Perspectivism and Public Moralities12 Dec 2005, Posted by Writings in
Perhaps the origin of publicly proclaimed altruistic virtues and moralities originates in the herd nature of human beings. Who dares to preach putting their own interests above those of others in a group setting? A thief does not boast of being a thief in public because of the consequences of such an utterance. Who will trust him he does? For this simple reason, all public morality tends to be a necessary show where those who survive are the ones who spot who are the actors and when they act. Some, being indoctrinated with this morality from birth, mistake the show for reality and wake up only when they realize they have been duped.
Therefore we can say that there are two types of morality. The public and the private. If you follow the latter rashly you end up in jail or worse; if you follow the former naively you end up deceived, disgruntled and cynical.
Whatever morality you grow up in, the first question you should ask is: Who does this morality benefit? Moralities, are usually mosaics of interest, but there are pictures here and there for those with good eyes.
Moralities are usually the outcome of a conflict of interests. Thus, you can trace the increase of universal rights by looking at conflict between the few and the many and the power each had in different periods. Thus, kings and lords usually conceded rights not because of benevolence but because of pressure. From this comes the expression that rights are won with struggle and blood.
In some societies it wasn’t until heads started rolling that the upper classes realized the inevitability of conceding to change. Others with more prudent leaders, eased the many before they became too dangerous. They thought “It is better to lose some power than to lose it all”. England is a good example, though some heads did roll (i.e. Charles I).
Just as there is no “knowledge” in itself, so there is no “good” action in itself. It is always good for someone, from a certain point of view and that someone may not be you, and that view you may not share. That you may not see what your alleged ignorance disables you from seeing should not take away your liberty in sticking to your vision. As long as the consequences of that vision only burden yourself, you should be entitled to the consequences of your own “blindness”, that may very well later prove to be nothing less than superior sight.