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....

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