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cadfael
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Post by cadfael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

In the thread Drums of War, Clemsy, brought up the point that the universe according to Eistein is governed by laws that are mechanistic, or mindless and that there is not choice concerning how the physics of the Universe is governed. I have no qualms with that.

I had read Einstein's thoughts on how our lives are governed by circumstance much in the same way as a ball is governed by the laws of gravity. He also concluded that it was absurd to have a Deity judge humanity for what it was unable to control when it concerned it concerned morality. I must say that after I read that idea I was hooked and agreed. I used to tell a friend of mine that we were like eggs falling and that we should enjoy the ride before we hit the bottom. It seemed such a depressing conclusion for us.

I must say today I see the issue in a different light! The one thing that makes us human is our ability to reason. Yes our lives are governed by many circumstances such as the sky being blue, but we still have the ability to make descisions within the circumstance. I assert that we have the ability to greatly make descisions within the circumstances of life that promote a higher standard regarding morality. I also want to note that I recognize that there are some things that we cannot control, but thank God they are few and thank God that we have ability to adapt to such things as disease and the weather etc.

It is interesting if I used a baseball as a metaphor for the human being. The ball is very much controlled by gravity and it will fall, roll, and stop based upon gravity and the laws of motion. But if we add the human element, or personify the ball we can see that within these actions descisions can be made. Now in the minds of some the absolute moral choice would not seem appealing. I compare it to the descision that the English General in The Bridge Over the River Kwai made. He was going to follow the strict rule of the rules even if it meant death. He and his men were victims of circumstance, but the General made his descision. He made the absolute moral descision. It is also worth noting that the moral relativistic descicion could have been made but the general chose not to take the weak path. Hence, I see that as being the difference bettween some people. There are some who will collaps under the pressure of their circumstance and others stand strong. It is also imperative to note that compassion appears here. I have been taught adsolute morality all of my life and I have a sense of decency and kindness in me and would be greatly apt to have compassion. I am not certain as to the "Great Unwashed."

I am not going to get into my personal life here but I have done the same thing. I made a moral descision that would have been absurd when it concerned my circumstance. But I was successful in the end. It just concretes the idea in my mind. I see that Einstein was wrong. We do have descision power and we should greatly use it within the circumstance!

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Post by Clemsy » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

To be clear, Cadfael, I don't believe Einstein's universe is mechanistic. That would be Newton. Einstein's is relativistic and as a cosmology is quite interesting.

I am sitting still relative to my computer. Relative to the sun I am hurtling through space at tremendous speed.

I make decisions relative to my culture, time in history, experience and education. I can see that from a given perspective there could be a sense of absolutism on a certain moral ground, which will change with the culture through time.

Morals nailed in time become arbitrary as the circumstances change, no?

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Post by Painted Owl » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Cadfael,just curious, whom to you are the great unwashed?
"Those whom know the most must mourn the deepest orr the fatal truth, the tree of knowledge is not that of life." Goethe
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Post by cadfael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The eternal truths abide always even if they sleep during times of ignorance. I find myself greatly being influenced by the Greeks. Plato sought the eternal in the temporal world and according to Campbell it is already here. Yes that is true. It is the ideas that Plato spoke of, or the perfect forms-all things that are good.

Yes we do make enlightened and unenlightened descisions based upon what enlightened or unenlightened teachers have taught us regarding what is right and wrong. There are many things deplorable that people have done in the past to others that then may have been considered fine in that period of time. For example:

1. In Ancient Greece it was fine for a man to take a underaged boy and use him sexually. Was such an act fine? No. Socrates spoke of his "Deamon" or his conscience. It would be quite easy for a reflective person to have sat down and realized that the boy was being taken advantage of by an older man because the boy was not mature enough to make his own descisions regarding sexuality considering that the teenage years are a very confusing time for kids. The depraved men then had their conscience dampened by perversion and their was no sound thought that occured.

2. It was moral for women to have stayed in a second class position in the past. Socrates believed that they could be taught just as well as a man. He was taught Rhetoric by the lovely Aspasia. Socrates knew by simple reasoning that it was inappropriate to put women below men when it concerned education.

3. It could be viewed that the Nazis were just a victim of their culture and Hitler and made their moral descisions based upon thier education, time, intelligence etc. Well some people like Oscar Schindler broke the mold and followed their conscience.

St.Paul who was very much like that of Plato.He said that no man really had an excuse. It was his belief that those without the knowledge of the Law(Torah)knew the difference bettween right and wrong. It was his belief that those who did not know God and who did the will of God had God's law written upon their hearts.

Ah but what of those that were vastly ignorant and had not been taught, or had not discovered the absolutes in their time etc. They had absolutes even if they did not have a whole host of them that had been written down. If they did not then humanity would not have continued to this point in time.

There are the eternal ideas that abide even in the ignorance of the past. We cannot lower the standard because of the mistakes of yesterday.

A river and all that surrounds it changes with time, but there is one thing that abides and that is that it is still a river-the eternal principle.

Cadfael


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Post by cadfael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Thank you for the queston Painted Owl. I am more than happy to answer it for you. We are the great unwashed in my opinion for we are standing in a deep muddy ditch with a bar of soap trying to get clean. Why did I say,"We" it is because you are an intelligent person in these forums and you think. It is the ones that do not think that sit directly in the mud. The very essence of who we are is not better than the others. The only difference is that we are standing up and attempting to clean ourselves, but we are still far from being clean. Hence, we are all the "Great Unwashed."

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Post by cadfael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

As the world morally changes its structure changes, or collapses leading to inevitable chaos before all is rebuilt. The chaos that follows the collaps will be filled with morality based upon the circumstance, but underneath all of this is eternal principles still apply. I can say this without speaking regarding anyone. But it is hard sometimes to see ourselves for who we are and who we have been. It is hard to admit that we have been wrong and as we know change can be hard. I think that many people including myself have tried to excuse many things. But those that seek after truth regarding themselves and life will confront morality and their individual lives.

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Post by cadfael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Children need to be taught for they would make all kinds of bad descions and they cannot be fully blamed. I see adults differently.

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Post by cadfael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

It has been pointed out that there are some things that control how we make our descisions in life. They are as such:

1. The Biological factor eg. intelligence, health, race etc.

2. The Environmental factor eg. education, parenting, politics etc.

3. The period of time that people have lived in eg. the middle ages and the burning of withces etc.

4. Maturation.

These are just examples that show that there are times and circumstances were the descisions that others make are not completely controlled by the person making the descision, but they are in a sense coerced into the act because there is no control regarding the circumstance.

On the other hand, those that are healthy and have been taught have the ability to make moral descisions. It is their circumstance which is a good circumstance because they do have a certain amount of control over what they do and what they do not do. In this circumstance, absolute moral descisions can be made, as well as, moral relitivistic descisions. The question is which do you choose because outside of circumstances that cannot be controled(the maturation and education factor can change) we have a lot of freedom in how we live, or do not live regarding our moral lives. If we make excuses all the time and do not recognize our errors and change then we will just fall into a sad gray area that just goes deeper and worsens with time. It becomes a very intricate and sad labrinth that imprisons people to the point of destruction, or freedom.

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Post by cadfael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

It is true that some ethical views in the past that were deemed and are still deemed to be absolute were in truth just bad ethics.
There are ethical laws of the past that have faded and would be considered unacceptable by todays standards. I agree with this, none of this takes away from sound axioms that have a place in all time.

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Post by Clemsy » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Good points, Cadfael, to which I agree.

So, perhaps it's a matter of seperating the wheat from the chaff for I certainly would say that murder is always and forever immoral. The reasons being obvious.

Whereas gay marriage becomes less easily maintained as inherently immoral because the reasons for such boil down to, "Because God says so." (Not to even give the usual absurd warnings about this leading to incest, bestiality, child abuse, etc., the time of day.)

...And then abortion presents, like it or not, gray areas which need to be addressed in reasoned debate if the end result is legislation.

Yes, Cadfael. I agree there are moral absolutes. But for each, I would think, would be an unquestionable argument, beyond the need for a divine revelation, ...which could get interpreted rather sloppily...

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Post by Bobby T. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Clemsy;



“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” Thomas Jefferson



I particularly like Jefferson's sentiment here along with his use of "tremble", "God", and "nation" in relationship. All should now "tremble" as well, even more than in Jefferson's days.


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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Sorry, guys, I'm not trembling.

I'm like a tree, standing in the river.

I will not be moved.

For me, circumstances are highly subjective. Both free and oppressed, I am, more than anything else, grateful for the opportunity to have reached this place, this time, this internet forum.

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Post by Bobby T. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Well, Cavebear, as I said in my post, all "should" be trembling but few, due to denial, are. Only those who exist in love and gentle kindness, minute by every minute, would not tremble facing the future that we are facing, and, from a distance, even in person, it would be impossible for me to "judge" whether any one individual is living in love and gentle kindness, minute to minute. But, I do know this, when Bin Laden finally does make his next move, and excecutes a catastrophic attack on our soil resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands, all of those who HAVE been in denial and who have NOT lived in love and gentle kindness, will be trembling to the point of exhaustion, and the trembling will not go away, at that point. We are living in truly mythical times, where we will either destroy ourselves or learn to live in love and gentle kindness. That IS the ultimate myth, and, now, it is our reality.



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Post by cadfael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Clemsy,

When it regards abortion there is a gray area when the husband and wife cannot choose life because of the circumstance-medical. But then they could choose life if they wanted. Remember Campbell said that a woman is a hero when she gives birth.

As to gay marriage it can be reasoned quite well as to why gay marriage, or homomsexuality is inappropriate. When I get a chance I shall divulge the truth regarding this matter. It is not just a matter of God disagreeing.

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Post by Robert G. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Yes, Cadfael. I agree there are moral absolutes. But for each, I would think, would be an unquestionable argument, beyond the need for a divine revelation
The problem here is that there are no unquestionable arguments regarding moral issues. If there were this would be a dead issue. Every position that you can take finally rests on irrational convictions, otherwise known as faith, those things that you accept as a priori truths. Since these truths do not exist outside of the individual mind (with all due respect to Plato), there is no absolute way to assert that one persons convictions are more "true" than anothers. The best that can be done is to measure how well the moral rules that are based on these convictions function to achieve whatever they were designed to achieve.

Campbell repeatedly cited both Freud and Jung in asserting that morals are learned, not innate intuitions into eternal laws. Indeed, he described maturity in the Western tradition as being exactly this: the individual recognizing that he is is responsible for making his own judgements about what he thinks is right and wrong, and in accepting responsibility for acting out of those judgements.
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