Sunday, January 01, 2006

Selfishly Inevitable

“There is no universal standard of morality other than self-interest.”

I see this assertion as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more it becomes accepted that morality by definition is universally inclusive, the more pressure, both from within and from without, is placed upon local, autonomous codes of conduct. With enough pressure they disintegrate; and into the void comes somebody's vision of world order. But such a vision is ideal, a figment of the imagination. It has no more substance than the emperor's new clothes. What then is really governing the behavior of these people? Nothing in the final analysis but self-interest.

It is a common observation that we live in a selfish age. Is it ironic that the very belief in universally defined morality could have led to no other consequence?


Ken Younos said...

Do you really think that this age is more selfish than any previous age?

Nature's Rebel said...

Thanks for the question, Ken. I do think that we are living in the most selfish age ever, but not because human beings themselves are any more selfish than they have ever been by nature. The problem is the universalizing of the human race. The point I have been trying to establish in my blog is that any universal philosophy of right and wrong leads to a deterioration of our respect for our local environment, which is the source of our non-selfish perspective. In a big impersonal world, it is every man for himself. I am happily selfish myself in such an environment (though I have tried to create my own world of people that mean something to me), but I believe that a smaller cosmos, so to speak, would give me greater attachment, which I crave. Furthermore, I question whether humanity can survive its loss of local adhesion.

My thinking is not simple. Please read some of my archives, if you are interested. I've looked at your profile and one of your blogs. We have some common ground for discussion.