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    Thread: What is morality? It's not about being inoffensive to everybody.

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      What is morality? It's not about being inoffensive to everybody.

      Obviously morality has nothing to do with being inoffensive or nice to everybody, though that seems to be the new version of it that's sweeping the land, codified by liberal policies, political correctness and feminism etc.

      Trying to offend the least number of people possible is nothing but capitulation, and it's impossible to not offend anybody - by giving in to one person or group you'll sometimes automatically offend another. We all know that being nice to your kids all the time only spoils them, that the only way to really be good to them is to teach them some discipline.

      It really sucks that the whole cheesy political clime we exist in now seems more concerned with being inoffensive than with doing what's right. The kids are the future, how will they learn to wrestle with real moral dilemmas if they're brought up filled with a bunch of empty politically correct catch phrases rather than actually being taught to think critically and to decide right from wrong (instead of trying not to offend anybody)?

      We live in a culture of whiners who think they're entitled to anything they want if they just whine loud enough.

      I think Nietzsche spells it all out quite eloquently:

      Master–slave morality

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Master–slave morality is a central theme of Friedrich Nietzsche's works, in particular the first essay of On the Genealogy of Morality. Nietzsche argued that there were two fundamental types of morality: 'Master morality' and 'slave morality'. Slave morality values things like kindness, humility and sympathy, while master morality values pride, strength, and nobility. Master morality weighs actions on a scale of good or bad consequences unlike slave morality which weighs actions on a scale of good or evil intentions. What he meant by 'morality' deviates from common understanding of this term. For Nietzsche, a particular morality is inseparable from the formation of a particular culture. This means that its language, codes and practices, narratives, and institutions are informed by the struggle between these two types of moral valuation. Master–slave morality provides the basis of all exegesis of Western thought.

      It is disputed whether Nietzsche advocated either of the two moralities.

      Master morality

      Nietzsche defined master morality as the morality of the strong-willed. Nietzsche criticizes the view, which he identifies with contemporary British ideology, that good is everything that is helpful; what is bad is what is harmful. He argues that this view has forgotten the origins of the values, and thus it calls what is useful good on the grounds of habitualness - what is useful has always been defined as good, therefore usefulness is goodness as a value. He continues explaining, that in the prehistoric state, "the value or non-value of an action was derived from its consequences"[1] but ultimately, "There are no moral phenomena at all, only moral interpretations of phenomena."[2] For these strong-willed men, the 'good' is the noble, strong and powerful, while the 'bad' is the weak, cowardly, timid and petty. The essence of master morality is nobility. Other qualities that are often valued in master moralities are open-mindedness, courage, truthfulness, trust and an accurate sense of self-worth. Master morality begins in the 'noble man' with a spontaneous idea of the good, then the idea of bad develops as what is not good. "The noble type of man experiences itself as determining values; it does not need approval; it judges, 'what is harmful to me is harmful in itself'; it knows itself to be that which first accords honour to things; it is value-creating."[3] In this sense, the master morality is the full recognition that oneself is the measure of all things. Insomuch as something is helpful to the strong-willed man it is like what he values in himself; therefore, the strong-willed man values such things as 'good'. Masters are creators of morality; slaves respond to master-morality with their slave-morality.

      Slave morality

      Unlike master morality which is sentiment, slave morality is literally re-sentiment—revaluing that which the master values. This strays from the valuation of actions based on consequences to the valuation of actions based on "intention".[4] As master morality originates in the strong, slave morality originates in the weak. Because slave morality is a reaction to oppression, it villainizes its oppressors. Slave morality is the inverse of master morality. As such, it is characterized by pessimism and cynicism. Slave morality is created in opposition to what master morality values as 'good'. Slave morality does not aim at exerting one's will by strength but by careful subversion. It does not seek to transcend the masters, but to make them slaves as well. The essence of slave morality is utility:[5] the good is what is most useful for the whole community, not the strong. Nietzsche saw this as a contradiction. Since the powerful are few in number compared to the masses of the weak, the weak gain power by corrupting the strong into believing that the causes of slavery (viz., the will to power) are 'evil', as are the qualities they originally could not choose because of their weakness. By saying humility is voluntary, slave morality avoids admitting that their humility was in the beginning forced upon them by a master. Biblical principles of turning the other cheek, humility, charity, and pity are the result of universalizing the plight of the slave onto all humankind, and thus enslaving the masters as well. "The democratic movement is the heir to Christianity."[6]—the political manifestation of slave morality because of its obsession with freedom and equality.

      "...the Jews achieved that miracle of inversion of values thanks to which life on earth has for a couple millennia acquired a new and dangerous fascination--their prophets fused 'rich', 'godless', 'evil', 'violent', 'sensual' into one and were the first to coin the word 'world' as a term of infamy. It is this inversion of values (with which is involved the employment of the word for 'poor' as a synonym for 'holy' and 'friend') that the significance of the Jewish people resides: with them there begins the slave revolt in morals."[7]


      Society

      This struggle between master and slave moralities recurs historically. According to Nietzsche, ancient Greek and Roman societies were grounded in master morality. The Homeric hero is the strong-willed man, and the classical roots of the Iliad and Odyssey exemplified Nietzsche's master morality. He calls the heroes "men of a noble culture",[8] giving a substantive example of master morality. Historically, master morality was defeated as the slave morality of Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire.

      The essential struggle between cultures has always been between the Roman (master, strong) and the Judean (slave, weak). Nietzsche condemns the triumph of slave morality in the West, saying that the democratic movement is the "collective degeneration of man".[9] He claimed that the nascent democratic movement of his time was essentially slavish and weak.[citation needed] Weakness conquered strength, slave conquered master, re-sentiment conquered sentiment. This resentment Nietzsche calls "priestly vindictiveness", which is the jealousy of the weak seeking to enslave the strong with itself. Such movements were, to Nietzsche, inspired by "the most intelligent revenge" of the weak. Nietzsche saw democracy and Christianity as the same emasculating impulse which sought to make all equal—to make all slaves.

      Nietzsche, however, did not believe that humans should adopt master morality as the be-all-end-all code of behavior - he believed that the revaluation of morals would correct the inconsistencies in both master and slave morality - but simply that master morality was preferable to slave morality, although this is debatable. Walter Kaufmann disagrees that Nietzsche actually preferred master morality to slave morality. He certainly gives slave morality a much harder time, but this is partly because he believes that slave morality is modern society's more imminent danger. The Antichrist had been meant as the first book in a four-book series, Toward a Re-Evaluation of All Morals, which might have made his views more explicit, but Nietzsche was afflicted by mental collapse that rendered him unable to write the latter three books.[citation needed]

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      I do appreciate Nietzsche, but I don't believe morality can be interpreted objectively. Tried to interpret from an objective stance, morality ceases to exist for me. I don't necessarily agree with putting morality into two subsets, such as "slave" and "master", as I believe it is much more complex. Not to say I think Nietzsche was wrong in categorizing it in such a way, I think he was doing his best at objectively categorizing something that doesn't exist outside of subjective interpretation.

      I try not to look at morality past the point of what comes naturally. Other peoples emotions are just as important as mine, whether I'm experiencing them or not, and innately knowing this allows me to feel someone else's emotions to a certain extent. If I feel bad, I'll do what I can to correct this feeling. If I can make someone else feel good, and in effect, make myself feel good, I will do my best to make that happen. Now where it gets tricky is when I do something that makes me feel pain, to make something else feel better because I know it's the right thing to do. Or from the other side, when I do something that hurts something else, to make myself feel pleasure, even though I know it's the wrong thing to do. I've realized that when reflecting on the good things I've done despite negative emotions it may have caused me, I can feel good about those things for the rest of my life. While the bad things of done for pleasure, lead me to feel shameful and bad about myself. I don't consciously think about this every time I make a decision, but I believe it's an underlying force that helps to drive my actions.

      Now obviously this is all very over-simplified. There are actions that I would consider the right ones to take, even though they may cause yourself and others pain, for the greater good. This is where I think morality gets very tricky, and what I think Nietzsche meant by his "master" category. But it is still intertwined with his "slave" category of morality.

      I realize all of this probably seems very obvious, and I don't mean to sound patronizing, I'm just sort of writing as I'm thinking, unfiltered. I hope my rambling was somewhat thought provoking.

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      I don't agree Nietzsche was trying to objectify morality. To objectify it means to try to write a morality handbook, which many have attempted to do, but he wasn't one of them. He simply broke it broadly into 2 distinct categories for analysis, and as far as I'm concerned his categories shed a lot of light on how morality works and how different groups of people use it to inform their worldview. His breakdown for instance sheds a lot of light on the thinking of politicians or anyone who wants to control the masses. Doesn't it make sense that they would want to promote a worldview in which the general population is meek and mild and sees compliance as a virtue, while those in power don't actually conform to the same view for themselves? Wolves in sheep's clothing, hoping the sheep don't see through their disguise.

      The issues you've mentioned so far about morality seem to be very minor and only from an interpersonal perspective, nothing about morality as it affects political military or religious leaders and their followers. Also, your points all seem to be written entirely from within the slave morality perspective - do unto others etc... this utterly fails to take into consideration those who believe they have the right to do TO others whatever they believe is in thier best interest, or that it's perfectly acceptable, since they're in power, to do what's in their own best interests and whatever the idiots don't know won't hurt them.

      I think you need to expand your horizons on issues of morality to include these situations as well. The problem with saying "everyone should be nice to everyone else" is that you're making yourself a slave to anyone who doesn't feel that way and is willing to take advantage of that attitude. Self-made slaves are very easy to push around, and if there's a prevailing worldview they all subscribe to that says "turn the other cheek" then someone who wants to abuse the system doesn't even have to work hard to deprive those people of their rights, they've already done it for them.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 07-12-2013 at 10:17 PM.
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      As far as political, military and religious leader, I guess that's what I sort of brushed on in my third paragraph. Although I didn't do a very good job on it or go into any depth as it wasn't what was on my mind while I was writing, I was sort of just thinking out loud. As for Nietzsche's categories, I don't know much about them, so it was irresponsible for me to make assumptions. I'm on my phone and at work on a rainy day (which means nothing to do) so I didn't take the time to do any research, just free flowing thought. But, you've given me something to read up on .

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      I used to feel pretty much exactly the same way you seem to about these things a few years ago. Since joining DV and getting involved in a lot of threads about politics and religion and other issues involving morality in a more complex sense I've learned a lot about pulling my perspective back to encompass the whole picture, to look for instance at what kind of 'morality' politicians might hold themselves to, as opposed to the morality they want their constituents to adhere to or to believe the politicians adhere to. Now I look back at my thinking on the subject just a few years ago and I see it was hopelessly naive - I'm sure I still have some naiveté to shed, but I'm working on it.

      It's a shame Nietzsche went mad before finishing his compendiums concerning morality - he had only written the first of I think 4 volumes on the subject, it was only his presentation of a broad framework for thinking about morality to set the stage for the rest to follow. I would dearly love to read those other 3 books (or at least the wiki pages on them!). Apparently he didn't subscribe to either what he called master or slave morality, saw them both as reactionary and incomplete.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 07-12-2013 at 10:31 PM.

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      Well you've certainly givin me a lot to think on.

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      It's a lot for me to think about too, and I realize I made a basic mistake - I conflated unethical politicians with master morality. Like pretty much everybody in the modern free world, I'm so deeply entrenched in the slave morality worldview that it's hard to really think outside of it. This isn't really something I'm very familiar with (the master/slave morality idea), it's really something I had read about somewhere long ago and it didn't register much until more recently when I was thinking about differences between liberals and conservatives - at that time I equated conservatives with master morality, because their creed seems to be 'everybody should take care of their own - why should we support minorities and people who aren't trying to find jobs?' whereas liberals obviously support welfare and government imposed entitlements and incentives specifically for minorities and the unemployed. Reading over what Nietzsche wrote it's clear he does consider Democracy a slave morality program, but then so is Christianity, which is a strong foundation for Republicans.

      It's clear I don't yet have a very good understanding of this. But I do believe that morality sometimes means standing firmly against things that violate your principles, not just being as nice as possible to everybody all the time. Negotiating from weakness is not a good strategy, it makes you a walking victim.

      And not fully understanding Nietzsche's ideas, of course I'm not advocating his views - I'm simply saying that when I think about morality in the terms he laid out it's a lot easier to form a framework that does allow me to understand morality, even of a type that I don't personally endorse. So I'm promoting his breakdown as a good way to start thinking about morality in a broad across-the-board way for people like me who have never really gone much deeper than "we should all be nice to each other". < This is only a very shallow and interpersonal viewpoint, and fails to address many situations, so is a very incomplete idea of morality, more a catch-phrase for a children's cartoon than something with any nuance or rigor to it. And it does seem in these times (when we live in a society that has essentially taken all the real dangers and hardships out of life) most people do live by a series of empty catchphrases that they never really examine in any depth.

      I guess I should actually say they do this until it becomes necessary to go beyond that, and often that's only after some terrible tragedy. I think it's important for us to read the ideas of some of the world's great thinkers on subjects of great importance (and I readily admit I need to get going on that myself!)
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 07-13-2013 at 12:40 AM.

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      Reading over what Nietzsche wrote it's clear he does consider Democracy a slave morality program, but then so is Christianity, which is a strong foundation for Republicans.
      >implying all Christianity is the same. There are Christians who love fags, who are fags, and who hate fags. Repubs still seem to subscribe to Master morality because their versions Christianity have evolved towards it.

      I don't have much to contribute to this thread, as I don't know much Nietzsche. Except for how to spell it, apparently. But I do like this thread; I'll bite.

      Just what do you mean, teach people to "critically think, decide for themselves what's right and wrong?" It seems like, through this thread, you are showing us why the slave-morality, which is viewed as white-knighty, actually has faults. But I have a few questions for you: How do we decide what's right and wrong? How do we decide how to define morality? And once we've made that decision, aren't we then slaves to it? (Not 'slave' with the historical connotations that Nietzsche presents it with, but more in the "inescapable obligation" sense.) Or is morality a game one can choose not to play?
      Last edited by Abra; 07-26-2013 at 03:55 AM.
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      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      Just what do you mean, teach people to "critically think, decide for themselves what's right and wrong?" It seems like, through this thread, you are showing us why the slave-morality, which is viewed as white-knighty, actually has faults. But I have a few questions for you: How do we decide what's right and wrong? How do we decide how to define morality? And once we've made that decision, aren't we then slaves to it? (Not 'slave' with the historical connotations that Nietzsche presents it with, but more in the "inescapable obligation" sense.) Or is morality a game one can choose not to play?
      I don't claim to have any answers, my whole point was just to present what I consider a very fascinating way to think about morality that allows us to see beyond the limitations of the slave morality, to see that it's not all there is. Until I discovered this whole master/slave morality thing my own thinking on it was very standard and shallow, but then I was also pretty thoroughly brainwashed by liberal values without even realizing it. But contrasting for instance Jesus' turn the other cheek with something Apollo might have said like an eye for an eye (or Old Testament God for that matter.. ) -- comparing the gentle slave morality with a strong noble morality and realizing the stronger one isn't necessarily evil as we've been taught to believe has been an eye opener for me. And also realizing that slave morality just won't work for leaders - they need something entirely different, but they do want their followers to be very slavish.

      So all I wanted to do with this thread was to present those options, get people thinking about the other side of the coin. I don't pretend to know anything beyond that. I think morality is something we all need to decide for ourselves, or more likely it's already embedded deeply in us and many of us are repressing some tendencies because we've been taught they're evil. I think once you throw off the shackles of warm fuzzy slavery you can begin to think about morality in a different light.

      It stems from my own personal journey. I've always been too nice and wishy/washy (being a codependent son of a narcissist) and I've been trying to find ways to crack open that mold, to learn to be a bit more narcissistic myself (a necessary human trait). This set of ideas has helped a lot.

      As for being slaves to our own morality - I think that's probably inescapable, unless you're amoral or immoral.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 07-26-2013 at 05:20 AM.
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      Been lurking this interesting thread from the start, and keep deleting my posts (things like "why pick Nietzsche?"), but I have to ask:

      Is narcissism, even a little bit of it, really a good thing as a goal? Yes, it's a human trait, but one we strive to rise above, and from which many suffer. Aside from Ayn Rand's accolades, there's really not much good to be found in blind selfishness. Is there?

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      Narcissism is like testosterone. It's not an all or nothing proposition - we've all got it in varying degrees, along a sliding scale. The problems kick in when you've got too much or too little.

      If it was even possible to have none at all you'd be a blithering wide-eyed innocent moron, happily doing everything anyone told you to do. Too much and you turn into an evil self-centered jerk.

      Why Nietzsche? Because he gave us a very intriguing way to look at morality that lets us see it in a broader perspective. I'm sure there are other philosophers who have done that, but I'm not familiar with them. If anybody wants to introduce ideas of other philosophers on the subject that manage to avoid falling entirely into one camp or the other, then I'm all ears. But Nietzsche is the only one I'm familiar with who has pointed out that all modern morality is based on the self-effacing ideas of democracy and Christianity, and how incomplete that is. To really follow the edicts of Christianity (as if anybody actually does) is to turn yourself into a sheep blindly waiting for the wolves.

      It's this slave morality that allows politicians to inflict self-censoring on society, in the form of politically correct Newspeak, so that people begin to think in increasingly ridiculous ways and follow the program. It's slave morality that says "yes, we should all let the government take away our guns, then there won't be any more crime!" - but guess what kind of people will still have guns? The ones who refuse to be good submissive slaves. It's slave morality that says people must always blindly do what's legal, even in cases where it's not right, as it allows government to call whistleblowers criminals and traitors when in actuality they're defending the Constitution and the American people from a corrupt and increasingly evil government. It's slave morality that says we should let the government give illegal immigrants as much or more rights than citizens.

      Funny how in every case slave morality says the masses should lay down and let their fate be decided by the leaders, the alphas (the most narcissistic ones).

      You seem to think I'm saying we should jump all the way to the other end of the scale - but that's not it at all! I mostly just want people to understand that there IS a scale, and that you should think for yourself about where on that scale you want to be (it will vary from time to time). Our leaders want us all to be good little compliant slaves - it makes it much easier for them to corral us wherever they want to put us. But I'm saying it's foolish to willingly make yourself meek and submissive. It's often better to be bold and adventurous (which is only partway up the scale, not as far as evil and dictatorial). Isn't this exactly what you advise for achieving WILDs? Slave morality equates with total non-lucid thinking, just going along with the program. Self awareness includes an element of narcissism. I don't mean pathological narcissism, just the healthy kind we all need. KIds are all narcissistic to a high degree - growing up involves learning to move away from it.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 07-26-2013 at 09:22 PM.
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      I guess I never equated narcissism with being strong, self-aware, or confident. I've always seen narcissism as more of a delusional "I'm the center of the universe" sort of attitude than a way to be bold or adventurous (both of which I'm pretty sure you can do without placing yourself above, or at the center of, all else). Boldness and inner strength really do not require an artificial elevation of my self-importance, I think; and neither do WILD's (indeed, too much self-importance can be very harmful to lucidity; self importance does not equal self-awareness, and narcissism usually involves little to no self-awareness... Now that I think of it, for me narcissism is the polar opposite of self-awareness).

      Of course, I could be wrong, and we might just be differing semantically. My view of narcissism is similar to what M. Scott Peck wrote about in "People of the Lie," so for me pursuing any level of narcissism is not a great idea; but if I simply ignore the word itself then your explanation makes a lot of sense.
      Last edited by Sageous; 07-26-2013 at 11:38 PM.

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      Ok then just call it self interest. On the self-interest scale, to be at either end is a bad thing. I was using the term narcissism pretty loosely, just drawing a scale with narcissism at one end and complete selflessness at the other and calling it the narcissism scale, but I can see why you object to that. I guess the reason I started thinking of it that way is to remind myself that the only way I can combat or stand my ground against narcissists is by being a bit more like them rather than the complete opposite of them. I used to hate narcissism and recoil from it completely, which just made me more subject to their machinations.

      And I think a lot of people who strive to be Ghandi-like and self-effacing or Christ-like and self-sacrificing could stand to step back and examine why people have told them it's good to be that way. It sure does make things easier on the leaders, and by extension on anybody who wants to take advantage of you. Remember, even Jesus didn't always turn the other cheek - sometimes he turned over tables.

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      Since you asked for the ideas of philosophers who don’t completely fall into one end of the dichotomy or the other..





      While they are controversial within the philosophical world, I find Sam Harris’s view of morality quite compelling (not to say that his arguments are new, utilitarianism and consequentialism are both old ideas, but he puts a slightly new spin on them)

      Since I know most people won’t bother watching the video, these quotes of his sum up his argument in a rather simplified manner

      “It is a fact that this universe admits of an extraordinary range of pleasant and unpleasant experiences for conscious creatures. It is also a fact that movement in this space is constrained by the laws of nature (whatever they turn out to be). Forget, for a moment, that you ever heard the word “morality.” Just admit that we have a navigation problem on our hands: If we go too far in one direction, things reliably get very unpleasant (and not the kind of unpleasant that has a silver lining); go in another, and everyone gets really happy, creative, fulfilled, etc. These differences exist and movement is possible. Now let’s recall this word “morality”: if you don’t think that it would be immoral to move everyone downward into hell, or moral to move them upward in collective flourishing, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

      and

      "There is also much confusion about what it means to speak with scientific “objectivity.” As the philosopher John Searle once pointed out, there are two very different senses of the terms “objective” and “subjective.” The first relates to how we know (i.e. epistemology), the second to what there is to know (i.e. ontology). When we say that we are reasoning or speaking “objectively,” we mean that we are free of obvious bias, open to counter-arguments, cognizant of the relevant facts, etc. There is no impediment to our doing this with regard to subjective (i.e. first-person) facts. It is, for instance, true to say that I am experiencing tinnitus (ringing in my ears) at this moment. This is a subjective fact about me. I am not lying about it. I have been to an otologist and had the associated hearing loss in the upper frequencies in my right ear confirmed. There is simply no question that I can speak about my tinnitus in the spirit of scientific objectivity. And, no doubt, this experience must have some objective (third-person) correlates, like damage to my cochlea. Many people seem to think that because moral facts relate entirely to our experience (and are, therefore, ontologically “subjective”), all talk of morality must be “subjective” in the epistemological sense (i.e. biased, merely personal, etc.). This is simply untrue."


      This system doesn’t fit into either slave or master morality perfectly, as it takes both consequences and intentions into account, but I think that it is slightly less consistent with master morality than it is with slave morality. Master morality seems to me (from just a superficial glancing over of this thread) to be a long the lines of some sort of honor/ might is right type system.


      I very much agree with what you said in the OP about political correctness becoming a problem in some situations, though perhaps for different reasons than you do. Two examples of this, the first being the crucial point many of the so called new atheists make, which is that religions are currently being held off the table of rational criticism, it’s taboo to criticize someones religious opinions in the same way that you might criticize their artistic or political opinions, the hurt feelings card often being played in this case. And that this has hindered our ability to keep religion out of public policy.

      The second example, though this one is kind of convoluted, would be the backlash I often see against the political correctness of not using the word ‘gay’ as a synonym for stupid. In this case I think that the political correctness has it right, though not because of the fear of hurting anyones feelings but rather because of what we’ve learned both psychologically and neurologically about the associative nature of our minds, suggesting that even when someone who consciously has nothing against homosexual people, uses the word to mean stupid, their mind forms a negative, implicit association that could become harmful both to them and to homosexual men.

      So, assuming that Sam Harris is correct, (which I think I do, though I’m open to argument) I think we can objectively say in moral terms, that it would be a better world if religion was placed on the table of rational criticism, and if people stopped using the word gay in lieu of stupid, absurd, frivolous, etc.
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      Using the word gay as an insult is incorrect not just politically but literally - and the people who do it are mostly just 13 year old boys who want to seem cool (and you know - they keep doing it until they're 35 or so). So I don't even see that as an example of PCspeak. Is there a wiki page or something that explains Harris' views on morality? Not sure I want to watch a 23 minute video just to understand what it is. From the title it sounds like he's simply saying we don't need religion to answer moral questions - that's already understood. But does he examine morality in a more subtle way than just saying "we should all be nice to each other?"

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      His main, and most controversial point, is that we can make objective claims about morality using science. Going against the typical view that morality is all relative, which seemed to me to be the view that you were exposing. Here's the link for the wikipedia page, but the video really is worth watching for anyone interested in atypical views on morality, which you seem to be.


      The Moral Landscape - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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      Yeah, I guess my point with this thread is pretty vague. I made it as an offshoot of Dianeva's Moral Questions thread, because too many people there were saying that the most moral thing to do in each situation was to just not take any action at all, even when it meant more people would die. It seemed to me like they were just saying as long as you don't act then you can't be held responsible, but my point was that the action in that case is internal - it's deciding who dies, and the physical action isn't the important thing.

      This kind of thinking to me seems tied in with the victimization cults - that a person who takes no action cannot be held accountable for anything, whereas if you take action then you are. To me this is reprehensible. Sometimes doing nothing IS an action!

      I was getting a strong whiff of leftist/Christian victim status on that thread, so I started this one in response.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      I don't claim to have any answers, my whole point was just to present what I consider a very fascinating way to think about morality that allows us to see beyond the limitations of the slave morality, to see that it's not all there is. Until I discovered this whole master/slave morality thing my own thinking on it was very standard and shallow, but then I was also pretty thoroughly brainwashed by liberal values without even realizing it. But contrasting for instance Jesus' turn the other cheek with something Apollo might have said like an eye for an eye (or Old Testament God for that matter.. ) -- comparing the gentle slave morality with a strong noble morality and realizing the stronger one isn't necessarily evil as we've been taught to believe has been an eye opener for me. And also realizing that slave morality just won't work for leaders - they need something entirely different, but they do want their followers to be very slavish.

      So all I wanted to do with this thread was to present those options, get people thinking about the other side of the coin. I don't pretend to know anything beyond that. I think morality is something we all need to decide for ourselves, or more likely it's already embedded deeply in us and many of us are repressing some tendencies because we've been taught they're evil. I think once you throw off the shackles of warm fuzzy slavery you can begin to think about morality in a different light.

      It stems from my own personal journey. I've always been too nice and wishy/washy (being a codependent son of a narcissist) and I've been trying to find ways to crack open that mold, to learn to be a bit more narcissistic myself (a necessary human trait). This set of ideas has helped a lot.

      As for being slaves to our own morality - I think that's probably inescapable, unless you're amoral or immoral.
      Damn. Only that last line actually responds to my questions, and even then it's an opinion without any justification. I thought this thread was going to be something.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      I didn't kid myself that the thread would actually go anywhere or get any good responses, I just wanted to present the ideas. It's just to get people thinking. Why do people assume I have the answers?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      Ok then just call it self interest. On the self-interest scale, to be at either end is a bad thing. I was using the term narcissism pretty loosely, just drawing a scale with narcissism at one end and complete selflessness at the other and calling it the narcissism scale, but I can see why you object to that. I guess the reason I started thinking of it that way is to remind myself that the only way I can combat or stand my ground against narcissists is by being a bit more like them rather than the complete opposite of them. I used to hate narcissism and recoil from it completely, which just made me more subject to their machinations.

      And I think a lot of people who strive to be Ghandi-like and self-effacing or Christ-like and self-sacrificing could stand to step back and examine why people have told them it's good to be that way. It sure does make things easier on the leaders, and by extension on anybody who wants to take advantage of you. Remember, even Jesus didn't always turn the other cheek - sometimes he turned over tables.
      Well said! Self-interest may be the better term, by many measures.

      Also, excellent point about Gandhi and Christ-like aspirations... both those guys were likely very powerful personalities, and, ironically, both would likely have been the first to tell their followers not to be "that way" at all times. Go figure.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      Damn. Only that last line actually responds to my questions, and even then it's an opinion without any justification. I thought this thread was going to be something.
      Keep in mind, Abra, that those were some pretty tough questions. To responsibly answer them in the context of a thread post would have been something indeed, even for someone as thorough and thoughtful as Darkmatters.

      ... just sayin'

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      Thanks Sageous. Yeah, some really tough questions!

      PresentMoment, I think I was too dismissive toward your contribution because it was taking the thread in a very different direction than I wanted it to go, but looking back at what you said, maybe it's not really off base at all. This part does interest me:

      we can make objective claims about morality using science. Going against the typical view that morality is all relative, which seemed to me to be the view that you were exposing.
      Although when I started this thread I wasn't really responding against moral relativity so much as against the idea that taking any violent action at any time is always wrong (Zimmerman), or that we must make sure nothing we say can possibly offend somebody in the slightest (PC), or that we must always do what the law says, even when the law is wrong (Snowden, Manning).


      Taking any violent action at any time is always wrong -- This was what was bugging me on the Moral Questions thread, the idea that as long as you take no action then you can't be held responsible for anything. Standing and watching a death that you could have prevented is just as immoral as murdering.

      Sorry, I know I'm all over the place on this thread. I don't have a clear subject, and my thinking is meandering. That's because it's essentially me trying to understand some stuff and find answers. So if the conversation starts to veer into different territory then I'm not very interested. It's really a failthread from the start, but I did think some other people might benefit from the Nietzsche ideas.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      I didn't kid myself that the thread would actually go anywhere or get any good responses, I just wanted to present the ideas. It's just to get people thinking. Why do people assume I have the answers?
      Well, you're telling us in the first post to critically think.

      So I don't particularly care that you think this is probably true:

      As for being slaves to our own morality - I think that's probably inescapable, unless you're amoral or immoral.
      I am insatiably curious as to why you think it's true.

      By the way, I was able to discuss master-slave morality with my boyfriend last night. Pretty interesting times.
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      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      Wait - you're the one who introduced this idea about being slaves to morality, and in an offhand way, only giving it a second or 2 of thought, I said 'yeah, you're probably right'... and now you're insatiably curious as to why I agreed with you?

      As for being slaves to our own morality - I think that's probably inescapable, unless you're amoral or immoral.
      Yeah, seems right. How does one escape morality without being either immoral or amoral? By definition if you do something that is not moral, it must be either immoral or amoral, right? If you have some other view on it then speak up! What's with all the questioning? I wish you'd take part in the discussion rather than just sitting on the sidelines and throwing these little bombs.

      One thing I find when I start to examine the idea of master morality - I'm not quite sure where to draw the line for politicians and other leaders. It's hard to determine what's master morality and what's just immoral. NSA surveillance for instance. Its a huge step toward a police state that they say they're doing entirely for our own protection... but history has shown governments can't be trusted with that kind of power. Is it immoral of leaders to play Big Brother and spy on every citizen, treat them all as terror suspects? Or are leaders allowed to be amoral, above the need for morality? Seems like there would need to be limits on that.

      And what about police being allowed to break the laws the rest of us have to live by, like speed limits (I mean when they're not enroute to the scene of an investigation)? People hate it - but an argument can be made that police should have more freedoms than citizens or their ability to protect us is hampered. It's hard to figure where to draw the line - should leaders and enforcers be granted special privileges?

      Master morality includes the idea of acting in a noble manner, so it means they need to just be trusted to be acting in the interests of their charges. But it's clear power corrupts.

      I know Nietzsche didn't believe in master morality any more than in slave morality, but what was he working toward with these books? Was it the Ubermenschen? That's something I know very little about. I know Hitler used Nietzsche's writings as some twisted justification, but that was supposedly a monstrous misrepresentation of them.*Or was it? Maybe the Third Reich is a demonstration of where his type of thinking will ultimately lead?

      At any rate, I'm just grateful that his writings on master and slave morality give us a starting point to begin to diverge from simple naive "be nice to everybody" ideas about morality.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 07-27-2013 at 09:09 PM.

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      I know Nietzsche didn't believe in master morality any more than in slave morality, but what was he working toward with these books? Was it the Ubermenschen? That's something I know very little about. I know Hitler used Nietzsche's writings as some twisted justification, but that was supposedly a monstrous misrepresentation of them.*Or was it? Maybe the Third Reich is a demonstration of where his type of thinking will ultimately lead?
      Not just a demo, but a cautionary tale in the extreme, I think.

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