Is there a universal morality that can be weight and measured by any sort of scale or scientific method? Are we somewhat lost now, when most big stories got slain by bowing to the fact as the only truth? Are values meaningless and personal idiosyncrasies and opposites of factual operational knowledge or do our values determine what we measure in the first place to derive the fact, which we then treat as real? These are some seriously hard questions on the tongues, quills and pens of those from the dawn of philosophy. The answers to satisfy each one of us are to an extent arbitrary and depend on our cultural background and experiences we accumulate as we go, but there are a few logical and fairly agreed upon guidelines.
While peoples of the past, cultures, tribes, communities and nations, lived by some sort of meta imposed code, rising their eyes toward forces that could loosely be described as not of this world and believed that their core morality is derived from a higher conscience which then influenced the creation of practical wisdom, we now live in the postmodern state. Today most of the big stories are dead or gasping their last breaths and primacy of community has given way to the sovereignty of an individual, often plucked from the lands and cultures of ancestors and thrown into a different cultural climate. In this individual world we’re all many things at once and are free to ride the line of defining and redefining our persona ad infinitum. There are limitless groups and subgroups always spawning new layers of those who feel they don’t fit in anywhere and the only way to not seem rude or uncivilised in this new situation is to become extremely tolerant and accepting of all points of view, even if they are not particularly well formed, if they have no legitimacy or competence behind what they say or are downright harmful. Not everybody is fit to discuss all things and matters but it seems that one of the greatest character flaws today is to be “intolerant” or “judge” another person or group. In a society where you’re socially obligated to nod, smile and pass no judgement, there can be no real dialogue because everyone is too afraid to offend someone who thinks differently. Yet judgement which puts some goals and values above others is the axis of group identity and of civilisation formation. There need to be agreed upon high things to strive for or else we’re driving blind and continue on to split into more subgroups with marginal and completely irrelevant differences, which then need to be acknowledged by the collective as to not seem insensitive. We’re all human and there are basic needs and rights, moral guidelines that protect life itself. All else is nuance – your religious beliefs, spiritual convictions, political party or cultural background, they are variations on a theme of human.
The hopelessness and feelings of being lost in a world that has no common ground and no agreed upon values are a perfect breeding ground to blind rules that re slow to change and rely on complete compliance to the cookie cutter shape of the “only truth”- This is ideology. Very rarely well thought through or universally applicable, ideology aims to turn its proponents into mouthpieces through which it will disseminate itself only for the sake of gaining more traction. It is a record playing on a loop which just needs more ears, no matter what is playing. It follows the logic of tumour – growth only for the sake of growth.
Morality is contextual and as highly personal as it is public, but it’s not relative and left to be cherry-picked as anyone pleases in any given moment. Ideology is not salvation form aimlessness, just a way to make us not think for ourselves and make us feel we belong, but it brings no real purpose since it is someone else’s recycled dream. Intelligent discussion and a common orientation towards a solution and consensus, consisting of best of each stance, are more valuable than blind tolerance. Judgement is not rude if delivered with kindness. It’s a learning opportunity for all sides involved. The social is just as alive as we are and, although dampening some personal urges and behaviours that serve no one, it is not discriminatory to the self-realization of an individual. It facilitates it by testing the viability of an idea in reality and allows us to change and adapt to make the ideas be more effective and have real life applications, a sort of a peer reviewed collective fine tuning of life for betterment of all.