Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

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Watuetu
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Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Watuetu » March 16th, 2020, 1:03 pm

This is not a discussion on “How to make the best Society”.

It is objectively true that there is a lot of pain and sadness within our species.
We also understand that a lot of people are in pain simply because we are unable to implement a society that would help them.

I am here to ask if we are morally obligated to help people who cannot help themselves, and who we could help through our actions and/or our decisions.

Because if it is true that we should.. i would like to understand why we are not doing it now?
And if we aren’t morally obligated.. then shouldn’t we just decide to help people because.. why not?

I am only trying to have this discussion because although i do believe that the world is getting better.. i believe we could make the world “better” in a faster time... therefore avoiding the unnecessary pain and suffering of people along the “long road” of sociological change.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Papus79 » March 16th, 2020, 5:32 pm

I think you're right, ie. that we should do it even if not morally obligated.

Should's can be a sticky thing because it's difficult to say something universally considering some people are working 60 to 70 hours per week and trying to be a good parent on top of that, or other people are donating a lot of time to a philanthropic or charitable endeavor that they have a lot of connection to which may not directly hit this vector. Still others might have one foot in the space of needing help and still be trying to help others out themselves.

One of the challenges might be that, when it comes to helping isolated individuals, there aren't many threads that you can simply pick up and run with. You have to go out and find them and befriend them yourself, and you also - sad but true - also have to be very good at both screening out those who would be particularly invasive or dangerous to strike up a relationship with and be able to shove off effectively if one finds themselves in that morass quicker than they realized it (I had something like this happen a few years back briefly and luckily I was able to keep them on the other side of the phone rather than in face-to-face contact).

More than just helping those who are down because they're down, it seems to just make practical sense that decreasing the acute pain level in our society is an anti-erosion measure, ie. decreases the amount of discontent and strengthens the bulwark against the damage society takes.

One of our problems right now is that people are atomizing based on the economics. It really seems like people are so uncomfortable with each other that they'd rather stay home, be alone, play video games, be online, and 'simulate' friendship and social activities. That's perhaps one thing for an introvert but this seems to outweigh what one would think is the quality of introverts society actually has. Finding some way to re-stimulate something like gemeinschaft over gesellschaft for something less centrifugal seems like it's key, the only thing that seemed to work for gemeinschaft that wasn't blood was religion, and if not religion in the usual sense then groups like the Masons and various other sorts of fraternal order. Occasionally people can bond this deeply over hobbies but it's still too circumstantial to offer a whole lot strictly of itself.
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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by chewybrian » March 16th, 2020, 5:49 pm

Watuetu wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 1:03 pm
This is not a discussion on “How to make the best Society”.
You can't have the discussion you want to have until you have this one^.

How can you say 'let's make the best society we can', without defining what that is? It gets muddy very fast. I am with you in spirit, but reality makes a tough case against what you seem to think is so easy. Who is to decide what is 'moral'? What about unintended consequences? When you pay people to not create wealth, and charge them for creating wealth, you tend to get less wealth. Good intentions are a fine thing for the individual to act upon, but it often ends badly if we try to force them on others.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Terrapin Station » March 17th, 2020, 8:45 am

In my opinion it would be nice if more people actively worked to make "the best form of society."

Of course, one problem with this is that we don't all agree on what the best form of society would be. So some people actively working to make the best form of society wind up doing things that are diametrically opposed to what other people think is the best form of society. That's kind of how you get into messes like this in the first place.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Watuetu » March 17th, 2020, 9:30 am

You can't have the discussion you want to have until you have this one^.

How can you say 'let's make the best society we can', without defining what that is? It gets muddy very fast. I am with you in spirit, but reality makes a tough case against what you seem to think is so easy. Who is to decide what is 'moral'? What about unintended consequences? When you pay people to not create wealth, and charge them for creating wealth, you tend to get less wealth. Good intentions are a fine thing for the individual to act upon, but it often ends badly if we try to force them on others.
[/quote]

I do agree with you. But it is impossible for us to objectively define the best form of society. So we have to understand this and make steps towards a better society.. knowing that we cannot even define Utopia for Humans... forget even trying to make it.

So now that we know this information.. we should start doing whatever we can to at least improve things.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Alias » March 17th, 2020, 11:52 pm

Watuetu wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 1:03 pm
It is objectively true that there is a lot of pain and sadness within our species.
We also understand that a lot of people are in pain simply because we are unable to implement a society that would help them.
Who said we were unable to do that? If somebody told you that, why would you believe them? Did you believe them before, or without, considering what it means? Or why it should be beyond the capabilities of a species that has the ability to immolate 100 percent of its members (and incidentally, all members of most other species) several times over, to help the 10% percent that has been rendered incapable of helping themselves?
I am here to ask if we are morally obligated to help people who cannot help themselves, and who we could help through our actions and/or our decisions.
No. There is no overarching morality to compel any action. Morality is simply a consensus shared by a group of social animals regarding acceptable behaviour within that group. It doesn't oblige anyone to do anything. Its basic requirements are usually codified as laws by the governing body of the society, and agents of law enforcement are established to punish members who do not comply. If the society is organized for the benefit of all members, these laws and their enforcement are equitable; if the society is organized for the benefit of some at the detriment of others, the enforcement will be oppressive. Our individual actions and decisions have only a very small influence on the workings of the system.
Because if it is true that we should.
How doe you know this? Is it received wisdom? (If so, from whom, and why do you believe them?) Or intuition arising from your own sense of connectedness to or empathy for others of your species? (If so, is this instinct more or less compelling than the mores and customs of your present society? Does your instinct ever suggest that the mores and customs of your society are somehow "wrong" and ought to be changed?)
. i would like to understand why we are not doing it now?
Cui bono? Who benefits from the way things are done? And from what is not done? Are the same entities that benefit the ones who make the rules? If so, that's why.
And if we aren’t morally obligated.. then shouldn’t we just decide to help people because.. why not?
Because it would cost money that somebody would rather spend on building an airport on his private island.
You don't actually need to "help" people right away. A really good start would be just to stop hurting them.
I am only trying to have this discussion because although i do believe that the world is getting better
I thought so, too, for a glorious while. But that golden age has turned back to lead.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Pattern-chaser » March 18th, 2020, 12:21 pm

Watuetu wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 1:03 pm
We also understand that a lot of people are in pain simply because we are unable to implement a society that would help them.
Could it be that a part of the problem is that we are often tempted to use a passive presentation, as you have: "we are unable to implement a society that would help them". Put that way, it sounds like the lack of help is just something (sad) that happened. It's almost as if it is unavoidable. We could as easily say or write "We also understand that a lot of people are in pain, and we choose not to help them", couldn't we? 😉😳😳😳
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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Watuetu » March 18th, 2020, 3:25 pm

Papus79 wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 5:32 pm
I think you're right, ie. that we should do it even if not morally obligated.

Should's can be a sticky thing because it's difficult to say something universally considering some people are working 60 to 70 hours per week and trying to be a good parent on top of that, or other people are donating a lot of time to a philanthropic or charitable endeavor that they have a lot of connection to which may not directly hit this vector. Still others might have one foot in the space of needing help and still be trying to help others out themselves.

One of the challenges might be that, when it comes to helping isolated individuals, there aren't many threads that you can simply pick up and run with. You have to go out and find them and befriend them yourself, and you also - sad but true - also have to be very good at both screening out those who would be particularly invasive or dangerous to strike up a relationship with and be able to shove off effectively if one finds themselves in that morass quicker than they realized it (I had something like this happen a few years back briefly and luckily I was able to keep them on the other side of the phone rather than in face-to-face contact).

More than just helping those who are down because they're down, it seems to just make practical sense that decreasing the acute pain level in our society is an anti-erosion measure, ie. decreases the amount of discontent and strengthens the bulwark against the damage society takes.

One of our problems right now is that people are atomizing based on the economics. It really seems like people are so uncomfortable with each other that they'd rather stay home, be alone, play video games, be online, and 'simulate' friendship and social activities. That's perhaps one thing for an introvert but this seems to outweigh what one would think is the quality of introverts society actually has. Finding some way to re-stimulate something like gemeinschaft over gesellschaft for something less centrifugal seems like it's key, the only thing that seemed to work for gemeinschaft that wasn't blood was religion, and if not religion in the usual sense then groups like the Masons and various other sorts of fraternal order. Occasionally people can bond this deeply over hobbies but it's still too circumstantial to offer a whole lot strictly of itself.
Everything you have said is true.. creating a new Society is very hard. But when most of us agree that it needs to change, isn’t that the “should”?
There are so many of us that think it IS possible for Society to change, but it is not a focus of ours because we are too busy with our own lives.
If any Human is conscious enough to understand the amount of suffering in the world, then i argue that they are morally obliged to help them.. or admit that they just do not care enough about other people.

This can of course come in the form of charity and so on.. but the single greatest way of easing suffering in this world would be to create a society of choice.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Watuetu » March 18th, 2020, 3:30 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 17th, 2020, 8:45 am
In my opinion it would be nice if more people actively worked to make "the best form of society."

Of course, one problem with this is that we don't all agree on what the best form of society would be. So some people actively working to make the best form of society wind up doing things that are diametrically opposed to what other people think is the best form of society. That's kind of how you get into messes like this in the first place.
You are right. Humans are born with flaws, and that is a part of us.

But my argument stands on the basis that, i believe we can get enough individual people to agree on enough rules and laws which would in turn create a better Society than we have now.

Is it hard? Yes.. Impossible?.. No.

So if we define ourselves as moral creatures.. it is our obligation to try.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Watuetu » March 18th, 2020, 3:50 pm

[/quote]
Alias wrote:
March 17th, 2020, 11:52 pm
Who said we were unable to do that? If somebody told you that, why would you believe them? Did you believe them before, or without, considering what it means? Or why it should be beyond the capabilities of a species that has the ability to immolate 100 percent of its members (and incidentally, all members of most other species) several times over, to help the 10% percent that has been rendered incapable of helping themselves?
Nobody has told me that, but it is true that at no point in Human history have we been able to help everyone in the world simultaneously.

No. There is no overarching morality to compel any action. Morality is simply a consensus shared by a group of social animals regarding acceptable behaviour within that group. It doesn't oblige anyone to do anything. Its basic requirements are usually codified as laws by the governing body of the society, and agents of law enforcement are established to punish members who do not comply. If the society is organized for the benefit of all members, these laws and their enforcement are equitable; if the society is organized for the benefit of some at the detriment of others, the enforcement will be oppressive. Our individual actions and decisions have only a very small influence on the workings of the system.


I think this is a dangerous conversation because it quickly becomes a question of what is objectively true.
I am theorising that there is no creator of this Universe, and therefore the “consensus shared by a group of social animals” does objectively exist.
The existence of this Consensus objectively exists as physical thoughts in our brains.
Since morality is just our creation and it is what brings us joy, then this in turn is the reason to follow it. Not for any other reason that the fact it makes us happy.
Cui bono? Who benefits from the way things are done? And from what is not done? Are the same entities that benefit the ones who make the rules? If so, that's why.

Because it would cost money that somebody would rather spend on building an airport on his private island.
You don't actually need to "help" people right away. A really good start would be just to stop hurting them.
Reading this makes me think that you believe the world is truly brutal and corrupt. If we believe this, then we must help to change it.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Watuetu » March 18th, 2020, 5:57 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote:
March 18th, 2020, 12:21 pm
Could it be that a part of the problem is that we are often tempted to use a passive presentation, as you have: "we are unable to implement a society that would help them". Put that way, it sounds like the lack of help is just something (sad) that happened. It's almost as if it is unavoidable. We could as easily say or write "We also understand that a lot of people are in pain, and we choose not to help them", couldn't we? 😉😳😳😳
You are absolutely right. And trying to comprehend this fact has consumed my life.

For the first time in history we can make our own choices about how to build society, so every moment we don’t is a choice by us not to help.
If we are not doing everything that we can to help everyone (which would include changing society when it is a possibility) then we have to be comfortable with that FACT that we are making a choice. Whatever that choice is.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Terrapin Station » March 18th, 2020, 6:59 pm

Watuetu wrote:
March 18th, 2020, 3:30 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
March 17th, 2020, 8:45 am
In my opinion it would be nice if more people actively worked to make "the best form of society."

Of course, one problem with this is that we don't all agree on what the best form of society would be. So some people actively working to make the best form of society wind up doing things that are diametrically opposed to what other people think is the best form of society. That's kind of how you get into messes like this in the first place.
You are right. Humans are born with flaws, and that is a part of us.

But my argument stands on the basis that, i believe we can get enough individual people to agree on enough rules and laws which would in turn create a better Society than we have now.

Is it hard? Yes.. Impossible?.. No.

So if we define ourselves as moral creatures.. it is our obligation to try.
I wasn't suggesting a flaw, by the way.

I have very unusual views about what would make "the best form of society," so it's going to be difficult to agree with me on "enough rules and laws" probably.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Alias » March 18th, 2020, 9:50 pm

Watuetu wrote:
March 18th, 2020, 3:50 pm
[Who said we were unable to do that?
Nobody has told me that, but it is true that at no point in Human history have we been able to help everyone in the world simultaneously.
Never in the [documented] history of the world have all people needed help simultaneously. If they had, of course, nobody would have been in a position to help them. But that's by the way. In reality, at any given time, some people have been in trouble.
But never have all the peoples of the world ever in history desired to help one another. Each group - tribe, nation, family, religion, charitable organization or whatever - has chosen particular people to help and ignored others, or else deliberately caused trouble for other groups, other nations, other religions, other families, other races, other classes, etc. - which is why so many have so often been in need of the help they could not receive.
So, the question you ask: "Why have been unable to help?" has meaning only under the assumptions that 1. There is a collective of humanity which can be characterized as "we" and 2. that this collective has ever desired to or attempted to help all those of its member who happened to be in trouble at any given moment. Both of those assumptions are objectively untrue.
[Morality is simply a consensus shared by a group of social animals regarding acceptable behaviour within that group.] I
I think this is a dangerous conversation because it quickly becomes a question of what is objectively true.
having made that assertion, you no longer have the luxury of backing away from it.
I am theorising that there is no creator of this Universe, and therefore the “consensus shared by a group of social animals” does objectively exist.
Of course it does. It is readily observable in co-operative groups of bees, wolves, meerkats, dolphins, elephants, geese, beavers, humans and other monkeys. Some codes are very strict and brutally enforced; some are relaxed; some are so closely related to the individuals own survival instincts that obeying them is easy, while others require a good deal of discipline to overcome basic impulse. Each moral code works for that species since it was developed by them over multiple generations. No code would work very well for any other species. Species complex brains also evolve specialized moralities for each separate group, according to their environment and life experience and challenges.
What's dangerous about recognizing that?
Since morality is just our creation and it is what brings us joy, then this in turn is the reason to follow it. Not for any other reason that the fact it makes us happy.
That's the purpose of play, affection, humour and art. The purpose of morality is to prevent internal conflict from jeopardizing the safety and welfare of the group.
[Cui bono? Who benefits from the way things are done?.... ]
Reading this makes me think that you believe the world is truly brutal and corrupt. If we believe this, then we must help to change it.
The world is fine. Some of its human inhabitants are very corrupt, indeed.
If we do not understand this, we will never be able to change anything.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Fellowmater » March 19th, 2020, 2:07 am

It is always morally right to be kind and careful at the same time.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by GE Morton » March 21st, 2020, 11:34 am

If we behave morally the best form of society will follow as a matter of course.

So the question is premature. We first need to decide what constitutes moral behavior.

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