16 November 2011

Kind v. Love

So a friend of mine posed a question that was a variant of "love thy neighbor" which was "be kind to thy neighbor". The reasoning behind this being it is easier to be kind to those who are different from ourselves as opposed to actually loving others. Naturally I began to question the differences between being kind and loving.

Love is not ambiguous. Either one loves someone/a thing or nothing. There is no real grey line. Sure there are degrees of love, such as familial or romantic, but it is still love. In general I would doubt that there would be a large division of the definition of love across ethnic lines.

As far as kind goes though, it is hyper-variant. One can be kind to a neighbor by tossing their newspaper onto the porch, but what type of kindness is this? Would it not require a definition of the exact feelings one has about the neighbor? Is this neighbor an elderly person who has trouble walking or is it one who will engage any person in conversation to express their displeasure with the delivery of said paper?

Examine the cliche of "killing them with kindness". There is no equivalent in regards to love. One can fake kindness rather easily while faking love requires quite a bit of engagement as the latter evolves over time. One can be "kind" to a stranger and move on. It requires in the moment engagement and that is all.

Returning to the friend's argument, yes it is much easier to "be kind to thy neighbor" as it does not involve any real emotional engagement. But, the question then lingers: would the world be a better place?

04 November 2011

What would human actions be if we knew if an afterlife existed?

I was in the cemetery the other day and a thought crossed my mind about the existence of an afterlife. It was not whether one existed or not, but what would humanity be like if we knew? How do we define our actions or even decide them? What is the affect of impulse?

There are 3 options to an afterlife, once we remove the need for a deity (with one there are 27 options): 1. it exists. 2. it does not exist. 3. it exists but is not a human normal conception of an afterlife.

Option 1: an afterlife exists. How do we proceed as a society?
As such it can be resonably assumed that if an afterlife existed and it was free of the constraints of morality/religion that it would consist of chaos. Rules would just be laughable. There would be no consequences, so why even worry about them? This is Nietzscheian Nirvana. Do whatever you wish and there are no repurcussions at all.

Option 2: actually this condition would support Nietzsche to a further extreme. Zero consequences. No question of them ever existing. One would be free to act as one wished at all times.

Option 3: Humans would most likely establish some sort limited morality system. It would be akin to hedging bets. Some things would be "taboo" for no other reason than chance would be against them for entering an afterlife.

In the end, Nietzsche was more brilliant than given credit for and knew that one's actions really were responsible only to the individual. Morality was a human construct and constructs in general were void. If rules exist, one should not consider them and just be.