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AngelRho
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11 Sep 2022, 7:20 am

DeathFlowerKing wrote:
ToughDiamond wrote:
^
That's the first time I've heard the idea that it's immoral to be miserable. In my experience, misery comes to my mind unbidden. I have very little choice about it. And if a person is unhappy, I wouldn't judge them for that. I'd want to help ease their sorrow. It's not my duty to be happy, it's just an aspiration I have. The man who enjoys his work is simply lucky.


I agree, it sounds a bit like victim blaming.

It’s objectively immoral when you have another choice. If I become miserable at my job, I start making plans to leave. If I have any control over it, I fix whatever problems are making me unhappy. If I can fix it, I find another job and then quit whatever it is that’s causing my unhappiness.

It’s immoral because a man’s primary moral obligation is to himself. It’s not that the sun is against God or others. It’s a sin against self.

As far as anyone judging another person goes, what matters is how you judge yourself. I mentioned earlier that a manager is well within objective morality if he fires a miserable person even if that person does a good job. It’s not a matter of judging someone, but a matter of how much you value other human beings. If someone hates his job but doesn’t see a way out, or feels trapped, would it not be a good thing to help him see a different direction he could take that would make him happier? I’d see it as my moral obligation to myself to talk with this guy to see if he’s been overlooked for a raise, promotion, or I’d write the best letter of recommendation anyone has ever seen to find him better work elsewhere. Or if he’s retiring next year, I’d start offloading his responsibilities to other staff while perusing résumés and give him a great last year.

Assuming, of course, this guy is valuable to me and the company.

A lot of my attitude is shaped by having worked in a position in which I really was under appreciated. I’d been working part time in a job that, combined with other part time jobs, I was able to feed my family and keep the lights on. It became obvious that the school had no intention to hire me full time or add new responsibilities. The other job I was working was a church gig that paid unusually well. I’d gotten a MASSIVE raise I think more because people felt sorry for me. But I’d assumed a ton of responsibility (by choice) because it made things easier for others I worked with. What would happen was I would try something new, I’d be informed that wasn’t my job, and I’d be given a raise to do…nothing.

Things came to a head at my church gig when I travelled 3 hours to get to my job when an organist informed me I was getting the day off (which had NOT been approved by the higher ups). She got fired, and I quit two weeks later. This was after some 14 years of being mistreated.

It slowly dawned on me that I spent the last decade and a half neglecting my own needs and my family because it was “more important to put the needs of others first.” I began to see helping others as investing in them with the expectation that my own needs be met. Investment means accepting the risk of disappointment. And if I failed to have any influence over that investment, I had no moral obligation to hang on to it. I started taking new risks, cutting dead weight out of my life, and I’m in a much better place—my family is happier, I’m seeing RESULTS from all the work I do, and my wife has realized her dream of being a stay-at-home mom to our 2 year old. I’m about to sell a house at a gain in the middle of an awful housing market.

There’s some element of luck to it. After I took my next job, I quit after two years. It was becoming a hamster wheel and I wasn’t going to tolerate that. I interviewed at several other places and took the best offer I got—it’s not much, but the pay is significantly better than the last one. I’m looking for another part-time, too. This job wasn’t my first choice, but c’est la vie. I still have the same choice: make the most of it or look for another job. Luck favors the prepared. While I may not have total control over my circumstances, I can still leverage what control I do have for better outcomes.

I moved my family out of the Mississippi Delta with very little money. I took a new job assuming a risk that I’d be paying two mortgages for a while. We have a buyer, and I’m almost disappointed that we didn’t try renting the house and making a little money off of it. It was my wife who insisted we sell our house FIRST, and then I reminded her how we’d gotten trapped in houses and jobs in the past. No one is as powerless as other people lead them to believe they are. Luck in being happy in a job and life isn’t nearly as much a determining factor as you’d think.



kraftiekortie
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11 Sep 2022, 7:55 am

If a person is doing a decent job, is miserable, and yet is reliant on it in order to feed the family, I would find it morally wrong to fire such a person just for being miserable.

I would seek, instead, to find the reasons for such misery, and to try to ameliorate the misery without undermining the person’s job performance.



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11 Sep 2022, 8:21 am

People are complex. Any number of things can make a person miserable. Sometimes people struggle with mental health issues like depression.

If an employer fires such a person, they could be sued for discrimination.

I see nothing morally wrong with being miserable. Obviously, we all strive to be happy, but that’s not always going to be completely within our control.

Morality, for me, comes down to treating others decently - in other words, being a good person. Most people do just that because it’s beneficial from an evolutionary perspective, so it’s in our genes. If we didn’t help each other out, our species wouldn’t have made it to this point.

Not everyone is decent, but most people are. You don’t need religion to be a good person because most people are naturally good. We have evolution and moral values that we pass on to our children. These moral values don’t necessitate religion. My brother and I are atheists and we talk about morality and ethics often.


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Last edited by Twilightprincess on 11 Sep 2022, 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

kraftiekortie
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11 Sep 2022, 8:34 am

Morality and ethics should be simple things.

An ethical, moral person shouldn’t have to rely on a long philosophical treatise merely to justify being ethical and moral.



Last edited by kraftiekortie on 11 Sep 2022, 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

Twilightprincess
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11 Sep 2022, 8:37 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Morality and ethics should be simple things.

A ethical, moral person shouldn’t have to rely on a long philosophical treatise merely to justify being ethical and moral.

When I stopped being a member of a highly controlling religion that had a bunch of rules, I realized how simple and, yet, beneficial morality can be.


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AngelRho
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11 Sep 2022, 9:18 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
If a person is doing a decent job, is miserable, and yet is reliant on it in order to feed the family, I would find it morally wrong to fire such a person just for being miserable.

I would seek, instead, to find the reasons for such misery, and to try to ameliorate the misery without undermining the person’s job performance.

Ideally, yes. But that’s going to be a matter of how much someone values employees. Sometimes the best thing you can do is show someone the door.

At my last job I was going to get fired anyway. I told my boss there was no point in pretending anymore. All I wanted to know was that I could count on my boss for a strong reference while I moved on. We agreed on that much.

It tickles me that the positive experiences I had equipped me to revive a dying school band program. Specifically, parent involvement is poor. There’s no outside funding for what we do. Turns out I’m used to parent organizations that are deeply involved in music programs. While it makes me feel a little uncomfortable, it can sometimes appear that I have godlike power. I keep that tucked back in my brain for whenever I’m having a bad day. Even if I wish I’d done better, the people I work for think I can do no wrong.

People who become miserable in a job might miss that they CAN leave. Feeling trapped is largely an illusion. One of the main reasons I didn’t seek better jobs earlier in life was that we had a mortgage and my wife had a job that she enjoyed at the time. The best decision I could have made would have been to insist on relocating after losing a job and start climbing the proverbial ladder. Live and learn. It’s a hard life, but worth the effort. And beats feeling trapped.



kraftiekortie
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11 Sep 2022, 9:37 am

At least you gave yourself that option. Other people aren’t able to bargain like you did. They are fired, and probably would not be given good references.

Yours was a different situation than someone being “shown the door” without options.



AngelRho
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11 Sep 2022, 1:37 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
At least you gave yourself that option. Other people aren’t able to bargain like you did. They are fired, and probably would not be given good references.

Yours was a different situation than someone being “shown the door” without options.

It’s not different. And writing bad recommendations these days is ill advised.

I just learned to keep an ear to the ground, that’s all. I knew what was coming because it wasn’t the first time I’d been in a bad situation. I simply took the initiative. This helped out my boss since they could advertise my job without worrying about me burning the place to the ground on my way out. I even met with my replacement to bring her up to speed. I had plenty reason to badmouth my boss, but chose to sing his praises to her. Completely changed the dynamic and eased everyone’s mind.

New girl is making major rookie mistakes, but…not my monkey, not my circus. And she’s already mulling over whether this was a good choice for her. She calls me up from time to time and I shoot straight with her, though I avoid gossip. Music people look after each other. That’s just what you do. Moving up in the world takes networking, support systems, and creating opportunities. Kinda hard to do when you stay busy dwelling on the past and burning bridges…

…which miserable people tend to do. To be fair, I do understand people become miserable due to circumstances beyond their control. To continue in misery, however, is a choice. I don’t count people who get fired, divorced, hit by a car, as miserable people. It’s people who hate their job, get fired, and hate their next job I consider miserable. Or marry for money, cheat on husband, get divorced, remarry for money, and keep cheating. Or wreck a car, buy new car, get drunk, wreck car, and blame parents for an awful childhood for why they can’t stay sober. And I learned the hard way dating a girl who says “if only…” a lot is a huge red flag. Perpetually miserable people. Always good to avoid these.



The_Walrus
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11 Sep 2022, 2:25 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
^
That's the first time I've heard the idea that it's immoral to be miserable. In my experience, misery comes to my mind unbidden. I have very little choice about it. And if a person is unhappy, I wouldn't judge them for that. I'd want to help ease their sorrow. It's not my duty to be happy, it's just an aspiration I have. The man who enjoys his work is simply lucky.

I think it helps to remember that AngelRho is an Objectivist. Objectivism is a fringe deontological ethical system based on the writings of an obscure fiction author. So his use of "objectively" (related to Objectivism) is disconnected from the everyday use (existing independently of the mind; uninfluenced by emotion and personal preference).

I think the notion that it is objectively immoral to be unhappy is so obviously ludicrous that it puts to bed the notion that Objectivism is actually objective. I'm a liberal, if I had to pick a moral tenet to live by it would involve maximising human freedom, and Objectivism is based on similar principles... but there's still no shortage of Objectivist ideas that I find plain bizarre. And if Ayn Rand could read people's minds and sort them based on how much they agreed with her principles, I'd probably be in the top 5%. I'm naturally predisposed to look favourably on philosophies that advocate for human freedom, individualism, self-interest, and the free market. If even I look at contemporary "Objectivists" and find myself disagreeing with the notion that their ideas are objectively correct, then they're not objectively correct.

Get 10 leading biologists in a room and ask them whether cells exist, or whether life on Earth exhibits common descent, or the structure of DNA. They'll agree on almost everything. Those things have been proven objectively.

Then get 10 leading ethical philosophers in a room and ask them how we should determine right from wrong. They won't agree, because it isn't objective. And we can't say "well, these people are stupid", because they aren't, they're geniuses. It's just that even geniuses, who are very good at distinguishing between positions and articulating the consequences of those distinctions, will disagree on morality, because morality isn't objective. You can't pull out a moral telescope to look at the structure of an ethical quandary.



AngelRho
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11 Sep 2022, 3:47 pm

I’m hardly a pure Objectivist. But for morals/ethics to be real, they must be rooted in objective reality. The only values anyone can objectively know are his own as an individual, with the highest value being one’s own life. Thus objective morals MUST exist apart from the mind because individuals exist apart from the mind. You know it’s evil to murder someone else because you know how much you want to live. You must assume that it’s the same for all individuals who are alive.

You can infer objective morality by observing what happens when sin is committed. Murder involves the deliberate, unreasonable initiation of force to cause death. To allow murder would require allowing retaliation as well. If society were to allow murder, individuals would naturally avoid murder since they’d be unprotected by the law and unable to avoid retribution.

In other words, murder isn’t in the individual’s best self-interest. Laws prohibiting murder and imposing penalties for it serve the self-interest of the individual to ensure due process and prevent mob rule. Law allows individuals to defend themselves without escalating violence. So it’s objectively immoral to commit murder. It’s objectively moral for the government to protect individuals.

Adultery isn’t an objective sin because you have sex with someone you aren’t married to. It is a sin because you go home and sleep with someone you do not love. You do not value yourself enough to be with someone you love and who loves you, but rather you will settle for less than you are worth and for what is merely convenient. Cheating is never in your best interest nor is it rational, therefore it is objectively immoral. You should either never commit to anyone in the first place or you should only marry someone you know you will love and who will love you. Anything less than your ideal partner is beneath you. You are better off alone. I avoided this trap by leaving my fiancée and marrying my best friend.

Focus on reality and things will always work for the best every time.