Jedi mind tricks

I wonder if the idea of temporarily occluding a person's ability to interpret information in a way that is favorable ( using a new technology ) would be considered 'evil' by itself. It seems to me that the intent of an individual is really all that matters in the end and the process that produces an effect is neither good or evil by itself. An electron has no state of evil and so no matter is inherently just. The concept of moral interpretation comes from whoever makes the judgment. It is possible for some act to be interpreted as good and evil at the same time. I am sure that the guards at a Nazi concentration camp saw what they were doing as good, because they had defined it as such within their situation. The fire bombing of Dresden was considered good by the allies. The bombing of Hiroshima was considered good by the US. I am sure that every conqueror considered himself to be doing good.

The absolute definition of any technology as good or evil would be wrong as it does not have an opinion. Technology progresses and the application of a more advanced technology to create a different type of world would be viewed as good and evil, depending on who you might ask. Ultimately the progress of technology will continue and the changes in technology will result in new applications in the relationship of the people who use it.

7 comments:

Wei-Yee Chan said...

Moral Relativism vs Moral Absolutism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism#Biblical_Christianity

Paul Mohr said...

I will read those and the associated connections, thanks.

Paul Mohr said...

I read most of that article and I will let that sink in a bit. On the surface I find it impossible to justify absolutism because a person does not have complete knowledge. I have found that people who hold strongly to moral absolutes have a tendency to drift from the absolute to subjective reflection of the principles as being embodied in their own existence. I consider it a logical paradox and exclude it on that basis. If you accept that others are much like yourself then it would seem that any horror that you imposed on others would be in the universe of self and not outside, if you consider yourself to be a part of the universe. I guess it depends on whether you assume that a person is a particle or a part of a universe. I personally do not see any way that I exist as separate from the universe. If I shine a light into the darkness of space it will travel for billions of years after I am dead. I suppose for the moment that I simply assume that the field of a particle or mass does not stop at the artificial boundaries imposed by classification of objects.

Wei-Yee Chan said...

>On the surface I find it impossible
>to justify absolutism because a person
>does not have complete knowledge.

It's just as hard, if not harder, to justify relativism without complete knowledge. The question really is, how does one judge whether something is moral or not, if he/she has only limited knowledge?

>I have found that people who hold
>strongly to moral absolutes have a tendency to drift from the absolute
>to subjective reflection of the
>principles as being embodied in their
>own existence.

The majority do, in my experience. In particular, professing Christians, sadly. But as you have said, these are the ones who've drifted away from the absolute.

Paul Mohr said...

I would rather discuss something with somebody who does not agree with me because I learn something new. I would enjoy hearing more of your opinion on this matter and I have read the references you provided. It may be the very nature of how I view my own existence that gives a different perspective. I don't see the artificial boundaries that exist between my self and the universe. The pain that another person might experience is as real to me as my own pain. The gravity of a planet extends to the end of the universe and yet it is considered to be isolated and compartmentalized, when there is no containment that holds a person's effect on the universe. The existence of Newton's actions and conclusions have their own existence and very much like a tuned radio circuit, some things that others have been resonate and are real again in the minds of others. I certainly would like to hear more of your perspective.

Wei-Yee Chan said...

I'm of the opinion that if every individual could recognise Christianity as the moral absolute, then the world would be a much better place.

Why Christianity and not any other religion? To my knowledge, the other religions offers too much leeway for personal interpretation. There are some religions I know that don't even give much guidance on one's conduct.

Paul Mohr said...

From a purely logical standpoint I feel that accepting a viewpoint and then using that viewpoint to judge it's validity is a bit circular or perhaps just oval :) I reject that approach in relativistic physics since the light from a distant accelerated object does not just jump into my eye instantaneously and the effect of me accelerating is immediate. So from that fact I assume there is no equivalence of perspective which can be made in particles or people. I consider some of the concepts in the bible to be very much valid and appropriate in a philosophical sense, but I do not accept that an absolute physical authority exists that enforces compliance and it is merely the fact that adherence to principles that serve common gain and avoid unnecessary conflict are better than an individual can achieve. I agree with the social principle, but I do not agree that the principle is subject to legislation by church or government any more than the laws of physics.

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