moral blind spots

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Future generations might wonder why it took us so long to supply everyone with rubber bullets.
I'm sure governments much prefer to have old fashioned, really loud, messy and ballistically trackable weapons rather than open the door to what would replace them - lethal or not. Guns are bad, airguns full of shell fish toxin or lasers would be a lot worse.
 

Justin Swanton

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What is interesting about animal rights is the total lack of regard animals have for them. Y'know, lion and zebra, snake and mouse, wolverine and anything, etc. Animals take other animals apart if it suits them, heck, they're even equipped for it.
 

Montero

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Taking animals apart - yes, but as has effectively already been implied - we can do it on a massive scale due to our tool using plus we don't suffer the consequences in the same way. Yes, lions can kill a buffalo - but buffalo can and do injure or kill lions. If lions overhunted the way people do, then their food supply would be gone. They are (probably) not equipped to see the consequences of that, but they would die of starvation anyway.

So my ethical take on this (keeping the thread on track!) is that we no longer suffer the consequences of our actions in the way we used to. Being able to dodge the consequences of our actions could in the future be regarded as immoral.
 

Robert Zwilling

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Paying attention to consequences of actions, that could be required in future societies. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what interacts with what. That might make life like a chess game. I have played chess where you start out by not taking any pieces even though they can be taken. When you reach a point where no move can be made without taking a piece, you then trip the mousetrap and wipe out everything that is vulnerable. The pieces left over are a random selection of pieces in random positions. The game is a lot easier to play after that.
 

Russiano

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Maybe, in some more "enlightened" future, criminals are embedded in a cluster of people whose task it is to ensure that convicts learn to adjust their behaviour to the norms of society. This could have a dark side, too, as people grow accustomed to monitoring everyone around them for unacceptable behaviour. And so everyone ends up being constantly rehabilitated.
I've got severe A Clockwork Orange movie flashbacks when read this one. It rose a specific question whether we should change someone's personality against their will in order to make them behave properly, as the rest of the society. The methods in this post and in the movie differ yet the message remains.
There is also a tricky question such as What will we see as a norm in the future? It's impossible to calculate without according to the past. For example, the Middle Age often considered free speech as a sinful act. The beginning of the Modern Era divides living beings on humans and slaves, and there is no racism because it simply doesn't exist at that timeline. To all those societies in the past, many of our aspects of life that we see as good would be a disgust to them.
I'd except something that we think of as morally unacceptable today to become a new norm in the distant future, because the evolution shows that our conscience becomes more and more flexible. It's neither positive nor negative, it's just the way we adapt and survive.
 
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One I was thinking of was prison. Not just the death penalty, as that is already controversial, but the whole notion of locking criminals, even violent criminals, away from the rest of society.
Perhaps that will seem unlikely because it might someday be nearly impossible to commit a crime. A society where no one has any physical vulnerabilities and everyone has as much property as they desire becomes a hard one to be a criminal in. How do you steal something that is free? How do you murder someone who can't be killed?
 

Judderman

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It is hard to see a future where everyone has all the property they desire. Certainly not with the population size on earth. Unless in a virtual world counts. Perhaps in the future having large physical properties will be seen as immoral by many.
 

Joshua Jones

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It is hard to see a future where everyone has all the property they desire. Certainly not with the population size on earth. Unless in a virtual world counts. Perhaps in the future having large physical properties will be seen as immoral by many.
Perhaps. Alternatively, if we can colonize other planets at a moderate pace, we could find ourselves with vastly more space available than we can fill in the near future. In such a setting, people may find it astonishing that people used to crowd themselves into tight pollution holes called cities...
 
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It is hard to see a future where everyone has all the property they desire. Certainly not with the population size on earth. Unless in a virtual world counts. Perhaps in the future having large physical properties will be seen as immoral by many.
That's both a philosophical and economic adjustment. If there are more than enough solar powered personal jets for anyone to travel when they want to, and they are free for anyone to use, will people still value owning a jet? Or will it be like owning a hat, where everyone can get a hat and most people don't care?
 

MWagner

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Earlier in the thread, we discussed the future of sexual norms. This recent article in the Atlantic has caused quite a stir:

Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

One of the observations of the article (and the research that informs it) is that norms around sex are changing rapidly. Young people today are often deeply uncomfortable with face-to-face flirtation and proposals. When the author tells some young women she's interviewing that she met her husband when they worked in the same building and he struck up a conversation with her in the elevator, they regard such behaviour as 'stalkerish.'

So I'd suggest that in the future, we may come to regard unregulated face-to-face flirtation and mating as dangerous and immoral.
 

Ihe

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That's a good one. The over-dependence on technology does push us away from the face-to-face moments. As with everything else, social media was a great idea until we took it too far. And watch out, because the younger generations coming up depend even more on tech.

I, for one, welcome this change of pace for the long-term. Not because I'm against good old-fashioned romance, but because I believe the planet won't last another century if we maintain our numbers, let alone increase them. Less sex is good for the human race.o_O

I think that Mother Nature, in its infinite pragmatism, abides by a simple general formula: as success, knowledge, and resources increase in any given place, birthrates diminish to offset what could be a dangerous baby boom, thus conserving resources and ensuring a brighter future for the offspring--I know, I know, this is very vague, but I feel there's some sense to it. I won't get into suicide rates amongst the richer countries, because the samples could never be big enough to be evidence in a global Gaia-like theory, but there's some reflection of it at the quantum level that is the individual, in extreme cases. Maybe the brain is wired to worry, and the moment life gives us some success and free time, nature just sits back with some popcorn and watches us do ourselves in. Who knows. There's must be some sort of conspiracy here, everything just makes too much sense! (I would now like to request from the Masters of this forum emoticons wearing tinfoil hats, so that I can punctuate all of my ramblings from here on out).:LOL:
 

Robert Zwilling

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I think that Mother Nature, in its infinite pragmatism, abides by a simple general formula: as success, knowledge, and resources increase in any given place, birthrates diminish to offset what could be a dangerous baby boom, thus conserving resources and ensuring a brighter future for the offspring
I would think it was backwards. Population explosions happen with everything when there is plenty of resources. People have an added feature over most of the rest of the population of life on this planet, we can contemplate our situation from past results, present conditions, and future expectations. If there was rational thinking involved, people voluntarily would slow the birthrate because they felt there wasn't resources to continue, not because they felt they had everything they needed. One third of the food produced in the world is thrown away every year, that would be enough to solve the food shortage without producing more. A rational solution that would make the situation even worse.

Modern day, technologically developed societies have had declining birth rates ever since records were started on the subject. Societies playing catch up don't have declining birth rates. Since the number of new births is starting to decrease on a global scale, as evidenced by the slowing of the global population increase, it could be reasoned that the number of people in well technologically developed is coming up to a 50/50 ratio with the not so technologically developed societies. The interaction of the two parts has to be taken into any accounting of what might happen next. It would seem logical that until everyone is on the same playing field, we can't know if having too much is an incentive to reproduce less, or just a temporary brake that won't hold once things level off. Declining birthrates in technologically advanced societies could be the ultimate cause and effect of replacing workers with substitutes. The population number is so large that even without any additional increases, there are still too many situations that are out of control that should be addressed to insure a successful life for everything involved. With all the ups and downs the human race has had, the population has always steadily increased in the long run. Even if things go wrong, we will start up again, and if we totally fail, there are so many waiting in line to take our place. From our point of view that wouldn't be good, from Mother Nature's point of view, we're just another face in the crowd.

Gaia theory takes the entire planet into account. It also doesn't use abundance as a sign for stopping productions. It uses lack of resources as a wall to act as a brake, which is usually applied long after the boulder has seemingly successfully rolled down hill. Look at Gaia like it's a circular pattern, with the functional stuff swirling about in the center of the circle. The inner circle is what Mother Nature protects, the rest is a disposable/replaceable/not really needed phone skin. The small stuff is what makes all life possible on the planet. That would be anything part of the biogeochemical cycles. Which is only the small stuff. Without the small stuff there would be no big stuff. Without the big stuff there will still be the small stuff. In other words people are not part of the Gaia program, we are completely optional, like flower petals but not even that, more like an optional species that arose out of a game of chance. We imitate Gaia but we are not required for it's continued operation.

The phones are built around pushing the buttons which push our mental buttons that keep us on line for one reason only. The longer we stay on line the higher the advertising rates can be charged. Because we have monetized everything that becomes the most important reason. There are all kinds of ramifications pouring out of the phones running the entire range from good to indifferent to bad. The more money handled the more monetized our thinking becomes. The smaller the device the easier it is to take it with us. You can even wear it on your arm like a data pump. Both actions fulfilling the rules of a system that promises unattainable rewards for desired behavior.

I recently drew a picture that showed a phone stuck on on a persons neck, it replaced the head. On the phone screen was a picture of ice and there was a bunch of people with their heads stuck in the frozen ice (stuck in the sand but ostriches never do that in real life) and their feet waving around in the air. The picture can be interpreted at least 2 ways. One thought is, phones aren't so good, you can get your head stuck in the phone. The other is that no matter where people physically are (where your feet have taken us) we can all easily meet up any time we want in one single place, inside the phone. This illustrates mixed signals, one man's disaster is another man's opportunity. Which has to do with the idea that warning signs for one group is to the go ahead for another group. The more uncertain the signage as it applies to the time, I think the more likely we would see a 50/50 split. Which means even knowing the outlook is bad, not everyone is going to interpret the news as a signal to stop.
 

Ihe

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Here I was, all dewy-eyed, drunkenly philosophizing about life and the world, and @Robert Zwilling had to come at me with facts. Party pooper.

I wasn't talking about the existing Gaia theory btw, just using it interchangeably with Nature and the world at large, my bad. My ramblings were much more vague and scattered than you give me credit for.

I understand that as long as there is noticeable growth in economy/tech/quality of life, birthrates go up, but--and this is without even peeping at an ounce of research--numbers don't keep climbing forever. Maybe what we're seeing in places like Europe, Japan, and now a bit in America is a plateau of sorts. Humanity has never been in the technological position that we are now--predicting our growth from here on out using evidence from our past might not work. We live among potential singularities waiting to happen.

The main idea I was massaging was that once First World societies stabilize in comfort and there's no more grandly noticeable advancement/growth as a nation, its citizens can lose some motivation at the most instinctual levels (increase in suicides and declining birthrates were the lose examples). I'm still trying to think in a really big picture, looking at the world as a self-regulating cell. We are its ribosomes (or something like that, gotta brush up on my fourth grade science), and all these complex societal/technological/economy dynamics that we experience, that shape our lives, are its versions of "chemical processes", with a change in dimension. A very romantic notion, if you ask me, correct or not :whistle:.

The more practical (and boring) answer out there is something like: as men's acquisitive power increases, education improves (both in quality and in number of opportunities). Since capitalism is the great shark that cannot stop moving or risk dying, we must keep feeding the machine, which means with more educated women, eventually their acquisitive power increases as they study and enter the workforce, which delays relationships and decreases births. Technology and social media ironically isolating us socially don't help our newer generations either, and so forth, etc. But who wants to talk about that when you got sentient planets to discuss? :alien:
 

Robert Zwilling

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Maybe the ribosomes the Brave New World or of some third rate flower petal but surely not the ribosomes of the natural world. I don't see how women becoming educated means there has to be less children around.
 

Ihe

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The way I understand it, more/better education=more work opportunities and economic freedom=more focus on career/job=less full-time mums=delaying childrearing, or deciding against it/or deciding for a reduced number of offspring in order to keep working. Unlike on my previous ramblings, there is more literature on this subject I believe. Can't direct you anywhere as I'm only pulling from memory (this is a sneaky post while at the job :censored::whistle:).
 

Robert Zwilling

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This is from limited experience but was pretty common for the area. Going back 50 years it was not unusual for women with professional careers to take time out, raise a couple of children, after 10 or 12 years go back to a job with professional standing, could be a different job, maybe even got more education, and continued working for quite some time.

I don't know if the 10 year gap cuts down on the rate of population increase. I do know taking too much time out today can make it difficult to get back to the same pay level even if it is the same job, which would be a deterrent to taking the extended break.
 

Stephen Palmer

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Earlier in the thread, we discussed the future of sexual norms. This recent article in the Atlantic has caused quite a stir:

Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
The main issue i.m.o. is the influence of the internet and social media in particular.
You could also google hikikomori to see what awful things are happening in Japan. Hikikomori has been known there for a while, but now it's being merged with internet addiction.
For a frightening insight, check out The Cyber Effect by Dr Mary Aiken.
 

Robert Zwilling

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I think that is a pretty well balanced article, it not entirely focused on one country, or one group and looks at many things that are happening. It presents an idea that not one thing effecting a whole lot of people but a whole lot of things effecting a whole lot of people. The results are the same. The article didn't seem to implicate the economy, which has become a way of life in place of being a way of supplementing life. The digital aspects seemed to offset the gains and losses and only served to illustrate the problem but not explain why it is happening. In the column of articles on the right hand side from the same magazine, is an article that says the economy killed the millennials ability to better their lives materialistically, that the millennials did not kill the economy, or better phrased, killed various aspects of the economy. Why not extend that idea that the economy is killing all kinds of things, such as the birthrate of developed countries and the birthrate of other animals in those countries. That was one weak point in the article, it looked only at developed countries. The birth rates in underdeveloped countries are higher than in developed countries. The mortality rates have been decreasing in both developed and underdeveloped countries. It is being said that the spread of technology is responsible for the reduced mortality rates, and has little to do with the income inequality that seemingly comes with the spread of technology. Perhaps the more the land is exposed to the economy and not the technology, the lower the birthrate becomes for everything associated with that land.
 

Parson

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The main issue i.m.o. is the influence of the internet and social media in particular.
You could also google hikikomori to see what awful things are happening in Japan. Hikikomori has been known there for a while, but now it's being merged with internet addiction.
For a frightening insight, check out The Cyber Effect by Dr Mary Aiken.
Very interesting. A few weeks ago I used the Hikikomori as a sermon illustration. They might just be the leading edge of a sad societal trend.
 

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