Bluejay: I would like to apologize. I never go into debates with the intention of personally offending anyone, and I hope that you don't either. I let my offense to your previous statement toward homosexuals take over my thoughts, and so I jumped to the "hatred" conclusion, when I know that that is not necessarily the case. For that I'm sorry, I never meant to offend you, and I hope that your offense won't prevent you from reading my argument.
I've written two messages to you, and in that time you've managed to turn "there are multiple motivations" into "motivation is not required"...
You misinterpret what I was trying to say here. I was trying to say that if someone were to say "I'm going to do a good deed for the hell of it," it would be the equivalent of saying "I think I'll go outside, spin 3 times, suck on a rock for a bit, then place it back on the ground." What I'm saying is that there must be a motivation for an act. That can only necessarily be one thing: the seeking of pleasure (subconsciously). I know you think there could be multiple motivations, but I'll explain why I don't think that could be the case (getting down to the nitty gritty of things):
Our brain has sensory input. That sensory input, as far as I know, can only be interpreted as "pleasure" or "pain", or "good" or "bad". This duality is fundamental. If something coming into our brains is interpreted as "good", we try to keep it that way. If something is interpreted as "bad", we try to right it, make it "good" (as interpreted by our own individual brains. In other words, avoid an aversive stimulus). Therefore if we interpret something out there as needing righting, we do a good deed, and make it "good" in our minds. The seeking of "goodness" is, and can be, the only motivation for doing an action of any sort. Our brain doesn't know of anything but itself, so it can only interpret something as bad, and try to make it good again. Decrease the amount of aversive stimuli, and/or increase the amount of appetitive stimuli.
Now, considering the possibility of another motivation other than making something "bad", "good" again. This other motivation would have to be some other force out there making the neurons in our brain fire and making us do a good deed, besides pain or pleasure. I can think of no such force, which is why I've been lead to this conclusion.
I'm glad you have the decency to respond this way. I have been worried sick all day that I handled this inappropriately, and it's good to see that it didn't do any lasting harm. It speaks volumes about your character.
And, I can see why you read my statement the way you did. I'm sorry.
What I'm saying is that there must be a motivation for an act. That can only necessarily be one thing: the seeking of pleasure (subconsciously). I know you think there could be multiple motivations, but...
Don't get me wrong: I largely agree that hedonism (despite the negative connotations of the term, it is the correct technical term: forgive me if it sounds too derogatory) is the primary cause for most human actions. However, I disagree with the principle that self-benefit must be the motive.
I do not benefit from promoting gay marriage. Because it still seems "icky" to me, you might say I am harmed more than benefited by promoting gay marriage (although claiming actual "harm" in this case would certainly be a bit petty of me). Yet, I uphold homosexuals' rights to marriage in debates because simple logic tells me that it is not my place to dictate someone else's conduct.
You could easily make the claim that I uphold civil rights to benefit myself by promoting a stable, equitable community. But, the simple fact is that I am merely beginning with a set of premises---
A. All humans should have the freedom to pursue their own happiness, so long as they do not, in the process, infringe upon the rights of others to pursue their happiness. B. Gay marriage does not infringe on the rights of others to pursue their happiness.
---and making a logical conclusion from there.
P.S. Gay marriage is a touchy subject at EvC that has resulted in a lot of suspensions and bannings, so it was a real gamble on my part to bring it up. I hope I don't drag all of that baggage into this thread by doing this.
I'm not sure if you can actually show that ALL good deeds are driven by some amount of subconscious intrinsic gain...
You're absolutely right, I can't. That, I'm pretty sure, is a definite weak point in my argument. However, I'd be hard pressed to find a counter example. I know that that of course doesn't prove my argument to be correct, though. I just thought it was interesting to point out (all that being said haha).
In any case, I'm going to pull out of this debate actively I think, unless you guys have anything more to say. I think any further talking would just be assertion, I've made all my points. It was really fun discussing this with you guys!