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  1. #26
    mooo...wooh hoooh! schrackman's Avatar
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    Re: off topic: The cruelty of people, I will never understand.

    Hi Rick!

    I guess you would then have to define the parameters of what actually constitutes that which benefits humanity and that which hinders it (but then again, that would differ greatly from person to person, now wouldn't it?). For example some people donate money for charity, and one would assume they did it just to benefit their fellow man. But what if they did it just to get kudos from their clients, or the public in general, or because they wished to impress someone or make some sort of gain from it? Some people actually feel quite justified in doing this, and consider it a good deed nevertheless. But does motive play a part in what you define as what is beneficial for humanity? Or does the ends justify the means?

    I recall an instance some years back when a predominanty white church in Camarillo decided to assist a black church in Simi Valley, at a time when the local newspapers were calling local pastors (including myself) and asking questions about modern segregation in the local churches. Instead of discreetly giving the assistance (which is what the Bible teaches), the church members parked their cars about a mile down the street from the church in Simi Valley and then publicly marched to the church to give them a large check. In the process, the local newspapers were informed by the giving church of the event, and photographers were sent to the scene to chronicle every step of the way. The photos and story made it a week later into the front page headlines of an article entitled "Sunday Segregation". Would you consider what this church did in the best interest of their fellow humans, or would it have to be discounted on account of their desire to "advertise" their deed and serve their own church's self-interest?

    Similarly, what about the fellow who undermines his co-worker in order to advance himself or a friend for a position? Certainly, either he or his friend benefits from his actions, but what about the fellow who got stepped on? Is such a deed considered as "in the best interests of humanity"? Or is it something that impedes humanity by virtue of the fact that someone was forced to lose in order that someone could win?

    Also, what about the woman who aborts her unborn child? Some women actually think they are doing themselves a service by ridding themselves of such a big responsibility. In fact, most abortions are obtained because the woman doesn't want the inconvenience of raising a child. Some might even see it as one way to keep the human poplulation down. One less mouth to feed. So I suspect that some women would see abortion as a benefit to humankind, in that neither they nor the world is burdened with yet the responsibility of another soul. Other women, however, see it as a deplorable practice, one of which undermines respect for human life.

    These are but a few examples I could think of in just a few minutes in response to your question. So I suppose that before I could actually agree or disagree with your thesis, you would first need to define the parameters of what is and is not beneficial to humanity. But as I stated at the beginning, this would vary with every individual. And so a uniform standard would be very difficult to achieve unless you could get those who would differ with your conclusions to compromise their positions.

    And yes, you DO owe me an email!! :-) Don't worry...I'm patient.

    Ray

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    Hello Ray

    Devil's advocate:

    What if I defined "good" as that which benefits human kind, and "bad" as that which hinders it?

    Rick

    ps I know I still owe you an email

    Ray O'Canon
    Digital Rebel XTi Digital Rebel Canonet GIII QL17 Agfa Parat-1

    The liberal, socialist politician's nightmare: "What a comfort to the farmer to be allowed to supply his own wants before he should be liable to pay anything, and then only pay on his surplus." - Jefferson to Madison on Taxes,1784

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  2. #27
    mooo...wooh hoooh! schrackman's Avatar
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    Re: I think people are kind.

    Hi Loren,

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying man isn't capable of doing good. He most certainly is. The giving of aid to tsunami victims is proof of what good man can do when he chooses to do it. The point I'm trying to raise, however, is that man cannot be deemed inherently good when the fact of the matter is that every man chooses to do evil, in varying degrees. Also, there is a false idea out there that whatever good a man does it must somehow cancel out his bad deeds. But as I mentioned in my post above, why doesn't anyone ever think in opposite terms, i.e. that one's bad deeds cancels out his good deeds? Of course, no one hardly ever thinks that way because to do so would inevitably mean that one would not be able to view himself as good as he thought he was. And if he is not as good as he thought he was, then perhaps he is not inherently good either but can only claim that he does good on occassion?

    When it comes to children, we have to be careful that we do not assign motives other than what we know is really there. When a child lies he does not contemplate in his mind that he's gonna try to test the limits of his parents. That might be how a parent views it, but it isn't how a child views it because that is not his thought process. Think back to when you were a kid. Why did you lie to your parents? I'm willing to bet it was for the same reason I did...because you wanted to avoid getting into trouble for what you did. You could see the consequences of your actions coming, and you wanted to worm your way out of it. Pure and simple. Getting away with lying, however, is what really teaches a child what boundries and limits he can cross and not expect to receive his due reward. Where, then, is the inherently good nature of a child when he chooses to lie to his parents in order to escape culpability for his actions?

    I think Thomas Jefferson had one of the most interesting perspectives on man, government and morals. I often find myself agreeing with many of his observations. He wrote this in one instance:

    The human character, we believe, requires in general constant and immediate control to prevent its being biased from right by the seductions of self-love." --Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816.

    It's not that man doesn't know, in general, right from wrong, it's that he is incapable of always doing what is right all of the time and must be often compelled to do what is right as opposed to doing what is wrong, whether that compelling comes by laws, moral education and encouragement, religious inculcation, or threat of punishment. Such is the evidence for a major flaw in our human nature, so much so that we cannot claim to be inherently good.

    Ray


    Quote Originally Posted by racingpinarello
    Ray there are also times, when people surprise you with good and kindness, but I digress for a second.

    While some people may be self absorbed, selfish, or not nice to other people it doesn't make them evil. Evil and mean spirit are premeditated, such as Scott Petersen (killer) being an evil guy.

    A child squirms and tells a fib to test the limits and boundries of parents. They don't have the vocabulary or the reasoning to say, "you know mom, I was trying this stuff on to be like you because you are so pretty." It's social behavior to test limits and to experiment. Adina was being a firm parent and they tested her boundries, and in the end they learned a lesson.

    But back to my first sentence. At Citigroup, the firm offered $3 million to the tsnuami aid relief plan, and would match any employee contribution up to $10,000. As of last night, Citigroup and it's employees raised over $7.7 million dollars. We're a bunch of self absorbed greedy bastards, but hey we're not evil, and we showed it with our wallets. I was surprised to see such an emotional response from the partners and the firm.

    In the mid-west, and in foreign countries I have seen exceptional levels of kindness, forgiving, and patience. It's my belief in humans that deep down they are good or Shakesperean plays like MacBeth would have no grounds. There is a reason that we have a conscious, and it's because people will do the right thing a majority of the time. I am not very religious, but have faith in my fellow man/woman/doggie woogie.

    Loren
    Last edited by schrackman; 01-20-2005 at 12:59 AM.

    Ray O'Canon
    Digital Rebel XTi Digital Rebel Canonet GIII QL17 Agfa Parat-1

    The liberal, socialist politician's nightmare: "What a comfort to the farmer to be allowed to supply his own wants before he should be liable to pay anything, and then only pay on his surplus." - Jefferson to Madison on Taxes,1784

    My Canonet GIII QL-17 photos on flickr.

  3. #28
    ...just believe natatbeach's Avatar
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    Re: I think people are kind.

    Quote Originally Posted by schrackman
    It's not that man doesn't know, in general, right from wrong, it's that he is incapable of always doing what is right all of the time and must be often compelled to do what is right as opposed to doing what is wrong, whether that compelling comes by laws, moral education and encouragement, religious inculcation, or threat of punishment. Such is the evidence for a major flaw in our human nature, so much so that we cannot claim to be inherently good.

    Ray
    Well said. I've been reading this thread for a few days and I just wanted to tell you that you put that well. We've been in family counseling for a while and despite what your feelings may be on psychologist and such ours said something to me very similar to that.

    just adding that:
    Unless taught right from wrong (thru spiritual beliefs or parenting,etc) human beings are sadly enough flawed with a "survival instinct" that compels them to self preservation. Whether that comes in the route of "doing good" or "doing bad" all the choices that we make are to keep the cycle of our life/ quality of life moving forward in some coherent direction.

    Like the poor dog being left in the woods(presuming that's what happened)...bad choice for the dog(and I really don't agree with their decision to do so if that's what they did) but ulitmately probably the "right" thing for the person who did it. wondering also while reading all this---if maybe he got lost during a camping trip or if he might have gotten lost and ended up living in the woods?. wondered if anyone thought about that possibility. ;)
    "I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer.
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  4. #29
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    Inherently ?

    It seems like we keep trying to argue that people are inherently good or bad.

    What if we take a middle ground. From looking at examples of peoples behaviors we could argue either way. Sometimes people amaze us for the good they do, and sometimes they shock us for the horror they do.

    From a religious standpoint I don't think there is a clear winner either. We are made in God's image, right? So we are inherently good and full of love? Wait, but there is this concept called original sin. An idea that we have all been touched/corrupted by it. So we are inherently evil? I think we all have the capability to do much good, at the same time we all have the capability to do horrors. People in my mind are inherently valuable.

    Just a few thoughts

    SJ
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  5. #30
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Inherently ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleJo
    It seems like we keep trying to argue that people are inherently good or bad.

    What if we take a middle ground. From looking at examples of peoples behaviors we could argue either way. Sometimes people amaze us for the good they do, and sometimes they shock us for the horror they do.

    From a religious standpoint I don't think there is a clear winner either. We are made in God's image, right? So we are inherently good and full of love? Wait, but there is this concept called original sin. An idea that we have all been touched/corrupted by it. So we are inherently evil? I think we all have the capability to do much good, at the same time we all have the capability to do horrors. People in my mind are inherently valuable.

    Just a few thoughts

    SJ
    Well put.

    Also, good does not equal perfect.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  6. #31
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: off topic: The cruelty of people, I will never understand.

    "There could be various explanations as to why you only see "good" in people."

    Here's a thought: It has been said that people will see in themselves what we see in them. I choose to see the good in people because that is what I want them to see in themselves. The better they see themselves, the better they will act. The better they act, the better they will become. And before you know it, lo and behold you have a good person in front of you

    And all it took was for me to consciously choose my response to them.

    Whether or not they are good inherently doesn't matter in that moment that I am looking them in the eye and pulling their humanity from them. They could be Adolf Hitler, Sadam Husein or - yes - even George Bush and I could still sit there with them and pull the goodness out of them no matter how much harm they were doing to me.

    We have a responsibility to helping people become better people. You can help me, I can help you. It doesn't seem to matter what our nature is so much as what are you gong to do with it?!

    I threw that George Bush reference in there just to give you a little rib there Shrackman hope you took it in good nature I'll get crakckin on that longer email soon.

    Regards,
    Rick
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  7. #32
    Senior Member racingpinarello's Avatar
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    Re: off topic: The cruelty of people, I will never understand.

    Thanks Penny and I wish the best of luck and good wishes for you and Gene. Keep on the lookout for a California gathering, where Photo John and I will be setting something up.

    It would be a pleasure to finally meet more of the people who are in California or wish to visit.

    Cheers,
    Loren
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  8. #33
    Member yaronsh's Avatar
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    As usual, jumping in late...

    Been following this thread, but haven't had time to actually contribute till now.

    Try to be mindful when using the term "evil." At least in a Christian context, it's a rather strong word, and (imho) not always warranted in describing a negative behavior (or one perceived as such).

    Also, it would help to try to sort out - and I know this is hard - which of our perceptions are based on cultural conventions. Example: Someone mentioned teaching a kid to choose between copmlimenting another kid on their drawing of a cow vs. telling the other kid that it doesn't look like a cow. In some cultures/subcultures the former would be preferable, while in others the latter. I've lived in both types of societies.

    A young kid who goes through her mother's makeup probably does not think of this as "bad" at the time of the act. She probably did not give much thought to consequences, as is natural at her age (so consequences need to be made crystal clear). She probably only realized it was a "mistake" when confronted by Mommy.

    Personally, I believe we all have positive and negative within us - light and dark, the capacity for right and wrong, etc.; the key is to recognize and accept all parts of ourselves, and then try to strike a balance that hopefully puts us on the positive side of the equation and propels us foward on the side of good. Some need more external help than others to do this, and that's fine.

    Not knowing right from wrong is not a normal human condition. We have a word for someone who doesn't know right from wrong: "Psychopath." Someone who knows right from wrong but consistantly chooses wrong for personal gain is a "sociopath."

    In my religious background, it is believed that we all have a "good inclination" and a "bad inclination" (or at least that's the loose English translation). We need to recognize both, and learn to follow our "good inclination" more often than the "bad" one. Also, there is no concept of "sin" in the Christian sense. Rather, there is a Hebrew word that is usually translated as "transgression," but is really an archery term that means missing the target: We all strive to do good, but it happens that we miss the target. Confessionals are congregational - they are spoken collectively, and use "we" terms rather than "I" terms: We are all responsible for one another. My religious background is grounded in the notion of an all-encompassing "God"; there is no "Devil," but rather, there is the concept of a "satan" (note small s), which, in anthropomorphic terms, is an angel (not necessarily the same one every time) sent by God to test someone.

    Hope this all makes sense.....

    - Yaron
    <b>The conservative, rightist politician's nightmare:</b> "As to Taxes, they are evidently inseparable from Government. It is impossible without them to pay the debts of the nation, to protect it from foreign danger, or to secure individuals from lawless violence and rapine." - Hamilton to the Electors of the State of New York on Taxes, 1801

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