Finding Direction: Prologue 1.0.3

Two basic points are in question.

First, is there such a thing as right and wrong?  Moral Growth and Moral Decay?  Many would say no.

The argument is that everything humans think and do is relative: relative to culture and social influences, relative to religious or philosophical teaching, relative to time and place.  This leads to the idea that as long as an individual sincerely believes something, then who are we to disagree?  Unfortunately, this also leaves us with nothing to say to the person who sincerely believes he should blow himself up in the market or to the person who sincerely believes that genocide is necessary or to the person who sincerely believes his right to wealth or power is the only pertinent concern.  It also leads to the idea, for example, that the law trumps honesty and justice.  If I follow the letter of the law, that is enough – I don’t need to be personally honest and just.  It’s all relative.

I believe that as humans we need to have something to say about these issues.  As a result Living As Though There Is a Tomorrow is based on the belief that there is such a thing as right and wrong, better or worse – even that moral Growth and moral Decay are built into the fact of humanness, and we need to discover, examine, and face them.

The second question is whether we are willing or even able to discuss morality in the public sphere.  All over the world this topic seems to be reserved for our personal and private languages of religion or politics or culture.  Can we find words to use that transcend our differences and focus on our common humanity?  The weight of our sheer numbers and our immense technological power is bearing down on us.  Can we find the will and the words, while we still have the time, to create our future by positive choices?

Phyllis Ballata

Without Words We Cannot Think

“Poor design . . . reaches far beyond our own life span.  It perpetuates what we call intergenerational remote tyranny – our tyranny over future generations through the effects of our actions today” (43).  William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002)


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