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June 2002 - Ecology vs. Ecophily: Is it good to lie... 
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Post June 2002 - Ecology vs. Ecophily: Is it good to lie...
This thread is for discussing Massimo Pigliucci's Rationally Speaking article entitled Ecology vs. Ecophily: Is it good to lie for the environment?

N. 25, June 2002

Ecology vs. Ecophily: Is it good to lie for the environment?

The situation of the environment is getting worse by any reasonable estimate, and we are simply not doing enough: not only to protect what's left, but to reverse the trend and finally start the long path toward sustainability instead of uncontrolled growth. The problem impacts everybody, including Knoxville (the city were I live), which has just been declared the 8th most polluted city in the US

Sat Jul 19, 2003 1:47 pm
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Post Is it good to lie...

Is there a bad truth?
Is there a good lie?

The answers that we give to these questions build a very important part of our ideology and personality. We all have different ideas, and these are not static, but change with time... with our life experiences and with our age...

I once thought very similar to Chris O Connor, in that I did not like to lie in order to reach a good aim. The truth was the highest aim for me, so that it was not possible to lie, because it would be already a treason.
I developed a kind of faith in the truth... and this became almost my religion... this might also been one of the the reason that I decided to study science, and became a biologist.
I became a researcher believing in that the truth would become my dogma.

I also love the nature... and especially the plants... since a child I played in the garden... I grew vegetables... I talked to plants... made promises to the trees... found peace in the forest...

Since very young I became an ecological activists... I read about the environment in many books and even liked to read in the encyclopedias... I forced my parents to separate the garbage and to have an organic waste... I was constantly trying to see oportunities on how to save the environment and avoid pollution... how to defend the animals...
I truely hated my cousins that liked to torture animals, put explosives on frogs, kill birds...
I said to myself, when I grow up, I will put all my efforts in trying to protect the environment and save the sacred nature.

I the process of finding a justification for the protection of the enviroment, I developed a kind of philosophy... I developed an ethics which was based on respect, mutual affection, and the right of all organisms to live. So, that humans are not allowed to kill animals or plants. But then I realised that killing other organisms was necesary for us humans to live. Even if I had becomed vegetarian, I had still to kill plants to obtain food. And since ever, I have cared more for plants than for animals... so I had the ethical problem of how to justify the killing of other organisms, for me to survive.
Consequently, I developed a esoterical philosophy, and a kind of ethical scala of values. I concluded that we as humans are intelligent... and that we are more evolved than other organisms... for me, the biological evolution had indeed the purpose to bring intelligent beings to life... from the bacteria, to the worm, to the human being... On a cosmic scala, I concluded that the universe had the purpouse of becoming conscious of it... matter wanted to become higher organised and have awareness of itself. This was the meaning of evolution.
Consequently, if humans are the top of the ladder, then the other organisms are like part of our team, and they help us to obtain the higher aim.
Thus, I started to believe that the plants accept that we kill them and eat them... just because they also know that by this, they are helping us to obtain the higher aim of intelligence. Every time I ate a vegetable, I thanked the plant for allowing me sacrify it for giving me food. I promised that I would use the food in a good way in order to make good things on earth. The matter in the plant becomes higher organised when it becomes part of my body.
The same argument I used for killing the cow and eating steaks... since we are more intelligent and higher evolved, for sure the cow will understand. I just need to be very respectful and thank the cow for the steak.
You migth get the picture.
It appeared be a kind of an universal higher principle...This system worked extremely well, worms eat bacteria, birds eat worms, cats eat birds, etc...

It worked well until I started to learn more about biology... many inconsistencies appeared... how about when the cat is killed by bacteria? For sure this will be a step backwards in the persue of awareness of the cosmos...
Despite encountering many irregularities I defended the system trying to include some exceptions... until the battle became hopeless, because there were more exceptions than rules... I fought the ethical battle until the last man... but then I had to capitulate... I had to recognise that the world of biology is ruled by absolute selfishness... and that in nature, there are no ethical rules, but everything is possible... for the fight for survival, anything goes. The absolute selfishness is apparent at the many levels... species, individuals, cells and even genes...
The selfish genes are called viruses... the selfish cells are called cancer... the selfish individuals are called dominant alphas, and the selfish species is called Homo sapiens...

You might imagine the terrible feeling to see a whole building of personal philosophy succumbe before your eyes... it was ethically devastating...

After this ethical apocalypse, I went on to build other things ontop of the ruins. Today, a new city has emerged... and I must say, at least for me, it is wonderful, a new city of beauty.

Diversity is Good!

Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:07 pm

Post City of Beauty

To describe at least the essence of that city, I need to explain the core, and for it I need to go back to Platon. The greek philosopher believed in a inseparable Trinity of the eternal form. The eternal idea was the center of the platonic universe. In his idealism, there is no distinction between the beauty, the good and the truth. This Trinity is also the basis of the catholic church.

Well, the fundaments of the new city, is that the Trinity has indeed three diferent corners in our real world. And this three corners can be spearated and are independent. Thus, the truth, the good and the beauty are separate properties of our reality.
The good we study with ethics, and it gives us a purpose in life. The beauty is part of esthetics, and this is the creative force that generetas new diversity in the universe. And the truth is used by the technique and intelligence to become more efficient.

The city of beauty is built ontop of the ruins of the temple of Platon. The cardinal points are the truth, good and beauty.

And to answer the question of Chris... I agree with very much what he saying, but I do not share the same view on this issue...

for me there are indeed good lies.

but also, there are bad truths.

beautiful lies... and beautiful truths
awful truths... and awful lies...
good beauty... and good awfulness
bad beauty.... and bad awfulness

you can make all possible combinations between the three basic principles...
I will leave to the imagination of each, to find real life examples for each this combinations.

Diversity is Good!

Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:29 pm
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