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Enlightened Self Interest

innomen
Posts: 10,052
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12/18/2011 6:29:07 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'd like to see this thread discuss this notion. I'm grappling with a lot of ethical questions, and am at a crossroads of sorts. I've always considered myself practical and pragmatic, and found a version of ESI to be a guide in most things in my life. However, I could be working on idealism and be massively hypocritical.

This could have gone in the economics forum, but i believe it to work within one's personal philosophy. I've been a fan of Jefferson's beliefs, but when it came to application, it would seem that he too was unable to reconcile the inherent idealism that devalues ESI.
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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12/18/2011 6:46:07 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/18/2011 6:29:07 AM, innomen wrote:
I'd like to see this thread discuss this notion. I'm grappling with a lot of ethical questions, and am at a crossroads of sorts. I've always considered myself practical and pragmatic, and found a version of ESI to be a guide in most things in my life. However, I could be working on idealism and be massively hypocritical.

This could have gone in the economics forum, but i believe it to work within one's personal philosophy. I've been a fan of Jefferson's beliefs, but when it came to application, it would seem that he too was unable to reconcile the inherent idealism that devalues ESI.:

Can you expound?
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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12/18/2011 6:57:48 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/18/2011 6:46:07 AM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 12/18/2011 6:29:07 AM, innomen wrote:
I'd like to see this thread discuss this notion. I'm grappling with a lot of ethical questions, and am at a crossroads of sorts. I've always considered myself practical and pragmatic, and found a version of ESI to be a guide in most things in my life. However, I could be working on idealism and be massively hypocritical.

This could have gone in the economics forum, but i believe it to work within one's personal philosophy. I've been a fan of Jefferson's beliefs, but when it came to application, it would seem that he too was unable to reconcile the inherent idealism that devalues ESI.:

Can you expound?

For me it is where raw capitalism meets moral obligation. Where freedom comes with an implication, if not requirement, of virtue. It is where people who do well will do good, and people who do good, will do well.
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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12/18/2011 7:11:49 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
For me it is where raw capitalism meets moral obligation. Where freedom comes with an implication, if not requirement, of virtue. It is where people who do well will do good, and people who do good, will do well.:

Right, but you seemed to have discovered some contention with ESI, when I think you had the right idea all along. Freedom always has implications, be they positive or negative. I don't like the thought of government censorship, but think self-censorship is a wonderful (and often necessary) thing. You should be allowed to say almost anything you want legally, but be prepared to receive a punch in the face. That's the risk of freedom of speech. But at least you have the choice in censoring yourself versus being muzzled by others.

Capitalism =/= selfish greed. It can result in that, but it is not a necessary component. Effective capitalism requires reciprocation in that both parties are exchanging something of value consentually. Anything less is thievery.

Enlightened self-interest is clearly are more practical and a less morally reprehensible approach versus a purely myopic self-centeredness approach at the expense of others well-being, I think we'd all agree.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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12/18/2011 11:31:51 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/18/2011 7:11:49 AM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
For me it is where raw capitalism meets moral obligation. Where freedom comes with an implication, if not requirement, of virtue. It is where people who do well will do good, and people who do good, will do well.:

Right, but you seemed to have discovered some contention with ESI, when I think you had the right idea all along. Freedom always has implications, be they positive or negative. I don't like the thought of government censorship, but think self-censorship is a wonderful (and often necessary) thing. You should be allowed to say almost anything you want legally, but be prepared to receive a punch in the face. That's the risk of freedom of speech. But at least you have the choice in censoring yourself versus being muzzled by others.

Capitalism =/= selfish greed. It can result in that, but it is not a necessary component. Effective capitalism requires reciprocation in that both parties are exchanging something of value consentually. Anything less is thievery.

Enlightened self-interest is clearly are more practical and a less morally reprehensible approach versus a purely myopic self-centeredness approach at the expense of others well-being, I think we'd all agree.

However, these are self imposed restrictions, which if only done singularly, those without such restrictions are at an advantage, and you will lose. The guy who uses slave labor and creates a lower cost will beat the guy who hires people at a fair wage. This is all so obvious, when put in such obvious terms, but even in the more subtle manner of how you conduct your life you will be similarly disadvantaged.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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12/18/2011 11:57:04 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/18/2011 11:31:51 AM, innomen wrote:
However, these are self imposed restrictions, which if only done singularly, those without such restrictions are at an advantage, and you will lose. The guy who uses slave labor and creates a lower cost will beat the guy who hires people at a fair wage. This is all so obvious, when put in such obvious terms, but even in the more subtle manner of how you conduct your life you will be similarly disadvantaged.

not necessarily. perhaps you won't be the richest guy in town, but given that you are choosing to put these restrictions on yourself, they are probably fulfilling some need in you, and you will have more self-respect than if you had been a cutthroat and tried your best to "get yours" in every situation. furthermore, by dealing with people honestly you increase the likelihood that they will do likewise with you. any people who don't respond to your honesty in kind you can cut out of your life. its not perfect and it probably is motivated by a sense of idealism, but i don't think that makes it hypocritical in any way... and of course i can't guarantee this, but i am pretty certain that if you live your life according to your ideals best you can (without being entirely blind to consequences obviously) you will be a happier person. its a balancing act, i think, rather than a blanket principle covering all eventualities.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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12/18/2011 6:50:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/18/2011 6:29:07 AM, innomen wrote:
I'd like to see this thread discuss this notion. I'm grappling with a lot of ethical questions, and am at a crossroads of sorts. I've always considered myself practical and pragmatic, and found a version of ESI to be a guide in most things in my life. However, I could be working on idealism and be massively hypocritical.

This could have gone in the economics forum, but i believe it to work within one's personal philosophy. I've been a fan of Jefferson's beliefs, but when it came to application, it would seem that he too was unable to reconcile the inherent idealism that devalues ESI.

I have a hilarious story for you.

One day, in college, a close friend of mine and I smoked our brains out, picked up some Chinese take-out and discussed philosophy all night long in the lobby of our dorm building.

We came to conclusion (with no application of previous writings or anything that refers to ESI in any way) that the best way to survive ethically in our society is to subscribe to something we dubbed "selfish philanthropy."

In this way, we accommodate the logic of serving one's self with the virtue of serving others, while at the same time embracing the logic of cooperation. In that way, it bridged two seemingly conflicting ideologies -- serving the self and serving others.

It has since shaped the way we both live our lives, despite how different they have respectively become.

Of course, we've encountered issues with the idealism that goes along with that perspective as well -- the fact that so many other people lean dramatically in one direction rather than marrying both (serving themselves/others), while other still simply seem to be Aeris worshippers and fck shtt up for the hell of it, despite who it benefits.

However, we've decided (bothy separately and in agreement) that the best way to handle this is to understand that marriage means that some of the load will predominantly weight on or the other partner at certain times -- this is the acknowledgement of typical vows. Well, similarly, sometimes serving others or serving yourself becomes more important. In other words, sometimes it's best to do something for someone else with no conceivable benefit to yourself, while others, people make cooperative benefit impossible, making it best to serve only yourself in that given situation.

It's these distinctions that make an ideology mature and dynamic as the existence it's supposed to serve and define, rather than rigid, unrealistic, and impossible to genuinely apply.