X-Message-Number: 3786
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 1995 01:34:20 -0500 (EST)
From: Andro <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #3771 - #3775

In message 3771, Robert Ettinger solicited comments on "ought" and using
"feel-good" to determine appropriate action.

"If it feels good, do it" has been popularized in a very superficial way, 
but it doesn't necessarily mean "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we etc" 
:-)    If the end result of excessive eating is sickness or obesity, that 
feeling bad needs to be added in with the immediate feeling good.  
Similarly, committing a crime that leads to less happiness (through 
guilt, or social sanctions, or less fulfilling lifestyle/paths) needs to 
have the long-term inner impact added in against the short-term joy, gain,
lust, kick, or emotional release of the crime itself.

"Feel-good", at the deepest level, is the only touchstone that I 
recognize to personal meaning, fulfillment, and joy.  It is not 
necessarily altruistic, selfless, hard-working, or compassionate - though 
it often is; whether the "virtues" come from the ground of reality, or 
from our socialization in utero and in childhood, I look forward to 
Science continuing to explore and debate for a long time.

So any meditation, whether Christian, Buddhist, TM, or just reflecting 
while digging the garden or washing the dishes, is very useful in getting 
in touch with one's deeper needs and satisfactions.  Other useful 
qualities in this sense are the ability to question one's motives and 
those of one's society; the inner security to leave any situation (work, 
family, country, anything) if one suspects there is a better/truer answer 
elsewhere; the humor and patience to come back if the grass was no 
greener on the other side; the rashness to try anything that seems it 
might be more fulfilling; the care not to make irrevocable decisions....

Most people who commit criminal or antisocial acts are not happy.  I do 
not blame them for following the only paths they are familiar/comfortable 
with, but I pity their lack of insight.  

Nietzsche, in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", talks of the Three Evil Things:
"Sensual pleasure, lust for power, selfishness: these three have hitherto 
been cursed the most and held in the worst and most unjust repute - these 
three will I weigh well and humanly."  He argues that mental health comes 
from getting in touch with one's inner drives, and learning to use, 
rather than deny, them.  (Not that it did *him* much good, especially in 
his day and age, of course :-)

The dichotomy in such an inner-exploratory approach to life comes when 
one's path of exploration leads to the direct hard of others.  
Raskolnikov, in Crime and Punishment, exemplifies this.  He kills, 
largely to follow his train of thought through to a conclusion in 
reality.  I never used to find Dostoevsky's ending (punishment, 
repentance, and the prospect of joy) either realistic or admirable, but I 
am not so sure now.

Two other quotations leap haphazardly to mind:

"This above all, to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."  (which is a bit double-edged 
of Shakespeare, because Polonius is such an old windbag.)


"First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see 
clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

Or through the ages
"Know thyself".

Always optimistically, and always with gratitude and respect to Robert 


Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=3786