Friday, June 03, 2005

In response to Lisa's "the nature of man" post.

First off, talking about the nature of man using the words "good" and "evil" shows a lack of understanding of the subject matter. While I VERY GENERALLY agree with what you're saying, I feel that some clarification is in order.

Define "evil" here? Rape? Murder? Define those acts? Simply having a shitty attitude is not "evil". Not helping out someone who is drowning is not "evil"... apathetic or cowardly to a criminally negligent extent... sure... but EVIL? Hardly.

The nature of man is self service. Man wants first and foremost what is best for him. By nature man wants multiple sexual partners, anything he sees that he wants, etc etc. It is social constructs such as monogamous relationships and property laws, along with their consequences that make him not follow these urges.

People in the US and most "civilized" cultures would say that cannibalism is evil... but we know that it has been done by "civilized" people in extreme conditions... shipwreck victims adrift at sea... frontiersmen lost in the mountains... plane crash victims in remote areas...

Were these people evil? No. They were following the laws of nature and survival.

Nature is not a friendly place. It is survival of the fittest. Animals kill and eat other animals to survive... they aren't evil for this... they are simply surviving... and as you would probably put it... following the obvious will of god for creating them that way.

We really do have free will... and just because some people truly have no conscience in the sense that they don't respect the lives or property of others... this doesn't make them EVIL... the idea of EVIL is a concept created as part of religious fairytales... black and white... good and evil... and to start categorizing the real world in such a binary manner is simply WRONG.

I do feel that man is by nature selfish... and that that selfish nature is destructive to the world we live in. Generally given the option to serve ones self without the possibility of serious repurcussions, man would do so most of the time... mind you, not all of the time... but most.

This is what has led to things such as law and religion... to setup consequences... both in the material and the spiritual realm... a sort of double fisted approach to reign in the consciousness of the people. If you do something wrong, either you're going to get caught, and get put in jail, killed, have your hands cut off... etc... or even if you don't get caught... there's always the religious approach that states that you're still going to pay for it. God will get you and you'll go to hell etc.

It's easier to just say that people are evil than to understand that we are just animals... capable of free thought and capable of every deed that you can find anywhere throughout the animal kingdom. Just because we've evolved this much, doesn't mean we don't still have a lot of those animal aspects still. We are still predators... forward facing eyes... canines and molars for both ripping and tearing meat etc... and for eating vegetables and such as the omnivores we are.

Man has labeled certain actions "evil" to give them a social stigma... because they are unpleasant and/or undesirable (to say the least in some cases). But in the end, that label is just an arbitrary construct created by man.

Given that in the end there is no such thing as good or evil in some spiritual battle over the fate of mankind, but simply us as humans, with free will... doing what animals have done since the beginning of life on earth... live and breed... by whatever means necessary... your imaginary god simply doesn't figure into the real world happenings. It's nothing more than nature... the way it was long before mankind... and if we are too stupid to avoid our own destruction through nuclear war... or simply from a meteor wiping out around 84% of life on earth AGAIN... (yes, there have been several mass extinctions on earth, and the one where the dinosaurs died was not the worst)... life will go on as it has in the past.

I should probably put together a list of reading material to familiarize you with some of the topics that would give a better insight into the concepts above. I know that some of this is culled from my Cultural Anthropology studies in college... but mostly from a wide variety of sources.
that one covers a lot of the concepts I've tried to convey here in greater depth etc.

Let's boil it right on down. Man is just another animal. An animals primary biological function is to survive and breed. Looking out for the best interests of others is of secondary importance. While it is "admirable" for people to do such, it is only perceived as such because man has labeled it so. This is simply an extension of organisms living in groups giving up some amount of freedom in order to gain the safety of numbers found in a group. In such a group, it is undesirable for one of it's members to disregard the well being of the group in some manner for it's own benefit. Any such action, while possibly bad for the group in part or as a whole, is not evil... but simply the way of nature and unfortunate for the weaker party on the receiving end.

That's life. Survival of the fittest.

Sorry dear, real life isn't a fairytale and there's no man in the clouds to make it all better.


Lisa said...

" start categorizing the real world in such a binary manner is simply WRONG".

Ah. Because you say that something is wrong obviously makes it so.

I hate to tell you, but just because you think that, doesn't make it right/accurate. The nature of man has been a philisophical question throughout much of history, and not just among the uneducated.

You and I believe very different things. Logically we would not see eye to eye. I believe in God, you don't. God was a semi-large part in my thinking. If you don't believe in God...well, logically you wouldn't agree with my opinion.

But you say your last remark as if you've proved something.

You said that there is no evil, only animal instincts. Spoken like a true athiest. But that's not fact, only mere speculaton. You can't prove something like that, because to do that first your would have to disprove God.

I believe we have free will as well, for the record. I didn't say anything about free will in my post...and, to be honest, I'm not sure why you brought it up. The question is what people would naturally do with that free will, and why. Because there is always a reason why people do things. I also don't think that things are either "good" or "evil". There are certainly shades of grey.

I think I also touched on that when I said that people weren't only "good" or "evil", that there was a mixture in there.

But to say that the world is only survival of the fittest...well, where do people like Mother Theresa fit in that idea? Or the girl who jumped into the lake to save that other drowning girl, who ended pulling her under? If all of life is one big animal instinct to survive, why are there people whose lives have been dedicated and given up for others?

And by the way, when you find a way to prove that there is no "man in the clouds", call me up. Because as of now, your argument has no more weight than mine. I can't prove God real, you can't prove him fake - and just because you say that God doesn't exist adds absolutely nothing to your argument.

JStressman said...

do you see the world as every situation only having 2 perfectly distinctly diametrically opposed sides?

if so, I'm sorry.

also, I brought up the issue of free will based on something you said... which oddly enough is also diametrically opposed to a belief in Christianity... while not necessarily against that of some other version of "god".

you also didn't answer my questions that about I posted about those "shades" of "good and evil" you mention. one person might define something as evil, while another might not, and yet another might not find anything wrong with it. like homosexuality etc. the idea of "evil" is an invention of man. PERIOD.

I would like you to actually read all of what I wrote and do the research to try to actually disprove what I said... because one of 2 things is going to happen... either you're going to learn a lot in the process, or you're going to disprove me. either way you're going to take a few more steps towards closing the 13 year gap of studying this stuff that I have on you.

I feel like I've been giving you a little too much credit lately. sorry for the trouble it seems to have caused you.

Lisa said...

You have an amazing way of asking questions without asking them. I didn't see you asking me any questions in there, I must have missed it.

Second off, you didn't answer the question I posed to you: "If all of life is one big animal instinct to survive, why are there people whose lives have been dedicated and given up for others?". And I think I'll ask you another. If we are simply animals who follow mere instinct, why is there civilization? Why has society progressed beyond cavemen? If we are only animals whose goal is to reproduce and kill each other off, why have we been able to create a (moderately) functioning society?

And Christianity does not preach that people do not have free will. As you say you know so much about Christianity, I'm surprised you would say that. Show me the verse that says that God has taken away our free will. And then I'll post the ones saying the exact opposite. But you're so smart you should have read those ones already, right?

I'm also going to say that there are many, many people out there who are quite a bit smarter than you who are religous. You are not above all others in your intellectual thinking. You simply need to encounter one of those people. But, to be fair, they probably wouldn't bother talking with you...something about casting pearls before swine? And, being as well versed in religious studies as you are, I won't elaborate on that verse. As a college drop out, you obviously know so much more than others.

As my father said to me before when talking about you - "sounds like an undergrad".

I'll say the same thing to you - disprove what I said. Prove that there is no evil. Prove there is no God. Because I would love to hear it.

I cannot wait for the day when we all become as enlightened as you.

And you're a bastard for that last comment.

Don't bother replying to this comment; I'm not coming back here. I know that I am a valuable individual, and you do not treat me as such. I treat you with respect, something that I do not recieve in return (and which I deserve).

And please don't give yourself the credit of saying that I left because you forced me to think (therefore upsetting me). I'm leaving because of that last comment. You have no more self control or tact than a 16 year old boy.

Goodbye, good riddance. I would say it's been fun - but hell, even that would be a stretch.

JStressman said...

because they choose to do so. humans, being as evolved and self-aware as they are, do that. we don't merely follow instinctly wholly and blindly. the benefits of living in groups eventually grew to civilization. diversification of skillsets etc. Mesopotamian life...

free will is diametrically opposed to gods will. god says "thou shalt not kill." PERIOD. yet, we have the free will to choose whether or not to do it. "do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." the first and only satanic commandment. one states that you are free to do as you choose. the other says that you shall obey and not do a bunch of things NO MATTER WHAT. PERIOD. that you do NOT have free will, but must obey the will of god. etc. I didn't think it was hard to understand. you might want to look a little deeper into that and think about it.

read that if you would. you'll see that it's actually a lot deeper than what I wrote... and you'll start to touch on the reality of conflicting interpretations and dogma etc. you'll start to see the nature of it.

I know that there are smarter people out there than I am. and I'm sure that some of them are even religious.
why people believe weird things

that might enlighten you a bit as well.

I never said I could disprove god any more than you can prove him. I can somewhat weaken the structure of christian beliefs, but disprove god? nope. never claimed to be able to.

and as for the rest, frankly, you deserve it. I gave you plenty of credit and respect that everyone else seemed to be keenly aware of and that I'm shocked you obviously missed. (trust me, I had it pointed out to me by several people.)

I really am sorry that you feel that way. I simply disagree and think you've got a good deal more to learn... and what saddens me is that I know that I would probably react the same way in your shoes.


*sigh* I'm just not in the mood to argue anymore.

I think if you actually realized that there was more to this situation than you are obviously aware, that you'd realize that it stung to have sung your praises and have you basically go on some rant about how man is inherently evil and good would lose if not for gods intervention. it was a compliment to say that you had potential and that your train of thought is on the right track, if simply not far enough down the track.

I'd say more, but at this point, it's a moot point. and I'm just not in the mood to be humiliated. also, I guess I'm just amazed that out of as much of an asshole as I think I've been off and on since our first encounter, that you seem to have been pushed over the edge simply by my saying that I gave you too much credit. I didn't realize that you would take that as such a horrible insult.

------ *softens up* -----

I think you're very intelligent, I've said this many times. I get disappointed when I see you say or do something that I think you should be smarter than saying or doing. but then I realize that you're young. this is not an insult, it's merely a factor of not having had enough time to learn things, or experiences to understand things you've learned, or simply time to grow up physiologically. it's not meant as an insult really that I point out that you're younger than I am, although it comes across that way often, because I feel defensive. it's meant not only as a reminder to you, but as a reminder to msyelf, as I often forget that other people have not had the time to study the things I have, don't know the things I do... and that they have possibly studied and learned different things than I have. people feel things differently, perceive things differently etc. sometimes I need to be reminded of things like that.

there was a lot going on in my life when I wrote that last comment, and a lot of it still is going on. and you just happen to factor into that in a small way, and so I'm sure I was an ass in what was an expression of me feeling hurt and defensive based on a number of things.

if you ever read this, I hope it makes some sense. and hopefully this comes across as having more self control and tact than a 16 year old in the end. and for the record, I always appreciated the fact that you seemed to handle my attitude so well. I guess I wore that out.


I think I'll just shut up and go to sleep now.

Lisa said...

The Bible also talks repeatedly about choosing to ask God into your heart. About God knocking at the door of the heart, and the person having to answer it. It constantly restates that being a Christian is the choice of the person. A command such as "thou shalt not kill" to me doesn't demonstrate a lack of free will, it is someone giving a command. It's like when in past times a decree would be issued - people still had the choice whether to follow it or not. They simply had to deal with the consequences of not following it.


I wasn't planning on coming back here, as you may have guessed. I took that last comment to be uncalled for and mean. And I thought to myself "why am I doing this exactly?".

I hate people being disappointed in me. That's one of the worst things that a person can say to me. It's just a personal thing I have, and you would need to know me to understand. But I hate letting people down, or anything of the sort.

What I interpreted from that last comment was "I thought you were much more intelligent than you obviously are". That's basically what you said. And yes, I found that quite insulting, therefore pissing me off, and therefore I reacted. Logical sequence of events, no?

You have to understand that I am a girl, and I am going through a lot of stuff too. I don't enjoy having little jabs thrown at me left and right. It wears me down. I'm a lot more emotional than I used to be...and when I am hurt, I express it (often times very strongly) in anger. If I feel like I'm not getting enough out of a relationship, or not being treated properly, then I'll leave.

I was very tempted to be a bitch and put a snarky comment after yours on my blog.

But you apologized, and I forgive you.

Go eat some chicken nuggets. They just taste so good, they're bound to cheer you up. But not the McDonald's kind. I'm talking oven ones. That's what I'm eating now, and yum is all I can say.