Reply to topic
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:05 pm
Reply
I Shot my Elephant

Like this post
Another user asked me a question and suggested I make a thread in the Around the Campfire section, however I do not possess the permissions to do so, therefore his question will be answered here.

William wrote:

[Replying to post 48]

Purple Knight: No matter how hard I try, I am always disliked everywhere by everyone, because I care only about logic and thus agree with nothing.

William: Hi there Purple Knight.
I am not following the logic of your statement here. It appears to me that you are mixing fantasy with the factual.
There is a sub-forum on this message board, where your claim can be tested in an environment where no one is allowed to dislike anyone else.

I invite you to participate. You are allowed to be logical and don't have to agree with anything except the initial rule which gets you in the door.


What I mean by, "I disagree with everything," is really, "I can't agree with anything," and the reason is that early in life, I shot my elephant.

It positively thrills me to know there are others on the forum that are familiar with this metaphor. Here's a quote:

wiploc wrote:
In The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics And Religion, Jonathan Haidt uses a metaphor about the mind being like a human riding an elephant. The rider is the conscious reasoning mind, small, weak, and yet it thinks it's in charge. The Elephant is the unconscious mind and the emotions. The elephant mostly does what it wants, while the rider mostly acts as a press secretary, "My elephant is turning left here. Left is good! Left is good!"

I won't try to develop the metaphor here, but Heidt has this quotation I like:

Quote:
Your elephant knows which way to lean in response to terms such as pro-life,
and as your elephant sways back and forth throughout the day, you find yourself
liking and trusting people around you who sway in sync with you.


This metaphor has cropped up repeatedly with different metaphorical subjects and every time I've seen it, it has spoken directly to me.

Very, very early in life I realised I had an elephant and I shot it, though then I just thought of it as an id, though not just my impulses, but my biases.

I wanted to challenge everything, to go on a quest for truth that led me down horribly dark paths because I couldn't even have that same disgust toward racists everyone else had. I looked at everything, even bad things, with the same objective perspective. When my parents said I had to tolerate everyone, and all views, my response was to bring home a neo-Nazi.

To this day I don't think much of what racists say is factually incorrect, but I will absolutely concede that treating everyone equally is an absolute moral necessity regardless, because it doesn't matter what the statistics are about groups - you simply can't punish anyone who's done nothing wrong, ever.

I realised later in life that I was wrong to shoot my elephant and I've tried desperately to ride other peoples' elephants to no avail. Their beast always bucks me, because it's not my beast. I have no idea if I'm liberal or conservative, or rather, if I would have been liberal or conservative, since I shot the poor thing before I had a chance to figure that out.

All I know is that I believe in the principle of noncontradiction.

And it's a sad knowledge to have, because I ask questions, and sooner or later, I'll ask something that exposes a contradiction, and get my face slapped for my trouble (not necessarily literally but you know, peoples' reactions). I wish I could tell them that I'm not trying to pick apart their beliefs, I'm trying to adopt them (moral beliefs, not religious ones), but I always seem like the outsider because I have no elephant to tell me when to sway. To me, they seem like vacillating idiots, always changing their principles on a dime, but I would give anything for one of their elephants.

If I could choose, I would take a Libertarian or Leftist elephant, since these philosophies seem to attract the people with the greatest confidence in their own views' correctitude. In the face of this, I remain what I am, and my instinctive expression of the reverence I have for these kinds of views is nothing short of viciously dismantling them.

I don't think I'm free from bias, but I'm probably about as close as a person can come, and every moment is pure concentrated misery I have more than once thought to put myself out of.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:40 pm
Reply

Like this post (1): Purple Knight
I found your rambling quite interesting. And I'd like to share my perspective on what I've just read.

To begin with I totally understand the Elephant analogy, however a problem I see with it is that it appears to be focused almost entirely on passing judgements on whether or not various actions, ideas, or opinions should be evaluated as being "right or wrong" or "good or bad".

I realized early on that such judgements are irrelevant. Especially in any absolute sense.

Is a racist "wrong" for being racist? No. They simply are what they are. There is no need to pass any judgement on whether their views and opinions are right or wrong. Such judgements are themselves nothing more than just more subjective opinions.

What we can say objectively is that a racist worldview is non-inclusive. That much is obvious. So there are objective truths we can evaluate. Is non-inclusive "good or bad". Well again, that brings us right back to personal subjective opinions again.

Do I have personal subjective opinions on these issues? Sure. I choose that an inclusive world is "better" than exclusive. Why do I chose this? Because I would rather live in a world where I am included rather than trying to live in a world where I would be excluded.

So it's a personal choice. A personal opinion. I wouldn't even try to argue that it's anything more than this.

This is why I have never needed my Elephant. I just let the thing go off and live in the wild on its own. Angel

I simply have no use for it. I'm more than capable of holding my own views and opinions.

Where I think a lot of people go wrong is when they start to defend their views and opinions as though they represent some objective truth that transcends their subjective desires. I confess that all my views and opinions are my own desires. I'm not going to argue that inclusiveness is "better" than exclusiveness, for example. But I will argue that I would rather live in an inclusive world if I have a choice. So in this sense inclusiveness is "better" for me. That much I can take to the bank as a fact. Very Happy


So I don't waste my time worrying about trying to find the "absolute truth" of what's right or wrong, because there is no absolute truth. Each person creates their own world and has to live in it.

I'm happy in the world I've created.

My life has been spent studying what I personally and subjectively consider to be far more meaningful things (certainly more enjoyable things). And this would be science, mathematics, enjoying physical reality, and building robots. Cool

Arguing with people over what should be considered to be absolutely right or wrong is a waste of everyone's time. I'll be glad to offer my opinions on what is right or wrong for me subjectively. But that's as far as I go.

Those who are searching for any absolute objective moral code are bound to become frustrated and disappointed in the end, because as far as I can see, no such thing exists. They simply chose the wrong thing to pursue in life.

By the way, this wouldn't include those who argue for "ethics" based on what they feel are good reasons. That's not the same as claiming to have, or search for, absolute moral truth. Instead, it's an honest attempt at trying to build a system of ethics that can be argued for rationally. As long as they don't get lost in thinking that they can prove an absolutely perfect ethical code, they should be fine. Getting lost in the latter is no better than starting out with the same idea.

In any case, your post sounds to me like you set out to discover "moral truth" and have finally come to realize that the beast simply doesn't exist. I agree. It doesn't. But no need to be disappointed about it, other than any time you might have wasted searching for it. Instead, just move on to more meaningful things. Basically anything you truly enjoy doing that doesn't ultimately cause you grief is a more meaningful thing. Even if it may appear to others to be nothing more than fruitless art. If you are enjoying creating it, then it's fruitful for you.

And then this becomes an absolute objective truth for you. Thumbs up

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:02 pm
Reply

Like this post
Divine Insight wrote:
I realized early on that such judgements are irrelevant. Especially in any absolute sense.

Is a racist "wrong" for being racist? No. They simply are what they are. There is no need to pass any judgement on whether their views and opinions are right or wrong. Such judgements are themselves nothing more than just more subjective opinions.


I would say this is incorrect as to things like racism and murder.

I'm already catching flak on this forum because I have no idea how to be respectful.

As to preferring a world where I'm included, I have no personal basis on which to judge because I've never been included. The only people who have ever been the least bit nice to me are the vile sort that I ought to (I suppose) have hatred for those myself.

But I can't feel it. I can't muster a hate that isn't there.

And worse, I can't use the idea that I'll be included to prefer inclusiveness over exclusiveness, when it's the inclusive people who hate and exclude me most.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:31 pm
Reply
Re: I Shot my Elephant

Like this post
[Replying to post 1 by Purple Knight]

Have you considered professional therapy? Getting a diagnose for your dead elephant may help you ride a new one.

Quote:
... I will absolutely concede that treating everyone equally is an absolute moral necessity regardless, because it doesn't matter what the statistics are about groups - you simply can't punish anyone who's done nothing wrong, ever.

Who is telling you this, if not your elephant?

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:08 pm
Reply
Re: I Shot my Elephant

Like this post
Bust Nak wrote:
Who is telling you this, if not your elephant?


Other people.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:10 am
Reply
Re: I Shot my Elephant

Like this post
[Replying to post 5 by Purple Knight]

Why do you accept it as truth though, if it's just what people tell you? I don't think pure logic can get you to the conclusion that one simply can't punish anyone who's done nothing wrong.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:05 pm
Reply
Re: I Shot my Elephant

Like this post (1): Bust Nak
Bust Nak wrote:
Why do you accept it as truth though, if it's just what people tell you?


I have no choice. I also have to bet the odds. If the inclusive tolerance boat has more people, and racists are a laughing stock minority, I must simply accept that most people are right, even if the tolerance people despise me.

It's not fail safe, but it's all I've got.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Display posts from previous:   


Jump to:  
Facebook
Tweet

 




On The Web | Ecodia | Hymn Lyrics Apps
Facebook | Twitter

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.   Produced by Ecodia.

Igloo   |  Lo-Fi Version