Thursday, January 3, 2013

a little more something else

[Scott S. asked: "How do we help morality-loving freedom freaks to see they can instead base their principles on something more solid and productive than morality? And that alternative, what would you call it? Empathy? Strong Internal Compass? Belief In Innate Human Awesomeness?" and my response was as follows:]

I have been thinking about the same line-of-questioning that Scott has raised... what is a "should"? What is "morality"? What is "ethics"?  Where do "should"s come from?  How are "should"s derived?

From an NVC perspective, we might translate the "should"s as requests... "You should be nicer to your sister" might be translated, "I am uncomfortable/unhappy when I observe conflict among the two of you, who are siblings to one-another; I would prefer if each of you had less conflicts and more cooperation and I wonder if siblings might have more potential for sharing/cooperation than many other kinds of relationships and, I would like to request an exploration of strategies  in which greater cooperation/sharing with your sister could take place.".

Similarly, "It is universally/always morally/ethically wrong for one person to initiate agression/aggressive-action unto another person." could be translated, "I have needs for trust and safety that I would like to get met, and to meet those needs, I would like for us to come to agreement, that we will both try to generate/design strategies in which we will cooperate with each other which will result in win-win outcomes and we will agree not to interact with each other using strategies that lead to win-lose outcomes."

I have contemplated a "boiling-down" or "distillation" of the philosophical "should" expression of "objective morality"... I have come to think that it implies a logical argument which is cohesive but requires two "premises" or "axioms"; the first is that, the (rationally?)conscious-entity asserting the premise, is different from non-conscious-entities; and the second premises is the acceptance of other entities that exhibit the behaviors indicative of conscious-entities are in the same class-set as the entity asserting the second premise.  Put more simply, my expression of consciousness, sets me peculiarly apart from rocks and plants, and that I may use these non-conscious entities as means to serve my ends and that other entities exhibiting the same kind of (rational?)consciousness as I find myself exhibiting, are to be treated with the same respect I would like to be treated with.  Perhaps more simply still, I am a person, and I wish to be treated as a person and in kind, I will agree to treat other persons as persons; that I am neither beast nor god and that I accept that other persons are neither beasts, nor gods.

If there is agreement upon these two premises, then I think that the "should" becomes meaningful.... but these are possibly very abstract arguments for most situations and are unlikely to draw two people into closer connection/harmony unless they already find themselves to have had prior agreements as to the essential nature of the argument (which I presume is true in this case).  If these two premises, are agreed upon, then there is a sense in which the "ethics" would be "objective"; exceptI do not think it it possible to objectively verify the premises themselves, so that this "objectivism" rests upon a less-than-objective framework... but I wonder if that is not an inherent philosophical limitation of "objectivism"... that it requires "axioms" which are not objectively verifiable... they potentially are only "verified" by/for the entity which accepts/asserts the axioms....

Therefore, I approach the matter this way, it is not necessary for me, that anyone else agrees not to use the "should" or the "should-not" but only that I recognize the "should" as a request for trust/agreement/cooperation. I can then translate the "should"s and if in that process of understanding, a place of sufficient trust and cooperation is reached, then perhaps that is a place where the "should"s become an unnecessary expression for that other person and I....

connecting with others, when there are opposing views

[Someone asked, "how does one bear the arrogance and stupidity of the liberals one knows?????"; and my response was the following:]

I try to connect with the basic/universal things that "liberals" are concerned about... they are concerned about "the poor" and I try to reflect back to them, that I am also concerned about people who may not be meeting their basic physical needs for human-thriving and that I share their wishes that every person be able to provide for their needs and for a certain-optimal-level of physical comforts/luxuries with a certain-minimal-level of exertion/work to accomplish/meet those needs; where I might diverge in opinion is not the basic concern of that the "liberal" is expressing, but the *means* or strategy that the "liberal" would suggest that those *ends* be accomplished.

I find that in this way, there is a recognition of a basic agreement that we both can connect with and from then on, the conversation can be cooperative exploration of alternative *means*/strategies than than an antagonistic argument.

I am wondering if argumentation of "facts" is as persuasive as we would expect it to be... I wonder if a good definition of "facts", might be "uninterpreted data/observations"... and with that definition, I don't think "facts" are often in dispute as much as the *interpretations*/conclusions that are drawn from those "facts"... then I wonder about the situation in which two people are unhappily "arguing" with each-other... it seems like they "argue" because they both want the other party to "hear" their perspective/interpretation... they both want to communicate something that is important to them... if this were not the case then I would expect that one or both persons would just stop communicating... but the conditions under which they both continue to communicate, no matter how their unhappy feelings about the conversation is building, indicates to me that they each want to share something with each other but they are having trouble speaking/giving and/or hearing/receiving what is trying to be shared.

Rather than this kind of antagonism, I have found more satisfaction in discussions that begin with an exploration of shared values and then after the trust of shared values is established, then the discussion can go forward as a cooperative effort of the optimal means to accomplish those shared values.