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Diary
By Breaker (Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 03:33:26 PM EST) (all tags)
WTF?


I've read the bible and seen how Christians can react to it.

I've read the Koran, and seen hom Moslems can react to it.

I've read the Bhagvagita, and seen how the faithful react to it.

In fact, I've read every single religious text, from Zoroastrian to satanism.

I see the awfulness unfolding around the world, and the faithfull clutching their texts, hoping to get one over on The Others, for a minor point of the book.

And then, I come back to the best ever line, that whatever or whoever rules upstairs, if there even is an upstairs...

Be Excellent To Each Other

Not a bad way to live your life, that one, eh?

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Attn: Religionologists. | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Party On, Dude by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 03:50:27 PM EST
(air guitar)


Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
Totally. by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 04:04:59 PM EST


--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.
In addition to your other activities by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 10:05:13 AM EST
Maybe you should start a new religion/cult.


Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
I was thinking about this diary all morning by lm (4.00 / 9) #4 Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 01:11:51 PM EST
Most modern religions (i.e. religions with a founder in recorded history) probably started off with similarly simple outlooks. But then some followers start asking 'okay, how do we define being excellent?' Other followers start looking for specific concrete guidance `What does it mean to be excellent to someone trying to mug me?' Questions arise in the next generation such as `Do I need to be excellent to myself before I can be excellent to others?' Some start asking 'What are the bounds of being excellent?' Some start theorizing that it is the opposite of being excellent to give money to panhandlers because they will just use it to further destroy themselves with drugs or alcohol. Over the generations and centuries, the guidelines of excellence will become codified and ossified. There will be controversies and even wars fought in the name of excellence.

The more I think about this process, the more I find myself in agreement with at least part of the view espoused by Richard Posner regarding the destructive nature of ethical theories. In the late nineties, he kicked off a kerfluffle in the world of academic philosophy with a ninety page article in the Harvard Law Review, The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory. Later expanded into book by the same title, Posner put forth his thesis in two forms. The strong form is that there is no such thing as morality. The weak form is even if there is, it has no place in legal theory. While I'm not convinced by the strong form of the argument, I think one of foundations of his argument is on strong ground, namely, that the ability to theorize about morality makes people worse off.

Posner doesn't have a problem with the sorts of people he calls `moral entrepreneurs' (the likes of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr) who have a heightened sense of morality and the sort of  personality that makes other people want to be like them. Nor does Posner have any problem with the idea that most people have some sort of natural intuition into what they ought to do. But once you start turning these sorts of intuitions into moral theories, he argues, you give the rationally minded person the intellectual apparatus they need to justify any behavior they want. Moral theories, by allowing people to rationalize the morality of pretty much any behavior, set the stage for the intuition of what is right (or wrong) to be overridden by desires, self-interest, et cetera.

To reformulate this diary in Posnerian terms: it is a good thing to be excellent to each other but once you turn that into a rule the excellence will necessarily diminish and become a pale shadow of its former self.

To paraphrase Thomas


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
(Scoop ate my a with an accent grave by lm (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 01:14:58 PM EST
To paraphrase Thomas &agrave' Kempis, I would rather be excellent to others than to know how to define being excellent to others.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Damn by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 04:15:10 AM EST
So what you're saying is there is no hope for world peace?  That even a belief system where everyone's being excellent to each other will naturally decay into people being less than excellent to each other?

That's a thought to take us in to a Monday morning, then!


[ Parent ]
It is quite the dilemma by lm (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:52:19 AM EST
But I don't know that it is hopeless. In Posner's analysis, the problem isn't with being excellent to each other but a system that tries to codify such.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Having thought about it by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:20:46 PM EST
You're right.  It's not about the system - which by nature will then deviate in a "be excellent in this way", or be "be excellent in that way".

Be excellent to each other in your own way. 

That then, opens the door to those who wish to be excellent to us, to save us from ourselves, and then interfere.


[ Parent ]
Isn't it to be excellent by jump the ladder (4.00 / 2) #6 Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 01:42:27 PM EST
To fellow religious believers but smite with extreme prejudice the evil unbelievers.

All religion is bollocks. by dmg (4.00 / 1) #7 Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 03:37:48 PM EST
And there's an end to it.
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
Things religion thinks are excellent: by dmg (2.00 / 0) #8 Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 03:40:31 PM EST
Stoning adulterers
Mutilating genitals
Suicide bombings
Sexual abuse
Persecution of alternatiive sexualities
Honour killings
Not eating pork

Etc etc

How can otherwise intelligent people fall for all this crap?

--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.

Indeed by anonimouse (4.00 / 2) #11 Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:17:09 AM EST
denial of bacon is a crime against Humanity.


Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
Odin tells me to steal your shit and by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 11:14:28 PM EST
copulate with your womenfolk.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

hey now by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:37:57 AM EST
keep your copulation to yourself.
---------
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
Wait! by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 3) #14 Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:53:15 AM EST
Those people over there are not being excellent to each other in the same way we are.

KILL THEM!

Five marks of a holy book by Alan Crowe (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:18:30 PM EST
You might enjoy the Five Marks, especially
What do we do with the texts that we cherish? Do we surrender to them, giving up our own views? Quite the opposite. The more we value a text, the more determined we are to twist its meaning towards our own views. The greater the authority of a text, the greater its value as a stamp of approval for our own, different, opinion. If God actually have us a Holy Book, each of us would be utterly confirmed in our own error.


Attn: Religionologists. | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback