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Are the Voices Inside Your Head?

s-anthony
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3/21/2014 5:07:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The Objectivist-Subjectivist debate, or better known as Are the Voices Inside Your Head or Outside Your Head? debate, is a very old yet very simple one.

Human beings have a need for something larger than themselves, to find meaning and significance, as part of a collective. We see ourselves as broken and incomplete.

In all senses, we are both objectivists and subjectivists; we consider ourselves, as members of a collective yet, also, as individuals. However, I've discovered, the more significance one gives the collective, the more of an objectivists he, or she, is.

This is my take on the problem, in a nutshell:

1. If thoughts are a product of one's own mind,
2. And truth consists of thoughts,
3. Then, truth is a product of one's own mind.

Or,

1. If consciousness is equivalent to knowledge,
2. And without knowledge of reality, then, one is not conscious of reality,
3. Then, one's consciousness is one's reality.
Mediterranean
Posts: 32
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3/22/2014 1:35:03 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/21/2014 5:07:44 PM, s-anthony wrote:
The Objectivist-Subjectivist debate, or better known as Are the Voices Inside Your Head or Outside Your Head? debate, is a very old yet very simple one.

Human beings have a need for something larger than themselves, to find meaning and significance, as part of a collective. We see ourselves as broken and incomplete.

In all senses, we are both objectivists and subjectivists; we consider ourselves, as members of a collective yet, also, as individuals. However, I've discovered, the more significance one gives the collective, the more of an objectivists he, or she, is.

This is my take on the problem, in a nutshell:

1. If thoughts are a product of one's own mind,
2. And truth consists of thoughts,
3. Then, truth is a product of one's own mind.

Or,

1. If consciousness is equivalent to knowledge,
2. And without knowledge of reality, then, one is not conscious of reality,
3. Then, one's consciousness is one's reality.

Thoughts are not only a product of one's mind or at least the mind is influenced by everything that is outside so are the thoughts, this would lead us to think that the truth ain't just a product of one's mind.

I also don't think knowledge and consciousness are the same as in someone can know but not be conscious, knowing is having the data, being conscious is treating the data in the correct way if there is one!

I may be wrong but those are the critics that popped to my mind.
There is a whole different world right before our eyes, yet we fail to see it.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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3/22/2014 5:45:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Inside your head - or, more accurately, your heart. All truths originate from inside your heart; if they don't, they cannot be considered truths (Tang Junyi, Experience of Life). Humans are equipped with the power of rationality, which gives us the power of selflessness, i.e. benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom (Liang Shuming, The Essence of Chinese Culture</em).
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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3/22/2014 8:06:48 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/22/2014 1:35:03 AM, Mediterranean wrote:
At 3/21/2014 5:07:44 PM, s-anthony wrote:
The Objectivist-Subjectivist debate, or better known as Are the Voices Inside Your Head or Outside Your Head? debate, is a very old yet very simple one.

Human beings have a need for something larger than themselves, to find meaning and significance, as part of a collective. We see ourselves as broken and incomplete.

In all senses, we are both objectivists and subjectivists; we consider ourselves, as members of a collective yet, also, as individuals. However, I've discovered, the more significance one gives the collective, the more of an objectivists he, or she, is.

This is my take on the problem, in a nutshell:

1. If thoughts are a product of one's own mind,
2. And truth consists of thoughts,
3. Then, truth is a product of one's own mind.

Or,

1. If consciousness is equivalent to knowledge,
2. And without knowledge of reality, then, one is not conscious of reality,
3. Then, one's consciousness is one's reality.

Thoughts are not only a product of one's mind or at least the mind is influenced by everything that is outside so are the thoughts, this would lead us to think that the truth ain't just a product of one's mind.

The only problem with this is proving anything exists outside your mind.

However, even if things do exist outside your mind, they don't exist inside your head; in other words, they are not the contents of knowledge; the contents of knowledge are psychic elements.


I also don't think knowledge and consciousness are the same as in someone can know but not be conscious, knowing is having the data, being conscious is treating the data in the correct way if there is one!

Sorry, but this doesn't make sense. Consciousness is synonymous with knowledge. I agree there may be varying degrees of consciousness, but to be conscious of something is to know it, to whatever extent that may be.


I may be wrong but those are the critics that popped to my mind.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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3/22/2014 10:43:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/22/2014 5:45:40 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Inside your head - or, more accurately, your heart. All truths originate from inside your heart; if they don't, they cannot be considered truths (Tang Junyi, Experience of Life). Humans are equipped with the power of rationality, which gives us the power of selflessness, i.e. benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom (Liang Shuming, The Essence of Chinese Culture</em).

Even though I agree all reality is felt, I do not believe the absence of oneself is achievable neither do I believe it's something one should desire. For me, the absence of oneself is exactly that: the absence of oneself, a negation of one's identity.

Love is something one must experience; in other words, one must be present to experience it. This notion of selflessness, for me, gives the impression of one's having a desire for being absent, somehow losing one's identity, in abandonment, not feeling or knowing, lost, as it were in the collective.

Rather, I see selfishness, as a virtue, being selfish for others, having a lust, and wanting, for life. Experiencing, to its full capacity, all there is to experience. Love is a desire not an abandonment, love is being fully present, not absent. Love is an appreciation, for oneself, not an annihilation of it.
bubbatheclown
Posts: 1,258
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3/22/2014 10:50:04 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/21/2014 5:07:44 PM, s-anthony wrote:
The Objectivist-Subjectivist debate, or better known as Are the Voices Inside Your Head or Outside Your Head? debate, is a very old yet very simple one.

Human beings have a need for something larger than themselves, to find meaning and significance, as part of a collective. We see ourselves as broken and incomplete.

In all senses, we are both objectivists and subjectivists; we consider ourselves, as members of a collective yet, also, as individuals. However, I've discovered, the more significance one gives the collective, the more of an objectivists he, or she, is.

This is my take on the problem, in a nutshell:

1. If thoughts are a product of one's own mind,
2. And truth consists of thoughts,
3. Then, truth is a product of one's own mind.

Or,

1. If consciousness is equivalent to knowledge,
2. And without knowledge of reality, then, one is not conscious of reality,
3. Then, one's consciousness is one's reality.

So basically you're one of those people who thinks everything besides you is an illusion?
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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3/22/2014 10:54:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/22/2014 10:50:04 AM, bubbatheclown wrote:
At 3/21/2014 5:07:44 PM, s-anthony wrote:
The Objectivist-Subjectivist debate, or better known as Are the Voices Inside Your Head or Outside Your Head? debate, is a very old yet very simple one.

Human beings have a need for something larger than themselves, to find meaning and significance, as part of a collective. We see ourselves as broken and incomplete.

In all senses, we are both objectivists and subjectivists; we consider ourselves, as members of a collective yet, also, as individuals. However, I've discovered, the more significance one gives the collective, the more of an objectivists he, or she, is.

This is my take on the problem, in a nutshell:

1. If thoughts are a product of one's own mind,
2. And truth consists of thoughts,
3. Then, truth is a product of one's own mind.

Or,

1. If consciousness is equivalent to knowledge,
2. And without knowledge of reality, then, one is not conscious of reality,
3. Then, one's consciousness is one's reality.

So basically you're one of those people who thinks everything besides you is an illusion?

No. Yet, you can't prove it one way or the other.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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3/22/2014 11:07:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/22/2014 10:43:18 AM, s-anthony wrote:
Even though I agree all reality is felt, I do not believe the absence of oneself is achievable neither do I believe it's something one should desire. For me, the absence of oneself is exactly that: the absence of oneself, a negation of one's identity.

It took me a second to get, but I realised you were talking about 'selflessness'. When I said 'selflessness', I meant the ability to put your duties towards others first. For example, if a friend of your is in need, you should carry out your duty as a friend to help him/her, even if it harms your own interests, or even life. 'The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete.' (Analects 15.8)

This quality is granted by our benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom, which make up our human nature. All humans possess them. 'The feeling of commiseration belongs to all men; so does that of shame and dislike; and that of reverence and respect; and that of approving and disapproving. The feeling of commiseration implies the principle of benevolence; that of shame and dislike, the principle of righteousness; that of reverence and respect, the principle of propriety; and that of approving and disapproving, the principle of knowledge. Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge are not infused into us from without. We are certainly furnished with them.' (Mencius 11.6)

Love is something one must experience; in other words, one must be present to experience it. This notion of selflessness, for me, gives the impression of one's having a desire for being absent, somehow losing one's identity, in abandonment, not feeling or knowing, lost, as it were in the collective.

'Fan Chi asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It is to love all men."' (Analects 12.23) As explained above, we are inherently furnished benevolence. It follows that love is part of our human nature.

(I think this is a semantics problem but...) Selflessness, to me, is not losing your identity as if it were in the collective. Your own identity is key to selflessness because your relationship with others determines your duty towards others and thus your actions towards them. Given the choice to risk your life to save either a family member and a stranger, for example, clearly it's the family member whom you should save.

Rather, I see selfishness, as a virtue, being selfish for others, having a lust, and wanting, for life. Experiencing, to its full capacity, all there is to experience. Love is a desire not an abandonment, love is being fully present, not absent. Love is an appreciation, for oneself, not an annihilation of it.
I don't think love is either a desire nor an abandonment; it is simply an application of human nature.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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3/22/2014 10:29:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/22/2014 11:07:51 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/22/2014 10:43:18 AM, s-anthony wrote:
Even though I agree all reality is felt, I do not believe the absence of oneself is achievable neither do I believe it's something one should desire. For me, the absence of oneself is exactly that: the absence of oneself, a negation of one's identity.

It took me a second to get, but I realised you were talking about 'selflessness'. When I said 'selflessness', I meant the ability to put your duties towards others first. For example, if a friend of your is in need, you should carry out your duty as a friend to help him/her, even if it harms your own interests, or even life. 'The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete.' (Analects 15.8)

We see ourselves as individuals and another's interest as not our own. However, apart from our own estimation of another's worth, he, or she, has no value, at least, to us. Evaluation is intrinsically selfish, and rightly so; not until we see one another's interests as our own, do we see ourselves as truly invested in the lives of each other. It becomes no longer a sacrifice but a life-giving pleasure, to benefit the world around us.


This quality is granted by our benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom, which make up our human nature. All humans possess them. 'The feeling of commiseration belongs to all men; so does that of shame and dislike; and that of reverence and respect; and that of approving and disapproving. The feeling of commiseration implies the principle of benevolence; that of shame and dislike, the principle of righteousness; that of reverence and respect, the principle of propriety; and that of approving and disapproving, the principle of knowledge. Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge are not infused into us from without. We are certainly furnished with them.' (Mencius 11.6)

Love is something one must experience; in other words, one must be present to experience it. This notion of selflessness, for me, gives the impression of one's having a desire for being absent, somehow losing one's identity, in abandonment, not feeling or knowing, lost, as it were in the collective.

'Fan Chi asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It is to love all men."' (Analects 12.23) As explained above, we are inherently furnished benevolence. It follows that love is part of our human nature.

(I think this is a semantics problem but...) Selflessness, to me, is not losing your identity as if it were in the collective. Your own identity is key to selflessness because your relationship with others determines your duty towards others and thus your actions towards them. Given the choice to risk your life to save either a family member and a stranger, for example, clearly it's the family member whom you should save.

If one were truly selfless, there would be no personal identity to sacrifice; for, one's own identity would be lost to the collective. The collective would become one's self; no longer would one's personal desires, beliefs, or awareness be at issue. Any action taken, whether sacrificial, or not, becomes the ownership and responsibility, not of the individual, yet of the collective; therefore, value is determined, and defined, by the collective.

Selflessness has actually been the enterprise that has made feasible mass exterminations, such as the Crusades, Nazism, and ethnic cleansings, in every age, around the world. Mothers, by being selfless, have turned against their own children; fathers and brothers have gone to war against one another.

However, even though the phenomenon of selflessness has accomplished horrific atrocities around the world, it has also conquered great feats.

The problem I see is not selflessness, yet selflessness in the absence of oneself. There must be a dynamic that plays out, between the phenomenon of selflessness and that of selfishness. In other words, mindless abandonment is very dangerous.... Yet, the blood of a thoughtful sacrifice sanctifies the altar.


Rather, I see selfishness, as a virtue, being selfish for others, having a lust, and wanting, for life. Experiencing, to its full capacity, all there is to experience. Love is a desire not an abandonment, love is being fully present, not absent. Love is an appreciation, for oneself, not an annihilation of it.
I don't think love is either a desire nor an abandonment; it is simply an application of human nature.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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3/23/2014 2:05:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I've started reading a work by Ambrose King today (just borrowed it from the library). From what I've learnt from the introduction and from the Liang Shuming work (which I cited above), I realised that you are speaking in terms of Western sociology, which propagates a dichotomy between individualism and collectivism. I'm speaking in terms of human relationships, however, putting neither individualism nor collectivism into consideration. That makes our arguments inherently incompatible, since they were based on different premises.

With that said, I'll continue to respond, but since the word 'selflessness' has been a source of confusion, I'll switch to 'altruism'.

At 3/22/2014 10:29:49 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 3/22/2014 11:07:51 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 3/22/2014 10:43:18 AM, s-anthony wrote:
Even though I agree all reality is felt, I do not believe the absence of oneself is achievable neither do I believe it's something one should desire. For me, the absence of oneself is exactly that: the absence of oneself, a negation of one's identity.

It took me a second to get, but I realised you were talking about 'selflessness'. When I said 'selflessness', I meant the ability to put your duties towards others first. For example, if a friend of your is in need, you should carry out your duty as a friend to help him/her, even if it harms your own interests, or even life. 'The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete.' (Analects 15.8)

We see ourselves as individuals and another's interest as not our own. However, apart from our own estimation of another's worth, he, or she, has no value, at least, to us. Evaluation is intrinsically selfish, and rightly so; not until we see one another's interests as our own, do we see ourselves as truly invested in the lives of each other. It becomes no longer a sacrifice but a life-giving pleasure, to benefit the world around us.

In a nutshell, humans do not, by nature, pursue their own interests as a primary goal, nor do they see their interests as their own. (OK, they do pursue interests as a primary goal if they ignore their hearts and human instincts, and let their bodies and animal instincts control themselves.) Instead, humans (given that they follow their heart and not their body) can identify and evaluate their responsibilities towards other people, and and in doing so, consider their interests before their own. I'll explain in detail below.

I don't think evaluation the 'value' of another is 'intrinsically selfish'. To me, a truly altruistic person should be able to evaluate his or her relationship with others before he or she makes a decision. If your childhood friend and a casual acquaintance you met yesterday are both in need, you save your childhood friend first. If your father and a distant relative you've met only once before are in need, you save your father first. This is not selfish.

For every role you play in relation to another person (I refer to roles like parent, child, sibling, cousin, friend, student, spouse, etc., not roles in relation to a group, such as members of an organisation, residents of a city, etc.), you have a duty that needs to be fulfilled towards that other person. If you fulfill it, then you are altruistic, as you are putting the interests of others to whom you are duty-bound before your own. If you do not fulfill your duties, then you are selfish. This process is not turning the interests of others into your own, as you said; it is the fulfillment of a responsibility.

These duties are already 'inside our heads' as they are, like I've explained above, part of human nature. Every human being is capable of commiseration (i.e. empathy), and this empowers us with the power of benevolence. Every human being is capable of being ashamed of his own wrongdoings, and hate the wrongdoings of others; this empowers us with the power of righteousness. Every human being is capable of respecting the values of others and putting others' interests first; this empowers us with the power of propriety. Every human being is capable of telling between black and white, right and wrong; this empowers us with the power of wisdom. These four natures allow us to put the interests of others before ourselves.

'Fan Chi asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It is to love all men."' (Analects 12.23) As explained above, we are inherently furnished benevolence. It follows that love is part of our human nature.

(I think this is a semantics problem but...) Selflessness, to me, is not losing your identity as if it were in the collective. Your own identity is key to selflessness because your relationship with others determines your duty towards others and thus your actions towards them. Given the choice to risk your life to save either a family member and a stranger, for example, clearly it's the family member whom you should save.

If one were truly selfless, there would be no personal identity to sacrifice; for, one's own identity would be lost to the collective. The collective would become one's self; no longer would one's personal desires, beliefs, or awareness be at issue. Any action taken, whether sacrificial, or not, becomes the ownership and responsibility, not of the individual, yet of the collective; therefore, value is determined, and defined, by the collective.

Selflessness has actually been the enterprise that has made feasible mass exterminations, such as the Crusades, Nazism, and ethnic cleansings, in every age, around the world. Mothers, by being selfless, have turned against their own children; fathers and brothers have gone to war against one another.

However, even though the phenomenon of selflessness has accomplished horrific atrocities around the world, it has also conquered great feats.

The problem I see is not selflessness, yet selflessness in the absence of oneself. There must be a dynamic that plays out, between the phenomenon of selflessness and that of selfishness. In other words, mindless abandonment is very dangerous.... Yet, the blood of a thoughtful sacrifice sanctifies the altar.

To me, this kind of selflessness is not selflessness, but sheer stupidity. It was promoted by the Mohists - suffice it to say that Mohism is synonymous with blind adherence to antiquated doctrines in the Chinese language. Abandonment of the self is never a wise thing to do, and it should never be considered as that would render all your human relationships null and void - and human relationships are exactly the bonds that hold us together.

To contribute to the collective, you should first cultivate your own virtues, then regulate your family. Only then can you rule your state well, and finally bring peace to the world. Abandoning yourself does nothing.

Like I said, though, I think this is boiling down to semantics as you and I have different perceptions towards the word 'selfless'.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
s-anthony
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3/23/2014 6:59:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/23/2014 2:05:37 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I've started reading a work by Ambrose King today (just borrowed it from the library). From what I've learnt from the introduction and from the Liang Shuming work (which I cited above), I realised that you are speaking in terms of Western sociology, which propagates a dichotomy between individualism and collectivism. I'm speaking in terms of human relationships, however, putting neither individualism nor collectivism into consideration. That makes our arguments inherently incompatible, since they were based on different premises.

Individualism and collectivism are not Western phenomena but global phenomena. I agree individualism is more pronounced in the West, and collectivism is more pronounced in the East; but, to say the West is not collectivistic or the East is not individualistic is a denial of reality. In order to have a relationship, you must have more than one; in other words, there must be the individual and another. If the individual stands, alone, in defiance of another, this is known as individualism; however, if the individual is in agreement with another, this is known as collectivism. The problem I see is when it is people try and complicate these two phenomena, reading into them, more than that which they are. Great masses of people are not needed in the creation of a collective; a collective can be as small as a familial clan.


With that said, I'll continue to respond, but since the word 'selflessness' has been a source of confusion, I'll switch to 'altruism'.

Sorry, but confusion is not the issue, at least not as I understand it, but the meaning of both selflessness and altruism; they are synonymous terms that can be used interchangeably.


In a nutshell, humans do not, by nature, pursue their own interests as a primary goal, nor do they see their interests as their own. (OK, they do pursue interests as a primary goal if they ignore their hearts and human instincts, and let their bodies and animal instincts control themselves.) Instead, humans (given that they follow their heart and not their body) can identify and evaluate their responsibilities towards other people, and and in doing so, consider their interests before their own. I'll explain in detail below.

Sorry, but logic dictates, my interests are my interests. To say otherwise violates the law of noncontradiction. Furthermore, if they are my interests, I am not in pursuit of anything. The problem arises when it is we see another's interests as not our own, as though the significance and value given to another is not in fact given. We have a tendency to imbue our thoughts, emotions, and ideas as belonging to something other than ourselves; yet they remain our thoughts, emotions, and ideas. So, in doing this, we create this dichotomy of us versus them and, thereby, the phenomena of individualism versus collectivism. To deny these phenomena exist is to deny reality; in other words, we wouldn't be speaking of them, if they didn't. Yet, to also deny our integral involvement in their creation is ludicrous. At issue is the interplay between the two, and anytime either one is taken to the extreme, there is brokenness: the individual becomes disconnected from society, with antisocialism; or, the individual becomes, merely, a mindless machine, with society as its operator.


I don't think evaluation the 'value' of another is 'intrinsically selfish'. To me, a truly altruistic person should be able to evaluate his or her relationship with others before he or she makes a decision. If your childhood friend and a casual acquaintance you met yesterday are both in need, you save your childhood friend first. If your father and a distant relative you've met only once before are in need, you save your father first. This is not selfish.

It's selfish, in the sense the evaluation is, by necessity, the product of the evaluator.

A truly altruistic person does not consider himself, or herself, in the decision making. In fact, the decision is seen as that which is in the best interest of the group.

This goes to the very heart of selfishness. If you are a benefit, primarily, to those who are in closest relationships to your self, then, the relationships have greater value to you. A truly selfless, or altruistic, act would be to give of yourself to something or someone who has no significance, or meaning, to you, and thereby no value. Of course, this would involve no knowledge of the person's existence. The closer to home a mutually beneficial relationship is, the greater value, and significance, it has to oneself. Remember, by definition, the further away, from the self, something is the greater degree of selflessness; the closer something is, to the self, the greater degree of selfishness.


For every role you play in relation to another person (I refer to roles like parent, child, sibling, cousin, friend, student, spouse, etc., not roles in relation to a group, such as members of an organisation, residents of a city, etc.), you have a duty that needs to be fulfilled towards that other person. If you fulfill it, then you are altruistic, as you are putting the interests of others to whom you are duty-bound before your own. If you do not fulfill your duties, then you are selfish. This process is not turning the interests of others into your own, as you said; it is the fulfillment of a responsibility.

If you had no interests, in others, why would you feel responsible for them?


These duties are already 'inside our heads' as they are, like I've explained above, part of human nature. Every human being is capable of commiseration (i.e. empathy), and this empowers us with the power of benevolence. Every human being is capable of being ashamed of his own wrongdoings, and hate the wrongdoings of others; this empowers us with the power of righteousness. Every human being is capable of respecting the values of others and putting others' interests first; this empowers us with the power of propriety. Every human being is capable of telling between black and white, right and wrong; this empowers us with the power of wisdom. These four natures allow us to put the interests of others before ourselves.

If we were able to put, completely, the interests of others in place of our own (which, personally, I see as a contradiction in logic. For, how can you put anything anywhere, if you don't have it in the first place?), then, by necessity, we would become disinterested.

To contribute to the collective, you should first cultivate your own virtues, then regulate your family. Only then can you rule your state well, and finally bring peace to the world. Abandoning yourself does nothing.

Like I said, though, I think this is boiling down to semantics as you and I have different perceptions towards the word 'selfless'.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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3/28/2014 10:32:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Sorry I couldn't respond earlier. I've read your post shortly after you posted it, but didn't get around to replying until now because I've been really quite busy with schoolwork this week.

At 3/23/2014 6:59:17 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 3/23/2014 2:05:37 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Individualism and collectivism are not Western phenomena but global phenomena. I agree individualism is more pronounced in the West, and collectivism is more pronounced in the East; but, to say the West is not collectivistic or the East is not individualistic is a denial of reality. In order to have a relationship, you must have more than one; in other words, there must be the individual and another. If the individual stands, alone, in defiance of another, this is known as individualism; however, if the individual is in agreement with another, this is known as collectivism. The problem I see is when it is people try and complicate these two phenomena, reading into them, more than that which they are. Great masses of people are not needed in the creation of a collective; a collective can be as small as a familial clan.

I don't think you understood what I meant. Now, I can't speak for other Eastern cultures as I'm sure there are many other (Japan, India...) that emphasise collectivism, but China does not encourage either collectivisim or individualism. There was a collectivist school (Mohism) and an individualist school (Yangism) pre-Qin, but since Dong Zhongshu, China has been following the Confucian school, which takes a third path.

The third path is one based on human relationships. All morality is based on the five cardinal relationships, the core three of which are familial ties (parents<->children, between siblings, wife<->husband) and the remaining two based on familial ties (friends~sibilings, ruler<->subject~parent<->child). This was first put forward in The Essence of Chinese Culture by Liang Shuming, a book I truly recommend, even though it's only ~250 pages long. This relationship-based society differs from Western society, which is based on organisations (such as mediaeval guilds).

Let's take the Civil Service Examination as an example. You may think they take it for the candidate's personal future (individualism) or for the entire clan (collectivism). In fact, it's mainly an act of filial piety towards parents and ancestors. 'When we have established our character by the practice of the (filial) course, so as to make our name famous in future ages and thereby glorify our parents, this is the end of filial piety.' (Book of Rites 1.1) Your duties are your personal responsibilities towards other family members; it was not imposed by your status as a family member.

Ambrose King cited 'Confucius - The Secular as Sacred' by Herbert Fingarette; I haven't read it, but I think you could read it to get an idea of what I meant :)

Sorry, but confusion is not the issue, at least not as I understand it, but the meaning of both selflessness and altruism; they are synonymous terms that can be used interchangeably.


Sorry, but logic dictates, my interests are my interests. To say otherwise violates the law of noncontradiction. Furthermore, if they are my interests, I am not in pursuit of anything. The problem arises when it is we see another's interests as not our own, as though the significance and value given to another is not in fact given. We have a tendency to imbue our thoughts, emotions, and ideas as belonging to something other than ourselves; yet they remain our thoughts, emotions, and ideas. So, in doing this, we create this dichotomy of us versus them and, thereby, the phenomena of individualism versus collectivism. To deny these phenomena exist is to deny reality; in other words, we wouldn't be speaking of them, if they didn't. Yet, to also deny our integral involvement in their creation is ludicrous. At issue is the interplay between the two, and anytime either one is taken to the extreme, there is brokenness: the individual becomes disconnected from society, with antisocialism; or, the individual becomes, merely, a mindless machine, with society as its operator.

Admittedly, I have quite forgotten what I meant by 'they do not see their interests as their own', and I apologise.

Anyway, why do you say there must be a dichotomy between 'us' and 'them'? Your closeness to another person is a continuum; at some point you may put one relationship before another. In the Zuo Zhuan, Yu Gong Cha and Yin Gong Tuo (sloppy character-by-character romanisation, please bear with me) were sent to shoot Gongsun Ding. YGC was an archery student of GD, and YGT an archery student of YGC. YGC pretended to shoot GD and left, while YGT tried to shoot GD. The former felt closer to his teacher, as he had been taught directly by GD; the latter felt less close as he was a second-generation student, so he valued his relationship towards his king more.

A superior man is free from his own interests. 'There were four things from which the Master was entirely free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no egoism.' (Analects 9.4) ('Egoism' in the Legge translation was originally the pronoun 'me' used as a noun.)

A truly altruistic person does not consider himself, or herself, in the decision making. In fact, the decision is seen as that which is in the best interest of the group.

This goes to the very heart of selfishness. If you are a benefit, primarily, to those who are in closest relationships to your self, then, the relationships have greater value to you. A truly selfless, or altruistic, act would be to give of yourself to something or someone who has no significance, or meaning, to you, and thereby no value. Of course, this would involve no knowledge of the person's existence. The closer to home a mutually beneficial relationship is, the greater value, and significance, it has to oneself. Remember, by definition, the further away, from the self, something is the greater degree of selflessness; the closer something is, to the self, the greater degree of selfishness.
I understand what you mean, and in this case I am opposed to selflessness.

If you had no interests, in others, why would you feel responsible for them?
Do you love your children feel indebted to your parents because of interests?

If we were able to put, completely, the interests of others in place of our own (which, personally, I see as a contradiction in logic. For, how can you put anything anywhere, if you don't have it in the first place?), then, by necessity, we would become disinterested.
You put others' interests first because of your feelings towards them. If another person were in need, and you have to sacrifice your life to save her, would you refrain from doing it for your own interests? 'Even now-a-days, if men suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they will without exception experience a feeling of alarm and distress. They will feel so, not as a ground on which they may gain the favour of the child's parents, nor as a ground on which they may seek the praise of their neighbours and friends, nor from a dislike to the reputation of having been unmoved by such a thing.' (Mencius 3.6)
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
s-anthony
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3/29/2014 2:34:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I don't think you understood what I meant. Now, I can't speak for other Eastern cultures as I'm sure there are many other (Japan, India...) that emphasise collectivism, but China does not encourage either collectivisim or individualism. There was a collectivist school (Mohism) and an individualist school (Yangism) pre-Qin, but since Dong Zhongshu, China has been following the Confucian school, which takes a third path.

The third path is one based on human relationships. All morality is based on the five cardinal relationships, the core three of which are familial ties (parents<->children, between siblings, wife<->husband) and the remaining two based on familial ties (friends~sibilings, ruler<->subject~parent<->child). This was first put forward in The Essence of Chinese Culture by Liang Shuming, a book I truly recommend, even though it's only ~250 pages long. This relationship-based society differs from Western society, which is based on organisations (such as mediaeval guilds).

Collectivism, whether seen as organic, or not, is immaterial. Collectivism is, merely, a way of describing a phenomenon separate from individualism; it's, really, not that complicated.


Let's take the Civil Service Examination as an example. You may think they take it for the candidate's personal future (individualism) or for the entire clan (collectivism). In fact, it's mainly an act of filial piety towards parents and ancestors. 'When we have established our character by the practice of the (filial) course, so as to make our name famous in future ages and thereby glorify our parents, this is the end of filial piety.' (Book of Rites 1.1) Your duties are your personal responsibilities towards other family members; it was not imposed by your status as a family member.

Not only is collectivism not imposed, it can't be. Collectivism is a psychological phenomenon, relative to the individual. For instance, take Christianity; there was once a time, in Europe, in which being a Christian was not a choice. Anyone who denounced Christianity was pronounced a heretic and burned alive. However, this did not stop the spread of individualism, in the West. A person could be a practicing Christian, to placate the collective, while secretly opposing everything for which Christianity stood. Confucianism may be the dominant thought, in China; but, if your naive enough to believe all Chinese people agree with it, I'm can safely say you don't have a hold on reality.


Admittedly, I have quite forgotten what I meant by 'they do not see their interests as their own', and I apologise.

Anyway, why do you say there must be a dichotomy between 'us' and 'them'? Your closeness to another person is a continuum; at some point you may put one relationship before another. In the Zuo Zhuan, Yu Gong Cha and Yin Gong Tuo (sloppy character-by-character romanisation, please bear with me) were sent to shoot Gongsun Ding. YGC was an archery student of GD, and YGT an archery student of YGC. YGC pretended to shoot GD and left, while YGT tried to shoot GD. The former felt closer to his teacher, as he had been taught directly by GD; the latter felt less close as he was a second-generation student, so he valued his relationship towards his king more.

There are a dichotomy and a continuum that exist, dynamically. To say otherwise is to deny the phenomena of individualism and collectivism. You can't see yourself as an individual, if you can't see yourself as an individual; you can't see yourself as a collective, if you can't see yourself as a collective. You can't speak of something that doesn't exist.

The problem I see is when it is people speak of one thing in opposition to another, as though both phenomena do not exist. It's not either-or, but both. Life is not static, but dynamic.


A superior man is free from his own interests. 'There were four things from which the Master was entirely free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no egoism.' (Analects 9.4) ('Egoism' in the Legge translation was originally the pronoun 'me' used as a noun.)

How can a superior man have no interests? Interests are, merely, things of value. If a superior man has no interests, he has no value; and, being worthless, he most assuredly could not be considered superior.

It seems, to me, this way of thinking is, merely, the collective's attempts at devaluing individuality. It's amazing how it is you said Confucianism is not a proponent of collectivism, when that which you've described to me is taking collectivism to its extreme.


A truly altruistic person does not consider himself, or herself, in the decision making. In fact, the decision is seen as that which is in the best interest of the group.

This goes to the very heart of selfishness. If you are a benefit, primarily, to those who are in closest relationships to your self, then, the relationships have greater value to you. A truly selfless, or altruistic, act would be to give of yourself to something or someone who has no significance, or meaning, to you, and thereby no value. Of course, this would involve no knowledge of the person's existence. The closer to home a mutually beneficial relationship is, the greater value, and significance, it has to oneself. Remember, by definition, the further away, from the self, something is the greater degree of selflessness; the closer something is, to the self, the greater degree of selfishness.
I understand what you mean, and in this case I am opposed to selflessness.


If you had no interests, in others, why would you feel responsible for them?
Do you love your children feel indebted to your parents because of interests?

Even though I have no children, "Yes!". If you had no interests in either your children or your parents, you certainly would not feel indebted, to them.


If we were able to put, completely, the interests of others in place of our own (which, personally, I see as a contradiction in logic. For, how can you put anything anywhere, if you don't have it in the first place?), then, by necessity, we would become disinterested.

You put others' interests first because of your feelings towards them. If another person were in need, and you have to sacrifice your life to save her, would you refrain from doing it for your own interests? 'Even now-a-days, if men suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they will without exception experience a feeling of alarm and distress. They will feel so, not as a ground on which they may gain the favour of the child's parents, nor as a ground on which they may seek the praise of their neighbours and friends, nor from a dislike to the reputation of having been unmoved by such a thing.' (Mencius 3.6

No. You put others' interests first, because they are your interests. If you had no interests, in others, then, again, by definition, you'd be disinterested, in them.