What drives man to be human?

What drives you to do what you think is right and why?

  • God will smite me with lighting, or burn me in hell.
  • Out of shame, because I know God loves me despite of.
  • Out of love for God.
  • It is beneficial to do so, you-scratch-my-back-I-scrath-yours policy
  • It is not self-contradictory.
  • It satisfies me to do it.
  • To escape this endless suffering and achive the state of Nirvana.
  • Just a knee-jerk reaction nothing philosophical about it.
  • For social harmony.
  • Others please specify.
0 voters

Religion, in the strict definition of the term, is always a system of belief on what should you do and what should you not do. As said by Lindbeck in his book Nature of Doctrine

"a kind of cultural and/or linguistic framework or medium that shapes the entirety of life and thought… it is similar to an idiom that makes possible the description of realities, the formulation of beliefs, and the experiencing of inner attitudes, feelings, and sentiments.”

Religion, again does not necessarily have a deity or deities (i.e. Buddhism) as a central foundation and not necessarily have a divine one to be its foundation (i.e. Materialism). So with these different system of philosophies and beliefs it is staggering that man always have a sense of what should one do and what one should not. No matter how different, no matter how violently different, we still have this discrimination on our actions towards other people.

Assumption: Man always pick what he thinks is good under normal circumstances. Example given that you are hungy, will you pick a juicy apple or fly-infested shit?

Now my question, what drives you to do what you think is right and why?

I think that Buddha was quite wise when he said this:

I think that this goes through the levels of thought someone should have when they approach any religious belief they hold. When someone says something to you on this topic, it is clearly meaningful to them in some way so it bears consideration but that someone finds something meaningful is not alone sufficient for you to believe it as well. The next line builds upon this foundation – it is worth considering something if many people believe in it. Clearly it is a system that works on a broader scale than just some individual belief. But this is still not sufficient. The next level is in religious text, where people have taken these popular beliefs and held them to be so important that they must be codified in some way. This is good, but still not quite good enough. The next level is in the living religious teachers. Their wisdom is a wonderful thing and its use is hard to over-value but those teachers, too, can be wrong so we need to guard ourselves against bad teachers. One way to do this is to embrace the living tradition, the accumulated wisdom of generations of teachers as it has been passed down. These traditions clearly are worth heeding but we still have to maintain a critical nature towards them lest our practice fall into empty formalism.

So all we can do is look at ourselves and ask whether the system we have committed ourselves to not only agrees with our understanding of the world but it also deepens our understanding of the world. But if that understanding were limited to ourselves, it would be a petty, jealous thing so we have to make sure that it is not limited to ourselves but instead is expansive enough that it allows us to actualize the good for the benefit of others. And of course, all of this would be useless if we didn’t actually live up to it.

Is my system right? I feel it helps me actualize the good for myself and others so it is right for me and those it allows me to come in contact with.

Wow! Are you a Buddhist? My teacher on Symbolic Logic is. Well actually he is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Order of Preachers and also the follower of Buddha, weird eh?

Hmmm… well I need to reread your post Xunxian, but regarding my belief on Christ I do place him under the scrutiny of the “trillema” as C.S. Lewis had formulated.

Now is my relationship to Christ make me a better person for myself and other beings? I believe so. I think we always confuse those who is a official member of a religion with someone who really lives up that religion. Very confusing and regrettable.

Actually, I’m a Confucian, but the line between Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism is so incredibly blurred that they can often be viewed as the same thing from slightly different perspectives (obviously when the three are taught together, Buddhism has a somewhat larger scope than the other two). Like your teacher, I can recognize the wisdom of Buddha without being a Buddhist per se.

The whole history of every philosophy that has survived the original philosopher. I agree, it is regrettable indeed.

As for the trilemma, I do agree it does a fair job of setting up the position if one takes the gospels as a completely accurate account of the events that transpired. But given my not believing in god the option I would take has been somewhat pre-selected.

I don’t feel compelled to do what I think is right. Sometimes I recognize what I think is right, and without thinking about it just do the opposite. Actually, this happens all the time with me. I dunno…

in notes from the underground, Dostovesky talks about doing things that are detrimental to ourselves, in attempt to prove to ourselves that we have free-will.

whether you agree with the whole free will thing, its still an intresting dilemma.

Never read him, but that’s an interesting take on free will I suppose. I look at free will/determinism like I look at most things, both are sometimes true, and both are sometimes false. I dunno…

I put other, because I do what I belive to be right for a number of reasons on that list

That’s precisely why moral education is necessary. Knowing right from wrong isn’t terribly hard, as long as we are mindful of ourselves but acting on that distinction often needs a little nudge.

I’m the reason why moral education is necessary!! =D>

That’s the highest compliment I’ve ever gotten on ILP.

Could you post it in the “what do you love most about me” thread that I have?

The car that carries the pregnant mother to the hospital so the human can be born?

Haha. Yeah right, never thought about that because I am thinking of the propeller thingy in the end of the sperm.

Evolutionary forces. It’s probably the best way to survive, produce offspring, pass along our genes. If it were not, then in general we would most likely behave in other, more anti-social ways.


I do agree that society rewards the deeds that are socially acceptable, thus ensuring a particular genetic line to survive and propagate. But how about the acts of martyrdom or those who freely embrace celibacy, or those who are Good Samaritans with no interest of public approval, I mean what triggers that, society still acknowledge that it is notable but it is not evolutionally helpful.

I mean can you really pass your genes if you are dead or give it a better chance to be passed if you are not popular?

This is why I said “in general.” All other notions, too, including the notion of god, fail in many respects to explain why people do the things they do.

In regard, to “can you really pass your genes if you are dead” thing. Yes you can if you give your life to save the life of your children. This may be why so many people will act in those ways without hesitation in regard to the lives of their children or other close family members whereas the looser the connection to the other person the more hesitation there will be in performing such an act of ultimate self-sacrifice.

The reasons that we behave the way we do are not always as obvious as they may superficially appear to be.

Very well said. Though I might be too limited may I add that ideals are part of those who commits martyrdom, except for a gene they pass what they belive and setting up example to those they are willing to sacrifice their life too. Hmmm… quite an enlightenment thanks.

It isn’t just familial altruism though, reciprocal altruism also plays a key role here. While the notion of group selection is controversial, I think that it would be naive to deny the social aspect of our existence (and the role it plays in many other creatures as well) so it follows that groups that practice reciprocal altruism will thrive in a way that groups comprised of selfish individuals will not. Of course, this system only works if the cheaters are punished, so there is also a strong negative selection for cheaters in this case because groups are safer (and easier to reproduce in) than individual existence so the cheaters are unable to pass their genes on.

I don’t know why I try to do the right thing.

Power drives me, but power is information; there’s no such thing as energy or power. In the end, both “good” and “evil” control you. The left and the right hand of totalitarianism from the inside-out.