Perception and Morality
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Alright I guess I am finally ready if you are. Perception versus story, part 2 — which aspect now?
Nervous in the service, for fear that we won’t know our lines? It would have been more instructive for you not to have reread the first installment so you wouldn’t know until you came to enter it into the computer whether we were repeating ourselves. The more faith you bring to this, the easier it goes — validation comes after you have something to validate, not before!
You have begun to see how the abstract concepts you learned in your remote viewing attempt can be applied to larger areas of life. This is very valuable as a corrective against Psychics Disease, against becoming ensnarled in conspiracy theories — and against being prone to accept the party line and the official version of things! But it extends beyond that. Some of this will appear obvious, but not everything that is obvious to one will be obvious to another.
Consider. Your scientific outlook, your religious outlook, your anti-scientific or anti-religious outlook, whatever, can only be provisional. No matter what you think you know, it can never be absolutely true, and what is true in one context may be untrue in another. Not “seen as” or “seem to be” but actually. It is a matter of precision.
You read a book “long ago” about fractals, remember, and one point made by way of illustration was that no one knows or can know the length of the British coastline. The reason, quite simply, is that at each smaller scale of measurement, little disparities
(Disparities? Do I have the right word? Doesn’t seem so.)
At any given scale, new discontinuities arise. What is a straight line at a larger scale of measurement is seen to be indented, complicated, at a smaller scale. At a scale still smaller, it gets longer because more irregularities — previously inconsequential and perhaps not even discernible at a larger scale — must be taken into account.
This serves as a good useful example. If no one knows or can know something so simple as the length of a coastline, what can be fixed and absolute?
The same thing goes for values, and for moral codes, and for the same reason. Thou shalt not kill may be an absolute for some. For most it is a fixed value but not absolute. Given a condition in which one must kill in order to protect others, the value conflicts with others, and the person caught in the conflict must decide among them. There is nothing wrong with this because it cannot be otherwise. Life holds no absolutes. Would you not lie sometimes to protect others even if you would not do so to protect yourself? Would you not steal to feed your starving family?
Do not misunderstand us to be saying that morality is illusory, or that a moral code, a code of ethics, is illusory or futile. Exactly the contrary is our point. Because there can be no absolute, because all values exist with others that may at some time conflict with them, therefore people need to make their own code (or follow another’s) so that they will have a guide when dilemmas arise.
Every society, religion, social group, family, and individual creates a code and lives up to it well or badly. Because any individual comes under many codes, some of them conflicting, each person chooses how to behave, what to value above what in what conditions. An easy example (though not necessarily easy in practice) is family versus the state: where is your first loyalty if it is one against the other? Another is family versus social group, or church versus state. The permutations are endless, as life itself.
You are always responsible for the code you choose to live by. It can be no other way. You may change the code, frequently or rarely or not at all, but you will necessarily have one, and much of it is likely to be beneath your level of consciousness. (Gang members and politicians have codes relating primarily to their peers and colleagues, and any other allegiances will be weighed against these.)
The point, again, is that nothing exists in isolation. Therefore, everything is relative. “Moral relativism” is entirely unavoidable, or are you willing to live and be judged by the moral codes of various classes in Elizabethan England, or Stalinist Russia, or third century Rome, or Aztec Mexico? You could not even live by the codes of a hundred years ago, even if you knew what they were. So — no more thinking that any moral code is or can be “right” and unchangeable. Right and wrong always get mixed together beyond separation, as any policeman or judge can tell you from first-hand experience. As to unchangeable — think of the variances just in what is considered acceptable sexual conduct over the course of 50 years. If that subject is too charged, how about the perceived morality of the business place or stock market or government?
Note well, here we are not discussing how well or badly these codes are followed, but how the code itself adjusts to changing times not because people become more immoral but because their perceptions change as to the morality or otherwise of a given act.
So, you say, “perception versus story”? You think we are far off track. But we would say if you will title this “perception and morality” the connection will appear soon enough.
Write this up and think about it, and if you wish more, you know where to find us.