Wow. (1/22)

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Postby Linkara on Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:23 am

sun tzu wrote:
Wandering Observer wrote:For sun tzu:
How would this victory be achieved?

Wish I knew.
What constitutes a good person?

For starters, someone who doesn't put his interests ahead of others'. It's not the only requirement, but it's the biggest one.


Ah, and here's a partial split. ^_~ See, I have no problem with someone putting their own interests ahead of others'. The problem is when, by caring about their own interests ahead of the others', they cause harm to people as a result of it (or allow harm to come to someone by not intervening).

Well, it's not like PC Superman can't be beaten...Mr Myx, pre- or post-crisis, can wipe the floor with him any time of the day. Pre-crisis Darkseid was way above his level (back when Darkseid was actually a threat to the entire DC universe, and not someone whom anybody could defeat). There was that great imaginary story where Luthor finally managed to kill him (highly complex plan, but the final step involved exposing him to kryptonite long enough to kill him. The hard part was setting up a situation where he could do it).


Ah, the good old days of Imaginary Tales. ^_^ Mr. Myx could still be stopped by a phantom zone projector, though. ^_~
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Postby Wandering Observer on Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:13 pm

Ah, so Happiness is simply a general state of exuberance. Well, since exuberance is defined as overwhelming joy or happiness, the definition of happiness is lots of happiness. I think you're going to have to be more specific, Linkara.

And if putting your own interests ahead of others isn't the key to a good person, what is? What are wrong with putting others' interests ahead of your own?

Sun Tsu, you do define happiness as putting other's interests ahead of your own. So the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of WWII were the best kind of people then, since they put other's interests ahead of their own, right? Just like the 9-11 Hijackers, who were promised their families were taken care of, and that they would be bringing down the great Satan, America?


Now of course, I'm not actually disagreeing with anything that has been said yet, I'm just trying to get a slightly better picture of your opinions. (So no, I do not really think that the 9-11 Hijackers were the best kind of people.)
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Postby Linkara on Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:35 pm

Playing Socrates, oh Wandering Observer? ^_~ I'll bite, though, since I love the conversations on the forum, anyway. Still, I admit it's certainly possible that my answers can get ripped to shreds since philosophers have been struggling with some of the questions for thousands of years and still not come up with widely-accepted answers.

The problem with defining happiness is that it kind of requires the use of words that are synonymous with happiness. In this case, I'm going to define it again as a state of emotion in which an individual feels content or a general sense of well-being, usually coupled with joy. Happiness also has levels at which one experiences, with extremes like, to use some possibly poor examples, a state of ecstasy or conversely a state of just contentment.
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Postby Sun tzu on Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:00 am

Wandering Observer wrote:Sun Tsu, you do define happiness as putting other's interests ahead of your own. So the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of WWII were the best kind of people then, since they put other's interests ahead of their own, right? Just like the 9-11 Hijackers, who were promised their families were taken care of, and that they would be bringing down the great Satan, America?

One, I didn't define happiness. I gave one of the factors in defining goodness. Two, those kamikaze pilots were hurting other people's interests, so...
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Postby Wandering Observer on Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:27 pm

Ah, I see. I forgot that distinction. Can you elaborate a bit? afterall, theres nothing we can say about a subject floating up in the air, is there?


Well, Linkara, I wasn't specifically trying to be Socratic in my discourse, but now that I think about it, his methodoligy is very similar to my own as of late.

Anyways, if happiness can only be expressed in relation to itself, than we have no actual knowledge of it other than the fact that it is a positive emotion. If that's the case, than happiness very well could be a bad thing, as your Darkbringer believes, since it isn't inherently tied to anything except our primal desires. You know very well that if Happiness is defined like that, it is a bad thing. Here's an idea to think about if you're havign trouble. What makes us happy? What makes us happy the most? Do you notice any trends among the things that make us most happy?
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Postby Linkara on Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:42 pm

The Darkbringer still experiences happiness because he only recently got his abilities, but the man he got them from knew full well the Darkness' theories and religion when it came to happiness. To the religion of the Darkness, happiness is many things - a crutch, used to pacify the weak in order to prevent them from taking charge for any activity; a method of unleashing darker emotions like lust, envy, or greed (be it in themselves or in others); and finally an affirmation of its own inner evil. The Darkbringer's 'liege,' the one who gave him his powers, beheld earth and was sickened by what he saw. He saw human beings smiling and laughing at other people's pain, be it through simple sadism or by watching a comedy in which people get hurt. He saw people enjoy a tragic movie, and even though people wept during the experience itself, he noted how people said they enjoyed it afterwards - i.e. PEOPLE ENJOYED SEEING BAD THINGS HAPPEN. In his mind, it simply proved how terrible happiness was.

However, perhaps I should try to redefine happiness again. I do not believe it is tied in simply to primal desires. I believe happiness is a truth of the world, something that all people want. To take an example from Socrates, no one truly wants to be unhappy. After all, human beings are more complex than just primal desires. Sorry to sound corny here, but I'd say that some of things that make us most happy are things like love and hope. In my humble experience, I've noted that people who have a lot of love TEND to lead happier lives than those who have none. I say 'tend' because there are always going to be exceptions to the rule, or at least ones that prove the rule. ^_~
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Postby Wandering Observer on Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:31 pm

I like this direction a bit more, it's certainly better defined this way. So why do poeple who have a lot of love in their lives tend to be happier?
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Postby Linkara on Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:04 pm

I'm not really sure. Perhaps it's a matter of emulation - they see happiness brought about by love for one another and they become happier as a result. Perhaps love is an intangible force transferable to humans through behavior and it creates happiness.

Or perhaps it's that love, at its core, can bring about more happiness in individuals than other emotions. Yes, love can be complicated, it can cause problems, but in the end it still instills feelings of joy in those it's shared with. I wish I did know a reason why it did so. Maybe I'll come up with one at some point. ^_~
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Postby Wandering Observer on Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:39 pm

Emulation, eh? So if I were to make somebody happy, I woudl become happy be emulation? It might make sense, since drama relies on sadness to make the viewer feel sad as well, although I'm not entirely sure emulation is the right word for it. Afterall, the catharsis I feel when reading Oedipus doesn't seem to be emulated, it seems rather genuine. Just liek the happiness I feel when giving a friend a gift seems to feel rather cincere as well. I could be wrong though.

I'm not to sure about the intangible force idea. Love can do some amazing things, but they seem to be the result of a state of mind, not an energy.

I think you already established that love and happiness are somewhat correlated.

Lets take a step back. Who do you love the most in this world? Why do you love them so?
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Postby Linkara on Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:15 pm

Well, there's no set rule that says that seeing one emotion will instill emotions in others, but it is a trend that I notice. And at the very least, I'd say that making someone else feel good as a general rule won't necessarily make one UNhappy.

If I had to pick any people to love, it'd have to be my family. From a romantic notion, it's simply unconditional - these are my family. From a pragmatic perspective, my parents and brother are responsible for helping raise me and make me into the person I am today, even if I made moves different than how they'd probably have anticipated or hoped for. Subsequently, they share my gentic code, which means that in some way I'm a part of them or they're a part of me however way you look at it, so it seems a rather foolish thing to hate a part of yourself (unless it's a part of yourself you don't like).
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Postby Wandering Observer on Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:11 am

Making another feel good as a general rule won't necissarily make one UNhappy, eh? I get the feeling that you still don't think to highly of the concept of Altruism, do you? Hehehe, to be honest I really don't mind, rather the way you worded that sentence made me smile.

Regarding your love of your family, I think your two notions of love might be tied together, to a certain degree. Would you agree?

Also, why does your family's part in rasing you make you love them? Afterall, why do you not just feel grateful and possibly indebted to them? What makes sets it apart and makes it love?

Your piece on the genetic code makes sense to a certain degree, but I would argue that instead of being part of you, your family is simply similar to you. On that note, all human beings share a similar genetic code, why do you only consider your brother and parents to be your family? Shouldn't the entire species be your family under this definition, or maybe none at all?

By the way, when you use the word "romantic" love, I think your referring to storge love.
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Postby Linkara on Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:55 am

Well, by "romantic" I meant basically "idealized," albeit storge works, too.

I read the beginning of Ayn Rand's "The Virtue of Selfishness" and although I can't remember the details to it, I do remember she made a good case against altruism. :lol:

At certain points, both definitions of love might be used in conjunction, but the idealized or romantic version should be the one that should be strived for whereas the pragmatic elements should be an added bonus. Doing the right thing should be done for its own sake and any other benefits obtained from it (which usually are plentiful) come second to it.

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren... to do good is my religion."? ^_~ While I do feel a deep connection to the rest of humanity and would give my life to save any stranger among them, I will say that it's my family who have a deeper impact on my life than any other random individual among the six billion on our little marble of a world. From the genetic perspective, while human beings all have a similar structure for our DNA, there are unique and individual markers that separate families, hence why genetic testing can identify a person as being related to one person but not another.
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Postby Wandering Observer on Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:11 pm

Oh Ayn Rand. I must say, after reading Anthem, I have to admit that the woman has a way with words. A very powerful writer, a very modivated writer, but also so very, very bitter. While she certainly has her reasons for bitterness, I tend to be a bit reserved when encountering messages that contain so much anger. I would agree that she seems to do a lot of things well, but I personally think she misses the point by a few hairs. Oh well, that's probably a discussion best saved for another day.

It is true that agape and pragmatic love will run parrelell courses, it is just as true, as you say, that they contrast eachother at other points. But one might ask then, what is the correlation between them? Why do the perks one finds with pragmatic love exist in the first place? And while I certainly, by all means, do agree with your asthetic interpretation of virtues, I must ask why we must seek out the ideals? What is it about them that makes them so great?

So experience plays a larger role than biology, to a certain extent. This makes sense. Since your family has invested so much in you, they mean much more to you than your average Joe. Your biological corelation does make sense as well, despite adopted children of course, but I think we can both assume a certain level of inhereted culture will make up for it. Again, however, I must ask why the feelings that you have for your family are defined as love, rather than fellowship and respect?

It is admirable that you would give your life to save any stranger among all of humanity, very honerable indeed. I think I hear Miss Rand spinning in her grave now, however. :wink:
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Postby Linkara on Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:47 pm

Well, I don't agree on everything Ayn says. After all, she wasn't a fan of religion and I'm a Christian. ^_~

Why seek out the ideal? Well, it can be said that perfection will most likely never be reached. However, the journey towards that perfect ideal tends to be one that still improves the self, so there is a pragmatic reason for striving for the ideal. Really, the correlation between the pragmatic and the ideal is about being able to do the right thing for the right reason and get all the right benefits of it. Pragmatism tends to work better for issues that aren't related to other people or to matters of ethics, because oftentimes pragmatism will dictate to choose a different path (unless someone places a higher pragmatic value on love and ethics than on doing what others would say is more practical). For example, if I had a significant amount of money in my account, I could spend it on whatever the heck I wanted whenever I wanted, basically squandering it dry. However, pragmatism tells me that's a foolish course of action since that money can be better utilized if I save it or use it when it is really needed. As such, pragmatism will win over any temporary happiness caused by the items I'd waste it on.

I'd say that, like the idea of right for right, the idealistic version is great for its own sake, that being wonderful is built into its very definition and therefore is what makes it so desirable in the first place. However, it is true that some people may not recognize it or want it for themselves for other reasons, so it may not be what some people hope for. However, I do believe that the idealistic version probably would still better benefit them if they did try to achieve it.

Indeed, experience does play a larger role than biology. Some people may still feel a connection with those who were biological family, but the immediate love and attention is focused on the people they grew up with and know. I'd say that the feeling I have for my family are deeper than fellowship and respect. You're willing to put up with some things your family will do that you won't put up with from others, or you're more comfortable around them and, subsequently, any masks you put on yourself in public are lost around family. For example, while I will sacrifice my life for a stranger's, I might be disinclined to do other things for them, like borrow them money or some such thing that I would always do for family (unless in some way unable or unwilling for different reasons).
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