Thursday, May 26, 2005

Diversity of Thought -- False Premise

These days I hear many people say -- in their effort to seem politically correct and not racist -- that diversity of thought is the main reason for their preference for an ethnic individual or a minority individual over another who belongs to a majority group or of non-ethnic background. To me this seems utterly strange and entirely opposite of what it should be. The premise that this view is based on is this: diversity of thought comes with the diversity of people of different ethnic or minority backgrounds. Therefore they are preferred over others because of the way they think and not because of their skin color or their race (so they say). In other words, diversity of thought seems incapable of arising, or atleast is less likely, among individuals who do not have an ethnic or minorty background. The idea that diversity of thought cannot exist in just about any random individual who is capable of using his/her intellect rationally and broadly and inductively, is absurd. I think using diversity of thought as a reason for racial and ethnic preferential treatment or hiring is a pathetic facade over the true reason of racial bias. This racial bias does not necessarily have to arise out of personal preferences but may arise out of politically, legally mandated racial and ethnic quota laws. The true and correct premise should be that diversity of thought is purely a matter of one's intellectual capacity to think and rationalize broadly upon a variety of topics and situations and therefore should be equally possible to arise among any intelligent, rational, individual. Yes, I agree that there are situations like a persons personal experiences of birth and childhood and travel and experiences in culture that can predispose a person to the kind and manner of thinking they develop, but again, those characteristics are not necessarily only an attribute of so-called minority or ethnic individuals. Any individual, regardless of any identification to class, race, country, religion, etc. is quite likely to have a diversity of experiences that can give rise to a diversity of thought. Hence, Diversity of Thought as it is popularly undestood today is based on a false premise... and is just a facade for the phenomena of racism (or lookism) that is still quite alive in our society.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

God's life must be boring.

Assume the following: God is immortal. God is indestructible. God is always moral. God cannot make any mistakes (in an absolute or objective sense). Thus, whatever God does is fully consistent with His (assuming a masculine God - I don't really have a good reason for that) will. Also, whatever He does will be fully and completely perfect as God cannot go wrong or be mistaken in His actions (His creation of this world and all in it being apparently less than perfect is a whole other topic for intense debate and discussion. Not right now). Such a God, then it seems, is racked with either major contradictions or with a very boring life: God cannot ever be wrong, thus He never has the possibility of suffering the negative consequences of His wrong actions, thus whatever His actions, they will have consequences He already is aware of and according to what He always wanted (to say that God wants, presumes that he has desires, which presumes that the achievement of those desires can provide satisfaction, which presumes that God is not fully satisfied, which means God has needs or wants, which means God is not perfectly complete or self-sufficient or self-satisfied. That is again, a whole other area of discussion). Thus, if God is fully perfect, immortal, and perfectly moral, God has not even the remotest possibility of doing something that is less than perfect, or killing Himself and reversing His immortality, or doing something that is even slightly immoral. Thus, an Omnipotent God is unable to do those things. He has NO CHOICE but to keep on living for eternity because He is immortal (immortal, by definition, is an incapacity to not exist). God has NO choice but to do the things He does, which are by the way, always perfect and correct. In other words, God fundamentally cannot CHOOSE His actions because His actions are REQUIRED by His definition. If God has no choice, then God cannot have any values, i.e. He cannot value any one thing over another. For example, if God cannot CHOOSE to annihilate Himself because his essential characteristic is to be eternally existing, then He cannot possibly have any value for His own life. Life can be valued only if there is a possibility of losing it (death). We humans value life so dearly because losing it is not just a possibility but a certainty. Similarly, we value the object of our love and affection because there is a possibility of losing that object. This is the reason we often (not always) value our friends and soul-mates more than our own family members because we have had an instrumental role in choosing them. But we also value our family members because, though we may not have had a choice in who they are, we understand the positive dynamics contributed by that relationship and by that person's existence, that the possibility of losing all of that is clearly understood (though maybe not always consciously regarded). A value is something that one strives to hold on to, one tries to obtain and keep because one is aware of the possibility of not having it or losing it after one has had it. If there is no possibility of being unable to obtain that object or lose it, then that object carries no value for the person. So, back to God. God cannot but live. God cannot but be moral. God cannot but be perfect. Thus, all of those things (at least), have absolutely no alternatives. And in the face of no alternatives, one cannot engage in choice. Thus, God has no choice in the matter and therefore cannot value His own actions nor can He value His own existence. This also means that God is limited in the things He can do. All of these things raises major contradictions about the concept of God. So, one must either reject the basic assumptions about God with which I started out this analysis (immortality, perfect morality, and infallibility), or one must reject entirely the idea that something as a "God" exists. Otherwise, the only option left would be to agree that God's life must be really boring!

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Moral Defense

The idea that humans can be involved in romantic relationships with more than one person at the same time is not a new concept. Various arrangements of this idea have been practiced throughout history and in various cultures. When these mutliple partners decide to enter into the bond of marriage, their union is called polygamy. The term polygamy has over the years (and I would argue, mostly due to Christian theology) acquired a very negative, almost perverse, connotation. Modern civilization frowns upon people engaging in such behavior, and has always seeked to institute a monogamous system of relationship between humans. In fact, in many cases, it is even against the law of the land to enter into a polygamist marriage. The notion that relationship choices besides monogamy should be made available for humans to engage in, is not new. Usually, such opinions are either heard from people living in so-called 'alternative' lifestyles or in the fringes of mainstream society, or are heard from within the safe protection of academic environments wherein "radical" thoughts and ideas are encouraged mainly for scholarly contemplation and debate. It is hard to conceive of the notion of multiple-person marriages or relationships as ever being endorsed and adopted by the mainstream society (atleast mainstream western society). The reasons given for the rejection of such an idea are: it is against the basic nature of humans, it does not fit the definition of love, it reduces the love and bond of marriage between two people into whimsical fancies for anybody to get in and out of, it goes against religion and the biblical teachings, it raises questions about parenting, etc. All of these are important issues that need to be dealt with when advocating polygamy or multiple-person relationships (MPR). In most cases, adopting this notion of love has almost become 'fashionable' - like a any new statement of fashion on the street - without any real contemplation into the fundamental morality and motivations that such an idea deserves. The idea itself becomes avant-garde-like, and neo-hippies, disillusioned artists and arm-chair philosophers might be quick to adopt such an idea. In fact, many of them might even become vocal proponents of the theory and perhaps be instrumental in the eventual acceptance of this idea by the mainstream society. Nevertheless, unless the key moral and ethical principles of such a theory is defended and validated, this will become just another new-age movement that will lose its potency as time passes. However, the notion of multiplicity of choices in human romantic relationships or marriages is not an ephemeral discovery of human nature that is a sign of the modern times. While the practice of polygamy is ancient and has been observed in many cultures, its proper and moral motivations have probably never been fully understood or respected. Moreover, the essential philosophical principles and dynamics of my own conception of MPR and the common concept of polygamy has some crucial differences. I will elaborate on these philosophical differences in another blog. Nonetheless, the commonality that they both share is more important than many of the differences. The underlying common foundation of polygamy and MPR should be properly recognized as a deep and profound respect of that fundamental characteristic that differentiates and defines a Human Being from other species - the fact that we are unique, individual volitional beings. This fact does not and will not change with time. Based on this principle, a clear and rational moral argument can and should be constructed to defend, validate and legitimize this theory to the point that the non-acceptance of MPR by the mainstream society as a proper and valid alternative to monogamy will in effect be a violation of fundamental human rights and unequivocally immoral.