I love it when readers call me (360.335.8054), even when the caller is irate, as happened yesterday.
“Sue” called because she was extremely upset that I agreed with Dan Erwin’s comment that he raised his kids using the concept of ‘covenants’ as opposed to ‘standards’, because covenants can be renegotiated whereas standards are set.
Sue said that no society could function without some kind of absolute rules, the kind that gave continuity, and that if they changed at everyone’s convenience there would be chaos.
My response was that I disagreed with the absolute rules, but agreed with the second part of her premise.
After talking for awhile, Sue ended the discussion by saying that I wouldn’t have the nerve to put my opinions here, because if I did I’d lose all my readers.
I said that I doubted that, since I’ve never made my attitudes a secret and that she should come back today (Friday) and see for herself.
Foremost, I’ve never believed that homo sapiens are capable of speaking in absolutes, such as always and never. There will be millions of changes, both societal and evolutionarily, between now and forever.
Life changes, society changes, attitude changes.
In absolute terms, murder has always been wrong, but people have been renegotiating the definition of murder for centuries—and they still are.
When one part of a society decides a standard needs to change, they often (usually?) fight a war with the opposing side that doesn’t want to change—think North vs. South.
The wars aren’t always formal, gun-toting fights. Slavery may have been abolished in the South, but integration is still an upward battle.
Obviously, changes aren’t done by individuals, but with the agreement of a significant segment of the society, otherwise, as Sue said, there would be chaos.
But even when a significant number move for the change chaos may result. It often erupts and can be clearly seen, for example, in the generational shifts so beloved by the media.
If I hadn’t seen so many standards change during my life I might be less on the side of Relativism, but, as I said at the start, humans just don’t seem capable of absolutes.
If any other readers are upset, have great arguments in support of absolutes, agree with me more or less or just want to explain why I’m nuts click here and share your thoughts.
Image credit: slavin fpo on flickr ideal standard