David, this is why I love your comments. They get me going…the thinking juices flowing, the motivation striding. And the best part is that I do not necessarily find myself ever completely disagreeing with you. I see where you are going with your thinking and I like and get it. I just think the way you approach your ideas is…well, it’s certainly interesting and unique (this is not a sideways insult, btw), but it makes assumptions which I think need to be rationally tweaked, if I can say that without sounding like an arrogant prick.
Maybe I can’t. I’ll let you be the judge. If I can’t…touche; I can see that.
I think you are thinking of morality in terms of positive commandments. I only think of morality in terms of negative commandments. When I say morality I mean: Thou shalt not murder. Thou shalt not commit adultery. I never mean anything like giving to the poor, etc. So often people confuse morality with benevolence. Morality is a necessity. Benevolence is just a nice to have. I don’t believe in any obligation to feed the poor, but I do believe in any obligation to not defraud them. Once people try to make morality based on positive commandments (do’s) rather than negative (don’ts) then you have tyranny.
David…and, see, that’s the rub. Your observation is precisely why people MUST think critically when evaluating any idea, but particularly any idea which claims authority as a “law” or a “commandment”. Because we so quickly resort to our default Platonism: abstractions rule men, men don’t rule themselves. Meaning is outside of man; and man is obligated to organize his life around the ethereal abstractions as if they are absolute and he and his life exist purely to conform to the “ideal” (the “form”). Instead of the other way around, which is the only rational way of living. It has become so second nature to us…hell, I would not even say “second” nature. Our default nature IS our Platonist assumptions. I mean…look, the entire fucking Standard Model of Physics is utterly rooted in irreconcilable Platonist metaphysical assumptions. Obviously all matter inexorably will trend towards infinity…this is just a natural function of the reality of everything’s inherent BEING. In order for any “law of nature” to work, there needs to be the OBJECT which IS in order to receive the influence of the “law”. That is, all objects need to possess the inherent and innate ability to be acted upon by any law; and it is this which is the root of their existence. The SELF of whatever is…must be infinite. And yet, there they go, building billion or trillion dollar super colliders looking for the infinite, dimensionless particle which is the building block of all matter. A particle which even a cursory infusion of reason into the entire fucking premise will tell you cannot possibly exist. There is no such thing as “a particle” which exists separately from all that IS and yet is the source of all that is. You cannot have the INFINITE source of what is be separated from everything which is a direct function of it. This is simple logic. An absolute cannot be parsed by “space” or “time”.
Anyway…you get my point. And Christians aren’t any more reasonable…oh, hell no. Our contradictory doctrines are a punch line to a bad fucking joke going back almost two thousand years to St. Augustine. So quickly do Christians resort to Platonism that we make statements like “God creates man out of nothing”. Nothing cannot literally exist, by definition…so, how does that work exactly? God made the world in six literal “days”, when a day didn’t exist until man decided to invent the concept. “Day” is an abstraction, and abstractions come from where? Man’s mind. If man wasn’t around, then neither is was a “day”.
And what also doesn’t work? The idea that man can be commanded to do a “not”. Every action of man is a function of man’s infinite being…thus, all man does is DOING, it cannot be NOT doing.
Let me explain.
There is no such thing as a “negative” commandment. All commandments require men to ACT…which is to do. Since BEING is the source of man’s life, and being is perpetually active, and is the singularly infinite source of all man IS and does, man cannot, by definition, do “nothing”. “Nothing” is a metaphysical/epistemological, even mathematical, placeholder. It does not actually exist. When God says “do not murder”, He is not advocating that man do “nothing”, which is a logical impossibility. The implicit imperative behind these “negative” commands compels man to ACT: they are assumptions (ideas) which should lead to the volitional doing of things.
And the assumptions behind the Ten Commandments which man then uses to compel his actions are devoted to a singularity of TRUTH/MORALITY…that is, the infinite standard by which the Ten Commandments can be known as good and true. That is, man is to use the assumptions to DO something in service to the standard. In all Ten Commandments I submit the standard is man’s SELF…his LIFE, his singular existence.
This leads to the inevitable conclusion that man’s life then is the authority behind the “law”. Thus, just as I said in my article, the Law ceases to be a law at all…for it lacks any authority of itself, no matter where it is from or who gave it (the “state”, the “church”; even God, Himself), to either condemn or justify/affirm man. Man’s existence is the singular authority behind any “law”. Period. Full stop. Which makes man the only real authority.
This is why the Law can never justify nor condemn…and why I am a Christian, not a Jew, even though I obviously understand and affirm the usefulness of the Law in laying the foundation of right assumptions in a world where insane and destructive Platonist philosophy burns up cities and nations like a napalm bomb the size of the fucking moon. But “law”, no matter which one, gets its authority from man’s life, which means that man is never ethically obligated to a law. On the contrary…the law is ethically obligated to serve the individual. And the individual is only ethically obligated to his own existence.
I do affirm your assertion that “morality is necessary”. Truly. But why? What is morality saying exactly? Morality is literally NOTHING MORE than declaring the individual human the standard of GOOD (and TRUTH). Any other definition of morality is not rationally defensible. Kantianism, Platonism, Marxism, Calvinism, Socialism, Collectivism, Communism, Theocracies, Monarchies…none of these have a rational basis for their standard of morality. Thus, morality as an ideal is only valid if we are speaking of the right of each individual person to wholly own themselves.
So I agree that morality is necessary, but not any morality…because there is no such thing as any morality. Morality is only non-relative/non-equivalent, and thus RATIONAL and reasonably EFFICACIOUS, if the standard is man’s life. This is true for any conceptual abstraction (idea), whether it is morality, or space, or time, or math, or blue, or purple, or distance, or flavor, etc.. All ideas serve and affirm man’s life and/or make it possible for man to organize his environment in service to the promotion of his life…or they are false; they are irrational, and should be rejected out of hand.