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  #16   Report Bad Post  
Old 03-26-2012, 03:52 PM
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stlukesguild stlukesguild is offline
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Re: The greatest good is ...

To me that says there's something really wrong with how society looks at work. Real work should have its own intrinsic rewards as well as a paycheck. If it doesn't count as a real job unless you hate it, what kind of life is that? It sounds like you're cut out to be an artist.

I have some mixed feelings here. I think that in many ways it is the nature of labor in an industrial and post-industrial society that reduces the laborer to a mere cog in the machine and the labor (which was one valued for the skill of the individual) has been reduced to merely a trade of $ for time.

At the same time, I agree that there is this perception among some that labor is doesn't count or have value unless it is painful. As a teacher I am repeatedly told that I am overpaid... quite likely because it is imagined that what I do... working with children... is inherently pleasant. By the same token, I often hear those who mumble about the overpaid fireman or police officer who sits around all day. In many ways I think that all these stereotypes are perpetuated more by those in power as a means of divide and conquer. The Wal-Mart or factory employee who lacks the health care of the college professor or sanitation worker turns his venom upon these workers and wishes to see them dragged down... their health care and pensions stripped away... as if that will help them... rather than joining them in fighting for similar benefits.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:24 AM
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Re: The greatest good is ...

Probably not surprising, I'm thinking along the lines of what sharkbarf and Basalt said and ideas about work didn't even compute. Except that here I am, at work, and on the computer and writing this to avoid doing the boring paid work that is keeping me from doing my pleasurable art work...

Anyway...I love some ways of Eastern philosophical thinking because as an atheist (from originally, a lapsed Catholic), I find answers SOMEWHERE in there that seem to make a lot of sense to me. But its all way too vast to understand, and goes back way too far to keep straight, and my brain is way too small to begin to decipher much of it. So, I have to start from the tiny place of knowledge I have. Speaking from THERE and a general philosophical POV (and not a psychological Freudian one), I think that pleasure, like pain, is tied to the ego. Ultimately, the ego's "job" is to protect us from the external world and help us survive within that external world. So it has its (important) place. But this continual "seeking" or "averting" is the ego feeding our individual selves with wants and desires. Give me give me give me. I want I want I want. This "protection activity" often manages to tangle us up into all sorts of complications and negativity - like little babies making big messes. Therefore, I can't see how pleasure is connected to something beyond ourselves as a "greater good."

I want to think that a "greater good" is something like...maybe...each of us figuring our way OUT of ego's grip. And the reason most of us won't do that, or can't do that, is because "letting go of ego" basically equates to "losing our identity." That involves facing a fear that's just too big and we would rather hold onto our fragile egos, fiercely, til death do us part. Now, here's where I get lost because personally, I can't get beyond my OWN big messy baby ego and seeking pleasure is certainly easier and more fun than fighting with fear and spinning out into some scary void. At least this is what I imagine it would be to detach from my ego, but I'm sure the reality is that its a much nicer little adventure. I suppose these philosophies might say something along the lines of: true self-realization (or enlightenment) means liberating your soul from the ego. When those (ego-created) illusions and dualities fall away, we see that we're really all one and the same....enter peace and love and lalala. These different philosophies offer slightly different paths but maybe all hope to arrive at some kind of...."Universal Truth." In this way of thinking, or rather in the way I'm interpreting it, reality-truth seems to be a greater good than knowledge-morality (because the latter is ego driven) and certainly greater than any "mere" pleasure-thing we could individually crave.

That being said...my own ego wants-needs-likes pleasure and isn't about to give it up.
But maybe I'll try harder next time around.
Although, "trying harder" is definitely my ego talking, isn't it?

I really wish mine would shut up and go away.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:20 PM
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Clive Green Clive Green is offline
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Re: The greatest good is ...

The idea that there is some division between the ego and the soul is one of the obstacles to the pursuit of pleasure. It persists in the strangely masochistic idea of the 'protestant work ethic' (which is neither particularly protestant nor ethical) and in other beliefs about a necessarily cruel and evil world of the flesh. Some religious thinkers, such as St Francis of Assissi, have disputed this idea to little avail. Redemption requires sin and religion offers redemption.

Some quietist philosiphies, such as Taoism and Buddism, seem to share a distaste for a world that should shunned in a search for enlightenment. Although this appeals to many it avoids the obvious. We live in the world and are of it, no amount of meditation can eliminate reality.

I don't confuse pleasure with hedonism. To pursue happiness can be something as complex as working with and for others to maintain health benefits or a pension scheme or as simple as opening a window to let a stray bee out or not drowning a spider in the shower. It is the consequence of pursuing happiness that is important; good memories, healthy children, a well thrown pot.

We should not think of ourselves as commodities for part of our days and free agents for some other span of hours. At all times we are people in our society, why not seek pleasure in that ?
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:38 PM
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Keith Russell Keith Russell is online now
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Re: The greatest good is ...

I've participated in discussions like this for decades, now--both on-line and in person. I've heard folks argue that there is no "good" (or "evil"), and that there most certainly is. I've heard folks argue that there is no "self", no "ego", no such thing as "individual identity"--not even their own. (I simply ask to see their driver's license...)

Mostly, this sort of thing gets us nowhere. It can be very good for me, or for you, or for someone else--but, collectively, it doesn't do much (ahem) good. We each have to find our own, individual "good". The universe isn't going to help, other people can offer help and assistance, but the sustainence--the real "work" of staying alive, active, engaged, and healthy--is done individually.

Or it isn't "done" at all.

If only I could get back all those hours spent debating stuff like this, and spend them painting and sculpting, instead...
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:15 PM
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xpertboy xpertboy is offline
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Re: The greatest good is ...

Giving of one's time and self. I never always thought like this until I met my wife. She always said there's wealth in giving, I think a line also uttered by author Napoleon Hill. I couldn't agree more.

not to say you have to give entirely of everything you have or all your time, but keep giving enough to make a positive change in something or someone. It doesn't have to be money either.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:28 PM
fritzie fritzie is offline
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Re: The greatest good is ...

I have always called the activities to which I give creative energy my work, whether paid or unpaid, with the exception of child-rearing and its related activities. So I consider teaching work (which I love). I consider study in support of my research and taking notes work. I don't consider cooking for my family work, nor reading a book to a child, nor walking the dog.
The word work has no negative connotations to me. While many projects have components that are not a thrill, understanding how they support the project as a whole gives me some pleasure even in those.
I recognize that I have been lucky to be paid to do enough of the things I love to do that I can do other things I love without needing compensation for them.

Last edited by fritzie : 03-29-2012 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:15 PM
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Re: The greatest good is ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Russell
I've participated in discussions like this for decades, now--both on-line and in person. I've heard folks argue that there is no "good" (or "evil"), and that there most certainly is. I've heard folks argue that there is no "self", no "ego", no such thing as "individual identity"--not even their own. (I simply ask to see their driver's license...)

I suppose you're the same now as you were on your driver's license.

KOAN: A river has an egoless ego.
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