Does a person have a moral responsibility to him/herself?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Corona, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Corona

    Corona Registered Member

    That is to say: does a person have a moral obligation to use their full potential?

    Any other criterion that a person could be responsible to themselves for are open for discussion also, as long as they are moral in nature.

  2. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    I think so. We are responsible for our lives, for our happiness, and for achieving our full potential as an organism (which according to humanists is one of our basic tendencies). I observed though that most of the time it's a conscious choice to impose this obligation on ourselves, thus we can chose to deny, rather than a natural feeling of a given responsibility everyone has to strive for.
  3. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris blue 3

    Call this my rebellious side or maybe my immature side, but this "full potential" phrase that is thrown back and forth is load of bull in my mind. All potential is directly based on the expectations of another person/society. Maybe I'm too much of a "rebel" but I think the only person who can decide if you lived up to your true potential is yourself. True, other people are going to say that you wasted your life, but ultimately who lives with it in the end of the day?

    The only more obligation humans have are to live for themselves. Maybe it's a selfish outlook, but that depends on if the person themselves is selfish. How I view my potential is someone who can touch other people's lives, make people smile, and be happy myself. That is my full potential. It is my 'moral obligation' to attempt to achieve these goals.
  4. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    I don't understand why you consider it to be rebellious or selfish as you describe your own full potential. :dunno: After all, they're inherently very personal in nature. At least that's how I view full potentials. It's a personal growth that is based on our unique capacities, and not upon the dictation of societal demands or some collective moral obligation.
  5. Suska

    Suska Registered Member

    I think because of the variety of ways a person might interpret the word 'moral' it is a sloppy question and will tend to elicit sloppy answers.

    "To know
    and to not do
    is not to know"

    -Chinese Proverb
  6. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris blue 3

    Ultimately, it truly isn't selfish but I'm pointing out the fact that what others view as your full potential and what you view are normally two completely different things. (Whew run on sentence for the win) So I mean while I could say "I have fulfilled my potential" you could say "he's a crappy mod he needs to get better."

    So who's right in this sense? Have I secured my moral obligation? How do we have a moral obligation to meet our greatest potential? If a person truly wants to be a "lowly" :)D) premium user (and is happy) then why should he be expected to become a Super Moderator?

    A person has a moral obligation to become happy. The concept of full potential is almost entirely based off other people. We can all say "this is what I could be" but who's to say that's our full potential? I'm not sure I'm making complete sense.
  7. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    Don't worry, I get it. I think (you tell me! haha). People would always have expectations from us, but ultimately our obligation is to assess our own capacities and behave accordingly to achieve the best that we can be, regardless if it falls short of what others expect from us.
  8. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris blue 3

    Not entirely, what I'm trying to get at (and failing) is that we have this view point that we have to strive to be the "Best that we can be." We have it imprinted in our minds that we have to reach our "full potential." We have been told we have this "moral obligation" to reach out and become people who hold some leverage, or atleast have some impact on other people's lives.

    I think the concept of a moral obligation stems from that. I think ultimately, the only moral obligation we have on to ourselves is to live a life that makes us happy. And yes, that leads to some ethical questions: "if having sex with multiple women without a condom makes me happy, do I have a moral obligation to do it?"

    No, because, call me crazy I don't think a ton of people would be happy with thirty kids. Now, if having that many kids truly makes a man happy, then yes I'd say he has a moral obligation to get his hump on.

    The same concept goes with killing. If a man gains great joy out of killing another human, does he have a moral obligation to kill as many people as he is physically able to in his lifetime? Again, the answer is no, because of the consequence of his action. I know there are some people out there that end up enjoying prison for a short period, but you'd be hard pressed to find a lifer who says that they wouldn't go back and undo what they did if they could.

    Happiness isn't a short term concept. A happy life is a long term contract. We all have a moral obligation to find the terms to that contract and abide by them. Each of us have our own contracts.
  9. PretzelCorps

    PretzelCorps Registered Member

    So what about not meeting your full potential, as defined by one's self?

    While I don't think anyone is morally obligated to anything (the American dream: you are free to live your life in whatever slovenly way you want :lol:), I do suspect that many people eventually come to regret not making the most that they could out of their young-adulthood. (example: too much party; not enough impacting the world)

    And regardless of that, we, being the social creatures we are, are inevitably doomed to judge ourselves based on what we feel we are being judged on by others. For example; a depressed person may be depressed because they feel other people don't accept their inadequacies.

    Were every person on GF to say "Sui is a mod, but he just isn't doing anything worthwhile; he's not doing anything to his full potential," sure, you could say that you are satisfied with yourself and the job you're doing, but deep down you would not feel that way; at the very least you would be having a "Pfff, why should I care what others think," argument with yourself.

    Which, of course, is nothing Sui ever has to worry about, given the fact that he's a great mod. :nod:
  10. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    Oh ok, then maybe it's where we're seeing it differently. For me, when I say that we our responsible for our own happiness, it's just that: not depending on others to make us happy. But it doesn't necessarily imply we have the obligation to pursue whatever makes us happy (like go on a killing spree for lulz if that's our thing). True, there's a sense of happiness in being the best we can be, but it's more of a consequence of the goal and not the goal in itself.

    I agree with this. Most of the time though we are concerned at pursuing what makes us happy at the moment. It becomes a short term endeavor. I have more stuff to say about this, but I'll keep it off the thread to not derail from the topic.

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