Archive for the ‘Moral Theories’ Category

I am going to briefly explain three scenarios, as the reader it’s important to remain in the logical mind using the facts to answer a question regarding moral and ethical decision making. There are numerous philosophical doctrines one can use to aid them in making ethical decisions. In order to keep this as simplistic as possible I am going to use Kant’s categorical imperative as our moral compass. When faced with a moral or ethical dilemma is the answer as black and white as in Kant’s categorical imperative, or does morality exist in a subjectively grey area determined by praxeology? 

Let’s examine three ethical dilemmas:

A.) Stealing

B.) Lying 

C.) Murder

I know there are multiple facets and complexitys to Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, but to keep it simple let’s focus on the question is it ok for someone to steal, lie, or murder you? I imagine our answer would be no, therefore stealing, lying, and murder is universally wrong. In its simplicity there are no variables to alter or justify this outcome. 

When looking at these dilemmas using decision analysis any variable added creates an action axiom where “If a condition holds, then the following should be done.” Decision analysis is based on the maximum expected utility (MEU) action axiom. The action-axiom is the basis of praxeology, and it is the basic proposition that all humans purposefully utilize means over a period of time in order to achieve desired ends. 

Using these two options is morality as black and white as Kant’s categorical imperative, or is it possible that all moral and ethical decisions exist in a grey area where the difference between right and wrong is subjective depending on the situation. Let’s see what happens when variables are added to our three examples.

  • A.) Stealing in order to feed your family. In this scenario does the categorical imperative trump the action axiom?
  • B.) Your partner asks you if their outfit makes them look fat. Are you morally obligated to answer “yes” or would you use praxeology to determine your answer.
  • C.) Due to the nature and complexity of our final example it requires more detailed information than the other two. 

    I apologize if the details are vague so try to stay with me in your logical mind looking at just the facts. 

    Gary is an “associate” of an organized crime syndicate. Gary did or didn’t do something bad enough to warrent a $5k contract on his life. The moment it was decided Gary had to go his fate has been sealed and Gary is a Deadman walking. His end is as unavoidable as our own, so does the means to his end matter? I am going to use a similar variable as the first scenario. What if the future well being of your family is so bleak you are unable to even meet any of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.

     The only option in front of you is to accept the 5k and murder Gary. You are just the means to his end, if you didn’t do it someone else would. We can deduce that Gary willing chose to be a part of a criminal organization, therefore accepted the risks associated with his line or work. Gary’s life ended long before the trigger was pulled. Despite my foggy mind and poorly explained variables, where do you stand when faced with being the means to end an already condemned man’s life to save your family.

    Graceful Dancing

    Posted: May 16, 2015 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Aging, America, Anxiety, Arguments, Atheism, Atheist, Bi-Polar, Bible, Blog, Blogging, Books, Brainwashed, Change, Charity, Charity Foundations, Christianity, Church, Community, Confessions, Coping, Corporate Culture, Crisis, Crooked Politicians, Culture, Death, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Dreams, Duty of Care, Dying, Elderly, Emotional Abuse, Epic Battle, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fear, Forgiveness, God, Good, Good-byes, Greed, Grief, Haile Selassie, Insanity, Inside My Mind, Jesus, Journal, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living in fear, Logic, Love, Mania, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Minnesota, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, Nursing Homes, Opinion, Pain, Personal, Philosophy, Politics, Prayers, Progress, Psychosis, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Reform, Rejection, Rights, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Debates, Social Injustices, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, Suicide, Suicide Note, The Bible, The Bucket List Foundation, The Philosophy of Quotes, Theology, TheRandomArtist, Thoughts, Treatment, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Work, Work Environment, Writing
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    The choice of letting go and saying goodbye is never easy, yet the decision to hold on is even harder. I have let go of hopes, dreams, relationships, redemption and written my goodbyes many times in the past, but every morning I regret my choices and my decisions to hold on… This was the beginning of the post I was working on last Saturday, what was to follow was going to be my final words then swallow every bit of medication I had and finally be at peace. Instead I ended up in the psych ward at Abbot where I stayed until yesterday against my doctors and others advice. I didn’t see the point in staying, all they did was drug me to the point where all I could do was sleep. I was at a crossroads where I knew whether I chose to stay or go I was leaving in worse shape when wen I went in. When I walked out of the hospital and reality came crashing down on me I knew right then and there that I fucked up choosing to go to begin with, yet again regretting my decision to hold on. So I am back where I started but with a bit more inner strength then I had before because I received a mental vacation, but seriously how long will that last? The answer will come in the next week or so as I sit back and see how everything plays out between my job, dream, finances, and relationships. I feel I am at the point where depending on how these things play out will determine my future.

    My life is riddled with mistakes, and regrets each one adding to the greater mound of shit called life. At this moment three key things come to mind, keep in mind this is not in chronological order of importance.

    1. Failing at fixing all the problems at the nursing home I work at to improve the quality of life of the residents I have grown to care for so deeply.
    2. Giving up on my dreams of becoming a writer or an artist.
    3. Not finding redemption for the countless number of lives I have destroyed in my 35 years on this earth.
    4. Not following through with shit on November 26th.

    I think what it comes down to is acceptance. I need to accept that I won’t ever be more than I am right now. I have to finally accept I won’t ever be able to help the residents where I work. I don’t know what’s worse giving up on my dreams or trying to redeem myself by helping people just like me who can’t help themselves. I have done shitty things; I have poisoned and hurt everyone and everything I have ever touched. Many of my poems touch on this concept of being a “virus.”

    For over six years I have worked so hard to make up for all the pain and suffering I have caused by reducing the pain and suffering the residents at the nursing home I work for by the hands and decisions of the very same people who are supposed to care for and safe guard these residents. There are many good hearted people whom I work with who carry this burden of failure, if any of them are reading this they know the deep sorrow and feeling of helplessness of not being able to give these guys the proper quality of life they deserve.

    I have been in business with and covered up things for “business associates” who wouldn’t hesitate putting a bullet in your head, but being involved with and covering up for an employer who is a non-profit and allows vulnerable adults and employees to be harassed mistreated and discriminated against is far worse in my eyes. There are many people at the nursing home I work at who see the same things I see but do not act; as Haile Selassie so eloquently put it

    Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

    All of the people involved in my past life and unfortunately as of late too much of my current life chose “the life” and in the end we all end up in one of two places, we deserve whatever end to our means no matter how horrific or painful. Our residents on the other hand do not deserve the means that transpire until their end comes.

    This is my apology to the residents that have come and gone who failed to receive the proper quality of life they deserved. I am sorry that I can no longer continue to fight for the change needed, it is destroying me. My old associates showed more mercy delivering people to their end, than the people I work for now. The people employed by this company who care are used and pushed until they break while the predators are allowed to continue to prey.

    Non-profits are not supposed to be run like a criminal organization where fear and intimidation rule. Non-profits are supposed to be built upon something called “Duty of care.” If any one of the “criminals” who work at this nursing home is reading this let me define what duty of care means.

    “Duty of care is the moral and legal obligation to attend to the safety and wellbeing of those they serve, those who work for them and others who come into contact with their operations.”

    Now to wrap things up there may be some people who do not understand what the title of this entry has to do with the content. Below is a Youtube link of Justin Furstenfeld performing the song “Graceful Dancing.” After hearing his introduction to this powerful song, and seeing the familiar emotions during his performance I decided to check myself into the hospital which drastically changed the content of this post. For that I thank the artist and the person who posted this video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCFpgfvPGZo&list=PLIWCEQoVmfdHIakN42xTrXYjPnE6I3EHB&index=55

     

    “Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known.”
    Blaise Pascal

    Imagine if society as we know it were to completely crumble, ravaged with war, along with our complete loss of technology. Countries would soon begin to crumble; social unrest would cause unimaginable destruction. Lets take our imagination exercise further; during all of this chaos and destruction, only 5-10% of the human population survived. All technology and anything related to it is gone, and very few things such as books, paintings, or structures remain. Being resilient creatures it is only logical mankind will slowly start to re-build.

    Everything we know today would be a distant memory. Soon future generations would have no idea what “The Mona Lisa” looked like, or in some cases didn’t even know it had existed. Now imagine if the Bible and all other religious scriptures had been destroyed in the mayhem. With every passing generation the concept of religion as we know it today would have all but disappeared. It would be foolish not to factor in the 5-10% of those who survived, for arguments sake lets say there was no one dominant believe system among the survivors. The people who survived each carried with them one of our many different theological beliefs, but no religious doctrine survived.

    Let us continue down this rabbit hole of imagination and say a few Greek Mythology books survived the downfall of man (Yes I am aware this can be considered theology, but I include it only because unfortunately it has been downgraded to “mythology”.) Future generations would logically begin to worship Zeus, and the many other Gods behind said “mythology” and believe this to be religious fact. Even if these books did not exist it is possible for a new generation to create a completely different religion based on the remnants from the downfall. Of course these remnants would be added to with stories passed down from generation to generation.

    I feel it is impossible to have a society without the driving force of religion; whether it is to calm fears or to control the population. Religion although perverted and corrupt is a necessity; eventually new religions would be formed to meet these needs. Imagine if the book “Moby Dick” survived the collapse of man. All it would take is one charismatic individual to start preaching the “religious” lessons contained in this book, and just like that a new religion is born. In time as other books are collected they are added to the “Holy Scripture.” Let’s say “Huckleberry Finn,” “Hamlet,” and “The Lord of the Rings” also survived. These various works of fiction are then woven together in a collection of stories to form a new Bible, and out they go to preach the Word, promising life hereafter in Middle Earth.

    People are hardwired to need religion in their life, if this were not the case religion would have died out long ago as man discovered science and logic, because of this primal hardwiring they would latch onto this with all their might, replacing, refuting, and stumping scientific and logical advancements. I am sure whoever put this “Bible” together would take some liberties and add their own material just like the Catholics did when choosing which books to include in the Bible. This new congregation would set out to spread the gospels of William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, and Herman Melville, murdering all those who believed differently then they do. In time this religion and its created deities would become reality.

    Now here is my question. If all of these things were to actually happened, then does the God of the Bible now cease to exist? If no one knew what a Bible even was, would the God of the Bible come down and start interacting with humans to show us he still existed? Although God made a promise he would never do it again, would he burn then flood the entire world only leaving one family to partake in incest to rebuild the world? If we look at history there have been many different religions that people have blindly followed. As time passed newer, cooler, more convenient, and better suited religions for social control became dominant. Causing all of the long forgotten deities (sorry Zeus) to be left behind and forgotten.   

    What We Learn From Failed Relationships

    Posted: May 27, 2014 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Anxiety, Arguments, Blog, Blogging, Change, Childhood, Children, Coping, Crisis, Culture, Dating, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Divorce, Dreams, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun, Greed, Grief, Growing up in abusive homes, Health, Humor, Inside My Mind, Journal, Kids, Learning, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living Your Dream, Logic, Love, Lust, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, NA, Opinion, Pain, Parent, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Poems, Poetry, Published Author, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Rejection, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Anxiety, Social Debates, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, The Invention of Lying, The Philosophy of Lyrics, The Philosophy of Quotes, Things That Give Me Anxiety, Thoughts, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Writing
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    I would first like to start off by thanking all of my readers and subscribers. I learned today; I have readers from 61 different countries. I think that’s pretty bad ass. I am aware that my readership grew from the topics of philosophy, theology, and madness. So bear with me as I stray a bit from those topics. Today I would like to release that which has been permeating in my mind. I would like ponder for a moment the importance of learning from our mistakes in a failed relationship. Through all of this I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. So here we go.

    The one thing I can say with out a doubt is I am far from sainthood. I have made my more than my fair share of mistakes, and bad decisions which played a role in the overall destruction of my marriage. I am ashamed and consumed with intense guilt because of this. This combined with my wife’s lies, and infidelity has allowed me to see the light. I am sure I could write a 200 page paper on this topic, but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

    There are 10 main things I have learned in my failed marriage. Now mind you there are far more than 10, but as I said this is not a 200 page dissertation on my failed marriage. I will do my best to not place blame, because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Some things on this list will undoubtedly overlap, even though this is the case I feel each one deserves to be mentioned. Without further ado here is my list of 10 things I learned from my failed marriage.

    1. Never Lie: I did a lot of research after I found out about what my wife did. I learned that in humans our first response when we know we have done something wrong, that will ultimately lead to a negative outcome our immediate response is to lie. We do this for two reasons one we want to avoid conflict, and two we don’t want to get in trouble. Since I am a proponent of the tabula rasa theory (mind being born as a blank slate.) I feel this is a trait we learn as children, which carries over into adulthood. Lying to your partner no matter how small is a terrible idea. We can overcome this childish trait, by knowing our partner as well as ourselves, focus on understanding and know that mistakes are actually learning opportunities.
    2. Never Cheat: I think this one doesn’t need further explanation. It’s a painful and shitty thing to do to those we love. Even if (insert some attractive famous person) wanted to be with you, nothing is worth hurting the one you love.
    3. Trust: it should go without saying that if the two things listed above are followed then trust shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately we all carry the baggage of past hurt, what we need to realize is who ever we are with now is not the person who caused us hurt in the past. I would imagine it would be a good idea to be open and honest about these past hurts. A relationship that is not built on trust is like trying to build a house of cards on a windy day, neither of these two examples will be successful. The perfect advice one can give in fostering trust in a relationship is this; if you would not say or do something if your partner was there with you, then you definitely shouldn’t do it.
    4. Accept and Love Each Other For All Their Good Qualities, As Well As Their Flaws: let’s admit it people, no one is perfect, and those who claim to be are probably the most screwed up of them all. Initially I am sure that we all fall in love with our mates good qualities. During the “courting” or “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, it is kind of like interviewing for a job, you really are not being completely honest your just trying to get the “job.” As the relationship progresses and begins to become serious is usually when we start to notice each others flaws. The important thing is that we learn to love that person regardless of their flaws. In fact I believe our flaws can become the most exciting part of a relationship. When you love the good qualities along with the flaws you know you have found true love; when everything seems to fit like a glove.
    5. Never Put Your Partner Down and Break Their Will: this topic has a lot to do with item number four. There are just two things I would like to add. The first is from an article by John Gottman, PhD in an article titled “4 Signs of A Troubled Marriage” Here is the link.http://affiliatedpsychologicalservices.com/4-signs-of-a-troubled-marriage/ Gottman talks about “The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse” which are clear signs you are headed for a divorce. The first two he brings up is “Criticism” and “Contempt.” If anyone out there grew up in an abusive home where as a child you were faced with these two horsemen, having to deal with such things in a marriage is a key ingredient in a divorce. If you tell someone something negative about them enough times, with the right amount of nastiness it is only natural the other party will believe what they are being told, and inevitable this is who they will see when they look into the mirror. I don’t think people are aware of how serious the long term damage can be. My second point comes from a line from the song “Weight of The World” by Blue October. “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing.” It is one thing to help your partner grow and become the best person they can be, but in the process don’t try to change who they are inside. If you are hell bent on trying to force someone to change, there is always medication. If this is your goal please take to heart one of my quotes “Medication is to fix the people we don’t like.” If you feel you need to medicate your partner, it’s time to call it quits.
    6. Freedom: As your relationship grows, it is imperative that you do not take away your partners freedom. When I say freedom I am not referring to allowing your partner to go out all the time neglecting the relationship, and engaging in behaviors which fall into the first three categories I listed. When I say freedom, I say that it is clearly healthy to share and be with each other, but it is also healthy to have a respectful life outside of the relationship. I have made this deadly mistake in one of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of how damaging smothering and isolating your partner can be. If your relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust and respect this should be something you encourage each other to do. I have always admired the relationship between my best friend of 26 years and his lovely wife. I will not mention names, but I truly hope one day I can figure out whatever their secret is, and apply it to my future relationships. I am going to encourage them to write a book.
    7. Support Their Dreams: There is nothing more precious and sacred than some ones hopes and dreams. For some our dreams appear to us when we are young, others do not fully realize their dreams until they discover who they are. When I was young I had the normal boyhood dreams to become a professional football or baseball player, unfortunately like normal boys those dreams were not meant to be. Beyond those two options, I really didn’t have anything else that drove or inspired me, until the 5th grade. Long story short I ended up doing many writing assignments and I remember my teacher signing my year book, saying she could one day see something I have written being published. I was not a very well behaved child, so positive reinforcement from the teachers I tormented was rare, but from that moment my dream changed. I wanted to become a professional writer. As I grew older I held onto this dream, and wrote in private. I never thought anything I would write would be read let alone published. Again long story short one of my poetry books was published, I started this blog, wrote two children’s books, and two other poetry books. Needless to say this was the greatest I had ever felt about myself, because I accomplished something I never thought I could… my dream. I did not receive support from my partner, and in fact was highly put down and discouraged from continuing to write, until finally I had no option but to stop writing. The details behind this are not important at this moment.
    8. Open & Honest Communication: You would think this is a no brainier, but for my marriage and I would imagine many others this proved to be too challenging to overcome and sowed the seeds to our divorce. I feel if you have all seven of these things listed above then number eight would be a given, but if you take out one or two of the above it makes communication a challenge. I avoided and ran away from open and honest communication. I could make a laundry list for why, but this is already becoming too long of a post. Mainly I was afraid to honestly look in the mirror, I was scared I was going to receive an unhealthy dose of items four and five. Regardless of those reasons it is on me for failing in this aspect of our marriage. I need to take ownership for this, and like everything listed learn to not make the same mistakes. It is very difficult and challenging for me to be social, and communicate even with those closest to me. I know this is something I need to work on, but what always ends up playing over and over in my mind is the Pink Floyd lyrics from the song “The Final Cut” which I will add at the end.
    9. Be A Selfless Lover: This is actually one area where I have and feel the most accomplished. I felt I needed to add this, because in my experience men in general put their intimacy needs, or the final “outcome” before their partners. I will not go into detail in case my mom is reading this, but as men our primary focus and goal when it comes to being intimate is placing our partners needs before ourselves. Any man can do his business and be on his way, but this is a man who has failed. When it comes to intimacy your only goal and desire should be the feelings and ultimate “outcome” of your partners needs. Everything else should be secondary.
    10. Find Your Genuine Light: Tomorrow I am going to post a quick poem describing the meaning behind this comment. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe there is only one true love for everyone. I believe for everyone, there exists many individuals who could be considered your genuine light. I believe they are rare, but they are out there. My advice is if you feel you are holding your genuine light, don’t let them slip away because you cannot be certain another one will come around to light up your life.

     

    “And if I show you my dark side
    Will you still hold me tonight?
    And if I open my heart to you
    And show you my weak side
    What would you do?
    Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
    Would you take the children away
    And leave me alone?
    And smile in reassurance
    As you whisper down the phone?
    Would you send me packing?
    Or would you take me home?”

    Pink Floyd

    These lyrics describe perfectly why it is so difficult for me to open up to people, which hinders my ability to effectively communicate.

    My intended focus this week was to break down, analyze, and apply my methodology to three single events with the intended outcome of making the correct choice. Do I stay or do I go? I have repeatedly replayed the same haunting moment of seeing my son still and quiet on his bike as he watched me get in the car to go to work. In that moment I could see in his eyes the internal conflict between acceptance and denial that his dad is slipping away. I could see and understand all too well the sadness he was trying so bravely to hide.

    It is difficult for me to release my sadness and sorrow through the shedding of tears. The only time the outside world can see what I try so hard to hide, is when I cannot hold back my tears. At that moment, just as in this moment writing about it I cannot stop the tears. Many people say that crying is supposed to be this wonderful release of pent up emotions. It’s not like that for me. Tears feel like razor blades running down my face, slicing through self-denial and exposing my weakness and vulnerability. Regardless of how many times I have been told I am selfish and only think of myself, at the end of the day my meaning in life, and my purpose is to not break his heart. I am well aware I will never win the father of the year award. To be honest with you I don’t even know if I’m a good father. Despite what I am told I know I have always tried to be the best dad I could be.

    After the series of events that took place yesterday, or would it be considered today? I haven’t slept for days so time holds no logical meaning. After said events the only answer to my opening question; is to go. There are only so many pieces someone can be broken into before they are unable to be put back together. I now need to come to terms with the sobering reality that I will become in my own eyes everything I ever swore I wouldn’t. I will become my fathers son. I am desperately seeking, yet fear I will be unable to live with the guilt, or forgive myself.

    Children are not stone, nor are they steel. They are dirt and clay, molded by the hands of experience. There is no way to reconcile the loss of my son’s happiness and hope due to the harsh reality of my life, which I have viciously infected upon my family. Despite my frequent mental transformations I made the decision to get married and have children; in that single moment I destroyed their lives. I suppose I was caught up in the perceived human need for significance, by my own sense of insecurity. Here is where I cannot deny my selfishness. Broken dolls are meant to walk alone.

    In moments like this I want to hide within the minds of Soren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus covering myself in the blanket of Absurdism. Believing all struggles for life is for nothing. There is only birth and death, and everything in between is our feeble attempt to find meaning and purpose. This concept is wonderful, but in the back of my mind I’m burdened with this question. What if birth and death were only two points, that they were inconsequential compared to what happens between them?

    I am currently burdened with this increasingly ticking clock looming over my head. I hear it every second of every day; sometimes it’s as soft as a pin drop, other times it’s so deafening it impedes on my ability to function. Loud or soft there is no escape it’s always there tick, tock, tick, tock. This metaphorical clock terrorizing my mind is the count down leading to the single most important decision I have had to make thus far in my life. Do I stay or do I go?

    Regardless of how hard I try not to have this internal battle; I would question my humanity if I didn’t. I have spent 15 years of my life with this person, and raised three children with her. I would delusional to think, after 15 years there would be only happy times; that our relationship would be void of heartaches. I figure the best way to analyze this problem is through a Utilitarian view point. Which decisions creates the most happiness while simultaneously creating the least amount of sorrow. I have quickly learned that making a decision as a utilitarian when there are so many people involved is damn near impossible. What I have been doing is treating each situation as a single event. I observe how I feel inside; I try to imagine how those involved feel inside. I then proceed to estimate how many times such an event has happened in the past, and then apply the probability of this event happening in the future. This is the method I have been using to try and silence the ticking clock by making my final decision. Will this methodology sentence me to a life filled with tormenting regret, or will it be the key to unlock these shackles of hopelessness I have been chained to most of my life.

    This week I plan on taking some of these single events; breaking them down as I have described above with the hope of discovering the answer to my question. Do I stay or do I go?

    “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
    Napoleon Bonaparte

    I sometimes try to think about what our lives would be like if we had no religion. Would chaos and anarchy rule supreme without some spiritual moral compass to guide us? Would we as a civilization just instinctively know how to treat our fellow man, or do we require a “reward” in exchange for our good behavior. This is a hard question to answer since the concept of religion is engrained in every man, woman, and child in existence. This will continue to be the case till end times, so we are for better or worse stuck with religion.

    I often times write and speculate as to why religion was created in the first place. I have two theories which I feel answer this age old question. The first being the fear of the unknown and unexplainable and the second being social control. I personally think religion was first created to subdue early mans fears, but then when the slightly more intelligent man realized how much influence it had on the masses he transformed it into a form of social control. Since this discovery; generations of generations of people have fallen victim to the soothing swan song of religion.

    I have always wanted to write several books on the topic of religion, and one such idea is building a religious timeline; starting from the very first religion all the way up to where we are today. I would track the origins and expansion of said religions. I figured I wouldn’t get too detailed I would just provide the basics of each religion. One detail I would touch on is the impact the featured religion had on the civilization. There were about eight other things I would cover, but are not pertinent to this post. I started this project last year, but when I was faced with the grand scope of the project I decided to shelve it until/if my “Dylan Thomas” books took off.

    I really cannot think of one thing other than religion which has had a bigger impact on human existence. Religion although sold as a ticket to salvation and as a guide on how to properly treat your fellow man, it has also been a tool to control the masses. The rulers of old used religion as a tool to give the masses some spiritual guidelines. These guidelines were necessary to keep order, and the people who were being ruled feared for their life hereafter, so they fell in line with their spiritual leaders. We can look out in the world today and still see religion being used by political leaders.

    In reference to this specific quote I think we need to look at civilizations through history. I wrote about such a time period a year ago when I touched on the alliance between Rome and the Catholic Church. This was a time when there were two classes the rich and the poor. The rich Romans during this time had the power and influence of the Catholic Church on their side. They parlayed this influence to socially control the people. They fed the fear of hell into each and every one of them, so the thought of standing up against their repressors equaled eternal suicide into a lake of fire. I am not too familiar with Napoleon time period but I would be willing to bet it resembled the time period I wrote about. I think I may just have to read up on this a bit.

    The poor will only stand so long being the class which is shit on for so long before the people realize they out number the rich and decide to take over. Religion is the perfect tool to keep social order amidst such repression. I think this point is illustrated even in today by studying some of the countries in the Middle East. In America religion is still a dominate force, but I do not know the extent of social control it has today. I suppose it keeps the religious nuts focused on salvation instead of murdering and having sex with small little woodland creatures. I suppose in this case religion is doing something worthwhile.

    I wrote a post a while back talking about utilitarianism. I was taken back to the fond memories of being in school, where I majored in Philosophy. This stimulated my mind and caused me to dust off some of my old textbooks and skim over a few select readings. I came across a book Robert Nozick wrote back in 1974 “Anarchy, State and Utopia.” In small part of this book (most material argues the only good government is a minimal government) he attempts to give a counterexample to John Stuart Mills utilitarianism. He paints us a broad picture of a machine we could hook up to giving us a lifetime of the greatest pleasures knowable to man. His theory was people would reject this machine; instead choosing to live a life of happiness along with sadness just to know they were alive and their experiences good and bad were real. He tells us this rejection of the machine shows people value something other than happiness and pleasure. In his example the people who chose to plug into this machine are slobs and are committing a form of suicide. He believes the loss of truly living at the expense of endless happiness is one few would choose.

    Nozick seems to proclaim this to be universal to all mankind. He does not go into detail on what some may choose and others may not. He proclaims the masses would choose life over the machine, because of this the moral theory of utilitarianism is debunked. This is simply not true; there are many people who according to their own personal moral decision making would choose the machine, while others would choose reality. He proclaims the many would choose to live the real life and the few who choose the machine are degraded to blobs who have committed a form of suicide. In essence the individual would exist yet cease to exist in the material world; instead choosing to live in a fantasy world. They would still be alive on one hand but dead in the other. There lives would be a farce with no real human interaction. I ask you this; how this is any different then the millions of people who play World of War Craft, or the many other reality shifting MMORPG’s out there? I can guarantee you with the amount of people who choose to slip out of reality and focus their lives on a video game; would without a thought choose the machine so they could actually become a dwarf or elf and live out their life this way.

    I wonder if his theory is correct. I don’t doubt people would choose to not be hooked up to this machine, but just as many would choose the machine over the ups and downs of reality. I do not think we can use this example as proof against utilitarianism based on whether people would hook up or not, because the end decision can be made through utilitarianism. I think Nozick theory is flawed because utilitarianism states actions are right when they promote happiness and wrong when they promote the opposite of happiness. Choosing to go or not to go inside of this machine could very well be made in a utilitarian fashion. Let’s say there is a man who is a husband and father. In making his decision to go or not to go into the machine; he would need to take into account his families feelings and weigh in on if his happiness will create the opposite of happiness to his wife and kids. In this example Nozick was trying to debunk utilitarianism but indeed proved this decision can be made by practicing utilitarianism or for that matter any other moral theory.

    I do however think Nozick should get props for coming up with an idea that would be used in a movie 36 years later.

    Utilitarianism is a moral theory devised to help the individual make the proper moral decisions in life. This is sometimes called “The Greatest Happiness Principle.” Utilitarianism defines happiness as pleasure and the absence of pain. It states that actions are right in percentage as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. It has been awhile since I took this class, but it is my understanding in utilitarian decision making the person making the decision needs to stop and look at what his decision will do to himself and all those involved. Each person is assigned a determined point value by the individual making the decision and the pluses and minuses are weighed on an imaginary scale. If happiness prevails then the decision is morally right, if unhappiness overrules then the decision is morally wrong. Is this moral theory a valid one in making the correct moral decision? This has been the fence that divides many of the moral philosophers throughout time. In the various different moral theories I must say this is the one I tend to lean on most of the time. Although I feel this is the best option it still has a few flaws.

    Lets use the example of suicide to show how utilitarianism is perfect yet flawed at the same time. There is a man named Joe who is down on his luck. He has lost his job swimming in debt and has been dealing with a crippling depression. Joe has a wife, three beautiful children, an extensive family, and a large network of friends. Joe has decided he can no longer live because he is so depressed it hurts. He sits back and decides he is going to weigh this out utilitarian style. He brings to his mind everyone he can think of in his life, as well as himself. In looking at himself he scores happiness as being very high to himself because he would no longer be in pain. He then adds up all those who would be in pain from his decision to kill himself and comes to the conclusion that living promotes the highest percentage of happiness. His decision is to live.

    Same example as above except this time Joe assigns a higher point value on his happiness then he does to his loved ones. Perhaps he assigns his decision to kill himself as a fifty while he assigns those who love him as only a half a point each. Perhaps even he is so deep in his depression he assigns happiness points to those who love him because he feels they would be better off without him. He adds all these up and comes to the conclusion that suicide will create the greatest amount of happiness.

    Here you have two exactly the same examples, yet they produce two completely different results. Utilitarianism gives no concrete moral directive. There is no real moral guideline, just what is the impulse of the moment. One of the proponents of utilitarianism is Immanuel Kant. Kant proposes that making a moral decision should go much deeper than just the pursuit of happiness and pleasures. Kant says the foundation of morality should be based on a principle that we consistently want to see adopted on a universal basis. Kant would ask Joe “would it be morally right for your wife to kill herself?” Joes answer would surly be no, therefore we must view suicide as universally bad, resulting in the choice to live. I am not a huge fan of Kantianism, because acting on principle without the regard for the consequences does not always seem right.

    To illustrate these two separate moral doctrines I would like to use the following example. Lets say a child comes running in your garage in a frenzied panic asking to hide, because he is being chased by a crazed kidnapper. You decide it is best to hide him in your home. Moments later this kidnapper knocks at your door looking for this boy. He directly asks you if this frightened boy is hiding out in your house. The utilitarian would quickly assess the situation and realize the only one to experience happiness here would be the kidnapper, everyone else would experience pain if the kidnapper would take the boy. The greater happiness guides us to lie, as to save the boy. The Kantian would answer yes to this question because lying is viewed as universally wrong, therefore you must not lie to him no matter what the consequences.

    The conundrum and rigid guidelines of Kantianism does not allow one to think beyond just the concept that lying is morally wrong. The Kantian needs to look at what the result would be if he didn’t lie. The crazed kidnapper would surly harm and possibly murder the boy. If the Kantian views lying as morally wrong, then they surly would view murder as morally incorrect, but this theory leaves very little room for this type of thinking. I think with these two different schools of thought could probably learn a thing or two from each other. Perhaps the answer lies in combining these two moral theories. Most of us can agree that lying is morally wrong. We can surly hold onto these morals but we should also have the free will to weigh out all the options especially when the result would be murder. I know very little about these different schools of thought but I wonder what would come from the goal of combing these two. Perhaps I should do some research and write a few papers on “Utlilkantism.”