Ethical Subjectivism

There were many passionate reactions to Micha's statements about morality below. My second question to everyone follows.

Based on your reading of his words, can you briefly summarize your understanding of Micha's views on morality?

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So, practical experience is

So, practical experience is absurd, then?

Not at all. My comment about the absurdity of morality only applied to absolute, objective morality, not relative, subjective morality. If you are arguing in favor of non-absolute morality based on practical human experience, then we are in agreement. But even then, one must recognize that this moral system is not "discoverable" in the same way other subjects of science are discoverable, nor can it be appealed to unless both members of the moral conversation agree with certain axioms.

What I?m suggesting though? (and given your leaning toward the secular, let?s discuss it from that angle) ..is that the secular argument could easily be made that the supposedly ?religious based morality?, is in fact simply another representation of consequentialism, with a religious face. Do you think it an accident, mere chance, that we find each type of basic morality paralleling on so many issues that each deals with?

Sure, I completely agree. I've blogged about the economics of religion previously - about how some religious practices may have evolved as a way of solving societal problems. And I agree that it is no mere coincidence that many moral systems and societies share widespread similarities. This can either be explained with nature or nurture; either we have internalized moral norms genetically as an evolutionary advantage, or sociologically as a societal advantage. After all, societies without some way of regulating killing, lying, etc. would not survive as societies for very long.

"Equally good moves are

"Equally good moves are still equally good. That he has reason to prefer one, or even an inferior move, dosn?t change that."

These are only analogies. There was a computer chess program that was easily beat because the human realized it's weaknesses and played to them. He didn't just take the objectively best move (if there is such a thing in chess). You can think of that as being an "co-subjective" strategy, where your strategy depends on the opposing subject. The same could be true for yourself however. You just might be better at playing a board that's less cluttered for instance. In which case you might want to trade pieces to clear the board.

I've given three analogies to get my point across. The best being the evolution analogy. I don't know where to go from here to explain the concept.

In morals I don't think "anything goes" but I also don't think that there is some absolute morality that is going to be discovered. I think with the recursions and complexities involved that trying to make absolute is going to fail. No set of precise laws are going to capture exactly what morality is. The more specific the less accurate it is going to get because it can't possibly account for every contengency.

JTK, And what do you mean by

JTK,

And what do you mean by humans?

You tell me, JTK. You are the one who is so interested in appeals to human nature. I'm willing to work with the scientific definition of the term "human".

2. I asked you if your revulsion to both is the same. Instead of telling how others might might look at things, how about just answering the question?

I already answered your questions sufficiently. I cannot rank my revulsion in marginal cases. Both are bad. If the cases are not marginal, i.e. if the tornado kills 1 billion and Stalin kills 1 million, I prefer Stalin over the tornado.

How do your feelings constitute a moral belief? Don?t you know how you feel about theft?

I have already said, multiple times, that moral belief is nothing more than feelings.

So the absence of proof does not persuade you of the absence of objective reality.

No, but the absence of evidence does persuade me of the absence of objective morality.

You are the authority on

You are the authority on whether you prefer french vanilla to vanilla, and you are the authority on whether you prefer prefer rape to consensual sex, but you are not the authority on whether rape is wrong nor does consensus of individual opinions produce such authority.

Well, if I'm not the authority on whether rape is wrong and all other people, taken together, are not the authority on whether rape is wrong, then who is the authority? God?

But you are equipped to discover that rape is wrong regardless of anyone?s opinion.

Maybe my moral equipment detector is broken. Perhaps you could guide me with a convincing argument I have yet to hear?

How is that contrary to my

How is that contrary to my view?

So, practical experience is absurd, then?
Now, perhaps you begin to understand hte reaction your comment received.

Few consequentialists believe in objective moral principles, because they base their moral system on preferences and values as chosen by individuals. Deontologists, on the other hand, base their moral system on universal abstract values apart from the preferences of individuals, such as liberty, equality, etc.

Fine. Problem is, you're only looking at the extremes. What I'm suggesting though... (and given your leaning toward the secular, let's discuss it from that angle) ..is that the secular argument could easily be made that the supposedly "religious based morality", is in fact simply another representation of consequentialism, with a religious face. Do you think it an accident, mere chance, that we find each type of basic morality paralleling on so many issues that each deals with?

From a secular POV, I suppose that becomes chicken and egg issue... which type of morality came first.

I'm guessing he feels that

I'm guessing he feels that there is no absolute morality that can be discovered through experimentation or revelation. I agree with this view. In my opinion, the primary reason for the belief in absolute morality is to be able to tell others how to think.

"But without absolute morality, how can we say something's wrong?"

Well, what's wrong with saying "that will not do what you want?" If your goal is to be happy, and your happiness involves being left alone, and you go around killing people, you're probably not going to be left alone. Duh. Why do we need absolute morals to tell us that?

Another reason I think some Randroids need absolute morals is that they need some reason that the government should be structured the way they think it should be structured. In my opinion, the State is just another church, feeding us doctrine, meting out punishment, alms for the poor, etc. Participation isn't particularly voluntary (though it's not entirely forcible either), but neither is church participation in some societies.

Anyway, the way I see it, you're responsible for coming up with your morals on your own. It's kind of irrelevant to me if they match mine, because if you do thing I don't like, I'll react accordingly, and our "shared ethic" or whatever you want to call it will arise in the intersubjective space. That doesn't make it objective; it's no different than the shared context that makes communication possible.

Sorry, I've rambled on for too long.

I think Micha believes: That

I think Micha believes:

That morality is a personal and subjective scale where we as individuals try to predetermine what our actions should be (or appropriate) in different circumstances.

Although I'm not sure, it was a long-ass thread.

If I'm accurate, I agree. I would add morality is often used as a tool to avoid thinking too hard; a "because I said so!" of sorts. Generally, people play the moral card when they don't have a utilitarian answer to why one should or shouldn't do something.

This is understandable, because many of our feelings contradict what seems like the most advantageous action. I think this is because we live in a society where we can afford to have seemingly unproductive feelings, such as compassion.

But because morals are defined by the individual (subjective), they become an illogical appeal to authority when used to convince others of a specific course of action.

Micha writes as a moral

Micha writes as a moral nihilist. He holds that there really is no right or wrong, only baseless preferences and consequences. He thinks he can argue for good consequences while denying any standard of good.

Jonathan, When you've gotten

Jonathan,

When you've gotten a satisfactory number of answers to these questions I hope you'll offer your own.

He thinks he can argue for

He thinks he can argue for good consequences while denying any standard of good.

he argues for what is good for him, but that what is good for him is not a standard, just a subjective preference.

JT Kennedy: you said: "He

JT Kennedy:

you said:
"He holds that there really is no right or wrong, only baseless preferences and consequences"

You say that like it's a bad thing!

Seriously, could you give me a definition of "right and wrong" that isn't subjective?

If killing is "wrong (in most circumstances - surely killing someone who would otherwise kill your child is at least less wrong than, say, killing someone because you don't like him)" because it's immoral, couldn't you just as easily say capitalism is wrong because it's immoral?

If you're going to convince me something is wrong, or right, based on some pre-existing, all encompassing moral order, you are going to have to a. show me evidence that order exists and b. show me evidence that your order is the right one.

So rape is obviously good

So rape is obviously good for the rapist, since ht demonstrates his preference for rape by raping, right?

Is there any reason why Micha shouldn't prefer rape?

Titus, you're saying there

Titus, you're saying there would be nothing wrong in indulging in preferences for rape, murder or genocide when you could get away with them. I doubt you really believe that.

Stalin died in his bed, master of an empire. He obviously acted on his preferences and was rewarded with the consequences he sought. Anything wrong with that?

Why wouldn't an ethical

Why wouldn't an ethical subjectivist admire Stalin and Mao for their daring and successful satisfaction of their preferences?

Kennedy: The rapist usually

Kennedy:

The rapist usually does think their actions are morally justified.

Saying rape would become acceptable without a definitive moral code/law of nature isn't proof that there is a definitive moral code/law of nature.

I can give you reasons why rape is a terrible thing to do and those who rape should be severely punished without once mentioning morals.

To reiterate my question to you: do you have proof that a definitive moral code exists?

Here's another one:

Do you think we need to believe definitive morals exists, even though there's no evidence, or else there's no reason to behave?

This morality debate sure sounds like a God debate...

Which leads me to ask one more question:

Since Micha (and myself, I guess) is a moral nihilist, how is it we are able to be good people? You asked why Micha doesn't prefer rape - well, why do YOU think?

I said Micha writes as a

I said Micha writes as a moral nihilist.

"I can give you reasons why rape is a terrible thing to do and those who rape should be severely punished without once mentioning morals."

Say why it's a terrible thing to do.

"To reiterate my question to you: do you have proof that a definitive moral code exists?"

For now it will suffice for me to show that the moral nihilism you profess is incoherent.

"Titus, you?re saying there

"Titus, you?re saying there would be nothing wrong in indulging in preferences for rape, murder or genocide when you could get away with them. I doubt you really believe that."

Oh, but I do! Rape totally kicks ass!

Kidding, of course, but I understand how you could think that.

I personally believe it is wrong to do these terrible things. That does not mean these things in fact are wrong. People who engage in these reprehensible activities beleive it is right. That does not mean these things in fact are right.

See, morality doesn't really get you anywhere. If I'm going to make a case for prohibiting people from these activities, I've got to present reasons based on fact as to why those people need to be punished.

The only way to make a moral argument is to either say "because I say so" or "becuase God says so." Therefore, moral law is only defined by those with the most power. A dangerous situation, if you ask me. Even immoral.

"Why wouldn?t an ethical subjectivist admire Stalin and Mao for their daring and successful satisfaction of their preferences?"

Because satisfying one's preferences is only admirable when we share preferences. They behaived in a manner I find morally reprehensible. The subjectivity of morality has nothing to do with what should be socially acceptable and what shouldn't.

My morals make me believe Stalin sucked. So what? That won't mean anything to someone who believes egalitarianism is moral, and puts Stalin on a much lower level of sucketude.

Morals are pointless outside of your own identity.

I personally believe it is

I personally believe it is wrong to do these terrible things. That does not mean these things in fact are wrong.

Are you saying 1) You think rape is wrong, but you are not sure if it is in fact wrong, or 2) You think rape is wrong but at the same time you think it is not in fact wrong?

It's true that your belief does not make something wrong, but why would you way you believe it's wrong when you don't think it's possible for it to be wrong?

And why do you think rape is wrong, terrible, and reprehensible anyway? Why do you use the word "wrong" at all when all you apparently mean is that you prefer not to rape or be raped?

"Say why it?s (rape) a

"Say why it?s (rape) a terrible thing to do."

You're only asking half the question. The other half is why should we punish rapists, if morality is relative and rapists think their actions are justified.

1. Rape is an act of violence on an unwilling person (the unwilling part is important to me, since I'm a boxer (amateur) and hurt people all the time). It causes a barrage of terrible feelings, both physical and emotional. Those injuries, unlike morality, are not subjective. They are real. The experience for the victim is terrible. The fact that I think it's immoral is irrelevent.

So then how do I justify causing injury (punishing) to rapists?

Simple. The potential rapist has a choice. The threat of retaliation will influence that choice. It makes non-violence a safer option for the would-be violent. In this case, the morality argument would work against itself; if violence is not acceptable because it's wrong, then isn't it wrong to punish the violent? If we don't then punish the violent, more acts of violence will be commited. Being "moral" would actually lead to more acts of immorality.

I asked:
?To reiterate my question to you: do you have proof that a definitive moral code exists??

you responded:
"For now it will suffice for me to show that the moral nihilism you profess is incoherent."

Aw, c'mon. If I am making an effort to explain myself, you could return the favor.

The only way you are going to be able to show me my moral nihilism/subjectivism/reletivism/whateritism I'm arguingism is incorrect is by convincing me of the alternative - that a universal moral structure exists.

You're the one making the assertion. I'm going to assume there's nothing there until you show me otherwise.

"Are you saying 1) You think

"Are you saying 1) You think rape is wrong, but you are not sure if it is in fact wrong, or 2) You think rape is wrong but at the same time you think it is not in fact wrong?"

None of the above. Morals are not facts. They are opinions. Rape is wrong is an opinion. Rape is an act of violent force on an unwilling person - fact.

In the rapist's f*cked up world, rape isn't wrong. In some mysoginistic cultures, rape isn't wrong. It's relative. I wish it wasn't; I wish everyone was as wonderful a person as I am, and as wonderful as I'm sure you are, but that's not the case.

So what does a belief in a universal moral structure actually do for us in such a world? Nothing good. It only generates hostility between people who are convinced their moral structure is the right one. It perpetuates harmful (and, in my opinion, immoral) beliefs, such as homophobia ("God Hates Fags!"), Communism ("unequal distribution of income is bad!"), and the Drug War ("Just Say No!").

Refusing to accept the fact that morals are relative makes it impossible for these people to consider the possibility they're wrong. Insisting their morals come from beyond themselves makes them deaf to debate, to logic, and to reason, because "it's wrong because it's wrong" is circular logic. It ends the discussion.

I'm going to bed.

I'm going to bed.

In all the discussion above,

In all the discussion above, I see little or no reference to HUMAN NATURE and VALUES, except perhaps on the part of John T. Kennedy where it's implicit in some of what he's saying.

How can one speak of morality without reference to HUMAN NATURE and the VALUES that are required to live in accordance with that nature?

Nail that down, and you've nailed down objective morality. It's really quite simple. I guess I'll never understand the intellectualizing that goes on in trying to figure out ways that living outside of our natures is not imoral. It's really a 2+2 thing.

Nail down human nature? Good

Nail down human nature? Good luck with that.

OK, now I'm going to bed.

>>In the rapist?s f*cked up

>>In the rapist?s f*cked up world, rape isn?t wrong.<<

Sure it is, why do you think they so often kill the victim, blindfold them, or wear a mask of some sort?
They are perfectly aware that they are committing an act of aggression on a person they have forcebly taken control of by means of violence, intimidation -- or both.

Don't have much to add,

Don't have much to add, other than these threads have been great reads! I would liken debating with morals to debating with emotion -- I don't think I've ever seen it end well.

I think Micha views the late

I think Micha views the late Ayn Rand as an immoral or evil person. I deeply disagree with this view.

Outside of that, I have very little idea what his views on morality are. He seems to hold the non-coercion principle as a moral absolute. That is really the most I think that I can expect from anyone else so frankly I only barely care what his remaining views on morality are.

Until the Non-coercion Principle becomes the prevailing opinion, I have much greater concerns than whether someone thinks I'm a bad person because they don't share my ethics.

(Although, let me add that it does bug me when people regard me as evil because I'm a student of objectivism, etc. I know it shouldn't, but it does. At least with Micha, I don't expect him to act on that in a manner destructive to me in the political process.)

titus, "None of the above.

titus,

"None of the above. Morals are not facts. They are opinions. Rape is wrong is an opinion. Rape is an act of violent force on an unwilling person - fact. "

If you recognize that rape is not in fact wrong, indeed that it cannot be in fact wrong, why would you neverthless say you believe it is wrong? Why would you be of the opinion it's wrong when you recognize that it cannot be wrong?

I'm not supposed to comment

I'm not supposed to comment on the content of this thread just yet, but here are two quick side-notes:

Michi,

A rapist might "kill the victim, blindfold them, or wear a mask of some sort" not because the rapist necessarily believe his actions are morally wrong, but because he knows the legal consequences if he gets caught. I don't believe that drug use or tax evasion are morally wrong, but were I to engage in these activities, I would be sure to do so in a way that I don't risk jail time or fines.

BilLee,

I don't believe Ayn Rand was an immoral or evil person. I just find her and many of her followers extremely frustrating at times.

I do not hold the non-coercion principle as a moral absolute, but it may appear this way because in most cases, NAP leads to good consequences.

>>To hint at an answer, I

>>To hint at an answer, I believe that either evolution or our social upbringing equipped most, but not all of us with a feeling of sympathy and caring for our fellow man, either because these feelings provide us with an evolutionary advantage, or because societies that did not instill these feelings in their members do not survive for very long. That is why most of us would not act like Stalin even if given the opportunity, and we recoil at those who would.

I'm going to have to point out here that these "feelings of sympathy" are very, very superficial and weak in most people. At least 65% of the general population will torture-murder their fellow citizens if asked to nicely by an authority figure. Go read the entire Milgram book Obedience to Authority -- don't just google the research. It's quite enlightening, and speaks much of the true nature of human systems of preference. Most people wouldn't become Stalin, but just about everyone would obey him.

It's reasonable for Beck and JTK to be suspicious of our preference systems. When most people can be demonstrated empirically to be amoral demons who will do terrible things without much prodding, we relativists must seem to be the strangest sort of demon. We can't condemn murderers and rapists in terms much stronger than "we dislike them intensely."

JTK looks at the preference-based restraints keeping us from going on a rampage, and he's not impressed. Beck probably thinks that we have an objective moral code that restrains us but that we're too stupid to see it.

Micha, Come to think of it,

Micha,

Come to think of it, especially the act of killing the victim after, would be more evidence for lack of moral qualms, eh? :)

Titus: Yes, nail down human

Titus:

Yes, nail down human nature. Begin with the values necessary for living in accordance with it. It's not that hard, really.

Does anyone really believe that plunder or fraud are natural human VALUES?

Good morning! Richard (sorry

Good morning!

Richard (sorry for my snarkiness last night):

1. Define human nature
2. Why should I buy your definition of human nature
3. Given the ever changing environment in which we live, how are we to find a rigid set of values... er, sorry, VALUES to be applicable in every situation
4. What if human nature is a little bit evil? Should we value evil, because it's in accordance with our nature?

You say nailing down human nature should be easy. I disagree, but am certainly willing to be proved wrong. So, what are you waiting for? Nail it down for me.

Kennedy: Man, I write

Kennedy:

Man, I write paragraphs of well thought out stuff, giving you a lot to respond to like my argument that moral relativism is actually more moral than moral absolutism, yet you give me this:

"If you recognize that rape is not in fact wrong, indeed that it cannot be in fact wrong, why would you neverthless say you believe it is wrong? Why would you be of the opinion it?s wrong when you recognize that it cannot be wrong?"

I thought I was the one being incoherent!

Let me try this a different way -

I believe rape is wrong. I cannot, however, PROVE rape is wrong. If you can, please do, so I don't accidentally go out and rape someone.

I believe pizza is good. I cannot PROVE pizza is good. Would you ask how I can believe pizza is good without proof?

I'm doing my best to answer all of your questions, but am getting a little fustrated because you are ignoring mine. If I'm failing to explain how morals are not factual, I'd appreciate it if you'd drop it for a moment and take some time to address my questions.

"I believe rape is wrong. I

"I believe rape is wrong. I cannot, however, PROVE rape is wrong."

That in and of itself is not ethical subjectivism.

Do you believe rape is objecively wrong for everyone or not?

Micha believes it cannot be objectively wrong to rape, yet he will also go on to say nonsensical things like "I personally believe rape is wrong". I'm trying to discover whether you share his subjectivism or not. Sometimes it seems clear you do, sometimes it seems that even you don't know whether you do.

"I believe pizza is good. I cannot PROVE pizza is good. Would you ask how I can believe pizza is good without proof?"

You claim to believe that:

"Pizza is good."

What does that mean? Does it mean that you like pizza? In that case you are saying "I believe I like pizza." But that's silly, you *know* whether you like pizza or not, don't you?

But by "Pizza is good" you don't seem to mean that everyone likes pizza or that that everyone should like pizza. So what do you mean by "Pizza is good"?

I?m doing my best to answer all of your questions, but am getting a little fustrated because you are ignoring mine. If I?m failing to explain how morals are not factual, I?d appreciate it if you?d drop it for a moment and take some time to address my questions.

I'm not interested in addressing those questions at this time, they are not material to the point I'm making now, even though you think they are. There's no sense in exploring them if we can't even nail down what you mean by "Pizza is good."

I think Micha has made the

I think Micha has made the false assumption that morality is either objective or subjective. That seems to be shared by many others here. Upon discovery of evidence that morality is not objective Micha is driven to the position that it is subjective.

I am thinking all the people who have objected to him so far share the same false assumption because they have not pointed it out to him. I think they share it but instead are driven to the other extreme because they see that morality is not subject.

Guess what? You are both right. Morality is not subjective and it is not objective.

JTK, When you?ve gotten a

JTK,

When you?ve gotten a satisfactory number of answers to these questions I hope you?ll offer your own.

I will.

Brian,

I think that by "subjective" Micha simply means "not objective" and nothing more than that. Many people have misinterpreted this.

I suspect that your views on morality are similar to Micha's.

Brian, Micha argues that

Brian,

Micha argues that morality is dependent on opinion (subjective morality), while I argue that morality is independent of opinion (objective morailiy). Those are exclusive alternatives.

"I?m not interested in

"I?m not interested in addressing those questions at this time"

Well la di da. I'm not interested in being ignored.

Nice "debating" you.

Yeah, when I say "Pizza is

Yeah, when I say "Pizza is good" I mean that I like pizza. When I say "Rape is bad" I mean that rape and rapists bother me a lot. When I say "I believe stealing is wrong" I mean that stealing bothers me emotionally: I don't like doing it and I dislike people who do.

I don't mean that I believe stealing is contrary to some universal principle (like gravity).

Funny thing about universal principles like gravity, they can't ever be violated (or they weren't really universal were they?) Declaring that stealing violates some universal moral law seems odd, since the Universe seems to allow it without interference.

I would certainly like stealing to be contrary to some universal principle, but I haven't seen any evidence of this. Sad, really.

When I say ?I believe

When I say ?I believe stealing is wrong? I mean that stealing bothers me emotionally: I don?t like doing it and I dislike people who do.

But you *know* that it bothers you emotionally and that you don't like doing it and that you dislike people who do, don't you?

How is that a belief?

The phrase "I believe

The phrase "I believe stealing is wrong" is indeed an abuse of the word "belief." (This is why, in general, I try to avoid making such statements.)

I know stealing bothers me. I know taxation bothers me -- it's just a whole lot of stealing. Others seem to like stealing. The problem here is that I don't know that my being bothered by stealing has any larger relevance.

Since we both dislike stealing and taxation it's likely we will try and resist it. It would be nice if we could cause other people to dislike stealing and taxation so they will help. But when we tell people "stealing is wrong" it's unclear that that means anything more than "we dislike stealing a lot."

So you are equating the

So you are equating the terms "moral subjectivism" and "moral nihilism." Ok, I'll accept that.

I shouldn't say "stealing is wrong" if it would mislead people into thinking I meant more than "I dislike stealing." Check.

Now we just need to show that moral nihilism is somehow empirically indefensible. How do we do that?

So while you say "You

So while you say "You believe stealing is wrong" you don't in fact believe anything of the sort. That subjective moral assertion was entirely devoid of moral content. Moral subjectivism = moral nihilism.

Since you now apparently

Since you now apparently recognize that you are a moral nihilist, why wouldn't you steal whenever it was to your advantage to do so?

What does the word "steal" mean in the context of moral nihilism anyway?

I have a question. And I'm

I have a question. And I'm not going to lie, so you know everything right out in the open: I am reading absolutely disgusting and despicable bullshit here, from a harrowing assortment of abject fucking punks.

I have wondered for days, now, however:

How old are you people?

I'm forty-nine years old.

Since titus is not

Since titus is not interested in explaining what he means by statements like "I believe pizza is good" or "I believe rape is wrong" perhaps Micha will explain why he ofet says things like the latter.

If all Micha has are preferences, why does he preface them with "I personally believe..." or "I personally think..."?

You *know* what you prefer, don't you Micha?

I'm forty-six, you old

I'm forty-six, you old geezer.

I'm 30 years old. And I

I'm 30 years old.

And I can see why you'd consider my line of reasoning disgusting and despicable. I'm not particularly pleased with my conclusion that we live in a random and uncaring universe with no objective moral order. I just can't see that my conclusion is incorrect, and am unwilling to abandon it until someone can empirically demonstrate to me that it is false.

I am quite willing to entertain the notion that older and wiser individuals such as yourself have useful knowledge on the matter at hand. I can also understand why you might be tired of explaining what seems (to you) obvious things for the Nth ^&*% time.

What must seem really odd to

What must seem really odd to you is the notion that abject &*^( punks such as myself will be standing with you in the Final Battle Against the Police State. As unpleasant as this must seem, we are allied against the Endarkenment.

>>Since you now apparently

>>Since you now apparently recognize that you are a moral nihilist, why wouldn?t you steal whenever it was to your advantage to do so?

I really dislike stealing. The advantage associated with the theft would have to overcome the very large disadvantage associated with my dislike of stealing. Probably my life, or the life of a large number of people would have to be at stake.

It would require extreme cirumstances for me to engage in any behavior that I believe will compromise total human liberty as I understand it. Extreme in this case probably means being drugged and tortured. And upon cessation of the torture I would likely immediately attempt to undo the damage I caused while under duress. Human liberty for me is a very strong preference, likely more important to me than my preference for survival.