View Full Version : A forgotten virtue like honesty
04-12-02, 10:58 PM
We've had an extended winter where I live, and since today was the first no-jacket weather we've had in six months, some friends and I decided to have a good old fashioned summer Barbeque after school. We stopped by the store to grab some drinks and the food.
On the way out, we were followed by a half-drunken native man, who walked behind us for a while, asking for 42 cents. Usually, we don't give money to bums because usually, they would use it to buy booze. That IS probably a stereotype, but it's just how I feel about it.
That's when he said this: "Look, I'm not going to lie to you guys. I just got out of jail and I want to get drunk. All I need is 42 more cents."
I stopped, and against my better judgement, gave him 50 cents. He didn't say thank you, but I said "50 cents is worth a forgotten virtue like honesty."
What do you think about the way I played the situation? Would you have done it differently? Is honestly really as rare as I think it is, these days?
04-13-02, 11:28 AM
Nope... Somebody on the take doesnt talk like that.
You did it right.
What's the problem with a bum getting drunk? I mean, what else would there be to do if you're a bum?
I also feel that it's relative to what fifty cents represents to you. To some people it's a lot of money , the bum for one. Top of my head I'd say it's about a third of an english £. Small potatoes to get him off your back if it's a problem.
It seems tho that your real point is to do with honesty.
Why, from your perspective is it a forgotten virtue?
And welcome to the boards by the way :D
04-14-02, 01:03 AM
Why, from your perspective is it a forgotten virtue?
C'mon, do you know anyone that is honest nowadays? I dont. ~~Wait! Maybe I'm just paranoid and I think everyone is lying to me:D
But seriously, that situation happened to me before, a guy was honestly asking for money for a beer - so I gave him 5 bucks. I remember days when I needed a beer really bad and someone else had to foot the bill:D And welcome Xelius:)
Welcome to sciforums, xelius00.
Interesting that you should post on honesty and the reward you gave for it. I gave the bum an A for the effort. It had a refreshing twist.
On the streets of liverpool wanders a man who is another twist on the classic bum.
He has all the usual traits, matted hair and beard, bad dress sense, odd shoes you know,
His twist is that he's taken a piece of cardboard and fashioned a guitar, with painted strings and a hole in the middle which he pretends to strum and sings incoherently to a tune of his own making. (Could be Phil Collins, anyone seen him lately :D)
The guy's making a feckin fortune. I think he has a mobile phone:eek: Ocasionally he'll ask for
"tern pernce forra cuppa tea"
using breath that could strip pine and peel formica
On the other hand there are a group of beggars who sit wrapped in a pink blanket which they use on a rotational basis. They just sit there in designer gear under the blanket and ask for money.
Guess which one I give money to?
No I don't think there are many people in the world who are honest I just wondered about specifics that's all (I'm nosey)
04-14-02, 08:42 AM
Its a pitty honesty seems to be so out of fashion
I was told the other day that decit is NESSECARY
I just told the person that i would rather be honest and tell the person what i really think and get an honest responce than lie and (for starters not have to maintain the lie) risk hurting them more latter.
If i can't get a job or soemthing by being honest, then it wasn't worth it anyway
If i can't get a job or soemthing by being honest, then it wasn't worth it anyway
So politician is out then? :D
04-14-02, 09:47 PM
*rolls around on the floor laughing*:D
i would rather work as a volenter helping people anyway
'Tyler Cohen....most likely to be Prime Minister'
That was worth a laugh.
Posted by Tyler'Tyler Cohen....most likely to be Prime Minister'
You'd get my vote. I've heard more sense out of you lately than any tit in charge of this country.
04-27-02, 09:54 AM
Ussually I don't give money away,....unless: there's indeed some effort on the part of the requestor,...
That means: all they have to do to get lucky (if I have a few coins to spare myself that is,...) is : doing something that's worth it: like playing music or theater,...or dressing up and amuse people with it: it's quiet challeging yes,...I know,....
Once I played the shakuhachi (japanese flute) in a tunnel under our river,...it was late and not to many people passed trough (better because: less noise/disturbance)
and suddenly there's this guy leaning over to hand me over a coin and I smiled,...and said:
"No thank you! :p I play for the people (and for the nice acoustics in the tunnel:rolleyes: ) not for myself,..."
"Well thank you fine man!" said this man, "You have really helped me! Thank you!"
Now how about that for honnesty? :)
04-28-02, 11:23 AM
Do you remember the story of Diogenes with his lantern in hand, searching the streets of ancient Athens for an honest man? The story ends without him finding one. Our ancestors were neither more nor less honest than we are. People then and now, calibrate their moral standards to match those they see around them. For example, if we believe that most people cheat on their taxes, we are more likely to cheat on our own taxes. This might help explain why we have so few people like Mother Theresa or Ted Bundy in our society. Most of us reside somewhere in the hump of the bell-curve, we aren't evil, neither are we saints.
I've heard aviators say that a pilot is only as good as his last landing. It's the same with virtue. Though I think myself an honest man, I realize this title has to be continually earned. A halo is never affixed permanently above our heads. To this end, I'd like to share a particularly simple exercise that I've discoveredÖ
It happens occasionally that I'm either over-charged or under-charged on store receipts. If I'm over-charged, I usually weigh the cost-benefit of returning to the store to claim the difference. If instead I'm under-charged, there's no mental debate; I always either call or return to the store to pay what I owe them. By under-charging me, the store has given me a wonderful gift. They've given me the opportunity to reaffirm my integrity. I doubt if such honesty costs more than an average of twenty-five dollars per year. Thus, for pocket-change I'm allowed to know myself as an honest man. I've never found a bargain in any store to equal this deal. The point of my exercise is to start small by making a habit of goodness. With such a track record, the next time you're presented with a larger moral question you automatically tell yourself, "Oh come onÖI give back two dollars that aren't mine, so why would I choose the immoral path in this case." It works beautifully.
A human consists by weight of 65% Oxygen, 18.5% Carbon, 10% Hydrogen, 3.35% Nitrogen, 1.70% Calcium, 1.0% Phosphorus, with the balance of 0.45% in trace elements. These same elements are found in a pile of barnyard manure. When assembled as a human, these ordinary elements present the world with a unique potential for either majesty or misery. In the words of the British philosopher Frank Ramsey, who died in 1930 at the age of 27:
"I don't feel the least bit humble before the vastness of the heavens. The stars may be huge, but they cannot think or loveÖ"
We each have the potential to be more than a galaxy of stars, or less than a heap of manure. We arrive in this world with a body and a life, but it's simply up to each of us to assign a value to our life. It's our individual choice to live with nobility, or to live as swine.
In either case I'll soon return to the equivalent of that heap of barnyard manure, but until then I'm determined to live a life of honor and integrity. It does matter how we live. Though my existence is brief, it can't ever be that I did not exist. Marcel Proust wrote:
"Death, take us though it will, cannot take from us what we have lived."
04-28-02, 09:46 PM
Orthogonal, missed your posts. Welcome back.
04-28-02, 10:07 PM
who said Stars couldn't think?:bugeye: Prove it,...:D
05-03-02, 09:14 AM
Thanks for the kind words. Iíve missed reading your posts as well.
In the words of the British astrophysicist, Martin Rees, ďA star is simpler than an insect.Ē We know far more about the workings of a star in some distant part of our universe, than we do about the workings of a single celled biological bacterium that resides on my elbow.
Inside a star, gravity acts to increase its density while fusion acts to reduce its density. Itís a simple balancing act. Once the lighter nuclear fuels are converted to heavier elements, the remaining matter compacts until the next heavier element is able to begin fusion. This process repeats itself upward through the periodic table until Iron is reached. Elements more massive than Iron require more energy input than is obtained from the normal stellar process. At that point depending on the mass, the star may take one of several courses: dwarf, nova, etc. Based upon its initial mass, the history of a star is rather predicable. A star is a gravitationally bound nuclear fusion reactor. If a star is capable of thought, it is a singularly simple and monotonous thought repeated trillions upon trillions of times across the universe.
A single neuron inside the human brain is at least as complex as a star, yet we normally donít consider a single neuron to be capable of thought. An intricate relationship among several hundred-billion neurons is required to produce a human thought. Liberally expanding our definition of what it is to think; stars, stones, and water molecules might all be capable of thought. In that case Iíd still expect the thoughts of a stone or a star might be less interesting that of a garden slug or of a big dog. ;)
Though speculative, it might be possible that a similar network exists among the billions of stars in the universe to create thought on a grand scale (perhaps gravitational relationships provide this network?). If so, we might consider that all the stars of the universe conspire to create thought. Still, Iíve no reason to suspect that even such a vast thinking system might produce a thought more sublime than I produce from my relatively compact three-pound brain. And if the universe itself does have the ability to think and feel, I imagine it too might look down on us humans with a feeling of awe.
05-03-02, 09:29 AM
that would have a name
It would be GOD (the concesness of the universe)
And No i dissagree
It would be so far behond us, we would look like the smallest virus to it
05-03-02, 11:51 AM
"You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and your free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules."
Thus begins the co-discoverer of DNA and Nobel Prize recipient Francis Crick, in his book, An Astonishing Hypothesis.
Now, please consider a mechanical flip-flop (neuron, switch, logic element...). An early pioneer of computers, Konrad Zuse, built computers using simple notched mechanical pins as logical elements. I also remember a short article that appeared some years ago in Scientific American Magazine describing a similar computer built of "Tinker-Toys".
So I would ask you to mentally construct a vast interconnected Tinker-Toy brain using one Tinker-Toy logic element for each star in our Galaxy (roughly a hundred billion). Fashion as well, feedback loops to interconnect Tinker-Toy logic elements, but go one step further to allow new feedback loops to form as a result of internal logic conditions. In other words, allow the network connections themselves to evolve. Attach a vast power source to drive all these hundred billion logic elements and let it commence to function.
Given Crick's quote from above, I've little doubt that this vast neural network of Tinker-Toys would eventually evolve thoughts as complex and refined as my own. It might come to know love and hope, and to accumulate a personal memory. Idle portions of the network might occasionally dream. It might eventually come to wonder "what is it all about"? The conclusion is astonishing yet theoretically plausible; advanced sentience from a collection of Tinker-Toy sticks!
A mind, whether made of meat as in my own brain or Tinker-Toys, is little more than a sufficiently complex array of interconnected logic elements. A single neuron has no more complex "thought" than a mere "off" or "on". However, the ability to think grows with the complexity of the interconnected network. I can't tell you the precise level of complexity that a machine requires to attain conscious thought, be it biological, mechanical, or electrical, anymore than I could tell you at what point the repeated splitting of the single-celled zygote becomes a human.
A sufficiently complex interconnected array of neurons transcends the thinking ability of a single neuron. This is surely a case where the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Asguard wonders if the acquisition of an infinite number of such nodes in a neural network might make a similar transcendental leap; to become a sort of Supreme Being. I'd like to point out that the concept of "infinity" properly belongs to mathematics rather than physics. Even so, mathematicians treat the notion of infinity with a great deal of respect in order to avoid falling into logical traps. Philosophers are wise to take note! We too easily utter the word "infinity" without comprehending what such a concept implies.
Asguard, the topic of "god" is something of a non-starter with me. It's a catch-all term we use to convince ourselves that we understand something simply because we can put a name to it...God, The Messiah, Allah, Yahweh, The Unmoved Mover... The name means something different to everyone. It can mean anything and everything, therefore, it means nothing.
It's imperative that we remember that metaphysics is not physics. Metaphysics is speculation. I enjoy such speculation as much as the next guy. However, unless we agree to define concepts at the beginning and as they arise in our discussion, we end up chasing our tails in a succession of useless debates. We end up not with philosophy or science; we end up with theology. We end up by debating how many angels might dance on the head of a pin.
Science forever attempts to produce generalized laws to explain diverse physical phenomena. It relies upon the idea that seemingly random phenomena are based upon simpler explanations. One is naturally lead to wonder if everything might one day be explained by an idea so simple as to be contained in one sentence, or in a single equation? We presently toy with the notion that the Universe might have sprung forth from a near singlularity of immense density and unbelievably small dimensions. Is it possible that an explanation for this universe might be similarly compact?
Occasionally we hear jokes that a physicist has stumbled across the ultimate explanation; that it is the number "7", etc. It's mildly funny because we all expect an explanation of something to be somewhat enlightening. To say the answer to everything is the number "7" tells us nothing. It is no different than saying the answer is "god", and not much worse than saying the universe is a result of a quantum statistical fluxtuation, etc. Our ultimate answer has to be correct, but more importantly it has to convince and satisfy us.
05-03-02, 02:29 PM
05-03-02, 06:43 PM
simple and monotonous ???
At least get it right,...stars have millions and trillions of thinking patterns, symptoms are it's vibrations,...simple as that,...all is one and all is tought,...nothing is more simple to grasp,...
And you can trow any elaborate explanation to it: that you wred here and something you wred there,...but empirically,...you have no form,...no sense: Not ONE single word of what you wrote is the product from your personal thinking,...
Perflections on the cosmos: before you tell me how it is: with a firm : "THIS IS HOW IT IS" attitude: you should put your brain in gear before you put your fingers in motion.
05-04-02, 02:01 PM
"Honesty - It's such a lonely word" - Billy Joel.
Then what is wrong with giving some bucks to a man who is just coming from jail and admits it in the open? And what the hell does it matter it's a Native? Then you have to think about it? Do you know why he was there then? It's good he said the truth. Good for him.
Most people lie, when they want to borrow money from you or so. They make up a story which sounds good in your ears and on which you decide to give them the money.
I personally prefer to give some bucks to a "beggar" on the streets. Most of the time, you can tell if they really need it or not.
I'll give you an example on which you probably disagree totally with me, anyway, here it is:
I happen to know several people who do drugs, as in heroin. They get really very sick when they don't have it. Now you can say, as usual, it's their own fault, that doesn't go for anyone, though. It is real bad to be sick of with-drawal symptoms, so bad, people go out stealing to get a little of the drug they are addicted to. Then what's better? To help such a person out, or to let him/her feel so terrible that they have to find other solutions.
And no, a rehab is not always the answer. It's a much bigger problem. It's easy to say bad things about drug users when you've never been in that position. Alcoholics, most of the time are looked at with a different attitude. It is an allowed drug addiction. There are even advertisements for alcohol. It's the same as heroin, the same with-drawal symptoms, only easier to get, then illegal drugs. There is no other significant difference then that.
So when your father/uncle/mother/aunt/neighbour/aquaintance gets drunk every day and he/she has the money to do so, it is okay, when he/she doesn't have the money and is walking the streets, it is "evil". Now that makes it a lot clearer why these people lie, to try to get some money. And if they look like hell, as in bad clothes and long hair, tattoos all over to just mention a few things, you get the point, then you don't give it most of the times. When such a person looks clean and so on, you would give it sooner?
My goodness, how's it with your own honesty then?
I personally think you better be honest, just because it is so rare now-a-days.
Oh well, there's a lot more to say about this all. I didn't say everything here, it's to complex. Talk to you later...
(Did it ever occur to you that drug use is used a lot in movies, to show people do the most "evil" things on drugs. Ever thought of the fact how agressive alcohol users get, when drunk? Honesty?!)
05-04-02, 05:39 PM
Is the hand that points out the evil,...trowing the first stone,...
Demonising is a part of a propaganda technique,...
And there are a lot of propaganda techniques,....
05-05-02, 03:19 AM
Banshee first off not EVERYONE is violent when they are drunk, i get really stupid when im drunk
Second NO it dosn't matter why he was in there because he has paid his debt and no longer should carry the stigma of having gone there (that just FORCES people to reofend)
05-05-02, 06:59 AM
Oh Asguard, of course not every drunk gets agressive, just as not every drug user goes out stealing or kniving someone down, or so. It was just a figure of speech.
By the way, if you get stupid, being drunk, aren't you bothering others then, with your behaviour? Or does everybody think you're funny? Just wondering. :)
Honestly! My personal experience with drunks is that they get violent in bars and it was so bad in the city where I lived, that in 3 bars, every weekend, the furniture was smashed and a lot of people with it. (and telephone cells were destroyed and so on)
Oh yes, drug users do their bad things also. Don't get me wrong here.
And I stated before, that there is much more to this issue, as described in the former post. Guess it's just the way you look at it and what your experiences are, too.
People are all different individuals, so not every drunk gets violent, not every drug user goes out stealing or robbing a gas-station. Not every person who went to jail, is there, because he/she committed a major crime.
I'm sorry, I'm very tired right now and leave it with this, okay? I'll be back some later, after a little sleeping... ;)
05-05-02, 11:18 PM
All my friends just think im haleriouse:D
05-07-02, 09:23 PM
Good for you. :) Keep it that way and don't drink to much. :)
So you won't become a real drunk before you even enter your twenties. Sorry, I couldn't resist. You young people nowadays drink like it's the most common thing to do. I think it's a dangerous development.
Just as using drugs is.
You take good care of yourself please... :) :)
Heroin (Diacetylmorphine), is a drug that someone with heavy tolerance takes 20-40 mg to get a high. Heroin is a drug which is one of the single most addictive and hard to leave. Talk to your buddies that do heroin and I'm betting they'll say it didn't take long at all to become addicted. Heroin cannot exactly be used in moderation. There is no way to do a bit of heroin just to relax. From personal findings and a little help from a couple sources, I have decided that every experimenter with heroin either becomes fully addicted or absolutely hates the stuff.
Beer typically contains 14 or so mg of alcohol in it per bottle. Some people take all of 3 beers (42 mg alcohol) to get slightly tipsy. Others, take up to 6 beers (84 mg alcohol) to get to this point. But I can guarantee you that unless you are a rookie, it will be about 5 beers (70 mg of alcohol) MINIMUM to get fully drunk. You can get the alcohol equivlant (if there is such a thing) of a heroin hit after about 5 beers (actually, with most people, as I'm sure you know, it would probably be more like 7 beers). Difference? A heroin hit lasts 45 minutes tops. Most heroin users will not be satisfied, and will do at least 3 hits to continue the high.
Heroin is also most frequently done through needle. And we all know the dangers of needle drugs, no?
Heroin is definetly more detremental than alcohol. If I drink one beer I'm just a little more happy than before. If I did one hit of heroin I'd be in dream land.
Though I understand your point.
I personally don't give money to someone who's going to waste it on alcohol. Why? Because I'd rather give it to someone who I think won't waste it on alcohol.