Re: Ethics
Thu, 25 Jun 1998 18:05:52 EDT

In a message dated 6/25/1998 1:46:21 PM Pacific Daylight Time,

<< > > I'm not sure this is obviously rational, I fail to
> > see why saving lives is a rational act.
> Saving lives is not, in itself, rational; unless you get great pleasure
> from doing so. Saving your OWN life, however, is. >>

It doesn't take a science wiz to answer this question. Anyone in business or
with any human relations experience knows people by nature are imitative and
recompensive. You screw someone over, they screw you back. You give them
something, they feel obliged to give you that. And people feel obliged to
act on behalf of others when the acts aren't performed (the group and mob
mentality.) Social pressure reinforces this.

>From a purely utilitarian standpoint, the more people's who's butts you save,
the more people who would owe your butt into a saving, or atleast a free
drink. Of course, not everyone will pay you back, so the more "social
brownie points" you get, the higher the odds of pay back.

Case : A person's life is in danger. Saving that person requires a slight
but controllable risk. - - Let's say the person is your best friend vs. a
guy in a klan suit. Won't your feelings towards that person effect your
likelihood of jumping in. If people perceive you to be a selfish and
unsympathetic character, they're less likely to protect you or look out for
you. People with lot's of enemies or no friends place their lives in grave

To take the hedonistic perspective, "Well, only if its fun," assumes that the
value of the pleasure itself is more valuable than your mortality. To say,
"Well, I don't have a moral responsibility, but its in my own self interest,"
takes a more practical look at the "economics of self preservation,"
ultimately, what comes around goes around.

Also, let's just say, it is foolish to help other people. - - And, you're a
cryonicist. You probably don't want to expouse this philosophy too much.
Why should a cryonics org look out to preserve you after you've gone ???
Suppose its no fun and it would be better to pocket the money ?

hence, the philosophy works two ways... one, if its true, people who live by
it improve their odds of survival. Two, even if its not, people who expouse
it, improve their odds of survival by surrounding themselves with people with
a sense of debt.

The only possibility of living a purely self objective hedonistic lifestyle,
is to lock oneself in a harm proof vault. But by sheltering oneself from
human beings, the aim of hedonism, pleasure can't be obtained... hence : it's
self defeating.

Incidently, rationality must be defined according to the ends, not a universal
truth (unless one believes in God). Likewise, ethics are the means, and
should be judged in the long terms, by whether they lead to the ends.

Nearsightedness is dangerous in the world of flesh and blood ! We're not
superhuman yet !

- - Ed