Ethics and Emotions

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Every once in a while, I do something rash. I do something so reckless and unpredictable that I even frighten myself. This has recently happened again: I just got Twitter. Oh my, how could you, Jeff?

Well, despite my objections to the watering down of human communication to 140 characters, I was finally worn down and persuaded by a number of people mentioning the cool things happening on it. I decided that I’d set up an account primarily just to “follow” a few people that I had heard about, but I can already pretty much tell that I’m going to be addicted to this thing forever. Well, maybe not addicted. But I have so many random thoughts that come to me throughout the day, and Twitter is pretty much the perfect medium to tell other people about those thoughts. I suppose that most of these thoughts are ones that no one else in the entire world really cares about, but still – they are mildly amusing at times and need to be shared. So, at least for the near future, it appears that I am “on Twitter”. So, any person who actually reads my blog should head over there and follow me, and then I will be happy because the number will go up by one, making me seem like less of a loser.

I’ve also put links to it on the side of my blog, along with my independent music project called Aletheia. There’s not much to see (or hear) there, but I have a few of my rough demo tracks from me just playing around a bit. So check it out. There – that’s the only advertising for these things that I will ever do on this blog. I will only be a shameless advertiser once per website.

Anyway, with that said, I want to talk about charity for a minute. I’ve been thinking about this a little bit lately, and it’s been bothering me. Often, when I am walking to the bus to go to class, there are people standing on the corner of the main intersection that I go by. Some days, the people have red vests on, working for the Red Cross. Other times, the vests are green, with the people working for Greenpeace. There have been others as well, but these are the main ones. They stand out there and talk to anyone going by, asking them if they “have a minute.” Usually I try to avoid them, but sometimes I get trapped and end up having to lie and say “no I don’t”, then proceed to walk 30 feet and stand at a bus stop.

Now, I have nothing against these charities, or against charitable organizations in general. I donate to a couple regularly, and if I weren’t a poor, starving student, I’d donate to more. I’ve been the co-chair of “Community Contributions” for the residence I lived in, and we spent lots of time and effort coming up with creative fundraisers. So don’t get me wrong here – I heartily recommend that everyone donate to charities. What I don’t like are the methods. We live in a charity generation; Charity Navigator (a great site, by the way) lists over 5,500 charitable organizations in the United States alone. We have advertisements from World Vision and the World Wildlife Fund on TV regularly. North Americans donate billions of dollars to charity each year. And that’s all well and good. But let’s take a step back here for a second.

When I attempt to avoid the charity goons on the street corner, what happens? I feel a little guilty for avoiding them. The same thing happens for the people that actually talk to them. When they’ve listened to the person’s pitch, they feel like they need to give something back, since they’ve just spent this person’s time, right? Or what about those ads on television? The pictures of sad African children with distended bellies and flies buzzing around them make us feel guilty, as we view their morose faces on our crystal clear HDTV. Somehow the juxtaposition between the child sitting in the dust and us sitting on our couches makes us feel guilty.

And we should feel guilty when faced with these scenes. But what am I trying to get at here? These charities are relying on emotional appeals to get our money from us. They try to get us to feel bad about ourselves so that we’ll reach into our wallet and pull out a few dollars. They do this instead of appealing to our rational mind. For instance, they could say, “These people are human beings and deserve to have the basic necessities of life. Moreover, their rights to these necessities come prior to your right to enjoy luxury goods. Therefore, the ethical course of action is to distribute your wealth to them in order to save their lives, before spending money on unnecessary, trivial items.” Of course, this probably wouldn’t generate as much money, and charities know this, so they don’t use this method. Instead, they bypass it and show pictures of sad children. (Here’s a hint for you: Children in Africa do not spend all day sitting in heaps of trash crying. They run and play like other children. Yes, they need your money, but not because it will make them happy – rather, because it will keep them alive.)

Now, of course, there’s nothing wrong with emotions. It’s perfectly human to experience emotions. And I’m not saying that we should ignore our empathy for others. It’s a powerful motivation to correct the mistreatment of others. But my problem is that these emotional appeals are not appealing to empathy – they’re appealing to guilt. And guilt makes us motivated to relieve ourselves from our guilt. So, these charities say, “Hey, look at these sad children – don’t you feel guilty about this? Here’s how to fix things so you don’t feel guilty anymore.” Giving a few dollars to charity becomes not a way to help the plight of others, but rather a way to satisfy our own selfish desire to feel good. It suddenly isn’t about the people in need anymore at all. It’s all about us. So when we are reminded about our guilt, we reach into our pockets and give money as a payment for relief from that guilt. Transaction complete, and then we can enjoy our purchase of ease of mind for a while until the next time we feel guilty again.

This is a sad, sorry state of affairs. I don’t completely fault the charities. Their goals is to raise money to help people, and any method short of robbing people to get money has a worthy end product. The fact that North American culture has developed a continent full of selfish, wealthy pigs is not their fault. They simply use the methods that work on the individuals who have the cash. But it certainly is sad that we seem content to let these methods work on us. I suppose we operate on guilt so often that it seems an easy solution to simply throw money at the problem. If only all our guilt trips could be relieved so well! So we allow charitable organizations to flash terrible pictures at us and then we pull money out of our wallet to make us feel better.

The fact is that there are real, rational reasons to help the poor. A recognition of others as autonomous moral agents that deserve respect and dignity is the hallmark of a healthy society. A society that is content to reduce these beings to guilt-producing and guilt-reducing mechanisms should be diagnosed with serious illness. If we understand – truly understand! – that there are people out there whom we will never meet, yet nevertheless deserve to be treated with dignity, then our attitude changes. When we realize that the basic necessities of others must come before the useless junk that will be outdated in six months anyway, then it is reasonable and indeed obligatory of us to give what we can (understanding that we are only part of a larger, broader solution) to fix the huge, glaring discrepancy. Heck, when Joe Schmoe realizes that the world doesn’t revolve around him and his iPhone, that’s progress. The point is that when we make decisions based on nothing but emotion and impulse (whether guilt or otherwise), we rob our own intellect of the ability to make wise decisions, and we treat others as simply objects to make ourselves feel good. While on the surface, a guilt-reducing choice may provide positive benefit, the negative toll on society as a whole looms large.

This is why I advocate a reasonable examination of moral choices. This is why I am disappointed that rational discourse on ethics and moral obligations remains non-existent (outside of perhaps some philosophy journals). These discussions need to be taking place on a popular level within society. When I ask what someone’s ethical views are, I want an enthusiastic explanation, I don’t want to get blank stares. Such a change is critical if our society is to make meaningful progress (and no, economic progress really doesn’t count) and create a more just world. But hey – I’ll try not to make you feel guilty about it.

16 responses to “Ethics and Emotions”

feeno

The day after 911 I was driving home from work. By the way it's true about remembering exactly where we were and who we were with and what we were doing when something big like that happens. I was with my good friend Tommy. Tommy was killed in an auto accident. He was Jerry Rice's cousin. A good ole country boy from Mississippi. He was a drywaller and I laid tile. We both worked around town for 3 or 4 of the same builders. Became good friends. Every time I think about 911 I think about him. He had a real cool friend who spoke at his funeral. I might share what he said with you one day. But it may not impress you due to the religious nature of his talk. Sorry about that, I'll get back on track again.

So. I was driving home from work the day after 911 happened. And as I turned on my street I noticed 3 or 4 kids and one of their dads who were stopping traffic in the middle of the road. They were flying a giant American flag and collecting money for the Firefighters, Police and cleanup efforts.

Am I crazy or un-American or was that just weird? I know it was really a horrible nightmare, but I thought that was a little tacky?

Ever wonder what what Jesus meant when he said "the poor will always be with us"?

Anyways Joey Votto is a stud who plays for the Cincinnati Reds. He's Canadian. So now you can root for the Reds like I do.

P.S. You'd think as much as I blog I'm good on a computer or electronics. But I can barely get around on my computer yet alone figure out how to Twitter.

late, feeno

Jeff

Lol, well feeno, you already know my views about patriotism and nationalism, so yeah, I'd say the whole flag -> donating money thing is a little tacky. I think it's easy to guilt trip people into thinking they'll be un-American or selfish or stupid or irreligious if they don't give you money. Unfortunately, it's a lot harder to convince people to donate for the right reasons.

On the one hand, the money's getting to the right place, so what's the big deal, right? But on the other hand, if we look at it in a larger societal context, we can see the kinds of attitudes we're endorsing. That it's okay to make decisions (important ones!) based on one's emotional state at the time. And that's the type of thing that I think we need to distance ourselves from.

Anyway, not sure where you were going with the Joey Votto thing, but I don't really follow baseball much anyway 😛 I used to watch Jays games every once in a while, but baseball tends to be kind of boring to watch. Playing is fine, but watching? Meh. Hockey is where it's at 😉

feeno

Back when the Blue Jays still played in the "Sky Dome" I went to a game there. We watched the game from The Hard Rock Cafe as we ate like kings. There was a couple of Canadian dudes I met and we started playing pool. They started calling me the "big yank". But they were nice and we had a great time with them. Later on that trip we went to Niagara Falls and China Town in Toronto.

P.S. Hockey sucks. Most people in the US think so too. Unless of course your from Philly, Detroit or NY.

later, feeno

Jeff

Well hey, glad you enjoyed your time in Toronto 🙂 But I think it is clear that you are wrong about hockey. It's been scientifically proven that hockey is awesome 😛

Jeff

Gandolf

Jeff said…"So, at least for the near future, it appears that I am "on Twitter"."

That "on" wasnt a typo ? did you mean to write " a "

Mind you ..im not trying to make you feel guilty ! 🙂

———————-

Jeff to Feen …"Meh. Hockey is where it's at ;)"

Yeah Jeff, much less use of "guilt" involved when they start whacking! and bashing! each other

Baseballs just for the Nancy`s ,huh Jeff 🙂

What the "guilt" meter reading ?

🙂 Loads of fun aint it

—————————–

Hey Feenobbily ,wondered what your feeling is on the idea some folks have about building a Mosque near ground zero ?.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/20/
eveningnews/main6696724.shtml?tag=mncol;lst;2

Quote: "This week Sarah Palin upped an already raucous debate when on Twitter she called on "peaceful" Muslims to "refudiate" the plan, calling it "a stab in the heart" for America."

Jeff is that equating to some use of this "guilt" factor do you think ?.

——————————-

As usual your post is another excellent one Jeff .And i think its real great to see the youth ! show such early interest in these matters.

I dont know quite what to say about it …Maybe because im much less educated and most likely tend to revert to more use of this "guilt" factor than maybe i should be when discussing some matters.

What about a senario like this.

1,A wealthy dairy company with highly educated employees wants to vastly expand dairy farming practices in a certain area.The wealthy dairy farmers have been wealthy enough to have been able to employ all the highly educated technicians ,to put forward and argue their case to the local councils and government.They want higher rights to draw far more bore water,so as to better irrigate dry land areas that they intend planting high milk producing grass on,which so happens needs extreme ammount of water to keep growing.

2,All the other locals who are not dairy farmers and who are not at all wealthy and sadly! not even very "educated" either.Have still noticed and observed that already dairy farming in the area has already had a big impact on dropping bore levels and lowering water tables.And has even led to creeks drying up in summer periods,when sometimes ells and trout needed to be removed and shifted elsewhere to stop death.And these people wish to make their point and share their own views.

(A) ..Should these people be allowed to use emotion and guilt as part of their force in this argument/debate?

(B)Or should these people not be allowed to use emotion and guilt as part of the force involved in fighting what they even as "uneducated" locals see and know to be utter stupidity .Yet these people need to pool together resourses they can rake together against the combine might of dairy companys …To try and secure a couple of educated tecknician to help argue their side of the debate ….without any use of the emotion or guilt.

……………………….

What do you think Jeff ?

Jeff

Hey Gandolf,

That's an interesting scenario you bring up there. What you seem to be asking is, is using guilt an acceptable tactic when faced with a clear power imbalance? So when one is the underdog, is the use of emotional appeals okay?

Well, if you're asking purely from a strategic standpoint, then yes, they should certainly use guilt or anger or whatever else is going to help them win the debate. But we're not talking about strategy.

Let's talk about the council first. In this case, I would say that no matter what strategy the dairy farmers or the locals use, the council has an ethical duty to cut past the emotion of the matter and rely on reason and argumentation to make their decision. That seems to be the only way to make it "fair".

Mind you, emotion can sometimes play a role. For instance, if you have to choose between two people, and one really is desperate, and the other couldn't care less – if all else is equal, it makes sense to side with the person who cares more about the issue. But otherwise I don't think it should be a factor in the decision. People can be very passionate about a lot of stupid ideas, and to base decisions on that seems a poor way to do things.

It's also important that the council realizes the power imbalance here. That's what I think gets missed in a lot of political policy – large corporations have the money to pay excellent lobbyists to get their point across, and the little man gets crushed repeatedly. But that seems to be the fault of the policy-maker. Part of the objective decision-making needs to include a recognition of this power imbalance, or else the outcome will be distorted.

To get back to what you were asking, is it acceptable for the locals to use guilt to make their case? I would say it's understandable, but not morally justifiable. (Note: it's also probably not morally justifiable for the dairy farmers to take over the land purely for their own profit and at the expense of everyone else. I'm not giving them a free pass here.) By using an emotional appeal, you are implicitly saying, "I don't think you will listen to me if I don't distort things by putting an emotional spin on it." Perhaps that's just being a realist on the matter, but it's also not encouraging them to take the matter seriously and evaluate it objectively. I think that an exceptionally important part of morality is treating others as rational, autonomous agents. And to use guilt to get what you want, it seems that this is undercut.

So with all that said, my tendency would be to say no, the ethical course of action is to keep from using emotional appeals.

feeno

Gandopolis

W'sup brudda? I'm really glad you asked me that question about ground zero. I was just telling Mrs. feeno about this.

#1. If I was Muslim and went to that church/mosque I'd let my voice be heard and say this "Although we are a peaceful group here at this church, I can don't want to make our god look bad. I think it is in poor taste to build our mosque there. Let's find another place.

#2. This is what I believe tho. It's no-one business where they want to build, if they want to build there, let them, even help them.

Can you see how I think? I believe in both of my statements.

P.S. To Jeff and Gandy, we'll see how much pride Jeff has for his country. Who'd win in a fight between a Canadian bad ass hockey player and some Rugby bloke from new Zealand?

Peace, feeno

Gandolf

Jeff said.."Let's talk about the council first. In this case, I would say that no matter what strategy the dairy farmers or the locals use, the council has an ethical duty to cut past the emotion of the matter and rely on reason and argumentation to make their decision. That seems to be the only way to make it "fair"."

But what is the watchdog that makes sure the council is always gonna be ethical?.Or even using good reason?.

Specially in this country called NZ ,sad to say.Sometimes reason seems to have little to do with it,specially when a couple of years down the track water tables have dropped,bores have run dry,and ground water is even found to have become polluted.

Why was it so wrong for the locals to use the only tool realistically available to them, that gave them any hope of gaining a bit of a edge and showing how strongly they felt about this issue?.

Putting aside the fact that it didnt stop the farmers gaining consents anyway,that later led to drop in water and groud water polution ,which the emotional locals suggested they were worried would happen.

If i get emotional, because i think you are most likely going to hurt me when you go and smack me around the earhole.Is it a argumant from plain emotion, or a argument from common sense! thats including an rightous emotional aspect?.

I dont know my friend.I admit im not so educated .Which is why im so rapped seeing young people like yourself take such interest in these matters .It gives me hope for the future!.

But im just wondering if use of emotion shouldnt be reserved a place .Because personally i dont see this world as always being fair and equal and reasonable and totally professional.

Sadly governments and councils and professional educated people, will always be found wanting sometimes.And maybe? use of emotion in these arguments is like some type of watchdog that is there to even matters up.

Sure i understand sometimes emotion gets the upper hand ,when maybe it shouldnt.When maybe it causes more problems.

But to me it seems like 6 of one, and half a dozen of the other.Is either one or the other completely wrong?.

Just a few thoughts for you to considder my friend.Knowing me being the uneducated emotional type,i could very well be totally missing the point you are trying to explain.But anyways no harm done ,huh.

Regarding the scenario i mentioned,atleast the problems arrived before they opened up more water rights to allow more expanstion of large scale dairy farming.Without figuring out better ways to resolves the water issues.

I mean some of these farms run over a thousand dairy cows.Some larger ones might run two thousand cows.Packed in paddocks like sardines in a can.These cows eat grass,lots and lots of grass .In a area that traditionally dry,and rainfall is low.

This type of grass they feed on to produce lots and lots of milk,just dont grow without lots and lots of water too, Jeff.Funny that!

I never learned much at school.But i still have some logic and common sense.

I aint got any fancy council job.But i can still see that ideas of making lots of money aint gonna be much good ,without first figuring out where all the water gonna be coming from.

That why i say to myself sometimes .Hey Gandolf, having a education aint always everything.

Or is that my emotion getting away with me 🙂

Hey you take care!

Gandolf

Hey Feen my friend nice seeing you over here at Jeffs blog.

Jeff manages to keep me under control, a bit better over here.He gives me other brain teasers to get my mind thinking about other matters.I gotta go over to your blog too soon,but sometimes i worry about myself.Mostly because its sometime hard being totally honest without getting a little emotional.Specially when things have effected us personally.

And you and me we sit on two different sides of the fence,i dont think much of faith.But on a more personally level, putting aside any effects of religion, i find im fine with you.

Anyway its interesting what you say.I dont know quite what is the right answer.Its not really any of my business either,i dont live in the USA ,i didnt experience what happened first hand!.

So what ever happens ,i say fair enough .Its you folks country.Its your children that will live there in future.

But you said.

"#1. If I was Muslim and went to that church/mosque I'd let my voice be heard and say this "Although we are a peaceful group here at this church, I can don't want to make our god look bad. I think it is in poor taste to build our mosque there. Let's find another place."

What a pity religion even causes this division.What a pity they cant just build a Mosque/Christian Church in one?.

But faith needs to divide to get followers.Which is why im a atheist and hope one day people just wont need to build any particular religious buildings or particular groups …Maybe their groups can all simply become humanitarian?

You seem slightly quick to say it maybe make the Islam god look bad .What about all the christian coin that saw christianity moving into many traditionally muslim countries.What about christian bible verses imprinted on USA supplied army scopes.

We sure got rid of those mighty quick when we realized they had issued them to our forces.

If you ask me Feen i think this idea of saying humans mak their particular God look bad ,to me seems like school kids trying to figure out who threw the stones first. When the fact remains dont bother even picking up stones in the first place,people would be better off.Dont promote Gods ,dont be involved in promoting bigot ideas that try suggesting going to some special building likely gonna make you any better.

I dont care what anyone say.Im willing to bet my dollars on this problem never really getting better until less people all round are involved in either of these ancient faiths.

You might say…Yes but Gandolf ..our christian bible has scripture that tells us to expect these problem.

But im saying look i just told you i can see the same thing will be likely ,does that make me any prophet who`s intouch with the supernaturally divine?.

No its a matter of common sense and use of logic.

I dont know what you folks in the USA gonna do about matters .Im just glad we live way over here in NZ ,where religion is scarce and becoming scarcer and scarcer each year.Where my kids dont need to live under the threat of danger caused by religious extremes.

Its bad enough bad luck, i was born into one of the very few religious cults there is in this country.

We dont have big christian churches here trying to convert everyone …And when Muslims come here they dont seem to feel the same great need, to be building their Mosques and converting people to any Islam either.

We kiwis dont like it.If anyone even start trying to bully Muslims or Asians etc ,most Kiwis get disgusted and angry.We rally to the side of the downtrodden and extend a hand in friendship.

Religious bigotry dont stand much of a chance here.It has become old fashioned.Its a fizzer.Muslim kids dont see any good reason to be parading their Islam around town,when kiwi kids dont bother parading any Christianity.What for?.

Feen ..Good luck! with what ever finally gets decided for New York.

Jeff

Feeno:

"Who'd win in a fight between a Canadian bad ass hockey player and some Rugby bloke from new Zealand?"

Oh that's not even a fair fight. Hockey players get plenty of padding, but rugby players are tackling each other with no protection at all! That makes the rugby player more bad ass automatically, no matter where he's from 😛

Gandolf:

"But what is the watchdog that makes sure the council is always gonna be ethical?.Or even using good reason?"

Well that is always a problem. But when I'm talking about morality, I'm talking about what they should do, not what they're likely to do. I can say that a criminal shouldn't rape little children, but that doesn't mean that they will automatically stop doing it. So certainly councils and governments and whatnot should be held accountable and such – but if they are trying to be ethical, I'm saying that they should try to focus on the evidence and the arguments rather than the emotions. Make sense?

But im just wondering if use of emotion shouldnt be reserved a place .Because personally i dont see this world as always being fair and equal and reasonable and totally professional.

Oh you're absolutely right. Emotion is still an essential human trait – it helps us to become motivated to do things, because we feel strongly about them. That's important! But is it a good basis for making decisions? Well…I would tend to say no. I may feel like eating an entire chocolate cake; I may have strong emotions about doing so; but it doesn't make it a wise decision, especially if I'm trying to eat healthy. It's a trivial example of course, but I think it applies to other situations as well. And in my example, my emotions are leading me in the wrong direction, but in the example of the dairy farmers and the locals, it's leading in the right direction. But if that's the case, then the locals probably already have good arguments! So why not use them?

Now, you seem to be saying something along the lines of, "Well if the council isn't perfect, then shouldn't the locals be allowed to use emotion to sway them?" You're absolutely right that we don't live in a perfect world with perfectly rational people. But I hardly think that calls for us to give up on the whole endeavour. If I can give another analogy (this one I think more extreme than your situation): Is it right for the US to use torture to get information to stop terrorism? In other words, if the other side isn't being moral, do we still have an obligation to be moral as well?

I would say yes we do. The fact that not everyone plays by the same rules is not a reason to give up the rules entirely. It's unfortunate that not everyone has moral integrity, but should I let someone else's lack of integrity sway me from doing what I believe to be right? Not at all – in that case, I think it becomes more important to do what's right, not only for its own sake, but also to provide a good example and to make up for the other side's lack of morals.

Now of course, when we're talking about dairy farmers and such, we're not talking about terrorism or whatever, so perhaps my language is a little too extreme. But I think the principles still hold. If the locals use reason and evidence rather than guilt and emotional appeals, they are sticking to the high ground, and that seems to me to be just as important as winning the debate.

But anyway, I'm certainly open to hearing what you have to say in response to this. Perhaps I'm just sermonizing here 🙂

Gandolf

Hey Jeff.

You said.." I'm saying that they should try to focus on the evidence and the arguments rather than the emotions. Make sense?"

Yes it surely does to me.And i agree.Even if im pretty sure im still guilty of not always being so sensible.

You said.."That's important! But is it a good basis for making decisions? Well…I would tend to say no."

I agree.Even though i slip up,mostly through frustration.

You said…"But if that's the case, then the locals probably already have good arguments! So why not use them?"

But thats the real problem.These people mostly only have their logic and common sense telling them whats "very likely" going to happen.Common sense suggests it might cause very grave water shortages,that could lead to things yet unforseen,such as extreme drops in underground water tables.But how do they prove it?.They dont have the money or the expertise or the benefit of use of some hindsite.Hindsite doesnt become any real benefit until after the problem is already been experienced.

Im not sure that the locals even knew enough to even think to mention the possibility of drops in underground water tables.

When all said and done.What you say is correct,human stupidy was at fault all round.The council should have been far more thorough.But still,that does nothing to change the fact they were not.

You said.."But I hardly think that calls for us to give up on the whole endeavour"

Oh for sure …Im with you..I agree.We should endevour to try to be more professional.

You said…"I think it becomes more important to do what's right, not only for its own sake, but also to provide a good example and to make up for the other side's lack of morals."

Well im not so sure here at this point.I dont know what to think.It reminds of of the analogy of a train track with a switch that you have choice to use.The train is headed toward killing a "very large group" of humans tied to the track.You can choose to quickly make the switch! in which case only "one life" will be lost.What will you do Jeff?.And remember you have very little time to decide!, it seems time might be of great essence here.

I dont know what to do.My heart tells me either way im sentenced! to become involved in something very wrong.And i hope like hell im never ever faced with making such a terrible choice.Either way i expect to forever feel guilty.

Im thinking maybe? the ammount of torture employed and how it is actually going to be used,is of particular extreme importance.Jail is a type of torture also?,yet it can sometimes change people for the better.

Even though im fully aware far to often! it changing some people for the worse.It often comes down to how its used !,or abused?.

You said…" I think it becomes more important to do what's right, not only for its own sake, but also to provide a good example and to make up for the other side's lack of morals."

Fully agree Jeff.Even if i personally admit to having slipped up.

You said…"But anyway, I'm certainly open to hearing what you have to say in response to this. Perhaps I'm just sermonizing here"

No i dont feel that way at all about it.

What i like about your posts, is they make me think.And help me ask more questions of myself also.

Jeff

Well I enjoy hearing your thoughts on this. Certainly it's a difficult issue to deal with, especially with the situation you brought up. I just think that the culture we live in today spends a lot of time trying to make sure we base decisions off emotion. I mean, advertisers want this, right? Because nobody buys half the ridiculous stuff out there because it's the reasonable thing to do – they just feel like buying stuff. I think it's crucial to combat that, and although it seems like the locals in your example are somewhat more justified in using emotion, it's still important to look at the big picture here. If we want others to use reason, we need to use reason ourselves. Moreover, if we want people to be ethical, we need to help them make ethical decisions that are sound, based on good solid arguments rather than wishy-washy feelings.

One solution that I can think of for these locals would be to try and convince the council to commission a third-party investigation to look at the environmental impacts of these dairy farmers expanding their practices. Have the council suspend judgment until the results come back, and get the council to prohibit the farmers from expanding until the decision is reached. That, to me, seems like a reasonable solution, and it doesn't require the locals themselves to have the scientific data to back up their side.

But anyway, as usual, thanks for your comments 🙂

Jeff

Gandolf

Agree with everything you said Jeff.Kmow that even myself my judgement is often effected far far to much! by emotion.There is maybe a fine balance thats healthy,but for myself the balance is swung way to far out of kilt.

Of course i understand my own personal situation well, and i know its this personal situation which tends to make finding this fine balance,for me, harder to keep under control.I dont excuse myself!!,im just saying my reason for emotion is not all for the wrong reasons.The worse part for me is keeping the emotion in the right ammount perspective.

Yes Jeff its all good with the dairy farming situation now that hindsight came to the rescue and added its own intelligence to the mix.They are now all doing things proper,researching and testing and spending the money needed to get unbiased professional views,so they can make better decisions that are professionally imformed and aimed at finding the right solutions that are taking care of everyones needs.

Its just lucky that hopefully they didnt go to far,and create a problem that was not able to be repaired.It was a good wake up call! we might say.And so even that is maybe a good thing?,kinda like burning the end of your finger and finding out ouch thats a little hot!,before you actually fell wholess-boleless right into the damn fire to be totally consumed 🙂

Some big-wig heads rolled.People that should have known better! and been more careful!, lost their chushy jobs at the top.Lots of grumbling and bickering and bitching and finger pointing and backstabbing happened,like a festering puss ball! before healing takes place.

But all in all,just another good lesson was learned here down-under in sleepy ole NZ where we are still way behind the rest of the world :).

Ahhh ..L.oL…No wonder some folks around the world, still think maybe our native are still cannabils.

Humans worldwide need to come together more and share intelligence, is my (personal) view.We can learn much from each other and help each other,and then all reap the benefits.

I was interested in something on TV this morn.Intelligent well educated folks were discussing matters,like how the magnetic feilds seem to be deminishing at horrificly fast rates,and they suggest in some parts of the world (above Brasil? cant quite remeber) there is spots where it seems radiations is becoming stronger.It seems according to what they were suggesting, this world maybe has some hard metal core, thats then surrounded by molten metal.The molten metal goes around the solid metal core,creating something like a dynamo! which the creates magnetic feilds of north and south pole.Meaning it goes out and flows back in.

But somethings changing fast.And thats what the want to try learning about more if they can.

Who knows whos right and whos wrong?,but anyway its still interesting stuff!…And us humans need to be interested!! in learning about this stuff, if we can do!…This earth isnt just ours!, for it belongs to our children! and their children! too.

Whether we can actually do anything about matters is totally beside the point.If we get cancers,we dont simply give up and throw our hands in the air! and all prepare to die.

For if we had of did that, many that now manage to beat some cancers (today) and carry on living living their lives.Wouldnt have had all the better chances! that they now do.

Have a really great weekend my friend!….Feen and family and Cori-Beth too!.

Gandolf

Gandolf

Jeff, before i shut up.

Was just thinking how its often tough times that help humans learn things and sometimes become a little less selfish.

I mean some of these problems that seem to be looming up ahead of us, have made themselves into "all our problems",that we need to "ALL" try to learn more about!.

No longer can NewZealanders selfishly think, ohh pfffttt ! …Thats Canadas or the USAs problem, not ours.These problems is NZ,Australia,Canada,USA,Russia,China,etc etc, all just the very same!.

We humans are now being put through some times, that hopefully if its not to late!, and we are not stupidly focused on forever being childishly! stupid!,can teach us the type of lessons!,that even children learn,before coming adults.

Just a weird n whacky strange thought i had.What do you think?.

I mean we might finally even learn much from the the (latest) recession too! …If we really wish to learn! and stop! acting like silly selfish children! time and time again .

Jeff

Gandolf,

I think you're exactly right about needing to come together and share information. That's really what makes science so effective, is the ability for people to share information and build off of others' ideas (as well as point out others' mistakes). It's also how effective businesses function, and how governments are supposed to run (though usually it doesn't seem that they do).

I think you've also hit the nail on the head in saying that we're facing some global problems that are problems for all of us. And though there have been efforts at places like Kyoto and Copenhagen to combat these global issues like climate change, these countries seem to always incessantly need to protect their own interests. Both Canada and the US have been dragging their feet on climate change policies for years, and it's driving me nuts since North America is one of the worst offenders. We apparently can't seem to get it through our heads that our actions are having and are going to have disastrous consequences for other countries. Selfishness…yes, I think you're quite right to call it that.

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