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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!      Home login  
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 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 2
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It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I agree with you almost entirely, and not just for the sort of extreme or obvious ways that your illustration talks about.

In more subtle ways, we see amongst us all the time, situations where someone is "nice" to someone else, and that person takes that "niceness" to indicate serious interest, when it's just the other person's normal way of dealing with others. Again, as you say, intent is key to meaning.

I have seen in my studies, cases where someone behaved with great decorum, and in wonderful supportive and helpful ways towards certain other people....only to discover that the reason that they did so, was not out of a sense of mutual respect for equals, but because they were certain that "those people" needed to be cared for and coddled at all times, owing to their inherent defects.
 Aristotle_Amadopolis
Joined: 12/8/2011
Msg: 3
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 5:22:17 AM

What I am trying to say really is that it is not our actions that define us, but our reasons behind them! What do you crazy forum dudes think?

I agree our actions define us and pretty much nothing else, as it is not what we say we can or will do but what we will do.


So she can not judge you based on what you say you would do for the kid, but only on why you would tell that story.

So did you poss the story about the starving child and your wiliness to break the law just to feed it, to prove a point or impress the girl?
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 5
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 8:53:23 AM
Your premise:



It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!


Deceptively close but not quite. Let’s use the example you gave to illustrate the problem in your premise.



I posed this question to her, if your child is starving and will die without food and the only source of revenue was to steel the led from a church roof, what would you do?


[1.] The reason is: child is starving and die without food.
[2.] YOUR action: steal the led from a church roof.

The reason is [1] leading to the action [2] but, the most important thing which is what truly defines us is, the logic used to justify the action.

You said that, led would be flying off the roof which means that you did not evaluate other available possibilities that would not necessitate becoming a thief and, there is at least one in the scenario you offered.

That other possibility is simply going into the church, telling the priest that runs it that, she and her kid are starving which will very likely result in obtaining the necessary help without compromising essential principles and causing harm to others. Furthermore, this decision leads to a number of actions (with the voluntary priest’s help) that have the potential to “permanently” solve the problem whereas, the one you proposed (theft) does not. Moreover, theft has the potential to greatly complicate the situation as a result of carrying out an illegal action (e.g, being caught).

Additionally, stealing the led off the roof (church or otherwise) is an ephemeral solution. The supply of led is not infinite and constantly stealing it means she is stuck in the proximity of the church preventing her from searching for a different, better, honorable and more permanent solution. It also should be mentioned that stealing led off of a roof is highly impractical due to weight and potentially quite dangerous in more ways than one, including led poisoning (why would a roof be made of led ?). If the roof is actually made of led (improbable but possible), she could also explain the dangers of led to the priest and offer to help to have it replaced with a safer material. This option is honorable and results in everyone being a winner. The church goers may even be convinced to support the effort as the led is a health hazard to them as well.

Conclusion: the reasons do not define us because we rarely have control over them while we do have full control over the choices we make to handle them. It is our contol over our own reasoning process which leads to actions that define us. The actions we take are a reflection of the reasoning process we used to justify them, therefore they define us externally as they are the visible instantiation of our reasoning which defines who we are. In the words of Descartes, I think, therefore I am.

In simple, colloquial terms, the end does _not_ justify the means. Your premise is logically and ethically _false_.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 7
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 11:08:36 AM
"Necessity" (the need to preserve life) constitutes what is called a "lawful excuse" for criminal actions. As always, the law (and the excuse) must be reasonable.

A good example might be the starving baby one. If you have no other reasonable (or obvious) choice (addressing justlookingtv's excellent point) you might, for instance, rob a bank for $5,000 to buy the baby food (better not get many perishables lol). If you spent it all on food for the baby, there should be no problems in court, HOWEVER, if you only spent $100 on the baby's food and bought a car with the "extra" money, the "lawful excuse" gets kinda thin and you'll probably be in deep doo doo.
 elizabeth45tx
Joined: 4/10/2011
Msg: 8
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 11:44:12 AM
I do agree with justlookingvt,I do like the way he explain it!
I once read that there are 10 or more solutions for each problem in life.
Sometimes we just choose to take the easy one.

OP
I like your threat.

You all have a blessed day!
 melodyof_k
Joined: 5/2/2012
Msg: 10
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 3:12:29 PM
so then what is the question?
should the old lady have left him the money?
or who is the man? is he his actions...a nice man helping the lady?
or a phony waiting for her to drop dead?

I think in a way he is both
But his intentions (actions) were to get her money.
and her leaving the money to him is what came naturally to her because without this phony do gooder
who would have taken care of her?
she didnt know his reasons for doing it...or maybe she did (some people can see right through the reason for someones actions) ....but she still needed what he did and had no one else to do it.

did the lady have anyone else at all who would have taken care of her?
and did the man who helped her....did he know how much time she had to live?
maybe it could have been years.

I guess part of why I feel this way is because for a while I was injured and had I had no one at all to help me...I would have been grateful for the help of a seemingly kind person. (I had plenty help from my family and friends so I cannot totally relate)
If the person was honest and said to me...I will help you with all you needs until you die because i would like you to leave me your money....as silly as it may sound to some...maybe I would accept his offer....since there was no one else in the world to help me if I could not help myself....and had no one to leave the money to either. It would be kind of like "hiring" someone who I knew did not really care about me. I would have rather not known that and died thinking the person really was kind and cared.


as to your first scenario..
IF there was NO other way....I would steal whatever to feed my child. To me it seems like a parents, or anyones, natural instinct to not let a child starve to death.
so in that instance it would be the reason behind the action.
there was no good done by the actual action than for the reason.
in the second scenario there was good done to the old dying lady even though the reason was not well intended.


edit to you next post: no at least not to her.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 12
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It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 3:27:23 PM
I think your second example is talking about something different than what I was thinking about with my first reply.

Your second story goes much more to how people would judge another person's character or morals. I don't care much about that myself, in that unless the particular people making a negative judgment about another have the power and position required to negatively impact their life, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference what they think.

What I was focusing on, is that when I am dealing with someone else, I know that their motivations (the reasons behind their actions) will dictate what they are likely to do NEXT. That DOES matter.

Some follow on to the little old lady scenario:

* if he decided to donate some of his nefariously gained wealth to help those in need, and I were running an organization that took such donations, I would still take his money. I would not take his money and praise his character in an acceptance speech, however.

* if he used his hijacked wealth to make himself look good, and I had a daughter he was after, I would do my damnedest to make sure he never got anywhere near her.

* if he offered to help me in my life in any personal way, I would politely refuse that help.

* would never invite him to my house.

I very much believe that the reasons are at least as important as the actions, always. But that's mostly because the reasons provide the VECTOR of the person (i.e. the energy and direction they are headed).

The idea that "actions speak louder than words," addresses an entirely unrelated issue. That has to do with how you decide if the principles someone claims to live by, are actually the truth. This is about deciding, when a person's actions DO speak, what they are actually saying. THAT is determined by the reasons why they acted.
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 14
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 5:06:52 PM






that is exactly what I was trying to get over in the original post.


Of course you got exactly what you wanted. You heavily loaded the reasoning dice to get it.

So that you see how you did that, I’ll draw you a parallel with “Of mice and men” which you referred to in post 6. In your second scenario you reveal the guy’s reasoning in addition to his reason with the statement:



He thinks to himself, thank god that old biddy is dead and my little plan pulled off.

So all his actions were nice and lovely, but the reason behind his actions was much darker and cunning.


If George, after shooting Lenny in the back of the head, thought to himself something along the lines of...



He thinks to himself, thank god I finally got rid of that piece of dead weight.

[I’m sure you’d have a corresponding conclusion to write here too]


Would you still be wondering...



Was George a cold blooded killer? Was Lenny a burden he could no longer deal with or did he not want the crowd chasing Lenny to tear him apart?


There wouldn’t be much left to wonder in that case, would there be ?

I could easily adjust the second scenario you presented to raise, in the bad guy you gave away, the same doubts you have about George.

 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 16
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 6:38:27 PM





You don't seem to realize, I am not trying to argue with you or flip stories to benefit my opinion,


I understand that. I realize my previous post can easily be interpreted as something that was not what I intended.

My point was that you _inadvertently_ created a scenario where it is obvious that what is objectionable are the reasons instead of the actions.

I could be wrong but, per the title of your thread



It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!


I believe your point is that the actions, which is what we see, are not necessarily what should be used to evaluate the essence of a person’s behavior. Instead what should be used are the reasons a person had for the behavior.

If I am correct then, it is the cases when the actions do not make it obvious what the reasons were that are interesting. Otherwise, we deal with cases which do not present a logical challenge. That’s why I brought up the case of George. What makes the case interesting is that the action does not make it obvious what his reasons were.

In the second case you presented, the reasons are revealed. In such cases, there is no situation to unravel, nothing to determine.

I am not trying to argue with you. I am trying to bring the cases to analyze to the quality of “Of mice and men” since that seemed to be your objective. Particularly since you presented the case as an example.

I hope it is clear now that it is not my intention to argue. I believe that you inadvertently provided a scenario that is self revealing therefore not a good example to support the premise of your thread. For that reason, I offered to modify the example to underline that in most cases, it is neither the actions nor the reasons but, the thinking process behind the reasons that determine the true intentions of the person. You provided a good example of that with the statement



Was George a cold blooded killer? Was Lenny a burden he could no longer deal with or did he not want the crowd chasing Lenny to tear him apart?


I’m not trying to be “right” either. I am trying to help bring your second scenario to the level of difficulty and subtlety found in “Of mice and men”. That would be a genuinely interesting scenario to analyze. Hopefully, I managed to explain the objective with as much clarity as I’d like it to have and, make it equally clear that it is far from my intention to argue. (I probably repeated that too many times.)



I have thought both your posts are intelligent and interesting.


Thank you and, let me mention that I believe you have a very interesting point going in this thread. Maybe, the simplest solution to bring this thread to the level I believe you originally intended, would be to explicitly make it about George and Lenny of “Of mice and men”.

Since you are the owner of this thread I offer that as a suggestion. It is obviously your choice to make to take in that direction if you deem it of value or pass if you don’t.



POST EDIT:

It’s been a long day. What all of the above is really trying to say is that, you’ve got a good premise. Its value is better appreciated and established when it is applied to tough cases such as the one of George and Lenny instead of self revealing cases, such as the second scenario.

 csamcsog
Joined: 4/8/2013
Msg: 18
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 11:19:13 PM
I took care of my aunt, from her seventies on ... until she died at 83.

She was an old, cantenkerous, vicious old cuuuunt. I hated her. She hated me. We hated each other.

I did sacrifice a lot for her, including my personality, my sanity, my happiness. I gave up my career job, I never married.

She stifled my creativity, she could spoil my mood just the way she looked at me.

To others, she was showing a face like sweet little old lady. With me, she was like a Jewish slave keeper.

Eventually the old bieotch croaked. The happiest day in my life. I got some money out of her inhertitance. I have now what I consider a decent existence, (though I live on what's halfway between zero and the poverty line) due to her will.

Eyh. If I knew what she had been doing to me, I wouldn't go through this again.
 csamcsog
Joined: 4/8/2013
Msg: 20
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/18/2013 11:40:07 PM
Lol csamcsog, their's nothing quite like saying it how it is lol! Sorry to hear about your situation, I would put both your actions and motivations as both very good, just a shame your aunt never realized it.
---------

Thanks for your giving me all the credit. But I was no angel either. i had embarrased her more times than she could count. I lied to her, I stole cash from her. Not much, about $50 at most. Once a week or so. I had told all my friends how much I had hated her before she died. I prayed to God every day to give her the wisdom and insight to see how much of a cuuuuunt she was. God did NOT answer my prayers.

I don't care about judgement, yours, god's or anybody's. If I new it was not right whatever I ever did, I wouldn't do it in the first place.

It is so not a cut-and-dried case, morality and legality are, and yet they are both, esp. morality, such a cut-and-dried thing. You can't escape it. You are its prisoner. The best you can do is make your own personal morality officially divorce the consensus of your peers what morality, as defined and viewed by the community, is.
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/20/2013 7:21:53 PM
(op)

One must be careful with such things - who's seen Clint Eastwood's Mystic River?
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 22
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It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/21/2013 1:39:28 AM

What I am trying to say really is that it is not our actions that define us, but our reasons behind them!

Obviously, you have never worked in the service industry.
There are lots of times, in our modern society in which our motivations are not the reason for our actions.

Does that waitress at Hooters really like you, or is she just acting that way because her job demands it ?

You have to remember that motivations are limited by knowledge.
People do what they know how to do.
If you want to feed your children and stealing is the only way you can figure to do it, you will steal. Naturally, if you could think of a better way, you would do that instead.

Education is the key to all true morality.
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 23
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/21/2013 1:56:45 AM


Obviously, you have never worked in the service industry.
There are lots of times, in our modern society in which our motivations are not the reason for our actions.

Does that waitress at Hooters really like you, or is she just acting that way because her job demands it ?


He may very well have worked in the service industry because that’s exactly the point he is making. The waitress’ actions are not a valid indicator of her motivations/reasons for them. Generalized, an individual’s actions cannot be used to determine the individual’s motivation with certainty.
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 25
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/21/2013 2:41:33 AM


Sometimes I feel like I am on a different planet, maybe I am!


That’s what prompted me to invest in a telescope a long time ago. When in doubt, check. Then I thought about it and figured I really didn’t want to know and got rid of the thing. Ignorance is bliss, indeed. :-) I’d be really afraid of looking through it these days.
 csamcsog
Joined: 4/8/2013
Msg: 26
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/21/2013 2:45:24 AM
justlookingvt

This whole thing puzzles me sometimes lol! He is agreeing with my view, and then stating I am wrong? The waitress is being kind because she is being paid to lol, so the motivation behind her being kind is her salary lol!

Sometimes I feel like I am on a different planet, maybe I am!
-----------------

The more you say LOL and the more exclamation marks you pepper your texts with, the stupider you portray yourself to be!! Lol for f's sake!

You act as a child in writing, lol! You seem like a fool, lol, even if you are not, lol, that's t he impression you make, lol, on your readers! For f's sake.
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 28
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/21/2013 3:02:44 AM
LOL

......................................................................................................................................................................................
 cesska
Joined: 11/7/2011
Msg: 29
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It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 4/30/2013 9:10:41 PM
there would be nobody in prison if we understood the reasons behind the crime
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 5/3/2013 2:22:30 PM
Perhaps something like this:

"Few informed people...can any longer ignore the fact that many kinds of even serious wrongdoing which folklore claimed to be a result of someone's "bad choice" are actually the result of forces over which the individual has not control and often not even any awareness."

- John Cuber
 billingsmason
Joined: 2/3/2012
Msg: 32
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 5/3/2013 6:03:10 PM
here it's legal to commit a crime to stop one or save yourself from a greater crime...

like you could steal a car to avoid an assault with a weapon.
or you could assault a person who's trying to steal a car to get away from someone who is trying to assault them with weapon. obviously the law is a very complex system. best to just have a pistol on you at all times, and only leave the house in the company of a lawyer. and a steak knife, in case you over react.

but anyways- you'd be better off stealing man hole covers or catalytic converters or something... so I hear. lead is bad for your reproductive health. that whole lead in your pencil thing was myth busted.
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 5/3/2013 7:50:51 PM
^ Yea, it's wierd. This could be something to talk over in damwrite's morality thread.
 cesska
Joined: 11/7/2011
Msg: 34
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It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 5/3/2013 9:20:05 PM
is it fair to get 20 to life for protecting someone?
 billingsmason
Joined: 2/3/2012
Msg: 36
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 5/4/2013 10:30:01 AM
sure- 20- life is fair in many situations.

I know more than a few who've been in this position.
some examples:

two men attack a buddy.
another buddy runs out of the house with a bat to scare them off.
one of the attackers grabs a shovel. all 4 scrap.
original buddy is on the ground, shovel attacker is standing over him with shovel raised.
bat buddy comes from behind and hits him on the head. ends the attack. period. man dies.
courts rule life in prison because bat buddy was behind and swung in a lethal way... ie not in the arms, legs ect.
he paroled quickly.

man throws party.
girlfriend gets wasted, passes out
when the party is over man tosses everyone and goes to get in bed.
finds naked man with his passed out gf.
he beats naked man badly.
courts rule 20 years because he used a weapon- his feet. he almost killed the man.
dna finds naked man did rape unconscious gf.
he also paroled quickly.

courts are bound by sentencing guidelines but many are wide.... 2- 40 years.
both cases, who wouldn't help their buddy or be mad if your gf was raped? bottom line both men took things too far in the heat of the moment, and should have called the police. moral of the story, dial 911 then drop the phone and act.
reasonable and prudent aren't your definitions, but the courts... and in turn the communities.

most places have assault charges for general fights. some places have mutual combat laws.
the force must be in proportion to the the others... no weapon= no weapon. but in some states, to qualify for mutual combat, weapons and intent must be involved.

best to know the laws for the things you're involved in. like if you ride your bike a lot... find out if you're allowed to ride on the side walks. if you shoot targets, find out all applicable laws.

ignorance is not an excuse to break the law. but some places the courts and police are realistic, and will let folks handle their own business.
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 5/4/2013 10:57:32 AM
^ Not a bad post.

But I'll add that figuring what is an appropriate defense, versus lethal, is assuming that everyone is intellectually, emotionally, or physically capable of the ideal response, and all the same responses. In conflict, you often lose if you assume any rules of engagement - there is no such thing as a fair fight.
 billingsmason
Joined: 2/3/2012
Msg: 38
It is not the actions we take, but our reasons behind them!
Posted: 5/4/2013 4:08:56 PM
thanks...
what you say is also true.
that's why I tend to enjoy living in places that are more "realistic", like mt, nm, tx...basically the mutual combat states. the more yuppified places are less likely to understand a couple of good ol' boys having fun in the parking lot of the bar on saturday night. tho I do less of this the older I get, teeth are expensive.


no such thing as a fair fight...
hence the steak knife. if in doubt you can always drop it next to them and claim self defense.
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