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In this post, I’m going to try and flesh out my stance on the problem of subjectivity as it relates to the question of how shall we live? And what should a civil society act like if we concede that a civil society is worth pursuing? Yes, some of this may come across as ridiculous.

I need you to imagine that Fairies, Pixies, and Trolls are very real! That they exist independently of whether we think they exist or not. Now let’s further imagine that they very much dislike technology and all the negative consequences of technology especially as it relates to ecological systems. Perhaps these beings are even able to see into our future and are aware of all the bad things that are going to happen as technology outpaces human wisdom and empathy. Perhaps these kindred folk are even correct in their assessments of the human condition and the trajectory of human civilization as it relates to machines and technology.

If we’ve enacted this thought experiment we may now intuit a quite serious problem.There is no way to know for certain if the fairies, pixies, and trolls are correct in their assessments of our condition. Now let’s further imagine that the fairies, pixies, and trolls have made a pact amongst each other for reasons we can only speculate about NOT to show themselves to humanity.

We should be getting a sense by now of the conundrum. When humanity rejects subjectivity outright it could very well be rejecting some of the most important aspects of life and survival; yet the fairies, pixies, and trolls are agreed not to share their knowledge and wisdom with us, yet humanity very much needs their insight and dismisses it at their own peril.  But the double bind is that it would be foolish to have civilizations template patterned on unprovable imaginings especially when the little folk have their own reasons for not enlightening us. What to do, eh?

Well, back in the ‘real world’ the conundrum does get a bit easier to solve. We know that we can’t model civilization solely on metaphysical speculation as that is inherently irrational–no sane society would do this. We know from history that doing so can lead to hysteria like witch burning and inquisitions and committing every manner of violence against the unbelievers and infidels. This is clearly an intolerable condition from any rational objective standpoint. The main point to take though is that the threat of supernatural violence and retribution acted out via humans and not by supernatural entities becomes a pathetic folly. In our thought experiment, we used goodness as a measure and it would seem that this position is far less problematic. Humans acting out acts of kindness via supernatural injunction is not really a problem for a rational society and in my opinion, this aspect of spirituality should not be dismissed or disregarded. I think this delineates a clear way forward on the issue of subjectivity especially as it relates to spiritual claims viewed from the perspective of an objective rational civilization.

Of course, we would still have the disputes about the authenticity and realness of the little folk but in a rational society this would end up in a stalemate as the believers wouldn’t be able to prove their claim while the objectivist wouldn’t have to be subject to negative irrational behavior on the part of believers. One of the most important aspects of this working, though, is that the objectivists have to show respect to healthy subjectivism and not dismiss and pooh-pooh it while the subjectivists have to learn to abandon every aspect of their supernatural claims that are destructive and irrational–claims like privileged access and special chosenness would have to go on the part of the subjectivists; as would lying to hide ulterior motives to protect hidden delusional supernatural agendas.

On the other hand, the rational objectivist would need to double down on honesty and ethics within their own domains so as not to overreach their own positions as we’ve seen enormous destruction in the past century during the death of god. Reducing humanity to objects of material financial exploitation hasn’t worked out too well either! So a compromise and a balance needs to be reached or so it seems to me if we are to navigate human interiors and their surrounding objects in a healthy constructive way.

It should be noted here the ultimate meanings and nature of reality haven’t been settled or established within these parameters but rather a compromise for a societal way forward could be reached by thinking like this. What I don’t have an answer to is how to stop the snake oil salesmen within a civilization where profit by any means is accepted as the norm. I have offered a solution to that issue in my previous post here

Please note that none of this solves or settles the question of whether the Gods are good or evil; I’m only trying to tackle the question of how we should live.

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