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But Life Has Delt You A Bad Hand
Published on March 8, 2009 By SplitPeaSoup In Ethics

Have you ever considered the idea that, in the end, the world is a fair place? Karma exists. Good things happen to good people and vice versa. Hard work results in achievement. Well, I have. And I reached a difficult conclusion: In the end, the world is much more complex than that. Why? Because the world is run by chaos.

Can you think of a single sinister character in history books or fiction who was born, lived a happy, fulfilling, and satisfying life, and then died happily? No, of course not. People just do not think like that. No one would write that. But can you think of someone in your life who has done terrible things to you or someone you know, who has cheated to success, or who is unnessesarily cruel, and then afterwards has had a great life experience? I can think of plenty.

Ethically, shouldn't being prideful of a talent or success that you did not earn through strength of character be considered an evil? How about exerting that success over others who do not have it? Isn't that unjust? But this is exactly what often happens with people who life has given great intellect. They think things like, "I am so much better than these people. I do better than other people because they are retards." And these people go on to succeed, while the retards end up picking up their trash.

A student with bright hopes might spend three hours a day studying while some of his more gifted classmates go out and drink and smoke. He might be genuinely interested in learning and accomplishment, while they might laugh about cramming and think about how everything will just work out; one day they will have a presitgious job and a fabulous life, just like their parents. But in the end, those gifted students do excel, and the worker will get left behind, forced to hear one of those smart kids say, "the reason I don't have to study and I beat you is that I'm smart and you are dumb". In such a situation, is natural selection ethical?

Well, the answer to that question depends on another question. What is ethical? Who decides what is ethical. After all, the gifted student probably thinks the situation is entirely fair, for some reason or another. And he will write that it is when he writes the history books, which he will write because he is the only one of the two even capable of writing a history book. But who is right? If everyone could be given a pill to make them equally talented and hard working, would it be ethical to give it? What if it could only be given to people who could afford it? Is the only truly ethical situation pure chaos? Is the chaos that runs our universe even ethical? If the universe is unethical, is this evidence that there is no God, or that God is unethical?


Comments
on Mar 13, 2009

Have you ever considered the idea that, in the end, the world is a fair place?

I think the world is neither far nor unfair.  It just is.  What makes it seem fair or unfair is the individual's perception of what is happening around them.  Peace comes from within, from the mind and the heart of the individual.  So does chaos.  I've known people in my life who constantly court disaster by their actions but refuse to modify their behaviour.  Then they blame but themselves.  The continue this cycle without realising what they're doing.  But it is their doing that undoes them. 

Ethics and what these are to the individual can be a touchy subject for many.  If, when you say

What is ethical? Who decides what is ethical.

you are referring to the laws of a church or of a government, then these can be viewed as subjective because of their formation (I'm not contending social or religious ethics are wrong but you only have to look at how certain behaviour is viewed in different parts of the world to understand what I mean).  If you mean the inbuilt ethics that come from our inate understanding of right and wrong, then this is a whole different kettle of fish.

Personally, I don't believe in God.  I do believe in the spirit of man, in our ability to overcome and survive against all odds and in idea that good and right will always overcome bad and wrong.  If I am viewed as naive because of this, then so be it.  At least I can say I'm genuinely happy.

on Mar 13, 2009

But in the end, those gifted students do excel, and the worker will get left behind, forced to hear one of those smart kids say, "the reason I don't have to study and I beat you is that I'm smart and you are dumb". In such a situation, is natural selection ethical?

I'm with dynamaso. The world isn't ethical or unethical; it just is.

After all, the gifted student probably thinks the situation is entirely fair, for some reason or another.

Not necessarily. As someone who's been given privileges because I got good marks at school, I just don't think the situation is important. I could demand radical surgery so that I'm no 'smarter' than anyone else, but what would that achieve? It wouldn't help those less academically blessed.

It's ethically right to make use of your talents. It's not ethically right to wear a hairshirt and deny them.

If everyone could be given a pill to make them equally talented and hard working, would it be ethical to give it?

If they wanted to take it, sure.I don't think it's an ethical issue at all, even if there is a cost associated. We allow anyone to damage their brain and work ability through alcohol, caffeine and nicotine addictions, so why not allow them to improve said brain if it's available?

on Mar 18, 2009

I just don't think the situation is important. I could demand radical surgery so that I'm no 'smarter' than anyone else, but what would that achieve? It wouldn't help those less academically blessed.

Why is the situation not important?

Having you hit your head against a wall until you are dumb is pretty much the opposite of what I would want. The problem is not that some people are too smart. It is that some people don't have a chance who might "deserve" it.

Really, most people have no idea what they are talking about, and they don't care. These people annoy me. Uncannily, most of the time they do not realize they blabber (such as I don't realize I am blabbering now . Given more ability, they would probably just do what most people do who have it: squander it.

I am talking about giving ability to the people who want it the most (to accomplish great things) but who have it the least.

Unfortunately, even if such a drug were possible, it would undoubtably gain widespread popularity among people who want to do less work and still get ahead. And this is only one of the ethical delimmas associated with the idea. Of course, I cannot see how the drug will never be created, unless the world ends or goes into a dark age.

In the end, I believe a smart drug would be beneficial to the world, regardless of the abuses that might follow it. Even if a smart pill could be used unethically, the result would be more people capable, at least, of doing better work.

on Mar 19, 2009

Why is the situation not important?

There are many people who suffer serious injustice in this world, largely through accident of birth. Why should I obsess about the terrible plight of the first-world mediocre when I can actually do something about, say, illiteracy, or the lack of credit in third-world countries?

Unfortunately, even if such a drug were possible, it would undoubtably gain widespread popularity among people who want to do less work and still get ahead. And this is only one of the ethical delimmas associated with the idea.

They would soon discover that smart people tend to work as hard as dumb people. They just work on more difficult things. In really bad school systems (which I guess is the environment you're envisioning) they don't use streaming, but if you saw a drastic increase in the cleverness of students you'd eventually see a drastic increase in the difficulty of classes.

on Mar 19, 2009

cactoblasta

Why is the situation not important?

There are many people who suffer serious injustice in this world, largely through accident of birth. Why should I obsess about the terrible plight of the first-world mediocre when I can actually do something about, say, illiteracy, or the lack of credit in third-world countries?

Political change relies on people as a whole cooperating. Scientific breakthroughs, on the other hand, can be achieved by a smaller number of people and rely more on an achievable input of money. For instance, several scientific companies got together (pro bono) to create a genetically modified organism called golden rice, which contains Vitamin A. This could have lead to a problem with blindness in the people eating our world's most consumed crop being greatly reduced. I think, however, that a few politcal problems inhibit its widespread consumption (some free trade garbage), but the problem may yet end up being solved by the work of relatively few people.

It is a misconception that something important can actually be done for those people through political means. It requires too much cooperation. The tragedy of the commons prohibits this. Science, on the other hand, can be a way around that problem.

 

on Mar 19, 2009

It is a misconception that something important can actually be done for those people through political means. It requires too much cooperation. The tragedy of the commons prohibits this. Science, on the other hand, can be a way around that problem.

You can't save people. Or at least you shouldn't - once saved, people tend to stay saved, with all the negative hanger-on-ism that that tends to attract.

The advantage of combatting illiteracy through education and lack of capital through microcredit is that it encourages the poor and dispossessed to take responsibility for their own fates. They will then take political action to save themselves. It's the best of all worlds.

The tragedy of the commons refers to common property. It doesn't have a lot of relevance to individual empowerment.

Scientific aid often just creates dependency. Take, for example, the sale of high-yield crops. These are very rarely targetted to the specific growing conditions of the area, and therefore fail more often than the local blend, which the locals often don't even stockpile when the miracle alternative arrives. As a result yields actually lower as a result of outside interference, and the local people get a healthy dose of xenophobia towards the next wonder improvement to come.

Cynicism is very first-world, but is it really more important to instil in developing countries than a good education?

on Mar 19, 2009

You can't save people. Or at least you shouldn't - once saved, people tend to stay saved, with all the negative hanger-on-ism that that tends to attract.

Hanger-on-ism is part of a vocabulary I do not recognize. Who talks about this?

The advantage of combatting illiteracy through education and lack of capital through microcredit is that it encourages the poor and dispossessed to take responsibility for their own fates. They will then take political action to save themselves. It's the best of all worlds.

Illiteracy and lack of captial are separate problems, ones that probably have scientific solutions, but I had not brought them up. Maybe if someone innovated a way to educate masses of people inexpensively... but I doubt that politics will suddenly change so that people focus on global education.

Anyway, I was talking about people not being able to succeed despite already having everything they need, except the potential.

Take, for example, the sale of high-yield crops. These are very rarely targetted to the specific growing conditions of the area, and therefore fail more often than the local blend... as a result yields actually lower.

I think you and me have different opinions of what a high-yield crop is. A high-yield crop with low yields is not a high yield crop at all. It is a mislableled and failed creation. You can also buy gingko biloba as a "memory-enhancer", but don't count on results.

The tragedy of the commons refers to common property. It doesn't have a lot of relevance to individual empowerment.

The tragedy of the commons refers to the temptation to act selfishly eliminating the possibility of maximally ultilized common resources, no matter how much some individuals might want that. Actually, I think the idea goes on to describe that the resources are eventually destroyed, but that's beside the point.  I believe there will always be "developing" countries because, even though on average people might be better off if all countries were created equal, Americans, for example, would have less without the harvest of imperialism. In spite of that, I think a situation like this can be made better. Mass education in developing areas could accomplish that, maybe. And The Fed can reduce the amplitude of recession (and growth).

 

Cynicism is very first-world, but is it really more important to instil in developing countries than a good education?

Cynicism is very first world because the philosophy applies so well in a material culture. I am not a cynic, however. Besides, who said anything about instilling cynicism in developing countries?

on Mar 20, 2009

Hanger-on-ism is part of a vocabulary I do not recognize. Who talks about this?

I suppose you could more accurately call it dependency. Conventional aid - such as donations of technology and food - create cultures of dependency, as they provide an economic disincentive for the development of these industries in the targeted area. This is what I rather poorly expressed as hanger-on-ism.

Anyway, I was talking about people not being able to succeed despite already having everything they need, except the potential.

I know. But you wanted to know why I thought the terrible plight of the mediocre was unimportant.

The tragedy of the commons refers to the temptation to act selfishly eliminating the possibility of maximally ultilized common resources, no matter how much some individuals might want that. Actually, I think the idea goes on to describe that the resources are eventually destroyed, but that's beside the point.  I believe there will always be "developing" countries because, even though on average people might be better off if all countries were created equal, Americans, for example, would have less without the harvest of imperialism. In spite of that, I think a situation like this can be made better.

You're making an assumption here that there is an upper limit to the amount of development the world can sustain here. Slight disparity in wealth is not the issue - few Australians, for example, resent the fact that Americans earn more on average. It's the big differences, in areas such as rates of hunger, infant mortality, murder and deaths through preventable disease that make third world nations third world. Each of these can be greatly reduced through intellectual (education reduces birth rates and improves infant mortality rates, as well as creating expertise to solve other issues) and economic (money is a necessity, and small business is the building block of the middle classes, the traditional source for government income) independence.

on Jun 05, 2009

Ronald Reagan was a mass murderer... and he was dum enough to be happy... (read Cocaine Politics if  you aren't hip to how evil him and his cabal was... and is... same folk ran bush, and Cheney had a death squad.  What you forget is that sociopaths can live happy lives because they do not care who they hurt.

 

Karma is bullshit.  Like the scientologist, Elfman, who refused to sign a card for some babies with aids, because she thinks they have a 'thinking problem,' not a disease.

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