The train morality problem

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Jhana4
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby Jhana4 » Tue May 31, 2011 1:44 am

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

alan
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby alan » Tue May 31, 2011 1:58 am

J4, good idea--but you might want to read through the topic before posting.
As for the mind not being clear in such situations: that is the point of logical exercises. They force you to clarify your positions.

Jhana4
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby Jhana4 » Tue May 31, 2011 3:02 am

I wasn't writing about having a clear mind and a clear decision, I was writing about having a clean conscience despite having a clear mind as well as a clear decision.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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octathlon
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby octathlon » Tue May 31, 2011 3:13 am


alan
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby alan » Tue May 31, 2011 3:23 am

It's so pleasing when someone gets the joke!

J4: not a joke. You said "..reasoning is never emotionally clean where stuff like that is involved". But that does not square with your comment.

plwk
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby plwk » Tue May 31, 2011 3:36 am

Let's see...5 Buddhist Forum Mods and one typical poster....obvious? :tongue:

alan
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby alan » Tue May 31, 2011 3:44 am

Only obvious thing I can see is lack of logic. Or indifference towards it's use.

chownah
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby chownah » Tue May 31, 2011 4:38 am


alan
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby alan » Tue May 31, 2011 4:51 am

Or, you may be completely full of ****. That is also a possibility.
Last edited by retrofuturist on Tue May 31, 2011 4:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: expletive removed

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retrofuturist
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 31, 2011 4:55 am

:focus:

:rules:
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Kim OHara
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby Kim OHara » Tue May 31, 2011 10:34 am

There's a terrific short story by Ursula Le Guin, 'The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas", which deals with the same kind of choices as discussed here.
Read it if you can. If not, you can read about it here: .
:namaste:
Kim

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Jason
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby Jason » Tue May 31, 2011 11:10 am

Last edited by Jason on Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

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daverupa
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby daverupa » Tue May 31, 2011 11:20 am

Buddha's solution is probably hitting the switch, thereby diverting the car closer to him on its way to the lone innocent.

Then he'd step into the path of the trolley and manifest earth kasina and stop that trolley dead in its tracks.

Crisis averted.

chownah
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby chownah » Tue May 31, 2011 1:24 pm

Regardless of whether you flip the switch or not you could put some coins on the railroad tracks and when the train runs over them it will smash them really flat and its really cool.
chownah

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octathlon
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby octathlon » Tue May 31, 2011 5:00 pm


alan
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby alan » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:38 am

Hi Jason
The problems you've encountered expressing yourself in what should be an easily solvable situation remind me why I advocate a rationalist utilitarian position in these matters.

chownah
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby chownah » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:22 am

What if you flipped the switch to save the five and then having already flipped it you realize that by some unexplainable mechanism you would die too along with the one person....but there is still time to flip the switch back so the five will die but you and the one person would not die,,,,,would you flip the switch back and cause the death of the five to save yourself and the one person?

chownah

nameless
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby nameless » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:44 pm

So we evaluate human lives
5 unrelated people's lives are more important than 1 unrelated person
1 related person is more important than 5 unrelated
1 Dalai Lama/Einstein is more important than 5 convicts

Yet we fail to realize that it is just our conceited view that "x is more important than y because I say so". Then we engage in conflict with people who disagree. There will be some people who feel x is more important, whatever x is, and others who feel that y is. Their differences are just differences in their conditioning.

An opinion is just a collection of conditions, including this opinion that I am expressing. There is nothing special or important about it, it is just something that arose based on my genes, upbringing, education, interactions with people etc. If I don't think it's special or important why am I saying it? Again conditioning that drives a desire to express my thoughts.

alan
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby alan » Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:45 am

Wrong. Opinions can be based on rational thought. Your view is fatalist, which the Buddha rejected.

chownah
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Re: The train morality problem

Postby chownah » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:37 am

You might be right but you might be mistaken.....rational thought can be based on opinion....and if just substitute "views" for "opinions" we can get entirely different perspective on what nameless has posted....I think....at least I can....
chownah


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