Morals are a result of social interation between humans, which became much more complex around the time of the agricultural revolution. Humans became a stable species and could follow morals that wasn't directly a result of a need for survival, but for cooperation and unity.
As for morals today, I take secular morals over divine any day. Secular morality gives more equality and it doesn't discriminate against people who hold to another god than you, like so many "moral laws" handed down from gods have shown to do in human history. Even the Ten Commandmends are guilty of this, because they forbid other religions already in the first one listed. Make those law and you have a theocracy right away.
Where should we get our morals from? From a free marketplace of ideas, where everything can be scrutinized and questioned. If it is a good moral to have, like don't kill another human(with a few exceptions, like in self defense), it should, and in the case of my example have, easily stands the test if scrutiny.
I'll tell you what it is: a waste of time and brain-power. Why bother considering others when you can do as I do, and make all your decisions through the lens of personal gain? If an action is overall beneficial to you, you should not hesitate to do it. If that same action is harmful to someone else, why care? It shouldn't affect you at all. Making decisions with only economic considerations is a much more efficient way to secure personal gain.
I agree with some of her work, and disagree with some of it. I would not say I am a fan, and if someone accuses me of being an objectivist, I'll accuse them of jumping to conclusions.
I agree that it makes the most sense to pursue your own self interests above anything else, but I disagree with the idea that some people, by virtue of their superior intellect and capabilities, should be completely unrestrained by the fetters of society, so they can pursue their presumably much grander self interests with as little hindrance as possible. The problem is that people of superior intellect and capabilities are just assumed by Rand to be inherently nobler and more righteous than others, when that doesn't have to be the case at all. A person can be more intelligent than anyone else and still engage in antisocial behavior. Scientists, for example, have to follow the regulations of the FDA, lest they pursue their self interests at the expense of others. If there was no FDA, why bother testing drugs on rats, first?
So there's my thoughts on Ayn Rand's philosophy. Do you have any thoughts on mine?
I think you have sensible thoughts and i agree with many of them. I do not agree that it is always the best course of action to pursue one's own self interest. I get all mushy and spiritual along the lines of John Donne's "no man is an island". I believe that there is a divine in you that is one with the divine in me, in all.
Sure, no man is an island, but what does that matter? If a group of people can all profit from working together, then surely it is in their self interests to do so. That's what we call "civilization." A farmer doesn't grow crops out of concern for his fellow man, he does it for the money, or in other words, his own self interests.
Now what's this "divine" your talking about? In your context, it doesn't sound like a "deity," or anything else I've heard of.
Scientist will say that on a quantum level, everything is made out of the same stuff. The spiritual community takes that information and says that if that scientific fact is true (which I think it is although my quantum physics knowledge needs work)then everyone is also everyone else. Personally, I don't need quantum physics to support this idea, I go on what I feel which is put rather suciently by the expression, Namaste' "I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us."
When you say "everything at the quantum level is made of the same stuff," I'm not sure if you're referring to the fact that matter and energy are both composed of a finite selection of elementary particles, or some rendering of string theory. Either way, it's irrelevant, as the conclusion you draw from it is fallacious:
"everyone is also everyone else"
Nonsense. If you build a house out of bricks, and then build a library out of bricks, they are not the same thing, even if they use the same materials. If you were to build two identical houses from the same sort of materials, they would still be two distinct entities. Nor does that, in any way, warrant the sort of reverence you are applying to human beings. We do not contain the universe, or whatever that Namaste gibberish purports, and we are nothing more than matter and energy undergoing a series of highly complex reactions.
It is like dear old Democritus once said, "All that exists is atoms and empty space. Everything else is just opinion." The sentiment is correct, even though he failed to include energy as a thing that exists. To attribute any other qualities beyond those supported by physical science is not just unnecessary, it's outright absurd.
Depends, you are responsible for your own views on morality and society as a whole is responsible for the views you are expected to conform to. Generally though the moral authority is the one who holds the most power in society. This is why religious institutions like to think of themselves as moral authorities, they've spent a long time having a lot of power.
What is considered moral is down to the individual. What society considers moral has been what the person at the top has said for a long time, mostly religious leaders. Killing is widely regarded as wrong yet people like the Aztecs would routinely slaughter people in the name of religion.
First of all moral is something individual, decided by the person, that represent his behaviour, not only with the others but also with himself, but onviously this is influenced by the social pact and the society.
I think you are correct and many sociologists will say morality is innate. Why it is innate is the debatable issue. Some would say survival of the group; others would attribute a more divine or spiritual origin.
Morals are worthless if there is no way for a person to choose between "right" and "wrong"... and without someone else whose opinion matters to you, what prevents you from choosing the "wrong" if it seems like the easier/more pleasureable route at a given moment?
People who live without morals tend to live in the moment. They don't care if they're behavior changes from one situation to the next, because they don't care what anyone else thinks.
Morality is an instinct that evolved back when our ape-like ancestors began forming societies. The societies consisting of selfish people died out, leaving only the societies in which this selflessness, called 'morality' prevailed and immoral people were reprimanded. And so, morality.
However, I am not sure how moral science is. Oppenheimer, after the development of the atomic bomb said he was brought to mind of a quote from the Bhagavad Gita, "Now I am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds". Sometimes important ideas get lost in the science.
Society. Once you do something that causes confusion or fear in society people will begin to point at you and say that you are a harmful person. Hence the most 'immoral' things in any society are always murder, rape, kidnappings, harming children, and robberies. They are things we do to other people. Comparatively ideas like suicide, promiscuity, drinking, drug use, wastefulness tend to be lesser sins in several societies around the world. I mean you ask "is sleeping around a bad thing?" you might get some nays and some yays, however if you asked "is cheating on my husband a bad thing" people will probably say it is, it's because it involves another party.