Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Authority and experience

The idea that we are autonomous and our own authority is contrary to the entire idea of authority itself. Authority, to maintain any level of actual legitimate authority, must of necessity exist above the object that is subject to it. In other words, it is nonsensical to say you are your own authority because you can't be above yourself and subject to yourself simultaneously. And if you are your own authority, then that means you make your own rules. Does this mean being autonomous makes our lives one big game of Calvin Ball (from a cartoon where a young boy makes up rules as he goes to play a game)? If that is the case then you aren't really your own authority because you can change the rules at any point which means you really answer to no one, not even yourself. You simply adapt the rules to your liking and continue playing the game how you want. This, in my estimation, is far more dangerous than someone who believes in an authority that exists outside of himself.

Experienced based truth is also nonsensical. To say, "I will derive my own truth from my own experiences," is a redefinition of truth while claiming to be the definer and molder of truth. One must think very highly of themselves and their experiences to say such a thing and actually believe it. For something to be true the opposite has to be false. So how can experience be a source for truth? You might say, "These things have happened to me, and they are what I base my views on." But since much of our experience is out of our control, this sort of truth finding is as reliable as rolling dice or flipping a coin. Do you know what will happen to you next week? No? Then your "truth" is subject to change, which removes any idea of truth from your definition and allows for things that were once false to now be true. Truth then becomes merely what you think for the moment, and nothing more. The delusional man that goes on a shooting spree has his own "truth", so how can his actions be wrong or his ideas false? I'm sure his experience has played a major role in bringing him to anger, violence, and murder. So how do you know that you're right? You're just as convinced as the mad man with the gun.

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