Monday, April 28, 2008

An Existential Relativist

An Existential Relativist: One not bound by the laws of reality.

Existentialism: Makes no claim to know whether or not there is a "greater picture"; rather, they simply assert that the greatest truth is that which the individual chooses to act upon. They feel that to know the greater picture, whether there is one or not, is impossible, or impossible so far, or of little value.

Relativism: The doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture.

This is why one cannot be held accountable for their actions in our culture today. This is why they can believe they did nothing wrong. In their eyes there is no such thing as wrong. Instead their existential act of self validation may require not being held to any absolute standard of any kind. Knowing this, when seen hiding behind the needs or wants of another person or child or the demands of a rigorous job or profession, it is as if a safe haven has been established that is so unquestionable and beyond scrutiny by any other person that to do so would imply the questioner is being a brute, to think otherwise. Better to be bullied for standing up for someone else or for a difficult job than answer for a personal failing or weakness in a personal philosophy that cannot be questioned.

The problem with relativism is that there really are standards. To deny it so - is to say, "here is the standard by which relativism must be judged, there are no standards!" In other words, when one says "relativism is true" they then destroy their whole point - as if to say "it is true to say nothing is true". Doublespeak at best. Those who use doublespeak are unstable in their thoughts and ways and cannot rationalize their existence. There is nothing there to trust.

As they hide behind their relativism, they embrace the idea that since they have adopted this way of thinking and that it is impossible to know the big picture anyway, you may as well validate yourself relatively - since reality is uncomfortable. This being uncomfortable is an anti-existential state of self worth and purpose. Even if purpose itself has no purpose, being uncomfortable about it is intolerable.

So - one justifies themself in his/her rational mindset to allow any luxury or pleasure to validate their comfort, while using anything and everything to buffer themselves and be excused from being accountable.

What if existential relativism is coupled with any form of racism? What then? Does this not also give rise to allowing certain individuals freedoms that aren't applied to other individuals - based solely upon their race or ethnic background? If there are no real standards, why then must all persons be treated equally? Why be treated fairly - once one has cut themself loose from any standard or absolute form of justice. If we must be a people of second chances as some might say, and then not apply these second chances across the board to all - is this not a subtle form of racism? Is this not the root of the evil of slavery itself, or the evil of Hitler's cruelty or the brutality of the race-baiter's rhetoric.

Possibly this is why when some existential relativist are confronted by their inconsistencies, they simply throw up their hands, stare blankly at your face and walk away. They have no satisfactory answer and they know it. To admit there is truth to the complaint of inconsistency, refutes everything they believe in and allows them nowhere to turn. Confronted with reality, the existential relativist turns nowhere but to themself. It is after all, a self-validation. They are, "a victim" of X - why not allow the self enough leeway to never have to answer for their own actions..

Ayn Rand's "virtue of selfishness" in full force has no place in reality. There really is no virtue in selfishness at all. Nor any value to being selfish. Squandering a life lived selfishly is an utter shame. It is akin to holding a "private religion" as it is meaningless to anyone else - though much worse. Selfish living may not be totally embarrassing, but it remains shameful in all its ways.

So, selfish living as expressed in existential relativism boils down to nothing more than shameful behavior at best - and damaging denials and self preservation at all costs at worst. Who gets stepped on while on the road to self image preservation?

What I would give to cut through this crap.
To get to the heart of the matter.
To act honestly and with honor.
To validate one's existence with truth.

Ahhh - but that might mean being real to each other.
That might cost us our pride.
It might make us vulnerable.
It might help make us good!


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