Tag Archives: Free will

There Is Such Cruelty In The World

This post is a result of a conversation from the Animal Welfare and Social Change Google+ community. Specifically the statement “a main issue is with the way we treat animals in general. There is such cruelty in our world.” I almost used this as the first blog post for a new website I am working on called Life In The Garden. But I decided that I will wait until I that project is up and running before I start doing blog posts there.

When I think about cruelty and the indifference of people I think about a Greek Philosopher. The philosopher I am referring to is Epicurus. A guiding principle of Epicurean philosophy is that we should minimize harm to oneself and others as the way to maximize happiness.

The Roman goddess Diana can be equated with the Greek goddess Artemis. In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt. She was also associated with the moon, giving birthing, and associated wild animals. It was thought that she had the power to talk to and control animals. She was an animal whisperer. Which is probably not for off. It is believed that an earlier from of the goddess was associated with bear cults predating the Greek Artemis.
The Roman goddess Diana can be equated with the Greek goddess Artemis. In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt. She was also associated with the moon, giving birthing, and associated wild animals. It was thought that she had the power to talk to and control animals. She was an animal whisperer. Which is probably not far off. It is believed that an earlier from of the goddess was associated with bear cults predating the Greek Artemis.

The big question is what or who do we consider a suitable other? Are others, other people, as in other people of my In Group? Perhaps we would include all other people. Does it include other members of my household and family and exclude strangers? Perhaps it includes other life forms like a pet. Suitable others may even include a wide range of others, such as all mammals or mammals and birds. Some people may even include all higher life forms. If we carry this to its extreme we will reach a point where not harming others is harming ourselves. How do we justify this?

What is Other? Is there a distinction between suitable others and unsuitable others?

One point that was brought up in the discussion is that we should avoid hasty emotional reactions. In general I would agree with this advice. Also with this was the suggestion that we need to be more understanding. Both of these ideas are part of the philosophy of ancient Stoics. Stoicism is another school of Greek Philosophy.

Emotions short circuit critical thought. Often acting with an emotional knee jerk reaction leads to harming others and/or ourselves. Passively reacting to external events is giving up control. Giving up control means you have abandoned your Will to Freely choose a response. It seems the Stoics were quite concerned with a free will.

Even people who think they make their decisions based on critical thought are still controlled by emotions. Sometimes it is so subtle we don’t even realize it. I believe it is helpful if we can catch ourselves and examine the nature of our responses.

The Stoics believed that not only must we control ourselves but we need to understand. In particular we need to understand the processes of nature. This idea was adopted from the Cynics. Cynicism was yet another school of Greek Philosophy. It is interesting to note that the Cynics were also called dog-like. So originally Cynicism was the dog-like philosophy.

Not only must we understand but we need to accept. I see some similarities in Stoicisms idea of universal understanding and the phase “I seek a unity all-pervading” from the Confucian Analects. I may be a bit more familiar with the writings of Eastern traditions. However, many of the ancient Greek and Roman tradition are an everyday part of the culture I was born into. From the teaching of an all-pervading understanding I have developed an ideal of all-pervading acceptance. Acceptance is the key ingredient to love and happiness.

To accept is very hard to do. What is you tolerance level for acceptance. I must admit tolerance has not always been the best social strategy for success. We can see ancient examples of intolerance as the most successful social strategy as well as very recent examples.

Courteous and considerate behavior are both the glue and the lubricant needed for social harmony.

Courteous behavior is an impotent intermediate stage to a more permanent change toward overall goodness. The problem with courteous behavior is that it’s usually bound by cultural norms. Being courteous and knowing about different cultures is important. However, in the long run being considerate may be more valuable.

Being courteous is not enough. It has been my observation that courteous behavior is usually part of a pattern of ritualized aggression. While it makes for a more harmonious society, it does have some limitation. The next level is trust and acceptance. If we believe the other person means no harm and they act in a way that is not respectful of local customs, has it done any harm? Perhaps so or perhaps not.

If it has done harm then we get into another important and possibly related discussion. When courteous behavior leads to group conformity it can also create and us and them scenario. One of the biggest problems humans will face in the future will be the competitive forces of us verse them. This competition isn’t so bad when humans are killing each other with a chunk of stone. But when modern technology is introduced into the mix, you move toward an apocalyptic end. It is logical that societies would be better off if they did not glorify an apocalyptic end of time.

Wishing you the very best in dogs and in life,
Andrew Ledford
OCDogTraining.com

This Week in Philanthropic Tech and News

A bit more than a week in tech that can help our world right now. I am interested in technology that will let humans reach other galaxies, but I am also interested in technology that can be use right now to make the world a better place. In fact the mission of my non profit will be to make the world a better place.

Today I will mention the tech that I curated from a bit over a week on my Google + page. This is tech that can help people now, some of it will be most useful for developing nations and some for developed counties.

Urine into electricity
The first is a urine generator/battery. I’ve never heard about one of these before. Now that sounds like a good way to kill two problems with one solution. This was not developed by General Electric, or Honeywell, or Eveready. Who made the breakthrough? It took three teenage girls in Africa to develop this invention.

Open-source cell phone network
Do you think the cell phone companies are over charging for their service? Are the cell phone providers in cahoots to keep prices high? Help may be on the way with open source cell phone towers.

Bird-Friendly Wind Turbine
Wind power can be an important source of energy in some regions. Now there is a quite bird friendly windmill with no blades that operates a little like and audio speaker.

The Worlds Tablet Computer
Do you think a $200 tablet is a good deal? How about a $20 tablet? That is what one company is going to do, build and sell $20 tablets.

Beyond Free will
Because we are pretty much controlled by our personal rules and our cultural rules I thought this was an important video for people to consider. Understanding this concept could help us move toward a more just society. It could also help us become more productive while feeling like we have the free will to choose whether we are more productive or not.

A belief in free will touches nearly everything that human beings value.

I have talked to a few Occupy Wall St. folks and have my opinion about the people and the movement. I am planning on doing a post about this in the future.

Occupy Wall St
Now there is a story that even the mainstream can agree with. A group of Occupy Wall St. folks decided to work within society’s cultural rules and are doing good in a way that even a conservative might be able to agree with.

Occupy Wall St. Offshoot Aims to Erase People’s Debts

Refrigeration to help low income household in Africa
I found this story about an evaporation powered refrigerator interesting. I have seen similar coolers before. But I always like to see variations on this theme. There is a good chance that this idea could be improved upon and be made something really special.

That’s it for this week

As always I am wishing you the very best in life,
Andrew Ledford
dog training website
OCDogTraining.com