Why You Have to Love My Neon Pink Banana Hammock, Part 1

Are there things we must love? Like my banana hammock?

 

Well I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m going to make the case that there are in fact things we – as members of the human race – should all learn to love. If this goal sounds like it could be the beginning of bigotry, that those who do not love what is to be deemed as love worthy should be corrected, you do have something to fear because it will sound like that. However, my hope is that with critical analysis it may be possible to avoid this fear and carefully conceive of values that should be universally loved, at the very least it’s worth thinking about.

So let’s cover a couple basic definitions first, if I miss any you feel important comment with a reason and I’ll post it so we can talk about it:

Love: I’m not going to try to define Love with a capital “L”, fuck that, I’m single so what the fuck would I know about that anyway. However love with a lowercase “l” is a simple verb we learned as children meaning something we deeply care for. I love my family, friends, professors (some), pets, myself (on that journey), nature, the smell of coffee in the morning (but not the actual coffee), baby size shoes, you get the idea.

Value: not trying to come up with a hard theory on objective value either, in this case value will mean it’s overall benefit to human flourishing.

So to begin thinking about the possibility of things everyone must come to love, it seems appropriate to ask why everyone should even have to love something, why people should love anything at all, and why do people love to begin with? Since childhood there are things I’ve come to love (see above, unless you want me to tell you MORE about my life), and at particular times in my life I can be certain I love them. My point is that it’s not valuable to question if I love or am capable of loving, because avoiding “Love”, it seems very clear that people love.

Why do people love? Watch the french movie Amelie and find out. Seriously, leave donations to me as well (note the lack of parenthesis before which truly emphasize the seriousness… not really, but it’s a great film). People love because it makes them happy (not “Happy”, just happy). It doesn’t seem very complicated, when I love something, let’s say walking on the beach, it brings me great pleasure to then walk on the beach. However I believe there is also a more important reason for loving as well, it makes me feel alive. Watch this one minute clip explaining what I mean by a magnificent piece of art for our time. Watch it! Despite what you may think, I contend that it’s 100% spot on. Isn’t it wonderful to enjoy a relationship with someone we care deeply for? Do most people enjoy relationships or not? Let’s take a look at the current population of Earth and imagine how each generation came into being… hmmm…. surprisingly, it seems that for the most part people enjoy romance, sex, hanging out together, all that stuff that comes with being in a relationship (I’ll be honest, I haven’t a clue… don’t judge hater). With relationships comes negatives as well, but as Butters clearly explained, something would have to make you so happy before it can make you feel bad. Isn’t it strangely beautiful that we can feel anything at all? The good must come with the bad, something must be sacrificed for the greater good.

A viable counter argument could include (and please do if you feel this way or similarly) something along the lines of the inconsistent triad part of an ontological argument against the existence of god conceived by David Hume and refined by J. L. Mackie: “God is good, god is omnipotent, and there is evil in the world.” The point has nothing to do with God, but Mackie does discuss orders of good and evil. 1st order goods include good health and happiness. 1st order evils include pain and suffering. 2nd order goods include compassion and heroism that can only exist if 1st order evils are given. 2nd order evils include cruelty and cowardice, attributes only possible given 1st order goods. The argument itself is rather interesting between Mackie and Richard Swinburne, who claims there is a 3rd order good: freedom. The final point from the theist (the relevant counter point to my argument here, sorry about that), comes from the book of Job of the Old Testament. I’m not usually one to quote the bible, but the point is relevant nonetheless: when god speaks to Job through the whirlwind and says to Job, (you don’t have to read all of it to understand my point, just the first 8 lines or so, but it’s a beautiful read)

38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 38:2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 38:5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 38:8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 38:9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 38:10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 38:11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? 38:12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; 38:13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 38:14 It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 38:15 And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. 38:16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? 38:17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? 38:18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. 38:19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, 38:20 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? 38:21 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? orbecause the number of thy days is great? 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, 38:23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? 38:24 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? 38:25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; 38:26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; 38:27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? 38:28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? 38:29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? 38:30 The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. 38:31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? 38:32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? 38:33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? 38:34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? 38:35Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? 38:36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? 38:37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, 38:38 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? 38:39 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, 38:40 When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? 38:41 Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

Regardless of my own religious beliefs, it’s a wonderful piece of literature, but the point is we weren’t there when the assumed God performed the moral calculus of the universe, so who’s to say that 2nd order goods are worth it at all? This counter argument to mine doesn’t need God to exist, it simply questions my authority to deem orders of good and evil worth our love. I’ll argue they do, I see heroism and compassion as highly beneficial attributes to further our human progress and flourishing, but you’re welcome to argue otherwise.

Compassion and heroism are both types of 2nd order goods that have the potential to, and do, greatly benefit human flourishing. People with compassion are capable of protecting others and animals. Maybe they wouldn’t need protecting in the first place if suffering didn’t exist, but who’s to classify what suffering is? When a cheetah hunts down a gazelle and feeds it’s young, is that suffering? Should we petition the cheetah community to stop being carnivorous and evolve more peacefully? However, let’s say we grow up near the gazelle (or house cat, it doesn’t matter) and become attached to it (are there cases in which people are close to animals? I won’t even), do you think said people would want to protect said animals? Of course, and it’s completely natural. This feeling of compassion allows users (in this case people) to fulfill the role of protectors and carefully guard life so that it may mature. Would a mother protect her daughter from a wild dog that’s trying to provide food for it’s own litter? Is denying the starved dog’s family your daughter as a delicious meal wrong? Obviously not, and it’s compassion, sympathy, empathy, etc. that let’s us believe that. Unless you would continue to argue that protecting our children isn’t right and you’re a shitty politician, it seems clear that: compassion… is… good! Not only to ourselves and animals, but people can be protectors of the Earth through various “Green” campaigns. If there was no Green suffering (pollution, energy wasting, dogs peeing on your lawn) what would there be to fix and improve upon? Before I belabor the point further and completely steer off topic, compassion is highly valuable as a direct influence on human progress and flourishing.

Now that I reasonably established why people love, you’ll see how the rest of this comes easily. While I may not be able to convince you to love my banana hammock (there will be no photos lest my blog be taken down for being a grievous wound to humanity) My aim still remains to prove that we, as a community of people, have to recognize certain things that are worthy of our universal love. I’ll finish up the thought in part 2, right now I have to go find some swimwear and enjoy the beach.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Why You Have to Love My Neon Pink Banana Hammock, Part 1

  1. “The good must come with the bad, something must be sacrificed for the greater good.” I think this is an assumption; and one that is false.

    Can we agree that cancer is objectively bad? Sure, maybe cancer has the right to live, but if it’s host dies – so too will the cancer. Cancer can stop growing though and cause no more change to the cells of its host. But if we remove cancer from a person, what do we put in it’s place?

    Or try this another way. What if a child was brought up in an environment where they only experienced (lowercase) love and happiness? Would they truly need suffering to appreciate it? Would they cease to feel the good because they were not aware of it’s opposite? Would they be more or less ‘better off’ throughout the course of their lives?

    Feelings which we categorise as negative can and will eventually be identified and eliminated. The only thing people fear is that by doing this we will eliminate the feelings which we categorise as positive. I am not aware of any objective reason to believe this to be the case.

    Like

    • Haha, I’m stupid. There is no such thing as dark, merely absence of light. Nor quiet, only absence of sound. Just as there is no such thing as ‘sad’ only absence of ‘happy.’ What is happy? Healthy functioning serotonin receptors. We already have the answers…

      Like

    • I had mass social reform on my mind when I wrote that, so I’ll specify and say for progress to be possible, there must be some sacrifice. Let’s take the war on drugs as an example. There are countless people dying through gang violence, cartels, etc., so there is an obvious problem that must be solved as humanity progresses. However, psychiatrists, almost all branches of law enforcement, and employees who benefit from the drug war would cease to exist. If there was no crime would we need the law enforcement we have now? The resolution of the drug trade opens up problems of its own. A few better examples include illegal immigration and wars.

      This source (http://www.fairus.org/issue/illegal-aliens-taking-u-s-jobs) estimates illegal immigrants in the US in 8.5 million jobs. While I highly disagree with the language used, my point is that as society progresses, something must be done about the illegal immigrants, nobody should be called an illegal person. To absorb them into the US means to have them pay the appropriate taxes and follow whatever rules, which they couldn’t do easily due to various social and economic reasons. To remove them from the US is to vacate all those jobs. I’m not suggesting these are the only two solutions, or even good ones for that matter, but something must be done to repair their statuses that will end up costing something. Society will progress when a feasible solution is found with the least cost and largest possible gain.

      The wars of the 20th century are perhaps the best examples of appropriate sacrifice. When each country declared war on another, I’m sure it couldn’t of been a light matter. Unless they were expecting to achieve objectives without losing a single life, sending fathers, brothers, and sons to their death for a goal was the reality of strategy. It’s horrible to say, but in that case, and I believe most and especially important ones, human progress requires a type of sacrifice. I can’t imagine how plagued the consciousness of someone who had to make that decision could be.

      As for cancer being objectively bad… I don’t know. I don’t know if there is an objective bad for that matter. I mean observing earth from a cosmological point of view, we’re nothing but the most evolved species on planet Earth. Nothing we have done so far actually matters to anyone but ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the potential for humanity. However let’s say when a mother loses her child to a school shooting, there is undeniably intense subjective pain and it’s so obviously a fault in humanity, but from a cosmological point of view these we are just evolved animals doing what we do at the time. Animals, early mankind, dinosaurs, etc. are all guilty of killing, raping, and enslaving in one form or another, but I don’t know if the ants thought is was particularly wrong. Who are we to judge the rightness and wrongness of the universe? We may certainly feel it’s wrong and acknowledge it as an offensive obstacle for human progression, but I’m not sure about the objectivity. Not that it particularly matters though…

      Like

      • The war on drugs was a failure as soon as it was called a war. Addicts are sick, not criminals – and should be treated accordingly. Decriminalisation is the best first step towards removing the suffering caused by drugs. Portugal has made that step and as long as they can maintain their support programs legalisation will be the next logical step. Law is the antithesis of freedom; but let me say that I am still absolutely in favour of laws to protect the innocent against real criminals. A criminal is someone who acts upon another in a way that was undesired and without their consent. Murder, assault, theft – these are crimes. “However, psychiatrists, almost all branches of law enforcement, and employees who benefit from the drug war would cease to exist.” My instinctive answer to this is – awesome, this is exactly what we want. Less minds trapped in law enforcement and mental health professions means more minds free to pursue goals of much greater benefit to us all. We need to sacrifice our fear of criminals for the greater good of the addicts.

        Illegal immigrants could easily work if the minimum wage was scrapped. Keynesian economics has crippled so many minds – the Austrian school is a far better model from which to build. The problem is that people think the entire world will become a series of sweat shops if this happened. This is just not true – it is in an employer’s best interests to provide the best working conditions possible – or else no one will work for them. It doesn’t apply the other way around. No one can be forced into working a job that is unbearable – only fear keeps them there (slavery aside). We need to sacrifice our fear of existing working conditions becoming unbearable for the greater good of those willing to work hard for less.

        Peace is merely the absence of war. War manifests because some have more than others – it’s irrelevant whether this is objectively true or merely perception. War is just not necessary when communication and cooperation are favoured instead. For this one, we need to sacrifice our xenophobia for compassion, communication and simple sharing.

        “Nothing we have done so far actually matters to anyone but ourselves.” – I agree, but that’s only part of it. I would argue that everything we have done has also had differing degrees of impact on our spaceship (Earth) and the rest of its inhabitants.

        “We may certainly feel [killing, raping, and enslaving is] wrong and acknowledge it as an offensive obstacle for human progression, but I’m not sure about the objectivity.” – Yes, we all do *feel* that it’s wrong! I put it to you that your question of objectivity is just semantics with respect to scale. On the human scale the ending of a life can definitely be described as objectively wrong – as you’ve pointed out. That said, people are dying horrible deaths every moment – neither you nor I are suffering as a result. Why? Because of scale. We’re too far away from the death for it to effect us. I know I can see the effects of starvation, natural disaster and war and I literally can feel an empathy and the desire to help and the gratitude that it didn’t happen to me. The feeling comes and goes fairly quickly though. Then a family member or friend dies and death becomes much closer to our respective points in the universe. At this point it has an immense effect on us. It’s all about scale.

        With all that said, I’m not a wide-eyed idealist who thinks the entire human race could simultaneously abandon fear, kiss and make up. I also recognise that most of the things I have suggested will take a great deal of time and patience in order for them to be fully realised. Communication and education is key though. A free and open internet is the best tool we have to do this. I have every confidence that it will propel us at great pace towards a future of less violence and of greater tolerance and compassion for all life, not just human.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s