For me morality is not relative. I have my likes and dislikes of
certain behaviours and much more of certain societary mechanisms. But
that is exactly where political arenas are necessary: confrontation
between different, even contradictory worldviews should never lead to
a "general consensus". What is required are what Peter Checkland
calls accomodation processes in which the relation between the
representatives of the contradictory worldviews and their awareness
that they belong, whatever their value systems, to a social ecology
leads to temporary alliances and legislation with the stamp of the
temporary majority. Once the word temporary is taken seriously,
debates, discussions and dialogues can become more fruitful.
Contradiction in values leads to social experiments and innovations
creating new contradictions and requiring the ongoing political arena.
What I don't like is that the political discourse has been replaced
by a purely economic one, which creates a pseudo all encompassing
consensus and does much harm to ourselves and our environment. But
ecologies are terribly resilient!
Op 19-mrt-07, om 18:21 heeft Frank Wood het volgende geschreven:
> Surely it all boils down to Stafford's the Purpose of a System Is
> What It Does?
> And morality being relative?
> And context. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter?
> Criminals need consumers so fill those consumers' needs. So goods
> and serivces that are fairly taxed in order to create a fair
> society could be shunned in favour of cheaper goods/services
> provided by crininals.
> Surely symbiotism and parasitism are driven by need. So where does
> that leave greed. Is greed a warped form of need? Or is greedm need
> that we see through our own moralistic filters?
> I could go on. :-)
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "allenna leonard"
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 9:13 AM
> Subject: parasitism and viability
>> Dear All,
>> Sorry to pop in late to the discussion - I've been
>> being a tourist in Rome.
>> Going back a bit, the line between symbiosis and
>> parasitism isn't always that clear. For example, a
>> symbiot who eats other parasites living on the host by
>> preference may eat directly off the host if none are
>> The same is true in society. In the United States,
>> before Prohibition it was perfectly legitimate to
>> operate a pub. Then came Prohibition and it was
>> criminal, then Prohibition was repealed and it was
>> legitimate again. Some of the activities labeled as
>> criminal are providing services that substantial
>> numbers of people want to buy such as liquor,
>> marijuana, off-track betting and prostitution. All of
>> these can be utilized without harm to some or most of
>> the population but not to everyone. All of these vary
>> in their prohibition from country to country and all
>> are legal in some places so this is definately a
>> cultural difference. There are also interstices within
>> the law (mentioned by Norbert Wiener in "Human Use of
>> Human Beings")such as the grey market where people's
>> safety and consumer protection are at risk.
>> As I understand the origins of the Mafia, they filled
>> a gap in Sicily where the then Italian government was
>> not able to provide the things that governments
>> normally provide. Something similar might be said of
>> youth gangs that offer belonging, structure and the
>> possibility of gaining respect in a social environment
>> where these are in short supply. Both of these live
>> off their societies as parasites but it can be argued
>> that they began as result of deficiencies in the
>> societies they occupied. A proportion of regular
>> crime as well amounts to legitimate goals (prosperity,
>> status...) pursued by illegitimate means.
>> There is a sense in which many legitimate businesses
>> and social relations carry an element of exploitation.
>> If it is mutual it approaches fair exchange but when
>> it is not they look very parasitic to me. Values come
>> in here, especially where a breakdown in trust makes
>> the whole atmosphere a bit toxic. It is easy to see
>> the extremes but not so easy to draw the line as some
>> will feel or be exploited in circumstances where
>> others will not.
>> As to universals, I submit that they exist in a
>> general sense such as people should have access to
>> legitimate means of living a good life, should be able
>> to have trust in their transactions and should have
>> some autonomy to make choices on their own behalf.
>> These contribute to a viable society and one where the
>> worst forms of parasitism will not find a nutrient
>> medium. As to particulars and perceptions, they vary.
>> There was an excellent example of this emerging into
>> Rome with the crowd. People were dressed in
>> everything from short sleeved t-shirts to down jackets
>> and scarfs. The air temperature was constant but the
>> response was not.
>> We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
>> (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.
>> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
>> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:
> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:
For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org