Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
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13-03-2014, 02:19 PM
Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
(12-03-2014 07:45 PM)freetoreason Wrote:  
(12-03-2014 01:56 PM)Luminon Wrote:  Anyway, now that I have adopted a moral philosophy to my life (not this empirical Darwinian monkey mutual back-scratching stuff, but actual moral philosophy de Molyneux), I feel my life as deeply meaningful and I feel reverence for human capacity for goodness. I think this is something that lots of atheists are missing and I would welcome if my children searched for something like that as well.

Those are interesting thoughts, I'd like to see you expound on that.
There are three books to read.
On Truth: The Tyranny of Illusion - a short but extremely intense read. It is not about religion, but if you follow it, you will end up the same as if you told your Christian parents that you don't believe in God. Only the God is them, it always was. This book is a shock therapy. Some thoughts are as dangerous as weapons and they are in this book.

Real-Time Relationships: The Logic of Love - Longer than On Truth, but more rounded-out. Told me a lot about politics and God - but mainly contains analyses of dysfunctional relationship patterns and how and why people repeat them population-wide. This is extremely useful, because atheists may lose God belief, but they may still believe in violence in many forms, they may still be lost in dysfunctional relationships and repeat what their parents did. Losing religion is not enough, there are many more dangerous mythologies and this book tells how to fight them.

Universally Preferable Behavior: Rational Proof of Secular Ethics - this is the basis of it all and what atheists have been searching for all along. I haven't read this book yet cover to cover, but I've listened to hundreds of podcasts about it and the others. If you want a logically undeniable proof that atheists can be moral.... Nevermind, nerdish stuff.... I mean, are you pissed off by atheists who say that we can be moral without god, but say that if there was no government, we'd start vandalizing streets like thugs in Mad Max? What about atheists who resent parents scaring children with imaginary Hell, but scare their children with very real and toxic yelling, hitting and other forms of assault? You surely see that Yahweh is hypocrital, he says he loves people, but he drowns them and roasts them in Hell and throws them out of paradise for eating a piece of fruit. Don't you get a bit confused when parents claim they love children, but bully them into chores and punish them for breaking some dishes? Are dishes and chores more valuable than human beings?
It is all good and well confronting parents about ancient books and stories, how God treats us like crap. But what else is the common corruption in our daily life? What else does a nagging wife say, but that a fuckin' garbage bag or clean carpet is more important than her husband? When a parent gets enraged about a bad school grade, the message is clear as well: the crappy government school with inept teachers and Lord of the Flies class collective is more important than the child. That is a tough pill to swallow, how corrupt and evil our families so often are. Veterans of de-conversion and atheism have a good idea about that, but I think this de-conversion goes even deeper than that.

When I got the message, I went on to... well, let's say to shiver a lot. It's an awful lot to process, I wouldn't be surprised if it took years. This is an elite discipline. If you are elite as a freethinker among believers, I fear this is one more order of magnitude elite and difficult. This is like losing belief in a few more religions - the religion of yourself, of family and of society.

But if you think losing faith in Yahweh did you good, expanded your consciousness, showed you true goodness and love, then this is much more. You may find yourself able to feel like a person, act like an equal, don't jump to conclusions and defenses of imaginary institutions and taboos...
If I try to describe the feeling.... I see humanity as one, I see us all capable of acting in a moral, positive and rational way, solving any problems we decide to solve, changing the society and the world into any way that suits us all the best. Without fear and prejudice of utopias and dystopias, without propaganda and govt news trash... I see an enormous dignity in human ability to perceive first philosophical principles and to derive from them the universal rules of goodness and right relationships in a simple, undeniable way.

Why are good people so weak, so easy to defeat and to control? Why are all the most powerful people in the world handsome psychopaths and machiavellian mass murderers?
Because good people want to be good more than anything else. They, we will do anything to be good. We will even go as far as to attack ourselves, damn ourselves into a permanent hell of self-rejection, self-doubt and questioning. All that an evil person has to do is to strike a pose of a moral authority. And we will manage our insecurity about goodness by attacking those who would oppose this fake moral authority. We criticize ourselves and others and those we value the most we also criticize the most, because they're just such a bit away from perfection... (I certainly know that feeling) Well, who invented perfection? Evil people. There is no such thing as perfection, yet good people strike down each other and themselves, because they or their ideas are not perfect, thus leaving evil people free to act.

The greatest crime that imaginary things or categories do to us, is taking over the definition of morality. Moral argument is the most powerful argument on the planet, no human can process being or admitting to be evil. Even Hitler saw himself as a great leader and savior of the German people.
Moral violence means making us believe that some category is inherently moral, no matter what it does. Category is an empty box, anyone can get into it. Obeying a category because it is moral is like paying someone with an idea of money. We obey if we are directly threatened, but no authority has enough energy to threaten people permanently all the time. This is why authorities use moral violence, they appoint themselves as a source of morality. Then people keep each other in check, as our fellow slaves.
Atheists respect science and defend it vigorously in many debates. But who defends science from being misused by politicians to create weapons and wage wars? Wars, that are proven to be based on lies? I respect science and I'd prefer it to be more than a rational weapon in hands of irrational and immoral madmen. A weapon is violence and violence is always unequal, there is an attacker and a victim, a moral attacker and immoral victim, moral Yahweh and immoral sinners, moral invaders and immoral civilian resistance in an invaded country, a moral punishing parent and immoral punished children. We need to take our morality back, even we, atheists, we first.

As serious as it is, this is not some great conspiracy, this is a survival mechanism we adopt in order to survive our dependence. Our parents are in surprisingly many cases insecure, immature and frustrated, brought up by generations of insecure, immature and frustrated people. Every child is needy, but these people see the needy child as a direct threat to their well-being that they never got as children and so they strike back. But they can not assault children as evil sadists, they must do so under moral pretense. A child has no choice, even subconsciously, to accept this corrupt moral standard and then forget that he ever accepted it and then continue to defend it, because it is moral.
God is just a small side-effect of this great evil. Even government and great success of war in Iraq and all other wars is just a side-effect of that.

If you care about atheism, rationality and fighting religious nonsense, this should be greatly enlightening to you. You should be excited beyond words. Yet I can equally expect that this will meet with a wall of silence, because frankly, this way of thinking is so advanced and our society's way of thinking is still qualitatively in 15th century, that you might act as if you saw a ghost.
I never went through an ex-Christian de-conversion, but this way of thinking really gave me a healthy respect and empathy for all those atheists who end up with depression, thrown out of family, out of jobs and bewildered. Yet at the same time, the quest of taking our goodness back and rejecting old violent institutions fills me with such an awe, joy and reverence, that I feel spiritually fulfilled. I feel love, patience and strength, all just because of the deep conviction to treat people as people, children as people, parents as people, government as people, and especially myself as a person.

I would put it into the Positive atheism sub-section, if it wasn't so painful to go through.

http://freedomainradio.com/FreeBooks.aspx
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13-03-2014, 02:53 PM
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
(13-03-2014 02:19 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(12-03-2014 07:45 PM)freetoreason Wrote:  Those are interesting thoughts, I'd like to see you expound on that.
There are three books to read.
On Truth: The Tyranny of Illusion - a short but extremely intense read. It is not about religion, but if you follow it, you will end up the same as if you told your Christian parents that you don't believe in God. Only the God is them, it always was. This book is a shock therapy. Some thoughts are as dangerous as weapons and they are in this book.

Real-Time Relationships: The Logic of Love - Longer than On Truth, but more rounded-out. Told me a lot about politics and God - but mainly contains analyses of dysfunctional relationship patterns and how and why people repeat them population-wide. This is extremely useful, because atheists may lose God belief, but they may still believe in violence in many forms, they may still be lost in dysfunctional relationships and repeat what their parents did. Losing religion is not enough, there are many more dangerous mythologies and this book tells how to fight them.

Universally Preferable Behavior: Rational Proof of Secular Ethics - this is the basis of it all and what atheists have been searching for all along. I haven't read this book yet cover to cover, but I've listened to hundreds of podcasts about it and the others. If you want a logically undeniable proof that atheists can be moral.... Nevermind, nerdish stuff.... I mean, are you pissed off by atheists who say that we can be moral without god, but say that if there was no government, we'd start vandalizing streets like thugs in Mad Max? What about atheists who resent parents scaring children with imaginary Hell, but scare their children with very real and toxic yelling, hitting and other forms of assault? You surely see that Yahweh is hypocrital, he says he loves people, but he drowns them and roasts them in Hell and throws them out of paradise for eating a piece of fruit. Don't you get a bit confused when parents claim they love children, but bully them into chores and punish them for breaking some dishes? Are dishes and chores more valuable than human beings?
It is all good and well confronting parents about ancient books and stories, how God treats us like crap. But what else is the common corruption in our daily life? What else does a nagging wife say, but that a fuckin' garbage bag or clean carpet is more important than her husband? When a parent gets enraged about a bad school grade, the message is clear as well: the crappy government school with inept teachers and Lord of the Flies class collective is more important than the child. That is a tough pill to swallow, how corrupt and evil our families so often are. Veterans of de-conversion and atheism have a good idea about that, but I think this de-conversion goes even deeper than that.

When I got the message, I went on to... well, let's say to shiver a lot. It's an awful lot to process, I wouldn't be surprised if it took years. This is an elite discipline. If you are elite as a freethinker among believers, I fear this is one more order of magnitude elite and difficult. This is like losing belief in a few more religions - the religion of yourself, of family and of society.

But if you think losing faith in Yahweh did you good, expanded your consciousness, showed you true goodness and love, then this is much more. You may find yourself able to feel like a person, act like an equal, don't jump to conclusions and defenses of imaginary institutions and taboos...
If I try to describe the feeling.... I see humanity as one, I see us all capable of acting in a moral, positive and rational way, solving any problems we decide to solve, changing the society and the world into any way that suits us all the best. Without fear and prejudice of utopias and dystopias, without propaganda and govt news trash... I see an enormous dignity in human ability to perceive first philosophical principles and to derive from them the universal rules of goodness and right relationships in a simple, undeniable way.

Why are good people so weak, so easy to defeat and to control? Why are all the most powerful people in the world handsome psychopaths and machiavellian mass murderers?
Because good people want to be good more than anything else. They, we will do anything to be good. We will even go as far as to attack ourselves, damn ourselves into a permanent hell of self-rejection, self-doubt and questioning. All that an evil person has to do is to strike a pose of a moral authority. And we will manage our insecurity about goodness by attacking those who would oppose this fake moral authority. We criticize ourselves and others and those we value the most we also criticize the most, because they're just such a bit away from perfection... (I certainly know that feeling) Well, who invented perfection? Evil people. There is no such thing as perfection, yet good people strike down each other and themselves, because they or their ideas are not perfect, thus leaving evil people free to act.

The greatest crime that imaginary things or categories do to us, is taking over the definition of morality. Moral argument is the most powerful argument on the planet, no human can process being or admitting to be evil. Even Hitler saw himself as a great leader and savior of the German people.
Moral violence means making us believe that some category is inherently moral, no matter what it does. Category is an empty box, anyone can get into it. Obeying a category because it is moral is like paying someone with an idea of money. We obey if we are directly threatened, but no authority has enough energy to threaten people permanently all the time. This is why authorities use moral violence, they appoint themselves as a source of morality. Then people keep each other in check, as our fellow slaves.
Atheists respect science and defend it vigorously in many debates. But who defends science from being misused by politicians to create weapons and wage wars? Wars, that are proven to be based on lies? I respect science and I'd prefer it to be more than a rational weapon in hands of irrational and immoral madmen. A weapon is violence and violence is always unequal, there is an attacker and a victim, a moral attacker and immoral victim, moral Yahweh and immoral sinners, moral invaders and immoral civilian resistance in an invaded country, a moral punishing parent and immoral punished children. We need to take our morality back, even we, atheists, we first.

As serious as it is, this is not some great conspiracy, this is a survival mechanism we adopt in order to survive our dependence. Our parents are in surprisingly many cases insecure, immature and frustrated, brought up by generations of insecure, immature and frustrated people. Every child is needy, but these people see the needy child as a direct threat to their well-being that they never got as children and so they strike back. But they can not assault children as evil sadists, they must do so under moral pretense. A child has no choice, even subconsciously, to accept this corrupt moral standard and then forget that he ever accepted it and then continue to defend it, because it is moral.
God is just a small side-effect of this great evil. Even government and great success of war in Iraq and all other wars is just a side-effect of that.

If you care about atheism, rationality and fighting religious nonsense, this should be greatly enlightening to you. You should be excited beyond words. Yet I can equally expect that this will meet with a wall of silence, because frankly, this way of thinking is so advanced and our society's way of thinking is still qualitatively in 15th century, that you might act as if you saw a ghost.
I never went through an ex-Christian de-conversion, but this way of thinking really gave me a healthy respect and empathy for all those atheists who end up with depression, thrown out of family, out of jobs and bewildered. Yet at the same time, the quest of taking our goodness back and rejecting old violent institutions fills me with such an awe, joy and reverence, that I feel spiritually fulfilled. I feel love, patience and strength, all just because of the deep conviction to treat people as people, children as people, parents as people, government as people, and especially myself as a person.

I would put it into the Positive atheism sub-section, if it wasn't so painful to go through.

http://freedomainradio.com/FreeBooks.aspx

Stefan Molyneux is a crazy anarchist cult-leader.

This site is dedicated to exposing him and his cult, by former members of his cult: http://www.fdrliberated.com/forum/index.php

And his UPB is just a rehash of Kantian ethics. His position on ethics is not well thought-out, and has numerous holes.
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13-03-2014, 04:41 PM
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
I'm kind of glad you said that SJ, I Will take a look at both sides of the argument because the morality question is interesting.

Luminon, I say I'm interested in what SJ said because before I got to her reply, your post made me uncomfortable. It reads a little cultish. I don't know if this is because it's difficult to express the magnitude of your intent in a post without it becoming a 10 000 essay. The condensing of the ideas your presenting, may have taken something away from them.

To me, it reads like this.
If you are a freethinker, you must know and agree with this.
Everything we criticise or complain about in another person automatically defaults to 'complaint x is justifiably taken to be more important than the recipient of the complaint. It removes any modicum of intelligence from the recipient. ... When my loved ones complain about me, I might be being noisy. It doesn't mean they love silence more than me. It means only they require less volume.

Your comment about expecting to meet a wall of silence because your thinking is so progressive is the thing that makes me say it's cultish. It's a classic set up for ad homenim rebuttal, it's a dangerous one because it appeals to the ego of the weilder. It will go like this.

This philosophy is super progressive but I understand it (I am ultra-clever)
Yabut, I don't agree that discipline delivered directly, letting someone know you're angry can be good as they learn there actions have consequences and they need to learn this to live cohesively in society.
No, you just don't understand this super progressive philosophy (you are not ultra clever)
It's all a bit, emperor's new clothes.

Anyway, I remain interested none the less Smile

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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13-03-2014, 04:47 PM
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
I just discovered the wonder that is Christopher Hitchens.
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13-03-2014, 04:56 PM
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
(13-03-2014 02:53 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  Stefan Molyneux is a crazy anarchist cult-leader.

This site is dedicated to exposing him and his cult, by former members of his cult: http://www.fdrliberated.com/forum/index.php

And his UPB is just a rehash of Kantian ethics. His position on ethics is not well thought-out, and has numerous holes.

This. And he is causing a lot of harm to families as he convinces people to completely cut themselves off from their parents because of some perceived harm they caused them - as if any parent, or any human being, is or can be perfect.
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13-03-2014, 05:53 PM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2014 07:25 PM by Luminon.)
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
(13-03-2014 02:53 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  Stefan Molyneux is a crazy anarchist cult-leader.
Firstly, I don't see what's wrong with being pro-civil society, an agovernmentist, in other words, an anarchist. I see it the same as being an atheist, that is, normal. People do good because they want to be good, not because they'd go to Hell or Heaven or prison. I don't know if there are people in Hell, but sure the prisons are overcrowded (and America has world's #1 highest prison population), so people's morality clearly has nothing to do with government or laws. This is why I very much appreciate Molyneux's explanation on what is morality.

Secondly, from what I know about cult leaders,
- they isolate people
- they don't tell people to go away and talk to their parents honestly
- they don't tell people to go into psychoterapy
- cult leaders are filthy rich, secretive people, not baldy family men laying out their lives in the public, living off random donations.
This is how Molyneux does not behave, so I'll count that as an evidence that he's not a cult leader. So, what is your evidence which convinced you that he's a cult leader?

These are just arguments of one side. Ultimately they don't depend on either of us, I am also curious about other people's judgement. I just have to warn, that I will value the opinion of those who try to understand the actual philosophy and even more those who read some of the books. Googling around for opinions of people who haven't read the books and don't analyze the philosophy will not do.

(13-03-2014 02:53 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  This site is dedicated to exposing him and his cult, by former members of his cult: http://www.fdrliberated.com/forum/index.php
I've heard of this site, but... I have a hard time seeing any actual arguments there among all this name-calling and appeals to authority.
I have my own criticism to Stefan Molyneux. Quite a lot of it, actually. But it is criticism to a relatively technical topic, which has nothing to do with moral issues. This is the only thing where I managed to catch him in the wrong and where I can criticize him to the ashes. He did say some not very nice things about some people and I think I could get him to say mea culpa, in a moderated discussion.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ophy-forum

I think he's not very good at semantics and the concept of multiple paradigms or epistemes is as alien to him as the feeling of wind in mid-back length mane (that I used to have!). Owing to this ignorance he invents some perhaps too good "explanations", that prevent him from actually learning what I'd like him to learn. And he can be quite arrogant about that.
But I believe I can do something about it. Every single thing I have against him, he already admitted that in his podcasts in other context, he just didn't put it together. And I don't think he ever will, he's too busy doing other good work. Anyway, Molyneux is my favorite kind of people, extremely helpful and useful, yet humanly flawed so I can see where his limits are, and there my work begins. He's not perfect, by any means. I'm not perfect either. But I think I can learn everything that he has to offer, yet he can't learn everything that I have to offer. So I'm not worried about Molyneux, he does not have a monopoly on my worldview, not by any means.
I am crazier than he is and one generation smarter thanks to Flynn effect.
In other words, I would be an even more "arrogant cunt". (as the video on your website had put it very representatively)

Yeah, his forum feels pretty culty, if you know what I mean. It's not a discussion forum of freethinkers like here, it's a mostly a support group of people going through family breakup. I am banned there, because...well, I am used to some rough treatment in discussion and my threshold of pain and debate frustration is higher than a support group can safely handle. Looks like I've been bitten by the deFOO bug as well and now I understand why these people reacted so... emotionally. I come from a dysfunctional family and been bullied for years and so my emotions are really disconnected and rehabilitating them hurts as shit. I am a classy Alice Miller textbook case, so I really must admit that Molyneux has a point here.

(13-03-2014 02:53 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  And his UPB is just a rehash of Kantian ethics. His position on ethics is not well thought-out, and has numerous holes.
Well, I can't understand or verify that, because I don't know Kant. Some link with detailed explanations would be nice. From what I can see, UPB is the principle of reciprocity (or symmetry, if you want). It's the golden rule with exceptions for objective empirical facts, such as biological immaturity of children. Seems very reasonable to me, unlike everything else when I think about it. My mom says we should obey and respect our parents, yet I never saw her respecting her parents. Symmetry, man! Symmetry is beautiful.

What makes it difficult is not philosophical complexity, but the enormous amount of fear of pain or emotional scar tissue that keeps us from realizing this simple golden rule. We invent explanations - however, none of these are reciprocal / symmetrical, thus they can never withstand logical scrutiny.

(13-03-2014 04:56 PM)meremortal Wrote:  This. And he is causing a lot of harm to families as he convinces people to completely cut themselves off from their parents because of some perceived harm they caused them - as if any parent, or any human being, is or can be perfect.
Do you agree with me that people in a close relationship should be able to talk about their true feelings? That does not seem a radical proposition to me.

In case you do agree, who's fault is it when people talk about their feelings and the relationship blows up? Are you setting an impossible standard of perfection to dismiss my argument?
Ty Occam's razor. What is more probable, that someone has the power to brainwash people at a distance, even if they were before in a happy relationship, or that the relationship was unsound to begin with? As far as I can tell, this forum is full of people who had problems with fanatically religious, abusive parents and had to pretend a long time that they are believers, before they could move out. Religion does not excuse abuse and I would say that these families were not happy even when all the children believed in God. Is introducing people to atheism wrong, because it may lead to formal eventual breakup of abusive families? Last time I checked, Seth Andrews, owner of this website, was still not OK with his relatives. It's not that different.


(13-03-2014 04:41 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Luminon, I say I'm interested in what SJ said because before I got to her reply, your post made me uncomfortable. It reads a little cultish. I don't know if this is because it's difficult to express the magnitude of your intent in a post without it becoming a 10 000 essay. The condensing of the ideas your presenting, may have taken something away from them.
You are right and I appreciate your considerate approach. What is missing is a few hundred hours of listening to Molyneux's podcasts critically for more than a past year. What kinda pisses me off about him is his ignorance about The Venus Project (it's not collectivist!) and total focus on capitalism as the only way for freedom and humanity to exist.
But I grew to appreciate his emotional and moral know-how, this is what my whole family is missing. So I just say, my opinion wasn't created overnight, it's many months of close study plus many other, often opposing sources. I can make sense of them, but I wouldn't trust Molyneux to do so with me.

(13-03-2014 04:41 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  To me, it reads like this.
If you are a freethinker, you must know and agree with this.
Everything we criticise or complain about in another person automatically defaults to 'complaint x is justifiably taken to be more important than the recipient of the complaint. It removes any modicum of intelligence from the recipient. ... When my loved ones complain about me, I might be being noisy. It doesn't mean they love silence more than me. It means only they require less volume.
I see. How does the following sound to you?

You can talk to your loved ones as you agree to do. But what happens if you say, "I don't feel appreciated when you talk to me like that, I feel like you're talking at me, not with me." Say that and see what happens. How do your loved ones react? Do they accept your feelings and agree to talk in a more considerate way? If so, that's all right and it must be great to have such relationships. But what if you get responses like "Don't be a pussy!", "C'mon, it's not that loud!", "That's nothing, back in my day we listened to Van Halen 3x as loud!", "You never turn it down when I tell you!", "What's wrong with your ears?" If something like that happens, that's not a good sign. However, it might be good for my argument, if you apply that on feelings about the relationship itself, not volume.

I must say that nobody is a perfectly logical freethinker in all areas of life. I know I wasn't at many points of life. I know Molyneux isn't, when it comes to capitalism.
So just because it's logical, doesn't mean we can automatically accept it. The brain is not a hard drive that can install any programs. Brain's structure is literally changed by learning and this re-wiring is very difficult, slow, energy-demanding and painful.
Considering ourselves freethinkers just because we shook off a religion is somewhat self-deceptive. I don't know about what I am NOT a freethinker now, each such a thing is a blind spot. Every time that changed it was a very difficult transition that costed me some health (mostly dental).
Intelligence is a pre-requisite here, but not nearly enough. Intelligence is too good at inventing plausible explanations to defend our emotional scar tissue.
Ultimately, I'm not sure what makes a difference here. I think it's meditation, of all things. I think meditation or contemplation in solitude provides the extra thinking power that upsets the perhaps illogical status quo that even very intelligent people may have.

(13-03-2014 04:41 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Your comment about expecting to meet a wall of silence because your thinking is so progressive is the thing that makes me say it's cultish. It's a classic set up for ad homenim rebuttal, it's a dangerous one because it appeals to the ego of the weilder. It will go like this.

This philosophy is super progressive but I understand it (I am ultra-clever)
Yabut, I don't agree that discipline delivered directly, letting someone know you're angry can be good as they learn there actions have consequences and they need to learn this to live cohesively in society.
No, you just don't understand this super progressive philosophy (you are not ultra clever)
It's all a bit, emperor's new clothes.

Anyway, I remain interested none the less Smile
Thanks Smile Yeah, good narrative. I DO have a problem with empathy. I have no idea how I look like to other people and occasional bits of insight scare the crap out of me. I think that's what relationships must be for, partners give us mirror so that we don't become too ruthless.

I don't know how clever I am, clearly not enough to outsmart my own mother. I never realized that children are persons, I am a person and that assaulting persons is wrong. I had no idea. This realization was quite a shock. But I accepted it, because I always hated being assaulted, that was the main and only reason, my acceptance of deep resentment against getting assaulted and against violence on others in general, as I did sometimes in defense at school against bullies. This feeling is an undeniable fact for me, which makes Molyneux's logical implications obligatory for me.
I know it all sounds like a cheap psychobabble. But I can see it's a logical psychobabble, at least internally, and it didn't seem like a radical proposition. I was inspired to ask myself, is my own parents' behavior logical? That is, universally preferable, symmetric, reciprocal? Their behavior, not their words? I had a plenty of nice words, but the actual behavior, measured by my stress, fear and terror? Well, that turned out to be something I'd never want to go through again. And I wouldn't like to see such behavior on Earth, frankly. If some guy at pizza parlor hands us a small questionnaire to ask how we like the service, why this is not allowed in our closest relationships?


Anyway, THE TOPIC IS THIS RECIPROCAL, SYMMETRICAL MORAL RULE AND THE BOOKS. Not Stef. If the arguments in books are claimed to be logical, they should be verifiable even if their author was a potato-fondling Romanian midget travelling with a circus of porn star acrobats. Anyway, by now, even if Molyneux turned out to be a total fraud, it would not matter to me personally, because everything he (and Alice Miller) said worked for my family, which is getting a divorce now, by the way. So I have my own experience and experiences are impossible to deny rationally. The only thing I can tell you is, check this for logic rationally and if you still don't believe it, talk to your parents or spouse how do you feel about your relationship with them, but I must warn you about that. So far I have never heard of a case when it would go well. Those who love each other, know they love each other and they won't feel threatened by arguments from a random internet bald man. Those who get defensive probably have hell of a reason to get defensive.
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13-03-2014, 07:49 PM
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
Quote:Anyway, THE TOPIC IS THIS RECIPROCAL, SYMMETRICAL MORAL RULE AND THE BOOKS. Not Stef. If the arguments in books are claimed to be logical, they should be verifiable even if their author was a potato-fondling Romanian midget travelling with a circus of porn star acrobats.

As long as the potatoes were consenting adults, I wouldn't have a problem with that. Smile

I do however feel disinclined to agree fully with you, that it's always fair to separate the thinker from the thought. In regards to this guy, who may be a bit dodgy (I don't know enough about him to say either way) ... He promotes a specific philosophy. So if his personal actions are questionable, yet he is supposedly practicing what he preaches, surely it follows that whatever it is he is pontificating could be labelled as negative? You know, like, these are his thoughts, this is the fruit of his labour based in said philosophy?

You seem to have very clear definitions of assault. In the context that you have mentioned, I'm not sure I would always agree. However, please correct me if I have misunderstood you. It seems that this philosophy categorises every instance of raising your voice or displaying anger as a negative? Is that so? If it is, I disagree. By no means do I condone it as a default option or first port of call but I don't rule it out. Displaying emotions to each other honestly in a close and trusting family unit seems completely normal to me and not invalid.

Also, the rejection of other establishments and systems doesn't necessarily follow on from atheism for me either. Atheism is a rejection of the supernatural, nothing more, nothing less.

I think where I may be expecting a bone of contention, to put my cards on the table as it were, is at the definition of 'assault' or 'abuse'. Don't get me wrong, you're obviously coming at this from a thought out point of view, I'm merely digging to try and grasp a more tangible overview. There are just some things niggling me.

A pizza parlour can ask for feedback because it's impersonal and has a specific agenda, to sell more pizzas, metaphorical questionnaires of your nearest and dearest are different. As soon as you start to question them, feelings come in to the mix. Most people are already aware of the fact that they make mistakes. They may be offended if you question them about their actions as they may often graciously forgive your character flaws and assume you're willing to do the same for them. I'm not saying anyone has the right not to be offended, nor am I saying don't question people on important things but 'this time you shouted at me' type thing gets a bit out of control.

On the surface, it does sound a bit like psycho babble if I'm honest. I am not too trusting of anything that conflicts so strongly with our nature. ... I can't help but be suspicious of any philosophy that labels everything they don't like (being shouted at) as 'assault'. That sort of thinking encourages a perpetual victim mentality and invokes a blame culture where all accountability and personal responsibility ends up circumvented. I find that to be a huge sociological problem in modern times.

I hope I have the wrong end of the stick with this stuff, like I say, this is the first time I have encountered it, I just get the impression it's a bit manipulative mate, if you see what I'm getting at?

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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13-03-2014, 07:53 PM
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
(13-03-2014 04:47 PM)Charis Wrote:  I just discovered the wonder that is Christopher Hitchens.

Your life will change forever! Smile

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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13-03-2014, 07:58 PM
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
(13-03-2014 05:53 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(13-03-2014 02:53 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  Stefan Molyneux is a crazy anarchist cult-leader.
Firstly, I don't see what's wrong with being pro-civil society, an agovernmentist, in other words, an anarchist. I see it the same as being an atheist, that is, normal. People do good because they want to be good, not because they'd go to Hell or Heaven or prison. I don't know if there are people in Hell, but sure the prisons are overcrowded (and America has world's #1 highest prison population), so people's morality clearly has nothing to do with government or laws. This is why I very much appreciate Molyneux's explanation on what is morality.

Secondly, from what I know about cult leaders,
- they isolate people
- they don't tell people to go away and talk to their parents honestly
- they don't tell people to go into psychoterapy
- cult leaders are filthy rich, secretive people, not baldy family men laying out their lives in the public, living off random donations.
This is how Molyneux does not behave, so I'll count that as an evidence that he's not a cult leader. So, what is your evidence which convinced you that he's a cult leader?

These are just arguments of one side. Ultimately they don't depend on either of us, I am also curious about other people's judgement. I just have to warn, that I will value the opinion of those who try to understand the actual philosophy and even more those who read some of the books. Googling around for opinions of people who haven't read the books and don't analyze the philosophy will not do.

(13-03-2014 02:53 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  This site is dedicated to exposing him and his cult, by former members of his cult: http://www.fdrliberated.com/forum/index.php
I've heard of this site, but... I have a hard time seeing any actual arguments there among all this name-calling and appeals to authority.
I have my own criticism to Stefan Molyneux. Quite a lot of it, actually. But it is criticism to a relatively technical topic, which has nothing to do with moral issues. This is the only thing where I managed to catch him in the wrong and where I can criticize him to the ashes. He did say some not very nice things about some people and I think I could get him to say mea culpa, in a moderated discussion.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ophy-forum

I think he's not very good at semantics and the concept of multiple paradigms or epistemes is as alien to him as the feeling of wind in mid-back length mane (that I used to have!). Owing to this ignorance he invents some perhaps too good "explanations", that prevent him from actually learning what I'd like him to learn. And he can be quite arrogant about that.
But I believe I can do something about it. Every single thing I have against him, he already admitted that in his podcasts in other context, he just didn't put it together. And I don't think he ever will, he's too busy doing other good work. Anyway, Molyneux is my favorite kind of people, extremely helpful and useful, yet humanly flawed so I can see where his limits are, and there my work begins. He's not perfect, by any means. I'm not perfect either. But I think I can learn everything that he has to offer, yet he can't learn everything that I have to offer. So I'm not worried about Molyneux, he does not have a monopoly on my worldview, not by any means.
I am crazier than he is and one generation smarter thanks to Flynn effect.
In other words, I would be an even more "arrogant cunt". (as the video on your website had put it very representatively)

Yeah, his forum feels pretty culty, if you know what I mean. It's not a discussion forum of freethinkers like here, it's a mostly a support group of people going through family breakup. I am banned there, because...well, I am used to some rough treatment in discussion and my threshold of pain and debate frustration is higher than a support group can safely handle. Looks like I've been bitten by the deFOO bug as well and now I understand why these people reacted so... emotionally. I come from a dysfunctional family and been bullied for years and so my emotions are really disconnected and rehabilitating them hurts as shit. I am a classy Alice Miller textbook case, so I really must admit that Molyneux has a point here.

(13-03-2014 02:53 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  And his UPB is just a rehash of Kantian ethics. His position on ethics is not well thought-out, and has numerous holes.
Well, I can't understand or verify that, because I don't know Kant. Some link with detailed explanations would be nice. From what I can see, UPB is the principle of reciprocity (or symmetry, if you want). It's the golden rule with exceptions for objective empirical facts, such as biological immaturity of children. Seems very reasonable to me, unlike everything else when I think about it. My mom says we should obey and respect our parents, yet I never saw her respecting her parents. Symmetry, man! Symmetry is beautiful.

What makes it difficult is not philosophical complexity, but the enormous amount of fear of pain or emotional scar tissue that keeps us from realizing this simple golden rule. We invent explanations - however, none of these are reciprocal / symmetrical, thus they can never withstand logical scrutiny.

(13-03-2014 04:56 PM)meremortal Wrote:  This. And he is causing a lot of harm to families as he convinces people to completely cut themselves off from their parents because of some perceived harm they caused them - as if any parent, or any human being, is or can be perfect.
Do you agree with me that people in a close relationship should be able to talk about their true feelings? That does not seem a radical proposition to me.

In case you do agree, who's fault is it when people talk about their feelings and the relationship blows up? Are you setting an impossible standard of perfection to dismiss my argument?
Ty Occam's razor. What is more probable, that someone has the power to brainwash people at a distance, even if they were before in a happy relationship, or that the relationship was unsound to begin with? As far as I can tell, this forum is full of people who had problems with fanatically religious, abusive parents and had to pretend a long time that they are believers, before they could move out. Religion does not excuse abuse and I would say that these families were not happy even when all the children believed in God. Is introducing people to atheism wrong, because it may lead to formal eventual breakup of abusive families? Last time I checked, Seth Andrews, owner of this website, was still not OK with his relatives. It's not that different.


(13-03-2014 04:41 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Luminon, I say I'm interested in what SJ said because before I got to her reply, your post made me uncomfortable. It reads a little cultish. I don't know if this is because it's difficult to express the magnitude of your intent in a post without it becoming a 10 000 essay. The condensing of the ideas your presenting, may have taken something away from them.
You are right and I appreciate your considerate approach. What is missing is a few hundred hours of listening to Molyneux's podcasts critically for more than a past year. What kinda pisses me off about him is his ignorance about The Venus Project (it's not collectivist!) and total focus on capitalism as the only way for freedom and humanity to exist.
But I grew to appreciate his emotional and moral know-how, this is what my whole family is missing. So I just say, my opinion wasn't created overnight, it's many months of close study plus many other, often opposing sources. I can make sense of them, but I wouldn't trust Molyneux to do so with me.

(13-03-2014 04:41 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  To me, it reads like this.
If you are a freethinker, you must know and agree with this.
Everything we criticise or complain about in another person automatically defaults to 'complaint x is justifiably taken to be more important than the recipient of the complaint. It removes any modicum of intelligence from the recipient. ... When my loved ones complain about me, I might be being noisy. It doesn't mean they love silence more than me. It means only they require less volume.
I see. How does the following sound to you?

You can talk to your loved ones as you agree to do. But what happens if you say, "I don't feel appreciated when you talk to me like that, I feel like you're talking at me, not with me." Say that and see what happens. How do your loved ones react? Do they accept your feelings and agree to talk in a more considerate way? If so, that's all right and it must be great to have such relationships. But what if you get responses like "Don't be a pussy!", "C'mon, it's not that loud!", "That's nothing, back in my day we listened to Van Halen 3x as loud!", "You never turn it down when I tell you!", "What's wrong with your ears?" If something like that happens, that's not a good sign. However, it might be good for my argument, if you apply that on feelings about the relationship itself, not volume.

I must say that nobody is a perfectly logical freethinker in all areas of life. I know I wasn't at many points of life. I know Molyneux isn't, when it comes to capitalism.
So just because it's logical, doesn't mean we can automatically accept it. The brain is not a hard drive that can install any programs. Brain's structure is literally changed by learning and this re-wiring is very difficult, slow, energy-demanding and painful.
Considering ourselves freethinkers just because we shook off a religion is somewhat self-deceptive. I don't know about what I am NOT a freethinker now, each such a thing is a blind spot. Every time that changed it was a very difficult transition that costed me some health (mostly dental).
Intelligence is a pre-requisite here, but not nearly enough. Intelligence is too good at inventing plausible explanations to defend our emotional scar tissue.
Ultimately, I'm not sure what makes a difference here. I think it's meditation, of all things. I think meditation or contemplation in solitude provides the extra thinking power that upsets the perhaps illogical status quo that even very intelligent people may have.

(13-03-2014 04:41 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Your comment about expecting to meet a wall of silence because your thinking is so progressive is the thing that makes me say it's cultish. It's a classic set up for ad homenim rebuttal, it's a dangerous one because it appeals to the ego of the weilder. It will go like this.

This philosophy is super progressive but I understand it (I am ultra-clever)
Yabut, I don't agree that discipline delivered directly, letting someone know you're angry can be good as they learn there actions have consequences and they need to learn this to live cohesively in society.
No, you just don't understand this super progressive philosophy (you are not ultra clever)
It's all a bit, emperor's new clothes.

Anyway, I remain interested none the less Smile
Thanks Smile Yeah, good narrative. I DO have a problem with empathy. I have no idea how I look like to other people and occasional bits of insight scare the crap out of me. I think that's what relationships must be for, partners give us mirror so that we don't become too ruthless.

I don't know how clever I am, clearly not enough to outsmart my own mother. I never realized that children are persons, I am a person and that assaulting persons is wrong. I had no idea. This realization was quite a shock. But I accepted it, because I always hated being assaulted, that was the main and only reason, my acceptance of deep resentment against getting assaulted and against violence on others in general, as I did sometimes in defense at school against bullies. This feeling is an undeniable fact for me, which makes Molyneux's logical implications obligatory for me.
I know it all sounds like a cheap psychobabble. But I can see it's a logical psychobabble, at least internally, and it didn't seem like a radical proposition. I was inspired to ask myself, is my own parents' behavior logical? That is, universally preferable, symmetric, reciprocal? Their behavior, not their words? I had a plenty of nice words, but the actual behavior, measured by my stress, fear and terror? Well, that turned out to be something I'd never want to go through again. And I wouldn't like to see such behavior on Earth, frankly. If some guy at pizza parlor hands us a small questionnaire to ask how we like the service, why this is not allowed in our closest relationships?


Anyway, THE TOPIC IS THIS RECIPROCAL, SYMMETRICAL MORAL RULE AND THE BOOKS. Not Stef. If the arguments in books are claimed to be logical, they should be verifiable even if their author was a potato-fondling Romanian midget travelling with a circus of porn star acrobats. Anyway, by now, even if Molyneux turned out to be a total fraud, it would not matter to me personally, because everything he (and Alice Miller) said worked for my family, which is getting a divorce now, by the way. So I have my own experience and experiences are impossible to deny rationally. The only thing I can tell you is, check this for logic rationally and if you still don't believe it, talk to your parents or spouse how do you feel about your relationship with them, but I must warn you about that. So far I have never heard of a case when it would go well. Those who love each other, know they love each other and they won't feel threatened by arguments from a random internet bald man. Those who get defensive probably have hell of a reason to get defensive.

Molyneux's grand solution to ending violence and government in their entirety is to stop hitting children.

Yep.

He asserts that violent behaviour, and by extension 'statist' (belief in government) tendencies, purely derive from his vague notion of 'child abuse'.
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13-03-2014, 10:33 PM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2014 10:50 PM by Vipa.)
RE: Proof of secular ethics: Against moral violence
(13-03-2014 07:58 PM)shimmyjimmy Wrote:  Molyneux's grand solution to ending violence and government in their entirety is to stop hitting children.

Yep.

He asserts that violent behaviour, and by extension 'statist' (belief in government) tendencies, purely derive from his vague notion of 'child abuse'.

This is not just his idea, he also just picked it up (e.g. from Alice Miller). But I would also disagree if he actually thinks that statism comes from child abuse. Never been abused (even in Molyneux' definition), still a firm believer Tongue

meremortal Wrote:he is causing a lot of harm to families as he convinces people to completely cut themselves off from their parents because of some perceived harm they caused them - as if any parent, or any human being, is or can be perfect.

Where's the problem exactly? I would've no reason to respect my parents had they ever hit me and I would do pretty much the same thing... flaws are nice and everything, but if you can't control yourself towards a child... that's just weak. Now do I think people should just cut ties over the smallest things? No, but would you stay in contact with a non-family person that (by your definition of abuse) abused you over the course of 16+ years and still doesn't see his/her flaws? Why would you act differently just because they are relatives?
I don't need Molyneux to come to these conclusions.
And let's not forget that there's a wide gap between suggestions and force. If people want to follow through it's their choice. It's also their choice to accept another definition of abuse in the first place.

Luminon Wrote:You can talk to your loved ones as you agree to do. But what happens if you say, "I don't feel appreciated when you talk to me like that, I feel like you're talking at me, not with me." Say that and see what happens. How do your loved ones react?

Hah. Did just that today (in an agressive way even, had to apologize later). I just hate it when kids are involved even if it's just having (constant and spiteful) arguments in front of their grandchildren... I can't accept that, even if mental illnesses are involved. Turned out well anyway, they are very reasonable as long as its not only between themselves ~.~
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