Friday, April 25, 2014

Worldview II--Justification

Yesterday I established my worldview is overwhelmingly cynical. I noted I was bothered by the realization, yet cannot help but think my worldview is well justified. But I cannot just declare that it is without working through the justification for it. So here it goes.

I am a devout Christian., therefore I embrace the concept of original Sin as outlined by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5: 21-21 and I Corinthians 12: 22. Paul declares in those verses that Adam was the first man to allow death into the world by sinning. We have inherited that depravity from him. We can never get rid of it. It makes liable to god’s wrath because of the inherent desire for sins of the flesh. Even under the grace Christians enjoy, the depravity is alive and well.

One can readily assume there is not much room for optimism for the general behavior of man in such a state. I am inclined to agree, obviously, but there has to be some reasonable wiggle room there. There have to be some positive aspects of man or we would all be desperate, self-loathing, and without companionship. For all my faults, I am none of those things, so there has to be an understanding within me there is something positive to be found in personal relationships to make them worthwhile.

I buy into the inherent rationalizations of the Four Laws of Human Nature. They are hotly debated by philosophers and theologians because they do paint humanity in a negative light. However, I cannot argue much with them.
1. People only care when it makes them look bad to not : The first Law is pretty self-explanatory. You act differently when you know other people are watching. Considering peer pressure, the idea of altering behavior for social acceptance may very well serve as a stronger urge than the pull of our sinful nature. They can also go hand in hand, of course. I do not necessarily think this is a sinister thing. We learn and pass on wisdom from each other on how to behave Only the most arrogant of individualists thinks he has nothing to learn from someone else.

2. People will always blame someone or something else.--virtually no one takes full responsibility for their actions without offering up some sort of excuse. That is fine, too. Bearing in mind the First Law is still in action, it is certainly logical to blame other people for why you do things, for better and for worse. You ca blame positive emotions like love and loyalty for actions with bad results as well. It is hard to view said motivation as always negative.

3. Humor is always at someone else’s expense.--here is a relevant Law considering David Letterman’s joke about the Palin daughters prompted my thoughts on the subject. I have a sharp tongued sense of humor myself. I would like to think I have standards that keep me from making statutory rape jokes. Regardless, a joke is virtually always at the expense of someone or somwthing that someone holds sacred. Yet humor is not inherently cruel unless you purposefully make it so. There is no reason to assume humor is meant solely to eviscerate someone or something sacred just for the fun of it.

4. You only get what you give.--This Law has bugged me since reading Ayn rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness” in college. I disliked the idea at the time that all actions were inherently selfish. Even altruistic acts are done in order to either make one feel good about himself or in conjunction with the First Law and trying to impress or gain favor with someone. At the time, I was fresh off a Bob Jones influenced high school education with a very immature view of human nature. The concept sounded too much like indulging in sinful nature since the right heart attitude was not necessarily there. But I have since accepted the idea Rand did not intended for selfishness to have a negative connation in her essay. It has not stopped young people who read her writings from acting like obnoxious jerks for a month afterwards, but that is a failure on their part, not the philosophy’s.
What it all boils down to is that fitting into a proper social role appears to alleviate cynicism. The happier you are in your relationships, the less cynical you are about people. It sounds logical and it works in my personal life. I have always maintained a small circle of carefully chosen friends I have trusted and liked well. That is what being grounded is all about. I cannot help, however, being cynical about humanity as a whole. I will talk about that more in the next post.

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