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The Moral Self - an in depth look from one Atheist with regards to Morality

The Moral “Self”


Preface: If you are religious please do not take offense. What I offer is my own subjective reasoning gathered from years of forum debates on and on, as well as experiences and various books I have read regarding Morality. I do plan on adding to this as I can. This was written about a year ago, and it gives some insight to what I personally feel governs many people's actions in life.

There are so many discussions or debates that I get into regarding “Objective Morality” from God versus The ability for humans to reason and rationalize subjective morality for themselves. Some theists want to prove the ingrained Morality to gain some sort of “Theological Footprint” to presuppose the existence and presence of God prior to any man made written texts. The argument is presented in hopes of making God part of man’s natural world. Theists immediately lose the battle when they take the side that man is incapable of judging what should be considered moral or immoral. It is lost because they use human reasoning to determine that the morality in the Bible is “Good”. The decision of a moral standpoint being rationalized as “Good” in of itself is moral measurement using human reasoning to choose that which is “Good” versus that which is “Bad” in judgment of what the Bible says.

For Atheist it is easy. We reason through what is good for the healthy continuation of mankind. When I say continuation I paint with broad strokes in regards to the continuation of the species, or survival. To be more accurate would be to understand the subconscious need for the survival of “Self” first. The assurance that the conscious “Self” is preserved as well as our individual DNA or ancestral lineage is paramount in our underlying decision making. Sure we can site “Empathy” and “Reciprocity” as noble pursuits born of tribal survival, but no one really wants to consider the “Selfishness” of it all. We are so conditioned to think of being Selfish as pious, prideful and the adverse of group survival, but no one looks at it in the correct manner. It is the subconscious need to preserve “self” that is the glue that binds the group, in rational sound minded people.

Religion has taught as a myriad of phrases demonizing “selfish” acts. Jesus was to represent what was supposed to be a truly “Self-less” act as a standard we were all supposed to live by. “Pride goeth before the fall.”, “Lay down your life for your brethren.” . . . religion taught us to think of “Self” as dirty or loathsome. This was possibly to fill each person who heard it with guilt and the need to be more righteous and upstanding and to seek God in this pursuit. Self is really quite good, and motivates us in ways that we usually don’t want to see or understand, but need to as a blueprint for how we navigate through our reasoned morality.

What does Empathy really mean? We understand that it is the ability to view someone else’s plight as if we were them. To feel what they feel so that we might identify with their pain and gain appreciation that motivates us to be sympathetic or compassionate towards them. There are two ways in which true empathy works:

  1. 1.  We see someone in pain (Pain can be mental anguish or physical anguish and the amount judged by us initiates the amount of interaction we will do to alleviate). How does this make us feel? It makes us feel uneasy. Depending on what kind of person we are we can either mentally picture ourselves in similar pain via our imagination or it simply is unpleasant to visually or audibly witness. It is the subconscious “Self” that wants this to stop and motivates our feelings to act. The uneasy feeling is sympathy, and it moves us to compassion. We help to stop the uneasy feeling we have because “Self” motivates us to do so.
  2. 2.We see someone in pain of a situation that we have experienced ourselves. (Pain can be mental anguish or physical anguish and the amount judge by us initiates the amount of interaction we will do to alleviate). Now we have a situation that we do not have to imagine at all. We have experienced that exact same thing, and it left a mental impression on us. “Self” hates the memory of this experience and motivates us to interact. In this, the emotion can range from sympathy to sickening dread, depending on how it affected us mentally when we experienced it.

We use reasoning to determine the situation, but our reaction will be based off of how our subconscious self, reacts. In some certain circumstances “Self” can motivate to do nothing but sympathize out of survival. In others it can motivate to interact in a ways that you wished someone had done for you.

How is reciprocity motivated by “Self”? Treating someone else as you would want to be treated is a type of “Mental Insurance”. It is a way of stockpiling “Hope” for later on. “Self” has the need to not only survive, but be accepted. Group acceptance is based off a number of things.

  1. 1.   How respected our actions make us. The more people we are kind to, the more that “Hopefully” will come to our aid should we need it. The more solidified we feel in our position in the group.
  1. 2.   The reciprocal give and take of reciprocity in a reoccurring fashion so as to establish confidence and rhythm of normalcy. It is an encouraging pulse that lets us know that our group relationships are healthy which in turn appeases the mind and eases uncertainty. 

3.   It is a “Mental Bank” of goodness that we hope to draw from in our time of need.

All of these “feelings” placate the mind (subconscious Self) with regard to our standings in society. It gives us the assured feeling that we have a Safe Place amongst our peers.

What is the mark we will make in regards to “Self”? Will we leave our DNA as a signature that we were here, for generations to follow? Is there some great act or deed or creative work that will be remembered for generations? Being remembered is a way to ensure an “Idea” of immortality and the continuance of at least the idea or image of our “Self”.

Altruism is just one of the many ways to leave that mark or be immortalized. Often, a hero will be asked to be remembered before giving his life to save others . . . I would give my own life for any of my family without fail. Is that love? Absolutely, but I would be remised if I didn’t also acknowledge that it is also the preservation of “Self” in both deed and DNA continuance.

Coming up in my next blog:

Why do we need a “Sound Mind” to make reasonable choices?

Darkmajinn 14.03.2018 4 139
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  •  TomJackson: 
    Since you don't believe in a God, all that you can reasonably say about Him is that in your opinion there are no gods; and you cannot cannot speak intelligently about what the role of God may be in human life and whether or not He has inserted himself therein without notifying you about His presence.
    The rest is your take on "situation ethics"---popular in the late 60's and early 70's
    I look forward to reviewing your next blog submission.
     12.06.20181 replies1 replies 
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  •  Happy: 
    I read it!!! It's well done. Your next topic is right up my alley. :)
    0 points
  •  Veena: 
    Congrats on your first blog ....made wonderful reading darkmajinn!
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