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Why contribute or care about future humanity?

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Why contribute or care about future humanity?
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bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Starting around 2008 my view of life has been steadily becoming more and more cynical and misanthropic, to the point that I consider both terms to be compliments and draw comfort from them. Currently I'm undecided if there is any reason to allow myself to be empathetic to the human condition, past, present and future or to make any efforts for long term goals to better human society.(Short term I see as logical for myself and others near me to care about, but the long term that follows my life and death is another thing). As a back drop my 'philosophy' is probably best summarized as existential nihilism though I don't consider it to be the source of my current 'decline' and indecision.

I'd like to hear whether any LoR members consider long term humanity is worthy or reasonable thing to contribute towards in terms of activism, science and so on, and what their reasons are for it, as this would be useful during this phase of contemplation in my life.

Edit: To clarify, I'd like it if anyone would post whether they are proactive in favor of the future welfare and advancement of the human species, and how they justify their position, so that I may conduct a 'peer review' discussion, in order to help me with my own contemplation on what I want to do in life.

Edit 2: Emphasis on future humanity. There are plenty of sound reasons for acting in favor of local and immediate peace and prosperity. Sacrificing in the name of benefits one may never live to see is different.
Last edited by bluejatheist on Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:08 am, edited 6 times in total.
Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:54 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Interesting. This would have been another one of TheMissingN's and my discussions...

I would agree with Sam Harris when he argues (paraphrased): The only valid and objective definition of morality can be "to increase the happiness and standard of living of others" or "to lessen the suffering of others", however one phrases it. I can't think of any other definition that encompasses morality in this way.

So the only question is: Are you a moral person?

But that's weaselling out of the question. There are two answers:
1) Why not? The only thing you can do is increase your own standard of living. It's this all over again:
Image

And I'm not talking exclusively about the environment, either. I'm talking about the "moral environment", too! Teach kids to be loving and caring and/or be loving and caring to other people and they'll (likely) be loving and caring back.

What a horrible prospect, people getting along IN YOUR LIFETIME!

2) The second answer explores the questioners selfishness. What if every person living before you had said the same thing? Simple, you would probably not be alive, and if you would be it would be in a world of slavery, misogyny, racism, ...

I need not go on, it's really that simple.

Of course you could argue "Well why shouldn't I lean back and let others do the work for me?". Let's say for the sake of argument that this wouldn't contradict what I said in point two, let's say that all other people (or at least a large proportion) would work toward making the world a better place. One person's involvement, if that person is a regular Joe, isn't going to make that much of a difference.
True. But society shunning you (that's a general you, not "you, BlueJ") or at least me calling you a twat isn't going to make that much of a difference, either.




Summing up, you could as well have asked "why should I abide the law?". Because you get something out of it, that's why. Even if that something is only life.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:42 pm
Nom_de_PlumeUser avatarPosts: 247Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:36 pmLocation: Western Canada Gender: Female

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

It could be the stage of your life.
I know when I was much younger, I felt like that... why bother? what good is it? who has time/energy and I'm only one person etc etc.
I was also fully up to my ass in working two jobs, trying to raise my kids single handedly and I was feeling way to overtaxed to worry about the habitat of some random bird that was going to get displaced by whatever developer.
Now that I'm older, my kids are grown, I've adjusted into my life quite comfortably and I do have the time/energy.
I can also look back on my life and see how Society/Rights/Awareness has improved with the help of those activists and contributors from the generation prior to mine.
You can't do everything, pick a small cause you believe in and work from there, sometimes it will branch into other causes. Just remember to choose a cause that will move society forward, not set it back (that would just be an exercise in frustration)
Presently I'm involved in three groups. (with one extra spliter for females only off one of the groups)
One is a youth organization that caters to building strong confident kids regardless of their financial background (it's a fully subsidized - by donations youth club) so it's free.
I also belong to a local Agriculture council geared towards sustainable farming techniques.
And the local Centre for Inquiry here in my hometown.
I don't believe contributing to our future generations is ever a waste of time, I want to make a better world for my children and their children.
The supreme irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive.
~Robert A Heinlein
Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:28 pm
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LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

"Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring." - Carl Sagan

I think that quote sums up nicely why I think we should care about the future of humanity. Whatever other life there might be out there, we are the only known instances in which the elements of the universe have coalesced into conscious, intelligent life with the tools and resources to understand the universe. As another Sagan quote goes:

"We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself."

Obviously this is just my opinion, but I think that this a potentially extremely rare and precious phenomena, and I feel that we should care about the future so that our ancestors are able to know and explore the universe in more depth. I'd rather be seen as a contributor---in whatever way possible---to the evolution and survival of the human species than a hindrance.

There is no way I can prove to you that this is how you should view things too, but that's my opinion for what it is worth.

Laurens
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Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:00 pm
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Reply to Inferno

Inferno wrote:Interesting. This would have been another one of TheMissingN's and my discussions...

I would agree with Sam Harris when he argues (paraphrased): The only valid and objective definition of morality can be "to increase the happiness and standard of living of others" or "to lessen the suffering of others", however one phrases it. I can't think of any other definition that encompasses morality in this way.


Inability to think of a better definition does not mean the definition at hand is therefore the best. The basic dictionary definition of morality is, "the distinction between right and wrong". What you cite is not a definition of morality, but a definition of Sam Harris's brand of morality that is based upon his subjective opinion on what is right and wrong, which you find most agreeable to your own subjective take on right and wrong.

So the only question is: Are you a moral person?


This is an incomplete question which presumes either an objective or a previously agreed upon morality, the former of which I don't believe in and the latter which has not been established in this discussion. A better question would be, "According to [X]'s morality, are you a moral person?" Further, is "being moral" dependent on actions up to this point in life or a desire to perform certain actions, or both? In other words, are you asking if I have been moral up to this point, or if I wish to fit that morality?
If we go by the Harris definition then I am in the null position, neither accepting that morality nor objecting to it.


But that's weaselling out of the question. There are two answers:
1) Why not? The only thing you can do is increase your own standard of living. It's this all over again:
[snip]
And I'm not talking exclusively about the environment, either. I'm talking about the "moral environment", too! Teach kids to be loving and caring and/or be loving and caring to other people and they'll (likely) be loving and caring back.


First I want to point out that you've made two very theistic sounding arguments("x is the only viable morality, because I can't think of better" and "Why not? Win/win") that are reminiscent of Ray Comfort(Are you moral?). Take that how you may, I don't consider it more than a worrying nit pick.

Why not: Sacrifices of money and time. Also I have already stated in my first post("Short term I see as logical for myself and others near me to care about, but the long term that follows my life and death is another thing.") that short term contributions are reasonable for me because they primarily contribute to my immediate lifespan, and it's the long term goals that I find issues with.


What a horrible prospect, people getting along IN YOUR LIFETIME!


See previous paragraph.

2) The second answer explores the questioners selfishness. What if every person living before you had said the same thing? Simple, you would probably not be alive, and if you would be it would be in a world of slavery, misogyny, racism, ...

And if my mother had chose to abort I wouldn't be here either. This does not push me towards being pro-life. Also, true, I see no slavery, misogyny or racism lately. Pay particular attention to this because things like this are the opposing force in the balance of my decision which, as stated, is the null position. I'm undecided between being proactive in favor of humanity, or being deliberately indifferent(but not actively against or harmful) to humanity's progress. Until I come up with my decision I'm simply neutral and won't act on or endorse any position until I'm sure. This thread isn't about me arguing against human progress, but requesting to see what prompted the decisions of others in order to provide more for me to contemplate at this time in my life where I'm basically aimless and without niche or self purpose.

I need not go on, it's really that simple.

No, it's not that simple. We are complicated creatures within complicated societies inside a complicated and vastly unexplored universe.

Of course you could argue "Well why shouldn't I lean back and let others do the work for me?". Let's say for the sake of argument that this wouldn't contradict what I said in point two, let's say that all other people (or at least a large proportion) would work toward making the world a better place. One person's involvement, if that person is a regular Joe, isn't going to make that much of a difference.
True. But society shunning you (that's a general you, not "you, BlueJ") or at least me calling you a twat isn't going to make that much of a difference, either.

The immediate benefits I enjoy such as infrastructure, law enforcement, emergency medical care and rescue, food and drug regulation, medical practice regulation, building code regulation, environment regulation and protection, education system, water reclamation and so on, including the NASA budget are at the cost of taxes which I (If I had a job, still pursuing one) would willingly contribute. Consider the amount of government funding to scientific research, any taxpayer contributes in some amount to many advances and pays their bill for what their society immediately provides.




Summing up, you could as well have asked "why should I abide the law?". Because you get something out of it, that's why. Even if that something is only life.

I abide by the law generally because if I don't I get arrested, tried and potentially sentenced to one of the worst, if not the worst, prison systems in the developed world. In addition to this I will receive a criminal record which, in my country, is a sentence of poverty. I don't commit major crimes like rape or murder because I don't want to. If I did it would be my brain's empathy and potential consequences by the people and the state that would be the barrier to actions, not an outside moral system.
Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:38 am
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Nom_de_Plume wrote:It could be the stage of your life.
I know when I was much younger, I felt like that... why bother? what good is it? who has time/energy and I'm only one person etc etc.
I was also fully up to my ass in working two jobs, trying to raise my kids single handedly and I was feeling way to overtaxed to worry about the habitat of some random bird that was going to get displaced by whatever developer.
Now that I'm older, my kids are grown, I've adjusted into my life quite comfortably and I do have the time/energy.
I can also look back on my life and see how Society/Rights/Awareness has improved with the help of those activists and contributors from the generation prior to mine.
You can't do everything, pick a small cause you believe in and work from there, sometimes it will branch into other causes. Just remember to choose a cause that will move society forward, not set it back (that would just be an exercise in frustration)
Presently I'm involved in three groups. (with one extra spliter for females only off one of the groups)
One is a youth organization that caters to building strong confident kids regardless of their financial background (it's a fully subsidized - by donations youth club) so it's free.
I also belong to a local Agriculture council geared towards sustainable farming techniques.
And the local Centre for Inquiry here in my hometown.
I don't believe contributing to our future generations is ever a waste of time, I want to make a better world for my children and their children.


I don't have offspring and have plenty of time while waiting for job applications to sink or swim so neither factor in for me currently. I have no desire for children but unless(or perhaps until) I become sterile reproduction can't be ruled out, but it's not factoring in much for me. My lack of decision is not due to a feeling of inability to affect major change, but of being unsure if the collective species of humanity is something to value after all, an indecision whether humanity has potential to stabilize into something like the trek Federation, or if it will end up a cruel, vicious cycle of petty war and violence that as been the precedent in human history so far.
Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:54 am
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Laurens wrote:"Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring." - Carl Sagan

This amounts to nothing but an authority argument. Just because Carl Sagan said we owe loyalty to our species or earth doesn't mean we do, it just means he thought we did, which you lampshade below, so we're on the same page, even if not in agreement.


I think that quote sums up nicely why I think we should care about the future of humanity. Whatever other life there might be out there, we are the only known instances in which the elements of the universe have coalesced into conscious, intelligent life with the tools and resources to understand the universe. As another Sagan quote goes:

"We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself."

Obviously this is just my opinion, but I think that this a potentially extremely rare and precious phenomena, and I feel that we should care about the future so that our ancestors are able to know and explore the universe in more depth. I'd rather be seen as a contributor---in whatever way possible---to the evolution and survival of the human species than a hindrance.

There is no way I can prove to you that this is how you should view things too, but that's my opinion for what it is worth.

Laurens


Very well, your opinion will be part of my contemplation of what direction I should take in life. Thanks
Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:59 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:
Laurens wrote:"Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring." - Carl Sagan

This amounts to nothing but an authority argument. Just because Carl Sagan said we owe loyalty to our species or earth doesn't mean we do, it just means he thought we did, which you lampshade below, so we're on the same page, even if not in agreement.



This is why I made it clear that it is what I think. I was just referencing Sagan because his opinion is pretty much the same as mine and he can phrase it better than I.

I can't prove to you that this is objectively how we should view things, I think you have to find your own subjective purpose and view on these things and yours may be radically different from this.
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Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:55 am
Nom_de_PlumeUser avatarPosts: 247Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:36 pmLocation: Western Canada Gender: Female

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:I don't have offspring and have plenty of time while waiting for job applications to sink or swim so neither factor in for me currently. I have no desire for children but unless(or perhaps until) I become sterile reproduction can't be ruled out, but it's not factoring in much for me. My lack of decision is not due to a feeling of inability to affect major change, but of being unsure if the collective species of humanity is something to value after all, an indecision whether humanity has potential to stabilize into something like the trek Federation, or if it will end up a cruel, vicious cycle of petty war and violence that as been the precedent in human history so far.

Ah fair enough.
I guess for me I can actually see the difference that others have made by being active in working for change and improvement and I consider those changes positive things for my life.
Nothing changes in society unless there are people out there pushing for change.

The following things are social changes (for the better) that I've seen in my lifetime and these changes were caused by people getting out there to make society a better place. Do we still have a long way to go??? sure, but we won't get there unless people are willing to get involved and work for it.

I'm not going to touch on the environmental issue, because you mainly mentioned society and not the health of the planet.

1. I now have relatives who can live in an openly gay relationship without being evicted from their neighbourhood or getting physically abused. (early in their relationship they had to hide and quite often got abused emotionally and physically)

2. Women can choose ANY career they want, including serving on naval vessels (which is something that happened in the early 90's here in canada after women pushed for those rights) I now have a daughter and sister in law serving actively on warships in the canadian forces.

3. I can be a divorced woman and no one won't let their kids play with mine. Also going for a divorce prior to the canadian divorce act of 1985 made the whole thing, painful, messy and way more complicated than it had to be.

4. Rape laws, abuse inside of a marital relationship is now a chargeable offence, also in the case of rape a woman's past sexual history is not relevant to the discussion these changes happened in the 90's before that it was a complete waste of time to even try and charge a rapist.(trust me, I know)

Actually in the course of making this list I've realized that there are hundreds of societal shifts that have happened since I was a girl. I can't begin to count them all.

It's of course completely up to you... I personally don't believe we're going to hell in a handcart but I do believe that you need to be the change that you wish to see in the world.
The supreme irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive.
~Robert A Heinlein
Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:08 am
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FrengerBloggerUser avatarPosts: 831Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:50 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:Starting around 2008 my view of life has been steadily becoming more and more cynical and misanthropic, to the point that I consider both terms to be compliments and draw comfort from them. Currently I'm undecided if there is any reason to allow myself to be empathetic to the human condition, past, present and future or to make any efforts for long term goals to better human society.(Short term I see as logical for myself and others near me to care about, but the long term that follows my life and death is another thing). As a back drop my 'philosophy' is probably best summarized as existential nihilism though I don't consider it to be the source of my current 'decline' and indecision.

I'd like to hear whether any LoR members consider long term humanity is worthy or reasonable thing to contribute towards in terms of activism, science and so on, and what their reasons are for it, as this would be useful during this phase of contemplation in my life.


Oh, this is one of THOSE posts, where I disagree with everything you say but can't seem to form any coherent argument with which to combat it. Never the less, I shall try anyway.

First, I will make a guess at what you mean by long term, you see, long term to me is just "after I am dead" which I do care about, but obviously won't be able to care about, because I'll be dead.

Taking after my demise to mean long term, then I would consider your point to be selfish, to give an analogy, it's like walking into a pristine, white, clean toilet then piss on the floor and leave behind the words "cock womble" in shit on the walls. In this analogy the toilet is the earth, you are you, the person coming in afterwards would be the future of humanity and the shit on the walls is your message.

To even contemplate whether the future of human life would be "worthy" of your efforts is to assume that you were worthy of people's past efforts. While I like your cynical attitude towards the majority of humanity, this strikes me as arrogance, especially when you consider "effort" doesn't need to mean more than recycling, walking rather than taking the car and not punching children in the head.

Edit: To clarify, I'd like it if anyone would post whether they are proactive in favor of the future welfare and advancement of the human species, and how they justify their position, so that I may conduct a 'peer review' discussion, in order to help me with my own contemplation on what I want to do in life.


The reason I care about the future of human welfare is because, I actually kind of like life, I like that I have my friends, can play music and if needs be, could train a dog to pretend to not be a dog. I don't want to be a person who doesn't wish future species members to have that chance. While I am not in a group attempting to crack fusion or power the earth with snide remarks, like I said earlier, doing a little bit helps if everyone joins in.

Edit 2: Emphasis on future humanity. There are plenty of sound reasons for acting in favor of local and immediate peace and prosperity. Sacrificing in the name of benefits one may never live to see is different.


I am reminded of a chinese proverb.

Societies grow great when old men plant trees who's shade they know they will never sit in.

Not only does this work in saying, you should be kind to future generations, but it is also saying if you're lucky, 100 years ago, some chap may have planted to a tree that you can enjoy.

My point is, people have made advances for us, who are we to stop it now?
Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:32 pm
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bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Frenger wrote:
First, I will make a guess at what you mean by long term, you see, long term to me is just "after I am dead" which I do care about, but obviously won't be able to care about, because I'll be dead.

Yes, I should have been more specific on that. By "long term" I mean after my own lifespan has ended.
Taking after my demise to mean long term, then I would consider your point to be selfish, to give an analogy, it's like walking into a pristine, white, clean toilet then piss on the floor and leave behind the words "cock womble" in shit on the walls. In this analogy the toilet is the earth, you are you, the person coming in afterwards would be the future of humanity and the shit on the walls is your message.

Too bad if I seem selfish to you, this means as little to me as when a religious person calls me a hedonist for refusing to accept God's word. That isn't a point, it's calling someone a name and using a poor analogy(You call the world you or I entered into "pristine?")

To even contemplate whether the future of human life would be "worthy" of your efforts is to assume that you were worthy of people's past efforts. While I like your cynical attitude towards the majority of humanity, this strikes me as arrogance, especially when you consider "effort" doesn't need to mean more than recycling, walking rather than taking the car and not punching children in the head.


Same as above for the arrogance point. Though I also should have defined "effort" as, perhaps, a gradient from deliberately working against progress to devoting as much of one's life to progress. I'm unsure what level to go with since on one hand I have empathy and on the other a growing disillusionment, progress may seem to be thriving from the view of our doorsteps but elsewhere someone is being beheaded slowly with a dull pocketknife in a war zone. The usual recycling and blood drives (I have given more than a gallon so far at age 19, there's some shit for your bathroom wall) are already part of my life, though it was my fault in not being more specific on that. (Sorry for not living up to your shit-smearing effigy)

The reason I care about the future of human welfare is because, I actually kind of like life, I like that I have my friends, can play music and if needs be, could train a dog to pretend to not be a dog. I don't want to be a person who doesn't wish future species members to have that chance. While I am not in a group attempting to crack fusion or power the earth with snide remarks, like I said earlier, doing a little bit helps if everyone joins in.

I like life too, though it tends to be destroyed by humans before I get too attached. That's your business what things you like and want to be, more power to you. Don't pout if not everyone subscribes.


I am reminded of a chinese proverb.

Societies grow great when old men plant trees who's shade they know they will never sit in.

Not only does this work in saying, you should be kind to future generations, but it is also saying if you're lucky, 100 years ago, some chap may have planted to a tree that you can enjoy.

My point is, people have made advances for us, who are we to stop it now?


I understand the idea if only with a perspective based on empathy. It seems to be in the realm of presuppositions because it is more like a starting point than a conclusion. Perhaps that's where I had the issue and seeking a non-empathetic, logical reasoning for it was a vain effort, you either go with it or not. Whether I choose to apply it and go from there I need to think about.

Thanks for that last few sentences as they helped me along in balancing both an empathy for humans and a resentment for the endless cruelties by humans I learn of each day, and how to live my life taking both into account. As for the rest, not so much.
Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:52 am
Nom_de_PlumeUser avatarPosts: 247Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:36 pmLocation: Western Canada Gender: Female

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:
First, I will make a guess at what you mean by long term, you see, long term to me is just "after I am dead" which I do care about, but obviously won't be able to care about, because I'll be dead.


Ok bluejay, I noticed you edited your original post, so that obviously changes how I would have responded to it.
Originally you wanted to know why or even if you should participate in advancing our society as you're feeling kinda meh about the whole thing.

Not conduct a peer review.

So to the original question: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Everything we do now, affects future generations. Also sometimes the things you think you're working on "for now" will not be resolved in your lifetime (actually this is usually the case with human rights issues)

You don't need to try and find something that you think will help your grandchildren's grandchildren. (yes yes you don't want kids, but you understand the generational reference)

Start in the here and now, and it will trickle down through the generations if it's something worthwhile.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about.... One of my friends runs a "skeptkids" program, He dedicates an awful lot of his time encouraging and nurturing free thinking/critical thinking in the youth of today.

So although this does in a way help the kids in the now, as it gives them a club to belong to and keeps them off the streets vandalizing and whatever hooligans do.
Imagine the possibilities of where these kids will go from here..... These kids are potentially future leaders of our country. It's all very cool to watch it happen.

I know with the youth organization I've been prez of for 12 years....

I've already seen changes in confidence levels from many of the kids who've gone though the program, they've had access to opportunities they'd never have had otherwise.
Also lots of these kids have managed to pull themselves above the socio-economic level of their parents.
They're attending university and have goals for the future.
They have more confidence, think through the ramifications of their action it's all win win....So yes it helps kids in the here and now, but we are all a product of our environment and who we become affects who the next generations will be...

Actually our current local MLA/Minister of Agriculture went though this program as a child.


I'm thinking my current take on this is probably due to how I was raised.

My family has always been heavily involved in things.

My grandmother was an assistant to a suffragette, my great uncle was heavily involved in gay rights, my uncle was captain of the first mixed sexes navy crew and knew he had to make it work if women were going to be allowed to actively serve onboard ship here.

My dad ran a company where he ensured that his female staff were paid the same wages as his male staff (which was unheard of in the early 70's) And encouraged members of his business associations to do the same.

My mother was a volunteer tutor to school aged children who's parents couldn't afford to pay for help with their studies.
She also helped kids find access to funds (bursaries/scholarships) so they could go on to further education that they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.

These are the reasons why I contribute and care about future humanity.
The supreme irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive.
~Robert A Heinlein
Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:38 pm
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bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Nom_de_Plume wrote:
Ok bluejay, I noticed you edited your original post, so that obviously changes how I would have responded to it.
Originally you wanted to know why or even if you should participate in advancing our society as you're feeling kinda meh about the whole thing.

Not conduct a peer review.

By peer review I basically mean, exchange ideas and see which hold up to criticism. Though really the whole post isn't exactly what I was seeking, which is my fault for not articulating it well enough. Probably should have phrased the title of this thread as, "Why should I let myself care about humanity?" as I already do contribute in many ways and have no problems with that. As far as humanity as a whole goes I have the empathy to care for others, but the more I see the less I want that empathy. (Not to use this forum like a therapy visit)

So to the original question: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Everything we do now, affects future generations. Also sometimes the things you think you're working on "for now" will not be resolved in your lifetime (actually this is usually the case with human rights issues)

You don't need to try and find something that you think will help your grandchildren's grandchildren. (yes yes you don't want kids, but you understand the generational reference)

Start in the here and now, and it will trickle down through the generations if it's something worthwhile.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about.... One of my friends runs a "skeptkids" program, He dedicates an awful lot of his time encouraging and nurturing free thinking/critical thinking in the youth of today.

So although this does in a way help the kids in the now, as it gives them a club to belong to and keeps them off the streets vandalizing and whatever hooligans do.
Imagine the possibilities of where these kids will go from here..... These kids are potentially future leaders of our country. It's all very cool to watch it happen.

I know with the youth organization I've been prez of for 12 years....

I've already seen changes in confidence levels from many of the kids who've gone though the program, they've had access to opportunities they'd never have had otherwise.
Also lots of these kids have managed to pull themselves above the socio-economic level of their parents.
They're attending university and have goals for the future.
They have more confidence, think through the ramifications of their action it's all win win....So yes it helps kids in the here and now, but we are all a product of our environment and who we become affects who the next generations will be...

Actually our current local MLA/Minister of Agriculture went though this program as a child.


I'm thinking my current take on this is probably due to how I was raised.

My family has always been heavily involved in things.

My grandmother was an assistant to a suffragette, my great uncle was heavily involved in gay rights, my uncle was captain of the first mixed sexes navy crew and knew he had to make it work if women were going to be allowed to actively serve onboard ship here.

My dad ran a company where he ensured that his female staff were paid the same wages as his male staff (which was unheard of in the early 70's) And encouraged members of his business associations to do the same.

My mother was a volunteer tutor to school aged children who's parents couldn't afford to pay for help with their studies.
She also helped kids find access to funds (bursaries/scholarships) so they could go on to further education that they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.

These are the reasons why I contribute and care about future humanity.


I understand that efforts have tangible results and don't contest that, but I am nonetheless skeptical of the long term overall outcome. But then I spend much of my time viewing footage of the latest atrocities from undeveloped countries. The conversation I was seeking is probably too convoluted to have tried to start anyway.
Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:37 pm
Nom_de_PlumeUser avatarPosts: 247Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:36 pmLocation: Western Canada Gender: Female

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Ah, ok I get where you're coming from now.
It's more like this....
Image
The supreme irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive.
~Robert A Heinlein
Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:24 pm
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MiranoxUser avatarPosts: 46Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:25 amLocation: Montreal, Canada Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

The way I understand it, as living creatures we cannot justify our existence or the continuation of our species without certain values. These are, of course, axiomatic and cannot be self-justifying. No one can give you a logical reason to live or help the future of humanity. However, we should remember that we are privileged to even consider such questions. Most people are too busy worrying about what to eat tomorrow or how to avoid hostile armies.
Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:12 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Bluejay,

I assume you are not a parent at the moment. But I wanted to ask; do you think if you had children your views about the future of humanity would change?

I know you might not wish to have children, but just assume that you did for the purposes of this topic.

Laurens
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Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:09 am
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Nom_de_Plume wrote:Ah, ok I get where you're coming from now.
It's more like this....
Image


Actually that's pretty accurate, but switch the twinkie lovers with a hodge-podge of people with firearms, blunt objects and blades executing, beheading and lynching each other around the world. But yeah, humans are consistently disappointing me more than inspiring or pleasantly surprising me.

Laurens wrote:Bluejay,

I assume you are not a parent at the moment. But I wanted to ask; do you think if you had children your views about the future of humanity would change?

I know you might not wish to have children, but just assume that you did for the purposes of this topic.

Laurens


I couldn't give anything other than a formulaic "I would care" answer since I don't think one can imagine how they'd feel about it without experiencing it. My views about where humanity wouldn't change unless I caused a female to give birth to some sort of Jesus that can fix the world with magic, I'd still think we're all screwed sooner or later and would tell the kid just what I think if they ask, and encourage them to focus more on their own welfare, goals and fulfillment vs anything else. Maybe I'd switch to paper bags.
Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:32 am
CosmicJoghurtPodcasterUser avatarPosts: 809Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:59 pm Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Bluej, my situation is similar.

I base my actions on the premise that by helping others and contributing to the general well-being of my acquaintances and a better world, that will help me in achieving my goals in life.

With that said, if you're talking long-term, what-will-happen-in-50-years-to-future-generations?, I don't see any real point in making their life better. However, I assume that by contributing to a nicer present and short-term future, hopefully there's some good effects in the long term.

I'm sleepy, so if that doesn't make sense I'll try and rewrite it.
Perception of reality results in interpretation of reality which results in a deformation of reality.
Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:51 pm
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:
I couldn't give anything other than a formulaic "I would care" answer since I don't think one can imagine how they'd feel about it without experiencing it. My views about where humanity wouldn't change unless I caused a female to give birth to some sort of Jesus that can fix the world with magic, I'd still think we're all screwed sooner or later and would tell the kid just what I think if they ask, and encourage them to focus more on their own welfare, goals and fulfillment vs anything else. Maybe I'd switch to paper bags.


Ok, that's fair enough.

Out of curiosity, has your views on humanity affected your views on bringing up children. In other words, do you feel you don't want to have children because of your views?
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Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:52 pm
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Laurens wrote:
Ok, that's fair enough.

Out of curiosity, has your views on humanity affected your views on bringing up children. In other words, do you feel you don't want to have children because of your views?


I was never fond of children, it's simply not for me, but this has influenced me further in two ways:

1: It would put me in a position where I would have a definite responsibility to work towards a better future, vs now where I can stop and think about my options. I'm not an extreme cynic as I recognize human progress as moving forward, just very slowly, and I fear it's so slow that our end as a species from whatever means (War, climate change) will come first. It's much easier to think over things as a relatively 'neutral' party to this with only as much as stake as I'm willing to ante, than as someone who is involved whether I like it or not due to having offspring.

2: I don't know how ethical it would be to bring another person into the world. Partly because there's already too many people, one less human is a benefit to our resources at this point in history, there's no lack of genetic diversity but a growing lack of resources, and if I really wanted a kid I'd consider adoption a more logical way to get a kid that's already here. Also I'm convinced a new human in this world would be more likely to have a bad life than a good one whether due to economic strife, violence, disaster or personal disillusionment. Can't say I don't also consider human extinction/VHEM a possibly beneficial thing to the earth, in terms of the environment pre-industrialization being considered the ideal.

Aside from that I imagine adoption would be the only way for me to end up with a kid, which is why I'm rather glad I don't want them to begin with. Also being raised by a cynic like me wouldn't be very good for their personal outlook I'm sure.
Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:45 pm
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