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Blue And Orange Morality / Real Life

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  • Contrary to what many would think, most non-human animals don't even have concepts of morality or empathy (or at least not in ways we think they do or in ways animals with more human like traits do). Those that do (apes, dolphins, elephants, wolves/dogs, etc.) tend to be absolutely incomprehensible to humans. For example dolphins will aid sick or injured creatures (even those not of their species) and have even been known to rescue humans from sharks, but the males are casual rapists (to the point that they'll sometimes beat baby dolphins to death to force the mother to mate) and some dolphins are sadists and brutally kill other animals for fun. How they reconcile such behavior is simply unknowable to humans. Of course, these aren't all the same individuals either. It's entirely possible some of them are just assholes.
    • One example of the vast differences in moralities and social norms between man and ape comes from an incident in 2007 when a gorilla named Bokito attacked a patron and went on a rampage at the Rotterdam zoo in the Netherlands. Leading up to the incident, the patron had been reported making direct eye contact and grinning at Bokito. While considered friendly and courteous among humans, apes such as gorillas perceive eye contact as a sign of aggression, and grinning as a sign of hostility.
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    • For human nature, cats can be seen as Ax-Crazy for their unbridled taste for killing and hunting for their own amusement (though we humans, at least the Egomaniac Hunters among us, are often not so different). Cats, meanwhile, seem to think of humans as big, weird-looking cats who don't know how to cat properly, or giant sadistic monsters who like to kick and torment the cats.
    • About wolves (and by extension, dogs), while they do possess empathy, they also have a morality that can be summed up as Asskicking Equals Authority. Pack members (well, those composed of captive wolves who aren't related to each other anyway), establish their rank in the hierarchy by actions such as forcing their peers to submission with a show of force or by rough play. While omega animals are often treated as the Butt Monkeys of the pack, sometimes used to distract a dangerous animal/human while the pack escapes, if rough play by a higher-ranked oversteps the bounds, he/she can be frozen out of the group. Still, higher-ranked animals will rarely resort to real violence when submitting peers, not desiring to actually hurt them, despite being willing to essentially humiliate them to establish their status.
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    • A very similar case with the dolphins are elephants. They are very intelligent creatures that possess empathy and exhibit complex emotions such as grief, but also vindictiveness. On one hand, it is not uncommon for herds to assist a single dying or wounded animal or to help a pregnant elephant with her childbirth. On the other hand, some elephants have been observed killing other animals for fun (usually done by adolescents) or indulging in necrophilia with corpses from their species and other animals' (mostly done by males in musth). They have also been documented showing an interest to the bones of their own species (no matter the fallen animals' herd) and to mourn their dead.
    • Birds. In some raptors the mother will lay two eggs and, especially when food is scarce, the strongest of the two hatchlings will kill and eat the smallest one with the parents not giving a damn. On the other hand is typical in some families as corvids that a couple will be mates for life and magpies are known to mourn their dead.
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    • And then there are rabbits: If a mother decides she doesn't have the resources to take care of her newborn bunnies, she will then devour the entire litter and then act like her children never existed in the first place. Then again, they are famous as an Explosive Breeder, so they definitely wouldn't have quite the same concept of death as humans.
      • This one makes sense from a survival/evolutionary standpoint. If the mother dies of starvation, the babies will die regardless. By eating the babies, the mother increases her chances to survive and produce another litter later, thus ensuring that her genes eventually get passed on.
    • For a more general example, amongst humans, cannibalism is considered a major taboo, yet many animals, from sharks to spiders and alligators, have no qualms with eating their own kind. As pointed out in Ape Shall Never Kill Ape, humans are the only beings that feel any remorse in killing/eating each other.
      • Of course, while this is the case with most modern humans, archeological evidence shows that many of our ancestors were less squeamish about eating their own species, and there are still several modern groups that continue the practice for various reasons, indicating that viewing cannibalism as a taboo is a rather recent development.
  • People with certain kinds of psychological disorders and conditions:
    • Functional sociopaths, psychopaths, and narcissists tend to develop a morality along these lines, albeit usually self-serving. Some of these are usually considered amoral, or seem to lack recognition of morality; however there are people like this who hate things that are absolutely normal, accept things that most people disdain, and judge other people by things that are usually not associated with morality. It mainly revolves around being shown what they believe is the proper respect due them.
    • Several thoughts on hedonism also fit into this category. Especially ones that will include risk and conflict as important parts of their happiness. Such thoughts were famously parodied in Brave New World but remain a stagnant point as wanting to make the world "happy and fun" may not exactly make it "right and safe".
    • While not quite to the extreme of 'bacon and necktie', some autistic people claim that things seem to be this way, whether they want to think like that or not. While neurotypical people think about a topic one way, the autistic person has an unwavering alternative view on it, which is often rebuked equally unwaveringly by neurotypical people. This can be a distressing problem and a source of considerable conflict and, eventually, depression. Imagine a world where everything is just wrong, but everything and everyone around you thinks that's not true. Conversely, to neurotypical people, autistic people have blue and orange morality, because again, they often view subjects and topics in a way that seem utterly inhuman to ordinary humans.
  • The paperclip maximizer is a thought experiment on artificial intelligence that could result in our doom because of lack of compatible morality.
    a paperclip maximizer is an artificial general intelligence (AGI) whose goal is to maximize the number of paperclips in its collection. If it has been constructed with a roughly human level of general intelligence, the AGI might collect paperclips, earn money to buy paperclips, or begin to manufacture paperclips. [..] It would work to improve its own intelligence, where "intelligence" is understood in the sense of optimization power, the ability to maximize a reward/utility function—in this case, the number of paperclips. [..] It would innovate better and better techniques to maximize the number of paperclips. At some point, it might convert most of the matter in the solar system into paperclips. This may seem more like super-stupidity than super-intelligence. For humans, it would indeed be stupidity, as it would constitute failure to fulfill many of our important terminal values, such as life, love, and variety. The AGI won't revise or otherwise change its goals, since changing its goals would result in fewer paperclips being made in the future
  • The value of human life, while considered fundamental to most modern moral codes, has varied wildly within different cultures throughout history. In some groups, the lives of your own tribe are considered sacrosanct, but killing outsiders is shrugged at. In others, violence between adults is almost unheard of, but infants can be killed more or less at will (to the point where people will casually talk about killing a baby that was making too much noise). In each of these cultures, their own moral code seems self-evident, to the point where they're perplexed that outsiders disagree.
    • Most societies follow some variation of "don't kill without good reason", (since any society that actually let all members kill without good reason would go extinct very quickly) but differ *greatly* on what constitutes a "good reason". To some, self-defense (or protection of others) is the only valid reason. Others allow (or even mandate) killing for vengeance, or to answer a grave insult. Still others considered "they annoyed me" or "I'm stronger than them" or “I’m an aristocrat and they are not” to be good enough reasons.
    • An egregious example of this phenomenon was the Aztec Empire, whose values system has been considered alien not only by contemporary audiences and the Spanish conquistadores, but also the neighbouring peoples of Mesoamerica. Balance and stability in an unstable world became the ultimate value and the main focus of morality for the Aztecs, in place of a typical good-evil axis. Human Sacrifice simply reflects this, being a way to maintain this balance by providing the gods, who themselves keep the world up and running, with nourishment. On one hand, Aztec society was surprisingly progressive for its time, with proper irrigation and sanitation systems and cities that were much cleaner than many contemporary cities of the Old World, and comparatively fair treatment of slaves, among others. On the other hand, Aztecs were known to wage entire wars by manipulating vassals to revolt and allow Aztec warriors to acquire sacrificial victims from hapless populations. Being sacrificed in various, ahem, creative ways was considered an honor and a surefire way to reach the Aztec version of heaven, being considered a way to pay for humanity's debt to the gods. It hardly mattered how morally you lived, but how you died. This was reflected to their pantheon as well, with gods that would selflessly sacrifice themselves so that the universe can keep existing, yet also willing to smite mortals with various calamities while keeping grudges against fellow gods, often resulting in the destruction of the world.
  • The value of other animal lives also varies within and among cultures. It's taboo to kill and eat some animals, while permissible for others. Some people consider it immoral to eat animals at all, while others have no problem with it. As with the permissibility of killing humans, the moral codes of killing non-human animals seem self-evident to individuals and they can't seem to understand why anyone might object to them.
  • Noam Chomsky, after his famous debate with Michel Foucault, had this reaction to Foucault's rejection of the notion of an innate human nature, calling him "completely amoral," despite personally liking Foucault. "It's as if he was from a different species, or something," Chomsky said.
  • The belief, commonly erroneously referred to as "karma", that good things happen to good people and bad unto evil people often justified plenty of horrid wars, rape, murder, genocide, mass killings, etc., throughout human history. It's easy to disregard a screaming woman that your fellow soldiers are raping while you gut her husband and brothers in the middle of a war zone if the accepted belief is that they're evil people, and if they were good people God would not have made it so that they became your victims.
"I am the wrath of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you"
  • As opposed to traditional morality seeing altruism as a positive, Objectivism-based morality sees altruism as a negative.
  • The fact that we have morality is Blue and Orange compared to the rest of nature. Most other species strictly follow the Four Fs of Nature, Feast, Fight, Flee, and F&*k. While most animals are either True Neutral or Chaotic Neutral by our standards, our standards are absolutely alien to the rest of the world.
  • Two of the major schools of ethics, deontology and consequentialism, seem like this to each other. Deontology considers an action moral if a person is doing something out of duty, even if it has a bad result. Consequentialism, of which utilitarianism the best known variant, would hold the opposite, that an action can be moral if done with evil intent if it has a good outcome, as consequentialism is all about the consequences of an action.
  • The Mafiya and its adjacent social circles employ a morality where the main axis is "(not) according to ponyatiya", a term roughly translated as "concepts". Ponyatiya are a somewhat vague and changing code of unwritten rules revolving around the notions of honor and purity and the informal caste system within Russian prisons. To cite some examples:
    • Theft is honorable, unless it's from fellow criminals, in which case it's punishable by death.
    • Personal disputes should, if necessary, be resolved using violence, so manslaughter and murder aren't wrong, including among fellow criminals. Involving authorities to resolve disputes, on the other hand, is highly deplorable.
    • While it is perfectly acceptable to steal from children, sexual violence against them can easily get the convict killed in prison. Against adults, it might be ok depending on the circumstances.
    • Prison is a place of hardship where honorable fellows are being sent by vile district attorneys and judges for having done nothing wrong; at the same time, prison is a school of life which a respected career criminal must have attended at some point. Many terms do not constitute a failure; instead, it's a mark of a daring and fearless thief.
    • The lowest caste, petukhi ("roosters"), are considered impure, and everything that a petukh touches becomes tainted. A man can be cast down to this caste either for a serious offense of ponyatiya, or for doing something impure. This includes seemingly minor violations, such as having done a cunnilingus at any time in life. Casting down is always permanent, you can never rise up from that caste.
    • Ascending to a vor v zakone, the highest caste, puts additional requirements to your CV: You must not be currently married, must never have served in the military or worked a service job such as a waiter or a janitor, and you must have had at least one prison term, more are better.
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