Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Plastics and Ethics

The outright rejection of science is an unnerving statement to witness, but in truth, much of our lives go uninformed by higher principles of knowledge. I come to this realization often when speaking to people about their lives and general motivations. Ethics is a foreign notion outside of the burdensomely educated, and even in such a category of people, their knowledge and behavior are usually made distinct. All of our lives are highly fragmented, refined and categorized; it is difficult to relate the knowledge of higher education to the seeming baseness and simplicity of everyday life. It is a mistake, however, and an ailment to live such a way.

Wantonness belief, and I use wantonness assuredly, is a disastrous and destructive way to live. People engage in it daily with little consideration. From horoscopes, to angels, to God, to nearly any baseless claim that might be "affirmed" by anecdotal evidence or the prejudice of common sense is dangerous.

These beliefs are usually justified by the feelings of the believer, allowing them to at will associate any and all things. Human feeling is free to ascribe anything upon an object, and from there, fickle desire, conscious and unconscious, formulates an appearance of correlation. It takes little more than correlation to justify a causal explanation to an undignified and ultimately nihilistic mind. The process by which God gives us the heavens and the Earth is exactly the same as the process by which bald wizards hide poison in my cereal -- a free range of association.

Why are our lives uninfluenced by greater levels of truth?

Science belongs to scientists and ethics belong to half-nude men bathing with young boys. Life is highly fragmented and disjointed because of the naturalization of being, the specialization/professionalization and complexification of our reality. We are taught, we learn and we perceive the world as essential and beyond our grasp. A scientist, while the object ought to be neutral, is actually given to us as a gendered, racial, classed being. Not only do covert sociological categories keep many from an accessible relationship to science, science, through professionalization, remains beyond us as something that only those with a particular type of intelligence can attain.

History too is taught in such a way to reveal philosophy and ethics as something abstracted from our lives; a historical narrative that contains nothing biographical or illuminating to the concerns of a contemporary person. Those fortunate enough to receive a basic education usually never access a philosophical world beyond the epistemological concerns of Plato's cave, and the moral concerns of Aristotle's Nichomean ethics. Philosophy appears dead, cliche, useless and out of touch to most who receive a cursory knowledge of it.

Life aimlessly stumbles along uninformed by the isolated, separate realities of higher education. But the truth of knowledge is that it has existed solely for the desire to live one's individual life better. Ethics is merely the study of the right action to produce the best results in life, and it is informed by what truths we have from our bodies of knowledge. Post-modernity has seen the undaunted rise of nihilism in the form of radical Islam and evangelical Christianity who outright reject science and scientifically-based ethics; nihilism is also rampant in the seemingly opposite world of Scientism and hip liberalism that have not rejected science and ethics but have removed them from their daily lives through professionalization and essentialization. These lives are not informed by the useful, adaptable -- plastic knowledge of good science. Science that is accessible for all to question, consider and improve through epistemologically strict criticisms that cite inspired scientific research; they are rather informed by the free range of human feeling and association, and the total acceptance of an essentialist approach to science that leaves the everyday person outside the business of science, outside the greatest mean to truth we have created to date.

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