Why do YOU have principles?

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Why do YOU have principles?

#1  Postby igorfrankensteen » Aug 22, 2015 3:55 pm

This is a more subtle question than it might first appear to be.

First if all, before anyone tries to play the "I have no principles" trick, everyone has principles, even if they claim t have the principle that there ARE no principles.

Anyway: what I'm asking this for, is to get to the varied motivations people have for developing, establishing, and then promoting life principles.

It's far from straightforward, in many cases. Many people start out as small children, and eagerly grab at what they think they understand the "rules" are, in order to avoid punishments and gain treats. Eventually, whatever they assemble using that somewhat haphazard process, becomes the "principles" they try to live by.

Many others, notice that when something is declared to BE a "principle," that it can come to have more authority, and allow them to tell others around them how to live. So they might at least claim to support a principle, only because it lets them push other people around, without ever bothering to apply the standards to them selves.

The main reason I am posting the question and making it personal, is that I have found that many people have never directly and consciously taken personal responsibility for all that they think they believe in. And it is this unconscious disconnect between a person's principles and their own lives, which leads to a ton of the most fundamental and enduring relationship problems of all kinds, for all of us.

So. Do you know why YOU have principles?
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#2  Postby mindhack » Aug 22, 2015 4:50 pm

My single most important principle I think of immediately is the belief we need eachother. So much so that any perceived differences look very meek in comparison, to me.

To me cooperation is all what stands between decent living and total chaos.

Not sure why I have this principle but I live by it - and it works for me, I guess


I'm a non-political teamplayer often finding myself in a position of intermediating between polarized elements of some sort of social turmoil.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#3  Postby TopCat » Aug 22, 2015 8:57 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:Do you know why YOU have principles?

igorfrankensteen wrote:in order to avoid punishments and gain treats.

You answered your own question.

We have more sophisticated punishments and treats than a four year old. That's the difference.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#4  Postby Fallible » Aug 22, 2015 9:20 pm

Yep, basically that. And I'd say this is true for just about everyone, just like I'd say it's true for everyone (and related) that everything they do they do for their own benefit, even when it looks like it's for someone else's benefit.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#5  Postby monkeyboy » Aug 22, 2015 10:22 pm

Fallible wrote:Yep, basically that. And I'd say this is true for just about everyone, just like I'd say it's true for everyone (and related) that everything they do they do for their own benefit, even when it looks like it's for someone else's benefit.

Wholeheartedly agree.
Example, I despise bullying. I will challenge bullying when I see it, regardless of who is involved and where I see it. It could be seen as a noble and altruistic act. Fact is, it makes me feel good. I enjoy seeing the underdog relieved of some shit. I enjoy the challenge with the bully be it a battle of wits or anything more serious. Bottom line, I couldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it at least a bit.
The Bible is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#6  Postby Macdoc » Aug 23, 2015 12:29 am

I think there is a spectrum of behaviours that only on reflection turn into principles.

Many experiments show pre verbal kids helpful....ie if you drop something they pick it up and hand it back.

Much of this is innate to our primate genetics - some will be greedy and survive, some will be generous and the tribe will survive....some will be generous in a lost cause and no one will survive....

I think you can only claim principles once your own behaviour is subject to self analysis and compared to others. I think society provides input to that but despite trying, does not determine it. ( FAS kids are a fascinating and sad example ).

Rigid displine, school, military will try and establish a set of principles for a successful member of that group but some will not accept this and get drummed out, others will find it coincides with their worldview and embrace it.

In both cases I think slef reflection is necessary before you can claim principled behaviour. Not going to war, going to war....both principled.

Most I think experience this as they diverge from parental insistence or guidance and establish their own patterns of behaviour sometimes quite divergent from the parents and/or the peer group.

Later in school as we are exposed to the wider world and methods of thought /action that appeal or disgust .....we start that reflective process.....navel gazing.

I'm just part way through John Adams ...if ever a man of principle he was as was his amazing wife. Through out their lives they analysed themselves and others actively and kept to their New England bred principles even as president, thrift, action on behalf of others and honorable behaviour.

Despite his incredible success as a major player in the founding of America and it's ongoing survival....he remained self critical and full of doubt.

To be principled, I think you have to think about it and be tested........seems the abstinence before marriage crowd doens't quite cut it ;)
They may have thought about it....but when the heat of passion is on ..principles are lost.

••••

And I'd say this is true for just about everyone, just like I'd say it's true for everyone (and related) that everything they do they do for their own benefit, even when it looks like it's for someone else's benefit.


I concur that all apparently selfless acts are chosen and so fulfill the desire of the one making the sacrifice.
There will be a spectrum of humans, some will willingly risk death or injury for others, others will not.
I'm not sure that it's so much principle as nature. There is rarely time to reflect - some act - some don't.
( those guys on the train I don't think thought about it....they acted ).

Is that principle....don't think so. Reinforcement of that action through their training may have a play but no matter what the training, some will act quickly without thought and others will hang back.

One reason I admire firemen, I do think they are highly principled in risking themselves for others and cannot help but be reflective on it.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#7  Postby pelfdaddy » Aug 23, 2015 12:55 am

Firemen start a lot of fires.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#8  Postby zulumoose » Aug 23, 2015 4:48 am

I would say that principles are the result of observation of our community and the world around us as we grow up and the establishment of a self image in relation to that. Our morality is instilled not by force or reward, but by how we see ourselves fitting in against the examples set by our most important observed influences, such as parents and peers.

this explains a lot. The well off upper middle class see themselves as moral because they grew up in a situation where they could afford morality, it was easily attainable and not tested. The poor have criminals in the family, understand peers turning to crime or becoming violent in response to stresses, it is more difficult to rigidly fix lofty principles as a mind-set.

Simlistically you have the situation where the well off population are more left leaning, moral, but have an unrealistic view of others as they believe others share the same morality deep down. In reality others have, to some degree, the morality they can afford to make sense of the world they live in.

This is where the extreme ideas of the "noble savage" sort of attitude come from, where the underdog is viewed as moral BECAUSE they are the underdog, who SHOULD be worthy of support, yet in reality the most moral people would be far less sympathetic if they were in tune with the actual morality of those most in need of assistance.

In the U.S. this is to some extent turned on its head, as the republican views seem to be a reversal of the well off = more left leaning norm.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#9  Postby Animavore » Aug 23, 2015 8:37 am

I could try the circular; I have principles on principle.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#10  Postby John Platko » Oct 13, 2015 3:07 pm

I have principles because rules don't work and neither does complete randomness.
I like to imagine ...
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#11  Postby laklak » Oct 13, 2015 6:48 pm

I learned to stand up for my principal and then sit down on my own chair.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. - Mark Twain
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! - Chicken Little
I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that - Oscar Wilde
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#12  Postby igorfrankensteen » Oct 14, 2015 2:05 am

When I was ultra young, as most people I suspect, I understood "principles" as a set of regulations to be learned in order to earn things or to keep from being punished.

My next stage, was graduating to trying to use my understanding of social rules, to exert control over others for my own sake (I was extremely bad at this stage, for various reasons).

I then moved on to what could be called the "adopt principles in order to gain acceptance of peers" stage, which was the most extremely unpleasant portion of my life to date.

It was only after passing through that stage completely, that I finally recognized what real principles are (i.e. exclusively personal life guidelines designed to make me feel okay about myself, which have absolutely nothing to do with how anyone else conducts their lives).

The reason I call these "real" principles, is because like "principles" in science, they remain the same within me, whether anyone else observes or cooperates with me about them or not.

That is more what I was going for in this thread. Lots of technical grown-ups in the world CLAIM to have various principles, but then they only follow them when it to their benefit to do so. I find it useful to recognize this in others, and to correct their labeling. "Principles" which change or are set aside when inconvenient or when other opportunities require they be ignored, aren't "principles," they are more like "tactics."
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#13  Postby Fallible » Oct 14, 2015 7:51 am

There's no difference between you following your principles and people who you say only follow theirs when it is to their benefit to do so - you say yourself that you hold the principles you do in order to feel okay about yourself. You want to feel okay about yourself because it is to your benefit. Therefore if you found that one of your principles no longer helped you feel okay about yourself, you would set it aside too.
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If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby's gonna blow
Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces, don't you know,
Just like my favourite scene in Scanners .
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#14  Postby igorfrankensteen » Oct 17, 2015 4:56 pm

I clearly didn't describe things well enough there.

The fact that something pleases me, is NOT what makes it a principle. The fact that I adhere to it whether I am pleased about it or not, is what makes it so. You have backwards, what I was stumblingly trying to say.

So your accusation is false, or at least a misrepresentation of how "pleased with yourself" means a very different thing to me, than it does to unprincipled people. I have made adjustments to how I described my principles, when I have discovered that my description of them was inaccurate relative to what I actually believed. I have never set them aside for the sake of personal gratification, or denied them temporarily, or made up excuses for why it's okay to ignore them.

It is perhaps a subtle distinction, which I know that a lot of people willfully refuse to make. Especially if they want to excuse their own failure to follow their own claimed principles. But it is a very real distinction, nevertheless.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#15  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Oct 18, 2015 2:33 am

I see a lot of Principals at teacher conferences.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#16  Postby zoon » Oct 18, 2015 3:56 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:I clearly didn't describe things well enough there.

The fact that something pleases me, is NOT what makes it a principle. The fact that I adhere to it whether I am pleased about it or not, is what makes it so. You have backwards, what I was stumblingly trying to say.

So your accusation is false, or at least a misrepresentation of how "pleased with yourself" means a very different thing to me, than it does to unprincipled people. I have made adjustments to how I described my principles, when I have discovered that my description of them was inaccurate relative to what I actually believed. I have never set them aside for the sake of personal gratification, or denied them temporarily, or made up excuses for why it's okay to ignore them.

It is perhaps a subtle distinction, which I know that a lot of people willfully refuse to make. Especially if they want to excuse their own failure to follow their own claimed principles. But it is a very real distinction, nevertheless.

You said in post 12 above that your principles "have absolutely nothing to do with how anyone else conducts their lives", but in this post you seem to be judging other people on how they manage their principles?

It does seem to me that principles are essentially social, a part of the way we've evolved to operate in effective groups. I suspect that everybody making up their own principles is rather like everybody making up their own language, it defeats the point of the exercise. The problem as I see it is that we've evolved to be most comfortable thinking of principles as having an independent existence, which science has shown fairly conclusively they don't, so we flounder when trying to argue what principles a group should impose on its members. About the only starting point is that we have to cooperate or die, which these days means global cooperation. I also suspect that humans have been arguing about principles since language evolved, there's always been ongoing tension between individual or sub-group competitiveness and the need to set it aside for group cohesion.
?
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#17  Postby Fallible » Oct 18, 2015 8:22 am

DP
Last edited by Fallible on Oct 18, 2015 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
John Grant wrote:They say 'let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go'.
If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby's gonna blow
Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces, don't you know,
Just like my favourite scene in Scanners .
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#18  Postby Fallible » Oct 18, 2015 8:31 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:I clearly didn't describe things well enough there.

The fact that something pleases me, is NOT what makes it a principle. The fact that I adhere to it whether I am pleased about it or not, is what makes it so.


And why do you adhere to it whether you are pleased about it or not, igorfrankensteen?

You have backwards, what I was stumblingly trying to say.

So your accusation is false, or at least a misrepresentation of how "pleased with yourself" means a very different thing to me, than it does to unprincipled people.


Could you dial it back a bit? I haven't accused you of anything, nor have I misrepresented you. I used your own terms from the post you made.You said your principles are designed to make you feel okay about yourself. These are the exact words you used. I certainly didn't use the phrase "pleased with yourself", so I was unsure for a moment whether you were actually talking to me at all.

I have made adjustments to how I described my principles, when I have discovered that my description of them was inaccurate relative to what I actually believed. I have never set them aside for the sake of personal gratification, or denied them temporarily, or made up excuses for why it's okay to ignore them.


And why have you made adjustments when you have discovered that your description was inaccurate relative to what you actually believed, igorfrankensteen?

Set aside, make adjustments - it doesn't really matter. You change them for a better fit. And the fit is better because? A clue here is that that doesn't make you feel worse.

It is perhaps a subtle distinction, which I know that a lot of people willfully refuse to make. Especially if they want to excuse their own failure to follow their own claimed principles. But it is a very real distinction, nevertheless.


It may be, but it doesn't actually counter what I said, since the part I am arguing with remains unchanged - that your principles are designed to make you feel okay about yourself.
John Grant wrote:They say 'let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go'.
If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby's gonna blow
Into a million itsy bitsy tiny pieces, don't you know,
Just like my favourite scene in Scanners .
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#19  Postby surreptitious57 » Oct 18, 2015 4:19 pm

I have what may be regarded as pseudo principles. These are real principles in their own right but ones which I my
self will never put into practice the second it comes to impacting on my own freedom. I make the excuse that I am
older and wiser and more at peace with the world but that is just a nice way of saying I am I entirely spineless. The
only saving grace is that I recognise my self for the moral coward I am. So I hope I am never in the situation of being
able to save someones life for I would just walk past and do nothing as in the Good Samaritan. Now if Jesus ever met
me he would have nothing but contempt for me because that parable is me to a tee. I should be stronger but I am not
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#20  Postby igorfrankensteen » Oct 18, 2015 8:54 pm

Fallible wrote:

it doesn't actually counter what I said, since the part I am arguing with remains unchanged - that your principles are designed to make you feel okay about yourself.


I find you to be playing an ingenious game with this insistence. I believe you are quite capable of recognizing that being pleased ABOUT something is not the same thing as being pleased, BEING the something.

By the game you are playing, EVERYTHING that anyone does, no matter what, qualifies as "doing this because it pleases." Therefore there IS no such thing as principles whatsoever. No religion. Nothing but people pleasing themselves.
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