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Is there a moral obligation to be nice?

Beat Mango

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I saw this sign posted on a coffee machine:



And I thought, I am rarely "nice" to the barista who serves me coffee. I ask for the coffee with only the slightest hint of a smile, wait my turn, and take my coffee.

However, there are clearly some people who are offended by such behaviour, or if it forms a pattern at least. And for them to be offended, it's implied that I have broken some moral code where I am obliged to be nice. Take for example the blogger of the above photo:
http://pablonerudasworld.com/?paged=17 who clearly believes people who do not display etiquette have some kind of flaw.

Further, I was talking to a customer today who appeared upset by the fact that when she asked me how I was, I merely replied matter-of-factly "good thanks" and did not offer the question in return (despite it being a very stupid question where you are only allowed to answer one way, positively, or else you are dismissed).

But why is there an obligation to be nice? The way I see it, as long as I am not harming anyone, then I should be free to act how I wish. And if someone is harmed by my aloof nature which may not adhere to social etiquette, then they are simply too sensitive and in truth, too demanding.

Where the above blogger despairs for humanity due to their lack of etiquette, I despair that there are some, in fact many, who rest their well-being and judgement of others on such a fickle thing as how one answers the question "how are you". Surely there are more important things to be concerned with.
 

Hadoblado

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People seek validation. You refuse to give it to them with your words which are free. Why?
 

Brontosaurie

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inclusive fitness. do you speak it?


to be fair i personally think you were sufficiently nice...
 

redbaron

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Why do you care what some loser with nothing better to do than blog about her trip to the hair salon says?

Then again I consider anyone who owns a blog that isn't intended for the express purpose of something actually useful, and is just a place to share their dreary opinions on shit no one really cares about in a search for some meagre amount of validation from whatever kind of people visit these inane blogs - is a useless waste of oxygen just begging to be culled.

I think there's a difference between being ill-mannered and being concise. You can be politely concise without intending any insult and have it conceived as ill-manners, but there's really no point caring about that. If someone inquires how you are and all you have to say is, 'good' I don't see a problem...depending on context.
 

Beat Mango

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inclusive fitness. do you speak it?
Just googled that term. I consider myself quite altruistic. Perceived altruism, I concede I may lack.

Why do you care what some loser with nothing better to do than blog about her trip to the hair salon says?
Because if it is occurring at work, then it affects me directly.

Anyway again, I intended this as a Ti exercise in whether there actually does exist a moral obligation to be nice.
 

redbaron

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Anyway again, I intended this as a Ti exercise in whether there actually does exist a moral obligation to be nice.
Boring answer: depends whose morals you're using to assess it.
 

Polaris

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I don't think you have to be chirpy to be 'nice'. I never smile or answer "I am good thanks" when strangers ask as per default. I just respond with a neutral "Hi". Doesn't mean I'm not 'nice'.

However, I quickly engage by looking into the person's eyes (thereby acknowledging them as an individual) and telling them what errand I have or whatever. I think people respond better when you look into their eyes from an open, but neutral stance. I get straight to the point without chit chat, which is something that is inherent in me as I come from a different cultural background. I can't do the British colonialist niceties naturally. However, when I do engage it is with sincerity, and people pick up on that pretty quickly and respond with reflective and often surprising honesty. If they seem a little off balance as a result of not getting the response they expected, I goof around a little, emphasising my natural awkwardness. It seems to have a calming effect on people when they realise they don't have to engage in superficial niceties.

And no, I don't think there is a moral obligation to be nice. That would be a British derivative, if anything. Nice could also mean so many different things.

I don't even understand what that sign implies. Perhaps it's a bashing-around-the-proverbial way of saying: Don't be rude. That sign alone would be enough to get some people worked up and thereby act rudely. It's like those annoying bumper stickers that proclaim: "I don't care about your stick family". Why is it necessary to make this known to everyone?

:confused:
 

redbaron

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Polaris said:
"I don't care about your stick family". Why is it necessary to make this known to everyone?
Because I drive a big loud car, own a big loud dog and shoot animals with my big loud gun for, 'sport' and I want everyone to know how edgy I am.
 

just george

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Questions such as "how are you" aren't really questions - they're offers. Ie you should interpret the question as actually saying "I want to be nice to you, would you like to be nice back?".

If you reflect their behavior back at them, then you are saying (between the lines) "I accept your offer and wish to reciprocate, shall we continue on?".

If you do not reciprocate, then you are saying "I reject you/your offer" and so the negative reaction you get is a rejection response.

As for morality, no, it is not a moral obligation to accept every offer someone makes. It is only immoral when you have agreed to a contract (eg "yes I would like to reciprocate") and then you break it (by not reciprocating).

Personally, I always reciprocate to people who are being polite - not because of morality, but because I prefer living in that kind of society, and so I have to broadcast that into my world to get the echoes back.

If I'm polite and people don't reciprocate, I don't include them in my world. It's their loss.
 

Solitaire U.

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Honestly, I think you're over-thinking a six word sign. The baristas are obligated to 'be nice' to customers. But have you ever worked as a barista? If you have, then you've experienced daily encounters with the many twats who are mixed in with your hundreds a day client base.

The sign is merely promoting equal measures of courtesy and respect. I don't think that's asking too much.

But maybe it would be clearer to you if it read "If you came here to vent your passive aggressive, openly aggressive, arrogant, assholish, dick headed, hung-over, pissed off at the world for no apparent reason, "I'm in a fucking hurry and I'm a much more important person than you, so move your fucking peasant ass faster because I need my coffee NOW!"or other caffeine-starved negative behavioral proclivities upon the baristas, please leave."

"
And I thought, I am rarely "nice" to the barista who serves me coffee. I ask for the coffee with only the slightest hint of a smile, wait my turn, and take my coffee.

Then you're complying with the sign's request. I would assume the workers couldn't care less about your failure to smile. High traffic coffee house...just behave like a docile cattle that doesn't require prodding and the servers will refrain from spitting in your soy-mocha latte.
 

Lucifer van Satan

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Let's say morality is simply to minimize harm done to humans (primarily).
If you know that person is sensitive and continue to do something you know might hurt them, you are not minimizing harm. That also means it wouldn't be morally right to do something that would on average hurt the sort of people that you know you are dealing with.
If you do hurt someone ignorantly, it is up to that person to say if it hurts them or not. If they don't say it hurts them and you notice nothing, it is totally moral to continue doing it, for you unaware what you are doing. If they tell you what hurts or offends them, we are back at the beginning.

Finally, some people cannot simply become less sensitive, yet they should inform you of that nicely (unless they actually want to beak the same moral code, which would be quite hypocritical :) ).
 

Beat Mango

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Questions such as "how are you" aren't really questions - they're offers. Ie you should interpret the question as actually saying "I want to be nice to you, would you like to be nice back?".

If you reflect their behavior back at them, then you are saying (between the lines) "I accept your offer and wish to reciprocate, shall we continue on?".

If you do not reciprocate, then you are saying "I reject you/your offer" and so the negative reaction you get is a rejection response.

As for morality, no, it is not a moral obligation to accept every offer someone makes. It is only immoral when you have agreed to a contract (eg "yes I would like to reciprocate") and then you break it (by not reciprocating).
"Like". This sits well with my intuition.

Interesting analysis of the context Solitaire U. Agree completely.

I actually think "don't be a dickhead, or leave" is fair enough in any everyday conversation. In fact I ask the same. But to ask me to be positively nice I think is too much.

Australian culture does have a tendency to expect you to be a "good bloke" as a male. There's a football club where someone even said, "we don't expect you to be a saint at this club, but you have to be a good bloke" - surely the ability to play football is more important than whether you're a good bloke or not?! Apparently not.
 

Beat Mango

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Let's say morality is simply to minimize harm done to humans (primarily).
If you know that person is sensitive and continue to do something you know might hurt them, you are not minimizing harm. That also means it wouldn't be morally right to do something that would on average hurt the sort of people that you know you are dealing with.
If you do hurt someone ignorantly, it is up to that person to say if it hurts them or not. If they don't say it hurts them and you notice nothing, it is totally moral to continue doing it, for you unaware what you are doing. If they tell you what hurts or offends them, we are back at the beginning.

Finally, some people cannot simply become less sensitive, yet they should inform you of that nicely (unless they actually want to beak the same moral code, which would be quite hypocritical :) ).
This is getting to the crux of the question. If I am causing harm by not being nice, then there's a genuine argument that I am being immoral for the reasons you've given about not minimising harm.

However, a key contributor to people feeling harm is their expectation of niceness. They are looking to take from the interaction, and if they don't get what they want, they will get upset/angry which creates bad karma and so on. Accordingly, they're partly responsible through their essentially judgemental nature.

The way I see it, I am giving people a gift by not engaging in social graces, as I am allowing them the opportunity to be completely honest and free without judgement.
 

Chad

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Just googled that term. I consider myself quite altruistic. Perceived altruism, I concede I may lack.


Because if it is occurring at work, then it affects me directly.

Anyway again, I intended this as a Ti exercise in whether there actually does exist a moral obligation to be nice.
I don't think it as easy as asking is there a moral obligation to be nice.

I think there is a rational reasonable ethical principle to treat people respectfully, especially strangers. This is because you don't know there circumstance therefore it's hard to judge there actions logically.

On the other hand there are ever changing social pressures to act one way or another. This is simply silly and pointless. Ethical/moral obligations should be the same no matter when were or who are are encountering.

Sometimes you do need oblige social norms for personal or communal gain but his is not a moral obligation.

I would say that how you describe yourself is perfectly respectful so I wouldn't worry if I was you.
 

Jennywocky

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Not sure how "niceness" can be a "moral" obligation if morality is subjective.

However, most communities (which can range greatly in size -- and can also overlap) possess a tacit codex of communications that convey meaning to other members of the community. So the codex can be manipulated to deliver those communications... inadvertently or not.

Kind of like the fake Hungarian dictionary, where the speaker intends to say one form of pleasantry and ends up conveying instead the most heinous of insults or the most incoherent notions.

In a diverse community, sometimes people think they're all operating off the same codex, but they are not. For example, the woman who takes offense at someone not offering a greeting in the manner in which she is accustomed.

In this thread, the poster relates offering the appropriate answer to the question but then not mirroring her question back. In this kind of exchange, there are various acceptable responses... and also, even if the expected response is not given, it should only be prioritized as a minor issue in the codex and NOT one worth causing a row about. (As opposed, for example, to replying to the "How're you?" with an audible "Eff off, biatch." That should be considered a much more serious breach of etiquette.)

I read the sign contextually, btw -- probably a response to pushy customers who can't handle waiting their turn in line like everyone else, or who bitch about the most anal aspects of food prep and obviously are never happy with their order. In that context, I can see a store owner saying, "If you can't wait your turn like everyone else, or if you don't like anything we ever seem to get you, don't waste our time by coming here anymore" -- all folded into the word "nice." There's actually a kind of tit-for-tat practicality blended into that particular use of the word "nice."

Why do you care what some loser with nothing better to do than blog about her trip to the hair salon says?

Then again I consider anyone who owns a blog that isn't intended for the express purpose of something actually useful, and is just a place to share their dreary opinions on shit no one really cares about in a search for some meagre amount of validation from whatever kind of people visit these inane blogs - is a useless waste of oxygen just begging to be culled.

I think there's a difference between being ill-mannered and being concise. You can be politely concise without intending any insult and have it conceived as ill-manners, but there's really no point caring about that. If someone inquires how you are and all you have to say is, 'good' I don't see a problem...depending on context.
Yeah, I don't either. And I have that issue at work -- i know there are times when I'm just feeling tongue-tied and someone greets me that way as we are passing briefly in the hall. So I give the "good" response as I'm smiling, and then we're past each other and I never asked in turn and feel like maybe they think I'm rude because I didn't say the same back. ANd then I just decide, "oh well," and continue on with life.

However, a key contributor to people feeling harm is their expectation of niceness. They are looking to take from the interaction, and if they don't get what they want, they will get upset/angry which creates bad karma and so on. Accordingly, they're partly responsible through their essentially judgemental nature.
Well, what they're doing it reading it not as a neutral but a snub -- a sign of actual ill-will. Which is a threat. "They don't like me. I can't trust them. Safe, well-meaning people would have no reason to not respond appropriately. "

EDIT: Yeah, Just George's idea of the exchange being an "offer" blends nicely with this. There is no "neutral." You are either accepting or rejecting the offer. Rejection is a negative.
 

Polaris

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Polaris said:
It seems to have a calming effect on people when they realise they don't have to engage in superficial niceties.
Beat Mango said:
The way I see it, I am giving people a gift by not engaging in social graces, as I am allowing them the opportunity to be completely honest and free without judgement.
Basically what I said, just with a hint of wankerism :)

Humility helps.
 

Inappropriate Behavior

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I think you may have misinterpreted the intent of the sign to some degree. I think it's intent is to dissuade rude people.

"Hurry up" "This coffeee is old!" "You're service is terrible!"

That kind of thing happens a lot in busy establishment like coffee shops tend to be on a daily basis and that sign was probably put up in response to that. You're not expected to be Mr. Sunshine, but that "only the slightest hint of a smile" followed by a thanks when you recieve your coffee wouldn't kill you.

I can't speak to the morallity of being nice but I can tell you it can certainly help you get through daily situations. Look people in the eye as Polaris says and a few simple words should be sufficient. Anyone who demands more is someone you probably don't want to deal with anyway so screw 'em.
 

kvothe27

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This is your inferior Fe at work. Largely being unaware of one side of your ambivalence of your desire to comply more fully with this sign's request because you've likely alienated it, you have projected it onto a convenient blogger. "Someone thinks I'm flawed. Who is it. Ha hah! This blogger thinks I'm flawed."

If you had thought you were fully complying with the sign, you would not have cared what the other customer thought. If you had thought the sign's request unreasonable, you still wouldn't have cared or you would have, while recognizing it as an annoyance, visited a different establishment. But, of course, in having Fe instead of Fi, such things are more worrisome to INTPs. In alienating your desire to comply more fully to the sign, you wonder who thinks such things. As such, you seek out those who fit your projections.


In regards to a moral obligation to be nice, there might be, depending on the moral framework being used, if, for example, someone is threatening suicide.
 

Jennywocky

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In regards to a moral obligation to be nice, there might be, depending on the moral framework being used, if, for example, someone is threatening suicide.
Case in point: Have you ever seen the response when someone on an online INTP forum suggests they might commit suicide?

... they'd probably be better off announcing their intention in that coffee shop. ;)
 

Inappropriate Behavior

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Case in point: Have you ever seen the response when someone on an online INTP forum suggests they might commit suicide?

... they'd probably be better off announcing their intention in that coffee shop. ;)
Something like:

"I'm thinking of committing suicide."

"Interesting. Can I come watch?"

"I live on the other side of the world. Can you get here by tomorrow?"

"Nah, I don't want to take a trip or anything. Can't you just livestream it?"

"I suppose"

"Great! PM me the info please."

"Ok"
 

TimeAsylums

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"Well...it's not like you're attributing anything to this world anyway, and you're just taking up air and food and space..."

As InappropriateBehavior suggested "Can I watch?" <- I would be on this side

Or they point out all the logical fallacies you have made thus making you feel 2x as stupid and even more suicidal.
 

Jennywocky

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Something like:

"I'm thinking of committing suicide."

"Interesting. Can I come watch?"

"I live on the other side of the world. Can you get here by tomorrow?"

"Nah, I don't want to take a trip or anything. Can't you just livestream it?"

"I suppose"

"Great! PM me the info please."

"Ok"
"Well...it's not like you're attributing anything to this world anyway, and you're just taking up air and food and space..."

As InappropriateBehavior suggested "Can I watch?" <- I would be on this side

Or they point out all the logical fallacies you have made thus making you feel 2x as stupid and even more suicidal.
Yeah, basically:

- "Announcing killing yourself is so stupid. If you really just want to do it, you would have done it instead of trying to be a postwhore about it. This is just a bid for attention. I'm putting you on Ignore."

- "If you don't have the mental tenacity to go on living, it's better you die now anyway and get it over with, without wasting everyone else's time anymore."

- "God, you're just a feeler. A thinker wouldn't kill themselves like this."

- "You moron. Everyone knows that the rope will break if it's not at least X inches thick. You'll probably just become a vegetable and live trapped in a rotting shell of a body for the next 40 years. Slick move, moron. You can't even kill yourself right."
 

kvothe27

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Case in point: Have you ever seen the response when someone on an online INTP forum suggests they might commit suicide?

... they'd probably be better off announcing their intention in that coffee shop. ;)
Given how outspoken Duxwing is, I think it might go pretty well -- on this forum, at least.
 

ummidk

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moral obligation? Do YOU think its a moral obligation to be nice?

I don't believe in any objective morals, but appealing to collective, subjective morals may have better outcomes than opposing them(depending on your goals).
 

TimeAsylums

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moral obligation? Do YOU think its a moral obligation to be nice?

I don't believe in any objective morals, but appealing to collective, subjective morals may have better outcomes than opposing them(depending on your goals).
Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.

Depending on your goals: being "nice" gets you farther with most people, assuming that's what you want anyway. However if you don't, then ta-da.

I don't enjoy social niceties or smalltalk, but it's necessary for them...so whatever, because I need people.
 

scorpiomover

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Up to about 60 years ago, etiquette was considered extremely important in the UK, for very practical reasons. Britain had an extremely bloody history. People got used to seeing others as a potential enemy. The result was that when someone insulted someone else, the person who was insulted assumed this might be an indication that the other person didn't like him, and might stab him, which happened often. So the insulted person would respond with violence, which would often escalate into violence.

Even when it could be assumed that it would not escalate into violence, such as with the upper classes, being insulted in public would often lower their social standing with others, and then others would often start making excuses that they didn't want to do business with the insulted person, or would assume that they were a patsy, who could be wheedled into taking far less money, and often, less than the goods would actually cost to make, and women would start rejecting their marriage proposals. Often, the only way to regain one's income and one's relationship prospects, was to regain one's social standing, and often, that would only happen when the insulted gentleman challenged the other person to a duel. If the person doing the insulting didn't accept the duel, then he was deemed that either he was a coward, and so lost all his social standing, or that he agreed that he was wrong to insult the other person, and due to the gravity of how much the insult had harmed the gentleman, it meant that the person doing the insulting was an utter scumbag, and so lost all his social standing and his prospects anyway. So the person doing the insulting had to take up the duel. Both of them had to fight to the death, or suffer the loss of their income, their ability to earn enough money to pay rent and buy food, and their prospects for a relationship.

People could see that it was a big problem. However, it still happened a LOT, because there were no clear rules for when it was OK to make a joke, and when it was an insult that might lead to a duel when one of the people would die, and the other would be branded a murderer.

Social conduct rules did away with those problems, by defining when it was OK to make a joke, and when it wasn't. Some of those rules were arbitrary, but were still necessary, in order to ensure that some kind of protocol existed that everyone knew, so people wouldn't end up killing each other in duels or stabbing each other in the street.

It's the social equivalent of driving rules. Many of the rules we have about driving, are arbitrary (Does it really matter if the sign to stop is coloured red or blue?). But they are there, because when we don't have rules for driving, people don't know when and how to navigate around each other, and then many collisions result. A great example of this, is that in the UK, on a roundabout, the drivers to the right on the roundabout or coming onto the roundabout always have priority. It's a rather arbitrary rule. But the truth is that it means that you only have to check to your right before coming onto the roundabout, and wait until it's clear, and once done, you can turn left, right, go ahead, or even turn around, safely and reliably, with almost no problems.

We're not nice just because. We're nice because when we weren't nice, we used to stab each other and beat each other up.

We got used to being nice, and for so long, that most violence went away. Then we started taking that for granted, and stopped remembering why we started to be nice in the first place. And now, we're wondering why we see so many conflicts over so many things in our country, conflicts that we consider almost totally unnecessary (Do we REALLY need to fight over if someone else wants to have a homosexual relationship with a consenting adult of his choice?).
 

Lucifer van Satan

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This is getting to the crux of the question. If I am causing harm by not being nice, then there's a genuine argument that I am being immoral for the reasons you've given about not minimising harm.

However, a key contributor to people feeling harm is their expectation of niceness. They are looking to take from the interaction, and if they don't get what they want, they will get upset/angry which creates bad karma and so on. Accordingly, they're partly responsible through their essentially judgemental nature.

The way I see it, I am giving people a gift by not engaging in social graces, as I am allowing them the opportunity to be completely honest and free without judgement.
Yes, all moral instincts we have strive towards the goal of minimizing harm, so I believe it rational to understand the idea of morality as the idea of minimizing harm. Think about it, are there any shortcomings of this substitution (seriously, I would like to know your thoughts, guys)?

Now, you cannot simply accuse people of being easily offended and optimistic can you :) ?
Especially the ones that likely can't do much about it. Yet, it is your obligation as a moral being to be softer to those people (of course, it is not such a great moral violation if you aren't, for you are not causing much harm; the question was simply was it at all).

As to "social graces",
It is simply a question whether people need honest truth from you more than blissful ignorance in their own world. I do not want to discuss religion in this thread, but it usually comes down to basically the same thing.
 

ummidk

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Up to about 60 years ago, etiquette was considered extremely important in the UK, for very practical reasons. Britain had an extremely bloody history. People got used to seeing others as a potential enemy. The result was that when someone insulted someone else, the person who was insulted assumed this might be an indication that the other person didn't like him, and might stab him, which happened often. So the insulted person would respond with violence, which would often escalate into violence.

^Ooo...Me likes the systemic analysis



Oh wait....


(Do we REALLY need to fight over if someone else wants to have a homosexual relationship with a consenting adult of his choice?).


God Hates Fag, and GTFO.........What makes you think I won't cut you?
 

Duxwing

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@kvothe Thanks. :) Yet I don't think that I'd be alone in trying to help: despite INTPs liking to reject and abhor their Fe, their replies to cries for help or simple, depressed moaning on this forum have been--in my admittedly limited experience--repeatedly and prevailingly positive, caring, and well-intentioned.

-Duxwing
 

Cavallier

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And I thought, I am rarely "nice" to the barista who serves me coffee. I ask for the coffee with only the slightest hint of a smile, wait my turn, and take my coffee.

However, there are clearly some people who are offended by such behaviour, or if it forms a pattern at least. And for them to be offended, it's implied that I have broken some moral code where I am obliged to be nice.
I think you may have misinterpreted the intent of the sign to some degree. I think it's intent is to dissuade rude people.

"Hurry up" "This coffeee is old!" "You're service is terrible!"
Yes. In customer service when someone says, "Be nice" they actually mean "don't be a jerk". Customer service people get treated like shit on a minute by minute basis.

Also, I do not think there is a moral obligation to be nice. Going down that road leads to a Stepford Wives level of forced servitude that I am unwilling to agree to. Besides, "niceness" can't be quantified. However, people do like to be treated as something other than a machine in most cases. Opening communication with a safe "How are you?" is a way of starting a connection. Obviously if the person does not want to engage they do as you do and don't respond. It is really nothing more than a conversational handshake. These sort of interactions are the lubrication of communication. They make the monitary and services exchange a little smoother. A person who refuses the "handshake" comes off as distant and to many that equals a negative exchange but it is not a crime and obviously it is easy enough to brush off.

Given how outspoken Duxwing is, I think it might go pretty well -- on this forum, at least.
No, no. I do think that Duxwing would assist, as he points out above, but I think that he might be made fun of for it. A few would try to actually delve into the issues that the suicidal member has. A larger group would ridicule the suicidal member or at least turn the thread into a joke. Ultimately the thread would devolve (some would consider it 'evolve') into a discussion of the pointlessness of life and how we humans as a whole are already headed in a suicidal direction. This last one has been evidenced in many a thread around here.
 

Trebuchet

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I don't think there is a moral obligation to be nice.

But there is my moral obligation to be nice.

Like many on this forum, I have used logic, research, experiments, philosophy, and personal preference to create my own code of conduct/morals/ethics. And my code includes being nice. I fail a lot, but that doesn't make it meaningless.

Your code of morals might include being nasty, though I have to ask how your logic, research, experiments, philosophy, or preference led you to think that was a good idea.

As for answering "How are you?" with a complete "Fine, thanks, and how are you?" I might or might not, depending on how I feel. "Good thanks" seems perfectly adequate to me, and criticizing someone for that or only offering a small smile is itself not very nice.
 

Lucifer van Satan

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I don't think there is a moral obligation to be nice.

But there is my moral obligation to be nice.

Like many on this forum, I have used logic, research, experiments, philosophy, and personal preference to create my own code of conduct/morals/ethics. And my code includes being nice. I fail a lot, but that doesn't make it meaningless.

Your code of morals might include being nasty, though I have to ask how your logic, research, experiments, philosophy, or preference led you to think that was a good idea.

As for answering "How are you?" with a complete "Fine, thanks, and how are you?" I might or might not, depending on how I feel. "Good thanks" seems perfectly adequate to me, and criticizing someone for that or only offering a small smile is itself not very nice.

Hmmm. That doesn't really work, does it?
Anyone can make their own moral code and put anything in it, like a serial killer can well include murder and rape in his code, which now become moral in his world, right?
So is he a moral person? No.
But where to draw the line?
Isn't that where objective morality comes in? In drawing the line?
I'd love to hear you thoughts.
 

Beat Mango

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Basically what I said, just with a hint of wankerism :)

Humility helps.
Helps with what? As a trade off so others be nice because they don't perceive a threat? I would agree with that. However some people will abuse it and bully. Better to retain a hint of "wankerism".

Tying some ideas together, people make the offer of niceness to form an ally, which is the inverse of warding off potential threats. Hence why if you were to meet a king, better to be extra nice/humble/subservient even, because there's more at stake.
 

Aeroflot

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I have two points to make in this thread:

1) The part of this thread about announcing suicide on an INTP forum just made my day. Maybe two. You (insert gender neutral pronoun)(s) are awesome.

2) Being nice is necessary for survival. Being nice at work means you keep your job (unless the situation is that your boss wanted you to tell the guy off). Being nice at a restaurant probably keeps the waiter from spitting his secret HIV in your soup. Not returning niceties to random people on the street leads to them yelling at you and having them follow you back home.
 

redbaron

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To contract HIV from saliva you need to ingest something in the order of 6 litres...and I'm pretty sure if you're ingesting 6 litres of someone else's saliva you're not at a restaurant.

I know, missing the point. I just wanted to point that out.
 

Jennywocky

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To contract HIV from saliva you need to ingest something in the order of 6 litres...and I'm pretty sure if you're ingesting 6 litres of someone else's saliva you're not at a restaurant.

I know, missing the point. I just wanted to point that out.
You're not even in the United States, since we're weenieheads and have tried to avoid thinking in metric as much as possible (aside from soda).
 

Trebuchet

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Hmmm. That doesn't really work, does it?
Anyone can make their own moral code and put anything in it, like a serial killer can well include murder and rape in his code, which now become moral in his world, right?
So is he a moral person? No.
But where to draw the line?
Isn't that where objective morality comes in? In drawing the line?
I'd love to hear you thoughts.
Well, murder and rape are illegal. People who consider those moral get locked up as criminals or criminally insane. Society doesn't want that, and such codes are vigorously suppressed. It isn't really a good option, and seems outside the scope of this thread.

We were debating whether basic politeness is necessarily part of a moral code. Society (at least in the US) has not made rudeness illegal. At worst, you get angry stares, bad relationships, mean blog posts, and are refused service in restaurants. If being rude is part of your moral code, that is fine. No one else has to agree, though, and they might very well be rude back. There is no guarantee that you will be accepted if you have an obnoxious code of behavior.

Now, your question is where we draw the line. The thing is, the line moves. Ota Benga (a human) was once put in a zoo as an exhibit in the Bronx. You won't see that today because we draw the line in a different place than people in the 19th century.* Some day, our descendants might despise us for putting cetaceans or elephants or other primates in zoos.

I don't agree with the idea of a single objective morality that is universal for all people and all times. But I think there is one if you specify when and which society. And each society and time will judge others by its own standard. Right now, in the US, rudeness is considered bad behavior but not necessarily immoral behavior.

The question in this thread was whether rudeness/niceness is a moral issue or not. I answered that it is for me but not necessarily for everyone. It is a borderline issue, which is what made it interesting.

*I know you will ask. I consider putting Ota Benga in a zoo to be inexcusable, even for the people of that time. It was not moral or acceptable and should not have been so to them. I judge them to be wrong, from today, based on my own standards. It was only in their own eyes that they were behaving morally.
 

Montresor

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I go on being "nice" - as in not openly rude but not seeking any connections - until they upset me. Then I'm just upset.

I think Duxwing actually has proven he will be the first to post at the mention of suicide, and something like "I think you should drop anything and call a hotline and then let me help talk you out of it."
After all, he talked himself out of existential despair.
 

Aeroflot

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To contract HIV from saliva you need to ingest something in the order of 6 litres...and I'm pretty sure if you're ingesting 6 litres of someone else's saliva you're not at a restaurant.

I know, missing the point. I just wanted to point that out.
You are allowed to miss points and make your own. Points are like belly buttons.
 

Lucifer van Satan

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Well, murder and rape are illegal. People who consider those moral get locked up as criminals or criminally insane. Society doesn't want that, and such codes are vigorously suppressed. It isn't really a good option, and seems outside the scope of this thread.

We were debating whether basic politeness is necessarily part of a moral code. Society (at least in the US) has not made rudeness illegal. At worst, you get angry stares, bad relationships, mean blog posts, and are refused service in restaurants. If being rude is part of your moral code, that is fine. No one else has to agree, though, and they might very well be rude back. There is no guarantee that you will be accepted if you have an obnoxious code of behavior.

Now, your question is where we draw the line. The thing is, the line moves. Ota Benga (a human) was once put in a zoo as an exhibit in the Bronx. You won't see that today because we draw the line in a different place than people in the 19th century.* Some day, our descendants might despise us for putting cetaceans or elephants or other primates in zoos.

I don't agree with the idea of a single objective morality that is universal for all people and all times. But I think there is one if you specify when and which society. And each society and time will judge others by its own standard. Right now, in the US, rudeness is considered bad behavior but not necessarily immoral behavior.

The question in this thread was whether rudeness/niceness is a moral issue or not. I answered that it is for me but not necessarily for everyone. It is a borderline issue, which is what made it interesting.

*I know you will ask. I consider putting Ota Benga in a zoo to be inexcusable, even for the people of that time. It was not moral or acceptable and should not have been so to them. I judge them to be wrong, from today, based on my own standards. It was only in their own eyes that they were behaving morally.
Thank's for the reply.

I know this might be a bit out of thethread, but I promise that I will return to the original question in the end.
I actually think that the idea of morality should be understood as the idea of minimizing harm and maximizing happiness on the overall scale.
You see a situation and reason with it. Of course there is no constant and unchangeable moral code that is always true. Life is to complex for that, therefore we must reason with every situation with the overall welfare at the basis of it.
There can be objective and changeable morals. Like a function that changes the output whenever one of the input parameters changes.
Now, it would be odd to actually say the law limits the bad morals, but if you are referring to different cultures and periods, you're basically right, for they are also variables in the calculation.
That's what I referred to when I said "objective morality".
Simply implying that having an unchangeable codebook that says "be nice" won't always work, even if always in one culture.

Now, to the question: If you are rude you are not minimizing harm (in an average case, at least). Yet, you are doing very little damage to someone to be regarded as an immoral person.
 

Duxwing

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I go on being "nice" - as in not openly rude but not seeking any connections - until they upset me. Then I'm just upset.

I think Duxwing actually has proven he will be the first to post at the mention of suicide, and something like "I think you should drop anything and call a hotline and then let me help talk you out of it."
After all, he talked himself out of existential despair.
I don't actually know how to take that. :storks: My response would depend on the situation: e.g., I would be wholeheartedly logical in an abstract discussion of suicide, but I would tell someone to "drop anything and call a hotline" if he or she were about to kill themselves because suicidal people don't care about dropping things, and I'm not equipped to talk someone out of suicide. The hotline would then calm him or her down and stall for time until he or she could be physically restrained.

-Duxwing
 

redbaron

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You are allowed to miss points and make your own. Points are like belly buttons.
Woof!
Internet Dog did not know we could make MORE belly buttons! How and where? Internet Dog must discover the truth!
Awhrooooooo!

Maybe I should get out more...
 

Montresor

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Did we both make a typo there?

I meant "everything", and I think you meant "wouldn't"?:confused:


Anyone have a leash?
 

walfin

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Hm...seems like a cultural thing.

BM's behaviour in the OP doesn't seem at all not nice to me.

When I was in the US, everyone was asking "how are you", and sometimes they didn't even answer the question and replied with a "how are you" in return. It drove me nuts.

I don't think there are very many positive moral duties; but I should think there is at least a negative moral duty not to be nasty.
 

Duxwing

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Did we both make a typo there?

I meant "everything", and I think you meant "wouldn't"?:confused:
No, I meant "would" wherever I said "would". So how did you mean your point?

-Duxwing
 

ummidk

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When I was in the US, everyone was asking "how are you", and sometimes they didn't even answer the question and replied with a "how are you" in return. It drove me nuts.
Yea...People just say that shit to appear socially correct, or whatever you wanna call it.

"Hey, hows it going" "I'm doing good, yourself?" "Good, thanks"

Oh the number of times I must do this on a daily basis and the pure dullness of small talk.

Or theres this one which seems to vary from person to person on whether or not they want a response that actually makes sense for their question:

"Whats up?" "Sup?"
 

Trebuchet

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Now, to the question: If you are rude you are not minimizing harm (in an average case, at least). Yet, you are doing very little damage to someone to be regarded as an immoral person.
I don't know that there is a way to quantify how much damage you do. If you do harm, even a little, you don't know all the effects. Some people will brush it off and never think about it again. Or, it might be the last straw that makes someone lose their temper and take it out on someone they love.

I'm not saying it is your responsibility to know what all the effects of your actions will be, or to choose someone else's reactions, but I do think that if you are rude then it is partly your fault. You could have chosen differently, and didn't. The odds favor a good outcome when people try to be nice, over when they are rude.

I like your moral code: minimize harm and maximize happiness. I think it is a good guideline that will work for most situations. Life is sufficiently complicated, as you said, that it can get difficult to do that, but on the whole it seems like a good approach. I tend more toward minimize evil and maximize good, and I struggle with balancing long-term and short-term considerations, but I expect you and I would agree whether many behaviors are moral or not.

As for the "How are you" thing in the US, that bugs me too, but it isn't meant to be rude. (Even if it comes across that way.) It is simply a friendly greeting, equivalent to hello. Go ahead and be annoyed if you want, but try not to take it personally.

I generally treat "How are you" as a friendly greeting, and smile and nod, or say "hi," unless it is a telemarketer. They always start with "Hi, how're you doing today?" My reaction then tends to be "Who wants to know?" (So, even if I think I have a moral obligation to be nice, I fail it then.)
 
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