Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:53 am

<< Week of September 26, 2016 >>
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
26 Day Month

27 Day Month

28 Day Month

29 Day Month

30 Day Month

1 Day Month

2 Day Month





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Ethical Brain: Vonnegut's essay 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Genuinely Genius

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 806
Location: NC
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: Female
Country: United States (us)

Post Ethical Brain: Vonnegut's essay
On p 69 Gazzaniga mentions Kurt Vonnegut's essay, "Harrison Bergeron". Has anyone read that essay? I have not. It sounds interesting.

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 11/1/05 12:31 am



Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:07 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Vonnegut's essay
I haven't, but it's on my short list. Vonnegut is an entertaining writer, but I think his social value lies more in the fact that he brings up certain issues, rather than in his actual position on those issues.




Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:53 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Sophomore

Bronze Contributor 2

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 259
Location: San Francisco, CA
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 15 times in 13 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Vonnegut's essay
I think I've read it, but quite some time ago. It is pretty interesting. Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, although I don't know if this is where I would pick him up. I read him chronologically starting with "God Bless you Mr. Rosewater" and found it very rewarding




Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:32 am
Profile YIM
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Sophomore

Bronze Contributor 2

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 259
Location: San Francisco, CA
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 15 times in 13 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Vonnegut's essay
He does bring up issues, but I find his postition the interesting part: Why can't we just all be decent to each other? It wouldn't be that horrible. And yet we find ourselves in a world where that doesn't happen. Why?




Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:34 am
Profile YIM
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Genuinely Genius

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 806
Location: NC
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: Female
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ethical Brain: Vonnegut's essay
Chris- I just noticed that you edited my subject line here. I am not sure why you did that. I thought maybe you did that because you wanted all subject lines in book discussions to begin with the book title. However, there are other subject lines that do not begin with, "Ethical Brain:" that are in this forum and you haven't edited those. Please let me know. If you'd like subject lines to always have the book title, then I'll be sure to do that. I'd also suggest that you let us all know that, so you don't have to go and edit everyone's subject lines.




Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:55 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Kindle Fanatic

Bronze Contributor 2

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 546
Location: Saint Louis
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ethical Brain: Vonnegut's essay
ginof
Quote:
Why can't we just all be decent to each other? It wouldn't be that horrible. And yet we find ourselves in a world where that doesn't happen. Why?
This is a critical intersection between religion and morality. I would assert that "being decent to each other" may be a fundamental moral value. Islam teaches that one is not supposed to be decent to infidels, as do many Christian sects. In fact religions that tell you to be nice to those who don't believe in the same sky fairy seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

Early humans lived in small groups who were fearful of one another, and the fear created self fulfilling prophecy: people who are afraid of you are dangerous to you. Perhaps early on religious belief brought people who otherwise would have hated and feared each other together; unfortunately it does so by creating a larger "us" which still requires a "them". It seems to me that the challenge for long term survival as a species is for most people, most of the time to see human kind as "us". Such a view is quite unnatural though, and will not easily be achieved.


If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984




Sun Nov 13, 2005 1:11 pm
Profile Email
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Sophomore

Bronze Contributor 2

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 259
Location: San Francisco, CA
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 15 times in 13 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Ethical Brain: Vonnegut's essay
Jeremy, are you making an argument that we dump religion?

::80




Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:52 am
Profile YIM


Post Re: Ethical Brain: Vonnegut's essay
In order to be decent to another person, one must either expect to be treated decently in return, or have an overriding belief in the importance of decency, even toward those who may not reciprocate.

It may be closest to human nature to treat others as they have treated you in the past. But blind tit-for-tat reactions can lead to endless loops of retaliation, so perhaps there's some mechanism to override tit-for-tat when there is greater need (say, to reconcile tribal feuds in order to unite against a common enemy). There's also the problem of people being programmed (by an abusive childhood or some string of misfortunes, say) to expect to be betrayed, and then lashing out pre-emptively. "Do unto others as you expect them to do unto you" is a common attitude in gangs and dysfunctional families. Nations too can fall into that pattern... it can take many difficult acts of trust-building to override that kind of thinking when it becomes widespread.

Most people's behavior will be some combination of the following:

Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
Steel Rule: Do unto others as they have done unto you in the past.
Iron Rule: Do unto others before they do unto you.
Hot Potato Rule: Do unto the next person what the last person did unto you.

The question is, what mechanisms exist to restore ecological balance to a culture which has adopted strategies that undermine its cohesiveness or ability to adapt?

Michael




Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Ethical Brain: Vonnegut's essay
The question is, what mechanisms exist to restore ecological balance to a culture which has adopted strategies that undermine its cohesiveness or ability to adapt?

I'd say most of the "mechanisms" are probably what we'd consider catastophic. Depopulation, for one. The outbreak of disease is a possibility, particularly if the ethical strategies tend to undermine hygenic standards or result in congested urban areas. But before we even begin to consider what might allow a culture to rebound, we should probably ask whether or not they often rebound. On a low level, I'd say that probably happens on a piecemeal basis all the time, but if a culture has really adopted an unbalancing ethos, it's probably fatal more often than not. Perhaps that's more true of large civilizations, like the Roman Empire, or even the Japanese Shogunate, than it is of relatively small cultures. Tribes likely adapt well on the fly; not so with nations.




Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:17 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

BookTalk.org Newsletter 

Announcements 

• Resources related to Uncle Tom's Cabin
Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:28 pm



Site Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

Featured Books

Books by New Authors


*

FACTS is a select group of active BookTalk.org members passionate about promoting Freethought, Atheism, Critical Thinking and Science.

Apply to join FACTS
See who else is in FACTS







BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.



Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2016. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank