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Morality 
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Post Re: Morality
I am not sure if I get the gist of this thread, but surely the point of using offensive words or bad language is precisely to be offensive or rude, isn't it?

I don't agree with the opinion that words themselves are morally neutral and, therefore, cannot be considered as insulting per se. Words are our means of communicating thoughts and ideas. If I choose to call somebody a c**t, I will do so in order to insult the person addressed. And I will use the word c**t in order to make it clear. Otherwise, why would I use that word in the first place?

Or take the word f**k. There's nothing wrong or rude about sexual intercourse (between consenting adults, of course). But there are several other non-rude words than "f**k" which may be used to describe it. Would anybody ask his or her date "Let's go to my place an f**k", unless this person wanted to convey the impression that he or she was vulgar and wanted to have dirty/rough sex?

JamesBond007 wrote:
Now the word n*****; it has been filled with a troublesome history. But we can change its future. We can change the future of all these words, from n***** to f***ing. We don't have to believe that just because a word means something that it always has to mean that. Look at the word marriage, and how many people are trying to redefine that, and there's nothing wrong with that. The idea that a certain group of people should be denied a basic human right because of a characteristic they have no choice about DOES constitute obscenity. You wouldn't say people below 5'6 shouldn't be allowed to get married and have kids. I'm diverging from the point. Better we get on to that later. My point is that word meanings change all the time. No word should be an exception.


Now, if two black persons speak to each other and use an ethnic slur pertaining to black people, it is clear that the use of this term is ironic or even meant to create a sense of solidarity. If I as a white person would call a black person a n****r, even if I meant it ironically, the context would be completely different and the word would be an insult.

My point is, that in your choice of words (offensive words or not), you should consider how they will be understood by the person these words are directed at. Otherwise, communication doesn't work.


Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:56 pm
Post Re: Morality
Ken wrote:
What makes you think world peace is A. achievable, B. a good thing, and C. dichotomous with the doom of mankind?


I think it's achievable if we sort out all our conflicts and all our differences logically. I think it's a good thing because how could it be a bad thing? How could world peace possibly be a bad thing? And I think it's dichotomous with the doom of mankind, because unless we sort everything out, I just see us all killing each other until no one is left.

Quote:
No, because the factors that went into making them so are social, historical, and far too complex for a pea brain like me to fully comprehend.


So the past should always be in charge of our future?

Quote:
If we stop finding words offensive, we'll stop finding words inoffensive. If we stop finding words ugly, we'll stop finding words beautiful. The meaning of a word is defined by contrast--as much by what it doesn't signify as by what it does. Yeah, we can stop finding specific words offensive, but there will always be offensive language of one sort or another.


If we stop finding words offensive, we'll stop finding them inoffensive? But surely that means that we'll find them offensive. But we've stopped finding them offensive. I'm not saying we stop finding specific words offensive, I'm saying we never allow ourselves to find any word offensive ever again.

If we stop finding words ugly, we'll stop finding words beautiful? There's no such thing as a beautiful word any more than there's any such thing as an ugly word. A word is nothing more, NOTHING more, than a combination of letters. It's what that combination of letters MEANS that's ugly or beautiful. Excrement is ugly. Not the word excrement, the substance. The actual dirty, brown, stinking pile of s*** itself. Not the word. The word excrement is no uglier than the word poo. The word s*** is no uglier than the word excrement. The words don't matter, only the meanings.


Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:46 pm
Post Re: Morality
Unke wrote:
I am not sure if I get the gist of this thread, but surely the point of using offensive words or bad language is precisely to be offensive or rude, isn't it?

I don't agree with the opinion that words themselves are morally neutral and, therefore, cannot be considered as insulting per se. Words are our means of communicating thoughts and ideas. If I choose to call somebody a c**t, I will do so in order to insult the person addressed. And I will use the word c**t in order to make it clear. Otherwise, why would I use that word in the first place?

Or take the word f**k. There's nothing wrong or rude about sexual intercourse (between consenting adults, of course). But there are several other non-rude words than "f**k" which may be used to describe it. Would anybody ask his or her date "Let's go to my place an f**k", unless this person wanted to convey the impression that he or she was vulgar and wanted to have dirty/rough sex?


The word c*** can be used as an insult, but it could also be used to describe a woman's private parts. Now, does this mean that a woman's private parts are offensive? No. Because take the word f***ing. I can use it to talk about sex, but I could also say, "I'm tired of all this f***ing homework." Does homework have anything to do with sex? No, but I've used the same word.

And who says that f***ing has to mean dirty/rough sex? I use the word f***ing all the time to describe sex, period. I don't care if it's soft and gentle, or hard and rough. It's sex, therefore it's f***ing.

Quote:
Now, if two black persons speak to each other and use an ethnic slur pertaining to black people, it is clear that the use of this term is ironic or even meant to create a sense of solidarity. If I as a white person would call a black person a n****r, even if I meant it ironically, the context would be completely different and the word would be an insult.

My point is, that in your choice of words (offensive words or not), you should consider how they will be understood by the person these words are directed at. Otherwise, communication doesn't work.


So if a non-racist black person uses it to describe another black person, it's OK. But if a non-racist white person uses it to describe a black person, it's an insult. That's discrimination. That's telling me I'm not allowed to use a certain word because of the colour of my skin, no matter what the context, no matter what my beliefs. That's discrimination.

As for how people understand words, that's the whole point of what I'm saying. Change the understanding. Stop old people taking offense when they hear the word f***ing on TV after 9:00 at night, simply because they heard the word f***ing. They wouldn't exist if it weren't for f***ing.


Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:02 pm
Post Re: Morality
JamesBond007 wrote:
I think it's achievable if we sort out all our conflicts and all our differences logically. I think it's a good thing because how could it be a bad thing? How could world peace possibly be a bad thing? And I think it's dichotomous with the doom of mankind, because unless we sort everything out, I just see us all killing each other until no one is left.
Circular logic. It's good because it can't be bad. But what exactly is world peace? Is it a world without conflict or adversity? What happens to a civilization that faces no difficulties or has no disagreements? Or, to look at another angle, whose vision of a peaceful world are we looking at?

On a long enough timescale, we either go on or flame out, so yeah, in that sense, it's dichotomous. But I'm not sure that's a particularly meaningful sense, because--on a timescale that's practical and within our grasp of influence--there is plenty of gray area between total peace and total doom.

Quote:
So the past should always be in charge of our future?
Until you can come up with a process of development that doesn't involve the linear process of cause and effect, yes.

Quote:
If we stop finding words offensive, we'll stop finding them inoffensive? But surely that means that we'll find them offensive. But we've stopped finding them offensive. I'm not saying we stop finding specific words offensive, I'm saying we never allow ourselves to find any word offensive ever again.
What makes you think we allow language to be offensive? If we can agree that offensive language is bad language and should be gotten rid of, don't you think we would have done it by now?

Quote:
If we stop finding words ugly, we'll stop finding words beautiful? There's no such thing as a beautiful word any more than there's any such thing as an ugly word. A word is nothing more, NOTHING more, than a combination of letters. It's what that combination of letters MEANS that's ugly or beautiful. Excrement is ugly. Not the word excrement, the substance. The actual dirty, brown, stinking pile of s*** itself. Not the word. The word excrement is no uglier than the word poo. The word s*** is no uglier than the word excrement. The words don't matter, only the meanings.
Yes, words can be divorced from their meaning, but they shouldn't be. Words were invented for a reason, and that reason is that so they could be invested with meaning, so that we'd have a means of communicating that's more specific and more elegant than hand signals and whatnot. Divorce words from their meaning and words become useless. They'll die off.

If you think words ought to be separated from what they signify, good luck to you. Assuming it's practically possible, I'm anxious to see what new kinds of communication would pop up in the aftermath of the death of language, and what new ways we'll find to offend one another.


Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:29 pm
Post Re: Morality
JamesBond007 wrote:

Quote:
Now, if two black persons speak to each other and use an ethnic slur pertaining to black people, it is clear that the use of this term is ironic or even meant to create a sense of solidarity. If I as a white person would call a black person a n****r, even if I meant it ironically, the context would be completely different and the word would be an insult.

My point is, that in your choice of words (offensive words or not), you should consider how they will be understood by the person these words are directed at. Otherwise, communication doesn't work.


So if a non-racist black person uses it to describe another black person, it's OK. But if a non-racist white person uses it to describe a black person, it's an insult. That's discrimination. That's telling me I'm not allowed to use a certain word because of the colour of my skin, no matter what the context, no matter what my beliefs. That's discrimination.

As for how people understand words, that's the whole point of what I'm saying. Change the understanding. Stop old people taking offense when they hear the word f***ing on TV after 9:00 at night, simply because they heard the word f***ing. They wouldn't exist if it weren't for f***ing.


What it boils down to is: Why would you want to use language, which is generally considered to be offensive or might be insulting? Just because you can?

The question of "bad language" on TV or in films is another matter.


Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:40 pm
Post Re: Morality
JamesBond007 wrote:
Tear apart my logic, and I'll listen to you, but right now, I see no reason why I shouldn't keep going on trying to get my point across. Words can only be offensive if we choose to find them offensive. When a racist bully calls a black person a n*****, and the black person's offended by that, the bully wins. If the black person isn't offended, what does the bully win? Nothing.


I think your logic is flawed, partly because you keep switching your stance a bit.

Here's the undeniable reality: both speaker and hearer have the power to make the word offensive. No one is arguing that a word in and of itself is right or wrong. But the connotations of the word n***** are inescapable. Let's break down your logic: A racist walks up to a black man and screams that he's a f-ing n*****. By your logic, the black man should simply not find either word offensive and whistle off to enjoy his day. But that's simply wrong. How the black man takes it doesn't matter -- the racist is using the words to convey hatred and bigotry, and no matter how the black person wants to take it, that's what he's being given. Because of how it's being intended to use, it carries power.

Now, on the one hand, you are right in that the word doesn't matter, because the intention is what's coming through. But the absolute fact is that the n-word being used by whites towards blacks has ALWAYS been infused with hate -- the word was invented for that. Claiming that you should be able to say it without people being offended is every bit as logical as saying that you want to replace the phrase "thank you" with "I f-ing hate you" and go around using the latter with cashiers, valets, family members when they pass you the butter, etc. The intention doesn't matter, the word is only used to express hatred. And that's why you can't use it.

Some words have to have meaning for a language to work. Does it make perfect sense why crap is the "okay" version of shit? Of course not. But that doesn't mean all words are just words.

JamesBond007 wrote:
As for how people understand words, that's the whole point of what I'm saying. Change the understanding. Stop old people taking offense when they hear the word f***ing on TV after 9:00 at night, simply because they heard the word f***ing. They wouldn't exist if it weren't for f***ing.


This is getting a bit silly. How is this relevant? Are old people denying how they joined humanity? I don't think so. They just prefer a different word, and there's nothing wrong with that. Similar to the c-word argument: Where are the parents who would prefer to tell their kids that "the man puts his c*** in her c***?"


Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:07 pm
Assistant Second Unit Director

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:37 pm
Posts: 108
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Post Re: Morality
JamesBond007 wrote:
Humanity is capable of thinking logically though. Were it not for logic, we wouldn't have the scientific method. I think if we all start looking at our values with logic as our guide, as opposed to religion, or societal norms, we might go some way towards fixing the many problems that we have in this world.

JamesBond007 wrote:
Precisely. If all societies just accept these words, then they'll no longer be profane.

JamesBond007 wrote:
But we shouldn't find words offensive at all, whether they're words used for emphasis, or labels used to smear entire groups of people. If we stop finding any word offensive, it cannot be offensive.

JamesBond007 wrote:
I think it's achievable if we sort out all our conflicts and all our differences logically.


JamesBond007,

The keyword here is IF.

Just because human beings are capable of logical thinking, doesn't mean every single human being will do that.

Just because you can find words inoffensive, doesn't mean everyone can.

It's easy for everyone to say IF people are more X, less Y, do Z, the whole world would be a better place (or something like that). I'm sure many of us have heard and read many people (including ourselves) saying these kind of IFs and to find they are often different and conflict with each other. But guess what, that's one thing that makes us human - difference. Most human beings are genetically different from each other (as opposed to simpler organisms like bacteria) and therefore they are physically and mentally different. Because of this difference, human beings have different sense of morality and their own definitions of what's "good" vs "evil" and "right" vs "wrong" and that's why as long as human beings exist, there will always be conflict. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but just one of the byproduct of our human nature.

JamesBond007 wrote:
I think [sic] World Peace [/sic] a good thing because how could it be a bad thing? How could world peace possibly be a bad thing? And I think it's dichotomous with the doom of mankind, because unless we sort everything out, I just see us all killing each other until no one is left.


Again, of course we all want world peace. But as I explained earlier, due to our differences and human nature, this is virtually impossible. It's only possible IF... never mind.

Look, I'm just nihilistic as you are. But if you look at history, despite many wars and genocides, we still survive after millions and billions of years in existence. In fact, our population are expanding exponentially. That doesn't look too bad on the survival of our kind.

But suppose you're right, we all nuke each other out until humankind are totally extinct. Guess what, life goes on because Planet Earth supports life. Maybe human don't exist anymore but there will always be life and organisms surviving and thriving after the nuclear holocaust. Whether or not those life and organisms are more or less intelligent than human, we'll never know. But as long as there's always life, isn't that beautiful in itself?

After all, Dr Manhattan in Watchmen says "Nothing ever ends"

JamesBond007 wrote:
Quote:
No, because the factors that went into making them so are social, historical, and far too complex for a pea brain like me to fully comprehend.


So the past should always be in charge of our future?


Ideally, no. But like the saying goes, History repeats itself.

Even if the memory of all living humans now are wiped out, human beings by nature are bound to tragically repeat its mistakes; and we are going to find ourselves at the same conflict again and again. I'm not going to prove this as a fact. But I will cite the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the M Night Shyamalan's The Village (regardless how you feel about it) as good stories that illustrate this theme.

and I'll make another Watchmen (comic book) reference again, at the ending:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
When Ozymandias ask Dr Manhattan if he had done the right thing, sacrificing thousands of lives for the greater good of world peace, Dr Manhattan replies it doesn't matter because "nothing ever ends". My interpretation is Dr Manhattan means that it doesn't matter because human by nature are going to arrive at the same conflict again in the future and if you look at Ozymandias last defeated look, I believe he understood it too.


===

I've spent a lot of time thinking about complex stuffs like morality and I'm resigned to being nihilistic about human nature in general. But then, I look at me and I'm just grateful that I'm still alive and I feel we should just live our life to our fullest even if we're all "meaningless". After all, life in itself is beautiful (I know, it's cliched as hell).

As for that neighbor who finds words offensive? Well, we just have to co-exist, I guess :D


Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:34 pm
Profile
Post Re: Morality
After my neighbor had been shot to death in his house by a gang in Oakland we were all hanging out in solidarity with his family and friends (and significant presence from Oakland PD) outside our houses in the road that night. The N word was being used almost every fifth word.

Shade's comments were right.

I don't claim to have deep insight into African American urban culture in Oakland. However, after three years of living there, the N word is clearly an inclusive term that is very widely used. I did not see irony though. It was never a word that I felt that I had any right to use.

So I guess words have meanings that are intended by users. It's the intention that is key. In England it is my experience that people swear more than in the US. However, the intention is usually not aggressive, it is being used as an adjective or noun as a crutch for a lack of vocabulary.

Rob


Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:07 pm
Post Re: Morality
Ken wrote:
Circular logic. It's good because it can't be bad. But what exactly is world peace? Is it a world without conflict or adversity? What happens to a civilization that faces no difficulties or has no disagreements? Or, to look at another angle, whose vision of a peaceful world are we looking at?

On a long enough timescale, we either go on or flame out, so yeah, in that sense, it's dichotomous. But I'm not sure that's a particularly meaningful sense, because--on a timescale that's practical and within our grasp of influence--there is plenty of gray area between total peace and total doom.


A world at peace is a world without war. A world at peace is a world where we stop hurting or killing each other based on race, religion, nationality, political orientation, sexual orientation, age, gender, mental or physical impairments, beliefs, or opinions. A world at peace is a world where you can be a 65 year old, black, blind, lesbian, married Muslim mother from Mozambique, and still be President of the United States.

As for practical timescales, if we don't take action now, when do we take action?

Quote:
Until you can come up with a process of development that doesn't involve the linear process of cause and effect, yes.


We could start off by saying, "From now on, the word f***ing will be a perfectly acceptable way of describing the copulatory process. There's no logical reason to find it offensive."

Quote:
What makes you think we allow language to be offensive? If we can agree that offensive language is bad language and should be gotten rid of, don't you think we would have done it by now?


I've read over this question several times. I can't make out what you're asking me.

Quote:
Yes, words can be divorced from their meaning, but they shouldn't be. Words were invented for a reason, and that reason is that so they could be invested with meaning, so that we'd have a means of communicating that's more specific and more elegant than hand signals and whatnot. Divorce words from their meaning and words become useless. They'll die off.

If you think words ought to be separated from what they signify, good luck to you. Assuming it's practically possible, I'm anxious to see what new kinds of communication would pop up in the aftermath of the death of language, and what new ways we'll find to offend one another.


I'm not saying all words SHOULD be divorced from ALL meaning, I'm saying all words CAN be divorced from their CURRENT meaning, if we so choose, like marriage.


Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:31 pm
Post Re: Morality
Unke wrote:
What it boils down to is: Why would you want to use language, which is generally considered to be offensive or might be insulting? Just because you can?

The question of "bad language" on TV or in films is another matter.


What it boils down to is: free speech. No one has the right to bar anyone else from using any word he/she chooses. Free speech with limitations is not free speech.


Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:35 pm
Post Re: Morality
Shade wrote:
I think your logic is flawed, partly because you keep switching your stance a bit.

Here's the undeniable reality: both speaker and hearer have the power to make the word offensive. No one is arguing that a word in and of itself is right or wrong. But the connotations of the word n***** are inescapable. Let's break down your logic: A racist walks up to a black man and screams that he's a f-ing n*****. By your logic, the black man should simply not find either word offensive and whistle off to enjoy his day. But that's simply wrong. How the black man takes it doesn't matter -- the racist is using the words to convey hatred and bigotry, and no matter how the black person wants to take it, that's what he's being given. Because of how it's being intended to use, it carries power.

Now, on the one hand, you are right in that the word doesn't matter, because the intention is what's coming through. But the absolute fact is that the n-word being used by whites towards blacks has ALWAYS been infused with hate -- the word was invented for that. Claiming that you should be able to say it without people being offended is every bit as logical as saying that you want to replace the phrase "thank you" with "I f-ing hate you" and go around using the latter with cashiers, valets, family members when they pass you the butter, etc. The intention doesn't matter, the word is only used to express hatred. And that's why you can't use it.

Some words have to have meaning for a language to work. Does it make perfect sense why crap is the "okay" version of shit? Of course not. But that doesn't mean all words are just words.


The word IS only used to express hatred, HAS always BEEN used to express hatred. WILL always BE used to express hatred? Not if we change the meaning of the word. The word marriage has only ever been used to express hatred against homosexuals. Let's face it. It's defined as a bond between a man and a woman. It's homophobic. Do you suggest we never change the meaning of that word?

Quote:
This is getting a bit silly. How is this relevant? Are old people denying how they joined humanity? I don't think so. They just prefer a different word, and there's nothing wrong with that.


I'll tell ya what's wrong with it, it's not LOGICAL. You ask them why THEY prefer different words, and they wouldn't be able to give you any logical reason. It's been programmed into them by SOCIETY, they haven't thought for themselves about it.

Quote:
Similar to the c-word argument: Where are the parents who would prefer to tell their kids that "the man puts his c*** in her c***?"


Teach them how to think logically about it, and they might not prefer it, but they wouldn't see anything wrong with it.


Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:52 pm
Post Re: Morality
Ricky Polim wrote:
JamesBond007,

The keyword here is IF.

Just because human beings are capable of logical thinking, doesn't mean every single human being will do that.

Just because you can find words inoffensive, doesn't mean everyone can.

It's easy for everyone to say IF people are more X, less Y, do Z, the whole world would be a better place (or something like that). I'm sure many of us have heard and read many people (including ourselves) saying these kind of IFs and to find they are often different and conflict with each other. But guess what, that's one thing that makes us human - difference. Most human beings are genetically different from each other (as opposed to simpler organisms like bacteria) and therefore they are physically and mentally different. Because of this difference, human beings have different sense of morality and their own definitions of what's "good" vs "evil" and "right" vs "wrong" and that's why as long as human beings exist, there will always be conflict. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but just one of the byproduct of our human nature.


How is conflict not a bad thing? I don't see how it can be possibly be a good thing. Is it fair that it's perfectly legal to look at porn in the States, but in Papua New Guinea, it can get you arrested? I see logic as the way to stop people from disagreeing over what's right and wrong, and formulate a reasoned, thought out moral code that could apply worldwide.

Quote:
Look, I'm just nihilistic as you are. But if you look at history, despite many wars and genocides, we still survive after millions and billions of years in existence. In fact, our population are expanding exponentially. That doesn't look too bad on the survival of our kind.


We've only been around in our current form for 200,000 years. Anyway, so what if we survive? What's the point of existence for its own sake? Surely we should try to put an end to conflict so that for however long we have left, we can actually be happy.

Quote:
But suppose you're right, we all nuke each other out until humankind are totally extinct. Guess what, life goes on because Planet Earth supports life. Maybe human don't exist anymore but there will always be life and organisms surviving and thriving after the nuclear holocaust. Whether or not those life and organisms are more or less intelligent than human, we'll never know. But as long as there's always life, isn't that beautiful in itself?

After all, Dr Manhattan in Watchmen says "Nothing ever ends"


I don't consider life any more beautiful than Jon used to think. When we're dead, we're dead. We won't care what, if anything, comes after us. What I'm saying is we're here right now, for the foreseeable future. And we should try and make the best of it. I know everyone says that's what everyone does, but I don't think we're trying as hard as we could.

Quote:
Ideally, no. But like the saying goes, History repeats itself.

Even if the memory of all living humans now are wiped out, human beings by nature are bound to tragically repeat its mistakes; and we are going to find ourselves at the same conflict again and again. I'm not going to prove this as a fact. But I will cite the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the M Night Shyamalan's The Village (regardless how you feel about it) as good stories that illustrate this theme.

and I'll make another Watchmen (comic book) reference again, at the ending:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
When Ozymandias ask Dr Manhattan if he had done the right thing, sacrificing thousands of lives for the greater good of world peace, Dr Manhattan replies it doesn't matter because "nothing ever ends". My interpretation is Dr Manhattan means that it doesn't matter because human by nature are going to arrive at the same conflict again in the future and if you look at Ozymandias last defeated look, I believe he understood it too.


===

I've spent a lot of time thinking about complex stuffs like morality and I'm resigned to being nihilistic about human nature in general. But then, I look at me and I'm just grateful that I'm still alive and I feel we should just live our life to our fullest even if we're all "meaningless". After all, life in itself is beautiful (I know, it's cliched as hell).

As for that neighbor who finds words offensive? Well, we just have to co-exist, I guess :D


Why do people bother trying to save the world then? Why do psychologists and psychiatrists try to cure mentally ill people if we're all gonna end up killing each other anyway? I guess all we can do is give up. I know I'm giving up. This is my last post on this thread.


Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:55 pm
Post Re: Morality
This has to be one of the more confusing threads I've read on any forum

It may be that I'm just not able to grasp it

So, to quote my VC, what's the elevator pitch JB007?

Can you explain in a few sentences what it is you're interested in?

I see circular, inconsistent, illogical and contradictory arguments here

Rob


Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:56 am
Assistant Second Unit Director

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:37 pm
Posts: 108
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Post Re: Morality
JamesBond007 wrote:
How is conflict not a bad thing?


It's a philosophical thing. Conflict can be a good thing. Conflict creates problems and many human achievements are created to solve problems and conflicts. It's like saying, how can "evil" be a good thing? But without "evil", can "good" exist?

JamesBond007 wrote:
Why do people bother trying to save the world then? Why do psychologists and psychiatrists try to cure mentally ill people if we're all gonna end up killing each other anyway? I guess all we can do is give up. I know I'm giving up. This is my last post on this thread.


Why do folks like Ralph Nader and Ron Paul run for US President election after election, even knowing that they can't win?
Why does Rorsach, at the end of Watchmen, choose to still reveal the truth behind the villain's actions even knowing that he won't make it?
Why does Sophie Scholl and The White Rose resistance choose to defy the Nazis in public even knowing that they can easily get caught and executed?
Why does Batman, at the end of The Dark Knight, choose to take the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes even if it goes against what his image stands for?
Why do some people who graduated from prestigious schools like Harvard choose to commit to a lifelong career of public service (such as teaching and community service) when they can easily get high salary corporate jobs?

Maybe I painted human nature as mostly negative in my last post. But we are complex being capable of doing good too. That's why many of us are compelled to do good things for whatever reasons it is. Humanity have gone through many dark and evil times but even with in these times we have seen many instances of good deeds done by humanity.

But if we expect to "save the world" and make problems to go away forever, we would only find that humanly impossible, and become disillusioned as a result. This is due to our nature which always create conflict, which will compel us to work together to solve it, but another new conflict will come and the cycle goes on and on and on ...

I will use the example of the american youths in the 60s and 70s. I know this is a gross generalization, but many american youths in 60s and 70s are more likely to be liberal and democrats trying to "save the world" and bring "world peace". But many eventually become disillusioned (because those lofty goals are either too hard or nearly impossible) and become conservative republicans starting from the 80s. I believe the current youth who jumped on the "hope" and "change" and "Yes, we can!" bandwagon who support Obama will succumb to the same cycle of disillusionment all over again, if they're not careful. (Just to clarify, I support Obama and this is not intended in any way to be a rub against him)

So I believe that we are capable of both "good" and "evil". But I believe the best "good" actions happen when they sincerely comes from your own heart and conscience and when the rewards are personal, not out of some grand need to "save the world" or "make the world a better place".

Well you might have given up and I respect that. But I do hope you will continue to live your life the best you can. cheers.


Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:33 am
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Assistant Second Unit Director

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:37 pm
Posts: 108
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Post Re: Morality
Robert Holloway wrote:
This has to be one of the more confusing threads I've read on any forum

It may be that I'm just not able to grasp it

So, to quote my VC, what's the elevator pitch JB007?

Can you explain in a few sentences what it is you're interested in?


I believe he started this thread to talk about morality and he uses the topic of offensive language in the context of morality (what's "offensive"). Somehow the conversation strayed into the topic of offensive language instead (with a little Karma sandwiched in).

I tried to steer back into the topic of morality with my-opinion-on human-nature-oriented take on the issue. But maybe that's not working too.

Robert Holloway wrote:
I see circular, inconsistent, illogical and contradictory arguments here
Rob


That's bound to happen with conversations centering on abstract concepts like morality and religion without getting to specifics. Even I sometimes don't understand what I'm saying in those things :)


Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:42 am
Profile
Post Re: Morality
JamesBond007 wrote:
Unke wrote:
What it boils down to is: Why would you want to use language, which is generally considered to be offensive or might be insulting? Just because you can?

The question of "bad language" on TV or in films is another matter.


What it boils down to is: free speech. No one has the right to bar anyone else from using any word he/she chooses. Free speech with limitations is not free speech.


Alright, I admit that I'm a bit at a loss regarding the topic of this thread. I understood that you made a statement about certain words being generally regarded as rude or offensive and that you think that no word should be considered rude or offensive as such. Sort of like "sticks and stones". Please correct me if I'm wrong.

That would not be a question of free speech, however. Whether a word is considered rude or insulting depends on the person addressed. Example: You call me a f**king w**ker. Of course, you are allowed to do so. But you are not entitled to me not feeling insulted. You may claim that you meant it in a matey sort of way, but how would I know that from your choice of words?


Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:03 am
Assistant Second Unit Director

Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:25 pm
Posts: 79
Post Re: Morality
Unke wrote:

Alright, I admit that I'm a bit at a loss regarding the topic of this thread. I understood that you made a statement about certain words being generally regarded as rude or offensive and that you think that no word should be considered rude or offensive as such. Sort of like "sticks and stones". Please correct me if I'm wrong.

That would not be a question of free speech, however. Whether a word is considered rude or insulting depends on the person addressed. Example: You call me a f**king w**ker. Of course, you are allowed to do so. But you are not entitled to me not feeling insulted. You may claim that you meant it in a matey sort of way, but how would I know that from your choice of words?


I am at a loss as well over this thread. It is entitled "Morality" but inside it all people are talking about is whether words are profane or not. Not what I assumed we'd be talking about in a thread entitled morality but here goes....

1) Words have meanings
2) Since words have meanings, language has meaning.
3) Since language has meaning, the language you choose to use has meaning.

a) People relate to people
b) People relate to different people than themselves
c) People relate to different people in differing circumstances
d) People relate to different people in differing circumstances different ways

4e) Since language is the clearest way to relate to people that has meaning, people use it to relate to a variety of people in a variety of circumstances in a variety of ways.

ERGO--> Certain words can be deemed offensive in certain contexts. They also tend to have an individual user value. Someone brought up c**t, it probably is not the most "shocking and profane" word but I never use it. For whatever reasons it is very obscene to me. G*D is the same way for religious reasons. I use any other "foul" language with friends depending on how well I know them. I do not at work, or with family, or with people I do not know as well.

I think this is pretty sensible


Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:28 am
Profile
Post Re: Morality
JamesBond007 wrote:
The word marriage has only ever been used to express hatred against homosexuals. Let's face it. It's defined as a bond between a man and a woman. It's homophobic. Do you suggest we never change the meaning of that word?


Again, you are getting way off point. First of all, marriage has NOT always been used that way. Sometimes people say "I'm married" and they are simply telling people their legal status. The point of this thread is not legal matters, its the meaning of words. Your logic is completely flawed here. SOMETIMES people use the word marriage to express hate, but there is no inherent hate in it. By your logic, the fact that sometimes rapists say "I f***** her" means that the word "f***" has ALWAYS been used to express rape.

JamesBond007 wrote:
I'll tell ya what's wrong with it, it's not LOGICAL. You ask them why THEY prefer different words, and they wouldn't be able to give you any logical reason. It's been programmed into them by SOCIETY, they haven't thought for themselves about it.


It's equally as logical as your choice to use the "offensive" word whenever possible. You keep acting like you don't care what the word is perceived like in our language, but every time, you prefer the "offensive" word. So, if what's above is true, then you too have not thought for yourself, and only want to be offensive for its own sake -- that's not a better stance, my friend. If you deny this, then again, explain to us why for a while you say you want to say "c*** in c ***" because its shorter, but you also would rather use "n*****" than "black."

Again, words have to have meaning.


Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:58 am
Post Re: Morality
JamesBond007 wrote:
Why do people bother trying to save the world then? Why do psychologists and psychiatrists try to cure mentally ill people if we're all gonna end up killing each other anyway? I guess all we can do is give up. I know I'm giving up. This is my last post on this thread.
Why bother with a life full of challenges if we can never possibly complete them? It's much more interesting and worthwhile than a life without challenges, don't you think?


Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:34 am
Post Re: Morality
Ken wrote:
JamesBond007 wrote:
Why do people bother trying to save the world then? Why do psychologists and psychiatrists try to cure mentally ill people if we're all gonna end up killing each other anyway? I guess all we can do is give up. I know I'm giving up. This is my last post on this thread.
Why bother with a life full of challenges if we can never possibly complete them? It's much more interesting and worthwhile than a life without challenges, don't you think?



Many Buddhists believe that the core of aim of reaching enlightenment and happiness may be an impossible challenge and an endless journey. However, it's a great path to walk down. But that is indeed, another thread.

JB007 - don't get upset. T=his thread has certainly been very interesting !

Rob


Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:40 am
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