View Poll Results: Is man perfectible or imperfect?

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  • Man, though imperfect, is perfectible

    4 18.18%
  • Imperfect and shall remain so

    14 63.64%
  • Other

    4 18.18%
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Thread: Is man perfectible?

  1. #11
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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    How often do you think society's best interest and individuals' best interest match up? If other words, how often will a person's self interest be harmful to society? As so to the primary question, can man learn to align his self interest with society's?
    I believe most people seeking their self interest, benefit society.
    Not necessarily align with what society wants but definitely benefits it.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
    —Adam Shepard

  2. #12
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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    How often do you think society's best interest and individuals' best interest match up?
    I'd say they generally do, though that is dependent on the society.

    As so to the primary question, can man learn to align his self interest with society's?
    Ultimately, self interest is derived from emotional attachment; man's actions are based on those attachments. You do not generally 'align' your emotional attachments - they are a product of who you are, something people rarely decide to change - and as such are unlikely to 'align' your self-interest with anything or anyone.

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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    Only God is perfect but we are incapable of understanding that perfection, as we are imperfect beings. That does not mean we cannot strive toward love and goodness though. In fact, it is the only route to our elevation.

  4. #14
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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    Perfection is perhaps an incorrect term for describing the maximum capabilities of a human being, however, since age fourteen, I myself have been striving to find out how close i can get.


    It is possible to disregard your own self interest and use your BRAIN to figure the best choice you could make in any given situation, I live my life this way, and I would like to believe that others could just as well, it just requires a small change of perspective.

    I have have spent years studying the thoughts, morals, and philosophys of the greatest men the earth has seen, such as: Socrates, Plato, & Aristotle. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Jesus Christ, just to name a few.

    None of whom were perfect in the literal sense, but I am one who believes that everyone can be perfect in their own way. None the less I feel that we should all strive to be like these people, using intelligence and intellect to solve our problems. We can live life honestly, and do more good for others than we do for ourselves.

    A perfect human would consist of what traits?

    I think;
    Unbiased honesty, justice, compassion, respect, intelligence, and logic. &the names i mentioned above would agree.

  5. #15
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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    It sounds like perfectibility in Tocqueville: always improving, but never reaching "perfection."
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    It sounds like perfectibility in Tocqueville: always improving, but never reaching "perfection."
    That was my thoughts about it as well. What does Tocqueville have to say about it?

  7. #17
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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    First, one would have to define perfection. That may be harder than a person actually striving for that perceived 'perfection'.

    A person could strive for perfection, but at what point would that be reached and who defines what that even is?
    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice....shame on me.

  8. #18
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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    That was my thoughts about it as well. What does Tocqueville have to say about it?
    It's an interesting section.


    HOW EQUALITY SUGGESTS TO THE AMERICANS
    THE IDEA OF THE INDEFINITE
    PERFECTABILITY OF MAN
    EQUALITY suggests to the human mind several ideas that would not have originated from any other source, and it modifies almost all those previously entertained. I take as an example the idea of human perfectibility, because it is one of the principal notions that the intellect can conceive and because it constitutes of itself a great philosophical theory, which is everywhere to be traced by its consequences in the conduct of human affairs.

    Although man has many points of resemblance with the brutes, one trait is peculiar to himself: he improves; they are incapable of improvement. Mankind could not fail to discover this difference from the beginning. The idea of perfectibility is therefore as old as the world; equality did not give birth to it, but has imparted to it a new character.

    When the citizens of a community are classed according to rank, profession, or birth and when all men are forced to follow the career which chance has opened before them, everyone thinks that the utmost limits of human power are to be discerned in proximity to himself, and no one seeks any longer to resist the inevitable law of his destiny. Not, indeed, that an aristocratic people absolutely deny man's faculty of self-improvement, but they do not hold it to be indefinite; they can conceive amelioration, but not change: they imagine that the future condition of society may be better, but not essentially different; and, while they admit that humanity has made progress and may still have some to make, they assign to it beforehand certain impassable limits.

    Thus they do not presume that they have arrived at the supreme good or at absolute truth (what people or what man was ever wild enough to imagine it? ), but they cherish an opinion that they have pretty nearly reached that degree of greatness and knowledge which our imperfect nature admits of; and as nothing moves about them, they are willing to fancy that everything is in its fit place. Then it is that the legislator affects to lay down eternal laws; that kings and nations will raise none but imperishable monuments; and that the present generation undertakes to spare generations to come the care of regulating their destinies.

    In proportion as castes disappear and the classes of society draw together, as manners, customs, and laws vary, because of the tumultuous intercourse of men, as new facts arise, as new truths are brought to light, as ancient opinions are dissipated and others take their place, the image of an ideal but always fugitive perfection presents itself to the human mind. Continual changes are then every instant occurring under the observation of every man; the position of some is rendered worse, and he learns but too well that no people and no individual, however enlightened they may be, can lay claim to infallibility; the condition of others is improved, whence he infers that man is endowed with an indefinite faculty for improvement. His reverses teach him that none have discovered absolute good; his success stimulates him to the never ending pursuit of it. Thus, forever seeking, forever falling to rise again, often disappointed, but not discouraged, he tends unceasingly towards that unmeasured greatness so indistinctly visible at the end of the long track which humanity has yet to tread.

    It can hardly be believed how many facts naturally flow from the philosophical theory of the indefinite perfectibility of man or how strong an influence it exercises even on those who, living entirely for the purposes of action and not of thought, seem to conform their actions to it without knowing anything about it.

    I accost an American sailor and inquire why the ships of his country are built so as to last for only a short time, he answers without hesitation that the art of navigation is every day making such rapid progress that the finest vessel would become almost useless if it lasted beyond a few years. In these words, which fell accidentally, and on a particular subject, from an uninstructed man, I recognize the general and systematic idea upon which a great people direct all their concerns. Aristocratic nations are naturally too liable to narrow the scope of human perfectibility; democratic nations, to expand it beyond reason.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    It's an interesting section.
    This is interesting. It sounds to me as if he talks about both systemic knowledge, as well as intellectual capacity and evolution. It is through the combined efforts of the classless people that improvements are made. Am I wrong in my interpretation?

  10. #20
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    Re: Is man perfectible?

    Nah, you are about there. The only things is that with Tocqueville, he believes there is often a give-and-take situation with democracy. Part of him believes that democracy, or, rather, equality, gives you a favorable disposition that believes much is possible and with their system, much does change and perhaps improves. Then, the other half of him believes that democracy either overemphasizes just how much perfectibility can be had, and I guess not put in that section (but discussed later..I always forget that about the guy-he revisits a topic without warning) he says that democracy removes the degree to which an individual can make a difference.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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