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What Motivates you to be Good? Options
Trichakra
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 12:54:50 AM

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Do you need the concept of a Deity with a knife at your spiritual throat or does the thought of bringing pleasure to others yield its own reward?
Absinthius
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 4:52:42 AM

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I have always found this to be a very important and interesting point. If you are morally 'good' out of fear for punishment, are you really all that moral?

I think a lot can be said for the claim that we have evolved to be a species that inherently like making others feel good (sadly we know many exceptions) because if we did not, we wouldn't have been able to build the societies we have today.

Look, how about this? Let's pretend we've had the row and I've won. See? It saves a lot of effort.
pedro
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 8:44:38 AM

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I think most 'decisions' are unconsciously made. (Epi thinks they all are). Moral (religious) teachings are not blindly followed by most schoolchildren. Rather, they are tested (in game theory style) in the playground as a matter of personal survival. Behaviour adopted, say, on public transport is mostly about avoiding confrontation. The odd offer of a seat could be construed as an unselfish moral act or equally as a self-aggrandising one. Also, it would be difficult to test the hypothesis in a largely secular population.

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
Listening . . .
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10:08:24 AM

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I am not a believer in any religion. I am good because ... I want to be good.
FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10:54:40 AM

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compunction, a fear of comeuppance

What should be shall be-The fellowship of the ring-
Ursus Minor
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 11:04:09 AM

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My kids motivate me to try to be good.
MelissaMe
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 11:05:01 AM

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Trichakra wrote:
Do you need the concept of a Deity with a knife at your spiritual throat or does the thought of bringing pleasure to others yield its own reward?


... such as sleeping better at night?

This is my only now.
Trichakra
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 11:43:34 PM

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Ursus Minor wrote:
My kids motivate me to try to be good.

My family motivate me to try to be good.
Trichakra
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 11:45:37 PM

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Listening . . . wrote:
I am not a believer in any religion. I am good because ... I want to be good.


Applause
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 4:29:26 AM

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I see there is pain and suffering in the world.

Most of that could be avoided with education, yet there is much that was not known, much that is not known, and much that shall be known only with great imagination and effort.

This is how it is and how it always will be.

My sweet mother made me sweet. My dearest dear keeps me straight and firm. My children, nieces, and nephews keep me accountable.

This is how it is and how it always will be.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 1:19:43 PM

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Listening . . . wrote:
I am not a believer in any religion. I am good because ... I want to be good.


Can you say why you want to be good?

I remember, therefore I am.
Listening . . .
Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 2:18:24 PM

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jacobusmaximus wrote:
Listening . . . wrote:
I am not a believer in any religion. I am good because ... I want to be good.


Can you say why you want to be good?


I want to be good because I (can) go to sleep at night knowing that I like who I am.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 11:56:06 AM

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The even more basic question is - "What is GOOD?"

To be rather simplistic about it - a sort of 'Aesop's fable' level.
From the viewpoint of the hare, the fastest-running fox is evil and the good fox-hunter is good.
From the viewpoint of the fox, the fast-running fox is good and all fox-hunters are evil.

If you look at actions - the hare and the hunter would say that killing a fox is good.
The fox would say that it's evil.

Good is that which is survival, from one's own viewpoint.

This seems to deny the sacrificial actions which we all see - but to me (and it seems, to most people) "survival" doesn't include just this one body/person, but my family, friends, society, country, mankind - even the physical planet and the animals on it.

If I lived, but all other people and animals were wiped out due to some action of mine, I would not consider that I was surviving well.

I try to do what would be most 'survival' for all - though I don't always manage it.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 12:00:21 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
The even more basic question is - "What is GOOD?"

To be rather simplistic about it - a sort of 'Aesop's fable' level.
From the viewpoint of the hare, the fastest-running fox is evil and the good fox-hunter is good.
From the viewpoint of the fox, the fast-running fox is good and all fox-hunters are evil.

If you look at actions - the hare and the hunter would say that killing a fox is good.
The fox would say that it's evil.

Good is that which is survival, from one's own viewpoint.

This seems to deny the sacrificial actions which we all see - but to me (and it seems, to most people) "survival" doesn't include just this one body/person, but my family, friends, society, country, mankind - even the physical planet and the animals on it.

If I lived, but all other people and animals were wiped out due to some action of mine, I would not consider that I was surviving well.

I try to do what would be most 'survival' for all - though I don't always manage it.


Applause Applause Applause

What should be shall be-The fellowship of the ring-
Listening . . .
Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 6:44:05 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
The even more basic question is - "What is GOOD?"

To be rather simplistic about it - a sort of 'Aesop's fable' level.
From the viewpoint of the hare, the fastest-running fox is evil and the good fox-hunter is good.
From the viewpoint of the fox, the fast-running fox is good and all fox-hunters are evil.

If you look at actions - the hare and the hunter would say that killing a fox is good.
The fox would say that it's evil.

Good is that which is survival, from one's own viewpoint.

This seems to deny the sacrificial actions which we all see - but to me (and it seems, to most people) "survival" doesn't include just this one body/person, but my family, friends, society, country, mankind - even the physical planet and the animals on it.

If I lived, but all other people and animals were wiped out due to some action of mine, I would not consider that I was surviving well.

I try to do what would be most 'survival' for all - though I don't always manage it.


I agree, Dragon, that asking/defining what is good is the next logical step. However, I don't think that is what the OP was asking us. Why is certainly not the same question as what. Either way, I like your viewpoint and am glad to be on the Earth with you! : )
Romany
Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2016 4:26:08 PM
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There have been numerous studies, ranging from the metaphysical to genetics, to discover exactly why most sentient beings have an innate predilection for pleasing others.
Whether you put it down to the pleasure/pain principle; the rejection/acceptance model; or the 'selfish' gene of blind survival of the fittest, in simplistic terms we're programmed that way.

The corollary of the fact that this innate ability, like any other, has to be re-enforced and nurtured in order to flourish, is that it's a rather fragile ability and can completely atrophy if not receiving constant validation.

So what KEEPS a person good is idiosyncratic: for some this is tied up in religious beliefs. For others it's family. Or their work. Or their country. Or the trusting look in their dog's eye. Or our debt to future generations. And for most people I know it's a mixture of all of those tangible things.

As an only child I, and most of my Chinese students, felt we had to be all things to both parents. What kept us good was that the whole weight of parental expectation devolved upon us 'onlies'. We simply HAD to be good because our parents didn't have a spare to fall back on.

But I think, as most people have said, it's our children who keep us good. How could one look at those tabuli rasa* and imprint them with graffiti? If we wish the world to be honourable, we have to be honourable ourselves.

*
I got the case wrong, I bet, for the plural?
Listening . . .
Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2016 5:01:36 PM

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Romany wrote:



There have been numerous studies, ranging from the metaphysical to genetics, to discover exactly why most sentient beings have an innate predilection for pleasing others.
Whether you put it down to the pleasure/pain principle; the rejection/acceptance model; or the 'selfish' gene of blind survival of the fittest, in simplistic terms we're programmed that way.

The corollary of the fact that this innate ability, like any other, has to be re-enforced and nurtured in order to flourish, is that it's a rather fragile ability and can completely atrophy if not receiving constant validation.

So what KEEPS a person good is idiosyncratic: for some this is tied up in religious beliefs. For others it's family. Or their work. Or their country. Or the trusting look in their dog's eye. Or our debt to future generations. And for most people I know it's a mixture of all of those tangible things.

As an only child I, and most of my Chinese students, felt we had to be all things to both parents. What kept us good was that the whole weight of parental expectation devolved upon us 'onlies'. We simply HAD to be good because our parents didn't have a spare to fall back on.

But I think, as most people have said, it's our children who keep us good. How could one look at those tabuli rasa* and imprint them with graffiti? If we wish the world to be honourable, we have to be honourable ourselves.

*
I got the case wrong, I bet, for the plural?


Interesting thoughts on the subject, Romany! I'm not sure I'm convinced that we are all born good and the struggle lies in if we maintain that direction. Also, I question whether the motivation comes from an innate desire to please others - reference the behavior of any 2 year old, the world revolves around their needs (and only their needs!). For me, the statement from your post that struck the biggest chord was "If we wish the world to be honourable, we have to be honourable ourselves." I want the world to be good, so I must be good myself. I like all the good things - who doesn't? Where does the "bad" come from?Think
ithink140
Posted: Friday, September 30, 2016 8:09:14 AM

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Fear of authority is one of the glues that holds society together. It is often the difference between anarchy and uneasy peace. As a child one naturally fears the authority of ones parents who are charged with discipline, yet a child will also act out of respect and love... even goodness. One fears the consequences of breaking law and the punishments for doing so are designed to instil respect, as well as some degree of fear.

It is no different with God. He has the authority and responsibility to administer justice. He gave free will but within the bounds of law, since there is no such thing, nor would never be so, as total freedom. Even God limits his choices by the mere fact that he has standards.

One might illustrate free will as defined by the traffic laws. One could choose to ignore the ruling as to which side of the road to drive. One has the choice. However should one choose to, in the exercise of his free will, ignore traffic laws he would then lose his freedom either by an accident or imposed incarceration. One is free, but bound by the constraints of law which actually gives one the greatest amount of true freedom.

Law and authority is not necessarily a knife at the throat, but can be, and in the main is, to our benefit.

True freedom is within the bounds of law, both moral and statute.

As to goodness well we all know that is an admirable quality that is difficult to define. One might attempt it thus. Suppose one is driving along a country lane and one notes a broken glass bottle in the road. One can swerve and avoid it and proceed upon ones journey leaving the broken bottle in the road as a dangerous obstacle. Or one could pass, stop, and then walk back to pick up the broken glass. That is an example of goodness. There is no one to observe such action, no praise of the deed, no obligation to perform the act and no knowledge of one’s action apart from one’s own. Goodness seeks no praise and desires no plaudits. Like all of man’s qualities it can be enhanced by a relationship with God since goodness is a fruitage of his holy spirit.


'Life is too short to be eaten up by hate.'
Romany
Posted: Friday, September 30, 2016 11:11:31 AM
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Well no, Listening. As I said, many people are good because of their religious underpinnings - as we are all aware.

So I don't expect anyone of that persuasion to agree with me. However, amongst those who subscribe to a religion, as you'll know from this forum, there do exist people who think being a good person is a prerogative ONLY of religious people. So all I was doing was supplying some of the many other reasons that people put forward for being good.

Not competing.Speak to the hand Just explaining.Dancing
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, September 30, 2016 11:50:09 AM

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I have a feeling that Romany's answer is about the best, as it tends to include.

I can't see "fear of punishment/authority" as the main cause.
If it were, no-one would ever pick up the broken bottle.
ithink wrote:
(There is no one to observe such action, no praise of the deed, no obligation to perform the act and no knowledge of one’s action apart from one’s own. Goodness seeks no praise and desires no plaudits.)


It is also not totally 'inborn' - or where would the selfish (I am the only one!) attitude of the baby come from?
I think that the baby thinks that he/she is being good - they haven't yet learned that others -friends, mankind and so on - are important to them directly.

So someone who is educated that "only green people are part of the species and people of other colours do not matter, as they're not really human" would be 'being good' wiping out all the pink people in case of food shortage, and would not be "bad" hunting pink people for fun.

Hi Romany! The plural of 'tabula rasa' would be tabulæ rasæ - however, te absolvo.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
ithink140
Posted: Friday, September 30, 2016 1:46:07 PM

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It goes without saying that goodness is not limited to those who believe in a creator.... only a fool would make such claim.

DragOn. I did not claim that fear was the only or even the main factor in making one good. I said:

'Fear of authority is one of the glues that holds society together.'



'Life is too short to be eaten up by hate.'
Romany
Posted: Sunday, October 02, 2016 5:26:56 AM
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Hey Drago -

The whole thing about infants is rather misleading, I think. Yep, sure, human development occurs in different stages, the recognition of Self being seen by many as a purely selfish or self-involved stage. But as any mother can attest, even during these earliest stages, toddlers, unbidden, do engage in behaviour we regard as 'unselfish'. If Mummy seems upset they will offer her their sticky remnant of crust; they'll go over and cuddle the dog if one has chastised it; they'll hand a crying playmate their favourite toy etc. etc. (These same kinds of behaviours are observed in many species....as so many video clips attest.)

But what I said before about this atrophying is that if one doesn't encourage/reward/express approval of these behaviours they can wither on the stem, as it were, and one ends up with a bratty, selfish child. The old, old, Nurture v Nature debate.

It's really difficult, however, using terms such as 'selfish' or 'unselfish'. In lay terms 'selfish' is bad whereas in terms of behavioural science many of these 'bad' behaviours are matters related to survival and human development. Thus the dichotomy exists that we are selfish and unselfish; self-involved and philanthropic at the same time. I believe it is the role of the nurturer to try to ensure that a balance is achieved and maintained.
twinsonic
Posted: Sunday, October 09, 2016 8:34:09 PM

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What an odd thing to ask! Nothing motivates me to be good. I don't try to be good. I believe it's just human nature to be good, if by good you mean law-abiding, kind, helpful, etc. It's not something I think about, it's just what I do, coming naturally.

I would think that if you have to be motivated it isn't true goodness. Motivation, to me, would require the expectation of a reward, or fear of a punishment. "Be good and I'll buy you an ice cream." "Be good and you won't get a spanking." "Be good and you'll get into heaven." "Be good or the devil will get you."

But, your "good" may not by my "good." If you are referring to religious "goodness," I would probably disappoint you! I can't "hate what he (god) hates." That isn't loving, isn't part of goodness.
Verbatim
Posted: Monday, October 10, 2016 12:44:35 AM
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Other than common sense I hesitate to call it motivation, in terms of reason or desire-- that which determines our behavior as good or bad every time.
Circumstance, environment, moods, our education, and many other causes may have more influence, in general, than any particular motivating factor.
But not always with the same result!

The only consistent feature of humans is ambivalence: the inconsistency in either the good, or the bad; the constant wavering between them; the lack of measure...the shocking number of reactions they are capable of.




ranoringo
Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 2:25:51 AM
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I don't know what goodness means. It is a highly complex philosophical question. But I do know that sometimes we feel happy in making others (at least some people) happy. We will risk our lives for them and their happiness will matter more to us than ours, and we won't even feel we are being good doing it. Just that our happiness lies in their happiness, and we are only being selfish in "sacrificing" for them.
dev_sircar
Posted: Friday, January 06, 2017 8:45:32 AM

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"There is nothing like Good or Bad but thinking makes it so" - Oscar WildeBoo hoo!

man's work is from Sun to Sun; woman's work is never done! - INDIRA GANDHI : Erstwhile Prime Minister of INDIA.
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