||[Jan. 29th, 2011|06:53 pm]
Some thoughts I spent an hour or so rambling about:|
I term my believe system "The Edification"; Edification, like most words, has various meanings and implications wholly depending on the context and, through an accident of history, this specific word encapsulates my whole moral viewpoint perfectly. Firstly to be Edified is to be uplifted, filled with joy or perhaps even enlightened; Edification is the process of being edified, if you see my point. A completely accidental implication of the word but, in my opinion, perhaps its most valuable is it sounds like 'Edifice' which implies a large and imposing building, and my viewpoint is something that, like a building, rests on foundations, has its functional and its purely aesthetic elements merged in a greater whole that we term 'the Edifice' without, itself, being merely one totality.
If approached critically my viewpoint implies a stark universe lacking in morality and restraint. The critic may view my believes thusly because that is a completely just reading of my views; I start at first princibles; what is the universe? It seems to me that it is an impossibility for something as small as me to understand it and, indeed, the greatest minds of our planet only see glimpses; even our theologians would not claim that they understand the universe, only that which their specific divinity reveals to us who are incapable of ascertaining a true measure of it.
After seeing this fairly obvious truth, our own lack of understanding, it seemed to me that we do many curious things. We talk so authoritatively on the subject of right and wrong, good and evil; a theologian may be forgiven doing such a thing for their divinity will surely set the moral goalposts yet what of the rest of us? I have had agonositcal philosophers telling me that murder is wrong and their only vindication for such an arguement is that they have a vague 'sense' that such things are wrong "It seems apparent Michael that such things are wrong, all people would agree"; certainly I would accept that, do we not all feel a vague sense about certain things being right and certain things being wrong? Yet such an explanation is worth exactly nothing, it is not an explanation, no scientist would accept such an arguement, would any of us? If I said to you that it seemed to me the world was triangular because I "have a vague feeling that it is" would you accept that? Yet where morality is concerned we accept such arguements.
I could not however imagine myself commiting an act of murder mainly because a vague feeling tells me that I am wrong, it is clear that we have such feelings; where then do they come from? There are two accounts as far as I can see, my favourite account is this. We evolve through a process of natural selection; the best fitted for their enviroment survive to pass on their genes, and so on and so forth, and through the action of such a passing on of genes those with certain useful qualities survive. there are some creatures, so perfectly adapted, that they change not a jot over the centuries; their were species of Dinosaur that lived unaltered for millenia. They did not change because their circumstances did not change and they suited their circumstances perfectly; humans are a creature that possess sentience however and changes its circumstances constantly; it evolved in packs, thence families, thence tribes and onto nationstates and a world society; a society cannot function where murder and rape and killing are allowed wholesale; perhaps at one time there were tribes who lived in a such a manner, yet they died out and only us social animals survived to awaken into world society; therefore these vague feelings are evolutionary responses to society, or perhaps our unique sociability is in fact the reason for society; either way our morality is built on a set of vague feelings caused by human evolution.
There are however theistic explanations; we were created by a divine being, or spirit or somesuch who gave us a set of codes which we must abide with. Perhaps this is true, I cannot deny that it may be the case for I know just as little about the universe as anyone else, however if this is the case it seems a distinctly worrying view to me. It implies that your worth is to the extent that you blindly follow codes of behaviour and act obediently to religious authority; what account does that take of the peculiar beauty of a person who acts as their concience tells them, who donates large sums discretely to charity and who looks after his children yet ignores rules he considers outdated or offensive? He is doomed to be second-class; indeed some faiths would say he is doomed to torture for eternity; his completely honest altruism is not worth a hill of beans compared to his objection of specific rules. Of course we may say that our creator as the right to ask of us whatever he wants, but how does he have such a right? Does a parent have any rights over his children once they are of an age to live independantly? The children have no obligations except voluntery ones.
Be there a creator or not I would like to think that, like a parent, they would rejoice in seeing us stand on our own two feet; and if their is not a creator then we have twice the reason to assert ourselves intellectually. As I mentioned earlier we are intellectually foggy on the subject of morality; scientists who believe that our morality exists due to evolutionary reasons still speak of right and wrong when, unless their is a creator, such concepts of irrelevent. How does one measure good and bad? are their 'good' atoms and 'bad' atoms? Is it written in the stars? It no use speaking of vague feelings for feelings may often be wrong themselves; if I halucinate and have a feeling that the sky is falling in then does such a feeling have any validity? Yet we base legalism on vague feelings and broad codes of conduct often founded out of the particular biases and desires of the group of lawgivers writing at the time.
Morality should be based on that which works and that which does not work; it seems to me that morality should be founded on the concept of empathy; if I was in that position how would I wish to be treated? I myself wish to live a life free of violence, murder, oppression, and one in which I have the nessecities of life avaliable to me. Good and Evil are incidental; we should talk in terms of that which works and, in terms of justice, treat others as we ourselves would wish to be treated.
I really don't think a creator, if they asked 'account for your life' would be satisfied if we said 'I followed your rules and had faith in them' I think they would be fair more satisifed if I said 'I had many vague feelings and were taught many conflicting things; I followed that which seemed the best course at the time, I did unto others as I would have them do unto me and I am not ashamed though I may well be wrong'.
What if there is no creator however? Then perhaps we are alone or perhaps there are multiplicities of other places filled with creatures alike and varied; or perhaps in countless multiplicities we are alone and nobody will ever rate our performance or remember our comings and goings. It would seem to me however that even though this looks stark it is also beautiful; in an empty galaxy it would seem to me that humanity, as something rare, is also something worthy of comment and worthy of interest; it may not be something of vast force or magnatism but it is something of idea, of emotion and of awareness that nothing else possesses. If we are surrounded by neighbours then, how glorious, that whether we win or lose there are distant stars and distant music that florish regardless.
The most uplifting thing is that none of it matters; if it is not being scored then we are free to be the people that we wish to be, that we objectively think we should be. If we are so favoured with the skill and industry we may move out into the galaxy and make it according to our tastes. Consider that we never leave this world though; I feel that humanity has the power to become divine and glorious here, on this one world in a remote corner of emptiness. The greatest achievement can be to look out upon darkness and solitude and say 'it is neither good nor evil, it is' and, in your soul, accept it as such.