We have all heard others argue. The thing to focus on in some type of argument is the remarks made from one person to another. We hear things like,
"Come on, you promised" or "How would you like it if someone did this to you?" The interesting thing about situations like this in life, with which I
would assume we are all familiar with is that one man is not simply saying that the other man's behavior does not please him. The first man is
appealing to some kind of standard he expects the other to recognize. The odd thing is very rarely do we see a person say, "To hell with your
standard". Rather we find that the second man tries to either explain or give an excuse to show that he behavior is not at odds with such a standard.
It looks as though in these situations both people have in mind some type of law or rule of fair play about which they really agree. If there wasn't
this point of agreement the two men could not argue as to argue is to try and show the other is wrong. There would be no sense in arguing about what
was right or wrong if there was not some type of agreement as to what RIght and Wrong actually are. In the same way there would be no sense, in saying
a boxer has committed a foul unless there was some type of agreement upon the rules of boxing.
Now this particular law is much different from the numerous set of laws that a person could be subjected too. For example, we are subject to the laws
of chemistry and gravitation as you read this message and many more, but this rule of fair play, or idea of decent behavior is the only law we find
ourselves subject to that we can freely choose to disobey. The old philosopher's called this idea of fair play the Law of Nature because they believed
everyone knew it by nature and did not need to be taught it. They did not believe you wouldn't occasionally find people who were unaware of this law,
but taken as a whole they felt it was generally obvious to others. I find the most common response to my current line of reasoning is to say that it
is unsound, because many different civilizations and different ages have had quite different moralities. Now maybe there have been slight differences
in morality over the years and cultures but none of these amount to anything like a total difference. Lets think for a moment about what a country
with a totally different morality would actually be like. Let us think of a country where people where admired for running away during battle, or
where people felt proud for double crossing all the people who had be kindest to them, or one where people guilty for telling the truth.
If there is no Law of Nature, then what is the difference between an action that is fair and an action that is unfair? No matter what a person says
about the existence of Right and Wrong, simply observing their life for a long enough period of time shows that these people recognize the Law of
Nature just like everyone else. There are basically two points here. One is that man finds within himself this idea of how he ought to behavior, and
two at some point this year, this month, or likely this very day, we have failed to practice the type of behavior we expect from other people. These
two points are the foundation for understanding ourselves and the universe we live in.
Many who lean closer to materialism rather than some other form of thought may say, "isn't what you call the Law of Nature, really just our herd
instinct as social creatures?" Now I won't deny that we have such a thing as a herd instinct, but we all no what if feels like to be prompted by
instinct, whether it be the instinct to love our young, or sexual instincts, or instinct for water or food. An instinct is a strong innate desire or
want to act in a certain way, and we do often feel that sort of thing when it comes to helping another human being and this is no doubt due to the
herd instinct, but this is not what I mean by the Law of Nature. As feeling the desire to help is quite different from feeling you ought to help
whether you want to or not. Imagine for a moment you hear a loud noise, and a man cry for help. You will probably experience two desires, one to help
the man due to your herd instinct and another to run away due to your instinct for self preservation. The odd thing however about being a human is
that you find a third thing inside of you which tells you that you ought to follow the impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to run away. This
thing that decides between two impulses cannot itself, be one of these impulses. If you were to say that, I believe that would be similar to saying
that the sheet of music which tells you to play one note on a piano over another is itself, a note on the piano. This is obviously not the case. Our
instincts are merely the notes, and we find inside of us a tune that seems ought to be played.
If two instincts are in conflict, and there is not some third thing that decides between the two the obviously the stronger instinct of the two must
win, but the moments we are most aware of the Law of Nature are the moments in which the Law of Nature seems to be telling us the weaker impulse is
the one we ought to go with. Often enough the Law of Nature tells us to take a particular instinct like the herd instinct and make it stronger than it
naturally is. This thing that tells you to make a certain instinct stronger than it naturally is again cannot be the instinct itself. If Law of
Nature were simply one of our instincts we ought to be able to point to one particular instinct and inside of us which we always call 'good', but we
cannot. None of our impulses are intrinsically bad or good. Again what are the right and wrong notes on piano? Well that depends on the tune your
trying to play.
Let us change gears and think of situation in which we are comparing one person's morality with another. When we do this do we ever think that the
morality of one people is better or worse than that of another? Do we believe that by abolishing slavery the united states made moral progress? Was
this change for actually for the better? But if this was truly moral progress then, that must mean some set of moral ideas are truer or better than
another. The moment you concede that some set of moral ideas is better than another you are in fact measuring both sets of ideas by some external
standard, and saying one conforms more nearly to that standard that another. The standard by which something is measured is quite different from
either of those things. The reason your idea of "Washington D.C." can be truer or less true than mine is because Washington D.C. is a place that
exist quite separately from our thoughts about it. If what we meant by "Washington D.C." is "the city in my head" there would be no sense in saying
one idea was truer or less true than another. In the same way, if there Law of Nature meant "what each nation happens to approve" there would be no
sense in saying some nation or people had been more or less correct in its approval. No sense in saying the world could progress or decline in the
realm of morality.
edit on 14-1-2017 by ServantOfTheLamb because: typo