Re: virus: Re: sympathetic vibes

Eric Boyd (
Sat, 12 Jul 1997 17:29:34 -0500

Ken Pantheists wrote:

> But how do you sell an idea like "respect your neighbor" (dare I say
> "love" your neighbor?) Which is not as easily mapped in terms of it's
> benefits as "screw your neighbor if he's making a better toaster than
> you".
> How do you cause people to recognize the benefits of a "previously"
> mystical meme. In short, how do you make them culpable for their hatred
> without calling upon Mystical forces like "God'll get you" or "Man
> you're in for some bad Karma". In short, how do you promote decency
> without thinking a single Faithful idea?

The million dollar question! I've spent a while thinking about this
too... I gotta have some way to *justify* my continued belief (and
action in accordance with said) in "good" and "bad".

But there is none.

"Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the
stupidest and most pernicious illusion." Alan Bloom ("The Closing of
the American Mind," pg.194)

I talked awhile back about bringing up kids... about the justification
one should give for "don't do that"... the classic is "becuase it's
*wrong* or *bad*" But that implies an authority to back up the
definition of wrong or bad (government, God, etc.) Good is defined by
the society and the individuals in it.

I for one think that it's actually better to say "Becuase *I* say so"...
that makes the call to authority very clear, and avoids the Aristotlean
assumption of "good" essences.

Of course, this is "Might makes Right"

But so is the other way, we just like to hide it from ourselves.

And anyway, I think the authority should always have to justify *why*
that action is bad. Might makes right, but reason backs him up. The
Golden Rule is very useful, even if flawed.

> I have a personal reason for asking this. My web company has just been
> the victim of a smear campaign by a religious group. I'm not going to
> give details here. But I catch myself imagining all kinds of horrible
> things happening to the people responsible. I am comforting myself, for
> the time being, with these visions and I ask myself-- well, this is an
> allegory of damnation. I am participating in an act of Faith in order to
> comfort my poor mind and cope with, well, my ignorance. My not knowing
> if anything bad will ever happen to these people and they probably just
> live long and prosper.

"people responsible"... the exact point here is that those people are
*not* acting responsibly. If they were willing to take responsibilty
for their actions and memes, the entire situation would be different.

I think responsibility is the key to the entire issue. Even if we
cannot establish an absolute "good", as long as all parties involved
take responsibilty for their actions, ie. are willing to discuss damages
and decide in certain situations that "yes... I did a bad thing" all
would be fine.

> Just some Churchy thoughts, for the next Virion Homily.

The four pillars of my spiritual/normative position:

Freedom. Imperfection. Responsibility. The Journey to Meaning.

Essay in the works.

Reed Konsler wrote:
> Usually, the very fact that after a particularly bad set of behaviors,
> murder even, huh?, there _was_ no vengeful diety raining acid upon the
> perpetrator, leads the scumbag to murder again. (Or at any rate,
> convinces him such tales were tommyrot. Hopefully the skeptical among us
> were not convinced in such ways....)

This is one of the reasons why I think we need to move away from deity
related "might makes right" arguments. Since the deity does not
actually do anything here *in*this*world*, His OMNIPOENTENT powers have
stopped scaring people. We've had to rely on our human courts and
justice anyway, so why not just do away with the whole idea of divinly
inspiried good?

> So promoting the myth of a diety is no choice either. Although it works
> for awhile, especially in societies wherein the priest class has a lot of
> power.... (It works in the Mafia, and Country Clubs, for a similar
> reason.)

Nietzsche mused that the entire idea of a deity was just a power grab by
the priest class. It explains many things in the Bible. All those
"eternal covanences" given to Aaron and his sons make a lot more sense
if *Aaron* and his sons wrote the Bible. All those stories about God
raining fire down on people don't wash well with an "omnibenevolent"
God, but they go over just fine if you are Aaron (or Moses) and wish to
use a call to "ultimate" force/punishment to make people do what you


ps. How long has it been since the Virus page was seriously updated, in
terms of content?