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Awaiting Orders

The Grey Man

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#1
I have spent five years camping in this forest of half-measures, awaiting orders. I have no intelligence on the enemy's disposition, capability, or intent; indeed, I cannot even be sure that there is an enemy. With each day the adversary remains hidden behind a veil of uncertainty, time takes some of my strength in passing. People come with messages, from headquarters they say. Imposters. Deceivers. Their severed heads adorn an endless succession of abandoned bivouacs. To obey them is treachery; to obey my commander is duty. I am your loyal soldier. Do not let me perish in this forest, having never fired my weapon in anger. I await your orders.
 

higs

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#2
Maximise the good.
 
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#5
You'll be waiting a long time on that channel sailor better switch frequencies.
Time for a long march with little food hopefully you brought your cigarettes.

You have to try every key in every lock or you'll never reach the top shelf of the water tower.
 

The Grey Man

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#7
Maximise the good.
Such a prompt and succinct answer to the question I have been asking: what is my duty? To maximize the good, yes, I agree, but this is tautologous wheel-spinning, is it not? For what is duty but that which it is better to do than not to do, and so what in doing entirely, wholly, and perfectly, we increase the good to the maximum extent that we are capable?


Power and certainty, yes! It is my greatest wish to, like the ideal of the christian crusader whose twofold armour protected him against both satanic temptation and mundane weapons, partake in a will of some puissance with the knowledge that it is oriented to serve the good.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Cross-Pattee-Heraldry.svg

But is such knowledge of duty possible for humans? No. The answer is no. A thousand times no. And yet this negative answer expresses only a conviction of mine which may be swept away the same way it was established: by persistent investigation. My last stronghold as a soldier of truth is my own ignorance; my weapon is the same as it's ever been: a double-edged sword of skepticism and the obstinate refusal to accept that I have no moral agency. Will the decisive theatre be this purgatory of tension between skepticism and the absurd desire to partake in what may be a chimerical sort of universal benevolence, or will the power inside awaken?

You'll be waiting a long time on that channel sailor better switch frequencies.
Time for a long march with little food hopefully you brought your cigarettes.

You have to try every key in every lock or you'll never reach the top shelf of the water tower.
The water at its source has not yet been corrupted by contact with the intermediate vessels through which it passes before one partakes in it. Knowledge has the distinction of being both the thing that is partaken in and the thing that partakes. The knowledge that is pure must be held in a pure mind. But what is purity of the mind? Catholicity of the understanding? Is this every key...?

Incidentally, I just tried a cigarette for the first time in about two years in the company of coworkers. I can't say I enjoyed it.
 
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The Grey Man

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#8
From https://www.intpforum.com/showthread.php?t=27069:

I think what I've found is that when we can't find meaning in life, what we are really missing is purpose. I realize that purpose is an over dramatized buzzword, but what I mean when I use it is this: the north star that we use to provide direction in order us to move from our current coordinates on the plane of life, towards an intersection of balance (0,0) where our interest, strengths, and knowledge converge into a pursuit that not only enriches and recharges us, but that also provides a benefit to society.
I see this as a clever reminder that however well-intentioned one's pursuits, one may not do as much good in them as if one had chosen other pursuits which were lesser in their potential to increase the good assuming sufficient talent, but better suited to one's actual talents, which may be sufficient or not to realize the full potential (to increase the good) of any given pursuit. Conversely, a pursuit that is perfectly suited to one's talents may yet have very little potential to do good in comparison to another, even if the latter was ill-suited.

I cannot speak for the gentleman to whom v3nge's post was addressed and have no wish to derail his thread, so I have chosen to express here my own reservation about adopting the practise of selecting those pursuits the product of whose potential to increase the good (in hedons) and the proportion of this I can expect to realize given the best appreciation of my talents (unitless) is higher than that of every alternative.

My reservation is this: that I do not know of a sound theory of in what way one can increase the good due to the phenomenal nature of the good and our lack of understanding of under what conditions different kinds of phenomena arise and how they relate to and influence each other, let alone the faintest idea how this understanding might be exploited strategically, though progress is being made (Integrated Information Theory and the work of David Chalmers et al come to mind- I feel the idea of an identity between consciousness and information will- heck, is already proving to be extremely fruitful and will revolutionize ethics).

In short: I lack a theory of duty, of purpose, of what one ought to do (where "what one ought to do" should be taken as meaning, "what one will do, if he is to increase the good to the maximum extent of which he is capable", not as some imaginary "prescriptive" counterpart of is/will). v3nge, you said that purpose is an over-dramatized buzzword. This may be so, but I can assure anyone who cares to know that in Canada, one can be forgiven for thinking that duty is a rude word, so seldom is it heard except in pompous lip-service to the nominal ideals of an institution polluted by perfidious, materialistic scoundrels and every other sort of degenerate unbeliever whose natural habitat is this perniciously permissive period of "tolerance" that we call postmodernity.

Understand that there is meaning in life, even if it is just in figuring out what the meaning is.
How very true! That duty is possible is sufficient reason to treat it as if it exists, enduring every pain, exhaust every resource in search of it, for to serve the good, if we are truly capable of doing so, demands no less (and one who does not desire to serve the good insofar as he is capable...well, this is the definition of evil, is it not? It is the anti-benevolence). There are days when I would like to put to the sword every heathen who denies this doctrine. Gott mit uns!

Relax, I'm not a Nazi.
 

v3nge

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#9
One ought to do what one wants to do. Provided it is actually what one wants to do. True purposefulness plays out in the long game. The choices I make for today are not my choices at all, but the choices of the human condition. Seek to maximize meaning, not pleasure.
 

The Grey Man

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#10
Why should one seek to maximize per se anything other than pleasure? Pleasure per se is its own reward, and what is its own reward is pleasure, or I've misunderstood what the word pleasure means. What reason is there for prioritizing doing what one wants to do over doing what will produce the highest utility among all conscious beings excepting ignorance and egoistic negligence?
 

v3nge

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#11
The difference is short-term pleasure vs long-term pleasure. Shooting up as much H as possible will certainly maximize your short-term pleasure, but within a few minutes your breathing will slowly start to shallow until it becomes what they call the death rattle, as you experience respiratory depression. Then either you will be lucky and someone will jab some Narcan into you, or you will die. Either way, the outcome is greater displeasure.

You are right, pleasure is the ultimate reward. I should have specified that I was talking about short-term pleasure.

Doing what one actually wants (with the goal of maximizing long-term pleasure) is the same as producing the highest utility for all beings. Here's why:

1. If you are doing something that you don't want to do (even if it produces more short-term utility) you will burn out very rapidly. Thus, to produce the greatest amount of utility, you must be doing something that you enjoy.

2. Focusing on long-term pleasure, you are taking into account the pleasure (or utility) that you produce for others.

For example, when a business makes a decision, it must take into account who it will affect. Yes, drilling oil on a Native American reservation may increase the return to the share holders within the span of a year or two. However, in a decade that decision will prove ROI negative, because people no longer want to buy oil from that company. In the span of 50 years, it is even more ROI negative when the company is dissolved and the share holders are working in factories because we depleted our natural resources and China took over as worlds the leader in GDP. (Not that I believe this would happen, but just for the sake of making a point).
 

v3nge

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#13
To further answer your question of what one ought to do, I have a sort of equation I've made up for finding one's purpose. Because, I believe most people don't actually know what they really want to do.

The first variable is the archetypal function one has in society. Archetypes are born of evolutionary need, and thus each archetype has a role in society, I believe. The dominant function decides how a person makes conclusions and the auxiliary function determines what one does with that conclusion. So, if you are an INTP, then your role in society is to analyze logical information (Ti) and compile it into overarching structures, systems, or ideas (Ne). This is why INTPs make good programmers, philosophers, etc.

Knowing this, you take your function (building systems, roughly speaking) add your interests or passions, add your strengths and subjects you have deep knowledge of, and subtract your weaknesses (speaking in front of people, sympathizing, etc.)

This should give you some very specific answers to the question of "What should I be doing?"
 

The Grey Man

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#14
I am perhaps fortunate that my interests, passions, and strengths should be so oriented towards the continual scrutiny and refinement of systems of ethics, so that in pursuing and developing these attributes, I will not suspect that I have neglected my ethical responsibilities, except...

...insofar as I have been led astray by that very ignorance of duty the remediation of which is the aim of the ethical investigation that I am stirred towards. For it is uncertain whether I am more likely to be of use to by commander by staying put and awaiting proper orders or by picking an arbitrary direction and sticking with it...

...but it is certain that in either case I can offer no honest assurance to either myself or my fellow wayward soldiers that my course of action is worthy of their cooperation, should I need it, due to the absence of authoritative direction. So the search for commandments of duty must be conducted for the sake not only of my conviction, but that of all in whom reason and universal benevolence are combined...

...so that everywhere within my range of dissemination that people are possessed of the desire and capacity to by their actions devote themselves to their duty which alone deserves to bear the name 'nobility', those people will have the best understanding of just what their duty is upon which to base their holistic strategies. As for those who are not thus endowed, well, they cannot be true agents of the good and should only be viewed by the latter as conditional allies of more or less instrumental value.
 
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#15
Do what you like and put your all into the all.
Your life is the all.
You don't exist.
Live.
Die.
The order and time makes no difference.
Order and time are a lie.
Your doubts are a lie.
What you know can consume you.
What you don't know can only be consumed.
What you know will bring you closer to death.
Death will bring you closer to the truth.
The truth is with you.
The truth does not exist.
Death is an illusion.
Death does not exist.
When you die your spirit will dwell in the cosmos.
Your spirit has always dwelt in the cosmos.
So has your body.
So then what of duty?
So then what of existence?
So then what of your forest, your enemy, yourself?
From whom do you seek orders?
Your duty is being fulfilled.
Your duty is your own.
Your duty was fulfilled at the dawn of all.
As were you.
So do what you like and put your all into the all.
Your life is the all.
You don't exist.
Live.
Die.
The order and time makes no difference.
 

QuickTwist

Pawn who fights for injustice
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#17
'The Things They Carried' Amazing book. Recommended to anyone who wants to know what war is really like.
 

The Grey Man

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#18
If I don't exist, just what the hell does?!

This is pointless. What I need is a phenomenological account in complete agreement with my own experience from which to infer my nature both as a potent being (from persistent patterns exhibited by the relations between manifestations of the will and other objects of my experience) and as a being of moral agency (from resemblances between persistent elements of myself with respect to time and other objects which give rise to a theory of other, similarly permanent minds to include the attribution to these of hedonically charged mental content, combined with the "virtual bifurcation" of the future into contradistinct possibilities implied by the condition of uncertainty, where the utility variation between the possible futures is nonzero).

Or is it?

The inference in both cases constitutes belief in a certain uniformity of nature and must be guided by Ockham's Razor, which thins the number of competing theories while offering no assurances regarding the correctness of those remaining (it is a human compensation for a lack of negative knowledge which takes the form, "there exists no instance of consciousness such that..."). However, I don't see a better way of deriving my duty. It is a revelation I seek, one that will not just answer a question of mine, but overturn some of the assumptions behind the asking. I must, it seems, have faith in my own ignorance of my own ignorance.
 
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#19
Act on what is most certain at the time given your full capacity follow the statical likelihood of probabilistic events as a prior to experiences that have given you ground truth for this or that outcome. The evolution of a system is built on choices so indecision leads to decay. Break the deadlock, learn from good and bad. You are not being tested by an outside force but by your own ability to become complex. It is insanity take on more than your own complexity. You cannot calculate everything. You must instead become something on a higher level. Few realize that a reality exists transcendent their own. Epiphany is a word that describes the emotion felt when this realization happens. And so what is beyond calculation? It is unconscious perception. Intuition. what does this do? What it does is that it makes the whole brain woke at the same time instead of just working memory. When the brain works all at the same time this increases the information connectivity 30-60 times working memory. And this connectivity is effortless. It requires no willpower to make it follow commands to make the information organize. It self-organizes on its own and gives you the answer with no effort on your part. The only requirement is to listen to your mind in silence and focus on the problem in silence. No calculations but 60 times the results. If you seek to fulfill your duty whatever the obstacle or ethical dilemma. It is better to be silent and know what to do than to confuse yourself with calculations that will never be enough to find a solution.
 
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#20
What I need is a phenomenological account in complete agreement with my own experience from which to infer my nature both as a potent being and as a being of moral agency.

Or is it?

The inference in both cases constitutes belief in a certain uniformity of nature [...].
However, I don't see a better way of deriving my duty.
There is nothing wrong with that belief. It is a belief based on induction, not deduction, which is the distaste that you express, but solipsism already discovered that a deductive belief does not exist in this matter, so it's all good. So, returning to the main point:
What I need is a phenomenological account in complete agreement with my own experience from which to infer my nature both as a potent being and as a being of moral agency.
For brevity, I shall refer to this as "your need" in this post.
Why do you need this? To infer your nature and therefore duty?

Your need implies two things:

  1. It implies that it is, in principle, possible to infer your duty from your nature, and your nature from a phenomenological account.

    Depending on your understanding of the terms, this may not necessarily be true.
    As food for thought I present you two ways to understand/define "nature" in this context:
    • If we act in accordance with our nature. Then your nature can indeed be derived from the phenomenological account.

      But then how do you know that your duty can be derived from your nature?

      For example: What if the phenomenological account reveals that your nature is to maximize short term pleasure. How would you decide, whether maximizing short term pleasure was also your duty?
    • If your nature is to fulfill your duty, then your duty can indeed be derived from your nature.

      But then how do you decide, whether in any given situation, you have been acting according to your nature?
    Assuming both of the above points simultaneously is an equivocation fallacy (equivocating the term "nature"). Therefore, in both cases, additional information is required to finish the inference. I do not know enough about your assumptions and beliefs about the nature of potency and moral agency, so from here on it's up to you.
  2. It implies that You are capable of inferring your nature given such an account.
    I assume you wouldn't trust anyone else's inference of your duty. How would you know if this is not enemy misinformation? Therefore, while you may enlist help, ultimately you yourself must be capable of understanding the logic behind the inference.

    I posit that in the absence of knowledge of one's duty, figuring out one's duty is your (temporary) duty. The existence of this thread suggest you agree.

    Therefore, in preparation for the day where you have enough information (phenomenological or otherwise, this point applies broader than just as a reply to your need) to infer your duty, your duty is to ensure you will be capable to infer your duty.
    Therefore, your order is not to wait for orders, but to sharpen your rational mind until you figure out your duty.

Lastly, I'll leave you with this observation to ponder or discard at your leisure: Your search for revelation frequently takes you on a path of the dreamer. A king can design an ideal castle and have the resources to build it. A farmer can design an ideal castle, but only has three logs and a handful of nails to his name. Analogously, you tend to concentrate on "ideal" ways of finding <insert whatever you were trying to figure out here> while ignoring that our knowledge and power over this world is limited to such a high degree, that the limits themselves have influence on the answers to our questions. e.g. For what use has the term "duty", if it can never be known? Therefore duty must be something that can be known, and therefore does not inherently require anything complicated like a full phenomenological account of your existence as such an account is too idealized to exist.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#21
Perhaps you focus too much on the enemy? I say perhaps. Would it not be better to focus on God?

You place an emphasis on purity, and I believe you are likely purer than myself in that regard. You wish to do good, you seem to seek it with the core of your being, and he who seeks shall find, so have hope.

It is no easy task to know what one must do. There are many paradoxes involved which I wrestle with frequently.

What I do know with near certainty is that there is a good, there is a path that it is good to walk, and that we do have the free will to follow it or to stray. Would we follow it were we in true knowledge of it, or would we still often stray? This is where paradox sets in.

Life is a journey of doing and learning. We all must walk our paths and do what we can.

I feel this post is lacking in quality were it continue, thus I end it here.
 

Cognisant

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#22
The only truely sane man is an ego dead nihilist, this proves that humans are by necessity fundamentally insane.

We practice a kind of collective narcissism, the concepts of good and evil, of worthwhile and worthless, are entirely derived from our sense of self importantance.

Sanity is impossible so embrace the madness.

 

green acid

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#23
Everything exists. Space-Time is a garden full of multiplicity. Just choose the path that leads to maximising lucre.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#24
The only truely sane man is an ego dead nihilist
I have no idea why this would be the case. Could you explain why?

I believe a sane man would know the truth. Ahem. Obviously a bit... leading with that statement. But yeah.
 

redbaron

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#25
only someone insane could believe they know The Truth™
 

Cognisant

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#26
I have no idea why this would be the case. Could you explain why?
Well you see there's no god and we know this because Bugs Bunny is real, not just a cartoon character I mean there actually is a real flesh and blood Bugs Bunny and as we all know Bugs Bunny is never wrong and Bugs Bunny said there's no god.

I could just tell you there's no god but no matter how clever my arguments are you will always dismiss them because you can always take refuge in epistemological skepticism because it's an axiom of philosophy that a negative statement (i.e. that there's no ninjas in a photo) cannot be conclusively proven.

So rather than play your stupid game we're going to play my stupid game where you try to convince me that Bugs Bunny isn't real while I dismiss everything you say and relentlessly spout my own pro Bugs Bunny bullshit.

Now having established that there's no omnipotent/omniscient all creator, no divine arbiter of existential meaning, it follows that life/existence has no inherent purpose or morality, that as improbable and insulting as it may seem we exist merely by chance and that when we die there will be no afterlife.

Life is an emergent property, with megaliters of chemistry and billions of years even astoundingly improbable events are possible. But life didn't just occur it reproduced and for millions of years Earth's oceans was a soup extremely simple micro-organisms, then things got interesting. Somewhere along the line a parasitic virus and its host cell reached an impasse in their evolutionary arms race and co-evolved a symbiotic relationship, thus sex was invented and life has been fucked ever since.

Now billions of years later life has has become so sophisticated that we have this great big lump in our nervous system, a lump of thinking meat, and in humans this thinking meat has become so clever it has become aware of its own existence and contemplates the nature of itself, of its identity.

But that's a problem, we evolved thinking meat so as a species we could be more successful animals but the brain has a mind and the mind doesn't want to be an animal, it doesn't want to just eat and fuck and die, it wants more.

Human minds don't want to be human anymore, we want to be immortal, we want to be divine, we want to confront the universe that would have used us until we were spent and cast us away and make it submit to our will.
 
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#27
So rather than play your stupid game we're going to play my stupid game where you try to convince me that Bugs Bunny isn't real while I dismiss everything you say and relentlessly spout my own pro Bugs Bunny bullshit.
There's an important difference between God and Bugs Bunny. What you call life/existence, others call Creation. To you, the world has chance as its creative principle, to others, the Creator is God. Nobody seriously calls this Creator Bugs Bunny, because of that name's prior connotations. Now, calling the world a Creation created by a Creator doesn't explain the world, it just gives it a name and very dubiously attributes to it a causal dependence on something else which is also named but which doesn't appear anywhere in experience. So in a sense, you're right in saying that believing in God is "stupid", because He isn't really anything, or at least, He's nothing immanent or concrete. He has no place in any philosophical theory that merely describes experience. But the same is true of chance, which you apparently do believe in.

What is chance? Chance is when one doesn't know if, how, why, where, or when something will happen or, in the cosmological sense in which you've (again, very dubiously) employed it, why anything is at all. "Chance" only ever makes an appearance when "I don't know" is in the neighbourhood. Chance is, after all, mystery. "God" is just an older name for the mystery of mysteries, one that is used by many people, including most of the important thinkers of the Arabian and Western civilizations in their extant texts. You can treat Him merely as an irritant, an assertion that jars with your understanding of nature, or as a counter in a Wittgensteinian language game, a beneficent tool in understanding those people. I know which one I prefer.
 

Cognisant

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#28
I actually don't care how it all began, maybe an alien stopped by and took a shit, maybe this is all a stimulation, maybe there really is a god and our universe is his car battery.

It really doesn't matter how it all began, what matters is where we are now and where we want to be and to me religion is the enemy because it's in my way.

I don't want to die, I don't want to be lied to about a life after death and I certainly don't want to be told what I want is wrong because it challanges their fucking fairytale.

I want to live, I want more than this bullshit trial version of life I want the real deal, I want to wake up one morning with endless possibilities ahead of me rather than a predictable march into decay and death.

People don't appreciate life until you threaten to kill them, then they feel it, the fear, that deep existential dread, the truth is god isn't dead but rather the tyranny of death personified.
 
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#29
So you want things. Cool. I want things too :confused:

My intent here was to have a conversation about what one ought to do, but I see now more distinctly than before that "ought" doesn't mean anything at all.

In case anyone was wondering, I haven't forgotten about this thread, but I'm making a response to all the recent responses that will become another thread due to my radically different understanding of morality. I was facetious before, but it will be more about recognizing the same will within oneself and without and resignation than about overcoming external barriers to it. So, probably something like "ego-dead nihilist" philosophy.
 
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