Rodney

"You've got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe--you've got to give of yourself 'fore you're worthy to receive"

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This song, "Desert Pete" by The Kingston Trio, at first blush seems to convincingly argue against the ethics of rational self-interest:

Quote

 

You've got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe--

You've got to give of yourself 'fore you're worthy to receive.

 

There is no denying the impact of the song for many listeners. Judge for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08kEFELCb3I

However, I think the song's impact stems from factors that do not have to involve the literal truth of the quoted lines: the compelling issues of pioneer life and human survival that form the factual background; the power of art--the excellence of the song as a song, including the fact that the spoken portions are poetic and underpinned with good music and the chorus has a good melody; the repetition in the chorus, with its well-known artistic effect of tying all the thoughts into a satisfying unity; and a certain underlying truth behind the moral force of the tale.

I think it is possible to state that moral principle in terms compatible with rational self-interest. I have my own formulation. Anyone else care to address it?

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6 minutes ago, Rodney said:

This song, "Desert Pete" by The Kingston Trio, at first blush seems to convincingly argue against the ethics of rational self-interest:

There is no denying the impact of the song for many listeners. Judge for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08kEFELCb3I

However, I think the song's impact stems from factors that do not have to involve the literal truth of the quoted lines: the compelling issues of pioneer life and human survival that form the factual background; the power of art--the excellence of the song as a song, including the fact that the spoken portions are poetic and underpinned with good music and the chorus has a good melody; the repetition in the chorus, with its well-known artistic effect of tying all the thoughts into a satisfying unity; and a certain underlying truth behind the moral force of the tale.

I think it is possible to state that moral principle in terms compatible with rational self-interest. I have my own formulation. Anyone else care to address it?

ever heard "Big John" big bad John) country hit of the 1960s? I like that better.

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Yes, that's a good one, always liked it--though not as much as this one. BBJ is also easier to interpret in rational-ethical terms.

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“But leave the bottle full for others,” after you have survived because of the thoughtfulness of another. I think that sentiment is rational in a personal / societal way and in an evolutionary sense. Pass it on. Pay it forward. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you . . . The Golden Rule. Harm no man or creature unless there is a compelling reason to harm them.

Imagine being on Captain Cook’s ship sailing into Hawaii and being greeted by friendly natives who want to know you desperately. And they want to share everything they have with you.

What if another intelligent species evolves on earth? What SHOULD humans do? What if we come into contact with aliens from space? We must have a modus operandi in place for those situations. Peter   

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12 hours ago, Rodney said:

This song, "Desert Pete" by The Kingston Trio, at first blush seems to convincingly argue against the ethics of rational self-interest:

There is no denying the impact of the song for many listeners. Judge for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08kEFELCb3I

However, I think the song's impact stems from factors that do not have to involve the literal truth of the quoted lines: the compelling issues of pioneer life and human survival that form the factual background; the power of art--the excellence of the song as a song, including the fact that the spoken portions are poetic and underpinned with good music and the chorus has a good melody; the repetition in the chorus, with its well-known artistic effect of tying all the thoughts into a satisfying unity; and a certain underlying truth behind the moral force of the tale.

I think it is possible to state that moral principle in terms compatible with rational self-interest. I have my own formulation. Anyone else care to address it?

All very benevolent, redolent of the "pioneer life". Consideration for others does not have to necessitate any self-sacrifice, and none is indicated in the song. "Pete" was objectively thoughtful of thirsty travellers at no cost to his survival, it's not like he gave the water from his mouth. I only think it's a pity that any goodness shown to others must be viewed as self-less, extolling a false alternative and a very dim outlook on mankind. Is one to be nasty - or self-sacrificial? In terms of finding worth in human life, Pete was actually self-ful. Nice anecdote, but as music and melody go I prefer Big Bad John and Tom Dooley. The banjo has a light folksy tone, but give me the slide guitar and any guitar, rather.

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Don't over fish or over crab or over plant crops robbing the soil of nutrients. or you will lose the breeding stock or plot that keeps that industry alive. There. That's four "ors" in one sentence. That is long term rational self interest. 

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