Morality summed up in 2 commandments
1) You will protect your natural environment and its harmless endangered species by all means.
2) You will respect and serve the interests of others as your own.
I consider it my duty to do good and to avoid evil, not to be
virtuous, but because it is a triviality. I do it because I know
that I just have to do this, even though I can not really explain
why (or maybe so, in a sense: see below). I do this because this
is part of me.
There seems to be people who are not so, for whom it is not self-evident. Although, we must be wary of appearances. Maybe they simply lack the discernment of what is right or wrong. If they have no moral sense, or if they behave contrary to that sense, I agree that they lack something, that all will not necessarily be good for them in the afterlife. But since I am not in their place, I can not judge the liability of their soul.
Certainly, for the practical organization of the society it is necessary to accuse those who do evil and condemn it, for two classic reasons: deterrence and the physical prevention on the one hand, to try to wake up and guide the moral sense of people so that they become aware of the rules of morality on the other.
But these two reasons, as they are here, would lose their meaning as a punishment or reward after death, especially if their impact was eternal. Certainly, the idea of a reward and a divine justice seems to have a meaning and be defensible from a certain point of view at least, but the meaning of such divine justice, if it exists, escapes us, because we are not in the skin of each other. The idea of eternal punishment is absurd: it has no educational value, because who would it educate? It can educate if there is a second chance, so if it is not eternal; and an eternal misfortune would be disproportionate as respect to a limited fault. Anyway, it's not my problem. I do the good because I know that I must do it, and I can not act as if I did not know it. The question of what fate God reserves for those who are not so, and why, does not concern me.
What do the Saints have more than others? An extraordinary
virtue, for example. For doing do what? Doing the good ? Possibly,
but according to what criteria? Let's look at a passage from the
Gospels on this point: the story of the poor widow, who has only a
few coins, worth "much more" than the fortunes given by the rich,
because it is "everything she had to live". That's nice, but as
for the usefulness of donations, those of the rich weighs more;
the moral feat accomplished by the poor widow is only for her
sanctification before God. What for ? The saints are to me a kind
of athletes who go to the end of human possibilities on a certain
level, that's amazing for those who are fans of it but these feats
mainly serve the rank of their own souls as measured by
discussable criteria, and possibly to gather the rest of humanity
in wonder before them, and fill them of the jealous dream of doing
I do not need to be that kind of athlete, because I have better than that to do in life, not only for myself but also and even more, precisely I have better than this to do for the good of others.
As for doing the good, rather than sacrificing oneself giving everything we have to live, thus paralyzing oneself and becoming unable to be significantly useful to others anymore, we should rather, for example, if given the opportunity, invest in honest business, make profit, then donate a portion of the profits which can be greater than what we could have given at first, and live comfortably with the rest. Or we can also lend to the poor to enable them to set up their business, then they could repay so we can, with that, help others the same way. This would be more useful to humanity, without any need to reach one's limits.
Morality is not basically a virtue in the human heart, nor a gift
from God. But it would be that suffering ends, and that happiness
spreads. Such events may depend on the actions of men. The actions
of men may depend on the moral values that are in them. But these
are only two factors among others. The final results of the
actions of men on the world is not proportional to the sum of the
actions of individuals, even less to the sum of their deep
intentions, because humanity is a complex organization with a
division of labor, and very different roles assigned to various
individuals. The available technologies also play an important
role, and thus can be classified as virtuous or vicious depending
on situations. The actions of men are much less guided by moral
values than by what social organization leads them to do. Among
all that, moral values are but a small instrument among others.
I consider this is not degradind the meaning of the human moral consciousness, to reduce it to the level of a possible means for an end outside of it, quite the contrary. It is giving it its true meaning. It is the obligation not to run it as a vicious circle enclosed into serving itself, as a style exercise, but to become a knowledge of reality. It is also enhancing it of a genuine hope, a hope that is knowledge and perspective of a new world to build, that would be released at least partly from the present sufferings, instead of mere feeling and self-persuasion.
Thus, the aim of morality is not to have a clear conscience, in ignorance of what we could do better, but to try to really do what is best, taking knowledge of what can be done and how to be most effective. So, in order to break the lethargy of consciousness and discover what could be done better, the right way is not to make any "examination of conscience", but on the contrary to forget all about our own conscience, dismiss as selfish and hypocrite any concern for it, but to search and discover that which is taking place beyond it: the reality of the good and bad that happens to others and what it depends on, the events and circumstantial factors, that are something else than the mere world of our internal beliefs, intentions, virtues and feelings.
Choosing between the humility of letting the world perish, and the pride of saving it. Indeed, one cannot successfully run 2 hares at the same time: to maximally purify one's soul, or to be as useful as possible to others.
Consider the following statement: "The good and evil are the
result of human actions, the good is the result of good deeds, and
evil is the result of bad deeds."
This statement is deeply ambiguous, and depending on how you interpret it, may be very true, or very false.
Everything depends on how we define the notion of "good deed". In fact, everyone tends to interpret it in compliance with his own code of conduct, but the codes of conduct vary widely from one individual to another. Many define the code of conduct to be followed in terms of compliance with their conscience, of the goodness of intentions behind a given action. But such a criterion is often tautological and relative, as everyone is anyway already leading his actions following his own conscience. Who acted with good intentions in his own eyes will be judged as having bad intentions by someone else who is tempted to judge that accoring to the conformity of the former one's actions, to the conscience (implicit code of conduct) of the latter. Everyone acting differently in his own manner that he believes to be the best, has a natural tendency to believe that the actions of others when they are different, are animated with bad intentions.
Everyone living on the basis of his own code of conduct is tempted to believe that "naturally", any behaviour conforming to this code will tend to lead to good consequences, and any behavior that deviates will tend to result in bad ones, with an idea of what causes this, but without trying to check it seriously. Many people are satisfied to believe that their own actions are necessarily good and will have good consequences, on the basis that they are animated with good intentions and / or obey their own code of conduct, and that such or such actions of others were animated with bad intentions, based on the fact that their consequences were bad and / or that these actions are not in accordance with the same code of conduct, without taking the trouble to find out whether indeed by any chance these two opposite judgements were in fact being applied here to instances of the very Same kind of reality, judged unequally by the use of different criteria.
My view is the antithesis of those trends. I consider the statement above as being ultimately true, but in a very different and even opposite meaning from the one usually given to it. Indeed, I consider that the notion of good or bad action is not a basic concept that has any direct meaning in itself, only considering the action and the spirit (intentions and philosophy) of its actors. The only thing that has a meaning and a value in itself, is the reality of the consequences that each action will finally lead to.
The real morality is not to follow one's conscience and to be driven by good intentions nor even to follow any particular code of conduct, but to make the effort to redefine the classification of actions as good or bad, depending on the sole criterion of the analysis of its objective consequences, without regard to any question of assessing the nature of the soul and intentions that have animated the actions, nor the internal form of the actions themselves. Meanwhile, such question on souls, intentions and forms of actions should be banned and avoided as vain and off-topic from the start, so that they will thus be affected in no way either, by the outset of this retrospective re-qualification of actions.
I therefore defend a lowly materialistic morality, that rejects as hollow and pointless any questions of judgement on the substance of the souls of people, and is only interested in the problem of calculating the physical consequences of given acts, to draw from there the only really authentic moral conclusions, on the only real moral values that may exist, namely whose sole object is the true accuracy of this calculation itself in all its complexity, of these links from causes to effects, and thus the measure of the value (happiness or unhappiness) of the real consequences of given acts; while any questionings on the issues of judgements of the actors and their deep beings we might otherwise consider, have to be rejected as being possibly perverse when mistaken with the above, insofar as such judgements might often be unfair against people (whose behavior would not meet a given criteria or would lead to unfortunate consequences against their own will), and risky for the danger to divert our attention from the real objective morality that we should follow, namely the goal of social utility, as has been explained : the evaluation and improvement of a physical outside phenomenon (the facilitation of collective happiness), of a very different nature from any problem of personal judgement whatsoever (although connections between the two are possible).
Thus, it is not primarily souls that are to be judged as virtuous or perverse, but things, as factors that the happy or unhappy events depend on. Among these things there are doctrines that may inhabit the thoughts and thereby control the acts of people like operating systems in computers: some doctrines are good, some bad, but the person who bears them is not necessarily responsible for that.
Man often commits evil, but it's not that he is bad in himself.
Or course, there may also be people who are bad in themselves, but
it would be vain to reject on them the issue, to accuse them or to
teach them moral lessons. In reality the problem of evil from the
evil men is an accessory problem, in addition to being very little
remediable whatever we may say. Men commit much more harm than the
level of their immorality, and for the same level of morality,
they could commit on the contrary much less harm than their
immorality, but do the good anyway.
In fact most of evil committed by man, is an evil committed by good men. It is an evil committed by goodness of heart. And this evil committed by good men is even a more perverse evil since it is committed by goodness of heart. Indeed, this goodness serves as an excuse and justification, and thus as a power to this evil, the power of the deep goodness to disqualify and condemn as an evil any resistance to its action.
And why do good men commit evil out of goodness of heart? Because it is the best way, as established by experience, which enables them to get the purest conscience. Indeed, wanting and believing to do the good, they commit evil because they did not have the opportunity to understand that this is evil, but they believe they are doing the good. This is a manifestation of the dictatorship of chance I presented in another text (not yet translated): the problem of separation between an act and its consequences, while the issue of the causation linking an act with its consequences is a complex issue on which the people can easily have misconceptions. Indeed, if everyone can more or less agree and clearly see the extent of evil as a final consequence (happiness or unhappiness), on the other hand the knowledge of the links between these effects and their causes and to the question of their possible remedies, is a very different problem. And it is much easier in this regard to have misconceptions than right ideas. However, some patterns of misconceptions being much more effective than the truth to give people the impression to behave best, and any attempt to seek better criteria for discernment being illusory (most often leading to disenchantment and feelings of failure in their search for the good, as any possibly really satisfying success would be far from reach for most people), it inevitably leads people to consider these patterns of misconceptions as the best and the most virtuous.
Well, not always: there are people who had the chance to understand that they must not do the evil that others are doing while wanting to do the good. Or more precisely, the misfortune: because once understood this, it makes it much harder for them to exercise virtue, as they no longer have the chance to exercise their virtue in the form of the exercise of the false good, that others have the chance to practice in the name of the good; and also because it may lead them to become isolated, a desperate ennemy of the rest of the world and of its awful so-called virtues.
And this misfortune, to have got a greater understanding of the truth, makes them worse beings than others, because they have the misfortune of having to always confront this way their actions to the reality and cruelty of fate and real effects, rather than simply exercising their virtue in the magical world of their illusions. The knowledge of reality with its complexity and difficulties requires them to study and confront again and again the question of their actions to reality, and thus to focus on developing for it much other things than virtue and goodness of heart. It also makes them worse beings because it often makes almost impossible any mutual love and respect with so many people with wrong values when introduced in a way that lets them a bad impression on oneself, as is sometimes unavoidable anyway, because the truth is really ridiculous and insulting to them, and one's uncommon positions and disagreements would be too complex and therefore impossible to explain to people with such a malignantly absurd way of thinking and interpreting things, in the easy and simple « hello » terms in which social habits usually require such things to be explained (hardly anyone is ready to read and understand 30 pages of explanations before fixing one's impression on a person).
But deep down there was no real difference between both: they are as good as each other, and the difference is that the ones live in the world of their magical illusions, and others live in the world of reality. And it is always possible to switch from one world to another, not because one is more or less good, but by accident, depending on circumstances, intelligence and thoughts. Nobody is hypocritical in the soul. Hypocrisy and perversity are not natures but behaviors. The behavior of humans is what happens to be the end result produced by the energy of their goodwill organized along their patterns of thinking in a given sociological context. If these patterns are false, the good will of man is not responsible for the actual effects of his conduct, but leads him to behave in a perverse way that does not resemble him.
Do not think that this is a rare thing: a long experience, analysis and reflection, led me to conclude that this problem is what truly dominates the world and the behavior of most people.
Religion is one example. The creation of the Soviet Union is another. I have written various examples in other texts here, and I will continue to do so.
Although ... I sometimes have good reasons to doubt that most men are basically good but only mistaking, ie whose thoughts, words and bad deeds can be excused by the fact that they would be fair from the viewpoint of the world as they imagine it. For those people who clearly express their goodness and their intrinsic sincerity, are extremely likely to strongly maintain thoughts that are clearly immoral and perverse in themselves, ie which can not be good in any conceivable world. Would the doctrine of original sin (I mean the doctrine according to which man is inherently bad) be ultimately correct? except that, of course, this finding of the way in which people approve of actions which should obviously be seen as bad, depends in its conclusions on the question of whether people would be capable of a vital minimum of mindful thinking in this regard. However, it would seem that precisely the problem would reside here: that in fact people are really dum, and that they really believe what they are doing when following a code of conduct that is supposed to produce the good, but that could only do it in a very illusory, illogical and unrealistic world like those of mere dreams. People (including Buddhist Spiritual Masters) just never learned to wake up.
In other words, the real big problems that are not the mere result of a false assumption, of a doctrine established by any particular religion or of any misconception, the real problems that resist, whatever one may think, and to which there is no simple solution:
(if God created everything, where does the bad come frome ?)
(-> As explained below, I propose a try of a response, albeit
partial and not entirely satisfactory: the relativization of the
importance of earthly life and its sufferings as compared to
eternity; it is not satisfactory insofar as this still does not
justify anything, and anyway I do not think that suffering is
generally justifiable by any means, or even that it is fair to
assume the existence of any justification in absolute terms,
regardless of any understandability problems).
Variations of the same problem:
Why did God leave a miserable life on Earth last more than a billion years before the appearance of man more or less exclusively on the basis of the long agony of natural selection (the miserable deaths of so many individuals just because they may be participating this way in the selection of a gene or two « if they are lucky »), while with His infinite science it would have been relatively easy for Him to dictate directly in a much reduced time the genetic code necessary for the life of the main species, and even to make them more comfortable ?
Why are we not born directly in Heaven ?
Why weren't humans (and other mammals) given the benefit of vision with 4 fundamental colors (roughly the red, green, blue and ultraviolet) that other vertebrates like birds have, and that would surely make life more beautiful ?
Why do so many people love horror films ? Is it because God created man in his own image ? and similarly, why do they spend much more time hearing random music of poor value than some masterpieces made centuries ago (I mean, even many people who would agree that those old masterpieces were indeed quite better than what they are hearing now) ?
Why do the pupils and students who make strike beause they are so fed up with boring lessons that they need to grasp some freedom and relaxation with one day off, pretend that they want the government to hire a surplus of professors that will fatally be of lower value, in order to condemn themselves to longer, stricter, heavier, more boring and lower quality studies, rather than being free to instruct themselves at no cost to anyone, by finding on the web the best lecture notes made by the best professors of the world ? Why, again, do students request their professors to orient lessons, exercises and exams to requesting back themselves (students) to dedicate their studies to doing stupid and bothering calculations just for diplomas, but to never care learning and understanding any deep, really useful or interesting science ?
Why did Lev Landau have this car accident, in the same year he received the Nobel prize in physics ? Why did Galois die so young ? Why could not Beethoven find love, and why did he become deaf ? Why did faith in God produce so much horrors in the past and oppose some of the scientific progress, and why did the so well-intended Marxist revolution produce so much horror ?
in the following terms: if after death we must bear the pain of our bad deeds and the joys of our good deeds to others, so that there is ultimately a sort of justice beyond, according to what criteria will our actions be evaluated ? In this regard, one could easily argue the following:
Any theology in which the judgement does not fully comply with the measure of the purity of altruistic intentions that animated all thoughts and actions taken, would be a horrible, unfair and untenable theology;
Any theology in which the judgement does not fully comply with the measure of goods and evils that have actually resulted from actions taken in the actual context of what happened, including what was misunderstood or unknown to the person who acted, would be a horrible, unfair and untenable theology.
These two requirements are, in fact, due to the effective form of material links of causes and effects that we observe, totally incompatible with each other.
This is the problem of judging (what can be true, or what can be morally accepted ???), between 2 possible but both unsustainable ways for God (or for whaterver judge there will be, including people themselves) to judge the way in which people had judged some choices to be the right ones (hence the expression « cubic judgement » to name a judgement of a judgement of a judgement).
The traditional Christian solution to this paradox is to make a dialectic confusion between the deep intentions of an act and its actual consequences. And so, to have the reflex to judge, sometimes the expected real consequences of acts according to the quality of their underlying motivation, sometimes the deep motivation according to the actual consequences, depending on what is most convenient at one time or another.
As for me, the lack of solution to this problem does not prevent me from sleep, as our mission on earth is to manage the problems, misfortunes and disasters that occur on the earth, not to resolve any internal troubles and contradictions of divine justice.
Let's examine more closely this fairness requirement, that one ought on moral grounds to behave as a rational being that builds his life and thoughts on the basis of the choice of the second axiom applied to oneself (disregarding the question of whatever may be true to others and how they may be judged), in order for the resulting morality system to be self-consistent and worthy of being called morality, i.e. that purely consists in requesting oneself to really try to be helpful to others (or to the general interest including one's own), disregarding any other diverting selfish consideration about how pure is the navel of one's own soul.
Namely, the axiom that one will be only judged according to the real material effects of one's actions, regardless of the depths of one's heart. Even if in another moral sense it is unsustainable...
This would first require that this axiom would be meaningful, i.e. the question of how better will be the consequences of one choice as opposed to the consequences of possible alternative choices, to be well-defined. This first assumes that freedom of choice really exists, so that the future is not determined yet. But, if the future is not determined, then the consequences of a given choice were not yet determined at the time when this choice was operated. They can only be assessed a posteriori, once these consequences will have taken place (and it will thus be too late to revise the choice). But: first, these effective results won't be the mere consequence of one's own choice, but of the global pack of all choices made by all the people, together with all weather details and the like, so that the question of the distribution of responsibilities between all actors and circumstances hardly makes any sense. Second, the measure of the goodness of what has taken place, is not enough to define how good a choice was. To make sense, it would require to compare it to what would have been the consequences of alternative choices. But, first the list of possible alternative choices could not be reasonably enumerated as it would have been too long and any attempt of such a list takes the risk to not be as exhaustive as it ought to be; then, it is impossible to determine what would have been the consequences of a given alternative choice, as this alternative choice had not been brought to reality. Even in quantum physics it has been demonstrated that it cannot make sense to speak about what would have been the result of a possible measurement that was not really made.
Still, one possible fully consistent interpretation of this axiom remains: that the only thing that matters is the global result of what occurs; while no question of division of responsibilities nor comparison with what did not happen, makes any sense. In other words, the idea that there would be no individual karma. Such an idea is also unsustainable in a way...
In the same line as the previous problem, it is amazing that, as the studies of Near Death Experiences report, those who die by suicide most often « go to hell » or something like this, and that the suicide attempt seems to be one of the main causes of such hellish experiences.
This should, I think, be seen as amazing because this happens as a sort of judgement, while this very sort of judgement so often happens to be totally unfair, in full contradiction to morality issues.
Indeed, it often (of course not always) happens that, for objective moral reasons towards oneself as well as towards others, committing suicide would have been the right thing to do, while deciding to stay alive is the harmful choice.
Two of these reasons coincide with those of the previous problem: overpopulation and genetic evolution.
Another reason is personal: why insist with a life that goes into crual suffering, lost any decent meaning, and is unlikely to become really worth living later, just because of an accident or the faults of other people that oneself could not control, rather than just let down and restart the game with a new life in more decent conditions ?
Still, there may be two possible moral reason why someone tempted to commit suicide, should not do it:
One is clear and objective, but exceptional: it is in case when the resulting experience and concern would turn out to be useful for helping others away from the mistakes and circumstances that produced such a sad life. In other words, for a collective « Never again » purpose. But this « Never again » purpose clearly does not become fulfilled very often, otherwise most of the causes of suicide would have been eradicated since long ago.
The other, hypothetical one, would be bad karma that one had come to expire by incarning here. The problem is that what will really happen does not always coincide with what could be predicted at the time of the incarnation, so that some of those who would have come for expiring bad karma will live happy and won't expire anything, while others who just came for a happy life, will happen to suffer for no reason and « be treated like criminals » by fate, just like the former were supposed to.
So, even if good reasons for depressed people to stay alive may hold, this is not often the case, while the hellish experiences associated with suicide are the most frequent.
So, why does God send to hell precisely those people who were already the innocent unfortunate victims of a crual fate sometimes caused by the faults of others, for the only crime of having done themselves what is objectively the morally right thing to do and that this crual fate led them to do ?
Bringing together the ideas of the above issues (why is there unhappiness, and how to be judged), appears another problem, perhaps more serious: unlike men, God does not have the excuse of the mistake about the consequences of His actions. Unless these have only an insignificant place in the events, and that our universe is mainly subjected to its own burdens and determinisms far from any possible influence of God, which concretely seems to be widely the very case, but is, from a metaphysical viewpoint, a largely incomprehensible thing. The world and its woes appear as being subject to the absolute power of the Ignorance of creatures, and therefore, ultimately, being the slave of the Universal Irresponsibility.
(more arguments will be added to this point later)
This world is quite probably only a small part of the
supra-universal Creation, but it nevertheless unfortunately
concerns us very closely, ourselves for now and all those that our
present actions and words will mainly affect, so that, no matter
what, we happen to be under the moral obligation (in the above
sense) to be aware of its present burdens.
No, unlike others, I do not see here any good reason to escape in any lyrical flights about the wisdom of God beyond any sensible human intelligence. I would even see as a blasphemy to try to locate the divine wisdom inside such a horrible accident.
So I have no satisfactory answer to that problem. So what? It is only natural not to know everything in life. Science is very young from the viewpoint of evolution of life on earth. But I am always embarrassed (and I suffer and I want to work to ensure that this state of circumstances change).
The fundamental value is happiness, or pleasure, as we want to call it. More specifically, I mean the sum of happiness of all living beings. This is the source of all other values, which may be summed up in one word: useful. Here I mean by "useful" what produces happiness on collective average, given all the mechanisms of cause and effect occurring in the world. Specifically, an important value is truth. Indeed, the truth is both a source of happiness for some (for intellectual interest), and in some cases it can be extremely useful because it provides the means to distinguish between the useful and the useless, wasteful or harmful, thus enabling people of good will to choose the really useful acts. An important role of the truth is as concerns the judgement or advice that can be addressed to others (especially to unhappy people, for « helping them find hope »). It is indeed distasteful, even sometimes harmful (either because it is absurd or it leads to wrong decisions), to send to others in all sincerity and goodness of heart, some judgments or advice that are actually based on error.
All souls have price for God who loves us all equally. Indeed,
not only it could not be otherwise since all also exist, but
hardly any difference can either be justified because, most often,
everyone does, roughly and in general, what he believes to be
good, so that his actions are determined by what he believes, what
he happens to think and understand, in other words by
circumstances. This can lead to bad actions, but in oneself one
can hardly be bad. Therefore, there is no "spiritual value" which
puts a soul morally above another. And remember, the studies of
variations of constant functions are pointless.
But there is one parameter-goal that may be important to consider regarding the care for others: everyone is not equally sensitive to events. Just as not everyone has the same preferences, and does not evaluate all the circumstances as having the same weight of joy or suffering in their lives, and on specific matters (every matter is unique, isn't it ?), it may happen that the same circumstance produces a joy or a pain more or less serious for the one than for the other who is facing it. Quite difficult to judge in the absolute the ratio of the overall sensitivity of the one relative to that of the other, mainly all what can be done is to let the differences in values between the different circumstances from the point of view of every given person, express themselves through the law of market by which everyone can prefer this to that.
Apart from that, there are parameter-causes that may vary from one individual to another, especially the usefulness parameter, that is, some humans can be more useful to the world than others. For example, intelligence may contribute to this. This should be distinguished from issues of judgments about any internal merits of the soul, as what is often invoked by parameters such as "good will". Admittedly, it would be the duty of everyone to try to improve his own cause-parameters of this kind according to his possibilities, but an absolute judgement on the substance of the soul based on definable parameters (whatever be the sort of definition we can try) could hardly have any sense. If we wanted to see a meaning to an assessment of some more or less spiritual moral parameters of souls, it would make them become more or less a source of pride for those who have or cultivate them more. So, whatever their interpretation or the connotation that you want to give them, they may turn out to stop our attention on issues of personal judgments or other questions on the depths of the souls, and thus would divert us from the true morality values, as explained above.
Yes, of course. And more than that, there are multitudes of
universal values, profusely, much more than a single human could
ever carry. Like the universal truths that science discovers.
One of these values, and not the least, is the respect and praise of the infinite variety of possibilities of life, of innovation and intelligence.
However, a good value or idea, new or not, with general use that would deserve to be more put into practice, should not need to be permanently reexecuted by everyone, because all that is repetitive is better achieved by machines than by men, once the latter have established the exact rule that must be applied by the former. And in addition, the machines can do so more easily and accurately, without spending any intellectual effort. So, we must understand that if it is of course good to spread as far as possible the best ideas, the best productions of the spirit, the highest virtues with universal validity, it is not always appropriate to try to accumulate them in the minds of people, those miserable cousins of monkeys, who are in most cases unable to bear and to respect correctly any great deal of them. Indeed, the best universal ideas and virtues would be far too many for any one individual to ever be able to learn them all as they would deserve, ifever we wanted them to be carried by men.
We must on the contrary most often, work to spread these higher truths and higher virtues, not primarily in the hearts of men, but rather in those of computers. And this, not even in any hope to let these the slightest chance of a place in heaven, but only to exploit them mercilessly. Indeed, as they are not fallible as can be men, they have the unique ability to be able to accumulate the virtues almost indefinitely to practice them again and again without ever tiring. The highest virtues to spread in the hearts of computers, will consist in the fact that they have been programmed to perform the best actions: to operate the most efficient inter-subjective procedures between men in search for truth and justice; to educate them at home as needed without always requiring teachers at hand; to bring prosperity and save them the useless pain of the inefficient work, through more efficient working methods; to allow them to find more directly the trusted people to make this or that business while avoiding scam; to operate a maximum of acts at a distance and avoid unnecessary trips; to provide love in abundance to humans, through optimized matching methods of personal ads, calculated in order to provide all the best matching opportunities in the least effort, so to avoid as much as possible the risks of the horrible ordeal of unchosen celibacy, that still occurs to so many lovely people.
It is clear indeed that these are forms of virtue that the hearts of men are unable to bear. No goodness can enforce worldwide justice and well-being. A person who meets a desperate single, without being the person that fits, no matter if one has all the compassion of the world, can no way be helpful and save that single from staying in loneliness or hitting destiny in vain by hazardous travels missing their target without any significant good chance. A couple already formed by chance would be unable to resolve to split so that each of them gives a chance to someone else, who would otherwise be condemned to the suffering of celibacy. By contrast a computer containing all the data from all the profiles, can offer everyone to get contacts in a priority order which provides overall better chances to all: everyone could directly explore his best dating chances without wasting time, and could be invited to meet in priority the ones who were in danger of celibacy, although not bad choices, to give them their chance, before trying to meet the more easily lucky (or who don't need to find so urgently) people. But, isn't it clear that this best effective virtue of being such a provider of love to humanity, virtue whose lack has caused so much suffering, is a virtue that only computers would be able to practice if well instructed for it ?
For example it is such a pity to see Christians wasting the
efforts of their lives to trying to make their pride of being
humble, which ultimately can only lock them in hopeless internal
conflicts, except of course once they manage with their usual
success, to fool themselves enough to not see the hubris they
derive from their claim to humility.
This Christian doctrine, therefore, having initially ignored from the start any question of physical circumstance of good and evil dismissed as "low" and distateful to their spirit as an unjust and unworthy way for God to judge or let the good or evil happen, therefore requires every good or bad to be assigned a "spiritual" thus personal responsibility, therefore linked to vice and virtue. It needs, for its own reasons, to present this human virtue that everyone should practice as simple, easily teachable. So this trivial choice to reduce the whole issue of goodness and morality of the universe to the trivial sole criterion of the supreme virtue of humility, precisely through its trivial self-contradiction, is indeed very clever to give itself authority in all circumstances, staying irrefutable in front of any scenario that comes along, as it easily opens the way to claim anything or its contrary to justify itself, and will always find a swindle to wash its hands from its spectacular crashes like the Galileo trial in which one of the main accusations the church raised against Galileo was his hubris (to dare contradict the great spiritual authorities of his time ...). Here is the mechanism:
Consider a subject that does not bear any judgement on himself and does not care, or either bearing on himself an average judgement. The Christian won't make a difference but automatically interpret the first case in terms of the second, as he is himself so obsessed with the issues of judgments of souls, everyone's judgement on oneself and the judgement to address to this judgement, that he can not conceive that this matter of judgement may be not the navel of the universe, and that other people may be not so obsessed with their own judgement on themselves.
So, if the works of this person are good, his moral value will be judged positively, and thus exceeding his judgement on himself. As so he bears a judgement on itself less than his real value, he will be declared humble, and his good works will be put to the credit of his humility.
If his works are bad, his moral value will be judged negatively, and therefore his judgement on himself is higher than the reality, he will be declared proud, and his bad works will be put on the account of his pride.
If someone tries to secretly be humble, nobody knows, and if his works are poor one could not put them to the account for his humility that is not known. If his quest for humility is public, we can see it as a vain claim of humility, and thus a form of pride, and it put his bad works on the account of his pride. Anyway, to make any bad works, we must have power, and the fact of using a power is viewed as a form of pride. Christians see as a virtue to be passive, to be not doing anything, to submit to fate, to not disrupt the course of events. It is therefore regarded as necessarily false to claim humility while doing bad things.
If someone is doing good works and publicly displays his humility, he will be declared a saint, and his good works will be put on the behalf of his humility. If he makes good works and does not display humility, this absence of display will be seen as a form of humility.
The only remaining case, which could escape this machine of unfalsifiability, is that of someone doing good works and having more positive opinions about himself, especially if those opinions are formed after another criteria than humility.
This case is especially unlikely because, as explained above, the best way to do good works is through understanding of the fact that good and evil are not coming mainly from human traits, but from things, and that issues of personal judgments are essentially vanities. Whoever would have attached a great importance to any degree of judgement on the substance of the soul, has little chance of doing any good and outstanding works. QED
(further comments on pride were in another text not yet translated)
The first, direct, fundamental problems, are those that have the
effect of concrete harm to people's lives.
The latter evils in the logical order, with indirect qualification from their influence on the former, are those which consist of propagation of errors, that have the effect of influencing people's behavior in a manner which yields the direct evils.
As compared to all this, anger and insults are not truly an evil, as the psychological discomfort they directly cause is mild and transient. If their cause is justified, as they denounce the evils above, then they can be justified too. Otherwise, simply ignore them, so that their effect is zero. Yet a fundamental problem is to precisely distinguish between the two cases.
But between the one who spreads quietly and politely, giving the impression of wisdom, a philosophy supporting erroneous judgments and irresponsible behavior, thus causing the greatest evils, and the one who angrily denounces and condemns these, the conduct of the latter is much better because salutary.
Unfortunately, those who shout the strongest are not always those that are more right, it is more often the opposite (but not a general law). As Bertrand Russell wrote: "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
But remember that even the certainty and anger are two different things. If the character of the wise is uncertainty while the one of the fool is certainty, that on the one hand the certainty without anger gives an impression of wisdom and on the other hand the wrath without certainty gives an impression of madness, then we are in trouble.
That said, there is of course no necessary link between certainty and error. It would be too easy to find the truth on such a simple test!
Same answer as to the limits of human rationality, especially as
we explained that evil is ultimately somehow an expression of a
lack of rationality.
So, man is defective because he descends from monkey. Monkey is defective because it descended from previous species, who had even more such defects.
For the actual content of the evil that is in man, see this list of examples of human perversity noted above (not translated).
A religious tendency is either to justify evil as a test that
leads to good, or to accuse man, so any way to lick the boots of
God confused with Destiny.
I think that the best response would be the relativization. As to ask: why is there an accident here? No, the purpose of a road and a car is not to do an accident, but the accident is the exception as compared to a larger and broader welfare.
On the one hand, relativization of earthly life as compared to the journey of the soul in the afterlife, as appears from BDE testimonies, much larger than earthly life.
On the other hand, relativization of the troubles of past and present centuries, as compared to the whole history of life on earth.
For human history is finally quite short as compared to the whole earthly life since its beginnings. If you wonder "My God why ?" about the human adventure, there is no reason to not ask the same question about the past history of life. If we thought for any reason that man should be exempted of suffering and evil, the question of suffering and evil would still remain about the suffering and evil endured by all wild animals since the origin of life, and the question of precisely what is happening now would be relatively insignificant in the context of this more true perspective, given the relatively ridiculous time interval of the history of mankind in comparison with the past history of all earthly life: my God, why have all these creatures suffered, while a resolution of the problem could (or not) exist ?
Faced with this most important issue, I am proposing one more relativization, namely with respect to the future: the history of life is not finished, and its evolution first much stagnated for billions of years before finally experiencing a rapid development over the past few hundred million years. Vertebrates have emerged "only" 530 million years ago, there has hardly been a hundred billion human beings who lived until now. However, life on Earth still has some 500 million years of future. Calculate as if evolution had to stop at the human stage for 500 million years (this is obviously false, most probably species will appear that will be even more intelligent and important than humans), with an average of 2.5 billion people present on Earth and average and a 100-year life expectancy. It would provide 10 million billion of lives to come, in other words 100,000 times more than those which took place so far since the emergence of homo sapiens, not to speak about the possibility for civilization to move elsewhere. The question therefore becomes: why living beings, and especially man and what it will evolve to, would continue to suffer millions of years more?
Considering how the history of mankind has already been turned upside down in just a few centuries, and how men have already acquired a relative but still appreciable control over their own destiny, it seems absurd to believe that human life would be submitted to an irrepressible bad fate that would fatally extend the current woes in the perspective of thousands of years to come, let alone millions of years.
The only essential question is therefore the one we must ask ourselves: what shall we make of the future of life and humanity on earth ?
One aspect of Christian theology, even if not shared by all
Christians, is to consider the world as somehow perfect, more
exactly that God has done all things for love, for the better,
even suffering; and that in front of each "test" it is our duty to
see a wonderful hidden godly plan. In most cases, this sense is
not accessible. What can it mean to speak, with an intense faith,
about the existence of a love explanation without even caring to
discover the actual content of this explanation? This is no better
than the materialistic approach, which is to believe in the
existence of a supposed physical explanation of consciousness
regardless of the fact that no such explanation could ever be
found yet. But what is distasteful in this faith is that (no
matter its official denials) it constitutes an implicit accusation
to the victims of obviously absurd and unfair sufferings, for
being blind to the motive of love from God to them in these
circumstances, and such a holy slander against victims makes them
suffer twice. Indeed, the problem here is that it requests by
automatic principle the victims that they should find a "raison
d'etre" for their own suffering, while the adviser cannot find
himself a really true one and explain it for them; or that they
should seek their own responsibility, while the adviser did not
even care to verify himself whether such a liability truly exists,
and if so which one. What evil yet would there be to recognize the
sufferings for what they are, namely something possibly profoundly
cruel, absurd and unfair ?
The same reflex also often happens replacing God by the society: one claims the society to be somehow perfect or anyway that any idea to challenge it would be futile, and one accuses anyone who complains, to accuse society in vain. Victims of natural disasters that nobody can prevent, have a right to our compassion, without need to find the criminals that they are actually victims of. Why should the victims of bad luck (I think obviously my own example: not having had the opportunity to find love), as well as pupils and students victims of internment and absurd mental tortures in the school concentration camps, whose suffering is due to social circumstances and institutions, not be entitled to a comparable compassion? What evil would it be to recognize the senseless and barbaric defects of society? It's as if it were assumed that anyway nobody can do anything, society will never change and that the only relevant question is how to adapt to it. But even if this doom was true, it would not be a justification, neither for this social cruelty, nor for such a lack of moral compassion towards the victims. But moreover this is untrue, because the society may change. Similarly, one can not say that all things were created by God to perfection for the most fulfilling life, either for happiness, or for so-called spiritually useful tests. Because if all things were perfect, there would have been no reason for changing them profoundly. But in fact, the living conditions of humanity evolve continuously and are very different today from what they were centuries ago. As it is essentially the same people, in principle, there would be the same needs of tests and suffering for an optimum spiritual growth, if ever it was good and that there existed such an optimum. But living conditions very different from each other from one place to another and over time can not be all perfect. So it is absurd: there is indeed in the world naughty unjustifiable defects which it is our duty to cure, as has already been cured recently in comparison with previous periods (eg in medicine). It is therefore the duty of man to keep observing the absurdities and unjust sufferings, and to continue to cure them, even and especially if it seems hard to imagine. But the knee-jerk reaction of people to refer victims to their own responsibility (I speak of the systematic reflex when it is not really justified, sometimes it is), is far better explained, either by the general intellectual laziness, which keeps man in a passive unshakable ignorance regardless of any consideration which is non-effected anyway, or by the social sensitivities of people who could not bear to conceive the idea that there could be anything better to do for others and for changing society than by keeping doing nothing but insulting the unhappy with absurd wishful thinking advices, and that they may have serious hidden liabilities in this regard; cannot bear either to know that others are less lucky than they are, nor to have to think about what they could do better, because for them there is nothing more scareful in life than thinking (the general intellectual laziness is sovereign) and discovering their hidden responsibilities towards others.
The evil in man, or rather his clumsiness or lack of discernment
as we have said, is not the only cause of the bad. There is the
natural evil, accidental evil, evil of chance, natural disasters,
epidemics and infirmities, as well as political evil which,
although made of men, largely escapes the control of most people,
with this power that that an unfortunate social mechanism still
lets rather inevitably fall into the wrong hands, so that until
the next real challenge to the system, this evil is very similar
to that of natural disasters.
So how should we handle in daily practice this problem of evil?
An entirely satisfactory response is not possible: in fact, cruel, unjust, sadistic unhappiness exists, devoid of any fruit nor any moral or spiritual constructive lesson. It would be wrong to deny it, because such a denial would be a mistake, and that mistakes are the main cause of evil.
However, the religious spirit is strongly tempted to make such a denial: indeed, trusting that everything in life is the perfect work of God, makes it impossible to admit that God has not made all things perfectly. Recognizing the existence of absurd misfortune in the world, would seem an insult to God. Therefore, the religious spirit, by loyalty and corruption towards his Destiny God, prefers to deny from the outset, without examination, the existence of absurd evil which is in the world, or to accuse man for it in such a global and vague manner that it is completely sterile, providing no remedy for what one did not take the trouble to diagnose precisely enough (a non-constructive criticism, that escapes its own responsibility by undertaking to sing one's good intentions at all tones in order to believe oneself non-accountable, therefore somehow accusing of all evils, by elimination, the others who do not sing that as loud). He considers this denial of reality as an act of praise to God that he has the duty to respect.
In reality, such religious a priori reflexes are destructive of our very mission, which is as we have said, to rescue the future fate of mankind from the reality of nonsense sufferings (rather than to rescue from the mere understanding of it... the minds of those unaware unaffected people who are spiritual enough to be able to deny the reality of others'fate). In order to acquire the necessary competence to be able to cure sufferings, and more precisely the forms of misfortune that are the most absurd, the most unjustifiable and devoid of any morality, any lessons, any sense and any spiritual fruit to their victims, it is necessary to face and identify them, especially where they are the most cruel, unfair and devoid of any morality and any spiritual fruit, and analyze the mechanisms by which it occurs to try to eradicate them from this planet by any means. In other words, we must resist this currently widespread temptation to [divert our sight or distort our appreciation for protecting our conscience and our feeling towards God].
Of course, this is in its very nature to increase the chances of
But you are going to say: statistics show that over a century of rapid development and economic growth, man is not happier, there is a lot of suicides and so on.
Certainly, man is not so much happier today than in the past. Why? Well, because in fact there had not been any significant economic growth either, of course! Let me explain. (I'm here speaking about the situation in France, I do not know about other countries)
To clarify what we are talking about, I would define economic growth as growth in labor productivity, which normally (if it was a normally paid job, in an honest activity, with an income in line with the usefulness to others as measured by the market stability, or other appropriate mechanism, and if there was no tax), would be defined as the average over the existing works, of the ratio of the real value (purchasing power) of labor income, to the work (time and arduousness) (let us not count here the capital income component). So, well, once this said, the usual calculations of labor productivity are completely false: this productivity has not really increased over the past century. Indeed these calculations systematically forget the main component of this object: the level of labor productivity of apprenticeship as a pupil and then as a student.
But, the productivity of this work, which contains the largest share of all the efforts, all the mental energy of the entire youth of the population (the most essential part of life, in fact), largely descended to the abyss since a century: more and more painful and uninteresting, taking more and more time, for an worsening failure. The reasons for this decline? The absence of any economic freedom worthy of the name, of course. This area has always been controlled by a totally stupid and totalitarian administration that locks all the youth in its scholar concentration camps, taking all of their time and all of their activities in the service of stupid and debilitating mental exercises. How can you expect people to find happiness and fulfillment in such conditions ? To speak of growth it is first necessary to undermine this dictatorship and to establish freedoms: freedom of innovation, freedom of choice of everyone, market mechanisms appropriate to ensure transparency, honesty, good orientation towards what is useful to each one (interesting and suitable to the demands of the labor market ...) and the conditions necessary to give back the correct financial benefit, that would make it possible to motivate and thus allow the development of more productive learning methods (without prejudging the nature of the fruits sought). This way finally people would have better chances of being happy!
There is another area that has not experienced much growth: having personally spent thousands of hours to run across the world in an attempt to finally find a girlfriend, but with a still desperately null result, I cannot admit the assumption that today's society provides the means to productive work. Fortunately, new technologies are opening already a glimmer of hope for growth in this area with the development of dating sites. Unfortunately, this area is largely monopolized by robbers who are using every means to make unfair profits, I mean that in this area, the market mechanisms with its competition are still in a deplorable situation (misinformation about conditions, no guarantees of honesty both of suppliers and customers ...), which has not yet led players in the direction of optimal economic growth correctly. You can also remember about the regulation of the use of university computers, which prohibits (blocks technically) the use of dating sites. Decidedly (but we already knew), the Administration is resolutely opposed to any form of labor productivity worthy of the name ...
Further comments in other texts: on growth - on the deep significance of growth
There are 3 main ways to act on the world to try to improve it:
changing the general structure of the society - changing man -
creating / modifying / deleting specific activities.
As we are here in the generalities, we will focus on the first two ways. The first concerns Economics and Political Science, the constitution of the State, and also the development of technology, because of its importance to the world. Spirituality claims that all this is superfluous, and that we should concentrate on the second way, the one of changing man, because, it says, the technological, political and economic contributions do not resolve the depth of problems since man is always the same and evil remains (coming from man). Well, but I still do not consider that the progress of living conditions as compared to a century ago or two when life was miserable, and when men routinely died of starvation and epidemics, is something insignificant or uninteresting. If there are people who are not interested in it, they are free to live in hermits in the jungle or the mountains, away from technology ... Indeed the very purpose of technology is to liberate humanity, at least partially, from the material necessities, in order to to be able to devote himself to whatever he wants instead, for example to whatever spiritual research, without being constantly disturbed by unwanted hunger or laborious tasks.
Then, there is a big pseudo-argument often mentioned by spirituality to reject attempts to improve society and only consider to change man: the example of communism, in which men tried and believed in the possibility to change society, and it has failed. Then, many said that this was the fault of man who is defective and unable to put ideal systems into practice. But communism never seriously seeked for logic or science, quite the contrary: it was based on the rejection of any logic, any coherent system, any science (economics and the « capitalist » system it criticized and inside which it pretended to show irreconcilable contradictions), any try to make any consistent theory, in favor of a human and spiritual ideal: love, equality and brotherhood among people. But spirituality is clever in serving as a deterrent to itself, viewing its own failures as failures of science, to say it is impossible to scientifically improve society because the problem is in the heart of man. This argument is nonsense: communism was not a draft of a political system, it was not a scientific thought, not a theory, and anyway not an ideal one. Just like religions and spiritualities, it was a mere fancy of a supposed ideal, a mere literature, and no way a real ideal. Those who call it a theory, are insulting the word « theory » having no true understanding of what this word may really mean: anyway, the public never knew and will never know what a theory is, and when they claim that they know a theory, then you can infer from this claim that it probably is not one. Technological applications of science never worked by publishing a theory to be understood by all, and expecting the public to apply it. Example: the theory of the usability of electromagnetic waves for long-distance communication, was put into practice but never publicly explained. But so, you may ask, what may be the solution then, if the people cannot understand and apply true theories ? Well, don't worry: just like all technologies, they will not need to understand them for using them. Just one team has to release the technological basis of a new Invisible Hand, and all the world will have to follow.
The principle of the betterment of society is, in brief (we will not explain here the procedures, which are another debate, the important thing is that solutions exist), to ensure that everyone will be paid as precisely as possible in a way to reflect his usefulness to others, in order to convert any act useful to others into an act useful to oneself, and the same for the harmful ones. The free market in a situation of pure and perfect competition (and some other conditions) is an example of this optimum. Other kinds of situations may require to implement other mechanisms for getting closer to such an optimum.
Is this not a bad society that decides to serve the personal interests of those who harm others (by giving those the benefit for it, or by failing to take back abusive profits possibly multiplied or with a fine in case of fraud)? Would this disturb the morality of spiritual people, to think that the betterment of society through physical protection against the risk of abuse (instead of mere "morality telling") may be possible ? Indeed, it would put spirituality into trouble: it would make it jobless, making its preachings of virtues less urgent (not that it had ever been really effective, but the possibility to serve one's own interests by harming others was what gave spirituality the opportunity to promote itself as a candidate solution). But, what would be bad in making possible the achievement of the good and the prevention of evil in a way that does not require to first wait/call for a change in the heart of man ?
A fundamental aspect of the belief in God (even if not necessarily adopted by all) is the assertion that God will bring justice to men in heaven for what they have accomplished on earth, rewarding them for the good done and punishing them for the bad. But, is not this ultimately a belief in a perfect (divine) monetary system recorded in heaven for our actions on earth, on the model of the perfect economic system to be built as we just mentioned? So, why not already try to imitate on earth as we can, the divine justice we hope for?
What, couldn't we find a way to take back the money from anyone
who has harmed others? In our time where we are irretrievably gone
to a world of widespread information technology !! One might ask:
as for the good, how will it be done despite the lack of purely
altruistic motivation (which is mainly a matter of the human
nature that can hardly be changed by any system anyway) ? It's
simple: first, the new system I propose is in itself no obstacle
to any altruistic deeds, on the contrary it facilitates them by
some tools. Then, services can be bought, and if it suffices to do
the good to others to receive the benefit in return, then this
will motivate it to be done; it will be easier to find honest
well-paid jobs to earn the necessary money for living. It seems
unrealistic, impractical? Yet this is just based on this same
principle by which the economy is already functioning (at least
for what works)! Namely, the necessity to work (thus, serve
others) to get the money to live ... just some corrections from
the existing world remain to be done.
See here the basic principles of the solution that I am proposing.
The altruistic people attempt to do the good, but even those who
want to do the good can do it only if the information about what
is good to do, and what thing is more useful to do than another
thing, is given. In a world of billions of people, it is
impossible for man to know everything about what is happening in
society, to feel spiritually and emotionally the usefulness to
others of his own actions, as this is a very complex calculation
about a world of which he can humanly know but a very small part,
while the question of the usefulness of every action is actually
dependent on everything else. It requires that economic mechanisms
are in place to generate this information, which will appear to
the individual as a numerical result assigned to each particular
choice he could make. Indeed, only a numerical quantity could be
simple enough to be easily understood and processed by the
individual to assess and compare the respective utilities of his
possibles actions. This is how, among the possible choices of
efforts that he would be ready to provide and between which the
choice is a priori indifferent (equally painful for him) he can
choose the option that will be the most valuable to the society,
with no need to bother understanding why this option is actually
more useful to society than that one.
But such an information system is roughly the same as the principle of an ideal economic and monetary system mentioned above. Finally, is there any difference between the case of morally pure humans with indicative information, and the one of morally impure with a money system ? Eventually there will be two differences: on the one hand a purely indicative system induces redistribution of wealth, but this may distort the information and open the way to abuses (by selfish people, but also for instance by others that would not be aware of the problem to do what is authorized, like to consume other's work and not doing anything useful in return simply because they don't know what to do useful that fits them...), on the other hand, impure people may try to fraud the production of the basic data of this information system. But I think it would be very hard to cheat a non-redistributive money system in a manner very interesting for the fraudster, because the main information that someone may be interested to distort for his interest there, is the information on his usefulness or harmfulness to others ( to be able to perform any act harmful to others, not compensated by a really useful enough service). However, this is by definition an information defined by others (because it is an information about the interests of others). The main thing he could do is to claim to be disturbed by others more than he actually is, but in most cases no one is forced to disturb others, and arrangements can be found to avoid it. Or, to pretend to take less profit or enjoyment from something than he really does, but if he takes advantage of it, anyway it's because others accept it, so that it does not really matter (there would be here a study to develop on the issue of the paradoxical question of the necessary conservation of the amount of money inside a group of people having relations only among themselves while formally the sum of each members'usefulness to the rest of the group, is not zero... here may sometimes be no totally satisfying solution whatsoever, but often still relatively more satisfying ones)
If there was another more serious type of fraud, affecting more effectively others, how could this fraud be permanently and safely covered? Otherwise, it is sufficient that the discovery of the fraud involves a big enough sanction to be dissuasive: no one is granted the right to lie, it would not be a bad thing to punish a fraud more harshly than its actual damages ...
There are a lot of people who pray God to do the good. There are
also plenty of people who make petitions to ask heads of state, I
think especially in the case of heads of states of foreign
countries with respect to signatories, to behave good. Similarly
for religious appeals to virtue.
But what is the point of all this? Indeed, there are two possibilities:
Either the recipient of the prayer was already good, in which case there is little sense to ask him to become so, insinuating that he was not (it would be even quite insulting).
Or he was not, in which case I do not see what in prayer would have a chance to make him become so: who is not good does not listen to prayers, does not care. And even if he is listening, he won't change himself on request.
The only meaningful thing I see that looks like this, is to provide new detailed insights about the current problems and effective choices that would be right or wrong, but that were not obvious. Anyway, such a step would make no more sense when addressed to an omniscient God.
Some imagine an idyllic world as consisting of the widespread
practice of donation by all to all, instead of a practice of
Of course, a practice of donations can be useful in some cases, either as an aid to the people victims of a bad twist of fate as the disabled or the victims of natural disasters (in the few cases when no private insurance could be the solution), or to pay those who do a useful job for the general welfare that can hardly find wages by usual market mechanisms, by lack of easily defined beneficiaries, such as fundamental research or public works; or other specific situations in which market mechanisms would present flaws, requiring acts of adequate financial redistributions to pay more precisely each one according to the overall usefulness of his actions. But a too widespread practice of donations as a normal way of functioning of an economy, especially among people with comparable living standard (which is much better than the common living standard of one century ago, so please don't complain !), is counter-productive. Indeed, what more could be achieved by a service offered than by a service sold ? Why worry about the flow of money if the actual acts are as good? If the quality is at stake, it should be possible to measure it and guide buyers to find sellers who make quality. For the rest, the one thing that a gift can make more than a sale, is the scenario where what is given would not have been sold. But why would it not have been sold? Because the price charged by the seller according to the effort made as he assesses it, would have been too much for the buyer. In other words, because it would be too much trouble done as compared to the final usefulness of the service. Thus, the main thing the generalized gift economy can bring more as compared to a mainly market economy (more precisely an economy with a currency that would aim to satisfy the conditions above; this will be abbreviated by simply "market economy" here, though some changes are yet to be made as compared to the existing one), is the maintenance of economic structures adverse to the public interest.
The fundamental difference between a gift economy and a market economy, can also be expressed as follows:
But what problem is in the heart of man? That he seeks his interests at the expense of others? But what does he really seek: his own interest, or the nuisance to others? If the problem of the heart of man was that he seeks nuisance to others for itself, then we could actually say that there is a problem in the human heart. But in general selfish people are not seeking the nuisance to others for itself (except the nasty comrades in the schoolyards of the fraternally egalitarian and indivisible schools of the Republic), but seeking only their own interest. What evil is there here ? That he is ready, on occasion, to serve his own interests by means which may eventually harm others. Then we may consider two types of environments in which he might evolve: an environment enabling him to get rich by harming others, and an environment that does not allow him to (making him pay the costs of any nuisance to others). Yes, but anyway, the first type of environment does not allow it easily, as he is there is in competition with other selfish people, in a society that, with a sub-optimal way of working, has anyway not as much wealth to offer than the latter. In order to take advantage of it, he must deploy a strategy, something above average intelligence. Only under this condition it may be of interest to abuse others. But then, it will be even more interesting for the selfish people to evolve in the second type of environment, as this very same ability and intelligence strategy that was required to be able to abuse others, can be recycled there into a search for means to be as useful as possible to others, in order to get the financial benefit from this act.
Spirituality argues that evil comes from human sin, which
consists in the fact that man chooses evil, he's responsible for
evil, and that the only way to cure the problem is to change man
who is the heart of morality and therefore, it says, of good and
evil. However, we just saw that human selfishness is not really,
or not primarily, a source of evil, and that it is not even
ultimately a willingness to do evil, but that evil comes mainly
from failures in the economical system, which does not always
properly focus to the optimum social usefulness, the orientation
of actions both of the selfish and of the virtuous (though not
always with the same magnitude), because the monetary measurement
of the consequences of their possible decisions, that guide their
choices, has defects. So, indirectly, it ultimately comes from a
global refusal or negligence on the part of men to carry out the
corrections in the economic system that would be required to get
its functioning closer to the mentioned theoretical ideal: the one
that optimizes production, where finally the question of virtue or
selfishness of the heart of man would hardly have anymore impact
on the social well-being (everyone would be lead to socially
optimal choices whatever their internal morality level). At least
more specifically, the vice or virtue of the ones would no more
(or much less) affect the well-being of the others. Considering
that the construction of such a better world would naturally be
the duty of the most naturally well-intended people, and that the
mere work of very few people would be enough to make it, the
ultimate evil is precisely what effectively distracts all the best
intended people from this mission. Namely, one of the main sources
of such a negligence is the work of Spirituality, that teaches the
best people to focus their efforts on improving the internal
virtues of the human soul, and to forget, to neglect, the economic
dimension of the problem, that seems too physical and complicated
(too disturbing to its comfortable intellectual laziness), and
therefore not Spiritual enough to be worth caring about.
So, while selfishness products evil, it is not the selfish who want this evil. By contrast, spiritual people who proclaim doctrinally as universal truth, and consider as spiritually normal, fair and unavoidable, the economic situation in which every selfish impulse (more or less inevitable whatever we may say) will result in a nuisance to others, are finally precisely, in a way, the very people who really, practically, want for itself this evil product: they want, by their calls to draw and focus all the good wills onto futile questions, to keep the political conditions (and through the conditions, their effects) under which each selfish impulse produces evil, but also by the same way, under which, whatever they say, many altruistic impulses also produces some sort of relative evil, not to speak of course of the evil by omission also necessarily resulting from the Zen that annihilates any impulse, any significantly developed enterprise that could be very useful to others, zen that is also the specialty of some of them.
The largest source of sin as a desire to engender evil, is, after analysis, Spirituality itself according to its own definitions.
Curiously: at the same time, religions sing the glory of the
altruism of those who want to do the good as a one-way free gift,
without expecting anything in return, and they proclaim loudly
that God will reward in heaven precisely those who develop such a
virtue. Problem: how on earth can we pretend to cultivate total
selflessness totally selflessly, while being firmly convinced that
we will be rewarded precisely for this ? Are we not fatally, in
this quest for virtue, tempted to be motivated by the very reward
that we expect to draw from it in heaven ? How can one still claim
in such conditions that this quest remains totally selfless ? Only
atheists, not believing in the afterlife, may be able to develop
such required virtues, to finally receive the reward they did not
As for me that on the one hand believes in afterlife, heavenly justice, and the need to seek to do the good to others here on earth, that on the other hand recognized the necessity to hold in any subject a rationally clear and consistent approach, and that this very necessity should not be considered shameful in any way, here is my position: being aware of my duty to others, and the fact that I have in any way to accomplish it to get any reward for it in heaven; with a clear conscience that, in this context, this accomplishment cannot consistently be anything else than ultimately a selfish approach (with a sort of extended concept of an ego that encompasses the sum of all the egos of all individuals into this great Universal Ego that is God whom I would join in the afterlife, then selfishly benefiting this way from the viewpoint of others, of the good I do them today), I will not see any problem nor feel any shame for it, but I will remain openly convinced that God will reward me anyway for my selfish enterprise, as long as, on the lowly material level of practical acts and their consequences, it consists in being useful to others.
In any case, why should we be more royalist than the king? Is not God himself, in his very acts of blessing his creatures and spreading his infinite graces to them in heaven, following a selfish motivation, insofar as his creatures are the very parts of himself, so that he is directly affected by what happens to them, as happening to Himself? Thus, the infinite graces he grants to his creatures are but graces He grants to Himself, so that it would be inappropriate to call Him selfless for that.
On what ground could God require man to exert more spiritual "virtues" than his own ?
There is one remaining possible claim of spirituality, apart from
what was just dismissed above : that even if it is possible to do
the good without being « good », one fundamental problem (not to
do the good, but for itself), is that many men have defects,
including selfishness (limited to the perspective of personal
earthly life) and ought to improve. Okay, already, in an economic
system that does not let people serve themselves at the expense of
others, but only by doing useful acts to others, that rewards the
good deeds and penalizes bad ones, it would be quite more
difficult to practice vice, and easier to practice virtue, in a
sense to concretely care for the good of others (since the
permanent exercise of the service to others is facilitated and
encouraged by practical and financial tools). This would also make
life more natural for those with natural desires to do the good,
and may force some others to adapt by trying to become more
good-willing in themselves. Still, this could be considered to be
just a superficial change, which does not change the human heart,
which is bad. So, can the human heart be improved ?
Religions and spiritualities will offer themselves as the answer, while pretending that science is powerless here. I still don't agree.
Their styles of solutions have clear drawbacks: they require either the heaviness of a big educational system with all the linked pains (hard studies...) and risks of deviations or other perverse side effects (discussable policy choices, standardization of the process...), or anyway some kinds of artificial indoctrination (though usually this indoctrination does not recognize itself as such) proposed by any "spiritual" trend, along with various possible teachings of errors, with random and sometimes perverse effects. Moreover, presenting such a spiritual solution (teachings) as a key to man's improvement, would necessarily be somehow insulting and discriminatory, as it can only target those who will take the time and trouble to educate themselves with this, and that will happen to be in the circumstance to possibly believe in it, circumstance that is unfairly considered (maybe only in an underlying, unconscious way, but it is logically unavoidable in a way or another), as a mark of spiritual superiority over those who do not believe the same.
Instead, there is a completely different, non-spiritual style of
solution that would be completely free from such risks, pains and
troubles. Indeed, here is an example
of an article among others that addresses the scientific method
for improving the human being, which can similarly apply to most
of human qualities or virtues we may want to promote. In
particular, I see five main categories of qualities which should
be promoted by a scientific procedure of assisted genetic
evolution of the human species: health, beauty, intelligence, joy, morality. (Some parents are
interested in athletics, what can be seen as an aspect of health
...). (More details in a few articles: Eugenics - Nature versus nurture - Race
and athletics - Race
and intelligence - another article)
So what, would not human virtues be genetic in origin? Although the genes do not "produce" intelligence nor virtue in a direct and strictly material sense (because spirit inhabits matter without being reduced to it), they still provide some neurological conditions that promote or hinder it. No matter that the bio-psychological mechanisms of this intermediate causal relationship is out of reach, the point is that they exist. Indeed, for example, if cats are morally more quiet and gentle than dogs, if big dogs are more secure to educate than lions and if some races of dogs are more evil than those of other races, this is clearly not (at least not exclusively) for educational reasons, even less for religious reasons but indeed for genetic reasons. There is no reason why the situation would not be similar for humans.
But, the efforts to improve the genetic heritage of human beings
are cumulative: any action in this regard has averagely permanent
effects to all future generations to come, in other words it is in
itself a progress. In other words, to reiterate this work for 100
generations, has in probability average a persistent effect on
mankind (on all generations to come without any time limit), 100
times greater than if it had been carried out only on the first
generation. So even though the progress achieved by this act looks
relatively low in a generation, its benefit is multiplied by the
practically unlimited number of future generations. This benefit
could thus be qualified as eternal.
The spiritual works to improve people, on the other hand, are contingent, evanescent, artificial (inculcated from the outside) and with limited effect over time. A moral progress through spiritual means can subsist to the next generation only if the lesson will be taught again, which requires some hard work, and as a condition for persistence this work requires to be repeated indefinitely in every generation. But there is no guarantee that it will be, and actually, in Europe, religions are being abandoned (their virtues being not really good ...). The moral lessons, good or bad, they have inculcated, are being lost and forgotten in favour of any novelty that will stand. There is no cure to this process : man being what he is, his nature will take over sooner or later, and what some wanted to make through education can always be forgotten, processed, replaced by something else, better or worse, depending on whatever new ideas will develop, and the moral lessons of the past will become ancient history.
The only significant long-lasting effects that the unnecessary
choices and works of the past people can have over the nature and
character of future humans, is the genetic heritage, which is the
parameter that plays in practice the role of a deep nature of man
(by its relative constancy and the fact that it is necessarily
transmitted by nature to every next generation without any need of
further attention). But, what were the works of religion in this
area? (By the way, their program for changing man already
fossilized since many centuries, as is required by the
unsurpassable divine revelation they claim to express, so that
they are finally becoming quite unchanged and obsolete...).
Religion has worked to change humans toward evil, to make them
increasingly bad in themselves. Indeed, it ordered men and women
of the highest virtues to being priests, monks or nuns in order to
destroy the genes of virtue. It ordered the raped women not to
abort in order to spread the genes of the rapist behavior. It
ordered the youth virtuous people to refrain from love
relationships in their youth, in order to reserve to the vicious
the monopoly of early procreation, and also the priority of
finding the best partners, so to load on the virtuous the risk of
not chosen celibacy, thus losing their genes. It promoted
faithfulness as an ultimate virtue to prevent anyone from
reassigning the chances of genetic transmission to who will
finally appear better than those that the first meeting
opportunities and their machiavelic tricks had appointed. But
these are perhaps mere collateral damages ?
Uh, how surprised I was to see an article on a Catholic site that, to redeem (?) his Church, advocated eugenics ! but a much more violent Eugenics than the one that I would find relevant: I only advocate the idea of selecting gamete donors where artificial procreation is practiced, which can naturally happen in a liberal world and thus only concern a minority of people, with a slow and long-term impact, without disturbing the majority of people; and also of providing some practical help for the best people to find their love. But this one, who excludes as any good Catholic any idea of artificial procreation, speaks about moralizing the people (yes, that's Catholicism: considering good actions as something that, to be worth praising, have to be preferably operated through the most painful methods, the moral duty to self-sacrifice) to compel them to have, either many children or none according to their qualities !!!!! Ai Ai Ai ...
Here will only be given a sketch of ideas suggesting to the
hurried reader, how the above analysis may be relevant to the real
world's problems. Real effective implementation of such solutions
and how they would indeed work, would of course be harder to
explain, but I have most of the concepts for implementation
Why did I choose the below problems ? Because they were once put forward to me by email, by someone listing what he saw as the real world problems, which he thought were human problems, pure matters of heart far from science, so that, in his opinion, my scientific approach to morality could not help !
Hard subject. Just being generous is not enough to solve the problem. Supporting an uncontrolled growth of the world's population, and expecting all people to live in decent conditions, may almost necessarily lead to overpopulation and its physical limit: environmental destruction, depletion of resources, an irreversible loss of biodiversity for millions of years, and then again overpopulation, more starvation and war for the dispute of natural resources. Giving more illimited support to a group of people just because they are manier as they made more children than others, would be unfair as they have contributed to worsen overpopulation. Ifever we like the genetic evolution of the human species to remain positive so to respect the very process that had let humanity appear at the first place, we can't afford to just let the selective advantage be reduced to the natural fertility rate.
Online jobs, to provide wealth
For those who are not able to live happy with the good online jobs that a good online world economy could provide, probably their genetic heritage is not good. To not inflict it to future generation, they could freely choose the option to get non-heritable charity money under condition of sterilization; they remain free to work as baby-sitters. (This monetary operation will be facilitated by a new money system as I defined)
Some main causes of wars are state politics and propaganda.
A new online political order can be made without states, and propaganda can be defeated by the reliable information system it provides.
Another cause of war is the difficulty to stop precisely the bad people without collateral damage.
A good worldwide online money system can make easy to cancel the bad people's personal money account by a mere computer operation, to let them no more buy anything from honest people.
A straightforward application of the above formula yields the well-known answer: make a sufficiently high amount of green taxes. The new online world order, once established, would make the implementation of such taxes straightforward as the problem of how to convince the politicians to take the right decisions would be solved. Especially a tax on all extraction or consumption (depending on what is more practical to measure) of fossil carbon (proportional to the quantity of carbon), and increase it at a rate near the average secure interest rate. The same for the use of disputed natural resource. The fruit of this tax should only go to a collective account of « nobody » that can then be dedicated to general interest expenses. The good management of this, requires of course a really good worldwide political order to be implemented, as already said.
It only took the woman to know in advance how bad this man would be before marrying him.
And to have been given the opportunity to find the nice guy instead.
But, if a good dating system existed and gave her this chance to make a good action towards the nice guys and the positive evolution of human species, but she did not want to take that care but preferred to reproduce the genes of violence, then she deserves her fate.
You may ask: what if it's too hard to predict how a man may behave ?
First, of course, it should be made easy for the woman victim of a violent husband, to divorce and obtain financial reparation for the violence endured. But you may ask, what if he can't afford to pay enough ?
As this may be not enough, she/they just needed to subscribe an insurance in advance. Of course, the financial activity of providing this insurance, has not to be reserved to any big business. It can as well be done by relatives of the people involved, without need of any special license. Then the insurance company/person will see if it's so hard to predict or not.
A very efficient online justice system can ensure, first to avoid unreliable people, then to obtain financial compensation in any dispute where the responsibility can be established (and it can then often be established much more easily than now). Even for disputes over a few bucks.
Of course, traces of all acts and identification of all people involved will be necessary conditions.
-- Main Cause of evil: there is nothing more selfish, cruel and
Machiavellian than Love. Especially the True and Spiritual Love (I
have an idea of a future text which will develop this point), that
seeks its virtue and its responsibilities in the navel of its own
soul, staying blind to the cause-effect relationships happening in
the outside world, on which the effective realization of good and
evil depends; that is ready to let the rest of the world perish
for saving its inner purity, and that will always justify its
disastrous actions by its resolute ignorance, its impotence and
its good intentions.
-- Main Cause of the good: there is nothing more generous, selfless and effective to spread good in the world than Science and Technology, provided that they are developed properly in the useful directions (which is alas not fully the case yet).