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 Intellectual/Moral Integrity vs Survival

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Arbiter of Change

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PostSubject: Intellectual/Moral Integrity vs Survival   Sat May 02, 2015 2:44 pm

The following exchange prompted me to think about this subject and inspired me to make this thread:

zinnat13 wrote:
Arbiter of Change wrote:
zinnat13 wrote:
Try to be nimble and flexible in the life for the time being. Do not try to force the issues. Weakness have its own strengths. Storms can uproot only huge and tall trees, not grass. The grass can move and bend here and here with the winds, but will stood straight again, as soon as the the storm will pass. But, once a tree is uprooted, it is gone forever.

Another possible interpretation:

The tree stands its ground, tall and mighty, a force to be reckoned with. Strong and independent, it lives hundreds of years, wages battles with numerous winds and never bends to other's will, for it would rather die. Preserving integrity and affecting the world around itself, continuously growing it towers above it and keeps ascending until its undoing.

The grass lives a pitiful, meaningless life - it bends to what is current, whatever it is. The grass has no identity of it own, no individuality, it is a collective. Its existence is short, its potential for growth more limited than that of a tree. It leaves no relevant impact in the world.

Change,

I do not think you got it.

The analogy does not say that grass is more follow worthy than tree always. It talkes about only a particular context: the storm or bad times.

That is only when the example of the grass should be followed. Means, ego and rigidness would not work in adversities. One should be ready to adjust according to the circumstances.

A weak but adjustable person can survive bad times easily than a srong but rigid/egoistic one. What will happen to both of them in good time is a different issue.

With love,
Sanjay

The tree in this case I understood to symbolize a proud, virtuous person who prioritizes intellectual/moral integrity above survival and would rather die than succumb to what they consider immoral/evil/untrue.
The grass is the one who chooses the path of least resistance, whose intellectual and moral positions are dependent on how well they contribute to their survival regardless of the truth, facts, and what they actually consider moral/true.

The grass can, sometimes, if it is convenient, assume the true/moral positions like a tree does, and it is consistent with the concept of a grass if it contributes to their survival.
But can a tree prioritize survival above intellectual/moral integrity and still remain a mighty, proud and strong tree?

A practical example would be: If Nazis/Communists were to try and take your neighbors/friends/family away, would you prioritize your own survival and not do anything or would you try to help at the risk of your survival? Do you think you would be acting less morally if you let them get taken, or do you think it's equally justified not to do anything because it threatens your survival? Also, would you react differently depending on the degree of intimacy in relationships you developed with people about to be taken away (a neighbor, a friend or family)?

The crux of the issue: Is personal survival the only function of morality? Or does it extend to something beyond it, such as protecting other people and values we identify with? Or is that also a type of survival, if we the things that survived because of a person's sacrifice are a part of their identity?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

My position is that the grass is despicable and morally reprehensible. It conforms to mass thinking, which usually results in mass stupidity, weakness, and independence. I would rather die fighting for my values than live a worthless life of lies and submission. The only exception is the 'retreat to fight another day' scenario.


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PostSubject: Re: Intellectual/Moral Integrity vs Survival   Sat May 02, 2015 4:17 pm

Arbiter of Change

Quote :
The tree in this case I understood to symbolize a proud, virtuous person who prioritizes intellectual/moral integrity above survival and would rather die than succumb to what they consider immoral/evil/untrue.

lol Somehow I hate the the description of a tree being a proud virtuous person (they don't always answer to the call of what is necessary, the p.v. p I mean) but I do know what you mean.
But not all people are righteous warriors.
But we can take the holocaust for example. There is a moment when certain people will transcend their fears and be able to fight for something which goes much deeper than mere survival - something which they can experience as being capable of giving them such a strong capacity - a response ability - as it were, where they give no thought of harm nor destruction to their selves because there is something greater at stake - the lives and personal freedom toward the people they're responding to. These people will go in one direction and the herd will go in another. I think I need coffee.



Quote :
The grass is the one who chooses the path of least resistance, whose intellectual and moral positions are dependent on how well they contribute to their survival regardless of the truth, facts, and what they actually consider moral/true.
You mean like many politicians?


Quote :
But can a tree prioritize survival above intellectual/moral integrity and still remain a mighty, proud and strong tree?
Wouldn't each tree necessarily answer to a different call?
Perhaps that tree isn't necessarily a coward - maybe his survival is more important in the larger scheme of things.
We all serve in different ways.
A giant oak might stand its ground and fight to the death but a weeping willow might have another destiny - not lesser than the noble warrior oak.
So much depends on intent too wouldn't you say?

Quote :
A practical example would be: If Nazis/Communists were to try and take your neighbors/friends/family away, would you prioritize your own survival and not do anything or would you try to help at the risk of your survival?
Can we honestly answer that question in the moment? We would all like to believe that we would be those noble trees standing their ground in the face of the wind and the rain, et cetera.

Quote :
Do you think you would be acting less morally if you let them get taken, or do you think it's equally justified not to do anything because it threatens your survival?

Is this really a case of morality? Some people might think that they have as much right to survive as those who some might want to protect and try to save. Would they be wrong in this?

I think that the instinct to survive in many people would pawn any noble act. I think that the only thing that could transcend that would be love and wanting to protect our children or family - putting ourselves in harm's way for them. That' really not a noble act - that's also instinctive. But then there is altruism.



Quote :
Also, would you react differently depending on the degree of intimacy in relationships you developed with people about to be taken away (a neighbor, a friend or family)?
There would be no doubt in my mind - i would kill to protect my children.



Quote :
The crux of the issue: Is personal survival the only function of morality?


I don't see personal survival as a function of morality. It's the instinct to survive. So can we really judge a person by it? Sure, we might find him to be a coward, want to call him a coward, but then we all have a different psychological "soul" so to speak.



Quote :
Or does it extend to something beyond it, such as protecting other people and values we identify with? Or is that also a type of survival, if we the things that survived because of a person's sacrifice are a part of their identity?
I'm not quite sure what you're asking here but there are many things and people which we think in terms of extensions of ourselves even if unconsciously.



___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Quote :
My position is that the grass is despicable and morally reprehensible. It conforms to mass thinking, which usually results in mass stupidity, weakness, and independence. I would rather die fighting for my values than live a worthless life of lies and submission. The only exception is the 'retreat to fight another day' scenario.
[/quote]
Perhaps another word for the grass would be "the herd".

I think that only a fool would rather die fighting for their values. That kind of reminds me of the early christians and how they felt they couldn't forsake their faith and so went marching into the arena to be eaten by lions. Just consider how they might have fought for their values and their faith by living for them. Would they have been cowards by lying in order to perpetuate christianity? So much depends on intent.

It isn't your values you're dying for - are they really worth dying for? Wouldn't it be human beings that you're dying for - real live flesh and blood? Let's not forget that values can be transient. They come and they go. Our values are only our impetus, kind of like the wind beneath our wings which spur us on. But we don't fight for them - we fight for humanity. There is a difference I think.
But yes, I know what you mean. Many people, for instance, soldiers, have fought for certain values, liberty the american way but at some point have come to realize that they have come to look on those values differently because they have changed, they have made too many sacrifices. At some point, the most valuable thing is to live. Does that make them cowards?
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PostSubject: Re: Intellectual/Moral Integrity vs Survival   Sun May 03, 2015 11:40 am

Other people, such as family and friends, can be interpreted as extensions of the self.

Do I think it's immoral to prioritize one's own safety, over people who one barely knows? Of course not. It may seem kind of cruel, because society has conditioned us to value things like humanitarianism, egalitarianism, etc; but in my honest opinion, you don't know who these other people are. For all you know, these other persons could be very immoral people. Your natural disposition is to value your own safety first, which includes family and friends.

I'm anti-mass, myself; the masses represent mediocrity, impersonalization, quantity ( over quality ), etc.

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PostSubject: Re: Intellectual/Moral Integrity vs Survival   Sat May 09, 2015 10:25 am

Wotan wrote:
Other people, such as family and friends, can be interpreted as extensions of the self.

Do I think it's immoral to prioritize one's own safety, over people who one barely knows? Of course not. It may seem kind of cruel, because society has conditioned us to value things like humanitarianism, egalitarianism, etc; but in my honest opinion, you don't know who these other people are. For all you know, these other persons could be very immoral people. Your natural disposition is to value your own safety first, which includes family and friends.

I'm anti-mass, myself; the masses represent mediocrity, impersonalization, quantity ( over quality ), etc.

What about children who are strangers to you, Wotan? Do you think that you would save them or yourself first?
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PostSubject: Re: Intellectual/Moral Integrity vs Survival   Sat May 09, 2015 12:14 pm

Depends on the circumstance. I like kids, so I may put my own life in jeapardy in order to save them. How about you, Arc?

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PostSubject: Re: Intellectual/Moral Integrity vs Survival   Sat May 09, 2015 12:29 pm

Wotan wrote:
Depends on the circumstance. I like kids, so I may put my own life in jeapardy in order to save them. How about you, Arc?

I very much doubt that I would have a choice in the matter.
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PostSubject: Re: Intellectual/Moral Integrity vs Survival   Sun May 10, 2015 12:21 pm

Arc,

Quote :
You mean like many politicians?

Heh, possibly.

Perhaps we should also introduce wind to the equation - politicians can also be interpreted as the grass, and the mass can be interpreted as the wind. It depends on how much power the state is capable of and willing to exert over its citizens. In a totalitarian state, it is the politicians (or rather, a single one, the dictator) that is the wind, and who directs how the grass (the mass, in this case) moves. In more liberal, democratic societies, the mass might be the one influencing politicians by making certain demands upon them and making them bend, because if they don't, they won't get votes, so in that instance the politicians are the grass and the mass the wind.

The tree fits into this interpretation as well - it remains unhindered by the wind and the grass, it is above them. Only the strongest winds can challenge it.





Quote :
There would be no doubt in my mind - i would kill to protect my children.  

Would you, now? How many would you kill, if you had the means and it was necessary to protect your children?  What a Face



Quote :
I don't see personal survival as a function of morality. It's the instinct to survive. So can we really judge a person by it? Sure, we might find him to be a coward, want to call him a coward,  but then we all have a different psychological "soul" so to speak.


Which doesn't mean there isn't a hierarchy of these souls, and that we aren't justified in encouraging some of them, and condemning others because of how they contribute to survival, how efficient they are.

Quote :
I think that only a fool would rather die fighting for their values. That kind of reminds me of the early christians and how they felt they couldn't forsake their faith and so went marching into the arena to be eaten by lions. Just consider how they might have fought for their values and their faith by living for them. Would they have been cowards by lying in order to perpetuate christianity? So much depends on intent.

It isn't your values you're dying for - are they really worth dying for? Wouldn't it be human beings that you're dying for - real live flesh and blood? Let's not forget that values can be transient. They come and they go. Our values are only our impetus, kind of like the wind beneath our wings which spur us on. But we don't fight for them - we fight for humanity. There is a difference I think.
But yes, I know what you mean. Many people, for instance, soldiers, have fought for certain values, liberty the american way but at some point have come to realize that they have come to look on those values differently because they have changed, they have made too many sacrifices. At some point, the most valuable thing is to live. Does that make them cowards?

Are those early Christians, really, fools? Maybe in the sense that they died for a lie, but think about it - martyrdom is one of the most efficient ways to promote your ideas and values amongst the herd. Even biological offspring, your own biological offspring, might represent values and ideas utterly contrary to yours. But if you die for an idea, for your values, and others take notice - you are made into a hero, or a martyr for people to remember. It is one of the surest ways to expand your influence/values in the world. Human beings come and go, it is actually the ideas/values that are often preserved and live on for as long as humanity has. So no, it isn't the most valuable thing to live - that's a hedonistic viewpoint.

Christianity managed to deceive the masses and is the most influential religion presently so when inquiring about how to make an impact on the world, its contribution and methods definitely shouldn't be overlooked or disregarded. Maybe not applied, but definitely studied and understood, they provide an insight into human psyche itself.

Wotan wrote:
Other people, such as family and friends, can be interpreted as extensions of the self.

Do I think it's immoral to prioritize one's own safety, over people who one barely knows? Of course not. It may seem kind of cruel, because society has conditioned us to value things like humanitarianism, egalitarianism, etc; but in my honest opinion, you don't know who these other people are. For all you know, these other persons could be very immoral people. Your natural disposition is to value your own safety first, which includes family and friends.

I'm anti-mass, myself; the masses represent mediocrity, impersonalization, quantity ( over quality ), etc.

I pretty much agree with all that and have nothing to add. The mere thought of risking my life, to find out I suffered injuries to save a retard, who probably deserved what's coming to them, I find repulsive and unbearable.

I remember a case of a girl being molested in a bus, and some guy trying to help her and getting beaten up for it. Turned out the guy that beat him up and molested her is her boyfriend, and she got back with him afterwards. Makes you think twice before white-knighting, eh?
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