Sunday, January 29, 2012

Puck on... Relativism, pt. 2

The one saving grace here is that no one who really believes in moral relativism really believes in it.  I can tell I’ll need to explain.  Try and keep up.

Let us posit that to believe in something is to think that it is true.  Can you agree with this?


Do you think most people would?

I don’t know why they wouldn’t.

Oh, by the end of this, boy, you’ll know exactly why.  But in any case, the conjecture stands.  So, therefore, one would assume, that if you believe in moral relativism you think it true.

Bit of a tautology.

Yes, you would think, as many do.  And kudos to your vocabulary, of course.  However, I think you’ll find that there is a vast difference between what people say they believe in and what they actually think is true.  Like our subject.

Let’s start at the beginning.  Moral Relativism says what?  That morals are relative.  Which is to say that truth is relative, since morality claims truth-hood.  Which is to say there are no absolutes.  True?


Then if there are no absolutes, then the only truth is relative or personal truth.  Which is to say “to each his own.”  Correct?


And if there are no absolutes, then there is nothing that exists which can claim absolute authority.  No truth, no institution natural or man-made, no way of life, no creed.  Right?


But if there is no absolute truth then everything is true.  Which is to say nothing is, since nothing can claim absoluteness.  So Relativism states that truth does not exist.  Which is to say, nothing is true.  Have I made a misstep?

No.  But I’m not a relativist.  I imagine they would have an objection to that.

Like what?

Like, truth is whatever you want it to be.  The only thing that matters is what you believe.

Ah, yes.  Personal faith, held in honesty.  How tolerant, how enlightened.  Except that it makes no sense.

They would ask, which part?

All of it.  It’s a house of cards without the cards.  See here, my boy, Relativism states that it is all relative.  Truth, morality, everything.  There are no absolutes truths.  But isn’t the statement “there are no absolute truths” itself an absolute statement?  It certainly doesn’t leave for much “wiggle room”, as it were.  And that’s where the true sin of relativism lies.  You think it’s because it denies morality.  But it’s the self-deluded hypocrisy of it all.  A philosophy which denies absolutism while claiming the very same power.  They think they’ve torn down the curtain and shown the universe for what it really is, but they don’t realize they are looking at an even bigger façade.

What did I posit at the beginning of this?

That to believe in something is to think it true.

And do you see now?  The blinding Achilles heel of the whole thing?  You can’t believe in Moral Relativism, not because it isn’t true, but because you can’t believe in it.  It won’t allow you.  It states that there is nothing to believe in, not excluding itself.  You can’t believe that there is no such thing as belief.  You can’t think true something that claims there is no truth. You can’t say “yes” to a question that denies your ability to say “yes” at all.  It’s a contradiction.

But, of course, people do believe in it.  Or say they do, which to your generation seems to be just enough.  So, that begs the question-


Why indeed?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Puck on... Relativism, pt. 1

I told you I would speak on relativism at a later date.  I’m ready to talk of it now.

I suppose you find that as entertaining as ignorance.

Oh my, yes.  But not for the same reasons.  This may surprise you, but ignorance and relativism are not the same thing.  Oh, no.  Ignorance is a state of mind, almost passive in its way; relativism is a choice, an action.

Don’t people choose to be ignorant sometimes?

No one can choose to be ignorant.  Once you’ve been educated you can’t go back to not knowing.  They may not know and choose not to be taught, but that’s really stepping out of true ignorance.  The best the people you are talking about can do is pretend, feign ignorance.  But it’s skin deep.  You can try and forget, you can ignore, but you cannot unlearn.  Once you have the knowledge, your ignorance is gone, and all excuse with it.

So people choose moral relativism?

Absolutely.  Usually when they are trying to be ignorant.  Like truth, like wisdom, if you can debunk it, if you can prove that it is not worth a thing, then you need pay it no mind.  Relativism is another dimension further.  If you prove there is no truth, if you can prove that there is no value for it to even have, then you need never listen again.

So, people choose moral relativism so they don’t have to believe in truth?

Yes.  Oh, they don’t say that.  They may have even convinced themselves they don’t think that way.  They have the best of reasons, you know.  They don’t even call it moral relativism.  That would give it away.  They call it postmodern thinking.  Or they define it by its negative.  Another of your little name tricks.  They’ll say that absolutes are antiquated, outmoded, even discriminatory.  They call themselves enlightened, and anyone who does not agree with them is therefore unenlightened, uneducated, even discriminatory.  “Us and Them” rearing its head again.

Now, lest your “readers” cry foul, we should mention where you fall on the issue.  Aren’t you an outmoded, antiquated thinker?

I believe in moral absolutes, if that’s what you’re asking.

Of course, you do.  And what a good boy you are for holding fast to truth.  Oh, I’ll bet you’ve caught some flak for that.  Bet you’ve got into some heated arguments with people.  The world’s tried to change you, but you’ve stuck to your guns.  You won’t be taken in like so many of your generation.

You’re trying to lure me into the Us/Them paradigm.

Yes, I am.  But then again, I don’t have to.  It already exists, and you know where you fall.  You’re not a relativist, my boy, and, I will give you this, unlike so many on your side, you actually know why.  You don’t stolidly stick to your side out of habit or tradition, but because you understand.  Or at least think you do.  (Sorry, had to throw one last in.)  And you’re not content to let people simply wallow in their ignorance.  You want them to know, to see, to understand why it can’t work.  You care.  It’s so endearing.

But that’s the problem.  They aren’t ignorant.  They pretend.  They ignore.  They forget.  And they are playing with a fire so terrible, if truly unleashed, it would destroy everything.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Puck on... Understanding

But come now, am I not preaching to the choir?  Don’t’ you know this already?  Haven’t you looked at society now and again and thought, “no one gets it”?  That people just never learn?  The masses follow fads, which are easily replaceable and never an improvement.  Politicians break their promises, which are usually the same promises they’ve always made and always broken.  Wall Street invests in “bubbles” when they know they will pop because they always do.  Nothing ever changes.  Nothing has ever changed.  You know this, don’t you?


And I bet you’ve thought, “if only they would listen, if only they knew.”  But they won’t listen and they probably already know; if they didn’t they could learn, if they wanted to.  But they don’t want to.  And that’s key as well.  Humanity’s desires.  It’s their driving force.  Really, the only thing that shapes their societies, their lives.

What they want?

Yes.  You only get what you want.  If you didn’t want it, you wouldn’t have pursued it to begin with.

But lots of people get things they don’t want.  Disease, heartache, death.

Oh, let’s be careful.  Certainly, no one in their right mind would say they wanted those things, (and I’ll pass up the quip about “right mind” here), but trust me, they do.  Oh, they don’t know they do.  They think they want something else.  They think that they’ll get something else.  More often than not, they simply don’t know what they’re asking for.  But just as often, they know exactly what they want or, to put it better, exactly what it will cost to get what they want, and yet they still ask for it.  What else can that mean but that they want those things as well?  All get what they want, so few like it when they do.

People don’t understand the consequences of their actions, their desires.

Haven’t you been listening?  Of course, they understand.  It’s not for lack of understanding or knowledge.  They know.  I can tell them.  History can tell them.  Can you honestly tell me there is some choice that exists for humans today that someone hasn’t already faced before?  Your age is not so unique.  They know.  They don’t care.  They ignore the knowledge, as I told you, shirk the wisdom that is handed out freely, in favor of their own or something else’s.  Or better yet, seek to debunk and disprove the wisdom to begin with.  Because if you can do that, you don’t have to listen.

And that may be the biggest critique on your generation.  Whereas before men sought truth through argument, sought to find the right by refuting wrong; nowadays it’s completely the reverse.  You seek to muddle knowledge, to refute wisdom through argument, to discredit the right so that you may embrace the wrong.  Whereas your forbearers sought to free themselves from ignorance and lies, you seek to free yourselves from truth.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Puck on... Knowledge

So, you’re saying that even if people know about-

Doesn’t mean a thing.

I don’t believe that.

And, again, we come back to it.  “I don’t believe…”  What you believe is inconsequential.  And after everything I’ve said, you still fall into that trap.  Your speech gives it away.  I mean, it’s strange, almost as if you hadn’t learned a thing, though I told you as much.  How ironic.


Don’t be offended.  You’re only human, after all…  I’m sorry; I find it hard to say that with a straight face.  But that’s the thing.  That’s what I’m trying to teach you.  About yourself.  About humanity, in all it’s naked… “glory”?

Now, you’re quite right.  The first step in avoiding a trap is knowing it’s there.  But that’s only the first step.  And it’s rather a meaningless idiom.  It’s really a statement of fact, like saying “it’s always in the last place you look.”  Of course it is; why would you continue looking once you had found it?  To put it better, as I often find it necessary with your race, you can’t avoid a trap unless you know it’s there.  But knowing is not avoiding.  Knowing is not even doing; it’s simply knowing.  The bare fact of the matter is there and you are aware of it.  Of course, if you don’t care, if you choose to do nothing with the information, if the knowledge does not change you in some way, then it’s pretty useless.  It would probably be better you hadn’t known at all, for all the more the fool you are made by the fact that you did know and did nothing.  And that’s my purpose: to make you the greater fools.

You have a “but”, of course.

But you’re telling me.  You’re literally telling me that’s the problem.

And what’s to stop you from doing what I’m saying you won’t do?  The answer to that is quite simple.  Plain as the nose on your face.  What’s to stop you?  You, of course.  You need convincing, I can tell.  How about this?  What is the lesson of history?  That those who do not learn from it…

Are doomed to repeat it.

Exactly.  And look at your history.  Such a cyclical thing.  You’re constantly repeating history because you have never learned from it.  No matter how much time.  No matter how many mistakes.  You never learn.  And it’s not for lack of knowledge.  Certainly not in this age.  And why do think that is?  What is the common feature?


Yes.  People.  They never learn.  Not even if you teach them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Puck on... Ignorance

You enjoy their ignorance.

I profit by it.  Why shouldn’t I enjoy it?

That does bring us back to the question of why?  Why are you doing this?

I thought I told you not to ask me that question.

I would say you brought it up.

Ah, my boy, you are learning.  Well, my reasons are my own.  And what would it profit you anyway from learning them?  Oh, come now, let’s be open and honest.  Are you not of the mind that I can be… overcome?  That this is some sort of “battle of wills”?  A contest?  A debate, at least?  It’s not curiosity that drives you to ask: why?  It’s competition.  You want to beat me.  You want to figure out my game.  You want to know what makes dear, old Puck tick.

Let me ask you this: knowing who am I, what I am, do you really think I would give it up so easily?  Always remember and never forgotten, dear little one, who you are dealing with.

But, I’m in a charitable mood.  So, tell you what, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  You say that I like ignorance.  True.  Very, very true.  I love it.  It’s bliss, after all.  And quite entertaining.  It’s much easier to manipulate someone when they don’t know they’re being manipulated.  And it’s very easy to tempt someone to wrong when they don’t believe it’s wrong that they’re being tempted to.  True, true, all true.

Then why this?  Wouldn’t you just want them to stay ignorant?  Why educate them? 

Because it’s more fun.

More fun?

Absolutely.  That’s the real kicker, you see.  Sin is great.  Any sin.  Big, small, doesn’t matter.  Rebellion in any form has that sweet, tangy flavor.  But, you know what’s even tastier?  Hypocrisy.  Oh, yes.  To wrong is one thing, to wrong when you know it’s wrong, is something else entirely.  An honest mistake can be honest.  Duplicity knows no excuse.  It very literally doubles the fun.  When you know it’s a sin and yet you still sin, you cannot imagine how much more destructive that is; because it carries that extra weight of false testimony.  To lie because you don’t know any better might garner leniency.  To lie when you know it’s a lie, that is straight from Hell, my friend.

So, you want to tell people the truth, so that their sin will be all the worse?

Something like that, yes.  Ah, but I can already see the little wheels turning in your head.  That little train of thought that says: “don’t worry, it won’t work on you.”  That’s what you all think.  Damn the world, but you’re the exception.  That’s the beauty of hypocrisy.  It lies even to itself.  So, go on, say it.  I know you want to.  Say that thing that even now sits on the tip of your tongue.  That I may be right about most things, most people, but some won’t fall for it.  That me telling them about it means they will be able to avoid it.  Come on.  Say it.

Knowledge is power.

And that’s where you’re wrong, my dear boy.  Knowledge is not power.  Knowledge is just knowledge.  And like everything else, it really all depends on how you use it.