Your opinions, please

I recently got into an online debate with a guy about the human “conscience” (and if it exists) and the effect society has upon humans today. Since a few of you really know your shit, I thought I’d share and get some…“expert” or at least intelligent comments on this guy’s theory of how to exist. His arguement is that “conscience” (which he defines solely as knowing what’s right and what’s wrong) is that it is creation of social upbringing, and once you are taught what’s right or wrong as a child, you are therefore elligable to be subjected to things such as guilt and consequence. He says that if we lived in a world where higher powers (government, etc) didn’t drill such “rules” in our head, we’d have no “conscience”, no sense of right or wrong, and therefore, no conflict of interest and opinion because nobody would know of…right or wrong. We’d just exist. There’d be no need for order (such as government, again.) and no need to be “sheep” as he puts it. His theory to a better life, is one without “flawed” government dictating to us, a life without government and the justice system at all. Without them and other influences telling us what is right or wrong by their definition, we’d be free individuals without conflict.

…can someone totally blow that out of the water? Just the statement totally boggles my mind. I don’t agree with it at all. Without a sense of order, where would we be? Does he have a right to say that society as we know it is one flock of sheep not wanting to know the depths of individuality? Without a government and a backbone and thus without a “conscience” would we be “free” (a very silly word to use in the arguement, IMO) people? I argue that without a sense of right or wrong, we lose our individuality, since everyone’s view on how to react, think, and see things is constantly changing and differentiating…without all of that we just become conformists…which is what he’s argueing against…

Professional, opinions plz.

are we just a sum of our memories? I am not one of those tomatoes!

I disagree with that for a start. I think some things by now are just ingrained in whatever kind of racial memory you believe, like murder = bad.

No way. Without government there’d be a) nothing to prevent murder, crime, or anything else that society manages to hold down. How could life be better if we lived in what would effectively be a lawless world? Government, no matter what there faults may be, makes things happen and keeps us safe. Without it we’d be a lot of small enclaves of people living in near-isolated villages and scared of any new faces because there’d be no consequences to murder that couldn’t be avoided by moving away. Even the middle-ages, where government was mostly taxing, there was still a system in place to catch criminals.

The quip about being sheep is pure trendy emo-anarchist bullshit. If he can even think thoughts like these then he’s just proved his own statement wrong.

Rough thoughts here. Maz or someone will probably put it a lot better.

Yes, in 4 words: The existance of sympathy.

Sympathy is by far the most important factor in discussing conscience, and he completely disregarded it. He’s trying to assert that the human brain is a calculator that can only understand cause and effect, not emotion, and that’s where he’s just completely wrong.

He sounds like your typical pseudo-anarchist punk singer who thinks he’s hardcore for pretending to be unlawful. He’s actually just a loser. (I wrote this before reading Pier’s reply. Just goes to show how true it is >>; )

And could you link us to this argument if it’s on a forum?

I think we just assess the risk of a situation, and make a decision based on that risk. If it is low risk, we go ahead with it, if it is high risk, we dont. So our conscience is just how we react to that fear of having made the wrong choice and having to experience the risk we assesed.

Sure. Took place in my other forum. And yes, he did preach about anarchy.

Without conscience, how can he claim to be able to guage niceness?

I’ve noticed dozens of other flaws in his argument, but this one really jumped out at me. I’ll probably post more on what he thinks after I finish reading.

No, it doesn’t. It teaches us to be wary of (not avoid) sexual contact because it’s actually DANGEROUS. It can KILL you.

I don’t like this guy :frowning: He thinks through his arguments less than I do ;_;

And just for your amusement, here’s two instances of his contradicting himself ^^

Well, I’m done. I wouldn’t wanna pick apart his entire argument on this forum. Just realise that we all agree with you, Eva. This guy is a nutcase :smiley:

I got your anarchy right here.

Thanks to those that have replied, I just wanted to know if I WASN’T out of my mind, and I wanted another say in the matter. Ya’ll are good arguers so I frequently like to seek out your opinion ^^


This is still being argued in professional circles today, so I’m sorry it can’t be exactly blown out of the water. I would like to point out though that many people who recieve the proper societal upbringing still have no “conscience”, this is how you get psycopaths.
And I kinda got the impression that he was labeling everyone as conformist sheep, he would have been better off claiming conscience comes from experience since most people do ponder the nature of what’s right and wrong and try to form new ideas instead of absorbing what’s “drilled into them”.

I have nothing to add to this, but I thought it was funny.

Hades, I misread you, You under people Better I can. Me personally Can’t deal with to much emotion. (I’ve even signed up so I could end up talking to someone about deep things, See Big Nutter 2: The Urban Adenture, the two groups i worked with do that stuff)


That’s true

Well, let’s play his game.

Let’s assume that humans are brought up neutral. Perfectly neutral. However, the basic ingrained <i>instincts</i> of humans is to <i>survive, grow and propagate</i>. In order to do so, humans have had to band together and form communities in order to fight off predators who have more advantageous natural weapons given to them by nature. The community functions only as long as its members cooperate, sympathize with the plight of other individuals in the community, and in short, work together. This is advantageous to all, and done with few sacrifices on the part of the individual. That’s how communities or societies are beneficial. Without this cooperation communities would quickly crumble under the selfishness and unwillingness for compromise in individuals.

However, a successful community will naturally try to teach its lessons of the advantage of cooperation to the offsprings of the members of this community. Thus “societal standards” are formed. If an individual had not been conformed to society to a certain extent he or she would have sooner or later discovered the advantages of cooperating and work together in a group to achieve a common goal beneficial to all the members of the group striving towards that target.

No conflict in the absense of community and government? That’s absolute garbage. Each individual has his or her own <i>arbitrary</i> idea of what is benenficial to him/herself, and these ideas <i>will</i> conflict. Anarchy has <i>proved</i> to be a chaotic and often violent and unjust way for a large number of people to operate under (think post-revolutionary France), so I don’t know how he can spout such nonsense.

Although government is not perfect because the habitants of a country still <i>do have their own arbitrary ideas of what is beneficial and what is not</i>, that’s why the western world is so obsessed with the idea of a democracy: a government that caters to the need of the majority and will be beneficial to most, if not all, of the citizens of that country.

Conscience is just another way of saying moral standards imposed on us by society. He happened to forget or simply completely disregard <i>why</i> these standards were imposed on us. Perhaps it is because they are by and large beneficial?

I just read through that thread on the forum link you posted. It sounds even worse when you see;

[quote]We are sheep because we need to be. Without order, the balence is lost. Can you imagine if we had no one to govern us? Just how chaotic that would be.

Hahahaha, that is the most conformist statement I have ever heard. We do not need to be sheep. We can be quite free and have order.[/quote]

And thus the man proves himself an idiot. Without society there is no order, only [strike]Zool[/strike] chaos, and chaos is a BAD thing. >:\

CH, I must say that comments from certain individuals here are quite enlightening :stuck_out_tongue: NO laughing.

Anyways, Cless put it better than I ever could. Thanks.

And yes Pierson that comment SERIOUSLY pissed me off, considering that I have been picked at my entire life for being NOT like any of society’s teenage norms. I got really mad. I take debates too seriously :\

Cless put it well, I think. Community and government are important for those reasons - the things that your friend is railing against, I think, are more the fact that the powers which determine his opportunities from his birth onwards are really far removed from his day to day life, which I think he’s justified in being pissed about. If you’re gonna be governed, the person calling the shots for you needs to be able to personally relate to each member of the governed, as well as the greater whole. The bigger the whole, the more qualified the leader(s) must necessarily be, and by qualified I mean they have to be able to do what I just said. But the way to go then, is to have far smaller communities than we have now, made up of people whose experiences are similar enough such that the input they get from authority figures (like government, community leaders, businesses, etc.) is contiguous with our day to day lives. If not, then we have a right to be pissed off, because people are telling us to do shit that makes no sense in the contexts of our lives.

But not anarchy, that’s just ridiculous, for the reasons that Cless explained. Then we’d just be like animals, and while I think we have a lot to learn from the natural world around us, about tranquility and centeredness, we also, as humans, have the capacity to truly become free to accomplish anything. It’s REALLY HARD, though. Much harder than just hating on the government and culture, because you just get attached to your hatred, and how free do you think you are then? If you’re so attached to the idea of not being under lock and chain, how do you think you’ll ever become free to choose freedom? Like, what I mean to say is, forcing yourself to be free isn’t any freedom at all. You have to choose to live a free life from a truly free standpoint in your head. Nothing else will work. That’s why it’s really hard, and confusing, and a lifetime (some would say multiple lifetimes) endeavor to achieve true freedom of action and thought, and why the “typical pseudo-anarchist punk singer who thinks he’s hardcore for pretending to be unlawful” really brings down the whole ideal of freedom so much. No wonder we’re getting our civil freedoms restricted by the Patriot Act, we don’t even fucking know what freedom is, let alone how to try and get it.

It’s what the doctrine of the Buddha, and I’m sure a lot of other religions, is about trying to accomplish. “Buddha” means something like “perfection,” and Buddhism is ultimately about perfecting oneself, making oneself able to do anything, and hence be completely free. It could be argued that Jesus Christ’s preachings on the “Kingdom of Heaven” as opposed to earthly life were simply parables for the bliss achieved from great discipline and great compassion and the freedom which results, as opposed to our normal, fearful, materialistic everyday being. Keep in mind that most of the New Testament was written many years after Christ’s death, and it wasn’t originally written in English anyways. I’m no Biblical scholar though, so if you want to discuss that possibility with me on an intellectual level, too bad.

Maaan, heheh, I kind of got off track. I think I talked to what he was trying to say pretty well, though.

You’re all nazi conformist cheerleaders.

Gooooo team! Rah rah rah! Gimme an R! Gimme a P! Gimme a G! Gimme a C! poses sexily

I’m sure he can test that theory, because he’s lived in a world where no one has taught him what’s right and wrong? Yeah right. :stuck_out_tongue: Some people think for themselves. Some people don’t. Some people will decide it’s wrong to do a certain thing, and some people will not. What you decide to believe as right and wrong changes all the time, by how you percieve things. You don’t necesarily have to be taught anything.

Animals fight all the time. There are always conflicts of interest. Getting rid of Folkways, Mores, and Laws wouldn’t ever change that. From a scientific sort of perspective, just a simple thing such as our will to survive causes us to fight. But, there had to be a start to our system of establishing morals, right? We didn’t always have written and unwritten laws. SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE along the line had to think, after doing something otherwise uncontested, “Hey, this might not be the best/correct thing to do”, or “Maybe someone should DO something about THIS certain aspect of living.” It’s not like since the beginning of time, we always had a government. :stuck_out_tongue:

That is a fallacy, and a lot of governments based on trust of sorts, like Anarchism, utterly fail because of just that. People can be greedy. People don’t always listen. People need to be led, mostly, because unfortunately, a lot of people don’t naturally harbor compassion. The idea of perfectly simple, easy coexistence isn’t simply BUILT INTO US. :stuck_out_tongue: Anarchy just doesn’t work, because people are smart, and people are cruel. You can easily exploit the fact that no rules exist, and you can bet your ass it’ll happen.

That’s what you can tell that punk. This guy probably just got told how anarchy is the way to go, and convinced himself that it was right. It’s a pessimistic thing to think of someone, but I’ve seen it happen a lot. I know I’ve done it before. :stuck_out_tongue:

I haven’t really “read” much of this thread, because I couldn’t really identify any sort of question, so I’ll just give an opinion, which is what I actually think you asked for in the first place, so damnit that’s what you’re gonna get.

Let’s call this the “Nemesis” ideaology. In Star Trek: Nemesis, Captain Picard is cloned, as part of a Romulan operation to infiltrate the Federation and implement a spy. Shin Zon is created, the clone, but the operation is scrapped, and he is sent into the underground mines of the sister planet, Remus. Now, Shin Zon is an exact copy of Captain Picard, and if you know anything about Star Trek you’ll know that Picard is a very heartfelt man, who has respect for all life and all of this, while Shin Zon, becomes this mass killer, who wants to destroy Earth and cripple the federation.

Now, these two men have the exact same genetic structure, but radically different ideals. Why is that?

It’s very simple. In my opinion, all of our minds are very subjective to the surroundings. It isn’t little shit like movies and tv shows don’t warp our minds, it’s years and years of torture and abuse, mental or physical, that truley shape our personalities and generate our euphimisms. We are not born innate with any sort of knowledge, it’s what people teach us and treat us that makes us who and what we are. We know not to kill people, not because someone said “hey, killing is bad”, but because as children we played with other children, and people took care of us. Now, since we were treated humanely as children, we treat others humanely. If somebody locked you in a basement for 9 years, fed you corn out of a can and scraps of bread, then you probably wouldn’t treat others very nicely. In fact, you wouldn’t know any other people, so all you would probably know is hatred and fear.

I hope you’re getting what I’m saying.

Dammit, why do I have to be surrounded by people who can phrase everything better than me? :stuck_out_tongue: