Thursday, February 28, 2013

457: The Art Not to be an Egoist 22

The leading ideas in this series of lectures may become clearer and clearer to you. If not, let me tell you which they are.

With respect to understanding human nature the first leading idea is, that our ability for  moral behavior is based on natural, innate drives.

In other words, the homo sapiens is a moral being by nature and has a mainly cooperative nature and is not driven by selfishness.

The second leading thought is, that eventually we are not primarily driven by private greed, lust or interests, but by our self image.

That is, our actions are guided mainly by how we think of ourselves, also in relation to our fellowmen and how they think about us.

Therefore it isn't that bad at all when in a given situation we do not get what we longed for, or do not succeed in some plan.

It feels much worse when we are attack as a person, when our being, the person who we are, is questioned, when our self-esteem is hurt or destroyed.

Our existence is more than just our drives, reason and actions, otherwise how would you explain this sensitivity with respect to the person we think we are, or how we see ourselves.

You also could say that morality is not the simple product of our rationality, but it is a main characteristic of human nature.

These preliminary conclusions are not the result of findings of modern science. They are the basic ideas of Aristotle (384 - 322 BC).

Why is this man so important? With regard to our topic, the answer is simple: He was the first philosopher with a strikingly realistic view on human nature. 

As a biologist, he explored the interplay of our emotions, our will and our reason. As a philosopher, he observed, why we not just SHOULD be good, but also why it is tempting to WANT to be good.

Contrary to Plato, his teacher, Aristotle did not amalgamate Truth and Ethics. They don't belong together.

What truth is, is a matter of knowledge. What morals is, is a matter of experience. And while there are objective standards for truth, in logic and physics, with respect to moral ideas we are always dealing with subjective standards.

While sciences go for truth, you can't speak of truth in ethics. We do not get any further than concluding that something is plausible and that it makes sense to incorporate certain moral ideas in our actions.

Like his teacher Plato, Aristotle however could not resist to amalgamate, to intermix the order of nature and the order of human existence.

That, of course, is still a common view in certain believes, that the human being is just a part of one grand cosmic scheme.

If we are part of such a scheme it would enable us to point out, what we eventually have to be  or have to do, to be or become a true human being, the complete man.

This way of thinking was picked up after Aristotle in Western Culture by christianity and still lives on in such ideas as Intelligent Design.

However, Aristotle refrained from such farfetched ideas. For him the most important question only was: What is a good life? 

Is it limitless conceding to our animal nature? No, it is our need of fulfillment and sense. Living creatures that can have intentions 

and can think about their own intentions and those of others, long for a happy life. We all want a good life, the eudaimonia.

When we look in the mirror we want to see a happy and content face, independent of the question whether this mirror in de presidential suite in a Hilton Hotel or in our own bathroom.

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: thank you ^_^
[13:21] Debbie DJ: so, where is the evil?
[13:21] Debbie DJ: good lecture prof.
[13:22] herman Bergson: yes Debbie...Evil is the subject of my next project
[13:22] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you herman
[13:22] herman Bergson: a logical response
[13:22] herman Bergson: But I'll get to that in next lectures of course.....
[13:23] Debbie DJ: So if we are all good moral people desiring to be loved, why are there so many starving poor people in he world?
[13:23] herman Bergson: we all think of ourselves as being good persons...yet we know we now and then do harm to others...:-)
[13:23] herman Bergson: ok Debbie....
[13:23] Merlin: I was thinking a bit about this today, asking whether we are really so good in fact
[13:23] Merlin: OR....
[13:24] Merlin: Is it something we do when we are already happy and have something left to spare
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: really interesting stuff this for suer
[13:24] herman Bergson: I think we need to make a difference between the individual and the group....
[13:24] herman Bergson: I an individual you can be a moral person....
[13:25] herman Bergson: but as a member of a hedgefund you just kill companies and squeeze them for the profits
[13:25] Debbie DJ: Its like we want to be good and loved, but we NEED lots of STUFF to do that...
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: when in a group u risk being pulled with the others into a nasty mob
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: the group pressure
[13:25] herman Bergson: that is the paradox Bejiita....
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: to feel the force to do like the others to get accepted
[13:26] herman Bergson: for every member in the group can say that...I was pulled in...
[13:26] Merlin: Yes, and sometimes that peer pressure requires that people are bad
[13:26] herman Bergson: good point Bejiita...
[13:26] Debbie DJ: And to some extent, advertising manipulates our mob behaviour...
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: thats a major problem in schools ext where some group bully others basically ruining their lives and in worst case forcing them to shift school or even move to another place
[13:26] Lizzy Pleides: to be rich and beautiful seems to be more attractive than to be social responsible only
[13:27] herman Bergson: a good life is also t be recognized and respected by others
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: same prob on the internet, telling people nasty things and believe because u have the computer between its not as bad
[13:27] Merlin: I wish I could believe that Herman
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: but its just as bad through a computer
[13:27] Merlin: People near me only look at outward appearances
[13:28] herman Bergson: What do you mean Merlin?
[13:28] Merlin: and some people are looking at our prosperity.....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: i hear all time now about "net hatred" where people tell others they are useless can go die and general threats on facebook and other media
[13:28] herman Bergson: Ah I see
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: the computer act like a barrier between it seems, big problem
[13:28] Merlin: I mean that being Good is not so well respected, or even recognized
[13:29] herman Bergson: True Merlin....
[13:29] Debbie DJ: Merlin, true, but being bad is quickly recognized.... or is it?
[13:29] MerlinMerlin smiles
[13:29] herman Bergson: and that was a thing Aristotle didn't know at all...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:29] herman Bergson: how a person can be influenced by advertisements etc...or even brain manipulation
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: yes thats also a factor
[13:30] herman Bergson: Aristotle had the idea that a person can develop character....which means his life by virtues
[13:30] herman Bergson: But I'll get to that next Thursday :-)
[13:31] Debbie DJ: Can it be that the nature of man is changing due to constant manipulation of people by corporate and government media?
[13:31] .: Beertje :.: very interesting Herman
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: id say could be very much possible
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: by certain 100 % sure about that
[13:31] Debbie DJ: yay thanks bejita
[13:32] herman Bergson: Well Debbie...there you hit a core issue...
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: yes Debbie you are right
[13:32] herman Bergson: We are trying to understand human nature in this series of lectures...
[13:32] herman Bergson: human nature....
[13:32] herman Bergson: question is...
[13:32] herman Bergson: has it been the same through all ages
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: look at north korea, the people have been isolated from internet ect and then brainwashed so that they believe they live in paradise then they in fact live in hell on earth
[13:32] herman Bergson: or not
[13:32] herman Bergson: as you say..
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: with Kim as the devil
[13:33] herman Bergson: is it now a product of manipulation etc?
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: they have another self image in north Korea
[13:33] Debbie DJ: western manipulation is no less than korea, just more subtle...
[13:34] Lizzy Pleides: true Debbie
[13:34] herman Bergson: Let me put it this way.....
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: also they barely can survive for the day, Kim's strategy in making them weak so he can manipulate them like dolls, if they survive that is
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: horrible!
[13:34] Debbie DJ: It is all about consuming faster and believing it is our right.
[13:34] herman Bergson: ok...let me put it this way...
[13:35] herman Bergson: about human nature....
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: we have to see through these tricky things debbie
[13:35] Debbie DJ: I wish I could Lizzy...
[13:35] herman Bergson: I always have wondered about it.....but when you listen to 99% of all songs...
[13:35] herman Bergson: they are about love...
[13:35] Debbie DJ: yes!
[13:36] Debbie DJ: and most art is beautiful...
[13:36] herman Bergson: and when you look at the history of literature....and music...
[13:36] herman Bergson: nothing new there...
[13:36] herman Bergson: songs about love
[13:36] Debbie DJ: but herman - if you listen to death metal - there is no love...
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:37] Debbie DJ: it is about death and destruction - the apocalypse and fire...
[13:37] herman Bergson: yes Debbie and you also have those crime rappers or violence rappers...
[13:37] herman Bergson: but they come and go...
[13:37] Debbie DJ: post nuclear wastelands, hunger , and death
[13:37] herman Bergson: the love song is an ever lasting subject :-)
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: you can't hear that always
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: yes!
[13:37] Debbie DJ: yes... Like war and destruction - also everlasting ;)
[13:38] herman Bergson: yes Debbie....
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:38] herman Bergson: TWo sides of a coin it seems regarding human nature
[13:38] Debbie DJ: definitely 2 sides to us....
[13:38] Debbie DJ: snap :)
[13:39] herman Bergson: But everybody loves love and everybody dislikes destruction, although it happens
[13:39] Debbie DJ: By focussing us on the moral good side, you have helped us more clearly see what evil might be....
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: yesa
[13:39] herman Bergson: That is..I prefer the positive look at human nature....
[13:39] Lizzy Pleides: it influences our hormone balance
[13:40] herman Bergson: and so far I have been right....
[13:40] herman Bergson: we still exist
[13:40] Debbie DJ: I prefer love to hate....
[13:40] Lizzy Pleides: of course
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: me too
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: Im a nice guy
[13:40] Debbie DJ:  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:40] Debbie DJ: - i nearly said I hate hate
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:41] herman Bergson: Like every normal human being would debbie
[13:41] herman Bergson: good one
[13:41] Debbie DJ: got to be so careful with words around philosophers..
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:41] Bejiita Imako:
[13:42] Merlin: Yes Debbie and quite right too
[13:42] herman Bergson: no not with words...
[13:42] herman Bergson: they are just the wrapping of your ideas and thoughts :-)
[13:42] Merlin: Yeah, perhaps there are bigger pedants than philosophers
[13:43] Debbie DJ: I wouldnt pack a calm blue thought in a firey red wrapper
[13:43] herman Bergson: what is a 'pendant' Merlin?
[13:43] Debbie DJ: word nit picker...
[13:43] Lizzy Pleides: pedant
[13:43] Merlin: Pedant, it's someone who is obsessive about accuracy
[13:43] Merlin: Yes Debbie
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: lioke keeping everything tidy and in order
[13:44] Merlin: Derives from schoolteacher I believe
[13:44] herman Bergson: ah in dutch we all such a person a "komma neuker"
[13:44] herman Bergson: lol
[13:44] Merlin: lol
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:44] Debbie DJ: that would be the editor....
[13:44] Lizzy Pleides: lol
[13:45] herman Bergson: Well, I guess you are ready for the lecture of next Thursday now :-)
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: think so
[13:45] Merlin: hehe yes, after a bit of rest
[13:45] herman Bergson: So thank you all for your participation again....
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: you can start it right now, :-)
[13:45] Debbie DJ: I sure am.... Cant wait
[13:45] herman Bergson: unless you still have a burning question or remark
[13:46] Debbie DJ: I just want to say the recap tonight was most useful...
[13:46] herman Bergson: then...
[13:46] herman Bergson: Class dismissed..^_^
[13:46] herman Bergson: Thank you all

No comments:

Post a Comment