E.C._Hopkins

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What Would You Do Without Morality?

"What would you do, if nothing were right?"

Scenario A
Unless I desired to try to live in a world where I knew nothing were right, I might die of mortal dehydration or mortal starvation, one of which might result from my inaction. After all, it takes more resources and bodily effort to live than it does to die. Then again, it might take more psychological effort to allow myself to die of inaction than it would take bodily effort to try to live. Or it might take more effort to try to not desire to live than it would to just try to live. But then again, my access to life-sustaining resources in Scenario A would influence how easy it would be for me to allow myself to die or to try to not to desire to live. I guess I would learn something about whether or how I'm wired or programmed in Scenario A. My wiring and my access to resources might influence what would be rational for a being like me in Scenario A.

Scenario B
If I desired to live in a world where I knew nothing were right and I knew I were the only one or one of a small minority of people who knew nothing were right, then I'd probably use my intellectual, physical, social, economic, technological, and geographical resources to try to live as happily as I could. I might need to use my resources to try to get more resources in order to live as happily as I could. I might not. It would depend on my starting resources as well as the amplitude and nature of my desires relative to others' desires I suppose. My desires and actions in Scenario B might be very similar to my desires and actions in the world I believe I am in now. I believe I'm happiest when others around me are as happy as they can be without acting in ways that would make me less happy and I believe I make others around me as happy as they can be without acting in ways that would make me less happy when I act in ways that make me as happy as I can be without acting in ways that would make others around me less happy. (Whew, try reading that last sentence five times fast.)

Scenario C
If I desired to live in a world where I knew nothing were right and I knew everyone or almost everyone in that world knew nothing were right, then I'd probably live as long as my intelligence level, physical attributes, physical comfort, resources, and good fortune relative to the others with whom I would live would allow me to. I'd still try to live as happily as I could, but I suspect my maximum happiness level would be lower than it would be in Scenario B. And if my maximum happiness level got low enough, then I'd probably not desire to live enough to keep myself alive. I suspect in Scenario C there would be a few rulers, their courtiers or officers, their slaves, and as much warfare as it would take to divide up control over the world's resources so that the world's rulers would each be satiated by the resources they controlled and would not feel threatened by other rulers. Also, the world's rulers would likely try to ensure that a sufficient number or proportion of their slaves maintained desires to live and that all their courtiers or officers would not grow strong or brave enough to try to overthrow them.