Gary Lloyd (email@example.com)
Thu, 2 Oct 1997 22:21:30 -0400 (EDT)
At 06:49 PM 10/2/97 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>The concept, morality, is probably the most popular topic of
>conversation in the world. Wherever one turns, one is inundated
>by talk of morally right, or moral rights, or the complement,
>morally wrong, or immoral, but I don't suppose anyone claims
>"immoral rights"; at least, I haven't heard of any doing so. All
>in all, there are a lot of words flying about on this subject
>with some rather strong emotions often attached. The problem is
>this airborne dialogue on "morality" seems to stay airborne,
>which puts me to wondering just what the hoopla is all about.
>What's all the rhetoric attached to? Why do some feel the need to
>"justify" their actions? And "justify" by what? It appears that
>the Extropian List has its fair share of "moralist", so maybe
>someone can help me out on this.
>I understand cause and effect, that all actions have
>consequences. I understand that consequences to my liking I call
>good, and those I do not like, I call bad. Does not every
>individual do the same? I hear "morally right" and "morally
>wrong", but it fits not in my thinking. I can grasp right as
>proper means suited to a specific purpose. By the same token, I
>can grasp wrong means for a specific purpose. But purpose is a
>matter of individual choice is it not? So, is a "moralist" simply
>saying that what is suited to his purpose is called moral and
>that which is not is called immoral? If not his purpose, whose?
>Or what's? Can we have "good or bad" without purpose?
>There are those that say that what is according to "God's will"
>is moral; that which opposes is immoral. Alas, it appears that
>"God's will" is a diverse thing and the differences of opinion
>follow suspiciously along individual lines. One might say that it
>is immoral to eat a hot dog while another disagrees, but holds
>that it is moral to exterminate all non believers. Thus does
>"good and evil" cover a wide "moral and immoral" range" of
>Then there are those who consciously and verbally dismiss such
>mysticism as "God's will", yet cling no less tenaciously to the
>idea of morality than the most devout believers in formal
>religion. When pressed for an answer to the question of reference
>for claims of moral or immoral, they are at a loss to provide it.
>Some say that which is consistent with life is moral; that which
>is inconsistent with life is immoral. This leaves a lot of
>questions unanswered. If one is talking about just bare survival,
>there still remains the question of personal choice. Beyond this,
>choices, decisions and actions comprise an active life. To just
>say that "life" is a standard not only denies personal choice,
>but totally ignores the elements that make up an ongoing life. To
>prepare a list of "moral or immoral" things and attempt to
>validate such a list is venture that many include in their daily
>routine. Thus by inference do they fall right back into the
>mysticism of "God's will" and a set of "oughts" for one and all.
>The "oughts" and "shoulds" fill the air and air seems to be their
>only filler, for "ought" is recognition of "not is", and the
>twain shall never in reality meet.
>The issue can be illuminated by a simple observation and a brief
>question or two: The terms, good and bad, have no definitive
>meaning except in the evaluation of means in respect of a
>particular end. Suited or unsuited is the question that answers
>the question, good or bad. So how does this "morality" stuff get
>into the picture? Is the particular end by individual creating,
>or is it a claim of discovery existing independently of
>individual creating? If the former, then all individuals and
>their ends chosen are no less viable. All arguments of "morality"
>On the other hand, if it is claimed the end reference purpose for
>"moral" or "immoral" is discovered outside of self or
>independently of any individual, whether the alleged source is
>called "God", "Nature", whatever, is immaterial. A purpose
>existing independently of individual creating necessarily implies
>a volitional source existing independently of individual. Thus
>one must claim personal values as the basis for "morality" or
>concede a "superior being" as source. I know of none who claim
Let me be the first, then. I claim the former.
>Although not named and often vehemently denied, this
>leaves the latter, i.e, the concept, superior being, as the root
>of "morality." From the concept, superior being, comes the
>concept, inferior being. This is inevitably followed by
>subordination and rule. Since history books and daily newspapers
>tell of the horrendous consequences, I need not elaborate here.
>To be sure, the idea of the "innate evil of man" in need of
>redemption and external control by "non man" is deeply embedded
>in the psyche of nearly all. In denial of this belief, they are
>hard put to explain the feeling of fear at the thought of leaving
>an individual to his choices and own devices. Thus do they pursue "moral
>control" for the sake of "security" in a never ending self-
>fulfilling prophecy of death and destruction. Do not the facts
>bear out this conclusion? An "unquestionable" sacred idea built
>on illusion may be emotionally comforting, but it is often quite
>If I have erred in my deliberations and calculations, please
>point out the wheres and whys of the flaws and I shall be
As I see it, morality is a strong individual statement of universal intent,
by which others are able to, with reasonable accuracy, predict our future
If, for example, I state that theft is morally wrong, you can be reasonably
sure that I will not steal from you, or anyone else, even if the
circumstances were such that I would probably not get caught.
If you make the same moral commitment, this moves us in the direction of
being able to peacefully coexist, making both of us safer. Such a
commitment, being universal (I will not steal from *anyone*), is a
unilateral offer to all others to join in peaceful coexistance, making all
safer. It is in our individual interests to make such commitments. And it
very well may be instinctive to do so, as well.
When the boot of government is on your neck,
it doesn't matter if it's left or right.