The philosophy behind morality and how the use of ethics undermines the concept of being truly sustainable

What would you like to discuss? or more especially what do you think Fairphone owners want to talk about?

My favourite topic would be the philosophy behind morality and how the use of ethics undermines the concept of being truly sustainable.

Well following @AnotherElk guide I note that this category is to discuss the forum, so maybe philosophical ideas may be better placed elsewhere, where I don’t know as there is no category for the ideas behind the mentality that fostered Fairphone.

What is it that you want to discuss and can’t find an appropriate category, maybe another category can be created.

I suppose one issue is that the forum doesn’t want to be too wide ranging and deal with non-Fairphone issues.

Oh yes! I can ramble on about ethics. :blush:

So @Elmer what’s on your mind

Since the other topic was specifically about the forum, I moved it to The Forum subcategory and split the philosophical topic to here.

1 Like

Maybe you’d like to elaborate on your point? On a fundamental level I see it as ethical to not use resources unnecessarily when there is an easier solution. However, I get the feeling that this isn’t what you’re getting at.

Yes to what you say.

Ethics is about sharing resources and the weak must be the food for those that share. So no matter how ethical the consumers are there has to be the consumed so I see ethics as a party game. However sharing does bring to light that resources are limited and therefore sustainability is used to persuade some consumers to share their stash or ability.

Sustaining what, some religion, some race, some planet none of which do nothing but provide resources there no heart.

There can only be transparency in the sense of being a conduit of energy but when the conduit requires feeding transparency is limited.

The biosphere inhabitants have a period in which they consume which is limited by their desire and ability to consume.

If each consumes less, more can consume and that can be seen as an ethical focus if more is deemed the way to go.

As each consumes more and more then ultimately there can only be one consumer, as resources are finite.

If ethics are just a clever ways of getting more or keeping more for longer, whether its for one or many, it’s ugly.

I don’t want to die but I do want to stop consuming so death may offer an alternative.

There’s this concept of God or Govinda etc. That which exists and was not created. It is not a consumer and needs no ethics.

So although I am a consuming animal I love the way people use ethics to avoid the unavoidable as it shows that those people recognise the unavoidable. There is no future that isn’t dependent upon the past so what sort of future am I working towards one of ethics or one of morality ~ non consumption ~ eternally.

I am getting to what I am feeling, as I resist the inevitable, and ethics helps me focus ~ but ethics is a shadow of who I am both as an outright consumer and the one that doesn’t want to consume.

Apologies if the above is messy but I’m just making it up as I go. I could probably edit it, but then it would imply what I say is important and if I read it clearly it will become so.

I am editing, updating, proofing my own importance.

Okay, I think I see what you’re getting at. I’d like to pose a counterargument. Let’s use a concrete example of the “inevitable,” as you put it.

Civilization on Easter Island depended on an unsustainable harvesting of vegetation, most famously the very tall Rapa Nui palm, which they used for food - their edible palm hearts - and transportation - wood for canoes. Being that the society did not adapt and find alternate sources of food and materials, they made this species - and others - extinct, and the society went into a decline (I thought they had completely disappeared, but it looks like the society changed to another ruling clan). Now, as a result of the actions of this society, the tree no longer exists, but there are still humans on Easter Island.
The question to ask, then, might be “Are we worse off now that the tree is extinct?” I would argue that yes, we are. Personally my opinion on this matter is that human life is overall worth living, but we should do our best to minimize any consequences on other people and species - especially since at any point in history we are having impacts on future generations, and that we often have power to affect more things than we originally intended to affect.

But - here’s the important detail for me - many times that we make new discoveries, we can change our actions to make it better. Look at the hole in the ozone layer, air pollution in many Western cities! These are man-made environmental issues that we had, and were able to make much better in the last century. Other, harder issues, such as climate change, we’re seeing, have harder solutions impacting more members of society. However, I don’t see it as impossible to solve. We should definitely push for a change and resist the people whose interests say otherwise (looking at you, Exxon and others, publishing misinformation contradicting your own internal research for awhile)!

PS -
I hope that you are not contemplating suicide, even if you claim it may be for environmental grounds. By taking your own life, you take it from the people who love you most - and unless you start a cult of some sort, you probably won’t convince them to go with you. Maybe you would find this movement interesting, however: Voluntary Human Extinction Movement - Wikipedia

1 Like

Just to put the elephant at ease suicide is waste of effort as I expect to die anyway, but to respond to you above, where I disagree is the polarisation. I do not think we are worse off now the tree is extinct, this is my precept. In a world of consumerism there is no better or worse for the soul which is not born and does not consume. However if I limit my thinking to being a consumer well yes it may be that the loss of a tree or me to my family is real loss, not that such a los in not inevitable. So when I die or the tree dies it is a problem only for those that depend upon that which was temporary.

And whilst I do depend it makes sense not to screw the ozone layer and as you put it “we should do our best to minimize any consequences on other people and species”

But the truth is we can never do enough.

Increasingly ecological is not the same as doing our best. Best is finite. Doing better is infinite and even so is not good enough for eternity…

So yes to all you say, as it’s ethics. I just don’t like having to play this ethical game due to my lack of grace to be moral.

I’d argue that there is value in the scenario where the tree is not extinct!
First, to the advantage of humans, it is easier for biologists to learn more about the huge diversity of life on this world. It may have even contained some compound that is useful in medicine, or special manufacturing, that could have potentially been harvested in a long-term sustainable manner. So in this sense the number of opportunities for humanity, not even to mention simple admiration of a species, has lessened because we no longer have the tree with us.
Second, comes the more moral aspect, which I think you may object to more. The civilization, in its shortsightedness, brought down a species that would have kept on existing if it weren’t to humanity. I’d consider this a bit of a shame, right? So all of humanity now has to contend with the weight of this, and other, extinctions. Our collective past and the burden we place on future humans can, and will, grow heavier if we don’t take action to learn from our past mistakes.

This topic overall I think fits into my world view. I think that although the world can be a troubling place, especially when you look at the consequences of a lot of human behavior, it’s still a fascinating place! The overall simple, yet fiercely interconnected rules of our natural environment create truly fascinating puzzles for us, and I sincerely respect the scientists and other curious minds who have sought to distill some parts of the experience of life on Earth into the rules that we know and constantly expand upon. I’ll spare you more details, since this general philosophy is basically repeated in almost every nature or science documentary :wink:
As an aside, I think my general rule of thumb is that humanity, at least in the modern world, can be more boring than nature - parking lots, big box stores, and endless franchises? Can’t we make our lives just a bit more interesting? I won’t deny the comfort that these amenities provide us as a civilization, but it seems that they can have bigger costs - psychological, environmental, entrenching one societal worldview of consumerism - that we don’t consider as often.

Yes I agree but only to mankind as a top level consumer, and only to your value to humans and sure other creatures may benefit and the trees no doubt didn’t want to die…

But my focus is on the ‘human’ notions of ethics and morals.

Logic dictates that all that is know is not just less than infinite but that any thing that is known is infintely less than infinite and hence approaching zero. For all ethical endeavours all action is zero in terms of sustainability. Interactions bewtween negiligable and negligent people always have ethics as interaction shows concern. My argument is that there is nothing wrong with your veiws except that I cannot apply the word moral to any human activity no matter how many peole see the benefit and the trees don’t get a vote…

It’s use of the moral and morality that is an issue as I associate is with non consumption which clearly people can avoid and any co-operation amongst people to their advantage may be termed ethical but some tree or cow has to pay and so it is clearly not sustainable for t he cow or tree as they will die, but so will I…

So my arguments further classes that every action is good or bad from different perspectives or both or a combination of any including an undecided factor. So there is no gain without loss hence there is morality. There is no good or bad in ethics. Good is reserved for that which causes no harm and in itself is eternal as it needs not to consume to exist and hence is the goal of the human spirit not the human body.

Wanting others to have good wages, hence the Fairphone ideal is ethics but not good. Wanting a good phone is absolutely selfish and unethical, neither are moral or immoral. Amoral some may say but it’s just ethics, a way to get the best deal for those that care for more than their own body.

Morality is an individual concern for a person’s soul and unaffected by another’s actions.

For those that do not invest in the soul then ethics is the way and polarization the key.

We don’t need more moralists we need to produce less sensual delicacies, produce less meat and create more wildlife reserves. The killing has to be balanced with not killing, through the sobriety of the soul which is being smothered with the logos.
No, not law or rules. Laws, rules, ethics, morals are all crutches for the blind collectives which are the cesspools of hubris and vanity. Power you say? I say you’re trembling, you don’t even know it, cursed you are indeed oh man the child of the dead, to the dead you shall return.

“He who never lives his animal must treat his brother like an animal. Abase yourself and live your animal so that you will be able to treat your brother correctly. You will thus redeem all those roaming dead who strive to feed on the living. And do not turn anything you do into a law, since that is the hubris of power.

We are prejudiced in regard to the animal. People don’t understand when I tell them they should become acquainted with their animals or assimilate their animals. They think the animal is always jumping over walls and raising hell all over town. Yet in nature the animal is a well-behaved citizen. It is pious, it follows the path with great regularity, it does nothing extravagant. Only man is extravagant. So if you assimilate the character of the animal you become a peculiarly law-abiding citizen, you go very slowly, and you become very reasonable in your ways, in as much as you can afford it” — C.G.Jung

Thanks for your thoughts.
I start with I and I don’t need or want morals but I recognise moral integrity but is my soul being smothered by the logos? Hmmm! From some perspective is undoubtedly appears so but I am not so. Logos may well be seen as an overbearing message but it bears not on the soul only the mind of the thinker.

Equally as there is no eternal we then we do not claim morality or immortality, our \are ethics by our lack of knowledge a knowledge that cannot be gained from consumption.

The meat I produce, with a lot help from my friends is my seven children , my habitat is the wildlife reserve is of some 15hectares.

The collective is the biosphere of many, blind to each other’s needs yet not so blind to know how to exploit them. So we have ethics as families, nations etc. none of which are sustainable.

But I see no balance to killing except more killing and the sobriety of my soul needs not meat nor rain nor sunshine, but I still enjoy the sunshine in these cool damp fields whilst I reside, for I am animal still, for some while but not forever.

This topic was automatically closed 180 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.