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We view our actions as guided by our morals, but in Nietzsches view outlined below, it is our actions which guide our morals, and what guides our actions is basically whatever benefits us the most.

 

This raises a lot of interesting and sometimes uncomfortable questions about what it is which really drives us all.

 

To give a simple example of what this means, take someone who cares about workers rights. They hate the idea of exploiting anyone, they are a worker themselves and know how awful it is. But then they get offered a promotion and a big pay rise, but now their job is to fire people to increase company profits. So they accept the job and do so, telling themselves that they shouldn't feel bad because if they didn't do it someone else would, and anyway if it didn't happen maybe more people would lose their job blah blah. Basically telling themselves this to justify their actions.

(I'm not trying to say everyone would do this, it's just an example)

 

So their morals were really irrelevant in the first place, they were always going to do what benefited them personally if the opportunity to do so ever came along.

 

So what's the point in telling ourselves we are moral beings? Is it just to appear respectable?

 

Of course as socialists we are not immune to human nature either, so we have to ask ourselves, why do we hold these beliefs? Personally I feel like I want the world to be a better place for its own sake, but is their some other reason? Do I also want to have in a part in it because it will also make me important or whatever? I'm sure we've all had silly fantasies about changing the world.

 

It's probably an unpopular or even embarressing viewpoint to give but I think it's important to talk about these things, to try and get to the root of who we are and why we do what we do.

 

Anyway, it's an interesting article and maybe it can be a starting point on a debate about morality here? A short interesting paper below goes into more detail:

 

Nietzsches philosophy of action: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1430615

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Guest Felix Rourke

Very interesting topic. I think Che was referring to this very issue when he said that the revolutionary is guided out of great feelings of love. Sometimes this is not the case though. Sometimes revolutionaries, bourgeois especially, balance the desire they have to assist the working-classes rise up of their knees with a keen dislike of the political institutions and the exploitative economic system they see around them.

 

That is the point where I think the balance can either be tipped into achieving the base/superstructure change we want to see for our own sake of reaching our personal goals or achieving it for the wretched of the earth. That's the interesting divide for me: whether we are in it for ourselves after some point, or are still doing it for the benefit of all. Especially seeing since at many points in the struggle it will seem as though those we are trying to assist don't want it, and heap scorn upon us for it. This is a middle-class perspective, but I'm sure there is little fundamental difference in a truly working-class one, except that a sense of duty to your own class would emerge as an additional factor.

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I think this is one of the biggest problems we face as human beings, and many philosophers have tried to give some sort of concise answer to this question. Kant's Categorical Imperative is one of the most famous: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law." In other words, only do that which you would be happy to see everyone doing. Another version he gave was that we should always treat ourselves and others as an end in themselves, and not merely a means to an end - in other words, never exploit ourselves or others.

 

It's not at all easy to stick to rules like this, and in Capitalist society is probably completely impossible to - since the whole society is based on exploitation. Even if you get a job for money, you are treating yourself as a means to an end, i.e. wages. And everything presented to us on "the market" is the product of exploitation.

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Guest Connolly

We view our actions as guided by our morals, but in Nietzsches view outlined below, it is our actions which guide our morals, and what guides our actions is basically whatever benefits us the most.

 

This raises a lot of interesting and sometimes uncomfortable questions about what it is which really drives us all.

 

To give a simple example of what this means, take someone who cares about workers rights. They hate the idea of exploiting anyone, they are a worker themselves and know how awful it is. But then they get offered a promotion and a big pay rise, but now their job is to fire people to increase company profits. So they accept the job and do so, telling themselves that they shouldn't feel bad because if they didn't do it someone else would, and anyway if it didn't happen maybe more people would lose their job blah blah. Basically telling themselves this to justify their actions.

(I'm not trying to say everyone would do this, it's just an example)

 

So their morals were really irrelevant in the first place, they were always going to do what benefited them personally if the opportunity to do so ever came along.

 

So what's the point in telling ourselves we are moral beings? Is it just to appear respectable?

 

Of course as socialists we are not immune to human nature either, so we have to ask ourselves, why do we hold these beliefs? Personally I feel like I want the world to be a better place for its own sake, but is their some other reason? Do I also want to have in a part in it because it will also make me important or whatever? I'm sure we've all had silly fantasies about changing the world.

 

It's probably an unpopular or even embarressing viewpoint to give but I think it's important to talk about these things, to try and get to the root of who we are and why we do what we do.

 

Anyway, it's an interesting article and maybe it can be a starting point on a debate about morality here? A short interesting paper below goes into more detail:

 

Nietzsches philosophy of action: http://papers.ssrn.c...ract_id=1430615

 

So many broad topics here that could be discussed. Morality isnt something iv thought much about before. But morality is, I would say, a social/cultural construction which changes throughout time. And as Marx stated, "being determines consciosuness". Whatever situation we find ourselves in determines how we think, our morality and our conscisiousness.

 

Morality serves a social function. We hold 'morals' because it allows us to relate to one another, interact and communicate knowing that we share a set of values, and thus it creates a sort of social cohesion. But it also has a hegemonic aspect to it. Morality is part of our ideology, and ideology as we know is something which serves to further class interests. So slavery, caste systems or wage slavery may be seen to be 'moral' depending on the time and place.

 

As for morality and being a socialist. i would say, and speaking for myself, morality is just one small part of why I might consider myself a socialist. Capitalism is illogical, irrational and simply makes no sense. If everyone says the wall is black when infact its white, then pointing that out is not a moral issue. Its more of an issue of who has a greater grasp on reality.

 

As to feeling important and wanting to change the world. Well I think thats another issue entirely. You would be going into social-psychology with that. Being a socialist certainly gives us an 'identity'. In a similar way that football fans adopt Liverpool or Man U as their identity. My avatar is an expression of an aspect of 'my idenity'. And its probably an embarrassing thing for some people to say that because people often believe they follow political parties/perspectives because of the beliefs/arguments/logic of the party or perspective. But belief is just one aspect of it. Does an identity make one feel important? Well yes i think it does. A person who follows Liverpool and wears a Liverpool jersey in a pub after their team has won the cup will gain some 'esteem' and 'self importance' from that, i would think. We all like to think of ourselves as something, and the various identities that we use to construct our self concept allows us to think of ourselves as something, - rather than nothing.

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