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/chat/ - Value of Life
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97029 No. 97029 watch
So what do you think about the value of life, Lunachan? The value of humans -- the young, the unborn, violent criminals, elderly, and those who want to not be alive. What about animals, plants, and bacteria? What about computer systems -- could they ever be considered valuable as life?

When is it OK to kill? When is it not? How do you make sense of it all?
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No. 97030
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hello flower! :)

im not sure about computer systems. but the others seem to be values of life
No. 97031
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I like to think I value all of it....
However, any vegetarian or vegan would quickly point out that I value it unless it's tasty, which would be a fair point. I prefer not to think about it to be honest!

Hypothetically if a computer life form was obviously sentient it'd be of equal value to other sentient beings. Star Trek TNG's "Measure of a man" comes to mind here.

Plants and bacteria don't really concern me.

I have no idea how we make sense of it all - it's one of those "ignorance is bliss" kind of things!
Though I think we get gradually better through a leaky conscience..
No. 97070
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Hi, Mikie Pie! Yeah, we would need a more objective definition of life to really be able to determine what is alive beyond what we "feel" is alive. Probably finding consensus on that will take awhile.
No. 97075
I like life.
No. 97080
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>I value it unless it's tasty,
I have a bit of that point of view, too.

Today I learned there was a sect in the Hindu/Buddist family of religions that sought to not do violence to any life form. Their highest goal was to sort of starve themselves to death as they stopped eating even plants. But I'm not sure that's for me. But there's a truth in the idea that to live is to prevent something else from being, and it's hard to make sense of that.

>Star Trek TNG's "Measure of a man" comes to mind here.
I should re-watch that sometime. :)

>Though I think we get gradually better through a leaky conscience..
What do you mean by that?
No. 97098
Yeah, I think I'll take surviving over such laudable morality!

Great episode, one of my favourites.

I don't know. I'm terrible at putting thoughts into words :P I think I meant that we as a whole find that our conscience/"humanity" gets gradually better as we go along over a very long period of time. One day we'll probably all be vegetarian, find some way of living without doing harm to most other life (apart from the obvious plants, insects, bacteria etc) and look back and think "wow we used to be quite horrific" but that it's not something that will ever happen overnight
No. 97191
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>Yeah, I think I'll take surviving over such laudable morality!
That's the spirit! I like to think "right" and "personally beneficial" are similar (at least up to a point of excess, anyway).

>I don't know. I'm terrible at putting thoughts into words :P

I don't think you are. When I'm in the mood to talk, I'm usually socratic. I ask people questions even when I probably understand myself.

>"humanity" gets gradually better
I see. So perhaps our freedom to try out more ethical possibilities will increase as the previous improvements become habit. A bit like the scientific process. :)
No. 97194
Ooh, depends - a lot of people do things that are personally beneficial to them that are not right
Think I get what you're saying though!

I see, that explains a few things ^^

Exactly, yeah. Just to run with the vegetarianism example for a bit, I've noticed that Quorn has diversified heavily recently and become more popular. Personally, I'm not ready to give up bacon or steak yet even though that's at odds with how I feel about animals (we're an oddly hypocritical bunch, us humans, aren't we :p Again I have known some vegans who may have eagerly pointed that out) but it's progress: for example I rarely bother with real chicken or mince any more. So.. that's some lives saved maybe!
I think in time meat substitutes, or maybe lab grown meat, will become really good if not in our lifetimes then in a generation or two. The question is, once we've collectively elevated ourselves above our more overtly carnivorous roots, how permanent will that be? If one day the thought of killing animals for nicer meals is more widely considered barbaric, but let's say meat substitutes were found to be a huge cause of cancer, I wonder how we would react? It might help that by then there will be better options that aren't just substitutes - currently, veg(etari)ans kind of get the short end of the stick in most places since they're a minority.
No. 97197
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I think that depends on your definition of "life".
Plants, animals (not including humans), even fungal species and eukaryotic organisms. All of those are living things.

But it sounds like you're referring to the life of a sapient creature. From an evolutionary perspective, you could argue that our minds and our sapience is nothing more than the complex "upgrades" from non-sapient creatures. Like a dog. It has senses an can think for itself. But can it understand rationality, or reason on a basic level? As far as we can tell, it can't, so it isn't sapient.

Back to the complexity, it would seem that all of our senses and our nervous system are just electrical and chemical signals flowing through our nerves. Back to dogs, their nervous system works in the same way. But through our evolution, our nervous system has changed so much that we can reason, and have rationality, in a sense. Because of that, from the beginning of mankind, we didn't understand how this worked, so we just assumed that we were special, that we were completely separate from the other animals.

But are we? If all of this is true or at least close even a little, it would seem the soul doesn't exist. So what is the value of life then? Or how about the meaning or purpose of life? I don't think life has any inherent meaning or purpose. We ourselves define the two, simply because we can.

I've suffered from depression before, but after losing my faith in God, I didn't really feel this way, after coming to grips with it, because of the above. It doesn't matter. There is no meaning of life, except what we design for ourselves.

Of course, I could just be spouting bullshit and talking out my ass.
No. 97228
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I think you may mean sentient
>There is no meaning of life
I hold the same view actually, and don't see it as a bad thing
No. 97249
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As I understand it, there's a difference between sentient and sapient. "Sentience" simply means that a creature has consciousness. Sapience is the ability to have reason
No. 97260
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Oh wow... That was... Something must have gotten in my eye.
I'm glad you posted this, and I'm glad I read it.
No. 97268
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Ah... I stand corrected! (As does Star Trek, I think!)

I'm glad it served a purpose. I liked it as her world view is similar to mine
No. 97290
If someone commits to voluntary euthanasia from reasons like a terminal disease.
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