Do you ever feel on the verge of articulating something but can’t quite get there? I was reading an interview with Warren Ellis about the premise of his new series, Black Summer, and the idea behind it got me thinking:

It’s been said that morality is defined by perspective, not by a universal moral code that all are meant to follow, with arguments for consequentialism and deontology often present. After all, one can murder in self defense and walk free, while another who murders in the heat of the moment is to be punished — there are certainly societal perspectives that influence how we view seemingly similar actions. With that in mind, how does one define a hero and the limits to which it is acceptable to break the rules for what is “right?”

In our age, we have a greater desire for truthfulness yet we seem to have a greater difficulty discerning truth. We’re asking questions like “what is truth?” and “whose truth?”; distrustful of anything approaching a meta-narrative. Sometimes I wonder if we ought to be asking questions examining a deconstruction of our selfishness. That all of our questioning of God and society’s mores boil down to us simply wanting to rationalize the things we want to do anyway.

Cynicism has clung to the coattails of our post-modern spirit. A “throw your hands up” mentality has infected us. Why bother with being engaged or engaging in anything? There’s nothing you can do about it and nothing’s going to change anyway?

Similarly, we’re losing the idea that we are responsible moral agents. Things are everyone else’s fault: your parents, your co-workers or boss, the government’s, society’s, other races.

*sigh*

Do you know what really started all of this philosophical angst? The news. Last week, a father stood accused of stabbing his 11-month old in the back then tossing him out the car window. This occurred down the road from me. There’s nothing like the horrors of this world to make you contemplate the “why?” questions. The collective conscience of our society is seared and we are appropriately outraged. Yet fewer and fewer things seem to outrage us, until, sadly, only the more heinous acts of brutality stir us to action.

So I can’t help but think that when you lose the idea of truth, you lose the need for redemption and repentance. There’s no need for either when nothing (or very little) defines what is wrong. A consequence of that, however, is that you lose the ability to have moral outrage. Since there is so little that we can all agree on that is “wrong”, we are left with an uninformed societal conscience.

Maybe there is an evolution-driven imperative that says we ought to love one another, but I’m no philosopher. I’m just a guy wondering why we do the things we do and if there is a better way, a moral obligation at the very least, to behave in a better way. I cling to the idea of hope. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of the Problem of Good: In a world of accidents and natural selection, why is there so much laughter, beauty, love, and need to praise? In other words, I’m left asking more questions.

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