Baudrillard was on to something.
In our Modern(postpostmodern?!) World we have no Meaning, save that Imposed on us.
We attempt to hold on to the Meaning-Systems of our forebears…the various Religions, and Political Divisions…mostly in Vain.
The Conflict, as I see it, Today, is between Certainty and Perplexity. Those who Fear Perplexity adhere to Certainty, however derived…and to feel as Certain as Possible in whatever Meaning they Cling to, they attempt to Impose their System on Everyone.
This is a misapplication of the Categorical Imperative. They Stop Thinking at some point on their Road.
Postmodernism, as it is called, seems to be an Exhaustion…a Giving Up…on the Search for Meaning. Our Collective Sphere of Knowledge increasingly Negates the Logic Systems, the Moral/Ethical Systems that came before…and we Fear Life Without Them.
So, we cling…savagely…to those Old Systems.
We also, necessarily, Stop Thinking.
This is the great Crisis of our time.
I’m with Nietzsche and Camus, in that I reckon it’s Possible…and Necessary…to Create Meaning.
In fact, that’s the only way I see out of our Mess…
For instance, it seems to me, that Hyperindividualism is Dead….
It no longer works in Modern Society. To keep on acting as if it does, is to damn Us to a Hellworld of Pollution, Extreme Inequality,War and Savagery.
There’s very little Trust, in our current Systems, including Government…so we feel the need to “Look Out for Number One”….whole Philosophies have been erected on this…essential Selfishness. Every one of them neglects the Obvious Facts; 1 that we are too many, 2. that the world is Finite. If Unmitigated Selfishness (Greed is Good) is the de facto Meaning of Life…apply the Categorical Imperative… then we are Doomed…we’ll continue on our current track, until there is nothing left to support Life.
The recent re-emergence of Fundamentalisms…both religious and secular, is a symptom of this Fear of Meaninglessness…
I’ve long hollered about the Universalism(Catholic) that the Enlightenment inherited from what came before…Understandable in Physics, and even Biology(RNA and DNA sure seem universal to Life…as we know it(!!!)). But we have a tendency to apply Universalism to areas where it, arguably, doesn’t fit…like Politics and Economics, and even Morality/Ethics….there can be Only One…
TINA(there is no alternative)…if we labour under a common philosophy, that’s it….every school of thought seems bent on imposing itself on the whole world.
This is most evident in Religious Fundamentalism…Islam’s Ummah…Christianity’s “Christian Nation”, extended to the whole world…the “One True God”, manifesting in so many different incarnations, all of them true.lol.
We see it in Political Economy…Capitalism,vs Communism….My Way, Or the Highway….With us, or Against us…Criticism(even constructive) = Apostasy.
Morality/Ethics….in the US, it’s a Christian thing(despite their myriad subfaiths) ; Nudity=Sex, which is always bad….nonxians are suspect, if not hated…women(and black folks) should get back into their Place, and be happy there…(but , we’re not Misogynist/Racist.(wink))
There’s much wiggling in these, of course…we are ashamed of “End Justifies Means”…but we accept it.(GWOT). Part of Us is ashamed of lots of things that we , nevertheless, allow and encourage.
I’ve held out the counterenlightenment Ideal of Pluralism, as a partial Solution.
Fact; we must learn to live together.
Fact; we believe differently.(each of us)
ergo: we must accept this difference, and focus on our Commonality.
My Worldview doesn’t Depend on You….it is mine. I am Happy with it.
You should be Happy for me….and leave me to it.
I am Happy for you, if you’ve located, or invented some Meaning…and I’ll leave you to it.(with caveats, a la JS Mill)
In our(necessary) Interaction, these differences are immaterial…they don’t matter.
What does matter is the things we have in Common…the Proverbial Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.
I genuinely desire Your Happiness, up until it interferes with My Happiness. I expect the Same, in return.(Reciprocosity)
All the Opaque Philosophical Terms, and Economic, Psychological and Religious, end up Hiding this really simple concept.
This surprises me, because Reciprocosity is there, in every world religion…and in every politic-economic system(except, perhaps “Capitalism”, as practiced, today)(go on, argue that point)
Problems ensue, admittedly, when we try to Educate the Young…what are the Common Foundations of Knowledge? Education is Necessary, I think….and I think no one would argue otherwise. The problem is our individual definitions of Truth.
Reading, Writing and Arithmatic seem to be conducive to Universalisation. Even the most backwards Fundies seem to be ok with these. What about Science?
Here we enter into Psychological Territory. Does Evolution/Natural Selection Undemine someone’s Religious Worldview?
Yes, it likely does….Cosmology, and Physics, too… The Bible is a Bronze Age set of Ideas…Prescientific…Signs and Wonders, and a Worldview in Conflict with what We have Learned.
As much as it pains me, there may be no reconciliation. Perhaps Education should be required in the “Three R’s”, and optional for the rest…leave it for them that want it.
Fundies should be Free to Be Ignorant. Let them, with the Absolute Requirement, that they keep it to themselves…stop the attempts at Universalising their Ignorance.
((Similarly,Another hot button current issue…Frikking Abortion…restrict it to Rape Incest and the Health of the Mother(I’d add ancephalic, or otherwise unviable zygotes, for Compassion’s sake)….Fine. But there must be a Correllary; Free, Universal Sex Education(an anodyne exposition of what happens when a penis ejaculates into a vagina, c’mon, people), and universal availability of Contraception…and we can have an end to all the hubbub….Just an aside.lol…and I realize I’m contradictory, with the Universalisation-speak.lol)
The Point I’m trying to make…is that Tolerance, and Reciprocosity, and Compassion are likely the Only Things that can be Universalised, without world-ending Strife.
Fundamentalism must be overcome…and our Commonalities must be Emphasized.
I ask the Fundamentalists, religious amd secular….Why does Your Belief depend on what I believe?
To the Corporate Capitalist; why can I not have a communistic community, out here in the wilderness? Is the existence of an alternative destructive to your success?Tell me how.
Similarly, to the fundamentalist Christian: is my Agnosticism somehow threatening to your Faith? Is who I (with mutual consent) Fuck, in any way, your business? Explain.
If I desire to Give away all my stuff(Jesus,lol), does that lessen your belief in Capitalism? If I decide that God lives in that Tree, over there,does it, in any way Undermine your Christian Beliefs?
If it doesn’t Harm You, it’s none of your business….and it’s up to you to make the case, that it does harm you….
and asserting that yours is the One True Faith/Economic System, is not a valid Proof of Harm.
Conversely, I can make a pretty good case that Crusading Xianity does, indeed, do Harm….and that Hypercapitalism, of the Corporate Kind, does, indeed, Do Harm…I can do these things, not with an appeal to my own Faith/Political/Economic Philosophy, but with Pictures, and Stats, and Verifiable Evidence.
That’s the difference.
Those asserting their Right to Hegemony offer only Assertions and Hyperbole, in support of their Right to Hegemony. This is not what the Founders Intended.
This is what Freedom of(and from) Religion, and the Separation of Church and State is all about.
Find reference to God, or Capitalism, in the Constitution….Ha!
Instead of reacting to the lack of Consensus in Ontology, Epistemology, Teleology, etc…with attempts to Impose One Worldview, Universally…
We should, instead Embrace our Diversity, and endeavor to Identify our Commonalities…the rest is up to the Individual(with the J.S. Mill Caveats, above, of course)
I’m not naïve enough to think that any of this is forthcoming…we’re poised on the edge of internecine Religio-Political Civil War, after all…
Perhaps these ideas will be helpful After, as we’re picking through the Ruins.
I have (thin raft) Hope…even taking into consideration Camus’ and the Greeks’(!), insistence that Hope is likely the most dangerous thing in the world.