If a person wants to live in a good world, he should ACTIVELY do things to make the world better.
Debate Rounds (4)
It is my position that those who don't want to improve the world and establish equality and justice for all shouldn't expect this for themselves! Ultimately this philosophy would justify a "Dog eat dog world", where technically everything is justified and morality fails to have any weight.
Con will argue that justice and morality exist independent of human action and purpose. I will argue that humans decide what is just and moral, and that if humans want to live in a just, kind world they should work hard to see justice and kindness EVERYWHERE. My position is that justice and morality are decided by humanity - and do not exist independent of human wants and concerns!
Ultimately it is what we strive for collectively that decides what is moral . . . thus morality does not exist independent from our collective wants.
Con should begin his argument in ROUND 1; ROUND 4 will be designated for our final statements on this topic.
(Serious debaters only.)
There are also many people who simply don't look into matters like this. They don't know anything about them, or have any interest in them. This is something that has been part of our species for as long as we've existed; there are people who are ignorant, and concerned only with life. They don't think about long-term events, or people far off on the other side of the world. They think only about what their instincts tell them to think about. Can we truly say, from the bottom of our hearts, that those human beings do not deserve to live in a moral world?
By saying that "if you want to live in a good world, you have to actively try to make it better," you would imply that many, many people do not deserve to live in a happy world. Key word being actively, I'd like to bring up another point: CAN everyone do these things? They might want to, but they aren't necessarily able to. There are plenty of people that don't know how to help.
Also, the idea that everyone living in a good world should want to help others and make it better, in my opinion, would end with the philosophy that, "the world should not be good." I say this because, imagine half the world's population taken out and replaced with people who want to make it better. Would we still be human?
Moral goodness is something ingrained in our souls from birth, but can we expect every one of us to act on it above all the other things, also ingrained in us?
Dovewing5, you make some excellent points. Some people are so consumed with life, pre-occupited with their own affairs, barely managing to get by that we can't expect everyone to actively make the world around them better. But it's still the responsibility of those that have the excess time to think about these matters, the money and quality of life to get out into the world to help others to convince these people that they should create unnecessary burden on others, that they should help others when the opportunity presents itself in a matter that wont overburden them, but that will uplift the people around them that seriously need it. Chariatableness, nieghborliness reinforces a sense of mutual caring in a community; it reinforces social bonds and reduces combativeness.
A community made up of people that look after each other, that promotes mutual joy among all its members is one that will be more civil, more comfortable, and experience less violent. Why retaliate against somone in your neighborhood physically when they genuinely want to be your friend and help you in your time of need?
Yeah, creating a world where Justice, equality, fairness are applied, opportunities are given, everyone is educated, diseases are annihilated, and violent conflict is eliminated requires everyone to contribute a part, but in a way that will benefit them and the community, not hinder them or rob of daily vital resources.
The truth is it benefits everyone to be kinder, more nieghborly, more chariatable because optimizes mutual joy, peace, and civil comfort. Things like public anger and outbursts, individual withdrawal (from a community), outright greed and unfriendliness increases mistrusts, combativeness, crime, and violence - and this effects the mood of a community, nation in negative way.
It benefits all of us to promote the better aspects of human behaivor, such as Equality under the Law, Civil Rights, access to a great education and to good healthcare, and to encourage neighborliness and charity. Not doing so promises to many problems!
I would certainly agree that small acts of kindness are always important, but when one commits such an act, are they necessarily thinking of making the world better? They might simply be acting out of sympathy or compassion for the person they're helping, but can we assume they desire justice for all?
Also, you talk about physical retaliations and aggressive behavior. Do you mean to imply that this discord in our community would be a result of people not wanting to help each other? Although I can understand this view, I find I do not agree with it. Although I'm not sure this is what you mean to say, I'll assume, for now, that it is. I believe that, when individuals do not partake in being a part of their community--which they certainly do sometimes; If they didn't, imagine how many more people would be in line to vote on voting day, and attending parties, and all the other things that aren't necessary for an individual to attend--it creates less violence, not more. Because, as we who've been on the internet are all aware of, the world is a mixed batch. Those who shut themselves out of a community aren't necessarily bad people, or undeserving of a good life and world around them; they're merely less social, and possibly don't get along well with others. Those people do not effect the community. They only live their lives, and do not attempt to effect those of others. That means the people that actually try to change the world are less varied. Less varied--but not completely congruous with each other--is good. You can never move forward if everyone's opinion is crowding in. there would be even more people dissatisfied with the world.
There are people, as I said, who carry on the primal way of life of helping others only when immediately able, and focusing primarily on their own life and survival. This is not their fault. It's an instinct, ingrained in us at birth. It's called survival of the fittest, and it's at least as important as safety in numbers, in the wild. We can't simply eliminate our basic instincts. It would be a terrible thing if we could, because many more people would commit suicide. Most of our desire to live comes from instincts like survival of the fittest. Of course, it's better to be one of the people who values justice and equality; I would have to be insane to argue against that. But how can we convict the people who don't? If we believe they don't deserve to live in a good world, then, in a way, we don't either.
Another point I'd like to bring attention to is that there are people who are content with the world as it is now. When they wake up in the morning, they don't cast their minds to the war in Iraq, or the people starving in North Korea. They might know they exist, but they think of these problems as abstract terms. They simply can't comprehend the pain of others far away from them. Therefor, they live their lives only for themselves and their family/friends.
Even the people that just don't care are necessary. The world would be completely different and, I believe, unbalanced without every type of person that inhabits it. Everyone contributes, whether they want to or not. The malicious, infamous people from the past have helped us shape our society today. By taking things to the extreme, they helped us to realize just how wrong those things were. For instance, Adolf Hitler's persecution of jews. But I seem to be digressing. Let's get back to the topic at hand.
Do people who want to live in a good world have to actively do things to make the world better? And does a world with the MOST equality and morality require EVERYONE to be just and moral?
That depends. Can we really say that a 'perfect' world is a good one? With the definition given, it sounds like it, but think back to all those utopian/distopian storylands. Although I believe this world is, in actuality, impossible, let us focus on what would happen if everyone was moral, with no greed whatsoever. We'd get no where in this capitalist society, where economic growth and prosperity depend on individual greed and a competitive atmosphere. Variance in people, and lack of help from others, both contribute to the challenges that we learn to overcome as a race. Although it is, as I've stated, vastly superior in an individual to be compassionate and charitable, it is not necessarily what should be in everyone.
Dovewing5, you offer some excellent perspectives.
If some of your perspectives are right, then human beings, in certain ways, really can't get along, and pain and social discord is here to stay.
Dovewing5 says: "Also, you talk about physical retaliations and aggressive behavior. Do you mean to imply that this discord in our community would be a result of people not wanting to help each other?" Yes, I am. My reasoning: A society composed of members that want to avoid assisting each other, of offering aid when needed or help when it seems warranted actually promotes apathy. What is apathy?
1. lack of feeling or emotion.
2. lack of interest or concern .
This is the definition from merriam-websters dictionary. Apathy is the state of not caring about the going-ons of others. If a tornado slams into a community, why help - not my problem. If a pedestrian on the street gets mugged - or worse, stabbed - for the contents of his wallet, why worry - that's not me. If a politician rigs an election in a distant country - or appallingly, in your state, why give a fuss?
But that's the rub. By being apathetic to the going-ons in our surroundings, we are tolerating pain and social discord. We are advocating a position that necesarily leads to the tolerance of problems. This poses a serious dilemma for people who advocate this attitude toward life. By being apathetic, such people actually increase the probability that justice, equality, fairness wont always be observed, that diseases wont be eradicated, that students wont be well-educated, that ultimately our societies will suffer from a dismaying quality of life. Such people actually promote, aware of it or not, the breakdown of society! It's people who do show interest, who do show emotion, and who respond that prevent the disintergration of society and who promote order, tranquility, and greater public comfort in life.
People who don't get involved, who remain apathetic to the affairs of others diminish the likelihood that Justice and fairness will always be observed, that society will function to maintain its own tranquility and well-being.
Now, I'm not saying that apathetic people are as bad as criminals and combativeness people who go out of their way to make the world worse, but they do increase the probability of a nastier world with their attitude of non-engagement (of withdrawal).
Dovewing5 said: "There are people, as I said, who carry on the primal way of life of helping others only when immediately able, and focusing primarily on their own life and survival. This is not their fault." My position is that every little bit of assistance helps. Obviously some people barely have the resources to get by, but they do still have the unlimited resource of their spirit. Simple things like smiling at their neighbors or people in their community, being careful with their language so as to not offend when not needed, showing an attitude of concern for others, for good law that promotes civil calm, order, and fairness - these they can absolutely do to improve the harmony in their neighborhoods and in their nation. And of course, being chariatable whenever possible also promotes mutual joy in the world.
People that treat the world as an "all or nothing" struggle contribute to making it worse. Instead, the attitude they should endorse is one of "What can I learn, what can I do, what can I become" to make myself, my family, my community, my world a richer, better experience for everyone! This promotes a greater probability that the world will be fairer, more just, and more harmonious to everyone.
Ah, some great arguments. Unfortunately, I fear we are getting off-topic. My own fault, I believe, for leading us in this direction. Let me quote the question for us:
"If a person wants to live in a good world, he should ACTIVELY do things to make the world better."
In my opinion, this implies that anyone who does not do this is not deserving of a kind, just world to call home. I 100% agree that, if everyone did not "actively do things to make the world better," the world would indeed be completely apathetic, without an ounce of kindness to be shown. However, it is my point of view that it is highly unlikely that an entire community would act like this. Along with what you've quoted, I also said this:
"Of course, it's better to be one of the people who values justice and equality; I would have to be insane to argue against that. But how can we convict the people who don't? If we believe they don't deserve to live in a good world, then, in a way, we don't either."
I apologize if I failed to articulate on this enough. What I mean by this is that, despite there being nice people and people that are--um--not quite so friendly, I think that they are all shades of grey. You've probably heard this before, but it's my opinion that no one is black or white; there are people with higher moral values than others, but no one is completely selfless or completely not (I personally believe this expression could use some revising, considering the slang terms commonly used for some groups of people, but this is not the place for me to rant about that). No matter how dark a shade of grey someone is, everyone deserves to live in a fair world.
Another thing I'd like to discuss is the difference between apathy and blatant violence. You've already quoted me there. Let me now be more specific:
"Why retaliate against somone in your neighborhood physically when they genuinely want to be your friend and help you in your time of need?"
"Things like public anger and outbursts, individual withdrawal (from a community), outright greed and unfriendliness increases mistrusts, combativeness, crime, and violence - and this effects the mood of a community, nation in negative way."
I do not believe you have to be someone who would physically hurt another to be someone that does not try to improve the world. Although it's much better to smile when crossing someone on the street--though I do not know if we should include this as "actively doing things to make the world better," I suppose it's up to us--not everyone is going to. Every small body movement--even in us, a species who communicates primarily by vocal means--encourages a mood, and points the receiver of the gesture towards a certain stance; even such a small gesture as smiling when you see someone can have an effect on their feelings, at least those directed at you. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to think about that when they cross someone on the street. Among other reasons, they might not realise what a huge impact it has on their reaction. After all, things like this work at a subconscious level. Someone simply rushing by, frowning, has a world of difference between it and walking up to the person and punching them. It would have to be a very miserable community for that to happen; unbelievably so, and this, I would think, is not accomplishable by a single or a few people simply withdrawing from a community.
As stated, although greed is a common cause for not being charitable, it is not something we want to completely eliminate. Humans run, partially, on greed. What makes us human is a combination of emotions, and it is my view that we can't expect these emotions to be in perfect and balanced harmony in everyone.
Although I wouldn't say that apathy is harmless, I don't think that it's without it's benefits that some people be apathetic; same with greed, hostility, and all other internal, negative emotions. Nor is it possible, from my perspective, to completely eliminate apathy and pain. As you said, there are certain unpleasant aspects of our society that we cannot rid ourselves of. One point is that, without these emotions, the less-hostile opposing ones within us are vastly less likely to be appreciated. Also, these things--hostile emotions--help to make us whole. Can any of us honestly claim, without lying, that we care about others that we don't know just as much as we care about ourselves and our family? It would take an amazing person. I know I'm not that person. This may seem off-topic, so let me reiterate: We all have apethy, and all the other emotions mentioned in this debate. It is simply a question of whether people have more of those emotions than they'd like to have. It's not a question of two catagories, where one is good and the other bad, and whether the bad one should be allowed to reside in a hypathetically good world.
Dovewing5, with no offense directed toward you, this is where I answer that question.
My claim at the beginning of this debate was:
If a person wants to live in a good world, he should ACTIVELY do things to make the world better.
Dovewing5 exlaimed: "In my opinion, this implies that anyone who does not do this is not deserving of a kind, just world to call home." Inference: Is this what Juan_Pablo means?
My answer is brazen and honest: Yes! That's exactly what I mean.
If a person does not ACTIVELY do things to make the world better, he shouldn't expect to live in a good world.
This statement is very logical and answers itself. People that don't go out of their way to make the world better, to push for fairness, justice, universal healthcare and education, people that don't contribute to acts of charity, who aren't neighborly and compassionate, who don't promote peace and concern for the Earth SHOULD NOT expect to live in a kind, fair, generous world! Their actions and attitudes are promoting a world that cannot establish these things, that cannot possibly make them universal, either in their own regions or abroad. And in a very real sense, they don't deserve a kind, just world to call home. What are they doing to establish such a world?
Now, I'm not saying that such people should be punished for such behavior and attitudes (not unless they break the law, which is one device society can use to attempt to rectify an offender), but these people aren't making the world a better experience for everyone, so they shouldn't expect a better world in return!
As I expressed in ROUND 1, Creating a great world . . . requires serious effort. It requires effort. Those that aren't willing to put in that effort simply shouldn't expect it, and when some great injustice happens to them, they need to ask themselves "how did this happen?" Even others who do try to establish such a world, and who suffer injustice, do so because there are individuals who aren't trying to make the world better. This demonstrates the universal extent of this problem.
Now, there are people who are trying to make the world a better place for everyone who lives on it, and there are several devices that such people and the community already use to maintain peace and order. Chiefly, civil, state, and federal law come to mind - as does law enforcement - to deal with individuals that break public laws. Prisons and other rehabilitative methods are used to rehabilitate inmates or seperate them from the community. It's harsh, but it shows you that society already recognizes the problem that certain behavior and attitudes inflict on the public tranquility and well-being of civic life. Organizations independent of the law also take retributive actions on those that break rules of fairness and order, because it can lead to increased public depravity: athletes that take performance-enhancing drugs are punished because it rewards cheating, as are university students who cheat on exams, etc.
As you state, there is a level of ingrained behavior in all of us that [now I'm adding] we have to control. Things like marriage infidelity, lying, promiscuity, illegal drug use - even something as simple as speeding in traffic - all have to be clamped down because they have an adverse effect on public mores and public health. Again, each of us has to put in a serious effort. A good world isn't automatic (though, strangely, some people seem to believe it is).
So if a person does not make the world kind, just with actions, should he not expect to live in a kind, just world?
The answer is obvious: No!
He doesn't deserve to live a kind, just world to call home because he isn't estabishing such a world with his actions.
No offence taken, Juan_Pablo.
"This statement is very logical and answers itself. People that don't go out of their way to make the world better, to push for fairness, justice, universal healthcare and education, people that don't contribute to acts of charity, who aren't neighborly and compassionate, who don't promote peace and concern for the Earth SHOULD NOT expect to live in a kind, fair, generous world! Their actions and attitudes are promoting a world that cannot establish these things, that cannot possibly make them universal, either in their own regions or abroad. And in a very real sense, they don't deserve a kind, just world to call home. What are they doing to establish such a world?
Now, I'm not saying that such people should be punished for such behavior and attitudes (not unless they break the law, which is one device society can use to attempt to rectify an offender), but these people aren't making the world a better experience for everyone, so they shouldn't expect a better world in return!"
While I completely understand this statement, I cannot say I agree with it. First, I'd like to say thank you for clarifying something; by "good," we mean, "better." This was a slightly ambiguous statement, and I thank you for making sure we're on the same page.
Also, although many people don't try to make the world better, they do contribute to it. In my perspective, every human being contributes to making the world better, simply by existing. There are also people that try to make the world better, or, from their perspective, anyway; instead, they end up making it worse... Temporarily. You'll notice, we always end up fixing the world when such a crisis happens. There are many infamous people who, despite being thought of now as evil, may have, at the time, thought they were doing good. In the end, our society rose up and got stronger and more bonded because of fending off racist, convertionist, and sexist cults.
Even if someone is not actively trying to establish justic and equality for all, does that mean they don't want it? They might, as I said, simply picture this as an abstract concept, and not think of the people suffering in other parts of the world. Also, one might be neighborly and compassionate, but not actively trying to improve the world as we know it. Imagine walking by, happily minding your own business, when an old lady trips and falls, spraining her ankle. You might instinctively rush to help her up; you might flip out your cell phone and call whoever you can think of; you might walk her back to her house, and ask her if she has any relatives. Does that mean you're trying to improve the world? I honestly can't imagine someone simply walking by, ignoring the old lady. That doesn't mean every person on Earth is actively doing things to make the world better.
"Those that aren't willing to put in that effort simply shouldn't expect it, and when some great injustice happens to them, they need to ask themselves "how did this happen?" Even others who do try to establish such a world, and who suffer injustice, do so because there are individuals who aren't trying to make the world better. This demonstrates the universal extent of this problem."
Now here's where our opinions differ. Bad things happen, and I don't believe this is because there are people who aren't ambitious enough to try to effect the world. I believe this is because we, humans, have differing opinions. Some might call it justice, some might not. Justice, in itself, exists independant of our emotions. The question is whether it's possible for us to capture it in our actions. Each and every one of us contributes a role, whether that role is good or bad. It's not, at least not completely, up to us whether we are acting on justice or not. Injustice happens to all, because perfection is an abstract concept. We will never be perfect.
When one person looks around them, they see a world filled with chaos and strife, one that they should work on improving. When another human does the same, they see only the world. Or maybe, life. Either way, the point is that they don't think it needs improving, or that, if it does, they should be the ones to improve. They think of their life, and the starving children half way across the world are merely hypathetical. They think, "Aww, that's terrible!" but they don't think, "I can devote my life to improving this, and it might be eliminated!" In reality, that would actually be a slightly illogical view. The world, as I've said, can never be perfect. Humans, as a race, always have room for improvement. This is part of what defines us. Although we should always be trying to make it better, we have to admit that it won't be perfect. There will be people that don't care. But the question is, should those people expect a better, but not perfect, world?
In summary, my argument is: Just because someone chooses not to effect the world doesn't mean they don't deserve to live in the best version of it we can create using all of us combined.
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