The Will to Believe

3 Sep

Viable living things necessarily have to act without knowing the full nature of reality.  Any abstaining creatures or Kierkegaards will not contribute to the genetic future.  Furthermore, a failure to act isn’t necessarily less harmful than acting is.  Is there a moral tragedy in this state of affairs?  I feel there is, but I don’t see any way around it.  It looks to be the way nature works.

There are several possible approaches to the matter(not necessarily mutually exclusive):

-Deny the importance and/or the reality of the conundrum.  “Who cares!”

-Assert that we know enough to be confident about the goodness(or badness) of our actions.  “Things are getting better! ”

-Deny the need for complete knowledge.  “I know enough about the here and now to confidently act.  Let those who follow deal with their times in due course.”

-Struggle with the issue, but refuse to look at it squarely even as one obsesses over it.  “If I only write 100,000 more words and say eleventy more prayers, something might change!”

-Accept the importance of the issue and regard it as a fundamentally immoral situation.  “I’m a Buddhist monk.”

-Accept the gravity of the matter and decide that it’s at least moral to pursue more understanding of the situation.  “I’m Gnostic.”

-Assert that the whole situation is a sorry and amusing matter of a deluded human consciousness taking itself too seriously.  “I think you invented this ethical issue just to feel important, and I spend my time mocking you.”

-Skirt the issue via constant diversion.  “If a tree falls in the woods and I’m too drunk to know that I’m in the woods…”




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