Merlin.....
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Aja....animals have emotions....
[13:38] herman Bergson: Well at least we can dismiss egoism as our main motive in life....
[13:38] herman Bergson: the driving power...
[13:38] herman Bergson: In fact we are rather kind to each other and cooperative....
[13:39] Lizzy Pleides: thank god we are
[13:39] herman Bergson: Brings us to the question.....WHY are we preferably lieke that.....what makes us tick?
[13:39] herman Bergson: Let's have a look at that question next Thursday :-)
[13:40] Ajatar (alpheratz): mmm religion have many meanings. From control of the society to other things. Ancient people had their mythic origin, telling that they where better than others. There was the survival of a group against other. Religion had a series of rules to make the society better in theory
[13:40] herman Bergson: Unless you still have an urgent question I thank you all for your participation again:-)
[13:40] herman Bergson: Indeed Aja....
[13:41] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Nobody is moving ;)
[13:41] Ajatar (alpheratz): :)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Especially this WE and the OTHERS plays an important role.....also still today
[13:41] herman Bergson: It seems to be an important feeling for us...
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: control
[13:42] herman Bergson: to feel WE...
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Sings: We Shall not be moved lol
[13:42] herman Bergson: WHole nations have this WE feeling against the rest of the world for instance
[13:42] herman Bergson: Glue on the seats Merlin :-))
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): hahaha
[13:42] Ajatar (alpheratz): I would like that this "we" could be extended to all the people in the world. Not you would say that it is selfish because we all we live in a more peaceful world and I think so :)
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone:
[13:43] Ajatar (alpheratz): * "Now" nor "not"
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes Aja....this WE feeling is in fact pretty disrupting in our world
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I have to go...thank you Herman and have a goodnight
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: bye beertje
[13:43] herman Bergson: ok Beertje take care
[13:43] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye Beertje
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye bye:)
[13:44] Lizzy Pleides: TC Beertje
[13:44] Ajatar (alpheratz): bye bye Beertje
[13:44] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I think I will go too. I will probably log out soon
[13:44] herman Bergson: We'll discuss this "WE" issue in another lecture mor extensively
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: bye Merlin
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye everyone
[13:45] Ajatar (alpheratz): see you Merlin
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: me too, Tc and good night everybody!
[13:45] herman Bergson: Bye Merlin :-)
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: good night Lizzy
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone:
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: waves*
[13:45] herman Bergson: Bye Lizzy ^_^
[13:45] Ajatar (alpheratz): yes it is especially destructive when it becomes "we" against "them"
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: otherwise a we is a nice thing
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: ;)
[13:46] herman Bergson: just look at soccer supporters....
[13:46] Ajatar (alpheratz): yes, exactly
[13:46] Ajatar (alpheratz): or with parties
[13:46] herman Bergson: or religions....
[13:46] Ajatar (alpheratz): yeah
[13:46] herman Bergson: we and the pagans
[13:47] herman Bergson: it is an amazing phenomenon which you find though all levels in society
[13:47] Ajatar (alpheratz): and religion can be a good tool for that. We are with God. They are against us, so they are against God, maybe they are inspired by the devil
[13:47] herman Bergson: oh yes....
[13:47] Ajatar (alpheratz): so you can demonize others easily
[13:47] herman Bergson: But it begins already at an early ages....
[13:48] herman Bergson: boys against girls at primary school...
[13:48] Ajatar (alpheratz): hehe right
[13:49] herman Bergson: But animals have the same instinct....
[13:49] Ajatar (alpheratz): yes
[13:49] herman Bergson: But here is something interesting....
[13:49] herman Bergson: chimpanzees are really aggressive against others.....
[13:49] Ajatar (alpheratz): chimpanzee make "war" too
[13:49] herman Bergson: they easily murder and kill those who are not US
[13:50] herman Bergson: yes
[13:50] Ajatar (alpheratz): yes :)
[13:50] herman Bergson: Onthe other hand...the Bonobo is a very social monkey....
[13:50] Ajatar (alpheratz): true
[13:50] herman Bergson: even easily willing to share food with a stranger
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone:
[13:51] herman Bergson: Farnk de Waal did experiments.....
[13:51] Ajatar (alpheratz): to what monkey do you think we are more closer?
[13:51] Ajatar (alpheratz): hehe
[13:51] herman Bergson: one bonobo in a room with to transparent doors.....
[13:51] herman Bergson: behind one was a member of his group behind the other was a stranger....
[13:52] herman Bergson: When given food the bonobo perferred to open the door for the stranger....
[13:52] herman Bergson: probably was making new contacts more important to him
[13:52] Ajatar (alpheratz): so sweet
[13:52] Ajatar (alpheratz): we can empathize with other animals too
[13:53] herman Bergson: and I guess we are a mix of chimp and bonobo :-)
[13:53] Ajatar (alpheratz): I agree with that :)
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: very likely
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: have a good night there
[13:53] herman Bergson: You two too :-))
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: thanx

452: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 17

We already discussed extensively the assumption that our ability to moral behavior has its roots in the animal kingdom, in other words, in evolution.

The belief that the homo sapiens is some exception in nature, the idea that he is more than just a part of nature, of evolution, is a misconception.

We have moral instincts, which are very old, probably even older than our language and culture. With respect to these views the bio philosophers are in agreement with each other.

The second issue: "Is our moral behavior the consequence of selfish calculating genes?" is a more complicated question.

To quote from an article (1985) of Richard Alexander:
"(..) the interests of an individual human (i.e., the directions of its striving) are expected to be toward ensuring the indefinite survival of its genes and their copies, whether these are resident in the individual, its descendants, or its collateral relatives. 

In today's novelty-filled environments, human activities may often be directed in ways that do not in fact lead to increased success in reproduction or the perpetuation of one's own genes. 

Moreover, people aware of their background in evolution may be able to use conscious reflection and deliberate decisions to live their lives contrary to, or irrespective of, whatever their evolutionary background has prepared them to be. 

Neither of these possibilities, however, affects the essential certainty that humans have evolved to maximize survival of their genes through reproduction. "
-end quote-

Scientists like William Hamilton, Matt Ridley and Robert Wright come to the same conclusion: Our psyche is controlled by calculations of genetic advantage even when we are not aware of it.

Although we are apparently such calculating animals, we are often surprisingly nice to each other. And you hardly can ignore the enormous potential for cooperation.

How to explain that within this selfish gene context? And why does cooperation make sense evolutionary? 
Their solution: theorize the biological advantage of cooperation out without leaving just a spark of goodness in the human nature.

Keep in mind that we are dealing here with the 1980s. The victory of neoliberalism, Randism and individualism. The era of the grand concerto of selfishness.

It is really remarkable to see how in so many fields this paradigm is adopted. This all is in concerto with Sociobiology, 

a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context and made popular again by E.O. Wilson in 1975 with is book "Sociobiology: The New Synthesis".

Sociobiologists believe that human behavior, as well as nonhuman animal behavior, can be partly explained as the outcome of natural selection. 

They contend that in order to fully understand behavior, it must be analyzed in terms of evolutionary considerations.

Foundations of this approach to human nature were laid by Robert L. Trivers (1943 - …), an American evolutionary biologist and sociobiologist, who is a Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, New Jersey USA.

He incorporated in a scientific theory something we all know, and yet don't feel 100% comfortable with: "I only help you, if you will help me too", or to say it in a more academic way:

"In evolutionary biology, reciprocal altruism is a behaviour whereby an organism acts in a manner that temporarily reduces its fitness 

while increasing another organism's fitness, with the expectation that the other organism will act in a similar manner at a later time." (Wiki)

As Trivers says: "Altruism is an investment in a capital which is called trust, and later pays nice dividends in the form of other people's generosity . 

Therefore, the cooperative human is anything but truly altruistic, he only has in mind more emphatically  long-term self-interest than on the short-term."

This leaves us with the question: Are we really all Egoists, where we could call the long-term "altruists" the smart group, which not easily will be exposed as cheaters. (See diagram)

The Discussion

[13:33] herman Bergson: Thank you ^_^
[13:34] herman Bergson: Take your time to think it over....
[13:34] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): There were a couple of things I didn't completely agree with in that
[13:34] herman Bergson: That is how it should be Merlin ^_^
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): But I am not sure I can express myself clearly just now
[13:35] herman Bergson: just give it a try
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i also think this is not a constant way of thinking ... i think it changes
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Mainly the conclusion of that long quote. I thought the interpretation of it was wrong somehow
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): different ages
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): different circumstances
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): My question: If survival of the fittest is happening now (evolution) how come there are such massive threats to our species existence? eg Nuclear bombs, and over consumption?
[13:36] herman Bergson: the basic idea here is that were are basically selfish caused by our genes
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): which require huge cooperation?
[13:37] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie...that is what I already said in the previous lecture...
[13:37] herman Bergson: if our genes are so selfish to fight for their survival...
[13:37] herman Bergson: why do we smoke and drink alcohol and love to be a couch potato..:-)
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): Our genes don't understand maybe ;)
[13:38] herman Bergson: and ok..those bombs as nice extras to survival :-)
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:38] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Genes don't really care what happens to us after we have reproduced (if)
[13:38] herman Bergson: the quintessential question here is...What is human nature?
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): Maybe "amplified reality" (greed and free market) is causing us to fail slowly...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: seems we make all we can to kill each other instead at least in many parts of the world
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): good thought merlin
[13:39] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): ty :)
[13:39] herman Bergson: True Merlin....
[13:40] herman Bergson: Question is only ...are those sociobiologist right....
[13:40] Lizzy Pleides: but some smoke and drink before reproducing
[13:40] herman Bergson: yes and while pregnant they don't smoke and drink at all ^_^
[13:40] herman Bergson: for 9 months :-))
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): most dont
[13:41] Debbie Dee (framdor): Having more stuff seems more important than survival - the greedy selfish gene.
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: and many do it despite of knowing that it is unhealthy
[13:42] herman Bergson: what makes me feel uncomfortable is this biological view
[13:42] herman Bergson: I mena....
[13:42] herman Bergson: you always are right when you say that genes control you even 
 when you are not aware of it...
[13:43] herman Bergson: SUch an approach brings up many questions...
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): Oh wait I know the answer.... the planet is just too small.... we will die back like successful hungry bacteria in a petri dish
[13:43] herman Bergson: do we have free will or are we jus tour genes?
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): and then the fittest survive
[13:43] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i agree with merlin
[13:43] herman Bergson: If it is just our genes...can there be ethics?
[13:43] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): until we are born
[13:43] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and physical problems
[13:44] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): maybe mental
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:44] herman Bergson: I begin to wonder what the mental is gemma...if it is the genes that control my real life apparently
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ah
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): Can we help our genes to make kinder selections? Teach them to reason....
[13:45] herman Bergson: I htink the big question is....
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well that is if we believe that only our brain is it
[13:45] herman Bergson: as homo sapiens we are part of nature...yes...ok....
[13:46] herman Bergson: but..isn't there really nothing that makes us unique in relation to nature?
[13:46] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well Debbie, teaching genes is what happens when we breed certain animals, selectively
[13:46] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): then the environment comes in and who brings us up in life
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: well only we have a spoken language and can build and use machines to help ourselves for ex
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): extra furry cats etc
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes merlin...
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we are aware of ourselves..that's what makes us unique
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: no other species make use of machinery in any way
[13:47] herman Bergson: Got a point there Beertje....
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: of
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): All animals seem to be aware of themselves
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: seems logical
[13:47] herman Bergson: and then those genes...what or who controls them...and their changes…
[13:47] Lizzy Pleides: my intuition says that about 80 - 90 % of our decisions are dominated by the genes and the rest it free will probably
[13:48] herman Bergson: no Debbie there you are mistaken
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): Most of our decisions in the first world are made by commerce for us.
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: well many animals handle only but instinct
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: hard programmed unchanged behaviour
[13:48] herman Bergson: indeed Bejiita
[13:48] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I think we should be careful to underestimate other animals
[13:49] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Some people say they cannot feel pain etc
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: for example all salmons and fish in general follow exactly the same life cycle
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Awareness of humans, recognition of a friend, love - my cat does that
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: programmed into them from birth
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: so no frree will
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): my cat talks, asks for attention,
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: and same with bees and flies
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Plays with its prey
[13:50] herman Bergson: We love to think that Debbie.....that is what pets are for...
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): I think we are deluded to think we are the only self aware creatures.
[13:50] herman Bergson: but from a behavioral point of view their behavior is 100% predicatble...
[13:50] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes I agree with you on this Debbie
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): The elephants talk to each other, and have huge brains.
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: memory like an elephant u use to say
[13:51] herman Bergson: hold on....!!!!
[13:51] Debbie Dee (framdor): And what about whales and dolphins?
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: guess thats why the Evernote software use an elephant as logotype
[13:51] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[13:51] Debbie Dee (framdor): whales have the biggest brains on the planet.
[13:51] herman Bergson: Self awareness is not a specific characteristic of the homo sapiens only....
[13:51] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes herman ;)
[13:51] herman Bergson: some primates have self awareness...and dolphins and elephants...
[13:51] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): For some reason the ratio of brain size to body size is regarded as important, but I am not sure why
[13:52] herman Bergson: no is the shape of the brain....
[13:52] Debbie Dee (framdor): agreed herman
[13:52] herman Bergson: I guess 90% of our brain is identical to that of other primates...
[13:53] herman Bergson: they only lack the prefrontal lobes...
[13:53] herman Bergson: and exactly there is where our personality, identity resides
[13:53] herman Bergson: or to say it in an other way....
[13:54] herman Bergson: 90% of our behavior can be compared with general primate behavior...
[13:54] herman Bergson: fear, joy, rage...etc...
[13:54] Debbie Dee (framdor): using tools
[13:55] herman Bergson: because these emotions reside in the limbic system...
[13:55] herman Bergson: a part of the brain we share with amy other organisms
[13:55] herman Bergson: But the question is...are we such egoists....?
[13:56] herman Bergson: I'll get to that next Tuesday then ^_^
[13:56] Lizzy Pleides: can't wait :-)
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i have to go...thank you Herman:)
[13:57] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation again....^_^
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: nice one again
[13:57] Bejiita Imako:  \o/
[13:57] Bejiita Imako:    ||   Hoooo!
[13:57] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you Herman!
[13:57] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-))
[13:57] Vadaman: Thank you Herman.
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: cu all soon
[13:57] Bejiita Imako:
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): maybe i will be able to make it tuesday
[13:57] Debbie Dee (framdor): Thanks sir.... lots of food for thought.
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): will see
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:57] Debbie Dee (framdor): bye friends...
[13:57] Lizzy Pleides: Good night everybody!
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye   
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): for now
[13:57] Debbie Dee (framdor): and bye Herman...
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: why did u said that, im hungry as well i remember now
[13:58] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye everyone
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: well been out throwing bowling balls before so
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:58] herman Bergson: bye all

451: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 16

How selfish are we really. Do we have selfish genes that drive us in all circumstances? Are we such cold calculating selfish organisms?

This morning you got up and have dressed. And if you now do not just lie in bed now and reading this sentences from your laptop screen, then you are probably clothed. 

Probably you have not been looking forward all night to putting on clothes in the morning. You have not longed feverishly to put on a shirt, a blouse, a pair of pants or a skirt to dress. 

There was no desire for you and not the fulfillment of a selfish desire. After brushing your teeth, you may have not felt deep satisfaction. Nevertheless, you have done it.

You have now done ​​things and made preparations to which you were not driven by strong needs. 

If you ask yourself now: How often today have I looked explicitly after my direct selfish benefit? " then it could be that it was actually seldom.

You've probably all day long rather avoided disadvantages. Or you have, if any, calculated only very indirect benefits. 

For example, you did know that you would look stupid, if you had gone to work naked. You have not even thought about it. You take for granted. 

At the office you have more or less neatly done your work without big sensations and excitement. Although your strongest feeling in between may have been caused by perhaps the trouble about a colleague or by a sexual fantasy, 

you have not succumbed to them long and have swiftly focused again on your duty. In short, you did not seek pleasure, but avoided suffering. 
This is our normal life.

When you look at it from a selfish gene point of view your day has been a complete failure. Nothing has contributed to the survival of your genes.

You haven't made at least a few women pregnant, nor have you knocked down any competitors. Why didn't  you choose to make the others  consistent tools to your interests?

And what does this most intelligent animal on the planet and selfish gene machine do to multiply his genes? He smokes, drinks, eats fat hamburgers and spends the rest of the day on the couch.

What is human nature? At the end of the 1980s there emerged a group of Anglo-american bio-philosophers and behavioral economists with a very clear and simple answer.

Their basic thesis was: The motivation of all our actions is basically just pursuit of our personal advantage and egoism.

This of course had consequences for our moral thinking. The first one is: Our moral sense is not a product of our consciousness, but intuitive.

The second was: Our ethics in not (or just a little bit) a matter of nurture, culture. It is product of the logical calculations of our genes.

With respect to the first consequence we can say, that we already have seen plenty of evidence that the roots of our moral behavior are in the animal kingdom. The homo sapiens is no exception here.

Just compare this with the ideas in the days of Kant around 1750. In the first place was our moral sense the result of our conscious decisions.

And in the second place: Ethics was mainly a cultural achievement, which is exclusively a quality of the homo sapiens.

We need some more lectures to deal with all questions and answers here, I guess :-))

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you....^_^
[13:21] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T  * ::::::::::
[13:21] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Hmm, that seemed short
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: Very good, Thank you Professor
[13:21] Debbie Dee (framdor): Short and punchy ;)
[13:21] Debbie Dee (framdor): thanks herman.
[13:22] Qwark Allen: exactly, Fram
[13:22] herman Bergson: was as long as always Merlin :-)
[13:23] Debbie Dee (framdor): persuit of our persoanal advanages and egoism = human nature....
[13:23] herman Bergson: Maybe it is because the lecture isn't that complex today...for a start :-)
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes probably so. It just SEEMED shorter to me for some reason
[13:23] Debbie Dee (framdor): who was that group?
[13:23] Qwark Allen: its good for survival of genes if we procriate once a day?
[13:23] Qwark Allen: aren`t we already to many on the planet?
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): thats just pursuit of personal advantage merlin ;)
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Too Many? Yes!
[13:24] herman Bergson: That group..?
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): the group in the 80's...
[13:24] Lizzy Pleides: the Bio ethics group ?
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Sorry Debbie, I don't understand what you mean but nvm
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): who defined human nature
[13:25] herman Bergson: Richard Alexander for instance with "The biology of Moral Systems
[13:25] herman Bergson: or Robert Wright with "The Moral Animal"
[13:25] Debbie Dee (framdor): thanks herman...
[13:25] herman Bergson: Matt Ridley with "The Origins of Virtue"
[13:26] herman Bergson: We'll have a closer look at them next lecture...
[13:26] herman Bergson: Besides that the term Sociobiology belongs to these ideas
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): cool - i want to read up a bit.
[13:26] herman Bergson: What is interesting is that it begin in the 1980s..
[13:27] herman Bergson: coinciding with free market thinking
[13:27] herman Bergson: And don't forget Richard Dawkins with his Selfish Gene
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Hang on a minute
[13:27] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes... his works I know quite well.
[13:28] Velvet (velvet.braham): I need to read more Dawkins.
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I nearly mentioned that, but I said once before that The Selfish Gene is NOT a gene for selfishness.....
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): It is the Gene itself which is selfish in its aim to reproduce itself
[13:28] herman Bergson: This scientific egoism thinking goes along with the rise of neo-liberalism under Reagan and Thatcher…
[13:29] Debbie Dee (framdor): so where does selfless behaviour fit in?
[13:29] herman Bergson: No Merlin....that is true....
[13:29] herman Bergson: the basic idea is that we are programmed to make our genes survive...
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): ah ty. well I have read the book, and its not often I can say that!
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes
[13:30] herman Bergson: But as being programmed like that as organisms we have to be selffish...
[13:30] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): But it also applies to all organisms, plants too
[13:30] Debbie Dee (framdor): selfless behaviour like jumping into the river to free trapped passengers in a car?
[13:30] herman Bergson: or said otherwise...selfishness is in our genes
[13:30] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): well if so, it is in the genes of all living things, but yeah
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes that too feels good to know that we saved them
[13:31] Debbie Dee (framdor): or helping to put out a fire that is not threatening you directly?
[13:31] herman Bergson: Well Debbie that is what we will get to.....altruism....
[13:31] herman Bergson: which seems to be in contradiction with our genes...
[13:31] Lizzy Pleides: is Moral not real when its not a cognitive result of man?
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Maybe it is just that other organisms are more open about their selfishness and we cover it up
[13:32] herman Bergson: what organisms do you mean Merlin?
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well all living things try to further their own aims
[13:32] Debbie Dee (framdor): altruism must fit in with egoism - it makes us feel good about ourselves?
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Plants too
[13:33] herman Bergson: Imean we can observe them all and we see that primates for instance share food
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: perhaps Debbie
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes Debbie
[13:33] herman Bergson: Ahhh Debbie....the feel good theme...yes!
[13:33] herman Bergson: we'll get to that too :-)
[13:34] Lizzy Pleides: the helper's syndrome
[13:34] Debbie Dee (framdor):  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:34] Debbie Dee (framdor): he he - better make the next lecture a bit longer then -
[13:34] herman Bergson: and the theroy of altruism as disguised egoism..:-)
[13:34] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well I once said similar in an earlier lesson, that we are 'good' so that we feel good about ourselves
[13:34] herman Bergson: true merlin....
[13:34] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): And to get reciprocal co-operation from others.... as did the chimps in one film
[13:35] Velvet (velvet.braham): that is certainly true, but it's not the whole reason we are altruistic
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): imho
[13:35] herman Bergson: But I think we first have to elaborate on the concept of egoism....
[13:35] herman Bergson: Just think about this...
[13:35] herman Bergson: I call it hard egoism...
[13:36] Lizzy Pleides: but thus to help others could be dishonest because in truth we are egoists
[13:36] herman Bergson: You meet a person who only goes for his own interests....
[13:36] herman Bergson: whatever it costs...
[13:36] herman Bergson: always he first thinks of himself...
[13:36] herman Bergson: How many people like that do you know?
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Maybe staying alive is not our whole motive. People care about how they are regarded even after their death
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): egoism, and community make for altruism, and the resulting appreciation feeds the ego.
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I know such a person in rl..very annoying
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): not many herman.
[13:37] Velvet (velvet.braham): a rare few!
[13:37] herman Bergson: There Beertje said it....
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): sighs....
[13:38] herman Bergson: Such people annoy us...we stay out of their way....
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): oh yes
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): and call them selfish Xz&*(
[13:38] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[13:38] herman Bergson: but according to the bio is exactly in line with what the genes make us do...
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): so there is something moderating that behaviour...
[13:39] herman Bergson: Bu t...when you look at your reaction....
[13:39] herman Bergson: we do not like hard egoism....
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no one does I presume
[13:40] herman Bergson: Think so too Beertje....
[13:40] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Religious faith could be a motivator too
[13:40] Debbie Dee (framdor): where does subtlety and understatement fit in - being "cool"?
[13:40] herman Bergson: I'll get to all these issues in the next lectures :-)
[13:40] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes I think that is it Debbie
[13:40] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Being seen favourably by others
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): now it became a long lecture after all:))
[13:40] Lizzy Pleides: yes merlin
[13:41] Debbie Dee (framdor): I guess thats the ego thing merlin...
[13:41] herman Bergson: Well Merlin....
[13:41] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): TY Lizzie (smiles)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Apes dont need a religion to survive...
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: winks @ Merlin*
[13:41] herman Bergson: So what does it mean in evolution to us?
[13:42] Debbie Dee (framdor): Maybe if they had religion to structure their communities, they would be in control...
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): But, how much of it is evolution and how much is it culture and society?
[13:42] Elia Scribe: Can it be quantized in that sense?
[13:42] herman Bergson: There we go...with respect to religion, Merlin :-))
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so religion is to control communities Debbie?
[13:43] herman Bergson: I tend to say yes Beertje :-))
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): Religion has played a large part in pulling groups together to wage war Beertje
[13:43] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I was glad, Herman, when you studied apes in this, because I think they are highly relevant
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes - agree with herman...
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): most wars were about religion
[13:44] Lizzy Pleides: it is egoism too, people want an everlasting life after death
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes, and religion was used to make the soldiers fight.
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's all about ummm 'macht'
[13:44] herman Bergson: power
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you:)
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes...
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, 'Might' is probably the nearest sounding word to Macht
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): maybe an sl religion is a good idea? Our avis can be immortal as long as linden labs is in business.
[13:45] herman Bergson: indeed Merlin..:-)
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes Merlin
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): :)
[13:45] herman Bergson: the All Mighty himself
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: lol debbie
[13:45] herman Bergson: Sounds good Debbie....
[13:46] Elia Scribe: I missed 10 minutes. So you are all saying that ego is purely functional?
[13:46] Merlin (merlin.saxondale) laughs
[13:46] herman Bergson: And then we as avis pray every Sunday for Linden Lab
[13:46] Debbie Dee (framdor): And the lindens can be god, and the money is Lindens.... just like reality.
[13:46] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yeah, Mr Linden is like God here
[13:46] herman Bergson: No just missed 10 minutes ^_^
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Sees all
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Can know our innermost souls
[13:47] Elia Scribe: Can I read the log?
[13:47] Elia Scribe: Can someone send it to me?
[13:47] herman Bergson: There is a blog Elia :-)
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): You tell Her Herman
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): And leads us into immortality... a life in a computer which will be there when you aren't.
[13:48] herman Bergson: Yes Debie...THE fascinating question...
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): I love reading about the augmented human, and the post human condition that results.
[13:48] herman Bergson: What is your avatar doing when you are not online :-)
[13:48] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): he he... mine listens to the radio, and goes shopping ;)
[13:48] herman Bergson: Maybe it is better that you don't know :-)
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Its a bit like Schroedingers cat....
[13:49] herman Bergson: Well...still a lot of unanswered questions...
[13:49] herman Bergson: I suggest we get together on Thursday and see what we can make of it ..:-_
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): hey.... great idea prof..
[13:50] herman Bergson: So, thank you all for you stimulating participation
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): thanks for this stimulating lecture.
[13:50] Qwark Allen: was very nice and interesting
[13:50] Qwark Allen: thank you hermann
[13:50] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:50] Qwark Allen: AAHH!!!
[13:51] Fred123 Aiten: many thanks herman
[13:51] herman Bergson: Bye Julietta :-)
[13:51] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you and good night!
[13:51] Julietta Moonshine (marguerite.lemondrop): Good bye
[13:51] herman Bergson: See you all onThursday again :-)
[13:51] Debbie Dee (framdor): I always feel that there is more to discuss. A great way to make me think.
[13:51] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, Thanks Herman and bye everyone
[13:51] Elia Scribe: Where is the blog herman? Link?
[13:51] herman Bergson: Oh there is Debbie !
[13:52] Debbie Dee (framdor): he he
[13:52] Debbie Dee (framdor): There always is.
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): look at your IM Elia
[13:52] herman Bergson: Gave the URL to you yesterday Elia :-)
[13:52] Debbie Dee (framdor): anyway... cu soon... and bye friends and Prof
[13:52] herman Bergson: Bye Debbie
[13:53] Elia Scribe: Thanks Beertje
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you're welcome

450: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 15

At the previous lecture Velvet suggested to have a closer look at Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980) and indeed  in the context of our project this makes sense.

Piaget, developmental psychologist and philosopher, is in the first place famous because of his research on the development of the cognitive capabilities of children.

Like Hoffman, who I mentioned in my previous lecture, he describes different stages of development.

Put in a simplified way he asked the question, where does logical thinking comes from? Likewise he could have asked 

"Where does morality come from", where of course the quintessence is…is it from Nature or from Nurture?

Piaget believed in two basic principles relating to moral education: that children develop moral ideas in stages and that children create their conceptions of the world. 

According to Piaget, the child is someone who constructs his own moral world view, who forms ideas about right and wrong, and fair and unfair, 

that are not the direct product of adult teaching and that are often maintained in the face of adult wishes to the contrary. Piaget believed that children made moral judgments based on their own observations of the world.

Piaget's theory of morality was radical when his book The Moral Judgment of the Child was published in 1932 for two reasons: 

his use of philosophical criteria to define morality (as universalizable, generalizable, and obligatory) and his rejection of equating cultural norms with moral norms. 

Piaget, drawing on Kantian theory, proposed that morality developed out of peer interaction and that it was autonomous from authority mandates.

The basic assumption is that a child in accordance with the growth of the brain develops the abilities to empathy and a sense of fairness, based on the increasing capabilities of the brain.

You only can grow a plant on a fertile soil. I mean, there has to be a brain precondition. In that we are not alone. Several observations of behavior of primates have shown that they too are capable of sharing and are sensitive for unfairness.

Every culture has a concept of justice and fairness and yet its meaning differs per culture. Yet, like Piaget stated, doesn't this make moral norms simply to cultural norms.

The human capacity for morality is innate. Step by step we are put through a "program", ranging from the imitation through sympathy up to a sense of justice. 

We are exposed to the entire range of powerful formative influences. Strong links, the feeling of security and the knowledge to be understood have a positive effect on our development. 

The interplay between different individual qualities and natural influences of education leads to different forms of characters. 

The ability for compassion and sense of justice are  given in all normal healthy people, their depth and their level, however, are individually different.

But even when we assume, that a sense of morality is an innate quality of human nature, we still see a lot of immoral behavior around.

So, are we in a perpetual battle with ourselves, trying to do good and then having to observe that we do the opposite?

Time to ask ourselves how much selfishness is there in us. Why is it there?

The Discussion

[13:22] herman Bergson: Thank you....^_^
[13:22] Debbie Dee (framdor): the end? mm later than i realised - sorry
[13:22] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I didnt understand that bit about doing the opposite
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): tut tut Debbie
[13:23] herman Bergson: Well Merlin....we all mean to do good....and we know that we don't do that all the time...we do bad things...selfish things for instance
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): ah ok
[13:23] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): but isn't it necessary for our survival to be selfish sometimes?
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): only joking Debbie ;)
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:24] Mick Nerido: A child who does not learn to trust, may feel unable to empathize with others and therefore not feel connected ...
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): selfish sort of explains itself.. we are self centered in our thoughts often.
[13:24] herman Bergson: I dont know Alegra....
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): he he he he
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): new cackle :)
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes Mick...
[13:24] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): I admit I am not fighting with myself in that point
[13:24] herman Bergson: smiles...
[13:25] herman Bergson: You mean you are just selfish Alegra?
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not always Mick..sometimes one can learn to trust..although it takes a very long time
[13:25] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): hehe
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i sometimes wonder tho if the ability for compassion and justice are given to all
[13:25] Mick Nerido: We will be selfish if we feel not part of a bigger group...
[13:25] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): I think we have to find a good equilibrium
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): to begin with
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): or we must be taught what they are
[13:25] herman Bergson: ABout this survival issue....
[13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): to begin
[13:26] herman Bergson: you have personal survival and survival of a species...
[13:26] herman Bergson: Those are two different processes....
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yeah, Bees again
[13:26] herman Bergson: Besides that....
[13:27] herman Bergson: this survival is related to being fitted to your environment....
[13:27] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes
[13:27] herman Bergson: and individual survival related to selfishness is something different....
[13:27] herman Bergson: not the evolutionary issue
[13:27] herman Bergson: But in fact a moral issue
[13:27] Mick Nerido: The "I" and the "We" issue
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i am looking at all the poeple in refuge camps
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): in syria right now
[13:28] Debbie Dee (framdor): personal survivial uses adrenaline, group survival is shared and more selfless?
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): one steals blankets and pillows from another
[13:28] herman Bergson: I don't know how they can stand such a life Gemma...
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): me either
[13:28] Debbie Dee (framdor): They did not pick it.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Here is the survival issue again.....
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): do the depth of compassions is so difficult to see
[13:29] Mick Nerido: sorry have to log off thanks all
[13:29] herman Bergson: Stealing blankets is a selfish act.....
[13:29] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): does group survival really exist?
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye   
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): nicl
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): bye Mick
[13:29] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): bye Mick
[13:29] herman Bergson: I would say YEs Alegra...
[13:29] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): or is group survival an educational part?
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes Alegra I think so too
[13:30] herman Bergson: Evolutionary it has been a biological matter, I would say
[13:30] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): hm
[13:30] herman Bergson: Not a consciously chosen act
[13:30] herman Bergson: the organism interacts with its environment....
[13:31] herman Bergson: The environment is changing....
[13:31] herman Bergson: the most fitted to the new environment survive....
[13:31] herman Bergson: this is possible because it is about a group
[13:31] herman Bergson: variations in a group
[13:31] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes ok
[13:32] herman Bergson: But in fact it is an evolution without any direction...
[13:32] herman Bergson: We are the only organisms who are capable of thinking in longterm goals
[13:33] Debbie Dee (framdor): some group actions really help survival - like building houses that last.
[13:33] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): so we can influence the process
[13:33] herman Bergson: That is indeed the interesting point Alegra....
[13:33] herman Bergson: we are a result of a pointless evolution...
[13:33] herman Bergson: we just happened to come into being as homo sapiens...
[13:34] herman Bergson: But because of that we can interfere with evolution...
[13:34] herman Bergson: Simple example....
[13:34] herman Bergson: we keep handicapped people alive...
[13:34] Debbie Dee (framdor): so now we will effect our own evolution.
[13:34] herman Bergson: We support the less smart ones in our society to help them
[13:35] herman Bergson: I think indeed that this is more than blind evolution....
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): we genetically engineer our foods
[13:35] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes, the pure nature wouldn't do that
[13:35] herman Bergson: it is morality....
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): this is scary stuff of course .... touches Eugenics
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): and we use drugs to cure and enhance...
[13:36] herman Bergson: Well is exactly our moral sense that opposes such ideas
[13:36] herman Bergson: MAybe our basic sense of fairness
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): but... as individuals , we still face death, and sometimes lose a sense of fairness.
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): well many animals are flawed and this might be a flaw of our own
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): like stealing blankets?
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): Its easier to be fair if you aren't threatened.
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): anyway, as I keep saying we have only a few 100 years so it doens matter about our evolution
[13:37] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): question is was it just self survival to do it
[13:38] herman Bergson: That is the point of morality Debbue....
[13:38] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): and easy to judge with a full stomache
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why do a lot of people steel from us in a world without fear?
[13:38] herman Bergson: To stay fair in all situations...
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that has nothing to do with suvival
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): some people are poor and hungry, and fear guns and bombs.
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): others are greedy ;)
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): as a species we still have a long way to go
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes gemma
[13:39] herman Bergson: YEs Beertje...good question...why are there criminals in our Western society...
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes..and a lot too
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no need to steel to survive in our world
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): good question.
[13:39] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes
[13:40] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes Gemma, James Lovelock thinks that mankind will survive in the long term, but not as we are now
[13:40] herman Bergson: no need for a 10 million bones either when you earn 3 million a year
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): true
[13:40] Debbie Dee (framdor): Maybe it is to do with being scared of not having enough? of rejection because you don't have an i-phone?
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): or just because the CAN steel
[13:41] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): I have no i-phone btw, giggles
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): me either Alegra:)
[13:41] herman Bergson: There is one interesting psychological observation about people you belong to the very rich...or become very rich....
[13:41] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): *lol*
[13:41] herman Bergson: there sense of empathy declines
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes..and why? does it decline?
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well it has to because if it didnt they would not get rich...
[13:42] herman Bergson: One explanation is...that when you are very rich ...
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): or stay rich at least
[13:42] Debbie Dee (framdor): They also often become isolated.
[13:42] herman Bergson: whatever you wish..people do it for you or you can buy it....
[13:43] herman Bergson: You don't need to think about how others feel or think about it
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): merlin - good point
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hmm..glad I'm not rich:)
[13:43] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): being rich destroys morality and empathy?
[13:43] herman Bergson: That is a strong statement Alegra....
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes - in some cases.
[13:43] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think it is a question
[13:44] herman Bergson: but it is a fact that hardly any banker who was responsible for the crisis they caused has said that he felt guilty and sorry
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor):  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes - in some cases. its the answer
[13:44] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think those who suddenly become rich are different from those who inherit
[13:44] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I dont think it is quite what Alegra says
[13:44] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): If they do not lose their empathy they will lose thier money
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): Merlin, unless the inflow is greater than the outflow of wealth..
[13:45] herman Bergson: Because they would give it all to charity Merlin ?
[13:45] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): hahaha
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes Herman, put simply
[13:45] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): they do it to save money at least
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well..I think it is time to investigate how much selfishness there is in us...and why it is there...where it comes form :-)
[13:46] herman Bergson: from
[13:46] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:47] herman Bergson: Good for another lecture, I would say :-)
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol Gemma
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): gets the mirror ready
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): the free market system with advertising makes us all think that consumption is our duty. we measure our successes against the TV. If we cant afford the lear jet, we feel bad.
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): senses a trailer for next week
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:47] herman Bergson: Indeed Debbie...!
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): very true Debbie
[13:47] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): :) Debbie I agree
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): true
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): so rich is relative to the media level in your area ....
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Oh, Television, yes I remember that
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): yay...
[13:48] herman Bergson: But our economy is based on consuming....
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): get ready of the tv
[13:48] herman Bergson: if we don't consume the system will collapse
[13:48] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): yes
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is that true Herman?
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): but the resources are limited and we are 7 BN
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): realy true?
[13:48] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): the big failure of our economic system
[13:48] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes they keep talking about Growth being needed
[13:48] herman Bergson: Yet I think.....why does a single person need 30 milloin dollar for his living?
[13:49] herman Bergson: What is the sense of it?
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Constantly trying to rescue the economy through growth....
[13:49] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I am surprised how rich people go on working. e.g. Branson
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Drill Baby Drill. Burn it all up.
[13:49] herman Bergson: It is a drug Merlin.....
[13:49] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:49] herman Bergson: Not the money.....
[13:49] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol Deb
[13:50] herman Bergson: but the earning of it....making that next big hit...
[13:50] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, the power and the success
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): :(( no laughing matter.
[13:50] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): might dominates them at last
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): power for a few, and potential failure for the species.
[13:50] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): like our politicians
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe he is afraid that people forget who he is...
[13:51] herman Bergson: Weird idea..the desire to be in the history books :-)
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but for some it's utopia to be in the history books
[13:51] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes. nearly as weird as owning property.
[13:51] herman Bergson: But some peolpe seem to be motivated by that idea
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i would love to win the lottery
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and try
[13:52] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes, people still care what happens after they die
[13:52] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): of course, why those stupid guiness things
[13:52] Debbie Dee (framdor): how can I own the earth if i only live for 70 yrs?
[13:52] herman Bergson: Me too GEmma :-)
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why Herman?
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): to be rich?
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): but i have a long list of people to give money to
[13:52] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....that is a weird idea :-)
[13:53] herman Bergson: You do that by creating a dynasty, Debbie
[13:53] herman Bergson: Move your wealth from generation to generation....
[13:53] Debbie Dee (framdor): african tribes lived on land owned by the tribe, and given out by the king.
[13:54] Debbie Dee (framdor): when you died it went back to the tribe
[13:54] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): fair use I would say
[13:54] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I remember John Major said he wanted a classless society, but the wanted people to pass on wealth to their kids.
[13:55] Debbie Dee (framdor): It is kind of a moral idea, that because we lived once, the world owes our bones...into the future....
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can't we better pass our love to our kids instead of wealth?
[13:55] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): which would they rather have ???
[13:55] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ;-)
[13:55] Debbie Dee (framdor): Definitely Beertje. education, and spend time with them
[13:55] herman Bergson: lol...good question Gemma :-)
[13:55] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes B. that is coming close to bringing the argument full circle
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): money isn't everything Gemma..i know that
[13:56] herman Bergson: But then Gemma,,,they are victims of our consumerism
[13:56] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i know
[13:56] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:56] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): unfortunately it is all
[13:56] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Ugh I dont like what I said to fly off the top of the screen
[13:56] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): money is all in our society
[13:57] herman Bergson: That is the point Alegra...
[13:57] Debbie Dee (framdor): Well thanks to the last set of lectures - we know all about the free market economy....
[13:57] herman Bergson: In our society we are not human beings....we are costs....
[13:57] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): right
[13:58] herman Bergson: That is how politicians talk about us...
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): uhuuhhh..beware of the grey wave......
[13:58] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yep
[13:58] Debbie Dee (framdor): and corporations...
[13:58] herman Bergson: geting old is a costly enterprise...
[13:58] herman Bergson: we have to discourage that :-)
[13:58] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Tony Benn objected to rail passengers being called 'customers'
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): (not that I'm grey yet)//smiles
[13:58] Debbie Dee (framdor): they see us as slaves that produce more than we cost.
[13:59] Debbie Dee (framdor): I don't see any of you as costs.... BTW ;)
[13:59] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): :-)
[13:59] herman Bergson: Fact is that we are imprisoned by a self chosen economical system
[13:59] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): ty Debbie
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the goverment does Debbie
[14:00] Debbie Dee (framdor): lucky I'm just a citizen then...
[14:00] herman Bergson: BTW…Belasting Toegevoegde Waarde in dutch Debbie ^_^
[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hahhahahah
[14:00] Debbie Dee (framdor):  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[14:00] herman Bergson: means a kind of taxes :-)
[14:00] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): ~+ ah yes ~
[14:00] Debbie Dee (framdor): by the way ... is what i meant.
[14:01] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well you know the English have an expression "Double Dutch"
[14:01] Debbie Dee (framdor): thanks
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes Merlin:)
[14:01] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[14:01] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Now I can see why too ;)
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's like a dutch orchestra..
[14:01] herman Bergson: Rememeber vaguely Merlin...what does it mean
[14:01] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): It means unintelligible
[14:02] herman Bergson: I know the expression 'going Dutch'
[14:02] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[14:02] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): oh that is something completely different
[14:02] herman Bergson: Let's go Dutch on that Merlin ^_^
[14:02] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol
[14:02] Debbie Dee (framdor): well, merlin, there goes dinner out ;)
[14:02] Merlin (merlin.saxondale) smiles
[14:02] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[14:02] Debbie Dee (framdor): lol.
[14:02] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): *lol* funny
[14:02] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Btw...Belasting Toegevoegde's going late.....
[14:03] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I have to go..
[14:03] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje...
[14:03] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): hope i can make it tuesday
[14:03] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[14:03] herman Bergson: Time to thank you all for your nice participation....
[14:03] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): bye Beertje
[14:03] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes me too.... time to go. Pity the lecture was so short.
[14:03] herman Bergson: See you next Tuesday
[14:03] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[14:03] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[14:03] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[14:03] Debbie Dee (framdor): tyvm Herman
[14:03] Alegra (hkalegre.koba): ty herman