Hitting Three Birds With One Solid Post!

Posted: June 7, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Ihsan, this post is mostly for you!

For those who are curious as to who Ihsan is, he is the awesome person that inspired the nickname with which I conclude each and every one of my blog posts: the “Sandman”. He is also a frequent reader and that makes him even awesomer in my eyes.

So, Mr. Awesome, let’s see what you had to say:

“Well, personally, “random person” and I were having this pretty interesting debate online not too long ago, about the existence of right and wrong and how “random person” thinks that they’re just barriers put up by societies to keep humanity in check. Where as I think that they’re pretty reasonable boundaries that we would have set up whether society had already put them there or not.”

Hmm, I’m not too sure if this can be related to reincarnation but I suppose it does strike up one compelling question, and that is if it’s in people’s nature to do “wrong” — as though it is almost expected of them — then how does that justify their punishment in the next life?
Obviously, the response to this would vary based on perspective. If you’re into religious laws of incarnation then you would adhere to Ihsan’s point of view; that rules regarding what is “right” and what is “wrong” have existed even before society emphasized them a great deal more. People who believe this are often fans of Libertarianism which states that every individual is governed solely by his/her free will and this ideology would justify any kind of after-death punishment for wrong-doing.
The opposing opinion would usually take on a less religious viewpoint, arguing in favor of Determinism:”…the philosophical view that every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is casually determined by the environment. It is, in essence, the view that one’s life is predetermined before one is even born.”
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_determinism

This is where religion and free will clash. Now, determinism shouldn’t be associated with God’s Plan because it isn’t a constituent but let me give you a little example of the clash I’m talking about:
Okay, a car accident has just struck. You were an acquaintance of the person who was run over by a drunk driver (hopefully that will never happen to any of you). In order to console you, your relatives/friends will tell you that “it was God’s plan that he/she dies; there was nothing you could do to stop it.” Okay, familiar so far, right? Wrong. The thing they don’t explain is this: if it were God’s plan for your friend to die then what gives us the right to punish the “offender”? He was just a tool in the plan which means that it wasn’t his free decision to have one too many beers! Heh, take a while to chew on that one, all of you God’s Plan fans.

Okay, keeping up? So far we have libertarianism and determinism…

Then there’s the Human Nature argument (Random Person’s argument). As just another species of animals, maybe in it’s just in our nature to kill those who invade our territory or have sexual desires or steal from others when we are hungry or desperate for survival. It’s sort of like we are doing things based on our free will but we can’t really be punished for actions that take place for basic instinctual reasons, you know? It wouldn’t make sense. Religion puts us on a high pedestal, telling us that we are better than other animals because of our vast mental capabilities but if you take a minute to think about it, you’ll see that we really do act like animals and if society and religion hadn’t created all of these rules and regulations, we would have definitely succumbed to our animalistic tendencies in order to achieve comfortable survival and continuity of the species.

So do I agree with Ihsan or Random Person? I have to say I definitely lean more towards Random Person’s point of view but only because I have some understanding of the sociological aspect of life. If a child lives alone for years without anyone teaching him “right” from “wrong”, he would do as his nature dictates and resort to any measure to ensure his survival, no matter how “wrong” we think it is.
Society’s and most of religion’s rules are just a way to preserve moral consensus so that the human race can coexist peacefully but is that working AT ALL?! They are essential only because we have survived for this long withing their establishment. Punishment for crimes is just a way to keep others in their place; to continue preserving the moral consensus. It is not necessarily fair to do so as I believe that some people are forced into a particular way of living regardless of their “free will” but we justify their punishment because we are full of emotions and revenge is a human concept applied everyday to thousands of “criminals” who violate the moral consensus and threaten to destroy our familiar way of life. We are a change-fearing species, no doubt about that.

This, in my opinion, is the logical argument. That is why I argue in favor of practical reincarnation and not religious reincarnation. There are too many obstacles in the way of the latter, too many gaps that seem almost impossible to fill. God’s plan and free will simply cannot mix and yet somehow we found a way to make it work…which really terrifies me of my own species. =S

Ihsan, Random Person, if you have any questions just let me know! I’d be happy to answer them any time! =]

Readers, let me know: which argument are you in favor of? Libertarianism, Determinism, or just plain human nature?

Leave your reply!

– The Sandman

  1. tofy says:

    I don’t know which argument to take, Libertarianism is religious, and I’m against any of that stuff, Determinism makes me feel powerless because it has the whole destiny thing, and human nature seems depressing… i guess i’ll just keep on keepin on.

  2. Omar says:

    well in my opinion, its a mix of both libertarianism and determinism. There are some morals that we get simply from society, and others that we get from common sense. For example, in the child in the island example, imagine he meets up with other humans. I think he would have sex with many of them randomly, because i think the idea of commitment and relationships is imposed by society (determinism). On the other hand, even if he didnt have a society to teach him these morals, i think the boy would know that it is amoral to kill someone or steal something, because he would use his logic. He would know that he would be taking someone’s life or taking something that is not rightfully his (libertarianism).

  3. thesandman16 says:

    “On the other hand, even if he didnt have a society to teach him these morals, i think the boy would know that it is amoral to kill someone or steal something, because he would use his logic. He would know that he would be taking someone’s life or taking something that is not rightfully his (libertarianism).”

    I highly disagree on the basis of basic human psychology and that is all children are born self-centered. They need to be educated and trained to feel empathy, sympathy, and especially guilt.
    A child will steal another child’s toy and when asked why he/she did that, the child will reply, “because I wanted it”. Do you think that they weren’t using logic properly or just that no one had yet told them it was wrong? Logic is acquired, not inherent. The common sense we are born with is very basic and instinctual and not as well-developed as you think. It all goes back to the socialization of the human being. Take gender socialization for instance:

    A boy wishes to own a doll and his mother complies, buying him the doll of his choice. He is happy with his doll and plays with it everyday until his other friends tell him that a doll is a girl’s toy. Immediately, he will toss the doll aside and look to his friends (who were socialized to play with “male” toys) for the necessary “correction” his mother did not impose on him initially. As males or females, do you really think we are born knowing which gender appropriate toys to play with? No. We’re not.

    Just as we are not born with the capacity to feel guilt the way in which you claim. Culpability is acquired and not an innate quality in human beings. If that were the case, there would be far less murderers in the world who are not “capable” of killing because of the guilt they feel. These people were socialized differently, possibly in the sense that they feel they are helpless if they do not kill.

    Rapists also have a motive in mind. It was proven that the majority of rapists have in mind that their victims were “asking for it”; that the women denying their request to have sex was just an act of “playing hard to get”. Why do they think that way? Some Disney cartoons actually contain situations that support this hard-to-get theory. Beauty and the Beast had one scene in which two characters were kissing behind a curtain: the female kept saying “no” yet the male persisted still and eventually, she gave him what she wanted. This teaches young males that when girls say no, they actually mean yes. That’s one, among many, possible sources.

    It’s all socialization. We are not born with this vast knowledge of what is right or wrong. We are either taught correctly or incorrectly by our corresponding environments.

  4. Random Person says:

    Well, you already know where I stand in all of this so I won’t bother restating my opinion.

    As for the comment debate, I’m going to have to side with Sandy, Omar. We really are not born with logic, it just doesn’t come to us naturally. Without the Bible, could people learn what is sinful and what isn’t? Without the Qur’an, could we have deduced morals that weren’t tied to Islam? No. If we were born with all of that knowledge, then God (assuming He exists) wouldn’t have even needed to send prophets or write the Qur’an.

    If you grow up around a bunch of Muslims who do not break down Islamic morals to you, how are you supposed to know?
    If you are raised by a bunch of thieves, are you really going to question stealing? The only time you would question it is if some authoritative figure asserts that what you have done is wrong.

    The truth is that humans are selfish indeed. We will steal if no one tells us it’s wrong. Your view is very Utopian and the problem with that is…well…are we living in Utopia?

    Sorry, love. It just makes more sense.

    • Ihsan says:

      I hope you’re last sentence was directed to me, “random”. 😛

      On another note, I must side with Omar because there are some things that we can comprehend and establish on our own. I agree its somewhat of a mix. But but but, I do like the question Sandy mentioned. When in regards to reincarnation, seeing as the soul bounces from host to host, what happens to all the punishment from previous lives? Personally I wouldnt like being accused of rape when “my past life soul” did the deed.

      P.S. Sandman, thank you. I loved your post. It reallllly made my day.

      • thesandman16 says:

        Aww, you’re welcome, Ihsan.

        BUT this: “Personally I wouldnt like being accused of rape when “my past life soul” did the deed.”
        Is not what I am talking about. W’re not saying that you should blame your current misdeeds on the experience your soul had the life before. I’m saying that if we are governed by our nature as human beings, then how are we punished later on in life? We can’t help what we do if it is in our nature. It is not going against our nature that we should feel guilty for; it is going against the well-structured moral consensus of society that is the big issue today.
        And true, there are some things that we are born with; some very minute qualities that shape our being but they are not as advanced as feeling guilt or remorse. That is something that is later implanted in us.

        Thanks for reading, Ihsan! And no, “Random” was talking to Omar. xD

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