The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Culture And Man

Please note that "Man" in the title is generic.

"I think morality is a collective illusion, genetic in origin, that makes us good cooperators."

Every once in awhile, I read something in the NY Times that appeals to me. Thus the quote and link above. As a person fooling himself into thinking he is a philospher of sorts (an uneducated one, that is), I ponder the concept of morality from time to time. Perhaps we all do from time to time... For instance, when we read about an exceptionally depraved crime.

When we read of depravity, we tend to see it as an abberation. And it is that, of course. Because I think that culture defines morality. And culture is what sets norms or standards of behavior. It also provides the basis for these, usually on religious grounds.

Back in the Sixties, in what I call my adult formative years (I think we have several periods wherein we form various concepts about life, culture, and reality), there was a general feeling among my chosen peers (and we do choose who we see as peers, don't we?) that things were not "black or white" but that morality was a seemingly infinite array of shades of gray. I have since rejected that idea but I pretty much bought into it at the time. 

I also believe that we indoctrinate our children in whatever morality our society has. I began believing that when I was quite young, perhaps five or six years of age, after learning the words of the Pledge of Allegiance. I thought about those words as I pondered the oath inherit in them. A pretty strong oath, I thought. One I felt most children were not equipped to truly understand at such a young age. One I thought would be difficult to adhere to for me.

It seems to be simple and direct:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I learned it as "to the flag" as a child of five in a small elementary school in a small town on Long Island.

I do not know if I saw/heard Red Skelton's parsing of the Pledge around the same time but maybe I did and that is what triggered my pondering its meaning. You could say that the Pledge is how we view our country, our society, our culture. When I was taught the Pledge, I was one of 25 or so kindergarteners and I was not taught the meaning of the words or the collective meaning of the Pledge. I would guess neither were any of you.

Perhaps we should teach that and perhaps we should wait until children are old enough to understand
them (if they ever are) and what it means to pledge allegiance to something.

I remember the Pledge each time I see an American flag.

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