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A Serious Moral Dilemma

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posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 10:42 AM
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Below I have attempted to explain a serious moral dilemma I have been struggling with for quite some time, I will try not to be too verbose and will attempt to make my point as clear as can be hoped for given the subject matter. I am very interested in receiving comments from others as I am in need of further exterior view points.

Through out history much emphasis has been placed on the concept that an individual should lead a morally upstanding life, that one shouldn't do bad things or bring harm to others and that one should work towards enlightening those around us. This has always seemed to be a fundamental objective of most religious or ethical belief systems and has been billed as the goal of those who wish "to lead a good life". However, I feel that it is quite possible there is no purpose to leading a "moral" life, that there is nothing to be gained from helping those that, more often than not, are mainly concerned with themselves.

I've always tried my best to be kind, understanding, and to help those in need. I was never taught this by any organized belief system and was never made to act this way by any parental figure, I've always done this because I believed it was "right" and because I felt that people needed my help, kindness and understanding. Not to be boastful, but I have found that I am generally smarter than most people I'm around and I feel I understand things on a deeper and more abstract level. I had always felt that intellect and knowledge granted one power over those who's abilities might lie elsewhere. I've also always felt it important that those who wield power do so with benevolence and responsibility, this is why I felt it was my duty, in a way, to help others. I had thought that helping others was my moral responsibility and so I have always done it gladly.

However, looking back on my life, and judging it honestly and objectively, I'd have to say that helping others seems to have gotten me absolutely no where. Nothing has ever come easy for me, even some of the simplest things posed great obstacles to me at times, and I had to face them alone. That had never deterred me from being a "good person" and I have always been someone that anyone could come to for help. But when I think about the times in my life when I needed help, when I really needed some one there to help me through the darkest times, there was never anyone there. I would listen intently to people but when I needed someone to talk to no one wanted to hear it. I would defend those I care about but when I needed it I found myself alone again.

Helping others and being "a good person" never got me friends, it never made me successful in school, it never got me a job. In comparison to many other people my age I am quite far behind and really have little to nothing to my name. I've realized recently that what I do have, even intellect and talent, has been something I've had to struggle for alone, sometimes in defiance of those that wished to see me fail. I'm not writing this to seek sympathy, I'm setting up the obvious questions:

Why should one try and be "a good person"? What purpose does it serve to "live a good life"? If we see those around us doing "bad" things yet succeeding in life shouldn't that tell us that striving to be some Bodhisattva is a fool's errand?

I must say that thinking about it leaves me with a feeling of betrayal. I didn't have to help people, I could have used my intellect and talents for purely selfish reasons and I'm beginning to feel that I should. It seems as though being a good person is seen as a sign of weakness and is a sure way to fail in the world. Most people are motivated by selfish reasons and often are so absorbed in themselves that they can't even realize it. Everywhere we look we see that those who are successful, those who are idolized by the masses, are morally lacking to say the least. Those that do the least work get the most credit, men who treat their women poorly generally get the most girlfriends, those who cheat and steal generally have the most money and those who are mad with blood lust often wield the greatest power. Why am I wasting my time?

Why should I care for those that care only for themselves? Why should I be kind to those that are clearly not my intellectual equal? Why should I even attempt to be moral when it gets me absolutely nowhere? I don't have the energy for it and I don't think I really care anymore. If the world is truly as sick and corrupt as it seems, so obviously, to be it would only be logical that I should change my strategy and act accordingly. I'm tired of being subordinate to my inferiors, I'm tired of being concerned with other's feelings. Quite frankly, I'm tired of seeing mental deficients succeed with ease while I have to make a conscious effort to dumb down the way I speak so that they can understand me. I'm through with being the only one playing by the rules.

The dilemma should now be quite obvious: Although it goes against my very nature I feel that, in order to succeed, I should use all my knowledge and talents to dominate my inferiors, strive only for myself and care nothing for the rest of the world lest I remain where I am, completely powerless against a depraved society. I see no purpose in attempting to live the fantasy of a righteous reward for a good life and see no point in bodhicitta.

[edit on 5-8-2009 by Shadowflux]




posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 10:49 AM
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wow that's avery clear presentation ofa complicated issue.
I'd say go for it. You gotta look out for number one, and if you're being trampled on, then stomping back is well within your right, imo.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:00 AM
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Dude. You are a success when you live life on your own terms. It is easy to simply go along with the rest of the crowd and like the feeding frenzy of sharks grab all that your abilities allow you.
Instead you have chosen to take the less traveled path. The narrow one that many aim for but seldom walk. It is a lonely path. Unfortunately, the reward is at the end of the path. I hope it is worth the walk.

Please don't betray yourself and opt for immediate gain in using your abilities. I did so once a while back and yes did begin to accumulate wealth only to "loose myself". Had to abandon everything to recapture what I was.
" to thine own self be true"---Shakespear

peace



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:01 AM
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There is a story in the Bible about a rich young ruler who went to see Jesus. The first thing the guy did was call Jesus 'good' teacher. Jesus didn't let that pass without comment. He asked 'Why do you call me good? Only God is good." The young man apparently missed the point of that, and continued to tell Jesus all the good things he had done in his life. Jesus, unimpressed, told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor, and to follow Him. The young man walked away sadly, because he had great possessions. The idea that being good is the way to a wonderful life is mistaken. But the alternative, being bad, also won't lead to happiness. So what is a person to do? I can only speak from my own experience, which is that before I surrendered everything I have and everything I am to Jesus, life lacked meaning and purpose. But for the past 30 years, there has been nothing that I would withhold from Jesus, and my life has been full of joy and meaning and purpose.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:03 AM
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God I often feel this way too. Especially with the girl thing. For some reason, every single chick I've ever liked hasn't liked me back. It leaves me wondering what the hell is so bad about me ... especially when so many chicks like dick-bags like Chris Brown.

I would NEVER be like those kind of guys, but it makes me mad that they seem to be more popular with girls than guys like me. I mean, girls like nice guys too, but only if they're sexy in some way.

I try to act moral because I couldn't live with myself if I didn't. But I find that my natural love for my fellow human being diminishes when I realize how screwed up most people really are. Even "nice" people are mean when they get revenge etc.


CX

posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:06 AM
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I've starred this as it's something that has been on my mind as well, only you have put it better than i could lol.

I totaly sympathize with your dilemma, i have also been one who has alwyas been there for people in tha past, and rarely has that been repaid if needed. Not that i ever ask for help, but lets just say things seen very unbalanced in my life in regards to what i do for others.

I have even toyed with the question recently of "Who says that being good is the way you should be?" Yes the world is nicer when people are nice, but who says thats the right way?

Anyway, as far as your dilemma is concerned, i say you can still do both, be there for other people but make yourself a priority.

I do this now with my life. If i put everyone else first, it will effect me in a bad way and this will have a knock on effect to my kids. So it doesn't happen. I look after me and the kids first, then gladly help others out.

I don't believe you have to turn completely selfish and ignore everyone else, but sometimes doing this a little is what needs to be done.

CX.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:06 AM
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Maintain your righteousness, it will pay off.


Peace



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:08 AM
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Originally posted by Dr Love
Maintain your righteousness, it will pay off.


Peace





posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:16 AM
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reply to post by Shadowflux
 


OK, I will say the obvious things first.

You have lived a good life, helping others, and so your immortal soul will be saved.

It is better to give than receive.

I understand why you are feeling fed up.

Live life selfishly for a while, and see if that helps.

Think only about what you want, and grab it (within reason).



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:18 AM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.


Two points. Contemplate them, or not. Not as advice, but as perspective.

1- No good deed goes unpunished

2- Virtue is its own reward

You have to walk your path. You have to decide your own priorities and what's right for you in the long run. I've not had your experiences, or know your aspirations, so it would be presumptuous in the extreme for me to suggest what's right for you. I have every confidence in your ability to think about your situation, weigh it against possible choices, and arrive at a conclusion with which you'll be comfortable. It's not an easy task - the most difficult aspect (IMHO) is avoiding self-delusion. Honestly think about it to avoid arriving at a pre-conceived conclusion you may be trying to rationalize.

Ultimately, you'll have to live with the choices you make and look in the mirror at the person who made them.

Good luck.


As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:20 AM
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reply to post by Donnie Darko
 


The chick thing. You have been looking at your goal and not the "near miss" chances are that you have been liked by a chck that you havn't looked at twice and she has the same outlook on guys as you do chicks.

The girl thing is easy. Treat them like you would your best friend. Brutal honesty always worked for me. Past tense cause I'm married with backups.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:21 AM
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Nice guys finish last.

Not an absolute fact but it is usually true because most people are wired to take advantage of that fact. Nice guys are handicapped in our society.

It's a curse.

I suffer from a terminal case myself so I've got some advice for you.

Embrace the evil man.
Kick some puppies or slap around a nun OR just go about your business and realize that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

Just don't feel sorry for yourself.

Self pity is much worse for you than making better decisions that put your needs first in life.

You will still be a nice guy. Can't change that. You will just be a nice guy who is in a better position to help others when you decide to do so.

Or you will be a nice guy who kicks puppies or slaps nuns around. I think they call those sociopaths though.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:26 AM
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Not for a moment suggesting that this is my philosophy but - if everyone on earth could be persuaded to look out for one another, everyone would win, wouldn't they?

LW



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:33 AM
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Everyone seems to want to oversimplify our precarious lives?!

None of it makes any sense, that is the point! You are to act on your own with very little guidance, experience as much as humanly possible, learn all the lessons you are capable of, experience as much joy and pain as you can handle, and then die.

You ever wonder why some people "like" to be mad or depressed? It is an oxymoron to enjoy sadness, but it is fairly common!

We humans CRAVE emotion. Any emotion will do, and will satisfy our addiction for a short time! Come to terms with this and control your addiction, or submerse yourself in living life to its fullest whether that be good or bad is irrelavent.

My advice on your peers and your women, and I speak from experience, is this:

1. If you are constantly feeling 'smarter' or superior to your peers, find better ones! Cull the flock. People are either adding to your experience or detracting from it. They are either adding something to your life, or they are leaning on you to add to theirs. Get rid of the emotional, physical, or economic freeloaders and surround yourself with intelligent, well-rounded, opinionated, honest people!!

2. Raise your standard of women! "Girls" like the idea of bad boys, but they run for the hills the first time they realize what a bad boy is! You can become a bad boy if you want. Use, abuse, and discard women, but it won't be satisfying.
OR, you can find high quality women that will appreciate your intellect and concern! You may think these women are "out of your league" but I guarantee they are exactly the ones that will appreciate you!! Be direct, be honest, even if it pushes them away. Never hide your emotions, never give in to their whims or the demands of their friends. Don't control, don't beg, don't smother, just be yourself, make your intentions clear and see what happens. The best women will appreciate it!



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:34 AM
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reply to post by Shadowflux
 


Which brings me to my other question. Is it selfish to be kind and righteous just so you can get the same kind of treatment in return? One could argue that's not truly being a righteous person if you are expecting something back in return. It's like you giving someone a birthday gift or christmas gift and hoping he will give you one in return. That's just me though, you can do whatever you want with your life.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:37 AM
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reply to post by Shadowflux
 


I so understand where you are coming from. You rarely get to see tangible results from acts of kindness, often the reverse. Maybe it is all a test, to see whether you can retain that compassion in the face of being kicked in the teeth or having the world thwart your every move.
The trouble is that what you see of others is on the surface, and if someone has been bad in order to get wealth or 'love' or whatever, then they have traded their goodness, traded a part of their soul to get what they want and have 'lost' a part of their true being. If you can stay in your own being despite the knocks you are already the wealthier person. The world is probably an illusion so in a sense it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing or getting, and to lose oneself to an illusion would be sad.
If your true nature, the nature of your soul is to be kind and compassionate then although it is tempting to give in to wordly stuff, don't trade part of your soul for anyone or anything. Although I suspect that you could not even if you wanted to.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:43 AM
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There were a couple of posters back in the '80's which epitomized what women are looking for from men. One is from Gone with the Wind, and is of Rhett Butler, when he has Scarlett in his arms just before he heads off to belatedly fight for the South. Another is from Dirty Dancing, when Patrick Swayze (I forget his character name) is looking at 'Baby'. When a man can look at a woman with a look that tells her he is not afraid of her, and that he can take the lead in the dance of life, most of us women are attracted. Of course, I can't speak for all women. It's not the 'bad boys', but the self-assured men, that will have the advantage.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:48 AM
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reply to post by U-N-I-T-Y
 


It's actually an interesting point. I know people in my life who do this same thing, they give, but they require a seemingly endless amount of acknowledgement for doing it, a simple "thank you" isn't enough. They also feel the need to let everybody know what they did in order to get acknowledgement from them too.

When I do something nice for somebody else, all I really require is that good feeling on the inside. It's comforting and warming. Even if what I did met with an adverse response, that good feeling inside is still there, and I know I did the right thing regardless.

Peace



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 11:49 AM
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Thank you all for your replies and input.

awakentired,

What you said about living life on your own terms being what makes you a success was always one of my main beliefs.

This is what I want to believe, I want to think that I'm doing the right thing. I know doing what I do is certainly hard enough that it should garner some type of desired result. The thing is, I care little for material things, I don't judge myself based on my bank account. In fact, I don't even want most of what society is offering. I'm just tired of coming out last and alone and I'm not sure people are worth the effort anymore. I'm honestly not sure that most people are even capable of reaching any kind of enlightenment.

Donnie Darko,

What you've said rings true with me as well. I can't act any differently than I do, even if I want to. I get upset at myself sometimes because I know I'm just being a chump but for whatever reason I can't be any other way. It would be a betrayal of myself to act like I don't have compassion for everyone, that I don't feel bad that they're stuck in this miserable existence without the first inkling of understanding as to the truth. I really do feel bad, I wish people could see things like I do.

CX,

I agree with you, "unbalanced" is a god way to put it. I just feel like I put in so much effort and never get a return of any kind. The world is nicer when people are nice but they generally seem to be selfish, dumb and mean.

Dr. Love,

I usually operate under the assumption that what you've said is true, it just recently that I've started to question it. Self satisfaction can only take me so far.

yeahright,

I've always thought it was important to walk one's own path because no one else can determine what is the truth in your own life. Good deeds seemed to be punished with alarming regularity and virtue being it's own reward is something I've been taking as a matter of faith. What you say about delusion is true and is why I started this thread, I felt that it would be a good way to determine if I'm just being crazy or not.

badgerprints,

That last line was hilarious. I've tried to "be evil" in the past but it just isn't me. Most people are pretty miserable, they generally have no idea about the truth of their existence and are usually easily fooled. It always seemed like taking advantage of people was too easy and not fair so I felt bad about doing it.



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 12:03 PM
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Originally posted by Shadowflux
Through out history much emphasis has been placed on the concept that an individual should lead a morally upstanding life, that one shouldn't do bad things or bring harm to others and that one should work towards enlightening those around us. This has always seemed to be a fundamental objective of most religious or ethical belief systems and has been billed as the goal of those who wish "to lead a good life".


Common decency, kindness to others, selfless service, respect, love are the hallmarks of a healthy society and civilization. Without it, this world would be living hell.

They are also a path to personal spiritual enlightenment.

However, it looks like two aspects are missing from your equation.

1. Service to others without deteriment to yourself. If you do not serve yourself, you have no energy, money, time, attention to give to others. Only making a point in treating others kindly without treating yourself kindly will exhaust your resources and exhaust your mind.

2. Kindness and Selflesness are not done with a gain in mind. If one is kind because one expects some gain from it, that is not true kindness. If one is selfless in order to gain merit, that is not true selflesness.




However, I feel that it is quite possible there is no purpose to leading a "moral" life, that there is nothing to be gained from helping those that, more often than not, are mainly concerned with themselves.


Two distortions imo: 1. Seeking gain for being a good person 2. Thinking that kindness and selflesness needs to involves loving that which is no good.

With experience comes a sense of discernment where to best invest ethical behavior and where not to. You cannot "save the world". By being the best you can yourself be, you are doing the world a favor. By thinking others require your help you are extending pity rather than kindness.




I've always tried my best to be kind, understanding, and to help those in need. I was never taught this by any organized belief system and was never made to act this way by any parental figure, I've always done this because I believed it was "right" and because I felt that people needed my help, kindness and understanding.



Yes, it is natural for a human to be that way. But rather than seeing it as people "needing you" or rather than seeing it as a chore you have to fulfill, how about allowing the kindness that spontaeously arises out of your natural goodwill to suffice, without forcing it?



However, looking back on my life, and judging it honestly and objectively, I'd have to say that helping others seems to have gotten me absolutely no where.


This reasoning is, in my humble opinion, the first step on the path to darker realms. Should you learn to practice kindness without needing to "get anywhere" (gain-consciousness, get-consciousness, strategizing-ego-consciousness) and should you also treat yourself kindly first, you will notice that kindness and uprightness make you invincible.




Helping others and being "a good person" never got me friends, it never made me successful in school, it never got me a job.


If you did "goodness" with that in mind, its not really goodness in the purest sense. Furthermore, denying yourself fun and success is not goodness either.

As mentioned previously: To serve others AND self to the best of your ability. From my experience this is the key to success in every way.



Why should one try and be "a good person"? What purpose does it serve to "live a good life"? If we see those around us doing "bad" things yet succeeding in life shouldn't that tell us that striving to be some Bodhisattva is a fool's errand?


Whether or not selflesness is a proper intention depends upon where you are looking from. If you cant meet your own needs and are struggling to survive - thats not the time to practice selflesness. But once your needs are met and you are calm and at peace, you naturally and automatically ARE a good person that is of benefit and value to others. Its not that you "should" or "must" be a good person. The preacher of morals who commands you to be "a good person" does not understand that goodness need not be forced but arises naturally out of human nature when that human is well fed and at rest. Then, from that vantage point, selflesness is not a burden but a path to happiness.




I must say that thinking about it leaves me with a feeling of betrayal. I didn't have to help people, I could have used my intellect and talents for purely selfish reasons and I'm beginning to feel that I should


The entire post is written with the idea that selflesness gets you some kind of reward - and thats not true selflesness.

Again, before one can be truly selfless and let go of selfishness entirely, one should have first been a bit selfish - selfish in a positive sense of energizing oneself before claiming to be able to energize others. How can you energize others if you have no energy yourself?

Despite what I view as distortions, the mere fact that you made this post shows that you are well-intentioned "to do the right thing", and that you are questioning yourself. Thats already far more advanced than half of humanity.




If the world is truly as sick and corrupt as it seems, so obviously, to be it would only be logical that I should change my strategy and act accordingly.


Many mistake kindness and selflesness with being naive. In a brutal, dishonest and selfish world it indeed does not pay to naively think anyone is going to care about your selflesness and kindness. The world does not give a damn. But you are not being kind for the world, you are being kind for yourself, because of the way it makes you feel. And if it makes you feel good, it was the correct thing to do. And that "feeling good" will have a positive effect on your health and your creative abilities. So, even though one does not aim for a pay-off, there is a pay-off anyway. But learning the tricks of the game, learning to be tough in business, learning to be expert in certain fields, is required to survive in a tough world. Just because one learns some toughness does not mean one is not kind and selfless.




I'm tired of being subordinate to my inferiors, I'm tired of being concerned with other's feelings


Meditate on the difference between pity (=weakness) and compassion/respect (=strength).



in order to succeed, I should use all my knowledge and talents to dominate my inferiors, strive only for myself and care nothing for the rest of the world lest I remain where I am, completely powerless against a depraved society.


It is true that the dominance-game will get you further up the latter. But it wont get you WAY up there where the happy are. What is success without happiness? Balance and discernment are better. Where selflesness does not become naive and meek and dominance/toughness does not become destructive.

So beyond your either-or dilemma, there is a middle-path.

Disclaimer: All this is my opinion only and need not represent YOUR truth.

Looking forward to any comment, objection or question that may have arisen.

[edit on 5-8-2009 by Skyfloating]



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