Optimizing Ethics is Our Fullest Expression

Accident moves individual subjective creatures. Pleasure motivates them - pleasure leads to desire, and desire leads to action and reflective planning for more effective action.


It is accidental which pleasures we have, and so which desires we have, but once we have them it is right to call them ours.


All actions are the same feature in that they are motivated by desire for more pleasure or less pain amongst the set of perceived available options in the present moment. Therefore, desires cannot be contrasted or evaluated on this basis.


All desires and actions are future oriented. Even desires for very immediate pleasures, like when you see a cookie on a table and want to eat it, are future oriented. The pleasure of seeing the cookie is occurring now, the desire to eat the cookie is occurring now, the action to reach for the cookie is occurring now, but the pleasure of eating the cookie occurs a moment into the future. The object of both the desire and the action were this future moment.


Our future “selves,” while likely more similar to us than any other person now or in the future, are not any more “us,” where who we are IS our present experience, than other people in the present or future. Therefore, our desires and actions all refer to people other than us, even if it is also true that people other than us in the present, the future person who is the continuation of our present experience 5 minutes from now, the continuation of ourselves 5 years from now, and future people who are not this continuum, are all other than us to different degrees and in different ways.

There are probably different kinds of altruism. But the root of altruism is that we do something primarily for someone else’s benefit.


Therefore, ALL of our desires and actions are altruistic, though not to the same degrees or in the same ways. Everything we do is altruistic. Note, again, the basis of all desires and actions are experiences of pleasure seeking and pain avoidance occurring in the present moment. That we want to be altruistic because it is pleasurable, does not make it less altruistic.


Therefore, the ethical drive is our root drive. It is the essence of subjective action itself, and the fullest expression ourselves as subjective, acting beings is to seek to maximize our positive impact on others in the future. WRONG. The drive to experience pleasure is also embodied in specific actions we expect to create pleasure – these are our values – values are any all local, concrete desire and they are ends in themselves. Values, therefore are infinitely diverse, though can be also be grouped, subsumed, and ranked. Maximizing positive impact is itself a specific value. However, it still may be the one that leads to the most pleasure over time.


In summary:

⁃ The universe accidentally gave rise to individual subjective creatures whose root desire is to help others. To live your live as fully as possible, seek to have as positive an impact on the future as possible. This is true for all conscious beings.