love and heretics

It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness

Of octopus and morality


Just a few more pondering thoughts on morality….

If a human lived on an island with no other living being, there would be no need for the existence of morality.
It exists because there was a need for it. Where does morality come from? Our thoughts of right and wrong?

I tend to wonder what an octopus life would be like if they lived longer…long enough to pass on their learning to their offspring..If they didn’t start off life as orphans making it on their own. For humans, much of what we decide to be right and wrong is learned, as children, many are decided as we grow up. Some animals spend their entire short lives learning simple basics like cooperation is a quicker way to get things done. We have the ability to tell stories, write things down, make songs, and learn from our success and failures and pass this down to our children. Our long lives give us even more wisdom from experience to pass down. Each new population isn’t forced to relearn skills like cooperation vs isolation, and principles like the golden rule vs looking out for number one and how and why they are a benefit.  It’s cool to be human.

For a free smile: one of my favorite shorts…



  1. archaeopteryx1

    “If you ask anyone, what is morality based on? These are the two factors that always come out: One is reciprocity, … a sense of fairness, and the other one is empathy and compassion.”
    — Frans de Waal —

    • Indeed. 🙂

  2. archaeopteryx1

    Sent your octopus video to a little girl I know who is going to love it!

    • Oh lovely. I have seen it several times and it still makes me smile. 🙂

    • One more for any octopus fan….(if you have not seen this series yet I recommend them all!)

      • archaeopteryx1


    • archaeopteryx1

      Check THIS out —

  3. It exists because there was a need for it- very well said

    • It was kind of a “eureka” moment for me when I finally understood that. For so long morality was the hang up that wouldn’t let me let go of theism.

      • I can only imagine how that must have felt

  4. rautakyy

    Simply loved the video.

    I think that morals would exist even for a person living on an island all alone. Because morals is not only about our conduct towards other people, though undoubtedly in most everyday issues primarly it is. There is also the wellbeing of the individual. The human individual may not even understand it on a conscious level, how damaging some form of behaviour may be to themselves. Morals is also about interconnectedness. And we are connected to many other things besides other humans, though naturally, such are our main concern. But the individual all alone on the island is also interconnected to the isle itself, the sea around it, fish and plant life in the sea and so forth. Even the octopussies. (Is it octopussies?) Morals is very much about human wellbeing, and after realizing the interconnectedness of the world around us, we are better equipped to deal with our wellbeing. To realise such means we may start to question the justifications of our actions and in choosing the right thing, we grow healthier, while choosing the wrong – most often for overtly selfish reasons, that go against our nauture as social animals – we act against our own wellbeing. We are social, not only towards our own kind, but can project our social drive towards other species and even inanimate objects, that sometimes function as substitutes for our need for rewarding social relations.

    Perhaps, religions are in part a sort of a primitive attempt to recognize such interconnectedness as much as they are arbitrary moralistic behaviour models.

    • thanks rautakyy! Love your thoughts, always. When imagining a single living being on an island, that means no other living things. (trees or animals 😉 ) But…you are correct. Our interactions with all living things are key. Not only to morals but to living as well. Yes it is true that we can decide how to treat ourself, and that can be a form of morals I suppose. It would be interesting to flesh that out more. How does one decide what is right or wrong in such a situation? (if one was the only living being?) As far as religion, I think it very likely to be
      part of an early attempt at recognizing such interconnectedness.

      • archaeopteryx1

        When imagining a single living being on an island, that means no other living things. (trees or animals” – Not necessarily, are we forgetting that both Hawaii and Japan consist of a series of islands, hardly devoid of either flora or fauna. You may be thinking od a desert island.

        • archaeopteryx1

          of, not od, but you knew that, didn’t you?

        • rautakyy

          Well, if we are talking about a person living on a completely deserted island, void of any life and a dead sea surrounding it, we are then also referring to a self sustaining person, or a person just about to perish. But even such a person might be able to make choises, about human wellbeing. Obviously there would be less moral options in such a situation. The morals of it would be only about the conduct of that person towards her/himself. Would it be more moral for that person to suffer loneliness, and possibly starvation, in hopes of being rescued from there, rather than to stop the suffering by suicide? It would be extremely hard for us outside such an experience to judge what was more moral for that person, and I think we should restrain ourselves from presenting any moral judgement on such a person, but it does not mean that the choise between life and death was not a moral choise as such. It would still be about the wellbeing of said person.

          But if we were to just to refer to a person on an island all alone and with no human contact, there are things we can refer as morals in the actions of this person. For example, let’s say an extremely rare species of animals lives on the island. Is it not a moral choise that person makes to survive either with eating the rare animal species to extinction, rather than fishing, if both venues of survival are awailable? Surely it impacts the person on many levels, if that person is aware of having made such a choise. Impacts on the wellbeing of this individual. If then this person were ever to be rescued from said island to a wider society, what sort of member of that society would that person make for, if the morals of this person was, that this person percieved wanton destruction of the rare species as justified, for reasons like convinience? If the person could have survived by causing less havoc to the environment by preferring a fish diet (even if it were a little less convinient), why would this person have destroyed the rare species of animals?

          Morals is very much a question of how much of selfishness is healthy and actually good for the wellbeing of the individual, though most often in reference to a wider society, but also in reference to all things existing. Even the inanimate. If there was an ancient and valuable piece of artifact – say a statue – on the island, would it have been morally justifiable for the person to destroy the statue for their leasure? What if the person claimed to themselves, that destroying the statue kept them sane in their isolation?

          It is sometimes very hard to set oneself in the position of a nother and especially so, when the circumstances were so extremely rare, but to me at least, the given reason of keeping up sanity by destroying something valuable would seem more like an excuse, for the fact that the person lost their sanity… Such an act could possibly be understood on some remote level, excused, or even forgiven, but it only means that it needed to be forgiven, and that it was a transgression of something. Even if the person was never rescued and the person knew he was the last of human kind, it would still be a transgression against human legacy and in a sense against the person her/himself. Would it not? And of course, what one does not know, is what one does not know, he/she could be wrong about being the very last human, or she/he could be saved by intelligent aliens and so forth…

          • yes, rautakyy, the island illustration was just that. to try to imagine taking out any consequences that would affect any other. A hypothetical to flesh out, exactly how we decide what is “moral”. Certainly we could agree that LAW is only necessary for more than one being. But in your example of destroying a statue…IF there was no one else in existence but the one being, and no one else ever to come…EVER.(hypothetical)
            then would it be moral or immoral to knock down said statue? would it really matter?
            I think the only choices in such a situation are really (when boiling it down) shall I do anything that causes me harm or not? And would such really be considered “moral”? or “immoral”? or …just a choice?

            • archaeopteryx1

              Well, I belong to the Church of Jerry Springer, and he ends each show with all of the morals I need when he says, “Be good to yourself, and each other!

            • rautakyy

              Yes, Holly, I think, I got your point. It is a good point and you wrote a good post about it.

              One can ask, wether if the destruction of the statue was right, or wrong under some particular conditions, however unlikely. It is also important in the sense of when are we responsible for our actions. Was the person doing questionable things on the island alone responsible for those actions, if that person truly believed there was no chance for any interconnection to other people or even other living things? If we could say, that the loneliness made that person mad, then I guess such a person could be excused from the responsibility, but what if that person suggested themselves to believe they were the only person left alive and that the deeds, that person did, would not affect any other living organism? Is the climate change skeptic responsible for polluting, if he really has been convinced, by auto-suggestion or by some very charismatic person, that the climate change is not a result of pollution and that even if it is, pollution is a good thing because the climate change is a good thing?

              Morality is also about responsibility, but I guess in your example the point was, that there truly was none to be responsible to. And indeed LAW is something that not only needs to be established, but it seems also enforced. But there are great cultural differences on how people percieve law enforcement. It seems that in some cultures the law is something set for the punishment and making a warning example of any transgressors, while in some legal systems repairing the damage and the transgressor from wanting to brake the law are much more emphasized.

              It seems very much that the different gods found in different cultures and even the same gods as percieved by different cultures are ridiculously often expected to hold the same perspective on law as the surrounding culture. As such the morals of any gods are very, very elusive.

        • I was actually thinking of a hypothetical island just for kicks.
          so….there…..::sticks tongue out:: 😉

          • that was meant for arch. lol

    • archaeopteryx1

      Even the octopussies. (Is it octopussies?)” – I hate to spoil the fun you’re having with the word, but plural is ‘octopi’ —

      • rautakyy

        I kind of guessed, but it was fun as long as it lasted. 😉

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