Author Topic: The Morality Quadrilateral  (Read 95 times)

Hapu

The Morality Quadrilateral
« on: September 11, 2019, 08:58:28 pm »
As I've noted elsewhere, I follow a self-given and self-judged moral code. I don't follow the tenets of this code as the means to any ends nor as ends in themselves. I follow them because they're mine. This is self-actualization in the moral domain.

I don't know if any of you has any interest in doing as I have done, but if any of you do, I think you'll find it pretty easy. I came to the conclusion that non-theistic moral tenets define either (a) how we should treat others or else (b) what the principles of personal rectitude are. Category (a) further divides into either (x) harmlessness or (y) helpfulness. Category (b) further divides into either (x) honesty or (y) chastity. In the visual aid below I've provided a picture of what I call my Baseline Morality Quadrilateral.

The procedure is to decide how long you want each of the four sides of the Quadrilateral to be. This is a way to intuit and express what relative importance each concept has for you. In the visual aid below I've provided the output of the procedure in my own case.

In my case, chastity (in and of itself, divorced from honesty and harmlessness) has no importance whatsoever, so I didn't draw a line for it at all. This means I didn't actually draw a quadrilateral. I drew a triangle. Also, in my case, helpfulness is only moderately important, so the line I drew for it is short. Meanwhile, I personally place great importance on harmlessness and honesty, so the lines I drew for those are long.

Once you've drawn your shape, you put down in words what living by that shape would look like in practical terms.

In my case -

Chastity - null set. Zip, nada, zilch. (But remember, harmlessness and honesty are separate categories.)

Helpfulness - lighten the load of people who lighten my load or who happen to be on my arbitrary list of privileged people. Anyone else is on their own. Sucks to be them. But of course I may decide to lighten someone's load for purely strategic reasons or because their travails annoy me.

Harmlessness - refrain from causing harm, stop others from harming, and go out of my way to snatch another from the brink of harm. But eat meat or not as desired as this is a special case as old on our planet as the protozoan. Also I reserve the right to harm another who has harmed me first or who clearly intends to harm either me or someone else. Harm is injury, loss, torment, or death.

Honesty - be forthright, keep promises, don't cheat, and, where I have the prerogative, impose these same standards on others. (This has direct relevance to what I do for a living.) But if I must choose between honesty and harmlessness, choose harmlessness. Also I reserve the right to trick a trickster.

If it seems like somebody snuck Stan Lee into my Satanic Bible, all I can say is, Excelsior. 'Nuff said.

Not charity nor timidity but INDIFFERENCE.
Through INDIFFERENCE, strength.
Through strength, power.
Through power, victory.
Through victory I break my chains.
INDIFFERENCE sets me free.

Liu

Re: The Morality Quadrilateral
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2019, 06:07:19 am »
I guess you mean chastity in the sense of moral pureness (for whatever that means)? Seems more like a concept encompassing the other three than like a separate category.

Pretty sure my quadrilateral would be a dot.
I could perhaps come up with categories that my personal rules are based on, but those aren't among them.

Depends a bit on the definitions, though - harmlessness is clear but the others seem vague to me.
Honesty: Does that include self-honesty?
Helpfulness: Technically I strive for that (by increasing my skill-set and capabilities), but not as an end to itself.

Hapu

Re: The Morality Quadrilateral
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 04:14:56 pm »
I guess you mean chastity in the sense of moral pureness...

No. It's intended narrowly as sexual chastity.

Pretty sure my quadrilateral would be a dot.

Based on our other discussions, yes, probably.

I could perhaps come up with categories that my personal rules are based on, but those aren't among them.

Would you consider your rules to be moral or would you see them as purely pragmatic? Based on our other discussions, I'm guessing the latter.

Depends a bit on the definitions, though - harmlessness is clear but the others seem vague to me.
Honesty: Does that include self-honesty?

It could for you, since it's in the Rectitude area, rather than the Others area.

Helpfulness: Technically I strive for that (by increasing my skill-set and capabilities), but not as an end to itself.

I think you mean what I would call "usefulness."

I'm very interested in what you would come up with if you constructed a Pragmatic Rules visual aid as a counterpoint to the one I made for Moral Rules. I'm betting your construct would be quite workable for many people.
 
Not charity nor timidity but INDIFFERENCE.
Through INDIFFERENCE, strength.
Through strength, power.
Through power, victory.
Through victory I break my chains.
INDIFFERENCE sets me free.

Liu

Re: The Morality Quadrilateral
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2019, 05:43:38 pm »
I guess you mean chastity in the sense of moral pureness...

No. It's intended narrowly as sexual chastity.
Really? It seems highly specific. Where did you get that list from anyway? I can't seem to find anything on it.
Well, in that case I might have a line instead of a dot. Except that this makes no sense geometrically.
(I'm currently pursuing chastity because of its beneficial psychological effects.)

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Would you consider your rules to be moral or would you see them as purely pragmatic? Based on our other discussions, I'm guessing the latter.
Well, you're guessing right. EDIT: Well, by your idea of morality they might count as moral, though, as they are based not merely on reasoning but also on "values", i.e. on things that it feels good to pursue independent of any additional benefits they may bring. I don't list it as its own point below as pursuing "values/desires" like this is already an aspect of the highest principle, but "knowledge" or "truth" would be one of these things.

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It could for you, since it's in the Rectitude area, rather than the Others area.
Then I do have a proper line between two dots. The distances from A to B and from B to A are not necessarily the same, though...
Those two categories of chastity and honesty are so different that I can't even compare them properly. But honesty would rank higher.

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I think you mean what I would call "usefulness."
Yes, that would be a better term for what I had in mind. So no triangle.

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I'm very interested in what you would come up with if you constructed a Pragmatic Rules visual aid as a counterpoint to the one I made for Moral Rules. I'm betting your construct would be quite workable for many people.
It's quite difficult - it would be more of a pyramid/hierarchical system than a short list.
Highest point/principle would be feeling-good, i.e. following one's desires in a strategic way that leads to the most happiness in the long-term.
But what exactly leads there would be dependent on one's psyche.
General tactics are:
* Increasing one's self-knowledge
* Adjusting one's psyche (to desire things that will make one happy also in the long-term, or to overcome depression and being more happy in general)
* Making one's circumstances more comfortable
* Increasing one's capabilities (physical, mental,...)
And for each of those there are thousands of strategies.
Those should aid one in actually pursuing the highest principle or may even be manifestations thereof.

So basically:
higher white magick, higher black magick, lower black magick, and lower white magick - well, that last one ain't a thing yet I think  :mrgreen:
Or in elemental terms:
water, fire, earth, air - but some are a stretch
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 06:37:00 pm by Liu »

Hapu

Re: The Morality Quadrilateral
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2019, 08:52:59 pm »
[No. It's intended narrowly as sexual chastity.
Really? It seems highly specific. Where did you get that list from anyway? I can't seem to find anything on it.

I made it up. In my role as my own god.

However, it's a pretty good capsule summary of the main thrusts of human morality since the dawn of humanity.

Justice is helping the helpful, not harming the harmless, and harming the harmful. The Golden Rule is helping and not harming people since you would want them to help and not harm you. Treating people as ends in themselves means helping and not harming them. Meanwhile, sexual chastity pops up again and again in human society on every continent and in every millennium, and I would be astonished to learn of a society that didn't place a moral value on honesty.

Not kill (harmlessness). Not commit adultery (chastity, honesty, harmlessness). Not steal (harmlessness, honesty). Not bear false witness (honesty, harmlessness). Not covet what isn't yours (steer away from harmfulness, dishonesty, non-chastity).

Well, in that case I might have a line instead of a dot. Except that this makes no sense geometrically.
(I'm currently pursuing chastity because of its beneficial psychological effects.)

It's definitely beneficial. Especially for an occultist.

Those two categories of chastity and honesty are so different that I can't even compare them properly.

That's why they're two separate categories.

But honesty would rank higher.

But from a pragmatic perspective (in your case).

It's quite difficult - it would be more of a pyramid/hierarchical system than a short list.
Highest point/principle would be feeling-good, i.e. following one's desires in a strategic way that leads to the most happiness in the long-term.

This aligns with ancient Greek ethics, incidentally. Happiness was the highest good. I especially like how Aristotle deemed the greatest happiness to emerge out of fulfilling one's inherent function. If a hammer were sentient, it would be happiest when striking a nail. The discussion of humans in this context was centered around identifying what a human's inherent function is and isn't. Unsurprisingly, reason was deemed a big part of it, and so the philosopher would be the happiest person of all. Aristotle made his living by teaching philosophy, so telling people that what he taught would make them happiest was good marketing.

I agree, incidentally, that fulfilling one's inherent function, also known as self-actualization, is the path to greatest happiness.

But what exactly leads there would be dependent on one's psyche.
General tactics are:
* Increasing one's self-knowledge
* Adjusting one's psyche (to desire things that will make one happy also in the long-term, or to overcome depression and being more happy in general)
* Making one's circumstances more comfortable
* Increasing one's capabilities (physical, mental,...)
And for each of those there are thousands of strategies.
Those should aid one in actually pursuing the highest principle or may even be manifestations thereof.

That's a great list. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Interesting that I see four asterisks. Seems tailor-made for a quadrilateral.

So basically:
higher white magick, higher black magick, lower black magick, and lower white magick - well, that last one ain't a thing yet I think  :mrgreen:

Increasing one's self-knowledge is higher white magick? I never would have come up with that.

Or in elemental terms:
water, fire, earth, air - but some are a stretch

Quadrilateral!
Not charity nor timidity but INDIFFERENCE.
Through INDIFFERENCE, strength.
Through strength, power.
Through power, victory.
Through victory I break my chains.
INDIFFERENCE sets me free.

Liu

Re: The Morality Quadrilateral
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2019, 05:05:45 am »
But from a pragmatic perspective (in your case).
Basically because I first need to be honest about my desires before I can know that I desire being chaste.
First self-knowledge, then self-change, leading back to increased self-knowledge.

Quote
This aligns with ancient Greek ethics, incidentally. Happiness was the highest good. I especially like how Aristotle deemed the greatest happiness to emerge out of fulfilling one's inherent function. If a hammer were sentient, it would be happiest when striking a nail. The discussion of humans in this context was centered around identifying what a human's inherent function is and isn't. Unsurprisingly, reason was deemed a big part of it, and so the philosopher would be the happiest person of all. Aristotle made his living by teaching philosophy, so telling people that what he taught would make them happiest was good marketing.

I agree, incidentally, that fulfilling one's inherent function, also known as self-actualization, is the path to greatest happiness.

Yes, some forms of ancient ethics seem fairly similar to mine.
If you call self-actualization the function of humans, then I would agree that following one's function is a very good guideline towards happiness. It's just nothing that I would think of as a function normally.

Quote

That's a great list. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Interesting that I see four asterisks. Seems tailor-made for a quadrilateral.
Thanks! I agree. I only made up that list fairly quickly so I'm surprised how coherent it seems. The exact amount wasn't intentional, it's merely the amount that I could come up with.

And if you fit the four and the highest principle on a pentagramm in the usual way (with the highest principle counting as spirit), then the pursuit of happiness is the foundational point, the two forms of black magick (causing change) are the upper points, i.e. the horns thrusted against heaven, and the two forms of white magick (learning) are the ears on the sides.
Now that's how I like my symbolism  :mrgreen:

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Increasing one's self-knowledge is higher white magick? I never would have come up with that.
Well everyone has their own definitions but I'm pretty sure I encountered something along those lines in a RHP esoteric book a few years back (no idea where, though).

Hapu

Re: The Morality Quadrilateral
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2019, 10:42:30 am »
...And if you fit the four and the highest principle on a pentagram in the usual way (with the highest principle counting as spirit), then the pursuit of happiness is the foundational point, the two forms of black magick (causing change) are the upper points, i.e. the horns thrusted against heaven, and the two forms of white magick (learning) are the ears on the sides.
Now that's how I like my symbolism  :mrgreen:

That is really good.

Before reading your response above, I made the attached, entirely developed from your ideas after spending some time just letting your ideas percolate in my mind.

This makes knowing and changing (refining, improving) into a pair of principles that rule each and all of the quadrants, which freed up the quadrant that would otherwise have been dedicated to knowing, so I split the psyche into two quadrants, desires and expectations. For me this makes sense. But I admit it lacks the coolness of a pentagram.


Not charity nor timidity but INDIFFERENCE.
Through INDIFFERENCE, strength.
Through strength, power.
Through power, victory.
Through victory I break my chains.
INDIFFERENCE sets me free.

Liu

Re: The Morality Quadrilateral
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2019, 11:57:46 am »
Thanks!
Your version takes a bit more time for me to wrap my mind around. It seems more structured, but also a bit more redundant in its categories. Desires and expectations are too interrelated, and also one's abilities are an integral part of one's situation. Therefore I'd prefer splitting things by the method (more active or more passive) instead of by that specific focus. Even though one often uses more than one method simultaneously.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 11:59:30 am by Liu »