What incentive is there to do the right thing? | INFJ Forum

What incentive is there to do the right thing?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by TinyBubbles, May 22, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    if no one is looking, if no one cares? if the recipient of your good act doesn't appreciate it, or is offended by it?
    what's the point of morals if you can't always stick to them? and if right and wrong are purely subjective then what's stopping you from dictating your own sense of right and wrong, and acting according to it? is it wrong to conduct yourself in a manner that you've consciously chosen rather than one that seems appropriate according to the culture and traditions that you've been brought up in? :| IF your morals don't align with those of your peers, isn't it more than likely that you are in the wrong?


     
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  2. youhemmein

    youhemmein awkward turtle
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    sigh. something to think about. i will do that and get back to you on this one.

    but as for the "what's the point" bit, when i know a thing is right, i just know it. and i believe in doing the right thing because it's the right thing. we have the inner voice, the conscience, that tells us which thing is right and which is not. some of it is subjective, and for that part i cannot speak until i've given this more thought.
     
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  3. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    thankyou for answering. i know what you mean about an inner voice telling you what is right and wrong, pushing you in certain directions and discouraging you away from others. but i'm curious, did we always have this "voice"? is it something inherent, or something we've learned? in law, sometimes we as a society decide people should be condemned to imprisonment or death, for example, which may go against our instinctive desire to sympathize and forgive. so if we can override our instincts in those cases, why not all? why assume our conscience should ever overwhelm our empirical understanding of what is best for us?
     
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    #3 TinyBubbles, May 22, 2010
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  4. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    The way I see it, when it's done because of some incentive, it's most likely not the right thing - well, because it was actually done for the incentive. Following such direction, next moment this same incentive may be insisting to do something horrible.
     
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  5. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    but just wanting to do the right thing is an incentive onto itself, isn't it? wanting the right thing to be done, i mean. if you want that, if your conviction is strong enough that that's how things should be, then you don't need external rewards to incite you to act according to your conscience- your valuing your own (subjective) standards would be enough to compel you to do it, even if the external consequences are unpleasant.

    if you have no incentive at all.. you're like an amoeba, moving in random thoughtless directions depending on whichever way they wind blows. i dont even think humans CAN act so chaotically.
     
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  6. NeverAmI

    NeverAmI Satisclassifaction
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    Personal accountability. Do I want to remain ignorant and naive or do I want to figure out what is truly best for myself?

    Albeit, I have a strong conscience. I wouldn't be OK with myself if I did something that goes against my personal morals. I suppose it is my empathy that really keeps me in line.

    These guys (Amygdala):

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    There is always incentive.

    I sponsor 8 children through World Vision. 4 boys, 4 girls. 2 from africa, 2 from south america, 4 from asia. + get excellent tax benefits from this and I get the ego boost from knowing that I helped to save lives.

    I am a St Johns Ambulance Volunteer and Occupational First Aider. I have saved 2 lives and helped a few people through the St Johns sporting engagements through minor injuries. Knowing that without my aid they'd be in worse condition is a huge ego boost.

    "Doing the right thing" is more about yourself than other people. Think of it like that, and you'll be doing the right thing all the time and will get benefits from others who dont know why you do them, and others again who dont care why you do them. Because in the end, it's about getting them done.
     
  8. Kavalan

    Kavalan Has risen

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    I'm with NAI in that personal accountability but my reason is tied to the inclusion in a select group (Eagle scout) the lack of this wouldn't change my views, but rather it augments my resolve as those who know this fact have high expectation and at this point the number of random people whom have acknowledged me as an eagle scout with no overt cues to the acknowledgement I assume I have a sign saying eagle scout on my head.

    As an aside a weird meshing of pragmatism and jadedness has spawned what can be summed up by the ending phrase from the movie Se7en:

     
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    TinyBubbles

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    half of me wants to agree and the other half thinks, is it? why assume it is, you know? i feel so conflicted
     
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  10. Kavalan

    Kavalan Has risen

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    The first part:
    is a Hemingway quote and the rest is a thought by one of the main characters of the movie. What I came away with is that every little bit helps I am more inclined to agree with this and take it to show that good begets good.
     
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  11. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    I am amoeba then (why is it supposed to be offensive, in the first place? the brain looks more like shapeless amoeba, than like a proud eagle). To my analysis, it is more dangerous to stick to one codex, because it has shown to lead to absurd inefficiencies. Even situations in which everybody loses, including the self; or just dead cycles of stagnation. (eg: the 4 ghosts from pac-man - let's honor here also the 30th anniversary of this game ;])

    I don't see it as incentive, it just is, I mean, incentive sounds like "do it, because"; whereas I see no "because" there, and I don't need it, in order to do it.
     
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  12. Durandal

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    Morals are our attempts at human perfection. They ARE necessary to keep a balance of harmony within the ego. There are no universal morals. So you can look at it either way: either you don't believe morals can exist because the same ones do not exist everywhere, or, you believe since a moral exists for at least one individual it exists indefinitely.
     
  13. rbecca23

    rbecca23 Regular Poster

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    Do morals keep the world spinning on course? Supposing they don't matter, then where would the world be? And if they do matter, what has been maintained?

    Just something to think about.
     
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  14. efromm

    efromm Underground and breathing.
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    It seems there are infinite possibilities when you factor in all the different cultures one could come from. What would the average person think doing the right thing is? Is there a universal law of good and bad behavior? I would think that it comes down to what society deems offensive. And bending the rules to suite yourself is an acceptable practice as long as you don't step on too many toes your ok.
     
  15. Puck

    Puck Perilous Pixie
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    Integrity. If, when making a decision based on right or wrong, according to my own understanding of it, I chose what felt wrong, I would be going against myself. I would fragment, and this would have a ripple effect on every decision made afterwards - there would now be two voices - the one that knew right from wrong, and the one that experienced choosing wrong and the consequences of that. Things get complicated very fast if internal guidance isn't followed, and it's harder to pull yourself back together and regain integrity, than it is to stay true to yourself from the beginning. Empathic people have a hard time in this respect, as often, decisions are made based on what will cause the least pain to others, rather than what feels right for ourselves. Integriity, then, becomes a lost and longed for ideal.
     
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  16. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Permanent Fixture

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    To me, morals are absolute -- but in a different sense then you might think. Morality is a system designed to contribute to the happiness of a given society, and can be measured in the happiness of all people of that given scope (where the scope is a given society or even the entire world). And can be measured by the amount of gain/loss of the parties interacting with each other.
    Morals help. To me morality is trust based, if you do a moral thing you often contribute to improving the quality of life of others (where the impact of your gesture was greater than the suffering/inconvenience you have assumed in making that gesture), assuming your gesture was well received, it can have a ripple effect causing others to 'pay it forward'.

    An example could also be found in people who are corrupt as opposed to moral (in the political sense). The act of committing a corrupt act would elevate that person by granting him/her money or power but it would be detrimental to the society of that person (the detriment would be greater than the amount of gained happiness). In the same sense, that behavior might propagate through the society to the point where the only way to maintain a stable sense of power is through the acquisition of political power and the inclination to pursue corruption. The total sum of happiness in that society would be somewhere in the negatives because the many who fail to attain political power would be oppressed by the few who have it.
     
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    #16 Zero Angel, May 22, 2010
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  17. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Blind Man Being Lead to Nowhere
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    I think there is not tangible incentive. But I still do whats right anyway. Maybe in some way I feel if I do the right thing the world will be a little better for it.
     
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  18. soulseeker

    soulseeker Permanent Fixture

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    I don't really mind if I don't get anything in return for doing the right thing. I just choose to do the right thing because it's right!?!?! ehehehe
     
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  19. muir

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    If you treat others with respect they will generally treat you with respect

    If they don't it is likely that they have had harm done to them by another

    So you have a chain event

    If you treat others well they will behave with goodwill back. They will likely feel in a better mood and are likely to treat others well

    If you treat others badly you will receive hostility back; you will likely put them in a bad mood from which they will then visit hostility onto someone else.

    For this very simple reason it makes sense to try to spread goodwill if you wish to improve your environment, whether it is your home, workplace, society etc

    What i think we are seeing around the world is a causal effect of people competing with each other....this then leads to injustices, which leads to more....violence begets violence etc

    If you want to solve that problem then you have to create a positive causal effect....a positive environment/culture

    The 'incentive' therefore is that if you want to live in a better world then you had better take a proactive role in creating that by treating people well
     
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  20. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    Incentives are overrated.

    Do you really need one to do the right thing?
     
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