Philosophy : Morale

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Morale is based on the person's ability to notice contradictions between the person's personal principles and the action subject to evaluation. If the contradiction emerges as a 7. level conclusion and the person does not think that thoroughly, e.g. reaches only the 2. level, then the person is not capable of seeing the contradiction, immorality.


Stories from real life

Words from Ilmar Eiskop to Martin Vahi

My grandfather, Ilmar Eiskop(1928-2008), was a life-long electronics lecturer in the Tallinn University of Technology and one of the founders of the electronics branch ("nõrkvoolude eriala", "field of low currents") of that university. The electronics branch led to the automation branch, which in turn led to one of the leading competence centers of computer hardware in the former Soviet Union. He was a teenager during the 2. World War, but, during the period, where I (Martin Vahi, born 1981) was old enough to have more in-depth conversations with him, he repeatedly emphasized, specially when I started to learn IT and discussed IT related matters with him, that I(Martin) should ALWAYS REMEMBER NEVER TO OFFER MY TECHNICAL EXPERTIESE TO ANY MASS MURDERS LIKE THE ONES CONDUCTED WITH THE GAS CHAMBERS OF NAZY GERMANY. In his words, the way I remember and translate them: "The future gas chambers will probably be operated somehow by some computers and You as a technical expert MUST NOT help to build those gas chambers. It is CRITICAL THAT YOU DO NOT offer Your help for that kind of causes." I guess he repeated that saying even at the very last year, when he died, 2008.


Later, at his funeral, people, his former colleagues and students, joked that he, Ilmar Eiskop, was a kind of guy, who, prior to his work at the university, had such an influence in the electronics factory that, by citing and not exaggerating their words, "everything in the factory was run EXACTLY the way he(Ilmar Eiskop) wanted, regardless of the fact that he was just an engineer". That is to say, my grandfather knew very well, from his personal experience, that really good developers, engineers, have the de facto aces that no management is able to triumph without shooting themselves, if not in the head than in the foot. If the engineers say "NO", then it will be "NO" and the project will not move forward, even if the engineers were to be killed. The management/politicians have the option to hire some dumber engineers, but from technical perspective that will not help the management.


I guess that the idea that even the IT people have certain level of professional honor, or, if ethics weren't so malleable, "professional ethics", like doctors should have, was an implicit assumption for most lecturers that I had(2000-2004 + some years) an honor to interact with at the University of Tartu.


Conclusion for the "Edward Snowden" era

Just like the CIA did not have any problems finding doctors, who conducted torture, the NSA does not have problems finding technical expertise for the "gas chamber builders". The only ones, who have any kind of a chance for curing the tortured, are doctors. The only ones, who can stand up to the NSA "gas chamber builders" are non-NSA IT people. Pick Your camp!!!



Conclusions

  • Impatient people are often immoral by nature.
  • Due to the fact that the ability to think things through is limited by the physical capabilities of hardware, brain, all people act immorally, contrary to their principles, to some extent.
  • The choosing and the assembly of principles involves thinking, which is limited. Therefore the principles themselves can be contradictory, immoral.
  • Specialists have the aces and management/politicians can only ruin the project, kill or dismiss or imprison the specialists, but the specialists have the ultimate power to get things done and by refusing to conduct activity X, block the project, regardless of any action by the management/politicians/kings. Specialists have an extremely strong, if not the strongest, bargaining position and it's only up to their moral standards, what projects move forward and what projects are left undone. As the cliché goes: "With great power comes great responsibility". Another version of the cliché: "Everyone is responsible for their actions, even gods and hard-line dictators, because they have to make sure that they do not ruin the situation for themselves."