1. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Noblest Goal?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Forkfoot, May 27, 2010.

    We only get a few years on this rock. What, in your opinion, is the very best thing a person could possibly do with that time? What is the noblest thing toward which a Homo sapiens can aspire?
     
  2. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aha! A man who asks the big questions!

    There are many potential answers. For someone with a brilliant mind, possibly an advancement in medicine, or some other endeavour that helps the human race as a whole. Or someone who promotes the preservation of our planet, or our animal companions. Or perhaps someone who promotes racial or religious tolerance, or in some other way encourages us to live in peace with each other.

    All of those would be noble. But for the majority of us, we will only deeply influence those closest to us, so perhaps being the best person that we can be, living an honest life, leading by example, and being a good, moral role-model for our children is about as noble as it gets. If we were all "noble" in our own small way, it would create a very large wave of morality that would wash over every shore of our planet. :)
     
  3. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    My aunt sent me an email once, and at the bottom of it, she had this quote: "People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." This pretty much sums up if not the noblest thing I could ever do with my life, at least the most worthwhile (for me, at least. Not saying it's the most worthwhile for everyone.) Even if the people who knew me, interacted with me, or maybe just passed me on the street can't remember the things I did for them, I hope they at least look back and remember that I made them happy.

    Apologies for not giving the source of the quote, by the way. Maybe I'm just a terrible googler, but I couldn't find anywhere that included a name with the quote.
     
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  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Noble.

    A word, for me, fraught with indecision and difficulty.

    We've created entire tomes of instruction from one corner of the world to the other concerning the noble course that a person should take and in the end these tomes get held high as banners of war more often than not.

    It's strange that you use the term homo sapiens as your descriptor. Is there a difference in the answer if we are speaking about just one individual person or if we speak about the race as a whole? Should there be?
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I guess I would say the noblest thing you can do in life is not make the world a worse a place than what it was like when you found it.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to be 'useful'... in a good way, naturally...

    it's what i set out to be for the rest of my life, when i turned my back on the material world, gave away all i owned and went wherever i seemed to be needed... and these past 15+ years have been by far, the most fulfilling of all... and i intend to go on merely being 'useful' till i'm finally allowed to leave this benighted, violence-blighted world humans have made for themselves...
     
  7. DanielCross
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    To have created Twinkies. Jimmy Dewar, I salute you.

    On a serious note, to further mankind's knowledge of the world and to use that knowledge wisely.
     
  8. Afterburner
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    Afterburner Active Member

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    My goal in life is to make this planet a better place for the generations that follow.
     
  9. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dunno, I tried to leave it as vague as possible so people could interpret it in whatever way they've come to understand it.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My bad. :)

    The questions were rhetorical.

    I have some strange ideas concerning morality that don't always come off as acceptable. I guess I was just trying to expand the question.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To contribute to the blueprint of our future.
     
  12. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    How so?
     
  13. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    What kinds of questions?

    Morality is inherited, unless it isn't, then I think what they do to you, at least within circles of other animals, is put you down.

    I'm not sure if that's promoting the evolution of good morals. But I take that as the trend most common in society. I've watched people laugh like screaming idiots at an execution and go home with a full stomach and a pleasant conscience, ready to do it again the next day.

    For a better opinion I'd love more intelligent questions. (Not that your questions weren't intelligent. I think they are, and that there should be more.)
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Knowing full well that this explanation is putting me at risk of becoming bullet fodder, I will give you one example.

    Aid to desert nations.

    It seems the moral thing to do, right? Help your fellow man/woman. Seems like a no brainer.

    What happens when that aid dries up?

    And it will dry up.

    Has a kindness really been done? Or has there been an amplification of suffering, simply postponed for a future date?

    ~ The desert nation was unable to support X population.
    ~ The cause becomes popular.
    ~ Aid flows in.
    ~ Prosperity!
    ~ The cause becomes unpopular, or worse, boring.
    ~ The aid dries up.
    ~ Now there is population X + 25%.

    It is still a desert nation unable to support itself and now there are more people to suffer. Is that noble? Has something of worth been accomplished? Or has a buck been passed to a future due date with compounded interest?

    Things like that.
     
  15. Mantha Hendrix
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    Mantha Hendrix Contributing Member

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    I think that's actually a pretty good point, I've never really thought of it like that.

    I have a different problem with this kind of area. It seems to me that a lot of people go to poverty stricken countries for all the wrong reasons. A common one being because, "it will look good on my CV"

    To me this is just wrong...
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    hitler drafted one, y'know... ;-)
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't plan to draft it in other people's blood!
     
  18. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    If by "desert" you mean "Mother Afrika!" then I think this is a pretty solid debate. Cause no one lives in deserts.

    Every time I see a story about an African kid on TV it's about how he's going to church (christian aid) got a laptop from his newly built school (humanitarian aid) and, even though his mother is ridden with AIDS, wants to be a doctor.

    How many times do you think that these dream comes true? Furthermore, how many African children have mothers or fathers with AIDS and want to become doctors? I mean, in some of these stories, the kid doesn't have HIV, so let's consider that they're picking out the best student. In a classroom setting...

    Blah.

    It gets down to semantics. We're imposing a westernized society on people who really can't afford one. Like communism, capitalism must spread in order to make sure the value of a dollar or euro equals what everyone believes it should equal.

    But say in a perfect situation that we're dropping aid from the sky, like God, or angels, you know, not giving it to anyone, but to everyone. Then they fight over it, happened in Mogadishu, happened in Darfur (anyone heard of those violent "rape squads"?) happens everywhere.

    So, the mystery of third world countries is solved easily though. We simply have to convince people to invest in them. Earlier in our time line slavery was the norm, but indentured service was another, and perhaps more humane way to employ people. It would have to be this way because no one would pay the amount even a single African person needs to build infrastructure for the greater good. Our railroads were laid by the Chinese in terrible conditions and it was only profitable to us because they worked for nothing. By now you might be wondering what could cause a large number of people to invest in Africa? Certainly it's farming. Solve world hunger, right?

    Wrong. The United States currently produces enough food to feed the entire world's population of about 6 billion and more. However, due to a great economic crisis over the prices of corn and wheat, US farmers now regularly burn, or plow over a certain percentage of their crops every year just to keep demand high. The kicker is they are paid the price of that corn as if it had been sold. Find out for yourself if you don't believe me.

    So no poor nation has enough economic value to bother investing in. The US is fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I guess what you meant by desert nations, but we're not improving them. The military is acting as both a governmental and police force. Every nation needs a functioning one. Both of those nations do not have one, nor could ever generate one under this current setting. It's amazing, in Vietnam we fought communism, but pulled out and left it to die on it's own. In this war, we're fighting our own ideals, and wallowing in the mire of our democratic confusion.

    Wonderful. I love life.

    Oh, this thread was about noble goals. Well, that depends what's nobler, to die for your people, or to die for nothing?
     
  19. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I definitely agree with Heather. :)

    Me, I want to inspire people. Even if it's in the smallest of ways. I want to say what I mean and mean what I say and get at least one person to listen. We've all been inspired by someone in our lives, and I want to be that person.
     
  20. Mercurial
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    Ronan Harris of the famed EDM band VNV Nation once penned, "At the end of days, at the end of time, when the sun burns out, will any of this matter? Who will be there to remember who we were? Who will be there to know that any of this had meaning for us?"

    Perhaps it's more of a fatalistic way of viewing life, but I tend to look at it that way.

    That kept in mind, I think the noblest thing a person can do is to live for himself and to seek whatever makes him happy. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, you know. Assuming that you are somewhere on the spectrum of what today's societies have defined as "healthy" (or, at the very least, "normal," as the two are not synonymous), then making yourself happy should also include making other people happy.

    You should not live to make an impact on the world if the process doesnt leave you happy. If you wish to make an impact on the world because it would make you happy, then that's a different story, and I say go for it. Because you will die. Eventually, you will be forgotten, despite your sincerest efforts --perhaps because people have stopped caring or because the universe will terminate just as it was created.

    Bottom Line: Live for you, man. :cool:

    xx

    Wreybies, as always, contributes to the discussion with wonderful insight that makes me think. We must think with our brains and not our hearts if our interest is indeed the greater good and the betterment of the world. Programs like the world food bank and the like just dont work. The ship is sinking, and the number of lifeboats is finite. Suffering is inescapable; rejecting that absolute truth is delusional. Perhaps it is noble to search for the social cure, but it isnt rational. (So is it really noble?)

    Shall I stop myself now? :p
     
  21. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I have to agree with this. Adding to it, strength is achieved through struggle. Sure, you could help someone, but you'd be robbing him of some/all of his struggling, thus robbing him of strength. And we all know that theft is illegal. :rolleyes:

    Though there are limits. If someone is obviously in a world of trouble with no visible way out, then it's only reasonable to lend a hand. And a small kindness here and there isn't going to hurt anyone. I just don't think you should get addicted to take on other people's challenges. You're ultimately doing them a disservice.

    All that said, wars are pretty infantile. An unnecessary struggle. The person who comes up with a way to stop them from happening should be hailed the Hero of the World.
     
  22. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, this is what I meant when I asked the OP concerning scale. The individual VS Humanity as a whole. Not unlike the way that the science that explains very small structures doesn't match up with the science that explains larger structures in the universe, these kinds of questions change their nature and aspect when we change the scale.

    There is also the fact that there are parts of human nature that we regularly pretend are not there. Nobler Than Lettuce mentions that a resolve to this example I mention is to find a way to get people to invest in poorer nations. We do invest in poorer nations all the time, when it serves our purpose. As soon as it no longer serves our purpose, that investment is moved elsewhere to realize a larger dividend. Why? Because the people who have the money to make the kind of investments we are talking about when we talk about investing in poorer nations got that kind of money by being business minded.

    Business minded is just a pretty way to say greedy, BTW.

    Where I live (Puerto Rico) there are the rotting hulks of at least three different "investments" that came in, caused prosperity that was not suportable without that investment, and when it was more economically lucrative to "invest" elsewhere, that's exactly what happened. Everywhere in Puerto Rico there are empty sugar cane plantations, empty textile factories, and empty coffee plantations. People here talk with anger about how each of these industries came in, caused happy days, and then left, causing despair.

    Now, I have made the SERIOUSLY boneheaded error of asking the same people who have these angry conversations with me things like, "Why do you let foreign investors set up shop here? You know full well, from experience, that what they bring is a temporary thing. It is not a true fix for Puerto Rico's economic issues. Why not focus on creating a grass roots infrastructure that doesn't depend on suckling from some other larger entity."

    *I receive glaring stares that would wither Genghis Khan*
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog...
    i was just teasing you a bit about being so disputaciably [my own coinage] broad in your choice of 'noble' causes... ;-)

    hugs, m
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I do recognize your sense of humor. :)
     
  25. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Death, destruction and rock 'n' roll.

    No nobler causes, my friends ;)
     

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