What is reality if not something we consider to be objective?
That kind of objectivity is not absolute. I see no absolute system of reference in Nature. I see only relativity, probability. Nature has no preference for life or death. It contains all aspects. We care about life because we are alive.
Everything people think they know about what surrounds them is through their perception. There is absolutely no way to change that. This means that every individual sees things through his own conditionings. With the Human mind I am only trying to destroy myths and illusions.
Humans can believe as much as they like in absolute (objectivity). It's all an illusion. Every aspect of Nature is relativistic. Absolute systems of reference make things rigid (since it's absolute), which Nature is not. To the contrary, Nature exists exactly because of diversity, because it contains all aspects of all concepts. There is no right, wrong, good, bad, beautiful or ugly. There simply is... All.
For example, species evolve not because they are intelligent (and know what they should do) but because they are diverse and those that fit the best to the environment survive. There is everything: right, wrong, good, bad, beautiful and ugly. There is no absolute system of reference.
This doesn't mean that there is no right and wrong or beautiful and ugly inside a system of reference, for example humans, but there is none which is absolute.
You're saying that even our understanding of reality is not reality itself since it is always distorted by our individual perception.
There is a difference between the words "truth" and "true". Science deals with reality, not with "truths". Science does not try to prove truths, but merely to explain our perception. Science makes statements that are true in a given context. However, these statements are not truths. They are just true / correct / right in the specified conditions.
A truth is an absolute system of reference.
Truth is unknowable. Reality is perception.
Relativism is saying that 2 + 2 is not 4, but whatever you feel like that day
Relativism = A theory that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them.
Note the definitions of relativism: "conceptions ... are relative to the persons or groups holding them". The observer does not get to do the math for those groups. Those groups hold those concepts. Those groups create their own math / concepts.
You are talking about duplicitous behavior. You are talking about duplicity. When the observer / subject behaves differently about the same thing, the observer is called a duplicitous person.
In contrast, relativism does not involve the vision of the subject. Various groups hold their own vision / truth / moral. The vision of the relativist (= the observer) is not involved in the observation. He observes those groups. Those groups hold their own ideas about reality.
A duplicitous individual changes himself according to the group he interacts with. He is a dude who says to group A "2 + 2 = 3", and to group B "2 + 2 = 5".
A relativist is a dude who observes group A saying "2 + 2 = 3", and group B saying "2 + 2 + = 5"; but there is nothing in relativism about him saying anything about "2 + 2". If they are happy like that, screw them. Why would the relativist try to force them to think differently? Why would he try to create (more) conflict within their minds?
Politicians would simply use anything to substantiate their arguments, something which is called, surprise, duplicitous behavior. They skew their own logic in order to arrive at their goals. They use a different logic for different groups of listeners / observers.
They, the duplicitous individuals, act and others are the observers. In the case of relativists it is precisely the opposite: groups act and relativists observe.
Of course a duplicitous person is going to use relativism as a cover. If you have a dude who always tells the truth, and one who always lies, how can you tell which is which.
Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia:
For a relativist, everything is the same as everything else.
Relativism is not indifference, is not duplicity, is not weakness. Those who say that relativism is any of these things are unable to differentiate those concepts, they are confusing the words which define them.
Relativism is observation without interference, without siding with various groups on the request of other people. A relativist makes his own choices. A relativist has his own moral, but it is his and nobody else's, and has no desire to tell others what they must think, what moral they must follow.
If a relativist doesn't like someone's moral then he simply avoids that someone, but he feels no desire to change the way that someone thinks.
A relativist likes it when individuals make choices uninterfered by others, because they reveal the inner nature of those individuals. But he does not attempt to condition those individuals to make certain choices. Each individual must make his own choices, each individual must sort his own vision of the world. Each individual must garden his own thoughts.
A relativist doesn't believe he has found the moral confluence where everybody should gather. He believes in no such confluence. He does believe that people gather in groups which share the same moral confluence, but there is no unique / absolute confluence in the Universe. People manifest their freedom as they want and the relativist does NOT attempt to force / condition them to choose his moral confluence or his vision about freedom.
A relativist would say: "Gee, I dunno, stoning homosexuals to death? Who knows really... maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's a bad thing, who knows really?"
When you're trying to show what relativism is, you are mixing relativism, non-human points of view, weakness, and duplicitous behavior.
Here, you are describing an individual who can not evaluate an event in terms of his own nature. You are describing a weak individual, an undecided one, a confused one. You are NOT describing a relativist. A relativist can make a decision regarding your example, based on his own moral.
Some people such as me, you, and everyone you know or have ever talked to, will believe that it is possible to state, say, decide on whether the event in question is good or bad.
But then there are a few wacky fruitcakes (called relativists) who think there is no such thing as a "real" answer, that everything just depends on one's upbringing, context, that there is simply no such thing as absolute truth...
Certainly, but the problem is that you mix the "real" with the "personal" answer. When you say "good" and "bad", you are emitting a personal response which is determined by various factors (like your biology and upbringing). Biology is the same for all humans, except for some accidents. Upbringing may fit into several categories.
Thus, most humans would behave similarly, like, say, emitting moral judgments about theft / rape / murder. These judgments are not written in the stars. Such actions undermine the chances of survival of humans and, thus, humans (as a species) are against them.
Some will say it is good, some will say it is bad, some will say "I don't know," and some will say "it's impossible to say, because nothing is good or bad, everything is just about upbringing and context and I don't believe in absolute truth."
That is because the people who say an event is good or bad are emitting a personal judgment. Those who are saying "it's impossible to say" are confused about their point of view. It is possible for any human being to emit a personal judgment on ANYTHING in the Universe. However, that is irrelevant to anyone or anything other than humans. The judgment is a human point of view.
So, a relativist can not say that a human can not be judged by humans. But a relativist says (and is utterly misunderstood) that the actions of any human do not matter to, say, the Sun, to dust, to space. A relativist does not say that it is impossible for a human to judge a human (or for him to judge a human), but that the actions of humans are irrelevant outside the human context. This is the relativist stance.
Relativists are interested in questions of morality. Morality is what they say there is no "real" answer to.
Yes, any human has a behavior (which they usually want to call as being moral). There certainly is no answer from say, the Sun, the dust, the space regarding morality. However, there is a response (more or less clear) from any human being. It does not matter what the response is, but the response does exist and it is personal.
Every human judges the environment. However, the environment truly doesn't care about the human. Here are two points of view, which a relativist points out, but most humans mix (or simply ignore) them.
Of course, a relativist talking about non-human Reality is like talking to the Void. This is because most humans don't care about non-human points of view. In fact, humans don't care about Reality, they care about themselves. But the relativist is able to distinguish these aspects of Reality, and he does it because it is his nature.
I can take a moral stance about anything which happens in the Universe. That would make non-relativists happy (or angry if I choose a response which they don't like). However, the Universe does simply NOT care. That is Reality.
Steven Spielberg eats his dog, or, my older kid punches my younger kid, or, John Smith cheats on his history exam. That's an event – OK? Now we get a whole lot of people, and we ask them to deliver a value judgment on the event.
There is a problem with that: you are asking people to do what you want. You assume people would answer to you. In fact, you are using conditioning to guarantee you'll get an answer. You know that most people would answer because most people want to fit in. Most people want to please you (not you specifically, but those around them). It's in their nature. Sure, this is irrelevant to you because most people do it all the time. This is human nature and humans would get extinct without it.
A non-relativist would feel compelled by his past conditioning to respond and to take a side. A relativist would, however, not necessarily respond. At that point, some non-relativists would start to verbally aggress the relativist in order to determine him to submit (to power) and choose sides. Of course, a relativist would not submit to individuals who claim they want freedom but are forcing others into submission.
The idea that a stance / side must be taken because it is the right thing to do, is, of course, an attack to the freedom of the mind. Each human can make moral judgments. That does NOT mean he must do so, or that he must share them. Saying he is morally obligated, or it is the right thing to do, or whatever, is an attack to the freedom of the mind of the individual.
At this point, a non-relativist would start using arguments like "you are avoiding to choose because you are a... relativist / weak / duplicitous". Basically, the non-relativist uses non-logical (= emotional) arguments in order to determine the relativist to do what he (the non-relativist) wants. This is like the state would come to you and say "you must let us search your house if you have nothing to hide".
For example, you owe me $500'000 for a house you bought from me, and you give me $350'000, and then you say "oh, but what is reality anyway?"
Reality is that there are two individuals involved in that matter. Thus, it is irrelevant what a single individual says. Reality is shaped by the interaction between both individuals. So, even if I say "buzz off", you could take a club and beat the crap out of me. That is Reality: interaction.
Freedom means non-initiation of coercive force.
I have a problem with the relativity of that expression. Each individual has his own point of view, and from his point of view the expression of other people's freedom could actually be coercive force upon him.
There is also no such thing as "absolute truth". However, there are facts, and all facts are part of a context (of a point of view, of relativity). What any normal individual would call the expression of his freedom could be interpreted as coercive force by others. I like diversity, facts, but not truths, not absolute systems of reference. This way I have no need to explain my actions as being a part of some sort of (absolute) moral standard. They simply are facts, they are my inner nature, they are my moral.
Force, be it coercive or defensive, is simply too relative to deal with. Nature doesn't deal with it. It simply uses diversity to ensure that It survives. And this diversity does include both coercive and defensive force. But the good part is that monopoly is not part of it because it would automatically lead to death (through the death of diversity).
A hallmark of initiation (of force) is volition, which is never accidental or relative.
The will of a human being is a context. Volition is a learned response to various (past and present) natural stimuli. Volition is born from all these stimuli, it exists because of all these stimuli.
Suicide happens because...?
Because of conflict inside a mind. Existence / life comes at a terrible cost: fight to live. Suicide comes because a human decided not to fight.
Are you suggesting that human beings don't seek change?
Humans do not seek change. Humans are forced to change (because there is nothing immobile in the Universe).
Mankind has inarguably improved his existence by nature-trumping advancements such as penicillin.
But why did that happen? Was it because people had nothing better to do with their time, or was it because there was a threat to their lives? People never do something which is not instinct driven. Everything humans do, do because there is a need to fight against something, fight for their lives (whatever distorted vision they may have of what is happening in Reality).
I don't understand why you say that Nature has no absolute standards?! Mathematics, for example, are a part of nature.
Mathematics is an axiom (a principle accepted as true without proof as the basis for argument). Mathematics is not a truth, it is an abstraction. People defined mathematics to suit their perception of reality.
For instance, you might say that 2 + 2 = 4. However, that is not a truth. It is a definition, an axiom which can't be proved outside its own space.
The laws of physics do not obey the mathematics created by humans. It is humans who perceive the laws of physics and create definitions for them. The laws of physics are descriptions of phenomena, not phenomena themselves.
I can say that "%&$^&@#&(!&" is mathematically correct... and it is because I define it so. Does it serve any purpose in Reality? No, because mathematics and Reality are distinct things.
If I take a hammer composed primarily of empty space, and smash your skull which is also composed primarily of empty space, that whooshing sound in your ears is not the wind caused by two empty spaces passing through one another at high velocity. You have just absolutely had your skull crushed by a hammer.
I am not saying that things have no manifestation / reality, but that Reality is always perceived through a mind.
You see, your bashing is utterly irrelevant when done against my dead skull. It is when you do it against the skull of a living human that it matters. The process of observation is what matters. This process is the relative one. This is what matters because it is the observation of Reality.
The issue is not how Nature is, since we, humans, can not know that. The issue is how humans perceive it is. Nature has no laws for good and bad. It is humans who attribute good and bad to things that increase or decrease their chances for survival or for death. There is no absolute standard for good, there is absolute standard for bad. It is humans who create such standards to define their chances for survival.
If you bash my head when I'm alive, Nature does not care. But I do. I, the perceiver of the bashing, a point of view in the Universe. This is the point of view: I, the observer of a manifestation of Reality. Reality and it's observation are separate facts. I do not deny Reality. I separate Reality from my observations.
For the Sun it is utterly irrelevant whether it blasts us away or not. It is living humans that care because they want to live. They want to live because Life is the opposite of Death. There is no good and there is no bad in any of them from Nature's point of view. But each living part can define death as bad because death is the opposite state of it's current state (which is life).
The way Nature is, is not an absolute standard. It is a fact. It is Reality... and it is part of our lives only because we perceive it. The Absolute is something humans invent in order to stop change, to put order into chaos, to increase their chances for survival. Each human wants things to be his way, to be better for him, but Nature does not care.
It might matter to someone if I smash your dead skull.
Sure, to another observer.
If nature knows nothing, and there are no absolute standards, why would nature do anything about voids?
Nature does nothing about void. Let's say "there is void". The problem is that in order to say this, an observer is necessary. Thus, lack of void is necessary. The lack of void causes an observer to be present. This observer assumes that he is the cause (of the lack of void) when in fact he is an effect (of the lack of void). In the absence of an observer, nobody would be able to wonder why there is void. Hence: The Void!
There are innumerable points in void where The Void does not question why there is void. This is simply because The Void can not ask questions since it's void. It is only where there is an absence of void that matter can ask such questions. Neither void nor its absence make choices. Nature makes no choices. There simply exists diversity. From diversity, choice is born as an effect (of the absence of void), not a cause (of the absence of void).
Breaking things down into "good or bad" does not affect the argument that absolute standards exist in nature.
It does because this is what people look for in their chase for absolute, for "The Ultimate Truth". It seems we are talking about different things. You want to prove that the existence of the laws of physics is a proof of absolute standards, while I am trying to prove that systems of reference are a matter of perception.
The laws of physics are the way they are. This is how you perceive them in the current context. You don't know what is beyond your horizon (if you consider space and time to be infinite).
The laws of physics would be absolute if they would be the same in every location in space and time. If you would know this, you would have a proof of absolute (ignoring the fact that you can't know what made them manifest like this; although I would say that it is diversity, that the space is not static but it randomly reshape itself). But you can't know this and, anyway, I am not trying to (dis)prove this kind of absolute since it's of no consequence to me, an observer, because my life would remain the same regardless. I call this Reality.
You appear to be saying that things unobserved do not exist.
I am not denying Reality / existence of phenomena. Relativity is not denial of facts, but denial of lack of change, denial of knowledge of everything, denial of absolute systems of reference. Since a human can't know everything (in the infinite space and time), a human clearly can't say he knows the absolute. He can, however, say he knows the context he perceives.
Everything you think you know, you know in a context. You do not know the way the Universe is outside your context. It is irrelevant how it actually is. What matters is that you can't know how it truly is.
Stars and galaxies are not alive and do not fight for survival in even an abstract conception of the term.
They do. Large galaxies, for instance, "swallow" the small ones when they collide. Saying that living creatures have a special desire to survive and inanimate things don't, is saying that Nature has a brain and knows what to do in order to create things. Nature knows nothing. Nature simply uses diversity to break away from void and create something which is not void. There are two faces of the same aspect, nothingness: void and change.
Thus, living creatures and inanimate things exist simply because if they would not fight to live, they would become extinct. There is no volition here. It is fact. However, humans, unlike inanimate things, are capable of improving their drive to live. But this drive does not belong to them, it is simply a law of Nature.
At no point in history has science seen or suspected a star or galaxy that somehow attempts to reverse this cycle.
That is because stars and humans are different structures: inanimate things and living creatures, but not because stars do not fight for survival. Please note that I make no attribution of any kind that "fight" is some sort of brain activity. Fight is simply a law of Nature: the opposite side of (immobile) void.
Humans create absolute systems of reference because they want to live, they want to live for ever, that is, without change, immobile, frozen in time to those moments they cherish. The absence of change would make something absolute. The Universe is constantly changing.
I have no illusions that somehow I will suddenly succeed in breaking you of the dangerous, self-destructive habit of thinking everything is relative to your perception.
Please don't try to succeed in this because people who want to "set me straight" disgust me!
I, for one, have no desire to set people straight. I prefer to let them find their own freedom because their freedom is not what I think of it, but what each of them thinks of it.