Is ambition a good thing.

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Enkidu, Feb 3, 2003.

  1. Enkidu Registered Member

    Is it?
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  3. spacemanspiff czar of things Registered Senior Member

    well a complete lack of it is a bad thing.

    too much of it can be bad too.

    it's all in moderation.
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  5. Mystech Adult Supervision Required Registered Senior Member

    My view

    Ambition is always a good thing. There are certain problems, which arise as a result, however, but these are separate from ambition in my opinion. For instance, one should not be willing to deceive, slight, or intentionally wrong his fellow man for personal achievement . . . after all, the spirit of ambition is to better yourself, and if you do this by cheating and lying your way to the top, have you really done yourself a favor? If you're making a trade of your moral character for wealth, or a position of power, I don't really think it's worth it, a truly ambitious person would want to be as good as they can be, and making self sacrifices like these doesn't really fit into that picture.
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  7. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Ambition is ok as sparate from greed
  8. jps Valued Senior Member

    It depends on what your ambitions are.
  9. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    to better yourself?
  10. Shin555 What the shit? Registered Senior Member

    I think it is a good thing, because it gives you goals in life, or maybe something to put an effort in doing, or even something to live for.

    However depending on your ambition, there may be drawbacks/restrictions as to what you can do in life, which i wouldn't like at all.
  11. Slacker47 Paint it Black Registered Senior Member

    Exactly, question has been answered.
  12. Nope . . . the above remark answers the question!

    Well, this also depends on what you consider "bad."
  13. spookz Banned Banned

    i have none hence my utter loser life
    i am more concerned with life per se. the hows and whys and whens. if those questions are not answered, i aint gonna bother. i am happy to putter along aimlessly
  14. mabuto1 Registered Member

    of course ambition is a good thing!

    Without ambition you will remain purely "existing" instead of developing and learning. Ambition can be good or bad depending on who you are, e.g. a right wing extremist may have an ambition to cleanse his homeland, if you are in his homeland or a normal person you will think this ambition is bad. You get me? You must have ambitions, it is not being egotistical or full of yourself. It is just the natural desire to develop who you are

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  15. Salty Registered Senior Member

    and if you are a left wing extremist your ambition is to enslave the entire population under socialism. Which if you are a normal person is a bad thing.
  16. firebrand Registered Member

    I'd wax loquacious on this issue, but it's just TOO MUCH TROUBLE!
  17. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

    Re: My view

    Not necessarily.

    Ambition is just drive to achieve.
    WHAT you are trying to acheive is a very important factor when trying to discern whather or not it is a "good" thing.
  18. step314 Registered Senior Member

    Ambition is not a good thing. An ambitious person decides for an action because he thinks the action will lead to his success. A good person decides for an action because he thinks that the world will be a better or more beautiful place on account of his taking that action as opposed to an alternative action. Of course, you could say that a person can be ambitious to behave good and improve the world, but my impression as an English spaker is that the word "ambitious" as typically used does not denote such moral motives; at any rate, I'm not interested in getting in an argument about what the word means, which is not likely to be a particularly interesting argument.

    There is a sense in which ambition is not practical, either. Ambition, it seems to me, connotes having a goal. When, for example, a female decides to have sex with some guy, it is important for her to set that as a goal before some competitor of her would-be lover sees her dreamy lovey state and forcibly sodomizes her to thwart his competition. Similarly, one can think of other behaviors which once decided upon could cause others to try to emotionally abuse you to make you behave otherwise. For instance, if you are fighting getting raped, you will likely set as a goal the elimination of the attempted rapist (at least as a threat, probably even more). Having that goal in such a situation is fitting inasmuch as abuse can have addictive qualities that tend to induce extreme excess sympathy for the abuser in the abused. It's not everyday that one gets abused or molested, though. Insanity is largely having an excess of anti-abuse emotion in non-abuse situations. The tendency to set excess goals as in the ambitious is a type of insanity, more commonly excessive (at least in the non-sexual realm) than the opposite tendency.

    A good many religions probably get a good deal of their popularity from their tendency to squash ambition. Consider Jesus' parable about the lillies of the field, how they neither toil nor spin, etc. Or again, consider the third of Buddha's Four Noble truths, that vanity can be ended only with the ending of all desire. Taoism probably is the most purely anti-desire: "There is no greater guilt than to sanction ambition; neither is there any greater calamity than to be disconted with one's lot [Tao-Teh-king]." It is relevant that this anti-goal aspect of religion tends to have its strongest appeal to intellectuals and the higher classes. Common people are much less insulated from the disgusting addictions against which ambition and goals afford quite reasonable protection. Apparently, the anti-desire element of Hinduish is strongest in Brahmanic Hinduism (which emphasises the nihilistic Upanishads), but Vishnu and Shiva worship are more favored by the common people of India. The kind of Taoism that has popular appeal is very far from Lao-tzu, involving alchemy, magical interpretations, etc. It's shouldn't be surprising, really, that Taoism, a religion that tells one to not fret about becoming corrupted, would have very greatly tended to become corrupted.

    It's amusing that nowadays there are so many popular self-help writers pushing enthusiam and goals to make you successful in life, business, etc. It's an aspect of something larger, I'm afraid. Enthusiasm by its very nature in the short-term leads to success. It will wear you out in the long run and lead to failure in other parts of your life, but yeah, generaly being enthusiastic about something helps you deal with it in the short-run. And so managers are forever trying to push some motivation or manipulation or whatever that will make their employees more enthusiastic about their pencil-pushing or whatever. More of a one-day-at-a-time approach is generally best when dealing with the ordinary events of life, IMO. It's curious that enthusiasm is so much more praised than cool deliberation now. I don't think 60 years ago it was so much like that. Why are there no prototypically cool actors like Humphery Bogart now?

    It's easy to see that in Iraq, the reason the defense department underestimated the danger of looting is that they were too fixated on the goal of military victory. Goals and ambition toward these goals cause problems.

    I was just thinking the other day that the best mathematical writing, e.g., (hopefully, I'm reading it now) Shoenfield's book on mathematical logic, is done in a kind of jazzy, I'm-doing-this-and-(why-not?)-devoted-my-life-to-it-because-all-else-in-life-is-vanity-but-this-isn't-so-important-that-I'm-not-half-asleep-while-writing-it kind of style. It's an uncorrupted Taoist attitude that as my theories suggest seems to be associated with professors at expensive laid-back private universities like Duke or Princeton (as opposed to state schools). It just occured to me the other day it would be interesting to try to meld that viewpoint with a very deep and inclusive Van-Gogh kind of outlook on life.
  19. andy1033 Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

    i can tell you from personal experience that if you have no ambition you're fucked.
    if you just don't want to achive nothing, so ultimately you just don't get anything.

    from what i can gather you need alot of ambition to even get through school not accounting for the rest of your life, shame it was not sold in a bottle.
  20. Sisyphus Registered Member

    "Ambitiion is the last refuge of the the failiure"

    Oscar Wilde
  21. Vertigoll Gringorican Registered Senior Member


    An eager or strong desire to achieve something, such as fame or power.
    The object or goal desired: Her ambition is the presidency.
    Desire for exertion or activity; energy: had no ambition to go dancing.

    How is this wrong? Isn't this what our country was based on? With no ambition, you'll have no success. With no success, you'll not have a country, or at least no country of any worth.
    Yes, I was to lazy to look it up in a real dictionary.
  22. Weiser_Dub Registered Senior Member

    WHO CARES about the dictionary definition of ambition when discussing if it's good or not? It can be good and bad. Moderation might be key, but maybe not. Honestly, I don't know. All I know is my ambition fluctuates. Also, it used to be too high - unrealistically so. But then again, maybe it wasn't unrealistic, so who knows? Too low and what happens? Does anything bad really happen? No, probably not. What's life about anyway? Whatever makes each happy. So, whatever that is, let them be and do it. But if a dictionary tells you how useful something is, then let me know because I'm using the wrong dictionary.
  23. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    yeah tell me about it...

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