Black People : Why I think the golden rule is wrong

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by African_Prince, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. African_Prince

    African_Prince Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    48
    Ratings:
    +48
    I think the golden rule is irrational and here's why. First of all, the golden rule presupposes that other people share your preferences. Secondly, I believe that an action is moral only if it minimizes suffering or increases happiness (hedonistic consequentialism). The golden rule sometimes increases suffering and minimizes happiness. If you followed the golden rule consistently and you found a 7 year old who wanted to experiment with heroin, you wouldn't be justified in preventing them from doing so. If you wouldn't want anyone violating your autonomy and telling you what to do with your body, are you justified in violating someone's elses? I would say 'yes' because although we should generally respect the autonomy of other people, we're justified in violating someone's autonomy if it prevents more distress than it causes.



    Another example. If you knew that your best friend's wife was cheating on him but it could be absolutely guaranteed that he would never find out, she was a loving partner and they had a happy relationship together, would you be justified in telling him? I would argue 'no' because as long as his wife's infidelity is not causing him to suffer or depriving him of happiness (I say this because killing someone in their sleep would deprive them of happiness even if it could be done painlessly), there's nothing morally wrong with it. You can argue that he has a right to know but I believe happiness is more important than knowledge, it's the only thing in the universe that is intrinsically valuable and distress is the only thing that is intrinsically disvaluable, everything else is only instrumentally valuable or disvaluable to the extent that they increase pleasure or pain. He might appreciate your having told him and think he was better off for it but it wouldn't make him any happier and feeling happiness/not suffering is all that matters. Telling him on the basis that he'd want to know the truth is nonsensical because in order to want to know something, you would have to know it. What people want is to be able to genuinely believe that what they know is true. Your desire to know the truth is satisfied as long as you believe that you know the truth, whether or not it actually is true is irrelevant.



    I could go on but you get the idea. I believe that empathy (which I define as imagining another person's emotional state of mind and adopting it out of identification with them) is the only valid basis for a moral framework and if you based all of your moral decisions on empathy and empathy alone (concern and the desire to help others is not necessarily empathetic), you would naturally adopt a hedonistic/consequentialist world view. What do you think?
     
  2. Blaklioness

    Blaklioness Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    3,346
    Likes Received:
    1,809
    Ratings:
    +1,812
    Can you provide real examples of where knowledge of something hidden has NEVER been revealed AND where that hidden knowledge (i.e. those hidden actions) has never harmed anyone? Do you know for a fact that those cheating actions have not brought harm to your friend? If so, how? I ask because there are a lot of things swept under the rug by folks who've done wrong, and those actions have had negative impact on others in SOME WAY. I am kind of a believer in doing unto others as they do unto me---which means that I mete out the same level of respect that is given to me. I guess you can say I start off honoring the golden rule unless I see a person's actions don't reciprocate, then all bets are off. Otherwise, it's like the 'turn the other cheek' philosophy---if it gets out of check, then you permit a tolerant environment in which evil thrives.




    Also, I have to ask you....do you have a lot of white/nonblack acquaintances, associates, friends, etc.?




     
  3. African_Prince

    African_Prince Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    48
    Ratings:
    +48
    It was a hypothetical scenario. My point was that the objective of moral behavior should be to minimize suffering and increase happiness. If I told a friend that his wife was cheating on him, it would only be on the basis that finding out otherwise might cause him more stress than finding out from me would.
     
  4. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Messages:
    14,710
    Likes Received:
    3,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    owner of various real estate concerns
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Ratings:
    +3,014
    exactly

    what is the golden rule?
     
  5. Blaklioness

    Blaklioness Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    3,346
    Likes Received:
    1,809
    Ratings:
    +1,812
    In order to pose a moral dilemma such as this, you'd have to kind of go the distance. So, somewhere in your hypothetical scenario, you'd have to be able to tell if suffering of any sort could surface, at any point, for the man or any offspring the couple may have. I've not known of evil deeds that are initially hidden not to in somehow and in some way surface; in a case like yours, somebody is gonna get a disease, a child of questionable genetic origin will surface, someone's gonna get pissed, someone's gonna bump into somebody who knows somebody, etc. I mean is happiness only an illusion?...because essentially, that is what you are proposing---that he is only being fooled into believing he has something solid. The bottom line is, why is she cheating?-----what's missing in that relationship (or in her) such that deception becomes necessary? Do you believe the universe ignores such deception--such gaps in human flaws? In order to believe that the man isn't or won't be in some way harmed by the deceit of his mate, you'd have to also believe that the universe is uninvolved in such matters, and I've personally not seen evidence of this.




     
  6. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Messages:
    14,710
    Likes Received:
    3,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    owner of various real estate concerns
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Ratings:
    +3,014
    I still would like to know exactly what Golden Rule the brother is talking about so I can understand his hypothsis
     
  7. African_Prince

    African_Prince Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    48
    Ratings:
    +48

    'Do unto others as you would have done unto you'.

    In this hypothetical scenario, he will never find out and her cheating on him will never cause him to suffer. I'm not saying you are never justified in causing someone to suffer (be it telling them that their partner is cheating on them or whatever), I'm saying that causing others distress is only justifiable if it will prevent more distress. The specific example of cheating doesn't matter. I don't believe in an afterlife but if a little boy was dying of cancer (and knew he was going to die) and he asked me if he would go to heaven, I would look him straight in the eyes and tell him yes. That will make him happy, regardless of whether or not it's true.



    I think most people reject what I'm saying because we're hardwired to associate the objects of our emotions with our emotions. An emotion and the event or thing that triggers is it are two completely seperate things. For example, one man could have a deep phobia of watching an apple fall from a tree, it could cause him great anxiety and disgust. For another man, watching an apple fall from a tree could make him happy like nothing else could. Both men regard the event as intrinsically disvaluable or valuable but really, it's the emotional response to watching an apple fall from a tree that is disvaluable or valuable. In and of itself, an apple falling from a tree is neither good nor bad. Whether or not the man has an honest, monogamous partner doesn't matter, what matters is the happiness that believing his partner is honest and monogamous causes him.



    Maybe she just wants diversity, maybe he no longer satisfies her, whatever. In this scenario, it's the man I'm concerned with.




    I believe that the universe is a mindless, amoral system. It is neither for or against anything.
     
  8. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Messages:
    14,710
    Likes Received:
    3,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    owner of various real estate concerns
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Ratings:
    +3,014
    Do unto others as you would have done unto you
    what does that have to do with preferences?

    each person has 2 eyes, 2 ears, a bran, and a heart.
    the physical part is all the same and the etheric part is the same

    most people love what is good and hate what is evil, see to enjoy a life unmessed with,
    and desire morefor their children then they had when they were young.

    After all how else would one do unto others and from what ideology and from what intention and motivation?
     
  9. African_Prince

    African_Prince Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    48
    Ratings:
    +48
    One woman might appreciate her friend telling her that a certain dress is ugly or makes her look 'fat', another woman might think her friend is being rude and inconsiderate. Some things that cause one person pleasure or stress might not cause another person the same. What some people regard as 'helpful' is not, from another person's perspective.

    Doing unto others what you would have done unto you might be out of concern or respect but not necessarily empathy.
     
  10. Blaklioness

    Blaklioness Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    3,346
    Likes Received:
    1,809
    Ratings:
    +1,812
    Ok. I'm not convinced of the neutral universe, so your hypothetical scenario is difficult to relate to what, in reality, would actually play out. SOMEHOW, he's going to find out, especially if it is someway related to an act he himself has previously carried out. If he first committed this act in violation against a love pact he willingly entered, he will get his due; there is nothing to stop that from rolling. Why should he be happy, even under illusion, if he first caused unhappiness? I mean, really, the scenario is too 'clean' because there are ISSUES behind cheating, and they must be dealt with or they will keep surfacing. I would tell them.



     
Loading...