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dropkick
2006-04-23, 09:44
Is there really such a thing as right and wrong? Or is it just societal mores telling us what to do?

Carl Gustav Jung said “The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong” and Ursula K. Le Guin said "There are no right answers to wrong questions." Which has absolutely nothing to do with any of my questions, but obscure quotes makes this post seem intellectual.

Adolf Hitler said “Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong.” Which is more to point, but I always hate to quote him (unless he's supporting the opposition).

Do the ends justify the means?

If someone in my hiking party walks too fast and makes derogatory comments about my speed, is it wrong of me to add rocks to their pack?

Iceman
2006-04-23, 10:39
Dropkick, someone who walks too fast for you to keep up, may be looking for someone else to hike with. Let them leave your sight and keep going. I would take a turn, and see ya' later. Why did they go with you in the first place?

Their pushing and comments are most probably wrecking your trip. You only get so many trips in life. How many are you willing to let someone else ruin?

Obviously, I am very opinionated on this issue. I place an incredible amount of value on my time spent in the outdoors. I am not going to wait very long at a park-n-ride, waiting for some slacker who decides he is unready to follow a schedule, show up on time, come unprepared, etc...after all the work and preparation I have invested in this precious trip. You better have a good F-ing excuse for me, if your are unreasonably late or unprepared.

I would also not appreciate or allow some "Mealy Mouthed Jesse Owens" to ruin my trip either. Maybe your friend needs another partner. Tell them.

My bet is, you are a better trail companion, more prepared and more ready for your hike, than is your mealy mouthed friend.

If walking too slow is your only crime, who cares. They probably already knew of your abilities. Would they push this hard with a child, injured, or someone with "short legs", and then complain? They are outta' here!

blackdog
2006-04-23, 10:40
Carl Gustav Jung said “The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong”.
Jung also noticed that there's not much morality to the suggestions from the "self". There is a definite "right" or "wrong" but that situation is individual. ...well, more or less. The self isn't completely disconnected from everything else.


Do the ends justify the means?
Not in the long run, no.

The human society evolves like the life of a person, but the timescale is much longer. Some acts are good to the average person and yet extremely bad for some. Humanity as a whole has the same problem.


I'll give you an example:

A teenager needs to "disobey" his parents (at least to some degree) to learn to depend on him/herself. Doing "wrong" is necessary to achieve the "right" result. But the actions always have consequences. It's important to reach the goal, but the "wrongs" along the way should be minimized.

The human society needs to go through a similar "teenage" period to free itself from "mother nature". It's important, but there's always the possibility that the conflict goes too far. Most go through this phase without actually killing mom and dad, though. Having the parents around is an advantage when raising the next generation. Humanity has pretty much "grown up" now in the freedom sense, and the experiences of "youth" should not be wasted. Mother nature is about to become a grandmother soon. It's a logical step. Humanity will be a "parent" too.

If that's "good" or "bad" remains to be seen.

"Grandmother Nature"... How did i come up with such a weird example?

Seeker
2006-04-24, 01:42
these are simplistic answers, but i haven't got all night to write, and more importantly, none of you probably have all night to read. :biggrin:



Is there really such a thing as right and wrong? Or is it just societal mores telling us what to do?

yes. if there is a god, then there is right and wrong. if there is no god, then nothing else matters.


Do the ends justify the means?

it depends on the stakes. in war, all is fair, dirty tricks and all. gas, nuclear weapons, serrated knife blades, snipers, dum-dum bullets, mines, booby traps, un-uniformed guerillas, terrorism/terrorist tactics, etc, all become 'justifiable' by whoever is losing at the time.

in day to day life, in how we treat people who are only threatening our livelihood, business, or whatever, no, the ends do not justify the means.


If someone in my hiking party walks too fast and makes derogatory comments about my speed, is it wrong of me to add rocks to their pack?

not at all. you are doing no permanant harm (like slashing his tires, which would be wrong.)

however, if it's me hiking with you, and i DON'T make fun of your speed, then it's not ok to add rocks to my pack to slow me down.

Just Jeff
2006-04-24, 03:23
Uh oh. We had a big discussion about utilitarianism and ends justifying the means over at WB, and Rock shut it down because we were talking about torture. So I won't drag it onto this board, other than to ask a simple question: Why? What foundation does anyone have for saying that the ends do or do not justify the means? There are plausible arguments on both sides, and both sides can provide examples for logically invalidating the other argument...so in the end it just comes down to gut feeling for most people.

I think, for practical purposes like state government, the ends do not justify the means. But that's still based on what's practical, rather than trying to defend it by logic or in philosophy - because by the rules of logic, if I can give you a single example to disprove an assertion of truth, that assertion becomes false. And I can give that example for ends not justifying the means, so I have a hard time accepting the categorical assertion that the ends do not justify the means.

But like I said, I make my decisions (and think that the state should, too) based on the conclusion that the ends do not justify the means - because no matter what philosophical loopholes you can find to justify something, the practice of it very rarely turns out like it should "in theory", and people are often hurt in the process. And I'm ok with that inconsistency.

Seeker
2006-04-24, 11:13
Uh oh. We had a big discussion about utilitarianism and ends justifying the means over at WB, and Rock shut it down because we were talking about torture. So I won't drag it onto this board, other than to ask a simple question: Why? What foundation does anyone have for saying that the ends do or do not justify the means? There are plausible arguments on both sides, and both sides can provide examples for logically invalidating the other argument...so in the end it just comes down to gut feeling for most people.

I think, for practical purposes like state government, the ends do not justify the means. But that's still based on what's practical, rather than trying to defend it by logic or in philosophy - because by the rules of logic, if I can give you a single example to disprove an assertion of truth, that assertion becomes false. And I can give that example for ends not justifying the means, so I have a hard time accepting the categorical assertion that the ends do not justify the means.

But like I said, I make my decisions (and think that the state should, too) based on the conclusion that the ends do not justify the means - because no matter what philosophical loopholes you can find to justify something, the practice of it very rarely turns out like it should "in theory", and people are often hurt in the process. And I'm ok with that inconsistency.

ok... but if some a$$hole makes fun of how fast you hike, and you kill him in the woods and will be the only one to hear him scream, does that still count as having made a sound?

Just Jeff
2006-04-24, 11:33
Haha - if a husband is alone in the woods, and no one is around to hear him say something, is he still wrong?

JAK
2006-04-24, 11:33
Nature has a lot of bandwidth on the subject than I do about right and wrong, whether or not there is a creator, and how you might deal or not deal with other people that are bothering you. If you keep all your senses open as you hike along you will find more answers. All that said, the rocks sound like a very good idea to me.

john pickett
2006-04-24, 13:47
It's Right to think about such things.
It's Wrong to not think about such things.
It's extra Wrong (Wronger?)to get a headache thinking about such things.
I've got a headache.
Bye now.
John Pickett

Streamweaver
2006-04-24, 14:05
Is there really such a thing as right and wrong? Or is it just societal mores telling us what to do?

Carl Gustav Jung said “The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong” and Ursula K. Le Guin said "There are no right answers to wrong questions." Which has absolutely nothing to do with any of my questions, but obscure quotes makes this post seem intellectual.

Adolf Hitler said “Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong.” Which is more to point, but I always hate to quote him (unless he's supporting the opposition).

Do the ends justify the means?

If someone in my hiking party walks too fast and makes derogatory comments about my speed, is it wrong of me to add rocks to their pack?

Not only is it ok to put rocks in his pack but its really ok to put a waffle stomper up his ass!!!

Seeker
2006-04-24, 14:50
Haha - if a husband is alone in the woods, and no one is around to hear him say something, is he still wrong?

most women would say 'yes'.

most men, the smart married ones anyway, just keep it inside their heads and don't speak out loud any more...

and women wonder why we don't want to 'talk'!

Kea
2006-04-24, 23:10
My hiking partner probably thinks that I hike too fast. He has yet to mock me for it, though I probably deserve mocking after we did that segment of the AT and I floated over the head sized rock scree like this weight-enhanced butterfly.

But we mock each other well, so the relationship continues to work for us. ;)

If it didn't, I'd beg you to come hike with me, Dropkick.