Purpose of Keeping Consistent Values | INFJ Forum

Purpose of Keeping Consistent Values

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by niffer, Feb 16, 2013.

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  1. niffer

    niffer Well-known member

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    Inspired by a recent thread!

    To people that believe in doing this, what exactly is the purpose of keeping one's values consistent?

    When I say values, I mean morals/ethics.

    What does it accomplish? Is it like a personal satisfaction thing? Can you explain how it works?

    Is there something wrong with having a sense of morals/ethics that undergoes constant flux?

    I've read that this is generally more of an Fi user thing.
     
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  2. Rcs6r

    Rcs6r Must be the feeling~
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    Depends on how often you change your morals, and why. Usually people change over the course of their life by some event, maturity or lightbulb moment. Your values should reflect how you view and experienced the world. If your morals are just obligations because of *GRRRRROOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAANNNN* religion or sworn allegiance to something you might not believe in deep down, then you aren't being true to yourself.

    Values are only consistent to how you live your life, IMO.
     
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  3. tfg345i4u5lw

    On Holiday

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    Some things suck when they happen to us. So we sometimes realize this and try not to do them because when the people around us are happy we tend to be happy as well. So having good values can be selfish in a way.

    Maybe the point of having consistent values is because the things that suck when they happen to us don't change that often.
     
  4. Barnabas

    Barnabas Time Lord

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    having consistent values forms a the basis for understanding between right and wrong and give you the knowledge to know when you have been legitimately wronged.
     
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  5. OP
    niffer

    niffer Well-known member

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    what.... how?
     
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  6. Barnabas

    Barnabas Time Lord

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    morals and ethics are inherently about defining right and wrong, creating a consistent ethical frame work is what allows you to judge between right and wrong. for example, your ethical framework might state that it's wrong to use people solely as a means to an end, there fore you can know that someone has wronged you if they have used you solely as a means to an end.
     
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  7. lenina

    lenina Community Member

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    To have constantly changing values is a type of consistancy. Its consistantly believing morals and ethics are relative.
     
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  8. OP
    niffer

    niffer Well-known member

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    Yes, I understood the second part of what you said, which is why that wasn't the part that I quoted specifically.

    I don't see the connection between creating a consistent ethical framework and being able to judge the rightness or wrongness of things. Please explain.

    Furthermore, why would always having a solid idea of what is right and wrong be important? Why is it important to know if you have been wronged?
     
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  9. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    Consistency has no inherent value. This is why I consider myself free to change my mind, adapt to new situations, or even be inconsistent.

    Life itself is not entirely consistent. Needs and outlooks are ever changing.

    If something is not working for you, or has even become harmful in your life, then it isn't very prudent to be consistent about it, is it?
     
  10. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    To not be a hypocrite.
    Also, personally, morality orders my world. Without consistent moral decisions or beliefs, things would be chaotic and confusing for me. I do change my opinions when confronted with new information, so I am not rigid or fanatical in my values and beliefs-- I just find it beneficial for my mind to have consistency.
     
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  11. Elis

    Elis Permanent Fixture

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    If I see reason to change my moral standing regarding a question, then I'd change opinion. I see no reason not to do so.

    I'm very defined in what I think is right, and what isn't, however, I don't think that everything is absolute. I often find myself in situations where I have to go against either one or another of my own values; I then have to determine which one I think applies best.


    One reason, other than my values being what I believe in, would be that I wouldn't want to undermine myself with double morals. If I made two different decisions in two similar moral conflicts I'd either have to be able to justify the difference, or admit to myself that I was wrong in the former conflict.
     
  12. #@&5&49

    #@&5&49 Well-known member

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    Deep thinking [MENTION=3998]niffer[/MENTION], you always ask interesting questions. I like to believe that consistency in morals and ethics reflects the consistency of my integrity. My morals don't too easily change so people can trust that what they experience today will also be what they experience tomorrow. This is one of the things that makes me dependable and trustworthy.

    However, this isn't rigid. My perspective can change and broaden which can adjust my morals in a way that allows for a new perspective. For example, if I have the moral "don't kill people" what would I do in a war. Would I kill to protect my child from being killed. Would I kill as a person in the military where killing was part of my job. These are moral dilemmas that question our moral fabric and make us realize that even our strongest convictions can be questioned under extreme circumstances. Then we get into defining "extreme circumstances" which would be different for everyone. Blah, blah, blah.

    The world isn't black and white, static and rigid. I think it's important to bend and be flexible but too much bending and too much flexibility makes a person undependable not only to others but to themselves as well. For example, if I discipline my child today and teach them that stealing is wrong, but tomorrow I don't do anything about it, and then the day after I say it's okay. How is the child going to know what is appropriate behavior and what is not. However, too much rigidity makes one judgmental and inflexible in a world that doesn't and shouldn't always stay the same. I guess it's about finding balance and remaining open. Knowing when to be static, when to be flexible, and when the moment or situation requires some of both. No easy task.

    I also think sometimes it's important to question ones own morals so we don't fall into the trap of never changing because we are so bound by our rigid morals. I mean to a degree all of us are an imperfect product of our imperfect environments, and those experiences shape our own moral perspective consciously or not. However, it's important to find our own personal moral compass because that is the one that will ultimately guide us through our life. So if a persons moral compass is in a state of flux I would imagine they are in a state of change that is also adjusting their set of morals. Something that will probably happen several times in a persons life if they're lucky because that means they're being challenged and they're growing. However, a constant and continual state of moral flux is a different set of circumstances and I don't think I would choose to want to know someone like this because I wouldn't be able to depend on what they did or said today would be the same as what they do or say tomorrow. In other words who are they?

    Interesting question.
     
    #12 #@&5&49, Feb 17, 2013
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  13. Gktr

    Gktr Regular Poster

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    I don't think moral consistency is a conscious choice. We use morality to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong, and if we were able to control our conscience there wouldn't be any point in having one. A moral code or an ethical framework is not something we create; the environment we grow up in does that for us. Our morals are bound to change from time to time as we grow wiser and gain new insights, but if it happens too often there might be a problem.
     
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  14. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    I'll revise what I said a bit.

    Consistency helps with comprehension and making reasonable connections. In other words, it can be a useful learning tool - it's how we make sense of things.

    It's kind of like the training wheels of morality, but some times we neglect to take the wheels off and become rigid and dogmatic.

    It's some times like being a musician who only knows how to recite one song on one instrument. They can emulate music but have little actual musical comprehension since they are unable to take what they learned and adapt it to a new instrument or compose a new song. They have the rules but they don't have the principles.
     
  15. youhemmein

    youhemmein awkward turtle
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    I feel like if you aren't open to changing your beliefs or values based on new information, you aren't allowing yourself to grow spiritually or emotionally. I still stick by what Emerson said in Self Reliance, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." And while the context of that quote is not necessarily what we're talking about here, it still applies. That's why we have all these stubborn old folks whose values tend to be irrelevant to today's issues.
     
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  16. astrelune

    astrelune Regular Poster

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    This question got me thinking about the nature of different morals/ethics. It seems like there are different "levels" of moral beliefs, some being more specific/superficial, and some being deeper, more broad philosophies, and going from the underlying philosophy to the specific can produce different interpretations of how one should act out that belief. This is why people who claim to hold the same ethical belief can interpret it so differently.

    For example, one ethical belief that I see people disagreeing on the practical application of is "cause no harm." That would be the underlying philosophy. A lot of people think that causing harm is undesirable. But when people translate that philosophy into how this manifests in the physical world (i.e. how one should act), that can be interpreted in many ways.

    For example, most include "do not kill," which can be made more specific to apply to humans only (then it would have to be specified, are we not killing anyone under any circumstances, or only if they are not a threat to us (like in war) or if they have not killed someone else (death penalty)), or it could apply to animals ("do not kill animals at all," "do not kill animals unless they will be used for food/clothing," "do not kill animals unless it poses a threat to humans," etc.), etc. "Cause no harm" could also mean don't physically hurt someone, don't emotionally hurt someone, don't exploit someone, don't participate in that which promotes the exploitation of others, and so on.

    So when people are changing their morals/ethics, which level are they changing? Do they have a consistent, underlying philosophy, and they're just changing the interpretation/practical application of that based on new information or changing life circumstances? Or are they really ethically unstable with their core beliefs?

    I think having relative stable core ethical beliefs is important, because if you don't have that, your ethics could be erratically changing all the time- you could be promoting world peace one week, and serial killing the next. Or a less extreme example, if someone was your trustworthy confidant for years and they suddenly decided to become malicious and back-stab you. That's scary to think that you can never really trust someone. Having a history of inconsistent ethics will also cause people to take your current ethical standpoint less seriously.

    I think that the underlying philosophies are the most important to keep consistent- I think those are the most difficult to change, and if they can be easily changed there could be some problems. The more specific you get, the more likely those are to change, because they're an attempt to take an idea and translate it into a physical reality, so you get farther away from the idea itself, so it's less stable and more easily influenced/restricted by circumstances.
     
  17. Kanamori

    Kanamori Permanent Fixture

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    Others see consistency as important because it shows a sort of trustworthiness or conviction.
    It's important to ethics because without it, you have a denial of any real ethical principles... thus no ethics.
    For ethics to exist beyond sociological/anthropological descriptions, something must be right or wrong.
    A or Not A but not both A and Not A. Math has shown us, so far as I know, that logic works at least.
    Things that seem inconsistent may actually have a more basic principle at work.

    To me, it mostly means that values shouldn't be changed because it's personally convenient to change them.
     
  18. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    [MENTION=7156]astrelune[/MENTION]

    Yes. That which doesn't bend will break.

    I feel one must take the underlying principles to set things in motion.

    If you need to bonk somebody on the head to stop them from killing a bunch of people, but you have the strict rule of doing no harm, I don't think it would be correct to throw your hands up and say "The rule says do no harm! I can do nothing!" because following that rule at this particular juncture has no value for anyone. The most moral, enriching, and valuable action is to stop this person, even if you have to hurt them a little (preferably without malice)
     
  19. astrelune

    astrelune Regular Poster

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    exactly- sometimes you need to do something that could appear to "go against" your values, but that doesn't necessarily mean you are, and in this case, hurting someone a little to stop them from killing many would be ultimately causing the least harm possible.

    This reminds me of a Buddhist story about a monk who killed someone - I don't remember the details, but it ended up being because that person was going to kill like 500 people and that was the only way to stop him, so it was ok that he broke his vow of non-killing.

    It's important to keep common sense in mind, but to not use that as an excuse by equating "common sense" with "easy" and rationalizing the breaking of one's ethics (I would say it's better to just not declare those ethics in the first place because I don't like hypocrisy, but that's also a value judgment and some people are more ok with it than I am).


    There's also the fact that, sometimes a little hardship in the short run leads to better outcomes for a person in the long run. I know I've been way too nice to people in the past, and if I had been tougher on them, it might have been unpleasant in the moment, but it would have had better long term effects for everyone involved- but at the time I thought I was causing less harm. I always strive for a balanced approach, but don't always know what that is at the time, so it's important to be open to change that brings you closer to that.
     
  20. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    Right.

    Another problem with explicit and entirely logically consistent values is that once made, they are exploitable. Take the three laws of robotics for example:
    1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

    This seems great at first, until the robot gets a different idea about what constitutes a human being, or until somebody realizes that they can trick the robot, for example having it deliver a bomb hidden inside a package. Since it doesn't know what is going to happen, it would simply follow orders.
     
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