We’re all wrong because we think we’re right.
Certainty is a trap.
How many people are alive right now? There are as many or more ways of approaching life, and with each comes a set of values conducive to a normative code.
I hesitate to say “moral code,” because that will carry unwanted preconceptual baggage into my essay here. I am speaking of a more implicit, less weighty code than the “Obey your God!” type of code we think of whenever morality is mentioned. I mean any code or set of values that leads us to say things like, “Democracy is good,” or, “One should wear pants.”
What makes such a code “true” or “absolute?”
Whether or not it’s yours, of course.
Objectivity exists only for statements of what is, not for statements of what should be.
Breaking apart the nuclei of atoms releases a lot of energy. Should we weaponize that energy? Should we convert that energy to electricity? Unclear.
Arguments could made for both, but never will you arrive at a 100% objectively certain answer.
What I find amazing is how we try to distinguish where subjectivity applies, as though we can switch off our biased, singular minds – “Subjectivity is valid in art, but not in real life.” It’s a noble thought, but it becomes a little dangerous when we think it works.
The reality is everything is subjective.
Teachers disagree about education. Doctors disagree about medicine. Scientists disagree about science. Judges disagree about law.
From country to country, town to town, person to person, we all have different ideas about the value of certain things in life. Perhaps we could just accept this?
Perhaps we could say to ourselves, “Oh shit dude, all of my values are born of convention and perspective. If had been born somewhere else, I probably wouldn’t agree with them.” And then, once we do that, we could stop fooling ourselves into being angry and hateful about things like football or sex. We might realize such passion battles are frivolous time-sucks.
Perhaps we could then agree on things that are truly universal, like:
Food is useful.
Warmth helps with survival.
Light makes activities easier.
Water is a double-edged sword.
And then we could see that, despite the intricate sandcastles of technology and business and politics we’ve built around ourselves, we are in fact apes with very simple needs and loads of vulnerabilities. We’re in a world that never fully reveals itself and none of us are making it out alive.
Let’s calm down and enjoy our stay.