Tuesday, April 16, 2013

468: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 33

Tho I assume in this project that the homo sapiens is a moral being by nature, yet it appears to be a morality with holes in it.

Although we all know what it means to be morally just, it seems that for some reason we have "invented" all kinds of tricks, to get around it.

The point, however, is that all these evasive actions are in general not at all deliberate attempts to get past morality.

As we saw, conformity to the group is a mechanism we easily can be victim of. It take a lot of insight and courage, to overcome it.

Shifting baselines is another actually cultural process, where we see how standards shift from generation to generation.

Let's look at another feature which makes it difficult for us to act morally right and according to our own moral standards.

Begging is "not done", but when everybody does so, it is ok. So once a year all kids may go from home to home and beg for candy and stuff like that. Saint Martin's Day in Europe, with Halloween in the US.

Now, in the 70s two smart psychologist played a trick with the begging children. Next to each front door stood a large basket with candies.

When the kids knocked at the door an adult would open and would point the children at the basket. They all were allowed to take one candy each. Then he closed the door again. You see it come…!

"Hey, man…you took three candies!…..Well then I may have three too!" and so on. But in some situations there was a large mirror behind the basket.

This meant that the one who wanted to take more than one candy could see himself in the mirror.  The result was that there often wasn't a first one who took more than one candy.

Of course this stealing of candy is a matter of conformity to the group. But the mirror often prevented that there was a first one, who took more than one candy.

When forced to look at yourself while performing some action, seems to stimulate to act more morally, than when one doesn't have to think too much about himself.

So, we do not only hide what we are doing for the piercing eyes of others, but pretty much for ourselves as well.

The trick is that a lot of our decisions and actions are not subjected to self conscious considerations and we don't relate them to our self-image.

Take for instance traffic offenders. Lovely subject for TV shows. When interviewed they are amazed. "Me, speeding?" Then seeing the proof, they go like "Oh well yes, I didn't know I drove that fast. Was a bit in a hurry." 
Wasn't there a speedometer in his car?

But taken as a fact, they endangered their own life and the lives of the many other traffic participants. They were, however, not aware of that. 

In this way we can hold ourselves for much better than we morally are. That experiment of those psychologists of course originated from what we all know:

that advise to look in the mirror first before we open our mouth. Haven't you never looked into the mirror at yourself for a while and then got that uncomfortable feeling?

Only few people who observe their own mirror image, do so in peace and serenity. And if so, then is our physical appearance more our focus then our moral integrity.

For when we think about ourselves, then probably it is more often about our appearance and social actions. And when we watch a home video of ourselves,

we are often more surprised about how we look like and how we do things - that strange voice and weird movements - then what we do.

Interesting to see, how we can hide ourselves for ourselves, if it is about the morality of our actions.

Main Resources:
Richard David Precht, Die Kunst kein Egoist zu sein (2012)
The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition

The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you ^_^
[13:25] herman Bergson: You all feel guilty now? ^_^
[13:25] Framdor:  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:25] Framdor: morality is like old socks - there is a hole in the soul -
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate GIGGLES!!
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: ...LOL...
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: is all true
[13:25] Beertje Beaumont: grins..
[13:25] herman Bergson: I look at it this way.....
[13:25] herman Bergson: As homo sapiens we have come this far.....
[13:26] Framdor: So we conform to the image of who we like to think we are?
[13:26] herman Bergson: We think we are the end of evolution....at least we tend to believe that....
[13:26] Framdor: because that is the image we think will be well liked?
[13:27] herman Bergson: We think often better of ourselves than we are it seems Debbie :-)
[13:27] herman Bergson: But now you see these flaws...
[13:27] Beertje Beaumont: ask your best friend to be honest when he/she describes you..and then don't be mad when you hear all of it...
[13:27] herman Bergson: conformity to the group, shifting baselines, lack of self attentiveness...
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: oh right
[13:27] Framdor: This is all about POSITIVE self image though...
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: are you kidding??
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: there goes a friendship
[13:28] Beertje Beaumont: no..I did once...and it was an eyeopener Gemma'
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: ;-)
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: adn what did you do about it
[13:28] Beertje Beaumont: just tried to be honest with myself
[13:29] Beertje Beaumont: honest
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: i think each of us could do that
[13:29] Louna Quan: smiles to Beertje
[13:29] herman Bergson: that is my point......
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: yep
[13:29] herman Bergson: in stead of thinking that we are the finished end product of evolution
[13:30] herman Bergson: we are still organisms which adapat to their environment...where the fitests survive...
[13:30] Merlin Saxondale: Well that is another thing Dawkins says, That we are no higher evolved than any other animal
[13:30] Merlin Saxondale: All have evolved for exactly the same amount of time
[13:30] Beertje Beaumont: the fitest is the one who can uhhmm zichzelf aanpassen aan de omgeving..sorry..my english
[13:30] Framdor: Our moral and ethical values are about feeling ok when we look in the mirror... conforming. Yet we conform to an image that is not really us - because we hide the parts we don't like, so we can feel good? Seems like we are missing the point?
[13:30] Merlin Saxondale: And there is no "Goal" to evolution
[13:30] herman Bergson: depends on what you mean by 'higher' Merlin
[13:30] herman Bergson: No there is no goal to evolution....
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: that is true
[13:31] Beertje Beaumont: Herman can you translate please?
[13:31] Louna Quan: yes Debbie
[13:31] herman Bergson: But we happen to be equipped with a brain, which is unique in tis abilities
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:32] herman Bergson: What should I translate Beertje ?
[13:32] herman Bergson: (Debbie, keep it short:-)
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: we have a much more evolved language while other animals only use sounds of various kinds
[13:32] Framdor: k
[13:32] Beertje Beaumont: [13:30] Beertje Beaumont: the fitest is the one who can uhhmm zichzelf aanpassen aan de omgeving..sorry..my english
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: scroll back
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: Yes-ah!
[13:32] Merlin Saxondale: uhhmm zichzelf aanpassen aan de omgeving..sorry..my english
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: and we are the only ones that makes machines and more advanced tools
[13:33] herman Bergson: That is correct Beertje...
[13:33] herman Bergson: If you look at history.....
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: translate for us!!
[13:33] herman Bergson: in fact it is a process of adaptation.....
[13:34] herman Bergson: tho we had some horrible wars...and still have.....
[13:34] herman Bergson: in the long run, look who survives....
[13:34] Framdor: A wise friend once said we should not look at advantages in a new situation, but weigh up disadvantages first.
[13:34] Framdor: maybe too when we look at our self image ;)
[13:35] Merlin Saxondale: " adapt themselves to the environment ."
[13:35] herman Bergson: The optimist/pessimist approch Debbie?
[13:35] Beertje Beaumont: thank you Merlin:)
[13:35] Merlin Saxondale: :)
[13:35] Framdor: Sort of.
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:35] Framdor: We always look for the route of profit, despite all the costs, which we ignore.
[13:35] herman Bergson: I think we'll learn in the long run....
[13:36] herman Bergson: That is only now the case Debbie....
[13:36] Framdor: but now we are at our peak???
[13:36] herman Bergson: That whole idea of PROFIT is so seriously exposed and brought to the open in all its negative aspects these days
[13:37] herman Bergson: Some high finance man here said.....
[13:37] herman Bergson: there has to me a broad debate on finances and finacial markets....etc...
[13:37] Framdor: oh yeah? then why do we still make sports cars and overseas holidays?
[13:37] herman Bergson: and lots of people DO debate it....in politics in the media and so on..
[13:38] herman Bergson: and who it the big SILENT one in this debate....
[13:38] Framdor: not more than the hippies did.... your generation sir ;)
[13:38] herman Bergson: The banks themselves...
[13:38] Beertje Beaumont: yes true Herman..I never hear them about it
[13:38] herman Bergson: Those profit hunters are scared...
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: folks just do not know how an alternative could look like - so they go on and on and on..
[13:39] Framdor: Silly us....
[13:39] herman Bergson: They know that the are shaved now....so they think...let's sit still :-)
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: and lay low
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes Ciska....
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: they relay on us not finding an alternative
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: but some folks already start.
[13:40] Framdor: and lie to their own selves... about their ethics.
[13:40] herman Bergson: what is happening today....say since 1989....the fall of the Wall in Berling....
[13:40] Framdor: pretend to be green...
[13:40] Framdor:  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:40] Framdor: and recycle when others are watching -
[13:40] herman Bergson: Exactly Debbie.....
[13:40] herman Bergson: That lieing to themselves to justify actions can go far....
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: but when no one looks flush all toxic waste out the sea
[13:40] herman Bergson: shockingly far....
[13:41] herman Bergson: Let me tell you a story...
[13:41] herman Bergson: Reserve Police Battalion 101 ....
[13:41] Beertje Beaumont: I think the economy as it is now is one great soap bubble..one day it will explode
[13:41] herman Bergson: After the war one of the arrested soldiers gave this testimony....
[13:41] herman Bergson: He and his comrade shot people....
[13:42] herman Bergson: His comrade shot the mothers...he only shot the children...
[13:42] herman Bergson: and to justify this in some way he had the thought that these children hadn't any chance anyway without their mother.
[13:42] Framdor: Damn.. So... what is going to fix this problem? we seem incapable due to self delusion, and over consumption
[13:43] herman Bergson: So far can a mind go to cheat itself....to stay stable
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: hmmmm
[13:43] herman Bergson: No no...Debbie....
[13:43] herman Bergson: Our moral behavior has already much improved since the Middle Ages....
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: i think so too
[13:44] herman Bergson: We do no longer burn women because they are witches...
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: not here anyway
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: i heard of such a burning in the past month
[13:44] herman Bergson: we don't accept torture anymore as a justified method
[13:44] Louna Quan: hehe Gemma
[13:44] Framdor: But we do operate drones that bomb civillians from the sky...
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: Yes-ah!
[13:44] herman Bergson: Hold on!!!!
[13:44] Framdor: and we did carpet bomb iraq...
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: some cultures like in saudi arabia stll treat women horrible these days like they have no valye
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: like they are just things and not humans
[13:45] herman Bergson: I talk about Western Culture where education plays a very important role
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: Women Killed as ‘Witches,’ in Papua New Guinea, in 2013
[13:45] herman Bergson: Not all parts of this world are in the same stage of human development
[13:45] Framdor: Me too... the westerners make most of the guns and war machines.
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: the story is in the NY Times
[13:46] herman Bergson: That is because of the profits...
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:46] Louna Quan: oh really i didn't know about that Gemma
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: like here in sweden
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: ye
[13:46] Framdor: and if you look what excites us - its blood and gore in games and TV
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: i could put the link but not sure if you can get through
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: we are supposed to be natural yet we make and sell tons of heavy artillery to war zones all over
[13:46] herman Bergson: and there you get exactly those crooked arguments why you can make guns...
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/women-tortured-killed-as-witches-in-papua-new-guinea-in-2013/
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: cause to make money no matter how many paople gets killed by them
[13:46] herman Bergson: Like in the US the NRA does...
[13:46] Louna Quan: looking
[13:47] herman Bergson: Guns are no evil...
[13:47] Framdor: so - how have we advanced? we can and do kill more easily...lol
[13:47] herman Bergson: only guns in the hands of bad guys are evil
[13:47] Framdor: like the USA?
[13:47] Merlin Saxondale: I don't agree entirely with that about guns
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: indeed however a gun is a device made esp for killing others
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes National Rifle Association loonies
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: one guy here says the only way to defeat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun
[13:48] Merlin Saxondale: They are made for killing and for nothing else
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: Yes-ah!
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: thats is its purpose and we have made it
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: Wayne Lapierre
[13:48] Merlin Saxondale: Like Submarines too.. they are entirely for war
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: passing out guns
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: and not to forget these damn nuclear armageddon weapons
[13:48] Framdor: while we don't burn witches, we do poison waterways, and oceans...
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: that north korea bullies up with now
[13:49] Merlin Saxondale: Even Jeremy Clarkson condemned guns in a TV programme
[13:49] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...but they are no option anymore...
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: while he threatens to eradicate the planet
[13:49] herman Bergson: except in the hands of in individual fanatic
[13:49] Louna Quan: nods
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: we do have civilized , so called m ways of burning witches instead
[13:49] Louna Quan: yes
[13:49] Merlin Saxondale: I think the electric chair is somewhat like burning at the stake
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: burn their reputations
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: maybee
[13:50] Framdor: This lecture is very depressing.... I now see that we have very flimsy morals and ethics... and wont stand up for tough principles.
[13:50] herman Bergson: Bad comparison Merlin....
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: it is hard to
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: don't get too depressed
[13:50] herman Bergson: the electric chair is about the moral acceptablility of killing a human being who has commited a serious crime
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: there is hope i hope
[13:51] Merlin Saxondale: I dont think it is a bad comparison
[13:51] herman Bergson: Debbie ..you lookin the wrong direction....
[13:51] Framdor: Luckily I am generally positive. so ill forget to be depressed by tomorrow.
[13:51] Louna Quan: smiles to Debbie
[13:51] Gemma Cleanslate: oh good
[13:51] Bejiita Imako:
[13:51] herman Bergson: the glass is already half full....not already half empty
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:52] herman Bergson: As I already said....
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: that is true when you look at history
[13:52] herman Bergson: we are a stage in evolution...
[13:52] herman Bergson: and there you can see that the homo sapiens yet has learnt a lot.....
[13:52] herman Bergson: and don't talk about periods of 100 years or so...
[13:52] Beertje Beaumont: and need to learn a lot more...
[13:53] Framdor: My glass? It floweth over with love gratitude, peace and happiness...... in my imagination
[13:53] herman Bergson: we have to put it in the context of periods of tens of thousands of years...
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: is it wine or whiskey?
[13:53] herman Bergson: I could use a whiskey now ^_^
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: Yes-ah!
[13:54] Framdor: true- we've only had electricity and petrol engines for 120 years odd.
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: LOL
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: hmm good idea
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:54] Bejiita Imako:
[13:54] Beertje Beaumont: I'll have Port...
[13:54] herman Bergson: we have science for hardly 300 years....
[13:54] Framdor: and we have evolved an insatiable appetite for energy
[13:54] herman Bergson: and technology for hardly 80 years
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: and now things are changing so fast!!!!
[13:54] Framdor: and covered the whole planet with offspring.
[13:55] herman Bergson: computers since 1984....
[13:55] Framdor: 1980....
[13:55] herman Bergson: well the personal computer I mean here
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: amazing
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:55] herman Bergson: so tho it looks like super fast developments....
[13:55] Framdor: the first pc was 1980 - the clock on mine got stuck...
[13:55] Framdor: msdos 1.0
[13:55] herman Bergson: projected on the speed of evolution it is a minute in time
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: was was before a whole room of electron tubes now fits in a pocket calculator and the supercomputers of before now fits in my pocket
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: amazing stuff
[13:56] Merlin Saxondale: Windows 3.1 circa 1993
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:56] Framdor: gosh... windows 3.1 was soooo revolutionary back then
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: was my first computer with that
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: a 486
[13:56] Merlin Saxondale: That always surprises me. The nineties!
[13:56] Beertje Beaumont: but made the technology us better responsible people?
[13:57] herman Bergson: They said in the 60s ...we wont make it till 2000...before that the world will be devastated my nuclear winter....
[13:57] Framdor: It made us faster....
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: now i have more then 100 times that in my mobile
[13:57] herman Bergson: and what is the present situation?
[13:57] herman Bergson: Nuclear threat is hardly a political option anymore....
[13:58] herman Bergson: except for lunatics and terrorists
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: true
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: and we have one now
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:58] Framdor: it never was a political option - now there are still 17000 nukes operations. In the cuba crisis - it was about 4000
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: yes this is the modern day cuba crisis i d say
[13:58] Louna Quan: yes north Korea
[13:58] herman Bergson: So don't tell me that we do not evolve, learn....find better solutions for problems
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: korea crisis u may call it
[13:59] Merlin Saxondale: I think we are just putting off these problems but not truely solving them
[13:59] herman Bergson: The north Korean threat is only for domestic purposes....
[13:59] Merlin Saxondale: Like building a dam which must eventually break
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: yeh hopefully
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: aa yes
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: i dont want to either be blown up or slowly killed by radioactivity
[13:59] herman Bergson: Those leaders know exactly that throwing only the smallest nuclear bomb will lead to the complete devastation of North Korea itself...
[14:00] Beertje Beaumont: poor people there...
[14:00] Framdor: ok herman, show me some responsible corporate or governemnt citizens.... that look in the mirror, and do the right thing consistently.
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: aaaw yes
[14:00] Louna Quan: yes
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: i feel so sad for them
[14:00] herman Bergson: It is a kind of brainwashed mad house I would say....
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: yes
[14:00] herman Bergson: and here too....
[14:00] herman Bergson: the complete lack of education leads to this
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: they cant see at all whats really happening in the world and get false images of the world
[[14:01] Bejiita Imako: and their leader as a god
[14:01] herman Bergson: Education IS our future to become better humans
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: totally locked in
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: and starving to death
[14:01] Framdor: I agree about education...
[14:01] Merlin Saxondale: Yes Bejiita, that was said on the BBC radio today
[14:01] Framdor:  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[14:01] Framdor: thats why I come to Wainscot -
[14:01] herman Bergson: All evolution is based on the learning system....
[14:01] Merlin Saxondale: There are many starving there in N Korea
[14:02] herman Bergson: I think it is a place of horror and concentration camps to suppress the people
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: they live in a prison, feel sad for them,
[14:02] herman Bergson: But I always wonder....
[14:03] herman Bergson: WHOSE INTERESTS are here at work...???
[14:03] herman Bergson: What group of the population profits from this system and wants to keep it unchanged
[14:03] Gemma Cleanslate: third generation punishment to me is amazing
[14:03] Beertje Beaumont: the Greedy God..KIm?
[14:03] Gemma Cleanslate: or the military leaders
[14:03] Framdor: oh... its evolution.... it must be in all of our interests....
[14:03] herman Bergson: More than one person Beertje....
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: time to go now
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!!
[14:04] Bejiita Imako: cu Gemma
[14:04] Beertje Beaumont: or is he just a pupet on a string?
[14:04] Merlin Saxondale: Bye Gemma
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: back nex week
[14:04] Framdor: bye gemma ...
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye, Bye   
[14:04] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma ..wise to ring the bell.....
[14:04] Bejiita Imako: wowo where did time go!
[14:04] Louna Quan: bye Gemma !
[14:04] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[14:04] herman Bergson: My goodness yes Bejiita....!
[[14:04] herman Bergson: Thank you all again.....
[14:05] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
[14:05] Bejiita Imako: nice Herman
[14:05] Bejiita Imako: cu tuesday
[14:05] Framdor: thanks herman.... cu next week....
[14:05] Bejiita Imako:
[14:05] Louna Quan: thank you Sir Herman it was a great class
[14:05] Bejiita Imako: yes
[14:05] Merlin Saxondale: Bye everyone
[14:05] herman Bergson: My pleasure Louna...
[14:05] Beertje Beaumont: look in the mirror folks....
[14:05] Louna Quan: bye Bejita
[14:05] Bejiita Imako: btw Herman Ewa Aska says hi
[14:05] Beertje Beaumont: mirror
[14:05] Framdor: and hi louna... glad you got a cushion ;)
[14:05] Bejiita Imako:
[14:05] Framdor: aww bye merlin
[14:05] herman Bergson: I put it there for her Debbie :-)
[14:06] Louna Quan: my precious butt has been nurtured by Sir Herman's care
[14:06] Framdor: nice herman... you are a sweetie...
[14:06] Bejiita Imako:
[14:06] Bejiita Imako: cu
[14:06] Framdor: bye friends....
[14:06] Louna Quan: bye Debbie
[14:06] herman Bergson: Yes indeed Louna....I know what to value in SLife :-))
[14:06] Beertje Beaumont: lol
[14:07] Louna Quan: you value peace in groups isn't ?
[14:07] herman Bergson: Indeed I do Louna
[14:07] Louna Quan: well I wish you a good end of day
[14:07] Louna Quan: have a nice evening too Beertje
[14:07] herman Bergson: thank you
[14:08] Beertje Beaumont: thank you Louna
[14:08] Beertje Beaumont: tc

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