On growing up and the source of morality

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by DaveC426913, Apr 30, 2023.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    A lot to unpack there. Much of it ad hom and condescension - its kind of a distraction from the thread. Going to suggest we split off about 2/3ds of it into its own thread, with an appropriate subject header, perhaps 'Tiassas feelings about Dave' or something. My first post to that thread will likely be something to the effect of 'How long have you been holding on to that!?'

    Meanwhile, you owe me some time to sift the signal from the noise and compose responses to the topical bits.

    While you're waiting, be sure to read billvon's contributions, as he seems to be having no trouble with comprehension.
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Thank you.

    I would observe, here, a certain lack of other people. You have presented an oversimplification (spilled milk) and particular indifference toward others (Covid).

    Sure, you mention others, but, again, it's what they do not. Don't blame the glass, or circumstances, or the government. Don't blame Gates or Fauci or China or Merck.

    With spilled milk, you're presenting an oversimplified idyll. You're example doesn't care if the reason they can't afford more is that someone else committed a crime against them. And that's the thing about these standards, they're not suited for general application and are usually not intended as such. Like I said, most of these iterations are about feeling better for having said so; this kind of talk is usually about self-gratification insofar as the apparent source of morality in such cases is wholly invested in the psychiatry of the beholder. It's why the common aspect between diverse tellings is that the nearest definition of what it means to grow up and take responsibility for oneself is to do and say whatever that person wants.

    The Covid example leaves out particular other people, and very conveniently, as such: How does one take responsibility for their irresponsible actions in a pandemic if the outcome includes inflicting the death, injury, or chronic illness of another?¹

    It's one thing to put on their grown-up pants and not blame others for their own illness, but your explanation of what it means to be responsible for one's actions skips out on the part about harming others.²

    There are reasons why I do not trust these propositions of growing up and taking responsibility; their superficiality tends to restrict their utility to telling people to grow up and take responsibility for themselves.

    • • •​

    Oh, grow up and take responsibility for yourself.

    But, here, we can shorten this all up a little, for you:

    In which case, yeah, the summary is pretty straightforward: Your pretense↑ of what it means to grow up is pathetic, superficial, solipsistic, relativistic, and of a type long known for its service to the moralist's emotional satisfaction. That is to say, it's generally typal, belligerent bluster with little to no applicable meaning.


    Okay, look: How do you not see the problem with just making it up as one goes and calling it taking responsibility? As I said, it is not wrong to suggest the measurement of progress requires a reference point. You have, as such, already acknowledged↑ the anchorless relativism, the lack of any such reference point: "Naturally, all such things come down to opinions of individuals. That kind of goes without saying."

    So, understand, it's not some question of, "'How long have you been holding on to that!?'" but, rather, I wasn't joking when I said to Clueluss↑, Dave's not like that, right? Because yes, I did think you meant something different. And when I told you↑, I know, I know, that's not you, it's true, I did think your talk of separating the grown-ups from the children was going somewhere better than generic reliance on subjective, internalized standards. And, no, I wasn't mocking you when I said↑, you're Dave, not one of those jokers out there.

    And it's true, I really do wonder why the people who don't mean the same as that one thing never really say it any differently. But that has nothing to do with the moment. That was my mistake: Turns out you really were saying that one thing.

    And, yes, I really did think you were going somewhere ... uh ... yeah, whatever, somewhere else.

    Sorry about that.


    ¹ Remember, also, that I am more oriented toward "from each/to each", so, in pointing out that the effects of this not masking, vaxxing, or attending the basic prophylaxis of hygeine include chronic illness, I would note that we all, in theory, will be paying for that person's irresponsibility. And inasmuch as this is going to happen, it just seems improper to refuse them, or leave them to suffer and die. But, again, that's just how I see it, i.e., to each according to their need. Same thing with the milk, actually, but it's a different discussion.

    ² Do you remember the time we were talking about abortion, and you pushed so hard as to make life itself a tort? I mean, sure, it was over a decade ago↗, but, yeah, really, that one was kind of impressive. Anyway, you answer your own question: She should put on her big girl pants and not blame circumstances or other people for her cancer.​
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That is the victim approach, where people seek to escape responsibility for their actions by blaming others. People have committed crimes against me; nevertheless, I am responsible for my careless actions that make me lose things that matter to me.

    Since you dislike the milk example, let's use a more adult one. If I am careless and wreck my car, I am responsible for repairing it, or getting a new one. That is true even if the dealership overcharged me. That is true even if an unscrupulous employer bilked me out of $10K in overtime. That is true even if the cop that stopped by afterwards was really rude to me.

    Yes, people definitely have responsibility for others as well. In the car-wreck example, if I am careless and damage someone ELSE's car, I am responsible for fixing that car as well. Even if the driver is stupid, or yelled at me, or was uninsured.
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps this may make the "responsibility" problem a little more interesting.

    The trolley problem: would you kill one person to save many others?
    Should Adam flip the switch, killing the one worker but saving the other five?
    Should Adam push the stranger off the footbridge, killing him but saving the five workers?

    Chew on that for a while.
    Last edited: May 5, 2023
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    • So, now we winnow to "careless actions that make me lose things that matter to me". Yes, that's a bit more specifific.

    • Well, if your argument about taking responsibility was effective, then nobody would overcharge, and cops would actually do their jobs properly.​

    As with the milk example, your argument gives license to the harm inflicted against a person: They just need to grow up and take responsibility for the decisions and actions of someone else. Again, most of these iterations are about feeling better for having said so; this kind of talk is usually about self-gratification insofar as the apparent source of morality in such cases is wholly invested in the beholder. It's why the common aspect between diverse tellings is that the nearest definition of what it means to grow up and take responsibility for oneself is to do and say whatever that person wants.

    But there is also this:

    Now do Covid.

    It is not insignificant that you turned away from the Covid example.

    So, yeah, it's a little tougher for Covid, isn't it?

    These explanations of growing up and taking responsibility for oneself always rely on inapplicable simplification.


    In 2020, conservative activist Bethany Mandel↱ declared, "You can call me a Grandma killer". Around the same time, in discussing harm inflicted↗ for the sake of belief, we had occasion to consider a woman who declared herself covered in Jesus' blood↱ as prophylaxis against Covid.

    Throughout the pandemic, we were told stories about people's regrets, including the loss of families. But by your telling, the technicalities of quarantine and prophylaxis policy are irrelevant, and, sure, I get it insofar as the decision to bring that one choir together for practice was deadly E&O that failed to calculate a difference between just being there and exerting themselves, and even that might not really have made a difference. But, in any case, not all of the participants died, so at least one person who decided the choir practice should happen might countenance the fact of so much damage inflicted by that gathering, beyond the individuals who participated.

    Others made even worse decisions. Some took pride in their defiance. And some will blame the government, or Bill Gates, and all that, and in the end it doesn't really matter what you or I think of how they regard their contribution to another's mortal absence. What does it mean to you or me that someone grows up and takes responsibility for communicating death unto their spouse, and chronic illness unto their child, for the sake of pride?

    And what do you tell a child left behind, that they must countenance the absence of a parent who died for pride? When they grow up and take responsibility for themselves, they need to be able to acknowledge ... what? It's their fault for what, being sad? Not having the same perspective as someone else living in a different circumstance?¹

    I can see why you wanted to skip out on Covid.

    Here, what does it mean to take responsibility for one's role in the deaths of thousands, and chronic illness of even more? To the other, it's quite clear what it means for the afflicted to take responsibility for themselves: It was their fault for having a job at Union Carbide, or living in that part of Bhopal. They shouldn't blame circumstance, or the government, but just grow up and take responsibility for themselves. Compared to living out the remaining years of one's life without ever having to answer criminal charges, protected against extradition, we start to see the purpose of these simplistic moral prescriptions about growing up and taking responsibility for ourselves. They are feelgood exercises in condescenscion, intended to put other people in their proverbial places. Do we hope he at least felt badly about it? Would it even be proper that we should?

    Consider that describing blithely antisocial dysfunction as an obligation to society is only incorrect because it is internally contradictory; this take on responsibility disregards other people. Thus, blithely antisocial dysfunction is an obligation to what?

    And if you wish to suggest I'm applying the disqualification of other people in the wrong direction, then you are describing a one-way obligation, i.e., don't "blame" other people while otherwise obliged to account for and satisfy them.

    It's one thing if people need to grow up and take responsibility for themselves, but solipsistic moral relativism is not reliable, and thus no useful basis for telling people to grow up and take responsibility for themselves.


    ¹ There is a point at which the difference between one experience and the next boils down to it's someone's fault for being born, and compared to the history of cavalier moralization about growing up and taking responsibility for ourselves, we need not wonder why these arguments still cannot account for the everyday realities of reality. It's almost like the argument can't quite grow up and take responsibility for itself. And, no, that's not because the argument itself is inanimate and doesn't do things like grow or think for itself; rather, the gap can't be filled because it is not supposed to be, as these moralizing formulations are more about the satisfaction of the moralist than anything else.​
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    The OP is not intended as a comprehensive bible of all behavior. (This is not something you need to be told, so no points for stating the obvious.)

    Well, to you.
    That is a subjective complaint that it doesn't make sense to you; not an objective complaint that it is meaningless. That's presumptuous.

    Because it is. The word sovereignty has multiple contextual uses. I provided the context for it explicitly; you choose to ignore it and substitute your own context and then argue that instead. That is textbook strawman.

    Agree. It isn't. There's no such thing, and the OP is not designed to remedy that. It's an essay about the propensity for relying on God as an authority figure as a way of escaping accountability.

    By 'sole sovereignty over one's actions' - I mean one is responsible for one's own actions and the consequences. It is immature to decide that it's OK to do something hurtful and rationalize it as God's will or commandment. You 'stone' someone and it's because you decided to. It is not an excuse that God told you to. (I recognize that I am being loose with God telling anyone to stone people.)

    I have not suggested otherwise. The essay is about taking responsibility for one's action's. That is the first step to 'fixing' them. Those who see God as the authority can't stop stoning people as long as God is calling the shots. Only when people realize it is their own actions will change happen.

    I am demonstrably not refusing to dialogue. You keep saying this.

    More ad hom. I'm sorry I hurt you.

    This says more about your thoughts than about mine.

    It does not preferentially produce good over evil - never suggested any such thing - what it does is put the accountability in the mortal realm where it can be acted upon.

    That is why there are three preceding stanzas. They provide analogues that guide the reader to the final, logical* stanza.
    * in my opinion

    I take it by now, you understand the intended usage of the term - whether or not you agree with the sentiment?

    Again: the concept is not directly about doing better; it is about putting accountability for good and evil on the right entity. The corporeal one, that can be stopped or punished or rehabilitated for their own actions. That's it. Good over evil will (presumably) follow once everyone stops using their God as the ultimate 'Get Out of Jail' card.
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member


    Ah! That explains the bizarre preponderance of invective. It vindicates this:
    You've been holding on to this grudge for a decade. Can we move past it? Or will it continue to pollute this thread?
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Maybe you should have double-checked, Dave.

    Look at where Note 2 is marked; it's in the part to Billvon.

    Look at what Note 2 links to, a post by Billvon.

    (No, as a matter of long, long history, I have never systematically separated the notes for each section within a single post.)
    DaveC426913 likes this.
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    This may be of interest.

    The Trolley Problem.
    An actual test conducted with humans
  13. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    I thank the test shows which of the subjects is gullible enuff to thank ther adequately prepared to act on this life an death set-up.!!!
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    So you think all those that believe their morality comes from God, and turn to God to guide them in such, need to "grow up"? If so, do you think it "grown up" to insult all those people as you have just done, by calling them childish? Do you somehow think that calling them childish is itself a "grown up" argument against what they believe to be the source of their morality? Just asking. It seems you're just claiming. There seems to be no argument presented, at least, just your belief. "If you don't believe as I do then you're not grown up!"
    Just asking.
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Now that I've had time to ruminate on this, I feel very differently.

    I posted it in an attempt to elicit feedback with the goal of refining and honing my thoughts into a short essay (in anticipation of some future hypothetical discussion) and so I deliberately chose not to provide preamble so as to get raw feedback.

    But what's happened is that - rather than it being taken as an academic discussion that may or may not be supported - it has come across as a declaration - full and complete, and aimed at the reader.

    Not only is that my fault, but I could have anticipated it, and acted differently.

    It's always been my belief that spirituality (or the absence thereof) is a private matter, only to be shared if solicited, and in a safe space, not to be worn on one's shirtsleeve.

    And here I've gone and violated that tenet. After all, no one has asked me for my opinion on God or morality.

    So If I had this to do over, I wouldn't post it at all. It doesn't really make the world a better place for its posting.
  16. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

    Is this a 1 Corinthians 13 parody or is this a 1 Corinthians 13 type spin with personal relevance? The what's left part? Sovereignty, self reliance, and personal brand of wisdom?

    Or something else?
  17. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

    When I was I child I was scolded as a child and cried. When I became a man I took the scolding like a man and refused to cry. When I became an older man a took my scolding with bitter tear and much trial, but one day I'll be scolded no more ... After I go fishing by the rivers shore. Then, I'll be free from the scolding and only wait to shed the lonely tears. Then I'll grow up again and remember how much I miss the scolding years, so I'll go back from my fishing trip and be bolder to receive more from the scolders.
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

    The show "The Good Place" has an excellent real-world take on the Trolley Problem.
    Bells likes this.
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Do you want to reframe the OP making your intention more explicit, so that others understand where you're coming from, and what you're looking to achieve? Just a thought, if you're still up for the discussion?
  20. Bells Staff Member

    In regard to the Covid issue brought up, there has been an ongoing ethical debate of late, about whether people who refuse the vaccine should receive an organ transplant or whether people who have had a Covid vaccine should be given preference?


    There is also an ongoing ethical debate about whether people who refuse to be vaccinated should even be treated and there are apparently some doctors who have shown dismay at having to treat people who are sick with Covid: https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-022-00859-9
  21. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    In that case, what about those who choose to smoke and those that booze to excess, both are a drain on the UK NHS in terms of taking up time and resources.
    And, the druggies too.
  22. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Addiction is a medical condition that deserves treatment.
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    One of the most curious things is that for most people the brain can recognize addiction and its devastating effects, yet are unable to combat the chemical effects of the substance on the brain and need intervention.
    But some people with strong will may be able to go "cold turkey" on their own.

    I do think this presents an interesting perspective on the concept of free will. Some can beat the chemical effects (free will?), while others cannot (chemical determinism?).

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