Forrest Landry and Daniel Schmachtenberger

Morality vs Ethics

  • What differentiates morals from ethics?
    • Moral looks like context specific rules (e.g. 10 commandments)
    • Ethics is expressed in general principles, from which morals can be derived (e.g. “Treat others as you’d like to be treated”)
      • Principles are more general and abstract but can be translated into any context
      • Principles can help us devise and update rules as the environment changes

Objective, Existing or Real?


  • Exists: Content/context relationship

  • Objective: measurable by more than one person (intersubjective)

  • Real: Subject object relationship/interaction (capacity to sense)

    • Choice and ethics rely on what’s real more than what’s objective (?)
    • Not necessarily looking at what’s repeatable, but unique situation

Symmetry & Continuity


  • Sameness of content, difference of context (water bottle has same amount of water before and after you drive it to a friends’ house… conservation law)
  • Scientific laws are formulated around the concept of symmetry, using the = sign
    • Allows to predict the future in some situations
      • Not useful for subjective problems/questions
      • Doesn’t allow us to know what is better


  • Sameness of content, sameness of context (concept of no abrupt shifts)
    • Useful for subjective perspectives
    • Inner subjective experience has a continuity (I feel the same person as I was yesterday)
      • Neuroscience takes a third person (symmetry) perspective on subjective experience, not a good proxy for the first person perspective


  • Symmetry concepts dominated the discussion because external phenomena are easier to see

    • Many of our ingrained assumptions are based on symmetry
  • Today’s problems require a different approach to deal with them

  • Utilitarian ethics is dominating the discussion using the concept of optimization, not accounting that the context is continuously changing (what worked in the past won’t necessarily work)

    • 2 contexts we should take into account: The world, the subjective (previous experiences, choices, values)
  • choice-making more as a search problem, than an optimization one

  • Symmetry ethics: I deal with you in a way that I’d be willing to be on the other side of the deal

    • Golden rule
    • I slice the pie you choose
    • Talking about a topic, I should say the same thing whether I talk to this person or this other (otherwise it would be a deceit)
  • Continuity ethics (concept of time is involved)

    • Giving notice before leaving an apartment
    • Severance after firing an employee
    • Talking through decisions before making it
    • The same person (subjective context is the same) in the same situation (same objective context), should respond (content of expression) in the same way
      • In a slightly different situation I should respond in a similar way and be able to account for the difference


  • Choice as a search function, not an optimization one
    • What is the thing we dream of?
  • 3 aspects of choice
    • Potential - There needs to be options to select from
    • Selection - One option is selected
    • Causation - Non-reversible outcome (if choice doesn’t create change in the world it’s as if it didn’t happen)

Choice vs. Decision

  • Decision - de-cide - to cut off available options
    • Assume there’s no win-win possible
    • Assumes completeness of information
  • Choice is about increasing the field of options available until the right option becomes obvious
    • Assumes we can never have perfect information
    • Assumes win-win choice is always possible (we may not be able to find it, but it exists), which makes it worthwhile to search


How I connect to the world should build the world’s integrity (aliveness/meaningfulness), my integrity and the relationship between Self and World integrity

  • Integrity as full realization of actuality (what we can do) and potentiality (what we could do)

    • (eat the cake and have it too)
    • A choice that has no actuality (no outcome), is indistinguishable from not having made a choice at all
    • A choice that restricts all your future choices (restricts potentiality), a choice that does not further (i.e. evil)
  • We want a choice that has consequences, and that begets future choices (for us an others

  • Full actuality removes all potentiality and viceversa

    • Empty garden is full potentiality and no actuality
    • We want to make actuality and potentiality work together in balance
      • Committing to a choice but being open and flexible to changing it
      • Being, Doing, Becoming model for Personal Development (Meaningful Life)
  • Sacrifice self for other, other for self, future for now or now for future, are all theories of trade-offs that don’t equal the best consideration

  • A good choice is one that you can clearly think and feel through in a positive way


Love is that that enables choice

  • Not making choices for the people we love, but enabling them
  • If we love our children we want them to be wise and able to make choices on their own
  • Love is irrational
    • If you tell someone “I love you because…”, they will be afraid that if they stop that you’ll stop loving them

Clarity & Desire

  • If I want to be in right relationship with other people I need to be in right relationship with myself (among my parts)
    • Develop continuity of self
    • Developing clarity
  • Buddhist idea that “desire is the cause of suffering”, may be mostly referring to desires that are not fully clarified.


  • Notion of Meaningfulness contingent on a first person perspective
    • Not about “this is only meaningful if they’ll remember it after 100 years”
    • About “Am I appreciating and honoring the gift of life?” (Meaningness)

Created on: 2021-10-31 Source link: