Friday, October 14, 2005

sure am determined

So i'm almost finished the book "Moral Politics" by George Lakoff. I love it because in that little tome, he's elucidated several themes of my life: family, politics and morality. So i'm reading it, and recommending it to anyone who may be interested. And my friend calls me. He wants me to go to the Million Man March anniversary party. I say no. I don't want to go because i think its nearly useless. I want something with a coherent paradigm. Not a bunch of speeches. I want something with some programs, or at least something tangible that i can sink my feet into. Not there. Of course, that may be a function of me not hearing about this until the last few days. But i'm not impressed. I wasn't then, and i'm not now. I do love the aims, but i'm not sure about the means. People in a group. I want organization.

So what am i determined about? Well, for one thing, to make my own values explicit. So this Moral Politics book outlines the primary values that liberals and conservatives have which give rise to which issues and programs they deem important and which sides of the fences they sit on. In addition, the book even gives you a way to analyze the variations of liberal and conservative viewpoints, and the people that have some of both. So basically it helps you to uncover your own (which is especially helpful) and another person's ethics, politics and family views (even when these don't co-incide). So i'm determined to outline my own ethical system.

So i started this a couple weeks ago when i started re-writing my book. Its a self-development/self-improvement book. Well, its really a philosophy book with those things as outcomes [after reading MP, i don't know what isn't]. I've been toying with Ayn Rand's rabid individualism, but cooled out with my awareness of systems thinking (man is an island, but perhaps part of an island chain). So my moral system aims to balance both the values of individualism and the values of collectivism. Not really, but that's the only political labels i have for what i'm talking about.

I have thought of a new basis. I realized that individualism and collectivism is a false dichotomy. A person can't exist without a community (at least parents) and a community can't exist without individuals. So there has to be a natural, not comprimised or negotiated, balance between these two extremes. Sure, it sounds like i'm going to spew some 'moderate' or 'middle-roader' stuff, but that's not what i'm talking about. What i'm saying is that there is a viable moral system that is coherent and distinct from either and both liberal and conservative moral systems. I aim to construct and popularize it. I'm not talking about re-hashing a perot-like third party or being a libertarian or right-leaning progressive. I'm saying that somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum is a network of values and ideas that is coherent and can form the basis for a third party.

So far i have outlined the values into individual, ethical and political [btw-these are in hierarchical order from most important to less] and of course, this would make the most sense if you've read the book, but if not here's a link to an intense summary [] :

On an individual level i value:
Wholeness- character and integrity
Strength- backbone and self-possession
Self-Nurturance- long-term self interest and protection
Self-Development- awareness and involvement
Happiness- in the context of relationship to life, reality and others

On an Ethical level i value:
Order- hierarchy of wisdom, hierarchy of competence
Empathy- absolute empathy plus moral instruction and the strong golden rule
Nurturance- supporting self-reliance and regular exercise of social ties
Social-Ties- non-sacrificial maintenance and showing compassion

On a Political level i value:
Distribution- contractual, scalar, procedural
Authority- contractual, overt and covert
Restitution-Retribution this would be scaled according to the severity of the infraction.

The book i'm writing covers the main branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and art. I've been at a loss on what to put in in some sections (mainly ethics and politics) now i can put forth what i'm talking about concisely and coherently. In the book i'll be clarifying all of these things, but in a couple more posts i might clarify these things as a teaser, or at least to get this stuff out.
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