Poverty

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Poverty

Post #1

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How can we alleviate poverty without causing harm in the process?

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Post #31

Post by Goat »

ElCodeMonkey wrote:
Goat wrote: While the system might change though individual efforts, you can't say that it will address the primary issue.. and that is 'why is there so much poverty to begin with'.

Part of the reason we are in the mess right now is the system changed over the last 50 years, and not for the better.

Individual effort isn't good eough, because it doesn't address the primary issue.
I guess it depends on what you consider to be the primary issue. Greed is often considered the primary issue and indeed that's part of it. But it's not so much greed alone, per se, as it is an imbalance of values and doing what must be done to survive. CEOs often have little choice but to do what's "best" for the company since the shareholders will fire them if they don't. So the primary value is, "hold on to my job." It would be better if the primary value were, "do what's best for everyone." The problem is, that is very clearly a waste of money on paper. It's hard to make a choice that is bad for a company just because it's better for the environment/society. It is still a choice though. And as individuals begin valuing different things (through our individual promotions of values), they will begin making the right choices. People will make the right choices who have the power to alter the system.

There are multiple reasons for poverty:

1. Greed (of course)
2. Lack of Education
3. Lack of Physical/Mental Capacity
4. Lack of Tradeable Resources (location)
5. Lack of Opportunity (too busy surviving)
6. Lack of Concern for Fellow Man
7. Bad Diets Adversely Affecting Mood
8. Lack of Nurturing and Mentoring
(and probably more)

These items can either be resolved or worked around with a culture of concern for those around you. You do your part, I do mine, others do theirs, and these things disappear. The system will correct itself as people correct themselves. For every problem one can find with the system, there is a solution that is correctable via people who care. Of course, we have to develop people who care. So the more we demonstrate it, the more others will learn it and follow suit.
Could that 'lack of Opportunity' be because of 6 on the part of the owners of corporations??

Will the system correct itself?? Can you show that is being done, oh, the last 60 years? I can show how number 6 lead to number 5. .. and how the rich is greedy, and let lack of opporunity develop for others.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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Post #32

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

Goat wrote:
ElCodeMonkey wrote: ...
There are multiple reasons for poverty:

1. Greed (of course)
2. Lack of Education
3. Lack of Physical/Mental Capacity
4. Lack of Tradeable Resources (location)
5. Lack of Opportunity (too busy surviving)
6. Lack of Concern for Fellow Man
7. Bad Diets Adversely Affecting Mood
8. Lack of Nurturing and Mentoring
(and probably more)
...
Could that 'lack of Opportunity' be because of 6 on the part of the owners of corporations??

Will the system correct itself?? Can you show that is being done, oh, the last 60 years? I can show how number 6 lead to number 5. .. and how the rich is greedy, and let lack of opporunity develop for others.
It hasn't fixed itself in the last 60 years because it's not what's been uplifted in the past 60 years. But I can show you that movements take form as people continue to express what they put values in. Atheism is growing, Humanism is growing, Gay Rights is growing, the Green Movement is growing. Other movements have already been successful to some degree: Abolition of slavery, Suffrage, Women's rights, etc. Support humanism enough and eventually things will work themselves out as people start making humanistic choices versus dollar choices. The corrupt ones eventually die and the next generation replaces them. Let's just make sure the next generation doesn't feel powerless because they're only a single person against a giant entity and thus continue perpetuating the problem. The movement will succeed if people uplift it and actually perform it themselves despite those that are not and despite the seeming futility of it.
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Post #33

Post by Goat »

ElCodeMonkey wrote:
Goat wrote:
ElCodeMonkey wrote: ...
There are multiple reasons for poverty:

1. Greed (of course)
2. Lack of Education
3. Lack of Physical/Mental Capacity
4. Lack of Tradeable Resources (location)
5. Lack of Opportunity (too busy surviving)
6. Lack of Concern for Fellow Man
7. Bad Diets Adversely Affecting Mood
8. Lack of Nurturing and Mentoring
(and probably more)
...
Could that 'lack of Opportunity' be because of 6 on the part of the owners of corporations??

Will the system correct itself?? Can you show that is being done, oh, the last 60 years? I can show how number 6 lead to number 5. .. and how the rich is greedy, and let lack of opporunity develop for others.
It hasn't fixed itself in the last 60 years because it's not what's been uplifted in the past 60 years. But I can show you that movements take form as people continue to express what they put values in. Atheism is growing, Humanism is growing, Gay Rights is growing, the Green Movement is growing. Other movements have already been successful to some degree: Abolition of slavery, Suffrage, Women's rights, etc. Support humanism enough and eventually things will work themselves out as people start making humanistic choices versus dollar choices. The corrupt ones eventually die and the next generation replaces them. Let's just make sure the next generation doesn't feel powerless because they're only a single person against a giant entity and thus continue perpetuating the problem. The movement will succeed if people uplift it and actually perform it themselves despite those that are not and despite the seeming futility of it.
Yes, all those social issues are growing. Much of it i s growing because of the legal boosts that were given.

When it comes to the economics, we got out of the robber barons of the 19th century because of laws being changed.. although pressure by the people caused those laws to be changed.

The impetus to make the change came from individual efforts, but the implementation has pretty much all be changes in law.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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Post #34

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

[Replying to post 33 by Goat]

Sure, I can agree that laws are probably the single most important change inducing item. As you mentioned, however, it's the people who make the laws be it from the pressure of others or from the law-makers own volition to do good. But we need to focus on the first step which is making people WANT to make those decisions or to PUT the pressure on to make those decisions. And that's a cultural change. The entirety of culture doesn't have to change to change the laws, but a significant portion needs to change to put such laws into effect. So I still don't think individuals are powerless because it is they who will affect those around them to create a culture that will or will not make the ultimate changes that are necessary in the world. If we feel powerless and voice that powerlessness and do nothing, then others will likely do similarly and few will ever make a bigger difference. Who knows what random influences gave great men the courage and dreams that made them do big things. We each have more power than we really know.
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Post #35

Post by Goat »

ElCodeMonkey wrote: [Replying to post 33 by Goat]

Sure, I can agree that laws are probably the single most important change inducing item. As you mentioned, however, it's the people who make the laws be it from the pressure of others or from the law-makers own volition to do good. But we need to focus on the first step which is making people WANT to make those decisions or to PUT the pressure on to make those decisions. And that's a cultural change. The entirety of culture doesn't have to change to change the laws, but a significant portion needs to change to put such laws into effect. So I still don't think individuals are powerless because it is they who will affect those around them to create a culture that will or will not make the ultimate changes that are necessary in the world. If we feel powerless and voice that powerlessness and do nothing, then others will likely do similarly and few will ever make a bigger difference. Who knows what random influences gave great men the courage and dreams that made them do big things. We each have more power than we really know.
Can you give clear and specific steps to achieve that? How do you make it happen?
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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Post #36

Post by Wissing »

ElCode, you hit the nail on the head with that last statement, although I'm interpreting it differently than you meant it. "We each have more power than we really know." Yes, we have a lot of power. But we lack understanding. We don't know how to solve our own problems, much less those of others. We do have the ability to - and in fact the responsibility. But we cannot see that far. Each has so little insight. And yet the largest obstacle preventing each of our educated youth from effectively wielding his enormous power is his own ego. Each of us deludes himself into believing he understands world affairs, and so abandons God, a hindrance to his progressive heroism. This is how our individual, creative influence is lost, and a futile secular 'humanist' activism replaces it. Conscious decisions are lost, the conscience is satisfied by reading the news and voting, rather than serving its God-borne purpose.

Gershenzon:
...when consciousness is uprooted from its soil, its sense of the mystical dies at once, and God is gradually effaced from all its ideas. Its activity becomes a fantastic game and its every calculation untrue and unworkable, just as if an architect took it into his head to draw up his plans without regard for the laws of perspective or the properties of matter.
This is precisely what happened to the Russian inteligentsia [educated class]. The history of our journalism, from Belinskii onward, is a sheer nightmare, as far as vital understanding is concerned.... the journalists made all their calculations on the assumption that the whole world, all things and all human souls, where created and are governed by the rules of human logic... hence, with our reason we can perfectly comprehend the laws of universal life, we can set provisional goals for the universe (there is no general goal, since our reason does not perceive one), we can truly change the nature of things, etc. It seems incomprehensible that entire generations could live under such a monstrous delusion. Indeed, they too had irrational feelings.... But they neither thought about their feelings nor look at God's universe; and their thought lived a self-sufficient life playing with it anemic ideas.
Love for God is the root source of our conscious ideas, which in turn lead to deliberate action. By faith, we can act, despite our folly, because it's God's plan, not ours. Because there is no list of "clear and specific steps" that can be applied broadly. The solution to poverty, to greed, to pollution, to theft, to war, to homelessness, to under-education... plays out differently in every case. The only possible broad-scope response is to love God, and your neighbor, and the specifics will be directed from there. Yes, each must use his own power - but to do so each must also recognize his limited insight.

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Post #37

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

[Replying to post 36 by Wissing]

I understanding what you're getting at since I used to be in that exact same position. I felt as if people following God was ultimately the cure-all so I focused on trying to get people to follow God. Now, I will certainly admit, that if God exists and is of the form of the Christian God, then indeed this would be the best option. Follow God and HE will solve the problems. The only problem with that logic, however, is that God doesn't exist and will not solve our problems no matter how much people follow him. This means one would waste his or her effort on an entirely vain principle of evangelism rather than solving any real-world problems. However, if everyone followed the teachings of the Synoptic Jesus, then it would indeed be an entirely humanist endeavor and it would be a cure-all. So whether one believes in God or not, I beg of everyone to follow the teachings of the Synoptic Jesus: Judge not, Love all, keep yourself moral, do no harm, etc. These are not only "Godly" principles, they are also humanist principles. The problem with "following God" comes in the form of the other humans that came after Jesus and tried to oppress and control people with laws regarding their genitals and promising heaven and threatening hell. Such things ruin religion. This is pure religion: to care for widows and orphans (e.g.).
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Post #38

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

Goat wrote:
ElCodeMonkey wrote: [Replying to post 33 by Goat]

Sure, I can agree that laws are probably the single most important change inducing item. As you mentioned, however, it's the people who make the laws be it from the pressure of others or from the law-makers own volition to do good. But we need to focus on the first step which is making people WANT to make those decisions or to PUT the pressure on to make those decisions. And that's a cultural change. The entirety of culture doesn't have to change to change the laws, but a significant portion needs to change to put such laws into effect. So I still don't think individuals are powerless because it is they who will affect those around them to create a culture that will or will not make the ultimate changes that are necessary in the world. If we feel powerless and voice that powerlessness and do nothing, then others will likely do similarly and few will ever make a bigger difference. Who knows what random influences gave great men the courage and dreams that made them do big things. We each have more power than we really know.
Can you give clear and specific steps to achieve that? How do you make it happen?
One cannot give clear steps lest it become laws or blind following of actions. One could follow every "step" and yet still do it all wrong because it's a thing of the heart. Love those around you. Seek those whom you might befriend and be helpful to. Aid when you can. Think of ways to make life around you better. Don't isolate yourself so that you actually can do all these things. I can't just say, "give to the poor" since that in itself is not useful. But yet, if you have a poor neighbor, and you know of a way to make their life better, then by all means go for it. If a person does these things, it would indeed be like a light to others. It's not very useful to hide your "goodness" by sending checks in the mail to some company and hiding the receipt. If God existed, that would perhaps be useful, but since he doesn't it does no good for promoting good. The main objective of "giving in secret" was to not be vain or holier-than-thou and to allow God to move with his power rather than one's own. Of course, that won't achieve much though without a real God. Give time, money, effort, compassion, etc and indeed let people see it. Just don't let them see it for the sole purpose of giving YOU praise and instead praise others who do likewise. Those are the best "steps" I could possibly give.
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Post #39

Post by Wissing »

I didn't say we can just delegate all problems to God. I firmly believe that individuals have responsibility and must make distinct decisions. The position of "God as the ultimate cure-all" is one that I too have found insufficient. Not because it's untrue, but because the emphasis isn't in the right place. God is the source, I am one of his many instruments.

Apart from faith in God, how can good flow from the heart? You do agree that love for others must be "a thing of the heart". You wouldn't go through motions. You wouldn't follow a list of steps. So then, what control does one have in the state of his own heart?

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Post #40

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

Wissing wrote:Apart from faith in God, how can good flow from the heart? You do agree that love for others must be "a thing of the heart". You wouldn't go through motions. You wouldn't follow a list of steps. So then, what control does one have in the state of his own heart?
This is a rather common misnomer that Christians hold. I held to this once myself as well. The default Christian position is that good can only derive from God. This can only be true if God is Goodness itself. And if God is Goodness itself then even an Atheist serves God if he serves Goodness. There's nothing stopping an Atheist from having good in his or her heart. There simply isn't. This line of thinking is simply rude, really, and pronounces all kinds of evils regarding a person without even knowing them. That, in itself, is not "good" and thus not particularly "Godly". There are very many good Atheists who wish to serve humanity in a positive way without God. And if there be a God who is Goodness, then surely these Atheists serve this God without knowing it and such a good Good would indeed be proud. This is ultimately the message Jesus preached. Doing good is good and merely holding religious beliefs is ultimately useless. Belief in Goodness is what Jesus wanted. Man later corrupted it and turned it into religion regarding his "sacrifice" and other garbage which wasn't the message of the Synoptic Jesus.
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