Resolving conflicting loyalties
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14-02-2013, 07:19 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
(14-02-2013 07:26 AM)Zat Wrote:  OK, let's make it easier.

How many of you ran into conflicting loyalties in your own life?

How did you resolve them?
My familial family conflicts have not been resolved in my life time.
I am not referring to my marriage here.
Lots of conflicts in this long life, all over the place.
I sort of opted for consensus and synthesis.
That doesn't seem to work either.
A noble aim Zatamon, re a mass ethic (or should that be mess?)
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14-02-2013, 08:15 PM (This post was last modified: 14-02-2013 08:19 PM by Zat.)
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
(14-02-2013 07:19 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  A noble aim Zatamon, re a mass ethic (or should that be mess?)
...
OK, I will have a stab at it.

The relationship of our social concepts can be seen as follows:

1./ Nature created us near identical, with near identical needs of survival.

2./ Our near identical needs created near identical values.

3./ Our near identical values created a set of ethical rules (do-s and don’t-s)

4./ Our dependence on each other created a need for loyalty to our ethical rules

5./ Our loyalty to ethical rules created an unwritten social contact. This contract is not the same as the laws of the land as defined by the ruling elite. As a matter of fact it can be diametrically opposed to it. The laws are specific to one culture or one nation-state. The unwritten social contract, recognizing our human interdependence, is universal. All cultures through history have known that murder, rape, incest and theft are wrong. Being aware of the rules of this social contract is called our ‘conscience’. Sometimes it is described as knowing right from wrong. This universal concept of ‘right conduct’ is called morality.

6./ The unwritten social contract created standards of socially acceptable behaviour. Any act or attitude that enhances the chances of survival for the group is good. Any act or attitude that harms the chances of survival for the group is bad. Since individual members accept the protection and nourishment of the tribe, the only moral conduct is to seek individual survival/welfare only through the survival/welfare of the tribe. If the two are in conflict, the needs of the tribe come first. Primitive human tribes take this for granted, only ‘advanced’ human beings want it both ways. We call those who consistently demonstrate their willingness to defend the tribe, even at great personal sacrifice, ‘heroes’. Those who betray the tribe for personal gain we call ‘traitors’ and treason is usually punishable by death or expulsion.

7./ In our complicated world, individuals have simultaneous and often conflicting memberships in many tribes: immediate family, extended family, work-group, religion, political party, social organizations, country, race, species and life.

8./ Resolving conflicts requires prioritizing our loyalties.

9./ Since an individual group accepts the protection and nourishment of the larger group it depends on, the only moral conduct is to seek survival/welfare of a group ONLY through the survival/welfare of the containing group. If the two are in conflict, the needs of the containing group come first.

10./ In this sense our ultimate loyalty should be to life. Life on this Planet is the ultimate containing group. We are all part of it. It nourishes us all. If we betray it, if we destroy it, we will have destroyed ourselves.
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14-02-2013, 08:48 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
I'm sorry for continuing on being a contrary, but I think that you're making a few mistakes in your reasoning:
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  The relationship of our social concepts can be seen as follows:

1./ Nature created us near identical, with near identical needs of survival.
It's a long shot to say that we have NEAR identical needs, our needs vary a lot between individuals, and though we do have needs in common (to eat, sleep, safety, etc.) those needs are very basic and usually don't define us...
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  2./ Our near identical needs created near identical values.
Because we don't have those near identical needs, our values are not near identical either, we may coincide with some core values based on the common needs, but for most of us, values (and their importance) vary a lot between different people...
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  3./ Our near identical values created a set of ethical rules (do-s and don’t-s)
That's one definition of ethical rules (do-s and don't-s) there're other schools of thinking that say otherwise, for instance, there're no absolute rules, killing another human being could be considered to be good if that helps everyone. So at least this point is debatable...
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  4./ Our dependence on each other created a need for loyalty to our ethical rules
Our dependence on each other creates the need to establish a system in which everyone's efforts are coordinated somehow, that doesn't require loyalty, slavery is an example of this. Of course loyalty, or a system based on mutual, free cooperation at least, has proven to be an efficient system.
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  5./ Our loyalty to ethical rules created an unwritten social contact. This contract is not the same as the laws of the land as defined by the ruling elite. As a matter of fact it can be diametrically opposed to it. The laws are specific to one culture or one nation-state. The unwritten social contract, recognizing our human interdependence, is universal. All cultures through history have known that murder, rape, incest and theft are wrong. Being aware of the rules of this social contract is called our ‘conscience’. Sometimes it is described as knowing right from wrong. This universal concept of ‘right conduct’ is called morality.
Ethical rules are never universal, not in space nor time. The social contract you mention is just a fiction, or a theory if you like, created to explain why society acts like one entity. Now we have better explanations for that phenomena; I specially like the social fields theory of Bourdieu, a social field is close to what you call 'tribe'; but it doesn't imply an unwritten contract, only a reproduction of perceptions (the main difference is the lack of consent, thus making loyalty unnecessary)
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  6./ The unwritten social contract created standards of socially acceptable behaviour. Any act or attitude that enhances the chances of survival for the group is good. Any act or attitude that harms the chances of survival for the group is bad. Since individual members accept the protection and nourishment of the tribe, the only moral conduct is to seek individual survival/welfare only through the survival/welfare of the tribe. If the two are in conflict, the needs of the tribe come first. Primitive human tribes take this for granted, only ‘advanced’ human beings want it both ways. We call those who consistently demonstrate their willingness to defend the tribe, even at great personal sacrifice, ‘heroes’. Those who betray the tribe for personal gain we call ‘traitors’ and treason is usually punishable by death or expulsion.
This doesn't stand if you consider an individualistic society like ours, individual gain is considered not only desirable but even the most basic engine for the group welfare. Private property is a good example, if one individual own a large portion of land and a group of families need it to survive, if that individual doesn't want to give it away or at least borrow it, then it can't be taken by force, hurting the group and benefiting the individual.
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  7./ In our complicated world, individuals have simultaneous and often conflicting memberships in many tribes: immediate family, extended family, work-group, religion, political party, social organizations, country, race, species and life.
Yes Smile (I'm not that bad see Tongue)
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  8./ Resolving conflicts requires prioritizing our loyalties.
Not necessarily, some conflicts (I dare to say most conflicts) can be solved by finding a solution that makes everyone happy, is not always easy to find it though.
I can accept that some fringe cases could be binary.
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  9./ Since an individual group accepts the protection and nourishment of the larger group it depends on, the only moral conduct is to seek survival/welfare of a group ONLY through the survival/welfare of the containing group. If the two are in conflict, the needs of the containing group come first.
Then why do we consider the independence wars to be a good thing, they are aimed to gain the welfare of a group (the colony) against the benefit of the containing group (the empire)
(14-02-2013 08:15 PM)Zat Wrote:  10./ In this sense our ultimate loyalty should be to life. Life on this Planet is the ultimate containing group. We are all part of it. It nourishes us all. If we betray it, if we destroy it, we will have destroyed ourselves.
Yes, but it doesn't follow from the premises, it can be valid from other premised. We need to consider the stability of non-living systems as well (climate, mineral resources, water, etc...)

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14-02-2013, 08:53 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
Morality is about survival of the whole we are part of. Just like at Nuremberg, claims of loyalty to country did not excuse crimes against humanity. There should be 'crime against life' trials for those busily destroying it. Like cancer cells in a body, we destroy the host giving us life. Guess what happens to cancer cells after the body dies.

I felt ashamed during the first Gulf war when they showed us the oily cormorants on TV. I felt that 'we' betrayed our common heritage. I felt the need to apologize to the cormorants. To other animals at large. To life.

Many unspoiled native cultures think of Earth as their Mother. One can betray one's mother. Even rape her. If I ever had to face the terrible choice of saving my own species at the price of destroying all other life on Earth, I don't think I could do that. And I think my choice would be a moral one.

Morality has always been in human consciousness. Not always verbalized: defined, analyzed, explained, but lived by a sufficient number of the tribe to assure survival. Tribes that failed the test of morality died and disappeared.

Morality is the prerequisite of survival. Nature created us. We are an inextricable part of it, and have no choice but to behave by its rules. Morality is our interdependence embodied.

Morality is life affirming. Immorality embraces death. Maybe not immediately, not personally, but the human species can die by many, many little incremental steps. Destroying our habitat bit by bit will do it. We see it around us every day: the poison in our air, our water, our food – it is all a material manifestation of immorality: of some human beings, somewhere, in some capacity, failing the test of ethical, honourable behaviour.

We have to sort out our loyalties in a way that doesn’t destroy us. Each containing group takes precedent. My loyalty to my country has to take second place behind my loyalty to humanity. And my loyalty to my species has to come behind my loyalty to universal, interconnected, miraculous and fragile life we are all part of. It could take one dumb asteroid to destroy it. Or it could take one dumb humanity that developed too much power before developing enough sense. Morality could save us from that fate.

Random House defines the word ‘honour” as: “high respect as for worth”, or “honesty or integrity in one’s belief and actions”. ‘Honourable’ is defined as “worthy of honour and high respect”. An honourable man is someone who follows the universally accepted rules of right and wrong and, as a consequence, is admired by human beings everywhere. Gandhi was admired around the world, even though he was treated, by the British ruling class, as a criminal.

The word ‘honour’ (just like love, faith, patriotism, etc.) has been hijacked and co-opted by the elite, that holds most of the wealth and power, and its primary motivation is to maintain this position. Honour came to mean ‘loyalty’ to whatever group, standing for whatever goal or principle. German officers’ sense of ‘honour’ prevented them from standing up to Hitler. However, we all understood why John Le Carre named one of his best books “The Honourable Schoolboy”. Even though Jerry Westerby betrayed his masters who had thought he was one them.

‘Honour’ does not mean loyalty. SS guards had loyalty. It does not mean ‘integrity’. Bin Laden had integrity of some sort (his belief in his horribly misguided crusade seemed genuine).

Honour is the highest praise among human beings. A judge is called ‘your honour’ because he is supposed to have the wisdom and integrity to represent our best interests. Honour means representing this interest, even if it contradicts our paper-obligations. A spy, pretending and lying in order to defeat evil from inside is an honourable man. A law abiding citizen in the same regime is also a dishonourable human being.

Our social concepts are linked into a cause-and-effect logical chain: survival – needs – values – ethics – social contract – morality - honour.

This chain ties honour to our survival needs. Regardless what our rulers pretend our interests are. We know what our interests are, without being told. We want to be healthy, secure, productive human beings, raising our families in a healthy, peaceful, cooperative society. We don’t believe we need to send our sons and daughters to the other end of the Globe to kill and be killed. Only madmen and morons could believe in that.

And, most important: scientists have a very special moral obligation to humanity. No matter what the justification, do not help immoral leaders acquire the tools they need to force their will on the moral majority. Do not participate in weapons development and do not work for industries damaging the environment. If you do, you will betray the highest loyalty you have: to life, including yours and your loved ones.
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14-02-2013, 08:58 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
Not an easy question to answer in a concise way (Chas where are you?).

We can start with Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Physiological
Safety
Love and Belonging
Esteem
Self-actualization


I would think that it all depends on your personal situation.

Regarding your question about dumping toxic waste. Do you need your job because you live paycheck to paycheck and you have to feed your children? Do you have money saved where you can tell your boss to shove it? I think there are just too many variables to make a general statement that would cleanly fit all scenarios.

What I do know is that when you are hungry very few things if any are beyond contemplation, from stealing, murder or even cannibalism as an extreme case.

If your physiological needs are being met then do you feel safe? It's hard to worry about others when you feel your own life is in danger.

If your safety needs are being met then do you feel like you belong, have friends, intimacy? There is a very strong desire for these, enough so that they outweigh what is best for the country or world for that matter.

If your esteem needs are being met then are you reaching self-actualization? Only when the other needs have been mostly met can we discuss what is moral and good.

Throughout history conversions happen at the point of a sword, deconversions at the point of a pen - FC

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain in Eruption
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14-02-2013, 09:00 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
so you're saying that a lion eating a zebra is immoral because it's dishonouring its loyalty to life? or it only applies to humans? and if it does, why?

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14-02-2013, 09:07 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
(14-02-2013 08:58 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Only when the other needs have been mostly met can we discuss what is moral and good.
...
That would be an improvement for the world:

1./ define what your absolute minimum real needs are (survival, health, safety for you and your family) without which you can't exist (not including the Rolex and the country club membership)

2./ Then, consider your moral obligations to the rest of the hierarchy you belong to.

Unfortunately, most people never get to point 2./ and do not exclude the Rolex, etc., from 1./
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14-02-2013, 09:16 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
(14-02-2013 09:00 PM)nach_in Wrote:  so you're saying that a lion eating a zebra is immoral because it's dishonouring its loyalty to life? or it only applies to humans? and if it does, why?
Lions don't have a choice.

We do.

See my poem: "Wild Dogs" on the "Predation" thread at: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ign?page=3 Post#26. Smile
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14-02-2013, 09:24 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
But then you're asking something that goes far beyond than just hierarchies of tribes, you're asking how can we distinguish good from evil. It's not as simple as having a couple of rules I'm afraid Sad

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14-02-2013, 10:31 PM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
Loyalties eh?

Myself, my motorbike, my PC, my friends, my family, the rest of my material possesions.

In that order.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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