Friday, October 14, 2005

Sound Dependence

The beginning of ethical philosophy in the West was the perceived antithesis between custom and nature. It was a clever problem, and it generated, from Plato onward, a massive tradition of profound solutions. Would it cause us any discomfort to recognize that we are entirely dependent, morally speaking, on the soundness of the antithesis? Would its obvious lack of soundness help us to understand the moral confusion that confounds our world today?


Nimiwey said... old are you? What do you do for a living? This post confuses me, even after several reads.

Nature's Rebel said...

The post is not meant to be comprehensible by itself. Themes from one post are feeding into others. Custom and nature are two of my primary themes, and there is no way that I can bring out everything I have to say about them in one aphorism. Did you read the one that brainmarket linked? That one is essential. I am impressed that he picked it out. He's great, by the way, but you obviously know that.

Here is a way for us to get into the matter. Do you believe that societal norms (I know that you dislike them as much as I do -- I've been reading your blog) are unnatural? Do you believe that there is an unrecognized universal human nature that is the true defintion of our natural selves? If you answered yes, then I am going to try to convince you that you are wrong and that you have really believed the opposite all along. Pay attention to my posts whenever they talk about persuasion. Those are confessions about what I am doing to anyone who reads what I write.

Now -- the personal side of your questions. I am just getting used to life as a blogger, and I am not even good enough at it yet to know how to link other peoples' blogs. My personal profile is pretty dry, isn't it? I have actually planned to list my favorite books but haven't gotten around to it. I will say, though, that if you haven't read and seriously contemplated Homer (and not just the 'Odyssey' but more importantly the 'Iliad') you are seeing life in the Western world through a mist. There will be a fatal emptiness to any observation you make. Do not read the translation by Fagles, by the way. He is imposing the modern perspective and should be put on trial as an imposter. Read Lattimore's. Lattimore is serving and preserving the original. I have read Homer from cover to cover in Greek and know the difference.

Okay, I am avoiding your questions. Let's put it this way. The answers to your questions are in my blog, between the lines. You are perceptive enough to figure it out. I am sure that you could hazard a guess on both accounts and would be dead on or just a little off. There is little about me that is surprising on the surface, but I would rather not share the information with those who can't figure it out on their own.

Have you ever read Sherlock Holmes? He'd have pegged me after two or three posts.

Gopher said...

I have to agree, Homer is an excellent read. I have both the 'Iliad' and 'The Odyssey', as well as the complete works of Plato and the basic works of Aristotle.

Back to the post. I believe antithesis is as much a natural part of human society as the dependency on religion. After all, most religions strongly dictate the belief in many antithesis aspects (Heaven and Hell / or Good / Evil being the most obvious), although I am not looking towards Buddhism or Taoism in this respect.

I believe there is a universal truth, but as for a universal human nature, I can honestly say, although people are generally predictable, human nature as a whole, is not for me. However, there can be only one truth, but our perception of it may differ.

Societal norms are natural in that they evolve through time and are generally taken en masse. However, I, personally, attempt to break societal norms when they do feel unnatural to my own psychological process, and this generally seems to happen often. As the old philosopher said, don't accept average habits or "stupid" rules (laws or society).

brainmarket said...

nature's rebel:

if you ever take up online scrabble, the nickname "conundrum" is already taken

i just steered my blog back into the somewhat arcane world of problems such as whether a 453 is necessarily included in a 451, but it will likely drift back into more open water very soon

i enjoy reading your blog very much
it's like a thinking man (or woman's) jack handy

if you dont mind i will continue to throw in my tuppence worth whenever the fancy takes me

Gopher said...

Ditto. All though my value is probably a little bit less (give or take the exchange rate).