Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Redefining Reality

It used to be that change took time. Lots of time. In the last half of the 20th century, we managed to find ways to speed that up. Where knowledge at one time was a slow, steady ramp, if you showed a graph of knowledge that included the last half of the 20th century, it would have looked more like a hockey stick. At the end of World War II knowledge doubled every 25 years or so. Now it's more like 12 months (depending on the subject, of course). In 1950, the stereotypical "get married, have kids, mom stays home" mentality was still firmly entrenched and in a mere 25 years the Sexual Revolution brought us rampant promiscuity, "living together", and declining marriage. In no time at all, it seems, we're going from the "unthinkable" to "policy" in record time.

This high-speed shift has received its biggest boost from the worldview known as postmodernism that argues that, since there is no overarching meaning to life, reality is as you define it. Modernism was largely a move toward materialism, what was "real", what was measurable, "not all that religion stuff", things like that. The idea was that if we took a worldview rooted in reality we could solve the world's problems. Two world wars put that idea to bed, and postmodernism took root with its "define reality as you like" idea. What we've seen for the last half century is the growth of "define reality as you like". Unfortunately, that doesn't really work. I mean, if you define, say, "murder" as evil and I define it as advantageous, we're going to have problems. A genuinely relative reality doesn't really function. So now the aim is to redefine reality from your "unthinkable" to my "policy".

When the Supreme Court in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case of 1992 struck down Pennsylvania's abortion regulations -- regulations like requiring informed consent, spousal notice, and parental consent -- Justice Anthony wrote in the majority opinion that "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." Justice Anthony said that liberty is the right to define one's own reality. Justice Anthony legislated what we have today as policy.

Take, for instance, the "born this way" idea, where "I'm gay because I was born this way" (with its apparently required "and, therefore, it's good" conclusion). Modern psychology says they are not "born this way", but are born with this tendency. Never mind. Same thing, right? (Note: the answer is "no".) A 1993 study argued for a "gay gene" (and people wondered if it wouldn't be ethical to abort a baby with that gene), but subsequent studies disproved the genetic idea and genes don't determine our choices of what we do. No science to date has demonstrated "born this way", but today it's an "established fact" -- the new reality. To deny it is to deny science (and be a hater).

Look at the graphs of acceptance in society for gay mirage. In 1988 it was 12%. In 2006 it was 35%. In 2010 it was 46% for and 40% opposed. That is a rapid shift from "unthinkable" to "policy".

And then there's this "transgender" thing. Who would have thought, 5 years ago, that "male" and "female" were entirely subjective? Who would have imagined that individuals can, by thinking it, change their gender? Oh, they can't change their height and God knows lots of people have lots of trouble changing their weight without a whole lot of work, but your gender is entirely defined by how you feel. Your race? No, no, that's not up to you. Neither can you alter the fact that not one guy who has determined he was a girl has been able to get pregnant (as an example). But the unbelievable "you are whatever gender you feel you are" has gone from "unthinkable" to "policy". Trump's attempts at making that a States' choice are classified as horrendous, hateful, mean. If you are a thinking, kind human being at all, you have to accept that the teenage boy who thinks he's a girl would feel uncomfortable in a locker room or bathroom for boys and should be allowed without question to make all those girls feel uncomfortable in a locker room or bathroom with a biological boy. Haters.

That's the current approach. 1) Redefine how we define reality. Not "what is", but "what we feel". 2) Redefine the breadth of that definition. Not "what we feel", but "what this particular group feels". 3) Apply that new definition to everyone. Poof! Now you crazy people stuck in a "What are you talking about? Can't you look and see the truth?" world are just backward haters and we are the forward thinkers. Get on the "right side of history" bandwagon and abandon mental health, all who enter here.

3 comments:

Stan said...

Note: My comments on postmodernism are not a definition. If you look up postmodernism, in fact, you'll find that actual definitions of the philosophy are hard to come by. The Standord Encyclopedia of Philosophy says "That postmodernism is indefinable is a truism." The Encyclobaedia Britannica says it is "a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power." The article goes on to say that postmodernism specifically denies basic assumptions of modernism such as the existence of objective reality, objective truth and falsehood, and the value of reason and logic to improve life (just to name a few). The originator of postmodernism, Jean-Francois Lyotard, said, "I define postmodern as incredulity towards metanarratives." A metanarrative is "any grand, all-encompassing story", any view that is a transcendent and universal truth. This, of course, is only part of postmodernism, but it by definition eliminates God and Christianity and, logically, itself as it is a claim to grand, all-encompassing relativity.

Bob said...

This high-speed shift has received its biggest boost from the worldview known as postmodernism that argues that, since there is no overarching meaning to life, reality is as you define it.
i have to laugh at the glaring contradiction the these learned minds propose.
the point that they miss in their assertion; it that if life has no meaning, then your life has no meaning, in addition anything that you propose also has no meaning. therefore all assertions are meaningless, and you have said nothing. they want us to understand how meaningful it is to know that we are meaningless. uh oh the squirrels are calling me i have to go...

Stan said...

It really is painful to think about. "Everything means nothing except whatever you might think it means, with the underlying reality that, in the end, it is nothing. But, oh, by the way, what I think when I say this means everything."