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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Is it enough to do no harm?      Home login  
 AUTHOR
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 1
Is it enough to do no harm?Page 1 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Natural law is as much philosophy as it is law. The shame of it all is, that while it forms the foundation for all codified law, most people tend to look at it rather unknowingly and think it's the law of nature. Some, who might be a little more studied on the issue might think there are "versions" of it (Locke's, or Hobbe's?); there aren't. There is only one natural law. It is the law of reason and justice. It breaks all of codified law down to one simple commandment: Do no harm.

I'm sitting here with a match and all the law books in the world in a pile in front of me (millions of pages). It is your job to convince me either to not light the pile, or to strike the match, by providing a RATIONAL justification for your recommendation.
 Super_Eve
Joined: 10/23/2008
Msg: 2
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 1:33:15 AM

I'm sitting here with a match and all the law books in the world in a pile in front of me (millions of pages). It is your job to convince me either to not light the pile, or to strike the match, by providing a RATIONAL justification for your recommendation.


Because sometimes the worst of the evidence, provides the best example?
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 3
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 1:41:52 AM
@ mangler

You really need to reword this question to make it palatable, and to invite reasonable, thoughtful answers.

Would you like to point out the incongruences, and perhaps reword it for me? It would save me a lot of time and study. Who knows?...I might even learn something.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 4
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 1:48:16 AM
Because sometimes the worst of the evidence, provides the best example?

So, what's your recommendation? Does the evidence have to be recorded on paper, or can it come out in court? Or are you saying that precedents are the worst of evidence and I should strike the match, or that I should not strike the match and preserve the books as evidence for a case that they should not be law?
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 5
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 2:19:14 AM
@ Cuddles


Natural law says you exist by doing harm.

Natural law says you have a right to preserve your own existence even if it entails some harm. The implicit instruction in "Do no harm" is "Do no willful harm except by necessity". The simpler expression captures the spirit of the law though. The full "text" ought never have to be spelled out to anyone with a reasonable and reasoning mind.


The only law of reason is that reason is unreasonable.

More Newspeak? Did you just read that book now?... It's been out for a long time.


Justice has nothing to do with Natural Law

Now this is getting ridiculous. Natural law is the very essence of justice. If you want to allege that natural law is the Bizarro version of law, you're going to have to provide a rational justification, because the assertions you're making are seen clearly (by me at least) as non sequiturs.


Justice is a philosophy...a fantasy.

Only in minds(?) without a concept of it.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 6
view profile
History
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 3:24:18 AM
Natural law is as much philosophy as it is law. The shame of it all is, that while it forms the foundation for all codified law, most people tend to look at it rather unknowingly and think it's the law of nature. Some, who might be a little more studied on the issue might think there are "versions" of it (Locke's, or Hobbe's?); there aren't. There is only one natural law. It is the law of reason and justice. It breaks all of codified law down to one simple commandment: Do no harm.

I'm sitting here with a match and all the law books in the world in a pile in front of me (millions of pages). It is your job to convince me either to not light the pile, or to strike the match, by providing a RATIONAL justification for your recommendation.

Go ahead and light it. If you cannot figure out how some laws follow from natural law, and some don't, then law isn't really going to help you.

But then, if you can't figure out how law follows from natural law, then how can you expect anyone else to?
If you can't expect anyone to figure out how law follows from natural law, then how can you expect anyone to figure out what natural law is without the aid of law books to help them?
So if they NEED law books to tell them the natural consequences of natural law, the things that natural law requires of us, then how can you expect anyone else to not need them?
If everyone else needs those books, then what service are you doing to humanity by burning those books? You're taking away the knowledge that everyone else needs to be able to follow natural law. So you are removing their ability to follow natural law. So you are harming those people. So, in essence, by burning those books, you are helping yourself, and you are harming everyone else in the process?
Doesn't that go against your own rule, "do no harm"?

The ONE natural law that we can count on, is the Golden Rule, "what you would not want done to you, do not do to others. The rest, is explanation. Now go and learn it". THAT is the rule of natural law.
 BowdenK
Joined: 11/29/2009
Msg: 7
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 5:18:10 AM
OP

I say burn it! I'm tired of the bureaucratic monster we've created with our maze of tomes and records. I believe in organizing chaos, but it feels like, as a society, we've organized to the point of creating a more complex and resilient type of chaos.

Punishment is based on money, which makes the rich immune to most laws. The concept of rehabilitation is introduced but rarely practiced in prisons. Rehabilitation is punishment wrapped in cotton like a wolf in sheep's clothes, we are lab rats in medical riddle, and we are paying more money than we have for an education that is more interested in dominating our minds than expanding them.

Society is screwed sideways and rather than patiently learn from it we flail about until we are caught further in the web. Rather than cutting strands and finding the knots to untie, we try to find a way out while keeping every old strand in tact and even spinning a few of our own into the old design.

Some are lost in the web, but who cares? That is the nature of the design that was not our doing, but the way that life naturally came. Well, in that case...
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 8
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 7:59:38 AM
"Who says I can't do that ?" - The society you live in

"Oh ? What made YOU the expert ?" - The jury is composed of enough people to act as a rational, impartial judge of your actions
"Show me where that's written !" - "There (Pointing to his heart) "Your defence might be insanity, or ignorance, but I remind you that ignorance of the law is no excuse; You will have your day in court to make your case."
"Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done." -- That is scheduled for burning.
"and so on." - Keep 'em coming...(I was hoping for the opportunity to do this kinda stuff -- Thanks, I owe you a beer.)).

Some prick always wants to defend himself with philosophy alone and every now and again he comes up against an authority he can best.

If a man can argue his case logically and philosophically, it is unlikely that he has "pulled the wool" over the eyes of the jury, but rather has persuaded a reasoning, logical entity with his reason and his logic.


without some authority you can appeal to , who can anybody ever convict of any crime ?

The authority is the jury or tribunal pulled at random from a pool of community volunteers (and everyone is a volunteer if they want to belong to that society - it is one of their obligations to the community). As to who can be convicted, I'll answer with: anyone who is found by a jury or tribunal to be guilty of willfully causing harm. If the harm is pulling the legs off grasshoppers, Mom & Dad can probably serve as an informal "court". If the guy doing it is 40 years old, well, we may want to get a jury together...he may need help and the rational authority of a jury will be required to overrule his right to make his own choices and to commit him for treatment against his will.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 9
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 9:06:15 AM

I think it is an issue of letting go of the past and embracing the future.

It is exactly that issue. My case is that the law books are a relic of the past and aren't needed. My argument is that the codification of law will after a time corrupt it (if it isn't corrupted immediately by irrational decisions used as precedents, or the sophistry of lawyers) and people will look up the corrupted printed word and call it law. Referring to the letter of the law as found in a book is vastly inferior to referring to the heart for the spirit of the law. If law comes from the heart, it can't be corrupted by sharpy shyster lawyers, nor misinterpreted by those acting as judges. So if we get an incorruptible and superior law from the heart, why bother codifying it? It will always be there when we need it.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 10
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 9:39:31 AM
is that natural social law or natural as in physics and biology?

It is the law of the human heart. It matters not whether it is argued from the perspective of a secular humanist (which I am), or a theistic follower of scripture. In either case it IS the law of God and depends only on one's definition of God to apply. I could go on for ages about this, but the atheists & theists will only start chiming in about how we should listen to scripture for the law of God and nothing else, while the atheists will chime in that law in itself has no objective existence and therefore doesn't exist, etc. My own view is that real law transcends all belief systems and unites theist and atheist alike in an unshakable belief in justice.

Maybe I shouldn't have used "Do no harm" as the foundation, because as beautifully simple as it sounds, the REAL spirit of the law should simply be "love one another", or (in deference to Jesus) "Love thy neighbor as thyself". If we can do that, real justice will flow forth from it like a flash flood in the desert, washing away Man's inhumanity to Man and allowing the dormant seeds of compassion to spring forth from the ground, replacing the desert with a Garden of Eden (or as I've been calling it lately, Utopia). But I digress (sorta)...

To end a war, you first have to stop the shooting and that's what "Do no harm" is intended to do. It is a simple rule for people to follow (and therefore ignorance of the law really is no excuse), and unless one is a bona fide lunatic, it is a law that is easily understood by anyone. It doesn't stop anyone from being a saint and taking the law to the next level (Do good things) and it stands as a guide for those who may not be ready for sainthood yet. (One has to first be a good man to be a saint, but it doesn't require sainthood to be a good man.)

"If you want to obey God, stop studying scripture and do as your heart tells you." - a garbageman

The heart is the Kingdom of God and the word of God is the word of the heart and the law of God comes from the heart.

Whether we believe in God or not, isn't time we started listening to Him? The law of God is the Divine law of the human heart.
 Super_Eve
Joined: 10/23/2008
Msg: 11
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 10:14:38 AM
Or are you saying that precedents are the worst of evidence and I should strike the match, or that I should not strike the match and preserve the books as evidence for a case that they should not be law?


Sorry, poor diction, it should have read, "Because sometimes the worst example, gives the impetus, to make the best of changes." I am not sure if that is a better statement or not, but what I meant was, while I understood the desire to burn the books, they do provide excellent examples of how the spirit of the law, can become convoluted, with the written word. How many of those laws were set in place, to serve a political agenda? That is where I see the corruption, in the letter of the law...

If natural law was simplified, to "Harm none", would that be enough? I think it would be too much personally...

I think the problem that would arise, out of unwritten law, is the semantics of the word, "harm".


So, what's your recommendation?


Hold the match. By burning those, without my consent, wouldn't you be removing yourself as my peer, and instead be stepping into a role of self-imposed, pseudo-authority?

Should not, we the people, have a say, to what happens to our books? Can we not, try to achieve a consensus around this decision, so that the society that we are trying to create, may be found within the process itself?

I will keep tally of the votes, and since this is a position of power, (power, in this case, meaning, that I would be responsible, for the outcome of this situation, as in providing the sum of the votes, and from that information, a decision would thus have been made.) and in order to avoid any influence on the voting process itself, I will refrain, from voting.

And while I appreciate, a beautiful "burning man", (http://www.burningman.com/), might I suggest we recycle instead, at least some of those books, if destruction of the books, is the end result of the consensus process?

I am offering an oblique angle, to this topic...
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 12
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 10:35:52 AM

Hold the match. By burning those, without my consent, wouldn't you be removing yourself as my peer, and instead be stepping into a role of self-imposed, pseudo-authority?

Yes I would. (and that is the very antithesis of my sincere beliefs)

Should not, we the people, have a say, to what happens to our books? Can we not, try to achieve a consensus around this decision, so that the society that we are trying to create, may be found within the process itself?

Yes you should...You win, I'll turn the match over to the people and let them decide what to do with it. (I wuz only funnin' anyway, not trying to set myself up as an authority...I wasn't gonna really throw the match...Honest!...Anyway, I didn't, so no harm done...unless those books make me guilty of a thought crime.)

I will keep tally of the votes, and since this is a position of power, (power, in this case, meaning, that I would be responsible, for the outcome of this situation, as in providing the sum of the votes, and from that information, a decision would thus have been made.) and in order to avoid any influence on the voting process itself, I will refrain, from voting.

I will also. Having started the thread and arguing as I do, I could be perceived as having a vested interest (which I do).

And while I appreciate, a beautiful "burning man", (http://www.burningman.com/), might I suggest we recycle instead, at least some of those books, if destruction of the books, is the end result of the consensus process?

You certainly can make that suggestion. Thorb has already made it, so if we take a vote on that too, don't forget he's already cast his vote.

I am offering an oblique angle, to this topic...

I think I've been "blindsided" (but in a good way, not a bad one); I didn't see you coming from this angle.
In the words of Humphrey Bogart: "You're good shweetheart...Your very good..." Have a beer...
 karma1160
Joined: 6/10/2008
Msg: 13
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 12:16:40 PM
The intent of the statement was meant to be a level for the ambition of people who desire to be successful even under unsurmountable odds.
It establishes that all people are human beings and deserve to live, and die with dignity, they are not lab rats to an experiment that may or may not give rise to continuing life.
If you value your theories or science's theories than you know that their is no absolute truth.
So the end does not always justify the means.
This statement was NOT meant to say that I will go so far to save you and not hurt you in the process, but beyond that I am not taking extraordinary measures.
Everyone's interpretation of laws are based on their beliefs and lessons learned.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 14
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 12:35:30 PM
If you value your theories or science's theories than you know that their is no absolute truth.

There is only the consensus of reason and love. It is a contract; one that (if we sign on) binds us to the society in which we live with our rights and obligations (the rights are the consideration of society, exchanged for the signer's obligation to abide by its rules.)

When you have a legal system composed of some millions of pages of legalese that requires paid scribes called lawyers just to interpret them for you in a language you can understand, it is hard to make a case for ignorance being no excuse. There isn't one person reading this (that is a person and a member of "society") who probably doesn't unknowingly violate at least a few of the "laws" every day! If he is unfortunate enough to get "caught" committing a statutory infraction, he CANNOT plead ignorance. The legal presumption is that he knows and thoroughly understands EVERY single statute and/or (usually annual) revision. So if you guys don't wanna find yourselves in court & found guilty of violating a law you didn't even know existed, I suggest you start reading all the statutes now...It's probably gonna take you the rest of your life to get much of it read (don't forget to keep up with the revisions, or you're knowledge of the "law" will probably be far out of date by the time you need some of that information)

Wouldn't it be better for all concerned (except the lawyers & legislators) if we had a simpler, more just legal system?
 Super_Eve
Joined: 10/23/2008
Msg: 15
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 1:18:12 PM
I started my post last night, and so I missed a couple of posts when I posted... *blushes*


I think I've been "blindsided" (but in a good way, not a bad one); I didn't see you coming from this angle.


I meant, no "harm".


Thorb has already made it, so if we take a vote on that too, don't forget he's already cast his vote.


Yes he did...he also answered the question, "Does the spirit of the law, need to be written down?", which, if I am not mistaken, he answered, "yes".

Which leaves me keeping track of two tallies. So far, I am clear on only a handful of posts, as to what their position is, on either of these to questions, and this is what I have so far:

Should the law books be burned, by Dukky? (Dukky has removed himself from the maker of this decision, and is now designated as the executioner of action.)

Yes: 2
No: 5

Second question...Does the spirit of law, need to be written?

Yes: 4
No: 4

Sidenote: I believe that the larger aspects of unwritten law, can be found in the small, daily interactions, amongst groups of individuals.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 16
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 2:39:53 PM
@ Cuddles

No harm is the worst harm.

I gotta admit Cuddles that I love your Orwellian anti-logic & the Bizarro world conclusions you draw from it's premises.
You're hilarious.

I think you earned two beers with that one....
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 17
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 6:00:07 PM
Geeze Cuddles, you might just have something there. Reverse logic is so important they legislated it!:

http://wackypedia.wikia.com/wiki/Reverse_Logic_Act

<div class="quote">Some call it "Military Logic". It works...which is why the military uses it.
Well, I guess it explains why a nation with half of the military capability of an entire planet and all the state-of-the-art technology that entails couldn't rout out one little guy with bad kidneys hiding in a cave after 10 years of trying, doesn't it? Maybe they should re-examine the efficacy of "Military Logic"; it doesn't seem to be working too well.

<div class="quote">Reverse logic-"slow ahead"-would have saved the ship.
That is only a hypothesis. Not unless it had been done, and the ship had been saved by your logic, could you say that with any degree of confidence. It wasn't done and the ship wasn't saved, so you can't logically say what would have happened.

<div class="quote">It also gives the dog some needed exercise...and fun.
Was the bunny consulted about how much he'd enjoy this "fun" game...or is he just "collateral damage"?
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 18
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/24/2010 8:28:35 PM

someone will write new ones

Probably a lawyer, so he can charge us to interpret what he wrote. Pretty sweet racket they have there. Maybe that's why all that legalese exists in the first place?
 DearlyDeparted™
Joined: 1/21/2010
Msg: 19
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/25/2010 2:50:15 AM
It breaks all of codified law down to one simple commandment: Do no harm.


It doesn't even have to be codified in a static manner (as in placed in a book), it just has to be applied as a dynamic codification: "If/Then" nodes as part of a social contract based on a social network structure, each tied to the other. The only bias for "If/Then" is degree of harm deduced via the concepts of reason and justice in regards to the greater good.

A network structure has the added advantage of being able to trace larger "harms" back to smaller "harms" that led to them, as well as warn of potentially larger harms resulting from smaller ones by applying closer scrutiny to consequences, ...the network and contract are dynamic to this reality and can evolve and adjust to meet any needs.

A book cannot do this, books are wonderful things, but ...not always the best way to "codify" something unless it is itself an idea in stasis.
I'm sitting here with a match and all the law books in the world in a pile in front of me (millions of pages). It is your job to convince me either to not light the pile, or to strike the match, by providing a RATIONAL justification for your recommendation.


Don't burn them, recycle all except one edition of each, ...sell these via auction to book collectors and use the proceeds to buy beer and; to fund projects that will further the cause of reason, justice and the greater good.
 Island home
Joined: 7/5/2009
Msg: 20
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/25/2010 7:16:06 PM

I'm sitting here with a match and all the law books in the world in a pile in front of me (millions of pages). It is your job to convince me either to not light the pile, or to strike the match, by providing a RATIONAL justification for your recommendation.

Who are you?
Pol Pot from Cambodia?

Do you wish to deny history?

Other than the fact they are all the law books in the world and as such a good percentage dont belong to you or your country.
I would say cataloge them and put them in a museum/Library
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 21
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/25/2010 7:33:41 PM

the do unto others idea ... supposedly attributed to Jesus ... is the best basic code and relating it to love as thyself ... still poses problems with people who do not love themselves and /or are inherently masochistic.

Subjectivity can be minimized by the rational reason of a group, like a jury. One man might be a sadist and consider that what he does doesn't cause harm, but that isn't for him to decide, it's for the jury, which is unlikely to be a collective sadist. Moreover, the jury represents something of the values of the community or society and will make its rulings in that context. (In an entire community of sadists, sadism wouldn't be seen as doing harm unless the victim's permission was not obtained.)

IMO, a jury would probably be fairly objective in its assessments of whether or not harm has been done. Granted, an entire jury might have parochial values, and therefore make unjust decisions, but that happens now anyway, so I don't see that as a reason to avoid simplifying the law.
 DearlyDeparted™
Joined: 1/21/2010
Msg: 22
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/25/2010 9:40:20 PM

The idea of "do no harm" is another fantasy. Harm is unavoidable, and necessary.... and relative.


That last word should give you a clue, think in the context of "greater good".
 Island home
Joined: 7/5/2009
Msg: 23
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/25/2010 11:57:27 PM
When two silver rules followers, meet up who blinks first?
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 24
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/26/2010 6:14:52 AM

How will you deal with the different 'moral' codes?

It won't be my job to deal with them at all; the jury has final say.
I know what you're thinking, and you are quite correct. It is the same problem we have with the current system. The unwritten one is still superior in that it will allow the law to evolve more quickly by not having unjust laws (like slavery) on the books to delay implementation of new and better laws. (i.e., there would be no laws or precedents outlining things like what penalties runaway slaves are subject to). The abolition of something like slavery wouldn't require legislation, or the striking down of old laws. It would be achieved as soon as the public reasoned that slaves are people too, with all the same rights as anybody else.

Any community having an attitude that slaves can still be owned, would probably find itself cut off from the rest of the communities, owing to its insistence on owning slaves. The offending community itself could be put on trial by other communities. The pressure of economic sanction and social exclusion would probably be sufficient to foster a change in attitude and bring that community into conformance with natural law.

I use slavery as an example because it is an example of a law that was once almost universal, yet is now considered barbaric. The morality of the people improved over time and there was a strong desire to eliminate it, but the existing "written" system slowed the inevitable change. An unwritten system of natural law wouldn't have that impediment to change.
 Super_Eve
Joined: 10/23/2008
Msg: 25
Is it enough to do no harm?
Posted: 1/26/2010 12:56:17 PM

Economic sanctions and social exclusion doesn't seem to be working too well in Iran.


Neither is working well over here, only here, it is a lot more subtle...


Aren't you really recommending anarchy?


I can't speak for Dukky, but I am. I have been recommending it for months now.


It has often occurred to me that one way you could achieve that (and I think giving everyone a voice) would be over the internet.


It is working. Several "affinity groups" work together, to organize an event, for hundreds of people. I think that the last Dandelion, was 500+ people, co-existing, and working together for intentional communal support, and global change.


Let the world community be a voice by giving everyone a vote on everything. Let people actually make the vote themselves instead of electing someone (who represents them imperfectly) to vote for them.


Yes!!! That is exactly, how it works! Sometimes, for larger group networking, and decisions, there is a representative. Meetings are moderated through an impartial facilitator, who is not allowed to vote on any decisions, and is encouraged to not offer an opinion, either.

I have noticed, the success of such endeavors, depends upon the people, who are involved's commitment to the process, and not necessarily the outcome. A vision is needed, yeah, sure, but the beauty of the unraveling vision, lies in the very process itself...

Some people miss this.


Are people smart enough to understand the issues and impacts behind ALL the world decisions they make, or do we need a few specialists to make complex decisions for us.


I think if any positive change comes about, it needs to happen organically, and slowly, in order to preserve integrity, and sustainability. And who knows where that commitment to the process will lead to...


I put my faith in the evolution of the "natural laws" much more than the idea that human beings have, or will, become idealistic, altruistic individuals capable of reaching joint decisions where all will be happy enough to let well alone.


I have to at least believe in the possibility, albeit the probability does not look good. I have to work towards that change in my every day little life, down to the miniscule, in order to achieve congruency within relations and actions. That is what I think Ghandi meant, when he said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

For me, it starts with how I treat people, in every day interactions, what kind thing can I do, and what I am willing to give. My profession has a lot to do with it. I am no saint, and I don't believe I am morally superior to anybody else, but to have peace in my heart, I know that this is the right way to live, again, for me. I can't make other people's decisions for them, and I think that it is unethical to interfere, with another's person's process, however, I can offer my opinions and experiences.

I am loving these discussions, on self-governance...it is something I feel quite passionate about...
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