How do we determine the importance of conscious beings in relation to each other?
Posted: 09 July 2011 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Maybe we can start with thinking about Dr. Harris’s peaks and valleys. To remind, we may not be able to imagine circumstances that would be the peaks and the valleys but we can at least rate things above or below each other. So with our full capabilities a person imagines the best scenario they can, as well as the worst. Lets say a bird does the same. Clearly our range is much more vast but this suggests that there is a blurred line holding our individual limits of experience. So if scenarios appeared to both the human and the bird, even worse than we both individually imagined, but still falling within our capabilities of mind, then the worst situations for the bird and us would be different but still the most terrible things that could befall us.

What I’m getting to is that the worst possible moments for the bird are synonymous with the worst possible experiences for us (although these situations are very different and much atrocious for us only because we are lucid enough to have the experience), no matter the differences in the ranges between the bird and a human, certain situations are still the worst (or best) for our complexities limits.

How can we designate which conscious beings are more important based upon their range of experience?  If it were to evolve later on then it would set the new peaks and valleys with its new insight. This doesn’t mean that its previous peaks weren’t actually peaks, but that the peaks are evolving harmonious to our complexity and imagination. The moment the being can imagine more its more complicated, and a new limit is set, both more wondrous and horrendous. Right?

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Posted: 24 December 2011 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hi,

The difficulty most of us have is that we think we are just the physical beings. We as human beings are more than just a physical body. I will try to explain it in a simple way:

1. At a basic level we are animals and have physical needs - eat,drink, shelter, etc. We have a choice to select our food/drink. Animals are programmed e.g. a tiger will eat meat while a sheep will eat grass. Animals have a reproduction cycle while we have choice…
2. We have emotions so do other mammals, etc e.g. love, anger.. we have these emotions in a more developed form than the animals. We have seen pets expressing these emotions.
3. The next level is cognition - where we think so do our pets. 
4. The next level is meta cognition where we think about thinking about thinking. Animals do not have this ability. This is where the choices and free will comes and plays its role. This is the level where relative values come into play. My definition of justice could be different from others…. same goes for other values.
5. The human interaction plays an important role in the way we develop our thought process which helps to build our character or personality.  We are challenged about our values in our daily lives and we think and act.

To be continued

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Posted: 25 December 2011 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Hi,

Continuing from my previous post the next stage of our development is the choices we make in our daily life within the constraints placed by the environment or the society in which we live. For example If I am poor, I will be constrained in my choice as compared to a rich man. However, the values will still remain relative whatever I do within these constraints.

6. The next stage is that how use our free will to interact within a society. We experience that we follow our desires and use our intellect to accomplish it. We sometimes evaluate these desires sometimes we do not.  Similarly at another time we use our emotions to follow our goals which we select through the use of meta cognition e.g. in our job we plan something and then use our desire to accomplish it. This is where our choices come into play through the use of our relative values. Religious beliefs are are also relative values as each religion’s god is different from each other. The definition of this god defines the religion?

7. We have seen so far that our values influence our decision making. There certain values which do not change with time e.g. justice, equality as human beings, dignity as a human child, accountability, ..... This will need some explanation. For example equality as a human being—when a child is born anywhere in the world it is equal to another child whether rich or poor. The additional or relative values of rich/poor, status, colour, race etc do not change the basic fact that the child is born equal to another child.  Accepting this as a permanent values changes the whole scenario as it places us equal to any other human being in the world/universe.

8. If we believe and develop conviction in the permanent values then we start operating at a universal level and all the issues of parties, divisions disappear?

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Posted: 28 September 2012 12:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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“Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all…”

WBYeats.

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Posted: 05 October 2012 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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logicophilosophicus - 28 September 2012 12:33 AM

“Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all…”

WBYeats.

Care to explain this?

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Posted: 06 October 2012 01:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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AE’s point 4 re a distinction - a morally relevant distinction - between animals and humans is well brought out in WBYeats’s poem. Humans often intuitively grasp situations without conscious analysis. The poem ends (with my emphasis added):

“Man knows death to the bone:
Man has CREATED death.”

More inclusively, you could say: “Humans have CREATED morality.” (Not a view I wholeheartedly endorse.)

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Posted: 25 January 2013 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Owin - 09 July 2011 10:32 AM

How can we designate which conscious beings are more important based upon their range of experience?  If it were to evolve later on then it would set the new peaks and valleys with its new insight. This doesn’t mean that its previous peaks weren’t actually peaks, but that the peaks are evolving harmonious to our complexity and imagination. The moment the being can imagine more its more complicated, and a new limit is set, both more wondrous and horrendous. Right?

Right. But we can still work with the present and for the present. Man ought to be an end in himself rather than an instrument or a Neitzschean bridge (he famously argued “man is a bridge not a goal”) to something allegedly superior. That would be to say the ends justify the means. But if we are humanistic the ends are ourselves and what we can become in the plasticity of this life.

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