Sex And Morality

Explicit language used in this article

( Worth reading article by Raja Halwani in understanding current news of sexual harassment by prominent respectable personalities like Charlie Rose. As per Emmanuel Kant, sex and lust by its nature makes us focus on the body , not the person, and reduces the person to mere a thing to satisfy our lust. This equation does not change even when the sex is consensual. f.sheikh)

Kant implicitly acknowledged the unusual power of sexual urges and their capacity to divert us from doing what is right. He claimed that sex was particularly morally condemnable, because lust focuses on the body, not the agency, of those we sexually desire, and so reduces them to mere things. It makes us see the objects of our longing as just that ­– objects. In so doing, we see them as mere tools for our own satisfaction.

Treating people as objects can mean many things. It could include beating them, tearing into them, and violating them. But there are other, less violent ways of objectifying people. We might treat someone as only a means to our sexual pleasure, to satisfy our lust on that person, to use a somewhat archaic expression. The fact that the other person consents does not get rid of the objectification; two people can agree to use one another for purely sexual purposes.

But don’t we use each other all the time? Many of us have jobs – as cleaners, gardeners, teachers, singers. Does the beneficiary of the service objectify the service provider, and does the service provider objectify the recipient by taking their money? These relationships don’t seem to provoke the same moral qualms. Either they do not involve objectification, or the objectification is somehow neutered.

Kant said that these scenarios weren’t really a problem. He draws a distinction between mere use – the basis of objectification – and more-than-mere use. While we might employ people to do jobs, and accept payment for our work, we don’t treat the person on the other side of the transaction as a mere tool; we still recognise that person’s fundamental humanity.

Sex, though, is different. When I hire someone to sing, according to Kant, my desire is for his or her talent – for the voice-in-action. But when I sexually desire someone, I desire his or her body, not the person’s services or talents or intellectual capabilities, although any of these could enhance the desire. So, when we desire the person’s body, we often focus during sex on its individual parts: the buttocks, the penis, the clitoris, the thighs, the lips. What we desire to do with those parts differs, of course. Some like to touch them with the hand, others with the lips, others with the tongue; for others still, the desire is just to look. This does not mean that I would settle for a human corpse: our desire for human bodies is directed at them as living, much like my desire for a cellphone is directed at a functioning one.

Full article

Is charity motivated by reasons that are far less noble ?

(We give to charity because it eases our conscience, raises our social status and care less about whether it does any good or not, George Bernard Shaw noted in 1896. Socrates opined that people behave ethically when they think they are being watched. Every day new charity organizations sprung up to help third world countries like Pakistan despite the fact that it may have marginal or even adverse effect on their objectives. It does not change the detrimental governmental  policies and it may even encourage neglect or hands off approach by governments which does a lot more harm than what these organization can achieve. A worth reading article by Jacob Burak. F. Sheikh).

Excerpts from article below;

Studies show that, in general, people who feel good, do good – and likewise, people who do good, feel better. The rich are no exception. Giving to charity activates parts of the brain related to reward and pleasure. Yes, the rich do have some distinctive reasons for giving to charity, such as the desire not to ‘morally corrupt’ their heirs. But like others, they also give to strengthen their identity – and probably, to relieve their guilt. As Shaw said, with typical epigrammatic acuity: ‘One buys moral credit by signing a cheque, which is easier than turning a prayer wheel.’

The first person to attribute the act of charity to improving one’s public image was the 18th-century Scottish economist Adam Smith, who claimed that people make moral and ethical decisions based on how an impartial observer would judge them. This idea harks back to a dialogue about justice in Plato’s Republic, in which Glaucon tells Socrates that people behave ethically only when they think others are watching.

Fast-forward to 2009, when Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist at Duke University in North Carolina, co-conducted a studyevaluating the motive of outward appearances in giving to charity. The research found that appearances are so important that they even trump financial incentives. In the experiment, participants were divided into two groups, where each group was asked to type a combination of letters on a keyboard. They were told that if they typed the combination correctly, some money would be donated in their name to the Red Cross, although never more than a few dollars.

In the ‘private’ group, members were exposed only to their own ‘giving’ scores, whereas in the ‘public’ group, each member was asked to publicly announce his or her donation to the others. In the end, members of the public group got the letter combination right twice as often as members of the private group. At a later stage of the experiment, researchers decided to test whether people would forgo a financial reward to look altruistic in the eyes of others. In the public group, adding a personal financial incentive had only a small effect on its success rate, whereas it increased the private group’s success rate by 35 per cent.

Let’s remember, too, that the problems philanthropists want to solve are frequently the result of government decisions, resource allocation and the status of human and property rights. If philanthropists were to commit to deeper and more meaningful action – if they joined governments or other institutions – they could affect public welfare in a more enduring way. Instead philanthropists are often slow to get involved in public policy, and prefer to make donations that counteract the government’s shortcomings. This reveals where their priorities really lie.

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America And Racial Intolerance.

America And Racial Intolerance
MIRZA IQBAL ASHRAF
ABSTRACT: Human beings impacted by geographical and environmental phenomena, different ways of life, beliefs, social systems, customs and traditions, gave birth to different cultures. This means culture is our racial heritage which is not a static phenomenon. It is an ongoing problem-solving process in response to environments and may have little or nothing to do with biological racial heritage per se. Yet racial prejudice and intolerance based on the myth of biological race, remains deeply ingrained—prominently in Western society—considering peoples of different colors, features, cultures, beliefs and ways of life as not from a common root, but are from divers racial roots. Throughout human history—more emphatically during the past 500 years—we have been taught by the intellectuals, politicians, statesmen, business and economic leaders that in modern times human racial biology reveals that certain races are biologically rather than morally and culturally better or inferior than others. These teachings have led to major injustices to Jews, Muslims, and non-Christians during the Spanish Inquisition; to blacks, Native Americans, and others during colonial times; to African Americans during slavery and reconstruction; to Jews and other Europeans during the reign of the Nazis in Germany; and to the groups from Latin America and the Middle East, and many others, during modern political times.
The Spanish Inquisition—which had its greater impact on the formation of the new found western world known America—has not been researched and discussed by the thinkers of social sciences. Spanish Inquisition did not focus on religion alone, but expanded to include ethnicity or race, introducing the notion of “impurity of blood.” It was about classes of people rather than just categories of belief. It was run by those in political power who ruled and defined religion, ideology, and race or ethnicity. Columbus’s voyage to America was at the peak of Inquisition in Spain. Thus, the conquistadores justified their maltreatment of Native Americans by declaring them as subhuman and incapable of having and understanding rational or abstract ideas and of running their own world. They were deemed morally incapable to become Christian. Thus, the inhuman conquest of America continued. Racial theories remained crucial in justifying the maltreatment of the local peoples. Terrorist atrocities were committed by the European settlers to wipe out the race of the aborigines of the newfound continent. . . . . To read full articl

How Google Took Over the Classroom submitted by Nasik Elahi

The tech giant is transforming public education with low-cost laptops and free apps. But schools may be giving Google more than they are getting.

By NATASHA SINGER

CHICAGO — The sixth graders at Newton Bateman, a public elementary school here with a classic red brick facade, know the Google drill.

In a social-science class last year, the students each grabbed a Google-powered laptop. They opened Google Classroom, an app where teachers make assignments. Then they clicked on Google Docs, a writing program, and began composing essays.

Looking up from her laptop, Masuma Khan, then 11 years old, said her essay explored how schooling in ancient Athens differed from her own. “Back then, they had wooden tablets and they had to take all of their notes on it,” she said. “Nowadays, we can just do it in Google Docs.”

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the United States, with about 381,000 students, is at the forefront of a profound shift in American education: the Googlification of the classroom.

Click link below for the rest of the article

The tech giant is transforming public education with low-cost laptops and free apps. But schools may be giving Google more than they are getting.

By NATASHA SINGER

CHICAGO — The sixth graders at Newton Bateman, a public elementary school here with a classic red brick facade, know the Google drill.

In a social-science class last year, the students each grabbed a Google-powered laptop. They opened Google Classroom, an app where teachers make assignments. Then they clicked on Google Docs, a writing program, and began composing essays.

Looking up from her laptop, Masuma Khan, then 11 years old, said her essay explored how schooling in ancient Athens differed from her own. “Back then, they had wooden tablets and they had to take all of their notes on it,” she said. “Nowadays, we can just do it in Google Docs.”

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the United States, with about 381,000 students is at the forefront of a profound shift in American education: the Googlification of the classroom.

Click below for the rest of the article

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/technology/google-education-chromebooks-schools.html?em_pos=large&emc=edit_ct_20170518&nl=technology&nlid=49568442&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0&referer=