Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby Keep_Relentless on June 23rd, 2012, 8:37 am 

Perhaps I've entirely missed the point of ownership, but considering that we are all said to inhabit a common physical objective world, I find the concept of ownership absurd. So, what makes something "yours" as opposed to "just there"? And why should the individual, with their own goal of personal happiness, not consider everything their own, and deny others for their own gain as much as possible?
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby flannel jesus on June 23rd, 2012, 9:19 am 

If you're properly selfish, you'll realize that taking things other people think they own will probably result in you getting your ass kicked or thrown in jail, and is therefore not a categorically good decision (though not categorically bad one either, for the record). You have to weigh your goal of more free possessions against your goal of not being raped in prison or getting knocked out.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby moranity on June 23rd, 2012, 9:22 am 

its just a idea that exists because most people adhere to it, like countries, tribalism, celebrity worship, etc, it's absurd, but people seem to find it satisfying in some way, it's tradition, dont ya know
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby Keep_Relentless on June 23rd, 2012, 9:25 am 

We don't worry about plants and most forms of life because we aren't expected to (though that is in no small part down to the analogy aspect of our empathising). But I did say "as much as possible", as you note it can be advantageous to have tact and to co-operate. This is what I think ownership is about, but as slavery has attested to it can (irrationally) extend beyond that. Another interesting example is that when a gift is bestowed, and when one for example breaks that gift or loses it, even when the person who broke or lost it gained more pleasure from it through so doing, the bestower is disturbed. In most game or business trade systems this doesn't apply, I think.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby sponge on June 23rd, 2012, 10:30 am 

There was a movement in Northern Europe some years ago called ‘Right to Roam’ which argued that the countryside belongs to everyone and ownership of land was immoral. They wanted everyone to be able to wander over farmland without fear of prosecution for trespass.

The movement did achieve something insofar as farmers were forced to clear and open hundreds of old, overgrown and blocked footpaths which were then clearly marked and shown and on maps and the citizen’s right to use them became enshrined in law. (In Northern Europe, footpaths are ancient walkways across farmland that citizens had a traditional right to use – originally for travelling in the absence of roads or as shortcuts for farm workers.)

Public access to some forests and moorland access was also enshrined in law at the same time but the wider aim of the Right to Roam movement never gained popular support – especially after farm animals got loose and crops were trampled when people tried to put their ideas into practice.

I guess the thing that worked against the Right to Roam movement was the citizen’s perception of the farmers’ right to natural justice. As a society, we have agreed together a code of ethics designed to keep us safe, secure and resolve disputes. Laws, morals etc. all work together to uphold this agreed code and we all go along with it – even when we don’t particularly like or agree with some parts of it, or even when we fall foul of the laws. It’s this fact – that we all comply and agree to abide by this social code – that keeps anarchy and mayhem at bay and allows large societies to live together peaceably. Nothing more than this keeps us in check as a group, although there are people who's own moral code would not allow them to abuse others.

In your OP you asked, 'And why should the individual, with their own goal of personal happiness, not consider everything their own, and deny others for their own gain as much as possible?'

I think many people actually try to achieve this as much as the law will allow!
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby Keep_Relentless on June 23rd, 2012, 10:39 am 

Thanks sponge!
I think it is an anarchistic world no matter what we do, because we are bound to act for our own happiness; it is the only possible motive for action. However, since there are so many of us in the world we've gone for mass "win-win" attempts, which is largely tit-for-tat, widespread imagined concepts (like money), and pushing for conformity, which we are naturally inclined toward.
"Ownership" is merely a synthesised expression as I see it. It is a generalisation of principles that practically govern for mutual/total benefit.
I am not surprised at the results of the Right to Roam movement as you relay them at all, but still I think it is absurd to express ownership as we do.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby sponge on June 23rd, 2012, 10:51 am 

Hi Keep_Relentless
Yeah, just another of those weird conventions that seem to work for us, right?

I read your last but one post when I came back with that last answer so here are my thoughts about the points you brought up there.

I think slavery, sadly, comes under the general heading ‘sticking to the agreed social code’ as outlined in my last post. As long as the majority agree that something is OK to do, then it is OK to do. Slaves were not consulted as they were considered ‘possessions’ and not citizens.

The gift thing is because, when someone gives a gift they hand over a bunch of love with it so, to them, loss or destruction of that gift means the loss of that love too. It’s illogical but a common emotional response.
Stuff that’s sold or traded doesn’t carry the same emotional payload.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby Keep_Relentless on June 23rd, 2012, 12:03 pm 

Ah, so perhaps we should ask "Am I expected to exploit or cherish this gift?" Their love will have them say "Do whatever you want :)" without meaning it. xD

As for slavery, I think it might be in society's interest, which is why it was used. An individual's contribution can outweigh the individual's happiness on a large scale.
Last edited by Keep_Relentless on June 23rd, 2012, 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby sponge on June 23rd, 2012, 12:05 pm 

You're not wrong!

Probably right, in a strictly calculated way, on the slavery thing too - but a little cold. :)
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby Keep_Relentless on June 23rd, 2012, 12:22 pm 

Well if we wanted to be more cold we could extend it and say that rape and murder are positive if everybody profits all up.
I can tell you the ethical principle this violates. It is "Do not harm one more than one harms others". However, evolution hasn't it seems extended that principle in a more abstract way to treat potential gain as equal and opposite to actual harm.
So in the coldest way, if the profit of some attackers would outweigh the detriment of some victim, that victim is harming the world and being selfish by not submitting.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby sponge on June 23rd, 2012, 1:22 pm 

The flaw, though, in this argument is who is judging the profit to detriment equation?

So, imo, if we are going to consider this at all, we have to disregard the actions of humans for personal profit and consider only a situation where there is a general consensus from society for a course of action deemed to be for the good of mankind (and even these would have to be scrutinised for self-interest.)

Shooting down a passenger plane that has been high-jacked by terrorists before it can be crashed into a city might be a scenario that the majority would agree was in the public interest?
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby Keep_Relentless on June 23rd, 2012, 1:31 pm 

Yes, of course I don't mean to say that this is practically sensible. The practical world of politics is far removed from these principles and closer to rules of thumb, which is a large critique of consequentialism generally. How the hell are we supposed to predict the future, view all of the perhaps infinite possibilities and determine the right course of action for every being in the entire universe for the rest of eternity? But really this is just an extreme case of "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few [or in this case, the one]".
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby sponge on June 23rd, 2012, 1:48 pm 

Good job you’re philosophical about it!

It is a recurring theme in philosophy, don’t you think, that considering the abstract question often takes you so far from the practical realities of life that they seem to be two distinct subjects?

This is one reason I enjoy our exchanges, you bring a piercingly straightforward insight to the nub of so many problems that have become obscured, for many of us, by emotional attachment to attitude and belief. It makes us consider stuff all over again.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby Keep_Relentless on June 23rd, 2012, 2:32 pm 

Hey, sorry am posting to a few threads. x)

It is true that what we intuitively regard as practice and theory are very different from one another. However, I have observed attacks on theory in everyday life and conclude very firmly that the quarrel is not with reasoning but with ignorance. So I seldom say "in theory" and catch myself in the act and attempt to elaborate further, to find the missing knowledge and perhaps incorporate it into the theory rather than dismissing it as such. For example, in this case, the total equity theory IS, at its core, flawed, because even in theory we cannot calculate the future. So we move to inductive assumptions as well as others (objectivity and other minds, those premises the sceptic does not take for granted), and once we assume we have some general knowledge of the characteristics of people and the laws of nature we can finally draw the subjective differences and limitations that finally collapse the theory into the practice.
I do this because I think that every theoretical ideal can be expanded into the practical one. Not only are they yin and yang, they are one.

I have been trying to be more succinct, thank you. I am often extremely vague but my forum posting and private commentaries over the last many months have probably helped somewhat for communicating as well as learning.
As for my emotional denouncement... I think what could be called my plights in life have had me fight the natural condition and to adapt to hyperbolic doubt sufficiently as you say. We all strive for our own concepts of perfection and mine might seem more inhuman.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby BadBoyofCosmology on August 12th, 2012, 5:37 pm 

It has been said that it is better to own nothing, but control everything.

By sharing ownership, family units have improved living standards.

I think the WORLD at large belongs to all of us. It's land, resources, nature.

If someone buys up land, they should pay everyone that they are fencing out for the right. I pay property tax for my spot. Often wealthy or powerful have vast plots of land and pay little or no taxes.

Used to, you couldn't get up to see Niagara Falls, it was all fenced off.

WOODIE GUTHRIE

This land is your land
This land is my land
From California
To the New York Island...
I saw a sign that said no tresspassing
This land was made for you and me.
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Re: Everything (Physical) Belongs to Everybody

Postby JohnD on August 13th, 2012, 12:49 am 

The origins of ownership date back to when humans lived in small tribal villages. These villages consisted of mainly an extended family and so everything was common however when differing tribes met there sometimes where conflicts regarding ownership. This is still evident in small tribes in Africa and South America. Also it's still evident in some family homes where borrowing between siblings is routine.
Modern ownership rules have their fundamentals rooted in this history and are basically an extension of them.
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