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Is man hard-wired to fail?
Posted: 29 October 2008 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]
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AbidingPuck, you seem to be condemning materialism. I agree that a great deal of materialism is wanton, especially in America, and I hold that materialism in contempt. Yet at the same time I do not condemn materialism in its entirety. I remind you that the computers with which we are holding this conversation are pollution machines just like that window air conditioner. Is our materialism “good materialism” where the use of the window air conditioner is “bad materialism”?

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Posted: 29 October 2008 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]
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Chris Crawford - 29 October 2008 09:06 AM

AbidingPuck, you seem to be condemning materialism. I agree that a great deal of materialism is wanton, especially in America, and I hold that materialism in contempt. Yet at the same time I do not condemn materialism in its entirety. I remind you that the computers with which we are holding this conversation are pollution machines just like that window air conditioner. Is our materialism “good materialism” where the use of the window air conditioner is “bad materialism”?

It is perfectly acceptable to condemn materialism,and yet be beholden to it.It is the same philosophy as condemning a prison cell,but being entrapped in it.Anyways,you said “condemning”,not abiding puck.Perhaps he was just criticizing materialism.
Materialism runs the gamut from gold sparkled eyeshadow to 300 ft.pleasure yachts.I suppose that technological advancements that are chiefly for our own luxury or comfort could also be construed as materialism.
Abiding puck brought up a point which is entirely valid,as it is being discussed by millions of people around the world,as well as leading scientific figures.It is a proven fact that excessive materialism is harmful to our environment.

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Posted: 29 October 2008 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]
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But it’s a counsel of despair and so not of much real use to contemplate.

I agree. But where do we draw the line? Sure, it’s easy to condemn the SUV as wasteful, but aren’t most cars wasteful? Aren’t most trips wasteful? Yes, you have to get to your job, but why do you have to live in the suburbs? There are a million expressions of consumerism—how do you decide which ones are necessary and proper and which ones are excessive and wasteful?

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Posted: 06 November 2008 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]
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AbidingPuck, you seem to be condemning materialism. I agree that a great deal of materialism is wanton, especially in America, and I hold that materialism in contempt. Yet at the same time I do not condemn materialism in its entirety. I remind you that the computers with which we are holding this conversation are pollution machines just like that window air conditioner. Is our materialism “good materialism” where the use of the window air conditioner is “bad materialism”?

That’s exactly my point Chris. I am condemning materialism, and yet am feeding it as well. Therein, I feel, lies man’s doom. I’m of above average intelligence (at least I’d like to think so), and I *know* that some of my actions are harmful to the environment yet I choose to continue those actions because they make my life “easier”. Its that “I don’t care what it does to the environment, I’m not walking two miles when I can drive” attitude that I feel is innate in mankind, or hardwired as I phrased it originally.

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Posted: 06 November 2008 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]
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AbidingPuck - 26 July 2008 11:19 AM

My idea of humanism is that one considers quandaries from a global perspective. If I buy X, what impact does it have on the rest of the world, as opposed to the impact it has on just me.

Crucially important. In the past 30 years 500 million people in China have risen out of poverty, largely because of that purchase. Of course, your purchase was predicated on the fact that westerners were paid twenty times what workers in China earned. So we have a lot of change to adapt to.

For years, mankind has endeavored to better our everyday lives. Now, we’re facing the reprecussions of those generations of “improvements”. Global warming, peak oil, nuclear war, etc, are all issues directly resulting from our desire to make things easier and more comfortable. Our desire to be “better”, if you will.

Uh, the nuke thing. now we have to decide, as Humanists, if we should save money and not build any more mouments to Human failure, such as nuclear submarines and $200M fighter planes. Yet nobody in the press or politics in America is allowed to suggest that Pentagon spending be questioned. And we must never mention that there is no war and never has been for 35 years, in truth 65 years since the Japanese were defeated.

Do you feel that man has the ability to overcome our comfortable lives in favor of our continued existence? If you were faced with giving up electricity for 12 hours a day in order to help preserve fossil fuels, could you do it? Would you be willing to skip a meal a day so that no one had to go hungry? I think, individually, most of us would answer yes to those questions and truly believe it. Now, do you think enough people across the world would do so that it would make a difference? My faith in humanity isn’t strong enough that I can confidently answer that with a yes. Years and years of social conditioning has us believing that personal success is the most important thing one can strive for. Can humanity collectively overcome that conditioning, or are we hard-wired to fail?

We are hard-wired to consider such things only on full bellies. When you have kids who haven’t eaten today, your thought patterns change. As Johnny Cash once sang “Lord I’m no thief, but a man can go wrong when he’s busted.”

Hopefully, one of you can convince me I’m wrong, because it would be really gloomy if I turned out to be right.

Humanists can rescue the species if they can succeed in teaching the rest of us that we are one.

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