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Kevin Leavitt
08-23-2002, 06:21 PM
Seems like many feel that people are motivated by their own self interest and hidden agendas.

To frame this as a core issue....

Is this a basic problem in our society that is preventing us from having peace and harmony? Is there such thing as altruism?

As John Calvin put it...are all humans born "bad" or into "sin"?

Is this the core issue that puts us into conflict and starts wars and conflict?

In other words, do we have an inherent need to be selfish and satisfy our own egos?

Or is this a learned behavior that can be corrected by forming new habits?

If we can "fix" it, how would you go about establishing "metrics" to measure our effectiveness?

I submit that in order to have true peace (an ideal, not a reality), that it is required of us to sit aside our egos.

Talk amongst yourselves!!

virginia_kyu
08-23-2002, 07:00 PM
I think people are born innocent, evil is learned behavior in my opinion.

JW
08-23-2002, 07:10 PM
In other words, do we have an inherent need to be selfish and satisfy our own egos?

Or is this a learned behavior that can be corrected by forming new habits?
As for my opinion:

1. We most certainly have an inherent DESIRE (not need) to be selfish and satisfy our own egos.

2. Dispite the fact that this is not a learned behavior, it most certainly can be corrected by forming new habits, or better yet than habits, new beliefs.

Well, I'm a biologist, and I beleive in selection (gasp!), so what do you expect??

I hate it when people talk about human nature or animal nature and leave it at that, as if that were immutable. We are intelligent animals! That gives us the option of hitting the override switch, in a lot of cases.

I'm a case in point. I don't believe in a god or religion. I completely believe we are animals just like the rest of them. I even don't believe in good or evil/right or wrong!

Dispite all that, I believe, more than a lot of people I have seen, in promoting well-being, not hurting others and fighting suffering.

It is simply a case of teaching people that others' suffering is suffering as much as their own, and showing them what love is.

As for measuring our progress as a culture.. gee I dunno about that one. Crime statistics I guess..

--Jonathan Wong

Tijmen Ramakers
08-24-2002, 08:30 AM
I hate it when people talk about human nature or animal nature and leave it at that, as if that were immutable. We are intelligent animals! That gives us the option of hitting the override switch, in a lot of cases.

I'm a case in point. I don't believe in a god or religion. I completely believe we are animals just like the rest of them. I even don't believe in good or evil/right or wrong!
I completely agree. In my opinion, biology answers the question about inherent desires a lot better than philosophy or religion do.

There is no 'universal' good or evil. Good and evil can only exist in the mind of a more or less intelligent creature, that compares a situation/action to its own set of believes and ideals.

Tijmen

Veers
08-24-2002, 01:15 PM
We are inherently bad, yes...take a look around. We are capable of good, yes, but we are flawed and will therefore screw up more times than not.

Deb Fisher
08-24-2002, 04:24 PM
Hmmm...

I think that 'evil' is more than anything a product of fear. I think Calvinism is a messed up belief system because fear is at its center (no wonder humans then are inherently evil!)

I also think that living in a state of fearlessness is anything from unwise to impossible.

More later, I'm still chewing.

Neil Mick
08-24-2002, 05:20 PM
I think the glass is half full.

Evil and good are relative concepts, depending upon the society.

Now, selfishness versus altruism: that's another matter. Is selfishness "evil?" Our society thinks not. Take the stock market: a whole system built upon ppl's selfish desires, but (in theory) helping run the economy.

A system built upon predicting selfish impulses, generating more selfish impulses to buy or sell, providing the "glue" for our economy which holds our society together.

Human beings have an (innate or imprinted) desire to love and be loved, as well as a (learned or instinctual) impulse to (real or perceived) harm.

Left to their own devices, humans tend to treat each other with love and respect, unless racism or fear reactions mess up the party.

The glass is half full.

DaveO
08-24-2002, 05:23 PM
The question, as it stands, is asking 'Do humans have a moral instinct?' No, we don't. I personally believe that the vast majority of people on this world are kind, good folks with strong morals. If it seems otherwise, it's just because bad people tend to make more of themselves.

But we don't have a moral instinct. We have a survival instinct. We do what we've learned gives us the best chance to survive and perpetuate ourselves. In a social species like ours, most of us as children learn from our parents and environment that the way to survive is to be kind and generous, so that others will be the same to us. This learned behaviour develops, of course, into a desire to be helpful, to reach out to others regardless of return. But it is still learned behaviour, not an instinct.

Take the example of a street kid who finds himself in a gang. What does he learn? Kindness? Generosity? No. He learns dominance, theft, violence as the way to survive. Kindness is weakness, generosity is to be exploited. If humanity had a moral instinct, gang members would feel inside what they were doing was wrong, regardless of whatever they were told, but even a cursory glance shows that this is not the case - swarming and killing someone for $20 in their wallet, or their coat, or just for laughs, is perfectly all right to some people. That's what they've learned.

And the media sure doesn't help. Look who our heroes are: Criminals, WWF superstars, action heros. The Sopranos is one of TV's most popular shows; the message being 'these criminals - these thieves and murderers are good people'. Stone Cold Steve Austin has his face - and his upraised fingers - on every second T-shirt out there. The 'Good Cop' is the one that kills 50 bad guys on his way to killing the main bad guy with a clever quip. The hero is the one with the biggest gun. There are no popular heros who triumphed by putting his weapon down - and please, I'm talking about media, not religon.

Video games are all about bloody, gory fighting. (I've been arguing against Mortal Kombat since the day that disgusting 'game' came out.) In the West, unless a kid has real good parents, the message he learns nowadays is 'violence is success'.

So good - or evil - is not an inherent behaviour, but a learned one. I'm just worried about how few people are learning the good side nowadays.

Dave

Veers
08-24-2002, 05:46 PM
I still say we're inherently bad... Like I said, we can learn to be better, or worse. I do not wish to debate all about this, so I will leave it at I say so because of observation (if we were not inherently evil, shouldn't there be at least one person who's perfect? well, there's not) and my beliefs in the Bible.

Dave, ever read Lord of the Rings? Aragorn is a good example of a hero who remains a hero even when he lays aside his sword. Also, I'm only 17 (probably one of the younger members here) and I, too, despise Mortal Combat (both for its fighting inacuracy and its violence) and other media. Guess how much TV I watch in a week...10 hours maybe? No, I watch one 30 min show on weekdays (G Gundam) and the occasional TechTV. Ok, so most of my screen time is on the computer, but I also don't like games made for the violence...anyway, dinner's ready, gotta go.

Neil Mick
08-24-2002, 07:03 PM
Lol...good post, Jonathan.
The question, as it stands, is asking 'Do humans have a moral instinct?' No, we don't. I personally believe that the vast majority of people on this world are kind, good folks with strong morals. If it seems otherwise, it's just because bad people tend to make more of themselves.

But we don't have a moral instinct. We have a survival instinct. We do what we've learned gives us the best chance to survive and perpetuate ourselves. In a social species like ours, most of us as children learn from our parents and environment that the way to survive is to be kind and generous, so that others will be the same to us. This learned behaviour develops, of course, into a desire to be helpful, to reach out to others regardless of return. But it is still learned behaviour, not an instinct.

Take the example of a street kid who finds himself in a gang. What does he learn? Kindness? Generosity? No. He learns dominance, theft, violence as the way to survive. Kindness is weakness, generosity is to be exploited. If humanity had a moral instinct, gang members would feel inside what they were doing was wrong, regardless of whatever they were told, but even a cursory glance shows that this is not the case - swarming and killing someone for $20 in their wallet, or their coat, or just for laughs, is perfectly all right to some people. That's what they've learned.

And the media sure doesn't help. Look who our heroes are: Criminals, WWF superstars, action heros. The Sopranos is one of TV's most popular shows; the message being 'these criminals - these thieves and murderers are good people'. Stone Cold Steve Austin has his face - and his upraised fingers - on every second T-shirt out there. The 'Good Cop' is the one that kills 50 bad guys on his way to killing the main bad guy with a clever quip. The hero is the one with the biggest gun. There are no popular heros who triumphed by putting his weapon down - and please, I'm talking about media, not religon.

Video games are all about bloody, gory fighting. (I've been arguing against Mortal Kombat since the day that disgusting 'game' came out.) In the West, unless a kid has real good parents, the message he learns nowadays is 'violence is success'.

So good - or evil - is not an inherent behaviour, but a learned one. I'm just worried about how few people are learning the good side nowadays.

Dave
All of your examples are from our society, which rewards violence and mythologizes aggression.

Other societies are different.

But, do we have a programmed, instinctive response to survive and be selfish? I believe so.

Is the behavior to be kind and generous learned, or instinctive? An experiment was done with a baby monkey. It was separated with its mother and was given a choice between a mom-doll that was functional but with a mechanical look and hard edges, or one with softer surfaces and more anthropormorphic. The monkey almost always chose the softer doll.

Maybe the desire to be good is the instinctive desire to have a comfortable spot next to mom! :D

SeiserL
08-24-2002, 08:33 PM
IMHO, since there is no research that confirms the biological or genetic basis of moral cognitive distinctions or judgements, I would have to conclude that while it appears "normal" in our age and society, it is not inherently natural to be bad or evil. It is learned and anything we learn we can unlearn. And that is why we are here.

Until again,

Lynn

mike lee
08-25-2002, 05:06 AM
Most other people are bad -- but I'm good! ;)

P.S. I think that the Catholics believe that mankind's tendency toward lust and materialism, which breaks the link with the spirit, is what makes him inherently "bad." As a Christian, I've concluded that the best way to deal with the situation is face the problem and overcome it. In aikido terms -- achieve haromony :ai: within one's self.

guest1234
08-25-2002, 06:54 AM
Well, I've already proved lapses in my Catholic upbringing, but... I think humans are born with the potential for infinate good, and the ability to learn to be infinately bad. The direction they take is based on their life experiences and what they learn from it.

A very small percentage, through some terrible chain of developmental events, learn to see others as not human, and end up on the road approaching infinately bad.

The rest of us, somewhere else in the spectrum.

I think Dave had a point that may have been missed: when the US military realized that their soldiers had an inborn reluctance to kill, studies were made and projects designed to change training, so that soldiers would kill effectively when ordered to do so. The result, more realistic appearing targets, eventually virtual wars where soldiers could 'kill' their opponents, desensitzation to scenes of carnage, etc.

Many of these things are today accomplished for our youth through TV, movies, and video games, but without the layer that the military used, the need to hold fire until ordered to do so.

Choku Tsuki
08-25-2002, 10:34 AM
Yes.

Kevin Leavitt
08-25-2002, 11:10 AM
lots of good discussion going on on both sides of the fence!

Some say humans are born "bad", some say not.

I tend to think that we are born "neutral" to the concepts of good and bad and that we are products of our environment.

I somewhat agree with Deb that most of behavior is rooted in fear or lack of understanding.

Therefore, if we are products of our own paradigms and conditioning, then the good news is that we can do something about it!

However, several people made some arguments contrary.

From the biological perspective, in the theory of natural selection, it is in each organisms best interest to act as an individual. I would also agree with that.

But, nature also shows us that sometimes in highly evolved social animals such as ants that acting for the better of the group is good for the individual.

Therefore, altruism, or selflessness can also support the theory of natural selection.

An argument that I would offer Jonathan, if humans are born "bad", then how could they ever be "good"?

If they are capable of both "bad" and "good" then I wouldn't that make them "neutral" and put the concepts of good and bad on either side of the coin..therefore all behavior is learned?

guest1234
08-25-2002, 12:18 PM
You can argue born neutral and become good or bad, born bad but learn to be good, and born good and learn to be bad...so I think what 'starting point' you choose depends on how you see human life.

Personally, I our soul is a bit of what I see as God, and so that makes each human born containing an absolute good, and behavior develops from that point. But it is my belief, not something that I could prove, and I can't quarrel with those who choose a different starting point (although I do wonder what it is like to view the world throught the eyes of those who believe in the 'bad' starting point).

Looking out for one's interests does not make one bad, necessarily (picture the hero jumping to safety at the last second as the arch villain plunges to his death), nor does putting someone else's interests first necessarily make one good (picture an abused spouse).

wanderingwriath
08-25-2002, 12:38 PM
Well I would have to say that labeling newborns or even adults "bad" or "good" by nature is a foolish notion because in nature there is no "bad" or "good." There is only survival. No other creature on earth has an understanding of evil or absolute good. It is a man made concept to use for a cop out IMHO. We use those concepts to explain things that we can't understand. It is the ego that seperates man's mind from an animal's. Animals do what they must to survive. That same instinct has somehow been warped into self satisfaction in humans. We do things in order to feel safe yes, but all the "bad" things that people do are motivated by ego. There are many of us who are trying to overcome this ego. I think that is the human plight of seeking salvation.

Not to be arguementative DaveO, but you're putting blame on popular media that is IMHO a cop out as well. My parents tried to tell me that I shouldn't watch the Simpsons because it would teach me bad things. However, I love that show and always have. The simple truth is that no matter what happens in the fantasy of media, a child develops it's morals from interaction with other human beings. I did not learn to be "bad" from the Simpsons and to this day I feel that such a cop out is an insult to a young person's intelligence and potential.

Kevin Leavitt
08-25-2002, 12:46 PM
Yes Colleen, you I agree...this was the conclusion I reached, and where I was going next....it really doesn't matter since it is all a matter of perspective!

Which is why today, I seem to have be less opinionated then when I was younger, you really must be careful about forming a conclusion, even if it is based on "fact" since the facts are usually clouded by all kinds of things.

Another thought I had was along the lines of an inner city culture where violence becomes the "norm". "Gang Bangers" and the like to frame it into a stereotype, are not "wrong" in how they act, they are products of the environment that they grew up in. They actions are validated and reinforced by that environment. To them it is a matter of personal AND group survival for the to act this way (so they think).

Prison, the death penality, are examples of "negative" reform. (you modify behavior in attempt to AVOID something more negative).

How might you use Aikido, or the principles or Aikido to reach out to people to modify behavior in a "postive" manner? (modify behavior in attempt to INCUR something more positive.)

Negative reforms/discipline are necessary in varying degrees...but they have not proven to be effective at reducing "bad" or conflict behavior.

Kevin Leavitt
08-25-2002, 12:56 PM
The media is something that "we" as a society created. Therefore, to see yourself removed from the media, and use it as a scapegoat would be wrong. Everyone in the world is responsible for his/her actions, including the institutions we create.

I agree that "good" and "evil" are concepts that humans created. Especially when you get into morality issues stemming from the dogma of religious institutions.

However, looking at the core of the dogma, for the most part the dogma is a set of rules developed in an attempt to get people to get along collectively! (Don't want to get into the politics of social groups and the attempt to control others through the use of rules and dogma!)

I do think animals at a core level understand good and bad. Most animals seems to have an inherent ability to understand that it is BAD to be eaten by another animal therefore, they will tend to avoid that.

The unfortunate thing with Humans is that we are victims of our own intelligence. We have very cleverly disguised rules, dogma, socialization, the media in ways that seek to influence others for the benefit of others. All the smoke and mirrors and distractions can really confuse and trick you into all sorts of behaviors which create conflict both at a personal level and at a societal level.

I think the thing to do is to first be aware of it and then start actively thinking about the things you do daily and the impact that it has on the world.

Veers
08-25-2002, 02:47 PM
Kev...I would say that to become good we need God's help. Really, when you look at it, without love, "good" deeds are really selfish ones...and since God is love (by love I mean unselfish, no grudges, patient, kind, forgiving, etc. and also, "love is God" is not true), while what we do--helping the old lady across the street, stopping to help someone with a flat, etc.--are good deeds (really, they are), the majority of the time they're selfish...expecting some kind of reward, either from man or God.

Neil Mick
08-25-2002, 03:03 PM
Abraham Maslow, in his "Hierarchy of Needs," describes the impules to love and be loved is inherent in everyone (I'm paraphrasing here, so apologies), even in ppl who are doing evil. Does any leader committing an evil act say that they're doing evil? No: they say that they must do this thing for the good of..."

According to Maslow, this person is doing an evil act out of a need to love, or be loved. Their process of acting out this need, and their perceptions of their actions, have been twisted by how they were treated in the past.

Kevin Leavitt
08-25-2002, 03:23 PM
Interesting perspectives...one based on God as manifestation of love, another based on an western pyschologist.

Both, center on the concept of man acting in his own self interest.

As has been stated above, lets not dwell on the origins or perspective of self interest we could be here forever, and never agree.

Is it safe to say that Man's goal is a simple one, that is to acheive happiness?

You might derive happiness in helping a lady cross the street...or from eating a gallon of Ben and Jerry's, or in believing in and worshiping a God.

Is this drive to acheive personal happiness what causes all the conflict in the world?

Veers
08-25-2002, 04:37 PM
Yes, I think it's safe to say man's goal is to acheive happiness. However, I don't think that that goal is what causes the worlds' problems; but rather sin.

guest1234
08-25-2002, 05:36 PM
I would say that conflict results when one person's way to happiness impinges on another's, whether it is two siblings competing for mother's attention, two men fighting over a loaf of bread/bottle of wine/woman, companies over a contract, or nations over land/oil/visions of government. The trick is finding a way for each to achieve happiness but not at the expense of another's. To do this, you have to see the other as a partner in achieving mutually satisfactory goals, rather than an opponent in a win-or-lose situation.

So I guess for me the cause of conflict is the inability to see partners, and the preference for seeing opponents.

opherdonchin
08-25-2002, 06:18 PM
To do this, you have to see the other as a partner in achieving mutually satisfactory goals, rather than an opponent in a win-or-lose situation.

So I guess for me the cause of conflict is the inability to see partners, and the preference for seeing opponents.
Got to agree with Coleen on this one. I was going to say earlier in the thread that the whole notion of Good and Evil (or selfishness and altruism) depend on our understanding of who is part of the Us and who (or what) is Not Us. A lot of morality has within it hidden assumptions about the extent and limitation of the Us. Thus, as we extend our idea of who and what is the same as us, we find our morality extending to more and more of creation. Personally, I find the idea of extending it to flies and musquitoes to be a bit much, and I probably draw my own line at dogs and cats and maybe also other human beings who look different than me, but that's just me.

Kevin Leavitt
08-25-2002, 07:01 PM
Great responses!

Once again, I must agree with Colleen on her thought that when the goal for happiness between two individuals collides and impinges is what causes conflict.

Not sure I understand the concept of sin. Jonathan has offered it as the cause of bad or evil. Jonathan, what is your definition of sin? Is it the cause of bad behavior, or is sin the result of that behavior?

I also was thinking of this. If you take a religious/diety based stance on this issue. then the basic logic argument could be this. God is all good, God is omnipotent and omnipresent and all is all things. Bad exist, therefore God must be bad as well as good. Food for thought!

guest1234
08-25-2002, 09:30 PM
Maybe Jonathan is onto something, then, at least by the use of 'sin', which would to me be the turning away from God. By good and bad we mean good behavior (virtue) and bad behavior (sin) which are not things, but actions. And while He created all things, and is all powerful, He allows us the choice of our actions (or our ancestors stole it along with the apple)... giving us the responsibilty for our choices, and the ability to choose good or bad actions.

Kevin Leavitt
08-25-2002, 10:08 PM
So, Colleen, based on that premise, then humans would be born neutral on indifferent to good and bad?

If we do indeed have a choice, then it would also follow that humans are 100% accountable for their actions.

If this is the case, then the etiology of the cause, whether scientific or religious is really of no concern, since in both cases, humans always have a independent choice of behavior.

But back to our train of thought, they would still be motivated to use behavior, good or bad to acheive personal happiness correct?

guest1234
08-25-2002, 10:54 PM
Well, I don't see why free choice makes humans born neutral, could be so, but for me, they are born good and make their choices from there. I would also say that right behavior (good behavior) results in (achieves) happiness, although either behavior might be used in the pursuit of happiness.

opherdonchin
08-26-2002, 09:13 AM
There is one modern perspective on morality that we have been ignorning, and that is the perspective of mental illness. Increasingly, the modern, western perspective on aberrant behvior is to see it in term of chemical imbalances or other detectable and treatable patho-physiologies. Although this perspective meets a great deal of resistance from religious and humanist alike, it has been quietly creating a real revolution in our understanding of violent and anti-social behavior.

The place where I get really confused, though, is this: on the one hand, we know that good and evil are, at least to a large extent fluid concepts that are culturally defined and imposed; on the other hand, if a culture could truly enforce its version of good behvaior through medical technology, it would lose a primary means through which cultures change and evolve.

akiy
08-26-2002, 09:35 AM
As this thread has really not had any aikido content, I will be moving it into the "Non-Aikido Discussions" forum (formerly known as the "Chit Chat" forum) later today.

-- Jun

Veers
08-26-2002, 09:41 AM
Kevin: Sin is our wrong deeds. Or, what offends God. Lying, cheating, stealing, murder, slander, etc. There're a lot of things. Is it the cause of bad behavior? No, sin itself is the bad behavior, but we are born into sin...IOW, destined to sin unless we ask God's help.
God is all good, God is omnipotent and omnipresent and all is all things. Bad exist, therefore God must be bad as well as good.
Yes, God is all good, and no one is good but Him alone. Yes, he's omnipotent and omnipresent. Bad exists, yes, but God is not bad. He created humans to be good; Adam and Eve were made good, they sinned, and mankind was cursed to be born bad from then on. God is not bad, because He is holy and incapable of evil. Evil was allowed to enter the world because He gives us free will to choose.
on the one hand, we know that good and evil are, at least to a large extent fluid concepts that are culturally defined and imposed
So, you wouldn't mind if the whole culture decided it was ok to murder and we killed you? See? You can't defend moral reletivism and then say some things are always wrong.

One other thing, it's relevance is up to you...we define the culture, not vise versa.

Bruce Baker
08-26-2002, 09:46 AM
I have short saying I sometimes use say goodbye to friends....

If you can't be good, don't get caught.

If you get caught, always be good.

If you are always good, you won't get caught,

so, always be good.

Now ... the theif would consider the reckless side of this statement to be that being bad and being successful is a matter of being good at what you do so that the consequences are minimal or capture is very unlikely.

The honest person would consider that being good, with good intentions, pure thought would prevent them from straying down the path of not being good.

I am sure there are many more areas of grey, and considerations for being good and not getting caught.

The point of human beings having the choice to be either the benevolent or animalistic behavior is only controled by the preventive measures of our own society that allows of disallows for this type of behavior.

Which are you ... the theif ... the honest person ... or the many shades of grey?

I would think as we try to train in Aikido, we would seek to leave the shaded grey areas and strive to be the honest person with strength from our training in physical presence as well as our intellectual knowledge?

Choice is a bitch of a learning process, but that is the life lesson of all living creatures ... even you and me.

As far as born with evil intent, I have seen some people who have had to be killed because they could not be reached by any means present in that time period, so yes there are times that evil must be killed, overthrown, or beaten.

Hopefully, our Aikido training will keep our society strong and help to protect our peaceful ways.

opherdonchin
08-26-2002, 09:55 AM
So, you wouldn't mind if the whole culture decided it was ok to murder and we killed you? See? You can't defend moral reletivism and then say some things are always wrong.Well, I imagine I would mind. History is filled with examples of people killing each other, each filled with a sense that he (and it was usually he) was doing right. You, Jonathan, may be sure that you have a main line to god's thinking on morality. Indeed, you may be right, and I dare say you and I would agree on more moral issues than we disagree about. I'm prefectly willing to believe that your faith gives you deep understanding of what is Right and Wrong.

On the other hand, it would be foolish of you to ignore the many MILLIONS of other people who have felt this way (but had very different ideas of right and wrong than you do), and it would disrespectful of you to assume that they deserve anything but the deepest respect for their views. Indeed, even a limited historical understanding of your own faith would teach that many good and selfless people subscribing to your faith have had widely divergent ideas about what Right and Wrong might be.

Where do we go with that? Well, for instance, it would be wise to recognize that our sense of how good, bad, or indifferent people are depends on how strictly or inclusively we define the notion of Good. If we decide that being Selfish is being Evil, then it will be hard to argue that humans don't have at least some evil in them. If, on the other hand, we understand Good and Evil in terms of Connection and Alienation (like Colleen seems to), then it is easier to see people being born with a strong potential for both and a deep dependence on their environment for proper opportunities to connect.
One other thing, it's relevance is up to you...we define the culture, not vise versa.Is that so? I would have thought is was more vice versa (being a product, you know, of my liberal, humanist education) but mostly it seems to me like it goes both ways.

Veers
08-26-2002, 10:12 AM
No disrespect intended...
On the other hand, it would be foolish of you to ignore the many MILLIONS of other people who have felt this way (but had very different ideas of right and wrong than you do), and it would disrespectful of you to assume that they deserve anything but the deepest respect for their views.
I am not ignoring them, or saying they're incapable of being right some or most of the time in their beliefs on right or wrong. I did not assume anything on what they deserve. Yes, I respect someone because they're human, and I respect they views because we all have views and, though some are right and some wrong, no one's perfect, myself included.
Indeed, even a limited historical understanding of your own faith would teach that many good and selfless people subscribing to your faith have had widely divergent ideas about what Right and Wrong might be.
Um, well, sort of...there are gray areas...even as a Christian I'll say that (R rated movies, for one). However, someone claiming to be a Christian who says that adultry is okay is way off his/her rocker...they're either lying about being a Christian, or they need a few things about their faith explained to them.

[Is that so? I would have thought is was more vice versa (being a product, you know, of my liberal, humanist education) but mostly it seems to me like it goes both ways.
Well, tell me this, if it's as you see it, what would happen if 50% of America's population were replaced by, oh, say, Brazilians (sp?) (though there probably aren't enough to do so...and I don't mean to pick on them)...would the culture change, or would they change to the culture? I think it's obvious that the culture would change. Maybe this is a bad example...if so, sorry...best I could do in five minutes...I'll think some more on it.

mike lee
08-26-2002, 10:41 AM
Sorry -- I'm feeling a little simple minded today.

Everybody's bad unless I meet a girl who likes me -- Then everybody's good.

guest1234
08-26-2002, 11:26 AM
Jonathan--That murder is wrong might be universally accepted; but the definition of murder is defined by the population.

Scores of innocents were murdered by both sides in the Crusades in the Middle East. More were murdered by the Albigensian Crusade, famous for a line now appropriated by several different military groups: "Kill them all, the Lord will know his own", murmured by the Papal Legate Arnaud Amaury to the soldiers ready to put the inhabitants of the city of Beziers to the sword, and uncertain how to tell the faithful from the heretic. The Old Testament is full of references of rape and murder in God's name, and most of the ethnic clensing of the Balkans had more to do with faith than genetics. There are lots more examples of when murder isn't murder, or killing is defined as justified. Even a sin like murder is subject to man's definition.

Opher--hmmm, manipulation to 'Good' via brain chemistry? intriguing thought to the (possible) overuse of ritalin and prozac...and remind me that I definately don't want to volunteer for any experiments you might run ;)

opherdonchin
08-26-2002, 11:34 AM
Colleen,

We don't even need to go so far into history. We can stay right here at home and think of the death penalty. Some call it murder, others call it justice, and all I know for sure is that the morality of it is a matter of deep differences between well meaning poeople.

Chocolateuke
08-26-2002, 12:08 PM
er, I tend to subscribe to the idea that we are born good ( I mean what can we do then??), but we pick up habits from our surroundings and emotions.

guest1234
08-26-2002, 12:15 PM
Opher--I just find it safer to pick on the viewpoints of right-wing establishment religious fanatics of the 1200's than those held by my CINC ;)

Bruce Baker
08-26-2002, 12:21 PM
Morality ... the evil intent ... the strength of a society to maintain a code of ethics depends on the strength of individuals who will stand up for that morality.

Yes, there are choices to use the baser instinctual force of killing, war, and become the destroyers of what is built, but that only happens when we don't maintain our strength in body and mind.

Again ... use your training to give you the means to physically enforce the peaceful free society you see as a balanced world of nations.

Grow in spirit, as well as skill, to control the darker side of what might be ... if we were to give up our protection of society and your freedom. Our personal culture is not caste to be exactly like other cultures are, but our goals of free society, and peace are ... aikido shows us the that separateness can be our wedge, or the binding tie to reach our common goals.

Lessons of physical contact in practice reaching into the application of societys checks and balances ... Yep

Aikido.

wanderingwriath
08-26-2002, 01:27 PM
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Right and wrong are grey areas. Even if you come from a religious stand point there are a multitude of different interpretations about every religion.

Cristian
08-26-2002, 11:45 PM
┐Evil?┐Good?┐Neutral? If we take seriously that universal truth does not exist, the questions don't make sence (an indeed a lot of wars, murders and little discussions for this reason). The people Born and start inbody their society, like a cameleon mimetisize with the leaves of the tree. Rationality (includes moral)is only one aspects of this.

Because we are social beings, in my opinion, the question is Ethic (no moral). The point is if we (i - you - etc) want or not to be responsable of the consecuences of our actions.

I think this perspective allows us play the BIG GAME: "Accept diversity, then make agreements to live the kinds of live that we want, in harmony with others nations, cultures, races, religions, styles"

One posibility is that we want to destroy other cultures, but the big diference, is that isn't in the God's, Truth, some Values name, or because we are bad or good, is because WE WANT it (is not my choice).

The love, in all its expressions, is an inheritance of all cultures, because we are all mammals, of course, one special kind of it. This reason i think explains why in all cultures we dream of a better world ... God give us responsability to don't use His name in our causes.

Kevin Leavitt
08-27-2002, 07:52 PM
I am sorry to see this thread relegated to "Chit Chat". My thought was that exploring a core concept such as good or bad was very relevant to the essence of spirituality and aikido since the goal of aikido is to refine the soul or spirit and make it pure. In doing so we might be able to realize the goal of aikido which is peace.

Guess it escapes me as to how this is "chit chat".

Am I to assume that the forum for "spirituality" is reserved for more "direct" and superfical and limited discussion on "spirituality and aikido"?

akiy
08-27-2002, 10:39 PM
I am sorry to see this thread relegated to "Chit Chat". My thought was that exploring a core concept such as good or bad was very relevant to the essence of spirituality and aikido since the goal of aikido is to refine the soul or spirit and make it pure. In doing so we might be able to realize the goal of aikido which is peace.

Guess it escapes me as to how this is "chit chat".
If the discussion were to center around how aikido helps "refine the soul or spirit," then I think it would have been pertinent to the Spirituality forum.
Am I to assume that the forum for "spirituality" is reserved for more "direct" and superfical and limited discussion on "spirituality and aikido"?
Yes. As the description of the forum reads, "The Spiritual Aspects of Aikido."

-- Jun

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 06:54 AM
Jun,

The attempt of the thread was to get to "how aikido attempts to refine the soul".

I think before you can really discuss "how" you must establish a framework.

For instance, if we can agree that humans are neither inherently bad or good, and a product of their environment, then we can establish that awareness might be the first step toward refinement.

By being aware that you are constantly being influenced by your environment, other people, and your own paradigms and perspectives...you can then understand that you might not truely understand as much as you think you do.

Everyday, we make certain assumptions about our environment and form a reaction that we consider appropriate. How often are do we move in and "strike" on these assumptions as a response, before really truly understanding what is developing before our eyes?

If we ever expect to achieve peace and harmony both with ourselves and others, we must constantly be aware of the core of human nature. This, IMHO, is the core of spirituality.

Just like this thread being moved, how quick are we do judge something based on our own asumptions about the path that seems to be developing, only to find out that it really did lead somewhere?

The really core issues are not so direct and simply understood!

That said, Jun, I certainly appreciate your moderation and tolerance to certain things and supporting this wonderful forum.

No disrespect to other posters, but I have started two threads that I considered to be relevant and deal with "core" issues, only have them erode to politics and other side issues. The result was having them moved to "chit chat". It is frustrating at best to try and moderate these things and keep them on track.

I can certainly appreciate establishing the VOE, which BTW, I cannot participate on. I believe it was started to prevent such "static" from developing.

I don't have the answer to how to solve this other than to remind posters to think hard about what your are posting and make sure it is somewhat relevant to the core topic at hand and respect the "moderator" of the post (the thread starter) if he/she attempts to get things back on topic. (I at least once been accused of being a "topic nazi".)

On the other hand, as in aikido, it is interesting to let things flow and see where uke goes, it leads to new understandings and discoveries!

So I think there is a lesson in here somewhere!

Thanks for all your hard work Jun!

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 07:03 AM
Jun,

We seem to get into many discussions related around philosophy or religion in general.

I think these issues need to be explored from our own religious heritages and backgrounds

Maybe you could start of forum that would allow discussion of philosophy/religion in a general nature?

That way they stay out of the spirituality forum, and allow for discussion that many of us need to come to grips with in order to truly understand ourselves and how we relate to aikido!

guest1234
08-28-2002, 07:30 AM
Kevin,

I think you and Michael are taking it too personally where these things get posted. There is no A and B list of forums. And you are not responsible for how the thread runs, or where it goes, Jun is. Nor do you get to direct the flow of discussion on them, it is up to the members to discuss, as long as they are respectful of eachother, and don't exhibit blantant commercialism.

Jun's point is, discussing spiritual topics, even if they are tangentially related to Aikido in your daily life, along with political discussions, even if your views are based on Aikido in your daily life, will end up in Open. OK, so now we know where they will be. Spirituality in Aikido will probably focus more on things that quote O Sensei regularly. So now we know where those will be. I know which ones I'm interested in reading, so who cares?

opherdonchin
08-28-2002, 08:31 AM
Amen

akiy
08-28-2002, 09:06 AM
Hi Kevin, Colleen, et al,

I do understand your concerns and thoughts, especially in your frustrations in seeing threads started in "good faith" getting sidetracked and taken off into the "off-topic" hinterlands. But, frankly, that's the nature of getting involved in a public forum.

The spirituality forum is meant, as I wrote before, for disussing "The Spiritual Aspects of Aikido." I don't agree with Colleen, though, that it needs to focus on things that quote the founder; I'm sure people can express thoughts on what kind of changes and such have been brought on in their lives through their practice of aikido.

Spirituality is such a large topic! Just like politics, there's plenty to talk about in that topic. That's one of the reasons why I'm trying to keep threads which have at least some aikido content in the spirituality forum; otherwise, it will become full of non-aikido related threads. People searching through the forum looking for postings on spirituality in aikido will have to look through a lot more postings which doesn't directly concern themselves with that topic in order to find them.

I created the "Open Discussions" forum and renamed it from "Chit Chat" for just the kind of discussions that Kevin suggests -- "Maybe you could start of forum that would allow discussion of philosophy/religion in a general nature?" Once again, I hope people do not think that the "Open Discussions" forum carries a "second rate" forum feel; there have been some great threads started in there! Heck, I even renamed the forum in hopes that it woudn't sound like a place for "trivial" matters...

I try my best to keep this website an open place for exchanging aikido (and non-aikido!) information. I have been deliberately very loose (in my mind) in moderation, keeping respect of other people the number one rule; the few threads I have closed have contravened that simplest of Forum Rules. All I'm doing, kind of like a librarian, is trying my best to put things "where they belong."

Once again, just because a discussion gets placed in the "Open Discussion" doesn't make it less important in the world. However, this is an aikido website, so I'm just trying my best to organize the best I can.

I hope none of this is unreasonable! I'm always open for suggestions as I hope everyone knows. I appreciate the fact that people are asking about these things as it allows me to provide my own view about how the website is run.

There's a chance I may "split" this thread so that this part of the discussion (about the website) may end up in the "feedback" section. Just a warning...

Thanks,

-- Jun

opherdonchin
08-28-2002, 09:18 AM
Hey Jun,

One thing about splitting threads: is it possible for you to put 'links' at the end of the split thread to the associated threads you have made out of it. That way, if I'm 'subscribed' to something, I'll know where to 'bounce' to.

Thanx,

Opher

akiy
08-28-2002, 09:43 AM
Sounds good, Opher. Will do.

-- Jun

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 12:39 PM
Thanks Jun! Appreciate it. I understand a little better about what is going on now!

mike lee
08-29-2002, 03:52 AM
The soul cannot be "refined" by training in AIKIDO or by any other means. Such a statement is spiritual nonsense because the soul is permanent, unchangable and indestructable. This is why evil is so dangerous in the spirit form -- it can't be killed!

Think about it -- the soul of Hitler is alive and well, somewhere.

P.S. Now remember kiddies -- stay on topic.

Brian H
09-02-2002, 02:09 PM
Each one of us was born weak, helpless, and completely dependant on others for our every need. If you don't think the smallest need or irritation is overwhelming to a child, then you never had a colicky baby.

We were raised and parented through this phase with varying success by varying methods. Have you ever told someone "stop acting like a baby?"

Sex before marriage was recently regarded as a MAJOR SIN, now it is considered "unhealthy" not to a healthy/safe sex life.

Aikido teaches how to maintain and take balance in conflict. Some people never learned not to deny themselves anything.

As a cop, I have met a number of people that were "raised by wolves." They believe "law abiding citizens" are "suckers."

BAD and GOOD are what you were raised to believe or discovered through life and thought.

Kevin Leavitt
09-03-2002, 09:50 AM
IMHO, good and bad are relative concepts based on the man's perspective of duality.

In most eastern philosophy duality is something that is recognized, and they try to avoid it.

Again, our perceptions of good and bad are simply based on our own paradigms, making such assumptions is what gets us into fights and battles all the time.

Don't you hate it when you assume in Aikido that uke is striking one thing, then it turns out to be something else. You enter with the assumptive countermeasure only to get clocked with something else.

We need to learn how to put our paradigms in check and look at things at a very core level without the filters society, religion, politics, and emotions place on us. (distractions).