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May 19, 2019


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Mr Hines

Most enlightened take on the Golden Rule comes form the Wizard of Id (famous cartoon character) “Them that has the gold make the rules” :-)

On a more philosophical note, I understood that the saying is a sort of inaccurate take/misinterpretation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Act as you would want all other people to act towards all other people. Act according to the maxim that you would wish all other people to follow, as if it were a universal law (Queensborough Community College).

I didn’t study Kant that much but I came to the conclusion that he was a pretty cool dude. One of the other things he was also big on (as far as I can remember) was to never treat people as a means to an end. People are ‘ends in themselves’.

Mind you you can find another take on Kant here:https://youtu.be/l9SqQNgDrgg

Best wishes

Firstly, the question is should there be any manmade rules at all or should it be a free for all?

If yes, then what is a moral rule. What one person might think of as good, another might think of as bad, ie a subjective rule, which is often self-serving. Just because a person likes something doesn’t make it a moral rule.

You may be masochist who enjoys pain, but others generally do not. You may like to be discriminated against because of your caste, colour or religious belief but others do not. You may prefer that medical care needs to be paid for if you can afford it, but poor ppl might not. You may enjoy hunting or eating meat, but others don’t like to be chased, killed or eaten. I know it’s weird.

Any rule that is self-serving or subjective is not a moral. If there is to be any morality at all - then the underlying principle is “do unto others”, everything else is bullshit.

If in the other hand you want no human imposed rules, and a free for all, no problem - go live in the wild by nature’s rules, where only the strongest survive and they themselves lead short brutish lives.

The whole point of a moral rule is one to subjigate individual wants and needs, so that others avoid suffering.

One of the funniest things about Christianity is its obsession with being original and thinking that anything Jesus ever said was new. My entire life I've been hearing these pastors talk about the golden rule and how Jesus totally changed the standard by saying it in a positive and affirmative way instead of the negative "don't do to others..." way others had stated it.

Aside from the likelihood that Jesus' way of phrasing the golden rule was probably not original or new, I think it's also less true and less useful. If we had to use one or the other, I'd prefer the version that impels us not to do bad things as opposed to impelling us to do good. Similarly, I'd rather live in a neighborhood where there are no shootings but also no positive community gatherings, as opposed to a place where there are fancy community parades and other "positive" things happening as well as shootings every week ie the ghetto of my town.

It's better for there not to be bad than for there to be good, but maybe that's just a little stoic part of my brain talking.

It's not nice to hear, but this line is especially important- "Almost everybody (psychopaths excepted) has a natural urge to get along with our fellow humans and fit into whatever social group we find ourselves a part of."

Not only is morality malleable, it's also a part of the pressures which create in-groups and out-groups. Much of what we do is to gain approval not from society as a whole, but from one ethnic, religious or kin group, and you can often watch a groups morality change in real time when top down commands are given ie "liberals" supporting mass murder of Iranians because a particular brand of TV told them to change their minds. In strong social groups individuals will go out of their way to look good in the eyes of people they're attached to even if it means contradicting everything they believed just days before.

And putting a few parts of this rant together, let me end by saying that the Jewish Bible, Old Testament, whatever you want to call it is the original source of moral relativity even though Jews and Christians both vehemently deny this obvious fact. Simply read the Book of Esther with its celebration of genocide based on suspicion and compare it to thou shall not kill. Actually reminds me a lot of the current Iran thing happening today. Mere suspicions from the people of the book and we're about to be goaded into starting a world war over it. Some things never change.

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