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Author Topic: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.  (Read 1389 times)

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Offline MerdoroliTopic starter

Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« on: January 21, 2010, 04:47:03 PM »
Basically I made this thread to ask a question and maybe give my opinion on the matter. Some of the questions will be ones made to try and make you think. Others will be things I've been wondering about and wanted more opinions, like today's question. I'll try to have a new question every day, hope you enjoy reading and thinking about some of them as much as I do.

Question 1: "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." -Einstein. I'm sure many here would agree with that so it's not the question. The question is what values/virtues should you strive to uphold? I'd venture that many would say "all of them, of course" but what are all of them to you? And what do you do if you can only choose one in a certain situation? Say a hot girl/guy asks you how he looks that day. Do you choose to uphold your value of honesty? Or kindness/compassion?

I'd list more questions like that but I think you get the point. I'll start it off with my opinion.

Personally I hold love as the highest virtue. I beleive everyone needs love and if I was strong enough to not be afraid of the heartbreak I'd give everyone my heart. A close second on that list is kindness, my goal in life is to make those around me happier, I think if I do that then maybe I've done something of actual worth. The majority of the rest of my virtues and values flow from there. Friendship and politeness. Other things like that.

Offline consortium11

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 06:13:54 PM »
I think you may have misinterpretted the statement Einstein made here, as how I read it is that one should not simply try to act in one's own self interest ("be a success") but instead to try to help society as whole ("be of value"). It doesn't really touch on which values or virtues one should strive to uphold... it is more about as a general rule giving back to society rather than just taking from it.

I'm not sure I completely agree with Einstein's statement. There is of course the old philosophical chestnut about whether acting altruisticly really is acting altruisticly; if I enjoying giving and helping others surely I'm not really being altruistic? To put a personal spin on things I spent 10 weeks over the autumn volunteering in Kenya. We did a lot of good, repairing schools, working at an orphanage, teaching classes, repairing a wildlife sanctuary and a whole host of other things... but I didn't go because I wanted to help. I went because I knew I would enjoy the trip... and helping people formed a part of that. In no way was I internally altruistic... but when compared to say a friend who I randomly met over there who was spending 6 weeks in the same place partying and chilling out it certainly appeared I did.

Getting away from that point, there's another issue. How much does such a statement expect of people? Are we asking people to sacrafice their own happiness for the so called "greater good"? To what extent do we demand of them? An issue a great many ethical theories have is that they are hugely demanding on their adherrants and as such become fairly unrealistic.

On the issue of which virtues we do hold dearest, I'm never quite sure what to say. I'm generally polite... but is that because I hold it to be a virtue or because I dislike offending people unecessarily? Is it even a virtue to be polite? Is it "good" that people are polite? Can people being polite go so far that it's no longer a virtue?

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Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 06:15:38 PM »
I personally believe that honesty is the highest of upholdable virtues. Without honesty love cannot form and true bonds can't be forged.

Of course there are Plato's Noble Lies to consider too...

Offline MerdoroliTopic starter

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2010, 08:04:11 PM »
Consortium you bring up a good point about how much freedom should be sacrificed for the "greater good" but that's a question for a different day. lol.

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 08:35:06 PM »
Compassion.  Compassion is the only virtue I can honestly say that should be practiced by everybody, for everybody.  All the others tend to be pretty situational...and note that compassion doesn't mean 'stupidly nice'.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2010, 03:13:48 PM »
I am not sure I can agree with the premise that telling people what they want to hear instead of the truth is in fact an act of compassion/kindness. Sure it is more pleasant for them but kindness and compassion comes hand in hand with trusting and actually helping them, not in making them feel temporarily happy. That's like the moral/emotional equivalent of rich, artery clogging food. Sure it makes you temporarily happy but in the long term...

Offline MerdoroliTopic starter

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2010, 04:30:57 PM »
Depends on whether they find out or not Darkling ;)

Anyways, new day, new question. Today's I got from consortium11. He makes a good point.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." Do you agree with that quote? Or disagree? And why?

Offline Talia

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2010, 07:20:06 AM »


I believe the statement to be true, because of the implied context of the statement.

Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying:
                                                                      Those who would give up Essential Liberty
                                                                       to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
                                                                       deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Security is temporary, fleeting....so to give up your freedom for something that will pass or change,
you have lost both because freedom is essential for your tranquility and growth in live. Plus if you lost your freedom, then the opposite would be "Slave," then your at the mercy of all with no liberties.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 07:26:18 AM by Laurrel »

Offline Lucinda

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2010, 08:25:41 AM »
Like a lot of these types of statement, isn't it just a question of scale? I would personally sacrifice my freedom to open my bedroom window if it stops a terrorist blowing up a bus. I would not want to be kept in a box to be secure from a common cold. After that you are just bartering down to degree. I think there are some freedoms which we have taken for granted which could be reduced to be safer. Air travel being a good example. As much hassle as it is, better be delayed getting on planes than have the passenger next to you blow themselves up. Freedom is too general a term. Need to be more specific for it to be relevant.

Offline MerdoroliTopic starter

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2010, 04:48:11 PM »
Personally I think it's about balance. I like being free quiet a bit but I don't mind laws. Laws such as those against murder, or rape, do inhibit our freedom but they keep us safe from having those things happen to us. One extreme is anarchy, we're all free but your neighbor's likely to kill you while the other extreme just makes everyone safe but without freedom there is no variety or fun making the security worthless. I think we've got a fairly good balance as it is now. There are a few things I'd change. Gay rights for one but I'd have to say we're pretty secure and pretty free considering everything.

Next question:
What pursuit do you consider the most noble or right? Example: The pursuit of love. The pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of adventure. Think of basic goals for your life type of things.

Offline Talia

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 06:41:53 AM »


Great question....I really had to think and it's kinda early to think that deep. For me the right pursuit is happiness.

The pursuit of happiness provides a wealth of useful information for personal development, growth and self improvement. You tend to learn more about yourself and others around you. You realize your power to achieve greater and better things for yourself.
In doing so you can choose what's valuable and important to you to assist you in your growth as an individual. Also in turn you will tend to attract what you need without putting a great deal of thought and stress into it...which gives you truer wealth and a better way to live and enjoy life......

I'll stop there because I'm not really wanting write an essay :)

Offline Lucinda

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2010, 06:53:37 AM »
I'm not convinced any of those things could be considered noble as such. All of them are basically about self interest and hardly altruistic. On the contrary they can be the cause of misery. A lot of people equate happiness and wealth. Especially easy wealth accumulated quickly. Pursuit of adventure is only harmful to the obsessive and jaded, but hardly a noble cause. At least love hopefully involves two people in most cases. The pursuit of love for your fellow humans doesn't seem quite as catchy does it?

Offline MerdoroliTopic starter

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2010, 02:52:54 PM »
Those were simply examples. As I said, try and think of goals of your life type of thing. If you think the noblest pursuit is the happiness of others than that most certainly counts. Whether it's catchy or not.

Offline Serephino

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2010, 08:23:38 PM »
I'd say finding your own path in life.  Find out what makes you tick, and let your own moral compass guide you.  I think way too many of us are lemmings in this life.  We sit back and are saturated with the media.  We're told how to dress, what to like, and what to think.

We really need to break free of this.  When something is wrong and we know it we need to stand against it.  We need to embrace our individuality.  We can't let ourselves be distracted by what celebrity is dating so and so.  Who fricken cares?

My current religious path has led me to do some major introspection, and I have to say, I have never been happier. 

Offline cere

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2010, 09:15:32 PM »
Mmmm....perhaps this depends upon current circumstances. For example if you have committed a 'wrong doing' the pursuit to put it right would be considered noble. The pursuit to procreate would be considered 'right' in third world countries who consider the probability that one of their offspring may survive. The pursuit of adventure is perhaps self centred or maybe not...depending upon the adventure. The pursuit of goodness is a righteous thing and clearly better than the pursuit of evil.

So there seems to be a league table of pursuits...those towards the top are admirable and those towards the very bottom, despicable.

I'm off for a surf...oh, is that an admirable pursuit or perhaps a little selfish?
 8-)

Offline Talia

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2010, 07:09:47 AM »

I'm off for a surf...oh, is that an admirable pursuit or perhaps a little selfish?
 8-)

  *Laughs*  Could fall under the adventure category that you mentioned... depends, maybe you could save a distressed animal along the way.  :)
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 07:11:31 AM by Laurrel »

Offline MerdoroliTopic starter

Re: Philosophical/Intellectual question of the day.
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2010, 04:16:09 PM »
Well I took a break from asking questions yesterday so maybe this is a good time to bring up the question of breaks. Not whether we should have more or less of them but rather of their timing. For instance many businesses offer Christmas off but not other major religious holidays (I'll refrain from naming them as there are simply too many to name.) I know many people say that Christmas is the majority holiday and should, there-by, be the one that is received off. What do you think? Does the holiday system need to change? How would you change it, given the choice (If you even would, of course.)?