Logically and Morally Guiding Political Correctness

In the absence of a metaphysics which places morality at its core - it's been necessary for our culture to have a traditional conception of political correctness to keep discrimination in check. Without some kind of contraints on our language to act as a continual reminder to treat others with dignity and respect - our culture would not have made the advancements it has in terms of improving the rights and wellbeing of minorities.

However, our culture is going through a bit of a re-evaluation of its relationship with political correctness. And I can identify three causes for this:

One. It has started to be taken too far. Originally intended to protect the minority - certain minorities have begun to make unreasonable demands seeing themselves as victims requiring continual and overly dependent support.

Two. Having spent the majority of the last 50 or so years on improving social injustice issues, american politics has neglected the importance of social equality and the rich/poor divide. Therefore this gap has grown so far that the disadvantaged and poor are fed up with the focus on Political Correctness and rightly see an exclusive focus on this as part of the problem. Recognising this trajectory - this was predicted by Rorty in his book Leftist Thought in the 21st Century, 1998:

"One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words ‘nigger’ and ‘kike’ will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet."

Richard Rorty - Leftist Thought in the 21st Century, 1998.

Three. With our current metaphysics we're unable to easily determine the line between protecting what's good about a minority and validily criticising it from the standpoint of our culture so that it can assimilate into our culture. Whilst the Metaphysics of Quality doesn't resolve these disputes once and for all - it provides us with a beautiful logical language to discuss these issues.

For example, the MOQ provides us with a clear distinction between biological people and the cultural values with which they identify. One of those things does not matter and cannot change, but the other does matter and can change. Criticism of that which can change for something better is considered moral in the MOQ. Whilst criticism of a person simply, for example, because of the color of their skin is logically racist, evil and immoral.

So the general solution isn't to throw away the value of Political Correctness. As mentioned - it's moral and supported by the MOQ. Instead we should aim to solve these problems in a different way. Solving cause One would likely be with certain education reforms and certainly reform the way we have traditionally taught discrimination resolution.

Solving cause Two isn't to throw away political correctness but to simultaneously tackle social income inequality at the same time. In fact oftentimes, it's minorities who are economically disadvantaged as well - thus tackling both of these problems will likely take pressure off them as scapegoats for a suffering majority. This will also also improve their social mobility with a smaller wage gap between them and their neighbours.

Finally, solving cause Three would involve further cultural dialogue using the moral language of the MOQ to guide us in a better, moral direction.

Human rights don't logically exist.  But it's ok - here's the solution.

Well some must exist, surely? Nope. None. Not one. It's an uncomfortable truth but it's true. And the sooner we acknowledge this the better.

You could say that the articles of the declaration of Human Rights that all nations have agreed on, demonstrate that they do exist. But at a pragmatic level - words are so very easy to weasel out of. One country or culture says one thing, while another culture says and means something completely different. Who's to say something just isn't lost in translation? And unsurprisngly that's the exact problem continually facing the organisation put in place to implement Human Rights.

But beyond the written words of Human Rights that have been translated into hundreds of languages - there's no way to logically say something is a right for all people, and something else, is not.

And of course we can identify the main culprit here as our metaphysics. We have a metaphysics which fails to acknolwedge the importance of values and morality. There's historical reasons for this but this is the situation we find outselves in - in the 21st Century. This makes world governing bodies such as the United Nations often impotent in finding agreement amongst nations about what's right and wrong and what a violation is and is not. Amd this isn't a problem that's going to go away. In fact - it's only going to continue and become more and more apparent until we start to use a language and logic which transcends cultures and helps to shine a light on the right, and moral, path forward.

Luckily the Metaphysics of Quality beautifully provides just such a path and language. It's an elegant, logical, philosophical framework within which we can make such judgements across all cultures and languages and say (generally speaking) whether something is moral or not.

This is the what Robert Pirsig lays out in Lila where he writes:

There is no such thing as 'human rights.' There is no such thing as moral reasonableness. There are subjects and objects and nothing else.

This soup of sentiments about logically non-existent entities can be straightened out by the Metaphysics of Quality. It says that what is meant by 'human rights' is usually the moral code of intellect vs. society, the moral right of intellect to be free of social control. Freedom of speech; freedom of assembly, of travel; trial by jury; habeas corpus; government by consent - these 'human rights' are all intellect-vs.-society issues. According to the Metaphysics of Quality these 'human rights' have not just a sentimental basis, but a rational, metaphysical basis. They are essential to the evolution of a higher level of life from a lower level of life. They are for real.

Robert Pirsig - Lila

It's really very hard to understate the size of these words so I'll repeat them. There's no such thing as moral reasonableness or human rights. There's subjects and objects and nothing else (See The Story for why).

But sadly until very recently the unique insight and beauty of the Metaphysics of Quality in solving this particular problem of Human Rights has been largely ignored by the academic community.

Of course that was until a recent graduate - Matthew Lafontaine wrote a masters thesis called - 'Human Rights as the Safeguard of the Intellect Against Society'. It lays out a very thorough and concise explanation of just how the Metaphysics Of Quality provides a far superior foundation for Human Rights than our current understanding and metaphysics.

It has been posted online and if you're intellectually inclined - I recommend giving it a read here.

This is a great paper by Matthew and I hope that one day the insights provided in it are recognised.

All going well - one day at the United Nations (or similar) it will use the Metaphysics of Quality as a foundational language of morality across all nations. From it they will be able to determine and easily talk about what countries are indeed being evil and immoral vs those that are not. Not from a he said / she said metaphysically unsound perspective, but one that has a logical and moral philosophical foundation which cannot be denied.

Phaedrus thought there ought to be some way you could have both.

'Is it better to have wisdom or is it better to be attractive to the ladies?' That was a question debated by Provençal poets way back in the thirteenth century. (William James) Sidis opted for wisdom, but it seemed to Phaedrus there ought to be some way you could have both.

The question seemed to imply the stupidity of women but a feminist could turn it around and ask, 'Is it better to have wisdom or be attractive to men!' That's practically the theme song of the whole feminist movement. Although the feminists and the male Provençal poets would appear to be condemning the opposite sex, they are, in fact, both actually condemning the same thing: not men, not women, but static biological antagonism to social and intellectual Quality.

Robert Pirsig - Lila.

Finding myself recently single I have been thinking further about this line from Lila. "Pheadrus thought there ought to be some way you could have both". The Metaphysics Of Quality is a pragmatic philosophy. Pragmatic about quality. Quality is about balance. When we understand each of the levels of quality that create experience, and thus their importance, we can then live our lives in accordance with the balance of the universe.

So there is a way you can have both. There is nothing immoral about it. In fact, an appreciation of all kinds of quality is more honest and realistic than anything else. To deny this is to deny our billions of years of biological evolution.

It is only a problem when the worth or value of something is seen only through the lens of biological quality, and incorrectly devaluing social or intellectual quality as a result. This is immoral but the Metaphysics of Quality beautifully puts it all in perspective and shines the way forward.

Biological quality on its own is not immoral and something we can and should celebrate in a way that's in line with social and intellectual quality.

This, I think, is effectively what Gal Godot argued when describing the character Wonder Woman and her line of reasoning is logically supported by the MOQ!

"There are so many horrible things that are going on in the world, and this is what you’re protesting, seriously? When people argue that Wonder Woman should 'cover up,' I don’t quite get it. They say, 'If she’s smart and strong, she can’t also be sexy.' That’s not fair. Why can’t she be all of the above?"

Gal Godot - Time Magazine.

"An idol, that's what this doll was. It was a genuine religious idol of an abandoned religion of one. It had all those formidable characteristics that idols always have. That's what spooked him. Once they've been ritualized and adored, these idols change in value. You can no more throw them away casually than you can throw an old church statue on the dump.

He wondered what they actually did with old abandoned church statues. Did they have a desanctification ceremony of some sort? "

Robert Pirsig - Lila

It's good to take care for the objects around you and dispose of them in the same caring manner you possesed whilst they were valuable to have around.

The Japanese appear to uniquely appreciate this within their modern culture. Such an appreciation is supported by the Metaphysics of Quality.

If there was anything in particular that 'primed' me to understand Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila aside from being raised the thoughtful, caring person I am. It would be a movie called 'Fight Club'.

For me, watching as a youthful Westerner - the ideas of Chuck Palahniuk were a revelation. Here was the idea that rather than finding freedom by running away from something, it could be found right here in front you.

Such thinking is supported by the MOQ and shown to be one of the two types of freedom discussed in the book Lila. That is; the freedom to be found running away from something which we're commonly used to, and the less commonly known freedom found by working through the pain of something right in front of you.

This was a freedom of the East which I knew little about - and now that I practice Zazen - still know nothing about it! :-)

"In the West progress seems to proceed by a series of spasms of alternating freedom and ritual. A revolution of freedom against old rituals produces a new order, which soon becomes another old ritual for the next generation to revolt against, on and on. In the Orient there are plenty of conflicts but historically this particular kind of conflict has not been as dominant. Phaedrus thought it was because dharma includes both static and Dynamic Quality without contradiction."

Robert Pirsig - Lila.