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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Muttering

There went that idea, posting at least once a day. Oh well, it's not like the world will end; oceans will not burst into flames, and stars will not go out one by one. Then again, nothing I will ever do—or even conceivably could do—will cause the end of the world. Even worse, will I leave this world a better place? Most likely not. Given the odds and the history, I will, like you will too, pass though life without life noticing the passing.

It gets worse. On a large enough scale, and the universe is an extremely large place, whatever we do is meaningless. As meaningless as the movement of particles of dust in a breeze is to us. If the human experiment fails, the universe will grind on.

Yet, given that my actions are futile in the long run, they do matter, but only for reasons of ethics. Only moral actions have meaning (a moral action can be determined to be a morally good or a morally bad action), all the rest are as meaningless as the collision of two hydrogen atoms at the opposite end of the universe. Non-moral actions are, well, physics. As a supposedly intelligent organism, I have the ability to act ethically. Not all my actions are moral actions—hard to see how one could give breathing or digestion a moral weight—but some are. And, to the best of my knowledge, I belong to a unique class of objects. So far, no other objects have been found that can act in moral ways.

My dog, for example, is not a moral creature. He has no conception of right or wrong. He acts according to instinct and classical conditioning. He is a big, fluffy, drooling physics equation. Good equation, now fetch.

I am a moral creature who lives not alone but as an active member of a social network (human society). Then, by extension, if moral actions matter, my actions within human society do matter, as does the form of social organisation in which I live. This is at the heart of the case for anarchism. That it is a more moral form of social organisation than the State is. If we take morality out of the equation, we're back to the pool table of physics.

Social Distortion is on the radio.

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