thread: 2006-08-31 : I think my expectations are screwed

On 2006-09-07, Charles S wrote:

Worth can only be measured relative to the present moment, because that is all we have and all we ever have (we can include the expectation of future moments, and even the reasonable expectation of future moments, but not the future moments themselves). Worth can only be measured relative to our local area (just as evolution of all forms cares only about local conditions - I was going to say local optima, but I think local optima is too strong, evolution concerns only survival, which is rarely survival of that which is best, just that which is good enough for this moment here and now).  What is here and now matters. What we do here and now matters. If believing in an eternal soul somehow helps you to do right in the here and now, then all to the good. Certainly belief in an eternal soul has helped a lot of people believe that what they did was doing right in their here and now (and believing that you do good in the here and now is the best you can do, knowledge being also contingent and local). That is how I conceive the universe (or my little corner of it). Infinite worth in the here and now really just means unmatchably large worth in the here and now, uncountable, unexceedable, not matched by adding together lots of little worths, no matter how many. No number of children enjoying the cat being tortured makes the cat's suffering acceptable. No utilitarian addition for some things.

I believe that I know what reason is, I believe that I know what tradition is, but honestly, I have no idea what scripture is. Obviously, to a Christian it is the Bible, new and old testaments. To a Muslim the Koran. To a Jew the Pentatuch (although I don't think this holds up for Reform Jews (the overwhelming majority of US Jews, and probably the plurality world wide, since many Israeli Jews are secular), at least, not where I'm going with the idea of scripture). Presumably the Haddith or the Talmud are tradition (as are church practice), but perhaps they become scriptural to some. But what are they, scriptures? What makes them other than tradition (its not just that they are written down)? Obviously, one's own scripture is different than tradition because scripture is True, but is that the key thing, not that it is true, but that you hold it to be true.

First principles, established practice, and reason, is that what scripture, tradition, and reason are? I can see then the argument to try to always act on at least two of them (although most of the time we probably only act based on one of them). Oh, also, I think they could be described as gut, habit and thought.


Before getting that you merely mean well established first principles, I was having a very hard time seeing what your scripture had to say about using computers or cars. Seeing scripture merely as the established first principles derived from you holy text, I can see a little more what you mean. You certainly aren't guided by long established tradition, so you must be guided by first principles and reason (at your better moments). Still, I disagree, I think we are mostly being guided here by very young traditions, some only a few years old, plus, we hope, reason. Sometimes, as in Vincent's "touch base" comment (#88), by first principles.


This makes...
short response
optional explanation (be brief!):

if you're human, not a spambot, type "human":