Monday, August 22, 2005

Is there anything called "Rights"?

My friend seems to be a vehement believer that there is nothing called "Rights", and that there's nothing called "morals". He subscribes to the philosophy of extreme skepticism - under which he doubts everything. The only thing he is certain of is his own existence -- and even in that, he is not certain that he exists in body, but merely in consciousness. He knows his consciousness exists, but he cannot know with complete certainty if anything else exists. Thus, he is stuck in this philosophical solipsism from which he is unable to escape. I believe that his philosophical entanglements have been created by the centuries of a very destructive indoctrination in popular culture that the mind and body are two separate entities -- that there is a mind-body dichotomy. This duality of existence was most popularized by Decartes, and is very apparent in religious traditions. The mind or the "soul" is seen as seperate and more important than the body, and that the body is seen as this strange external existence, separate from the mind and sometimes inherently in conflict with the mind. Thus, the mind is conscious and real, but everything else that is physical is subjected to doubt and skepticism. That which is physical is doubted, while that which is abstract or metaphysical is accepted eagerly as real. It seems strange to me that people can accept that existence of consciousness, and not accept that consciousness needs PHYSICAL EXISTENCE inorder to exist in the first place! And then, just by pure logic, if consciousness EXISTS, it is only because there is SOMETHING TO BE CONSCIOUS OF! To be conscious of NOTHING or of NON-EXISTENCE is a contradiction of concepts! Anyway, I talk all about existence and consciousness in another posting, so I'll let this rest here. As far as the issue of "Rights" go: it is true that there are no "God-given Rights". There are no gods to give any rights to anyone. If one wishes to exist in this world and live a life proper to that of a Human being: i.e. a life that utilizes the human faculties of volition, intelligence, rationality, etc. -- one has to have certain guarantees to live among each other. Rights arise out of a necessity to protect the values that Humans desire. Without the guaranteed protection of values, Human life on this Earth will not be qua rational life. One would have brutish, capricious, pathological Human beasts running amok on this Earth -- living lives not proper to Human life... i.e. life of reason, intelligence, volition, etc. But inorder to have Rights that would give guaranteed protection of values, we must know what values are, and which values need to be protected. The most fundamental value -- and therefore the standard by which all other values should be judged -- is the value of Human life. Without valuing life and wanting to live, all this discussion and speculation is FUTILE! If all you desire is to die, then there is no reason to talk any further about any matter of existence and life and nature. If non-existence is what you value and desire, then the only right you have to be silent and not exist. A human on this Earth has life by default. The human is already alive. Thus, the fundamental choice for that person is whether to maintain existence or to die. If one values life and existence, then one must begin to think of ways to CONTINUE existing and ENHANCING the nature of that existence and enjoying the time of one's existence. This gives rise to the CONCEPT OF RIGHTS -- the guarantees of protecting the most fundamental value which is life (life which is owned by default) and the right to all that is proper to the rational maintenance and enhancement of that life. The desire to live gives rise to the value of life, which gives rise to the need to protect one's own life, which gives rise to the concept of Rights, which gives rise to the concept of right and wrong (morals), which allows for the existence of rational Human Beings living life on this Earth. This is the philosophical system for living life on this very real Earth. It is not a philosophy of life for those who even doubt the very existence of this Earth and of their life in it.

4 Comments:

Blogger Koen-Kathleen said...

oh. my. gosh.
minus the whole atheist thing, you just elucidated the fundamental social teachings of the Catholic Church...
you're so...Catholic...
hm.

8/22/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

Oh, well... gee, thanks, I guess! I'm Catholic, huh?

Ya, know.. the similarities of ideas that Catholicism shares with objectivism is the philosophical method of knowledge-- especially with the whole foundationalist approach to gaining knowledge -- that is true of Catholic doctors of philosophy (apologetics, etc.) as well as most objectivists, I think.

8/23/2005 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Semperviva said...

LOL so holly found out yer little skeleton in the closet too i see... ;)

8/23/2005 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

Ha! Can a man not keep a secret in this world anymore!?!

8/23/2005 05:52:00 PM  

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