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The Nature of Civilization

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  • The Nature of Civilization

    I want to posit a few question to the forum because I think the answers will illuminate the positions of people on Traditions versus Technocracy:

    1. Is human nature inherently good (or, at least, inherently innocent)? If so, how do we know?

    2. Are human civilizations innately good? If so, how can the despots, genocide, slavery, and war across five thousand years of human history be explained?

    3. Does civilization need to be chained to a focus on human rights (including the reproductive freedoms of women) to prevent the rise of despots, genocide, slavery, and war? If not, how do stop such things from occurring?

  • #2
    Good and Bad are inherently subjective. Nothing can be innately good or innately bad. As Objective ethics simply do not exist.

    Good, is another word for 'beneficial to the speaker' Bad is a word for 'harmful to the speaker.'

    So, to answer your questions.

    1.) Human Nature is not inherently good or evil, because good and evil objectively do not exist.

    2.) Human civilization is not innately good, nor evil, because good and evil objectively do not exist.

    3.) This question is baffling and I don't understand what you mean by 'chained to a focus on human rights.

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    • #3
      What do those questions have to do with the Technocratic Union (assuming something like an amalgamated objective position is probably) or the many, many, MANY different sub-groups glommed together in the Nine Traditions (where it is pretty much 100% certain there is NO such position)?

      What underlying assumptions are these three questions even based on?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
        1. Is human nature inherently good (or, at least, inherently innocent)? If so, how do we know?
        Human nature is inherently complicated. Citation: Look around.

        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
        2. Are human civilizations innately good? If so, how can the despots, genocide, slavery, and war across five thousand years of human history be explained?
        Transition from mobile bands of hunter/gatherers to agrarian societies with specialized job roles and the associated development of art, science, economics, and written language has brought a mixed bad of bad and good, with the bad outweighed by the good many times over. Citation: indoor plumbing, antibiotics, and Taco Bell.

        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
        If not, how do stop such things from occurring?
        First, let's assume a post-scarcity society. I'm predicting at the very least that we'll need self-replicating machines and programmable matter so that a portable "cornucopia" assembler device becomes as ubiquitous as cell phones. We'll need parallel developments in energy production, so I'm thinking that we better get to work on matter/anti-matter collision chambers. I'd also personally be happier if we took all the eggs out of one basket and began a serious program of propagating human life outside our own solar system so that one meteor impact doesn't wipe out the species, but that's really long range, no pun intended. Let's get to work on lunar and martian colonization and then take a serious look at Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Normally this sort of colonization effort would run into problems of energy consumption involved in transporting matter off of Earth and into a controlled descent into another gravity well, but I think we have enough diluthium to pull it off.

        So I guess my answer is....what was the question again? How do we stop such things? Well first we kill all the lawyers. Then the second rule of fight club is that it was his sled. We have worm-sign! Only a Sith drinks Absolut. Warp One, Engage. Shut up, Wesley! Bunny-cat is a dick.
        Last edited by BenjCano; 02-16-2017, 08:30 PM.


        I seem to have acquired a site for running play by post games. This is unexpected and frightening and come watch either the glorious play or the magnificent train wreck:

        The Malkavian Madness Network

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        • #5
          It is my belief that (broadly speaking) human nature is inherently good, that people do the things they do because they believe that they are right. Gays are mentally ill and need to be cured. Abortion is murder and it needs to be stopped. Aristotle believed that some people are naturally born slaves and slavery is good for them. That sort of things.
          And sometimes the questions are extremely complicated. You mentioned reproductive freedoms of women. Why only women? The question of abortion and father's rights is extremely complicated and saying that there is a single good answer would be a gross oversimplification.

          Everyone's a hero of their own story, every war is a defensive war. Sometimes this arises out of misguided beliefs, sometimes out of limited view where some people are viewed as more important than others.

          Regarding 3. When what you are advocating starts sounding an awful lot like a fight against thoughtcrimes, you should stop and rethink your position.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
            It is my belief that (broadly speaking) human nature is inherently good, that people do the things they do because they believe that they are right. Gays are mentally ill and need to be cured. Abortion is murder and it needs to be stopped. Aristotle believed that some people are naturally born slaves and slavery is good for them. That sort of things.
            And sometimes the questions are extremely complicated. You mentioned reproductive freedoms of women. Why only women? The question of abortion and father's rights is extremely complicated and saying that there is a single good answer would be a gross oversimplification.

            Everyone's a hero of their own story, every war is a defensive war. Sometimes this arises out of misguided beliefs, sometimes out of limited view where some people are viewed as more important than others.

            Regarding 3. When what you are advocating starts sounding an awful lot like a fight against thoughtcrimes, you should stop and rethink your position.
            Y' know, when someone says things like that, I could actually understand the sjw crusade's overreaction.


            If nothing worked, then let's think!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
              I want to posit a few question to the forum because I think the answers will illuminate the positions of people on Traditions versus Technocracy:

              1. Is human nature inherently good (or, at least, inherently innocent)? If so, how do we know?

              2. Are human civilizations innately good? If so, how can the despots, genocide, slavery, and war across five thousand years of human history be explained?

              3. Does civilization need to be chained to a focus on human rights (including the reproductive freedoms of women) to prevent the rise of despots, genocide, slavery, and war? If not, how do stop such things from occurring?
              Aya, your speeches smell like sub marxism/naturalism from humanities... Sorry for being frank, but thats just shallow post modern New Age bullshit. And this kind of speech has no scientific backup for it, and no profound philosophical rational on it... Its just hippie crap about "purity of mother nature" versus "absolute evilness of men".

              The classic silly primitivism, upheld by a good many deal of people that are all well fed and clothed and have access to the best of modern day medicine, meanwhile saying that life in the caves were a Shangri La, a Nirvana existance of which those proponents of it never saw beyond their summer camps "on the wilds" (meaning: in a farm, with the best of the modern age camping equipment).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PMárk View Post

                Y' know, when someone says things like that, I could actually understand the sjw crusade's overreaction.
                I'm not sure what you mean.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just so you know, our planet had 5 cataclismic events in the past, that led to 5 massive extinctions. In the great Permian mass extinction, the greatest ever, up to 90% of all species at the time went extinct, disappeared. The total amount of all species that walk upon this Earth today are less than 0.0001% of the total amount of all the species that already walked in this planet. The modern theory of revolution acknowledges the utter importance of extinctions in the process of evolution and how all those extinctions brought our evolutionary history up to this day. We are the lucky few, the survivors. The majority of the races that tried their luck in this cruel world have long become dust, their only mark that they have ever been are pieces of rocks, to tell us the tales of the unsong dead. And this unforgiven world never shed a single tear over all the dinossaurs that were swiped away, nor has it have had any mercy or compassion for any of the contless beings there were mercilessly destroyed up to the last of their kind. Nature has only one rule - live, or die. Kill, or get killed. Survival of the fittest. No mercy, no regreats. No evil and no good. Nature simply is a disturbing neutral to us, a total lack of empathy towards our frail human concerns. We could deal with a nature that is actively evil - at least we could antagonize it. But no, nature is painfully neutral. If we disappear tomorrow, the universe won't even notice. No one will cry for us.

                  That's what nature TRULY represents. So stop those romantic BS notions about "natural purity". Its just a shallow garbage.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Karlgust View Post

                    Aya, your speeches smell like sub marxism/naturalism from humanities... Sorry for being frank, but thats just shallow post modern New Age bullshit. And this kind of speech has no scientific backup for it, and no profound philosophical rational on it... Its just hippie crap about "purity of mother nature" versus "absolute evilness of men".

                    The classic silly primitivism, upheld by a good many deal of people that are all well fed and clothed and have access to the best of modern day medicine, meanwhile saying that life in the caves were a Shangri La, a Nirvana existance of which those proponents of it never saw beyond their summer camps "on the wilds" (meaning: in a farm, with the best of the modern age camping equipment).
                    Philosophical rational? In the first question, the philosophical rational comes from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Theory of Natural Human. In the second question, the philosophical rational comes from Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan. In the third question, the philosophical rational comes from Plato's Republic and Laozi's Tao Te Ching, as well as more contemporary philosophers such as Iris Murdock and Joseph Butler.

                    Scientific backup? How about the entire archeological record before 5,000 BC where there is no evidence of large-scale conflicts between groups of human beings? How about the entire historical record of human civilization since 3,000 BC, which is a litany of despots, genocide, slavery, and war that kept only getting worse until World War II shocked some sense into people and caused them to start to wonder what the purpose of human civilization was?

                    I am not advocating a return to a primitive society. I appreciate simple things like air conditioning and toilet paper. However, I do not think that we need to tolerate despots, genocide, slavery, or war in exchange for getting to benefit from air conditioning and toilet paper.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                      Scientific backup? How about the entire archeological record before 5,000 BC where there is no evidence of large-scale conflicts between groups of human beings? How about the entire historical record of human civilization since 3,000 BC, which is a litany of despots, genocide, slavery, and war that kept only getting worse until World War II shocked some sense into people and caused them to start to wonder what the purpose of human civilization was?
                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jebel_Sahaba

                      WWII shocked some sense into people? Did you miss the Vietnam War, the american invasion into Iraq, the Afghanistan war? We no longer have traditional large scale warfare between superpowers because nukes exist. People still fight over resources to make their lives better. It's just that there's a looming threat of everyone being wiped out that made some forms of fighting unviable.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You mean, the prior to the Neolithic period where we have little to no evidence of ANYTHING and are mostly going on guesswork based on what little we do know?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We have plenty of archeological and genetic evidence about the state of existence before history. While things are vague before the Middle Stone Age, there is enough evidence from the Middle Stone Age and Late Stone Age to be able to tell a lot about our ancestors. In addition, we can study genetics to extrapolate pre-historic populations by examining the mutations that exist within current human populations (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/art...l.pone.0006366)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post

                            Philosophical rational? In the first question, the philosophical rational comes from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Theory of Natural Human. In the second question, the philosophical rational comes from Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan. In the third question, the philosophical rational comes from Plato's Republic and Laozi's Tao Te Ching, as well as more contemporary philosophers such as Iris Murdock and Joseph Butler
                            Really? Ideas based on guys who were born before the invention of the scientific methody? And... Plato? The very same guy that said slavery is natural and that we are made of fire, air, water and earth?

                            Philosophy is great, but not to deal with the natural world. When used instead of science, it just gives a lot of crap. Let philosophy deal with logic, aesthetics and morals, and let science deal with the natural world and its principles.


                            Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                            Scientific backup? How about the entire archeological record before 5,000 BC where there is no evidence of large-scale conflicts between groups of human beings? How about the entire historical record of human civilization since 3,000 BC, which is a litany of despots, genocide, slavery, and war that kept only getting worse until World War II shocked some sense into people and caused them to start to wonder what the purpose of human civilization was?
                            That's the most stupid thing I ever heard. Of course there wasn't any "large-scale conflicts between groups of human beings".

                            There WASN'T any LARGE enough group of human beings.

                            No group could be bigger than a few hundreds before the agriculture revolution.

                            Thats like saying Lions are pacifists because you never have a conflict of more than a few individuals. Its a completly idiotic affirmation


                            Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                            I am not advocating a return to a primitive society. I appreciate simple things like air conditioning and toilet paper. However, I do not think that we need to tolerate despots, genocide, slavery, or war in exchange for getting to benefit from air conditioning and toilet paper.
                            Thats easy to say on a high tech post industrial society.

                            But you wouldn't be so humanist leaving on medieval scandinavia, been subjected to extreme cold and hunger. You'd say "fuck those christians europeans! Better they than me!" and you would rape and murder and pillage.

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                            • #15
                              A post about philosophical musings? I can so get behind this!

                              Humans are hardwired for pattern recognition. It's was we are built for and it's how we learn to survive. We learn things by the rules of Cause and Effect. In social situations the Cause is usually something we can observe, and the Effect is usually something we can feel e.g. You hit me, I feel pain. (Feelings can be Causes, and observations Effects. Though this is often in retaliation to a prior cause). When a given Effect follows a given Cause frequently, it usually means the association becomes stronger. e.g. Being hit means I feel pain.

                              However, we also have a habit of categorising things by easily identifiable markers, such as colour, size, shape, purpose, location, etc. We do this to make things easier to talk about, but also to make them easier to think about since it allows us to focus on the group rather than on each component of the group.

                              Two of the most common markers are the dichotomy of "good" and "bad", and in relation to the way we learn via Cause and Effect, Good things tend to be things that make us feel "better" while bad things are things that make us feel "worse". The problem is that "better" and "worse" are comparative terms, they make no sense without a context to pin them too. Better than what? Worse how? This is where the subjective nature of Good and Bad makes its home, but fundamentally, this is what we mean when we say something is Good or Bad, we mean it makes us feel Better or Worse and perhaps expect it would make others feel Better or Worse.

                              That's another thing humans do quite a lot. We tend to assume that what we experience personally is similar to what others experience, simply because it is impossible to think outside of our own mind, so using our minds as a short hand for others is mentally simpler. But such assumptions have proved to be quite beneficial, especially regarding things as important as Language.

                              Now, we humans do not just learn through direct experience, we also learn secondhand via story and simulation. Someone tells us an experience that happened to them, and we relive it in our own mind and attach the various pattern markers and Cause and Effect lessons from them into us. In effect, another person's experience becomes a less potent version of our own, though over time it all stacks up.

                              Here's the rub. Living Human Memory is only as old as the oldest person alive, which means on average Living Human Memory only goes as far back as about 60-95 years. Less than a century, which means we can only really experience directly or indirectly the span of these years without looking at historic records. But even then, it's never really possible to get a perfect set of experiences from one human to another, even with a common tertiary source. We all have our own personal Effects triggered from various Causes, and as a result, all attempts at communication are, at best, assumptions.

                              This leads to two big effects. 1st is that communication becomes inherently modular. The 2nd is that there is an inherent limit on how we recognise Big Patterns.

                              Let's talk about the 1st bit first.
                              People will talk within groups and get various ideas on what certain terms will mean. e.g. Eggs are Good. While another group may get a completely different idea, e.g. Eggs are Bad. When these two groups try to talk to each other, they will be doing so on the assumption that their definitions match, but once it becomes clear that they don't, problems start to occur. Are Eggs good? Are they Bad?
                              Not everyone likes argument, some tie their very identity to the categories they've slotted items, and by extension themselves, into. "Eggs are bad, I am Egg-hater". So for an Egg-hater to come to terms with Egg-lover, they either have to dismantle their own identity in some part, or address the position of the Egg-lover.

                              In societies, this happens at a very complex scale through something known as "Culture". Just to be clear, the way I see culture is it's simply "Mass Agreed Social Norms". Culture by its very nature is arbitrary when seen at face value. Many aspects of culture had practical origin, but over time the understanding evolved, turning these practical solutions into superstition, or new methods were developed, turning these practical solutions into mere force of habit. Either way, they only perpetuate because they make up part of what is dubbed "normal" by the majority. Having standard behaviours tends to make things in society run a bit easier. It means each individual can better categorise their actions, and knows what to expect from a given situation. They know to say "please" at the end of a request, and they know to expect one in return. Life is generally easier if everyone knows what to expect from each other, and they identify themselves by their own behaviour and categorise themselves and others with similar predictable behaviours as "one and the same". This ease of dealing with people feels "better" than worrying about individuals, and is therefore "Good".

                              Dealing with people of different cultures is much more work because all the advantages of shared expectation are gone, or muddled to confusion. Do I say Please at the end of a request? Or am I supposed to say something else? Or nothing at all? Should I even ask a request in the first place or simply allude to it? This becomes more difficult to work with, and can make both parties feel "worse" in the short term due to embarrassment or frustration, and is therefor "Bad". So what happens next? Well, just as the Egg lovers and haters, the two parties must either re-examine their own culture and deconstruct the identity they built around it, or dismantle the other culture's. More often than not, the latter is easier to do than the former, since we Human's tend to favour familiarity.

                              On to the 2nd bit.
                              Big patterns are patterns which span generations. Usually this is described as following four stages. A stage of disquiet in which people get tired of the status quo. Revolution in which the empowered rise up to dismantle the status quo. Crisis in which the fallout from the loss of stability is experienced. And Resolution, in which a new status quo is built from the ashes of the old and the cycle begins anew. Because we only have a Human Living Memory of about 60-95 years or so. We as a species are only able to directly recall 2 of these stages at any one time. Everything else is an indirect source which suffers the limitations of subjective language stated above, and the expectations and colouring that one's own Culture presents them, along with the difficulties inherent with different cultures discussing things. Because the vast majority of people do not study history, and instead go with conventional wisdom and stories told from their elders (again, because it's easier), people tend to cause the next stage in the cycle because of the first two stages working in living memory.

                              Grandpa told us how bad the war was (stage 3, Crisis) and now we live in a much better time (Stage 4, Resolution) but is it really that much better? (Stage 1 Disquiet)
                              Grandma told us how everyone couldn't stand how things were (Stage 1, Disquiet), and now we're finally doing something about it (Stage 2, Revolution), but things are going to get worse before they get better... (Stage 3, Crisis)

                              The cycle will constantly repeat itself for as long as we only rely on Human Living Memory to guide us, for as long as we as humans attribute our habits and customs as part of our identity, for as long as we spend more time arguing about why we are right, and they are wrong, as long as we treat how we feel about information as an indicator of how "Good" the information is.


                              And just to be clear. When I say Culture, I don't just mean between nations, I also mean between social groups. Between Right wing and Left wing, Between Class, Between City livers and Rural Livers, and even between MtAs players and, say, WtA players. All of that is a form of culture, and all of the above applies to each and every group.


                              So with all this in mind, I say that you are asking all the wrong questions.


                              Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running UPDATE Chapter 25: Going Down

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