Stop talking about absolutes...

From: FrankensteinJr
Sent on: Monday, July 12, 2010 10:50 AM
Brian,
Thanks for the post/idea. Your willingness to share your perspective is always appreciated, but I think you have given us (and yourself) and impossible task. Given the appeal to refrain from speaking in absolutes, it seems a bit odd to make the statement that Solomon?s words are ?not universal?? Correct me if I assume too much, but don?t you mean that your statement is actually true and meaningful in the sense you intend and therefore in actuality there can be no dissension or disagreement on this point? I understand (and welcome - nay treasure) the diversity of opinion in our group, but this range of subjective perspectives in no way denotes the impossibility of meaningful knowledge (albeit in perhaps a limited and less-than-satisfactory way) and cannot in itself contradict that this knowledge actually exists. And I don?t think anyone, including myself, is surprised when contrary ideas arise. Now I for one am not content to leave it at that (as you are not as well, given your post). That is as it should be. As I have jokingly mentioned before, if that were not the case I (or you) would soon be the cult leader in our modest group.

I?m not at all clear on what you mean by enforcing the universal? I posit that universals are self-enforcing, if you will, and don?t need either you or me to do their bidding.

Regarding your point on history, you are absolutely (!) correct, but in a much more poignant sense than maybe you realize. You are not only making a claim regarding history and ideas (which you will, I am sure, have no problem saying and even defending as true), but you are not-so-subtly judging these ideas and endorsing, if not their opposite, other ideas which you would judge (absolutely!) as superior. I would suggest (and I believe I could prove this from history) that these ?poisonously bad? ideas were not opposed, checked and defeated (if indeed they have been defeated) by subtleties and vague, almost-sure notions, but by other absolutes (which I?ll wager you would most likely endorse in many cases).

The concept of absolutes is not the real issue nor the real problem here. The real issue is which absolute(s) is/are in reality there. Yes, and there?s the rub, I know, but I for one am not content to simply gloss this over or pretend that I can ignore the tension and toil this entails. This challenges and provokes me every day, but I am not discouraged (at least today!) that this is a hopeless task.

I am grateful for everyone in the group who continues to grapple alongside me with these questions. At midnight on Wednesdays I am always the richer for it. Thanks Brian?

pax
FrankensteinJr

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