Episode 8: How Coronavirus Made Me Realize I’m a Jerk (and that I need a new moral paradigm)

Pierce is back to scold you! Danny is on for the first time! I haven’t been outside in a month!

Show-notes
Overall Point: Our way of seeing the world and considering our place in it is selfish, naive and disconnected from reality.

Details of how we see the world:
(1) My assuming that I have so many options on what I can do with my life is naive and selfish, in that it presumes that I, unlike everyone else in history, can just go do whatever I want.
(2) My way of deciding what I value, what I put up with, what I pursue has been founded on calculations of my own happiness pleasure, or how my actions affect the happiness of others. This is naively optimistic and futile: it shows I am living unaware of how precarious and fragile life is. Further, it is selfish in two ways: it rests on a tacit assumption that my happiness, and the happiness of other individuals as individuals, ought to be the only or primary consideration in determining what is worthwhile.
(3) Assuming that my death will be meaningful indicates that my view of myself is much higher than my view of the vast majority of people through history.
(4) My habits as a consumer indicate that I elevate myself above everyone else, because while I pursue my happiness through consumption, I do this at the expense of others.
(5) Laughing at, and making light of, our evil, without working to change it, betrays our lives as leisurely and disconnected from moral concerns. This indicts our character in proportion to how rich we are.
(6) Seeing my actions which constitute slight moral improvement as ‘sacrifices’ rather than as doing the bare minimum, or considering the end of those actions to be my own improvement, indicates that I conceive of even morality itself as centered around me.

Thus, we need a new way of seeing the world which consoles us, wards off despair, and doesn’t lapse back into naive, self-centered optimism.

Lecture Pierce mentions: Intrinsic Value, the External POV, and Meaning

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