Yesterday in class we continued to discuss objective and subjective truths in the context of Unamuno’s The Tragic Sense of Life. It is popular among the existentialist philosophers to suggest that objective truths are not what we really mean when we discuss what is true. This is also incorporated in calculative thought, in which we learn facts such as 2+2=4, accept this as factual, and move on with our lives. In my opinion, this argument undermines the importance of objective truths, because they allow societies to function properly. It is evident that we have objectified morality, because we have established laws that people subconsciously accept and live by. For the most part, we do not even think twice about the cases of murder, rape, etc. because it is engraved in us that these actions are immoral. To take our own subjective views on these actions would be “frowned upon,” and to act contrarily to these social norms could land one in prison.
We discussed the idea of raping babies in class. We collectively agree that raping babies is…wrong. Then we attempted to find reasons when raping babies would be thought of as just, or “called for.” Our inability to think of any legitimate reasons for such an act shows the little influence of subjectivity on aspects of morality. When is it okay to murder someone? When is it okay to steal or cheat? To subjectively conceptualize when these acts are decent is irrelevant, as society has established that they are wrong. Thus, we must abide accordingly. While it may be an entertaining thought exercise, it has no application or relevance.
Let me shift gears a little bit and turn to Unamuno’s irritation with Christianity’s generalized rationalization of its beliefs and requirements. Both Kierkegaard and Unamuno criticize Christianity for attempting to make itself something to which everyone has access. However, to understand God or to have a relationship with such an all-powerful being is individuality at its highest degree. One must undergo an entirely particularized experience to have such a relation with the Absolute.
But that begs the question: Is doubt not a singularized view as well? It seems that in order to fully disbelieve in God, one must recognize the utmost individual experience with the Absolute. Disbelief would then stem from the failure to have such an experience, or to recognize those who claim to “know God” as absurd. However, one could develop doubt of God from an experience that causes him to “lose his religion”, as we mentioned briefly in class. This particular occurrence, in which something tragic or not according to God’s “plan” happens, will cause someone to lose his faith altogether. Something as powerful as this, to break the most particularized relationship, must also be out of the ethical realm entirely.