Maybe. Read "The Butcher," from Philip Carlo but after reading this book, I am wondering how much of that is true.
The book is mostly fiction. The thing about sociopaths is that they are rarely murderers (and Kuklinski is a murder) but they are ALL liars. Kuklinski made up grandiose lies to make himself out to be the greatest psychotic killer of all time and Carlo wrote all that up like it was true. I was tipped off when Kuklinski said that he rescued a group of children from a serial child abductor - I looked online to see what happened to the children that were rescued and found nothing but a lot of people saying that Kuklinsky made the whole thing up. It rings true though. The books reads like a grandiose liar telling everyone how great he is.
I listened to it twice. It demands attention in some parts which I can't always give while listening.
Sam Harris. He is handsome genius.
He is such strong man. He make me feel safe.
The Moral Landscape. You've seen these ideas before, but not from such a handsome, genius man.
Speaking as an atheist and a humanist there is much that I agree with in this book. Hence the four stars, what he says many need to hear. However, I didn't need to hear it, I don't know the difference between Harris' paradigm of ethics and humanism. I would have liked to hear more credit given to humanism. I would disagree that the paradigm is utilitarianism because Harris raises questions that lead me to think he would not always prefer the greatest good for the greatest number. I'm guessing he would allow many people to die before allowing his family to come to harm. That's just a guess though.
He states that a science of morality should be based in promotion of "human well being." Then he suggest that science and reason should be employed to answer questions of morality. So, "good" is what promotes "human well being." That is Harris' categorical imperative. How does he support this? By stating that "human well being" is the only topic of interest to humans. Although that's not really proof. That doesn't stop Harris from carrying on as if promotion of "human well being" has been proven to be a moral absolute.So this "absolute truth" is really just another "subjective truth." I guess I was put off by the level of certainty he had in asserting this. He could have just said, "I don't know, but this is my best guess - and a guess that benefits humanity anyway. So let's just go with this assumption." I would have respected that more. I can imagine many scenarios where "human well being" would not be "good." It all hinges on what kind of a universe we really live in. For instance, in a solipsistic universe the happiness of only myself matters. No point in giving to unicef if other people don't really exist. If god really does exist, then the divine will is the only good (Euthyphro argument aside). It has always been my position that in order to understand what is good, we need to know what kind of universe this is and why we are here. Harris seems to make assumptions about this as well. He seems to be going with the materialistic universe. It is fine to make these assumptions - just be honest about what they are - assumptions.
What really bugs me is that Harris does not believe in free will, he is a determinist. (I am also a determinist - I thought Harris' book on free will was brilliant). Therefore everything in the universe is predetermined or predestined. If this is the case, then wouldn't everything that happens be considered "good" as it conforms to the order of the universe. One could argue this would make the holocaust "good." Another might counter that if the holocaust was always supposed to happen, could not have possibly been avoided and had to happen just the way it did happen. Then in some sense, it is "good" because it is part of the order from which all life flows.
Maybe I'm thinking too hard about this. I would have liked it if Harris addressed these questions in the book.
Lastly, "moral relativism" gets a bad wrap in this book. Am I the only one who understands the purpose of moral relativism is to try to understand that a rational compassionate person will act differently in various moral environments? George Washington owned slaves, but this is mitigated by the morals of his time. A primitive tribesman raids villages and kills children, but "everybody else does it," and he could be a good man emerged in this system. The purpose of "moral relativism" never seemed to be a means to prove that "cult A sees promiscuity as an imperative, and cult B sees chastity as an imperative, " so therefore both are correct. I don't know why Harris goes after moral relativism in this book, I guess he just wanted to show that he was not in the pocket of pointy headed academics.
The story seems not to be embellished. Seems like the real deal. It does pay off at the end when more details of the co conspirators are given. It is true that the book needs an afterward to explain what happened to Piper and the other inmates.
The reading was top notch. It was read with feeling, variation in voices and accents as well.
The books does a great job telling you about the daily routine and politics of living in a women's minimum security prison. The author said that prior to surrendering for prison she read all the books about prison life - but these were books by male ex cons. This book is important as a female perspective for a female institution.
Piper should join the Navy and then write a book about that. There seem to be a lot of similarities between minimum security prison and being in the navy, ie lots of chicken shit rules. Makes for great bonding and misadventure.
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