I have some questions

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
a different guest

Postby a different guest » Sun Mar 28, 2004 7:05 am

bella wrote:One of the Australian schools had quite a disciplinarian regime under one of the previous leaders, which led to many problems and loss of faith for students. Some of the antiquated practices and harsh "rules" that were a legacy of that leader were dissolved after his passing.
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Which school Bella?

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bella
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Postby bella » Sun Mar 28, 2004 12:42 pm

As an eloquent and vigilant Zen master once said:

I don't really want to get into specifics of who or where. The issue is a sensitive one.

You probably know which school and leader I'm referring to anyway, ADG. PM me if you actually don't, or if you do, and want to discuss it further.

Meikl
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Postby Meikl » Sun Mar 28, 2004 12:52 pm

Misty wrote:WHen many people look at Hitler they look upon him as a "sick and evil man"... however what people fail to realise is that he did everything according to his reasoning. What he did, he belived to be right. What he did was follow his conscience.

-Nither was his life totally successful, nor did it seem happy.

..


Hello Misty,
that`s one problem I have with this word "conscience". There seems to be a general belief that we are equipped from birth with a "still small voice" which knows automatically the difference between "right" and "wrong". As though right and wrong are absolute principles having nothing to do with cultural environment or personal history. Was it "wrong" for Judas Iscariot to betray Christ to the Romans? Maybe he considered it his duty, who knows how Judas`s conscience worked? If however, he had been in a position to look inside himself and ask "Is this going to make me happy? Is it something I can live with, without having to tell myself new lies every day?" then he might not have hanged himself, and the last two thousand years could have developed very differently.
The specific case of Hitler is also very interesting. Hitler had a childhood I wouldn`t wish on my worst enemy. Did you know that as a child, Hitler was forced to run round the yard naked in the snow while being "encouraged" by his father with a horse-whip? Could it be that his conscience and powers of judjement were massively warped by this abuse?
In my opinion the whole problem starts when I want to make a moral judgement about somebody else. I can`t know if you are a "good" or a "bad" person. If I start to feel directly or indirectly threatened somehow by your actions then I start to think of you as "bad", and have the beginnings of a nice, solid moral highground from which I can launch my atom bombs at you.
The older I get, the more wisdom I find in the discipline of "not criticising". If I keep me trap shut about other folk and concentrate on being here and now in my own life, and looking out for what`s truly good for me, then I am free from the whole dualistic noise-in-the-head.

Peace
Michael

Antises

Postby Antises » Sun Mar 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Meikl, my point was that there are *certain people in the SES and the day schools* who think being in the SES make you a "good person" - I don't know what they mean! Regarding "conscience and common sense", there aren't particularly philosophical matters in my opinion, following your conscience means you don't knowingly do anything to harm anyone else or more generally "Motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions"; common sense means you don't act like an idiot although the dictionary definition ("Sound practical judgment") is probably more useful. I don't see why so many people don't like the word "conscience" - all it means is that you don't go against your natural inclination not to harm anyone. Can anyone claim that it is natural to knowingly hurt other people (excluding the "means to an end" argument)?

Misty, I am not necessarily talking about the SES Reason (Buddhi) although they may be related. I am talking about "A rational motive for a belief or action" or "The state of having good sense and sound judgment". Nobody with any conscience can claim that Hitler was practising reason - he was an irrational man.

P.S. My name, which I have chosen as it sounds vaguely like a real Greek name, is a twist of Anti-SES.

Meikl
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Postby Meikl » Mon Mar 29, 2004 12:02 am

Antises wrote:following your conscience means you don't knowingly do anything to harm anyone else or more generally "Motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions";


Ach, "anti-SES". Sorry, I can be devastatingly dense sometimes. Maybe that`s why I`m still having trouble with "conscience". I don`t know what you mean by the "means-to-an-end" argument, which probably means I`m about to use it. :fadein:
I`m not at all sure that is natural for human beings not to want to hurt each other from time to time. If I grow up in a society that regards infidels as less-than-human monsters who want to eat my babies, then I have a perfectly good moral ground for flying an airiner into a tower-block full of them. Maybe I would be stricken with a guilty conscience if I didn`t become a suicide-bomber. Was the pilot of the Sept. 7th plane living a good life as he followed his conscience and died for Allah? I suppose that from his point of view he was living the best of all possible lives.
As for Hitler not being rational - even the schizophrenic people I know have very good and compelling reasons for their actions during their psychotic phases. And Hitler very nearly got away with it, in which case we would be living in a culture which regarded genocide as a perfectly rational and morally acceptable way of dealing with political problems.
Anyway, that`s why I?ve problems with "conscience".
I hope the chap who started this thread is getting some sort of useful information out of it.

Peace
Michael

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:06 pm

I see that my line of reasoning does not really appeal to you. Returning to the dictionary definition ("Motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions"), 'motivation governing thoughts and actions' in short means how you live. Where we seem to disagree is probably 'ethical or moral principles'. This depends, put simply, on right and wrong. So I was perhaps wrong when talking about reason and rationality when really conscience is solely about right and wrong. I think we disagree on the notion of there being set right and wrong things. It is generally assumed that consciences differ from person to person as they have different ideas of what is 'ethical' or 'moral'. What I put forward is that following one's conscience means following ethics and morals, which are not subjective but universal. Your argument seems to be that ethics and morals are what you make them (as in the case of suicide-bombers) - that is what I do not believe.

Antises

Postby Antises » Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:07 pm

^(from Antises)

Guest

Postby Guest » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:16 am

Anonymous wrote:I think we disagree on the notion of there being set right and wrong things.

Hi,
I think you`ve put your finger on it there. If you`re proposing universal, objective morality then we`re back to what I talked about earlier - this general supposition that we`re born with an instinctive sense of what is "right" and "wrong" which is called "the conscience" and has nothing to do with cultural environment or personal history.
Although I don`t want to attack your personal beliefs, I find it difficult to imagine from where such an absolute moral system could come. I would have to suppose some kind of underlying authority to the universe which dictates a system of moral standards right from the "beginning". This in turn would presuppose that this underlying authority categorises using the same dualistic concepts that we do. Jehova separating the sheep from the goats.
Respect to your opinion, but I prefer my "morality" - "What is truly the best for me, and how do I go about getting it?". It doesn`t need a hypothetical structure of anthropomorphic deities to support it.

Peace
Meikl

Meikl
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Postby Meikl » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:17 am

Oh dear, I`ve done it again. The above was from me (Meikl)

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bella
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Postby bella » Wed Mar 31, 2004 4:54 pm

Respect to your opinion, but I prefer my "morality" - "What is truly the best for me, and how do I go about getting it?". It doesn`t need a hypothetical structure of anthropomorphic deities to support it.


With respect, have you considered dropping the hypothetical structures and attending to the underlying theme/s? Allegory is a tool like any other, and it can support a person for quite a long time when the abstract is too, well...abstract.

Meikl
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Postby Meikl » Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:13 am

bella wrote:With respect, have you considered dropping the hypothetical structures and attending to the underlying theme/s? Allegory is a tool like any other, and it can support a person for quite a long time when the abstract is too, well...abstract.


Could be that I got carried away by debate-fever there. As I live in Germany, it`s a while since I had a chance to talk about this sort of thing in English.
I fully agree with you. I have a small altar in my room with one or two allegories on it. I wouldn`t be without them. At the same time the feelings which my Gods inspire in me must be in harmony with my reasoning. Otherwise I`m at odds with myself and have to doublethink, one of the problems I had with the school.
Antises - I mean no offence. Nice talking to you.:-)

Peace
Michael


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