Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My pal Friedrich Nietzche

Reluctantly, I come to the conclusion that the exploration of ethics, politicas or philosophy is pointless since we are incapable of free moral acts, are only goaded by what we are taught and are kept in line only by coercion.

The existence of freedom is much exaggerated. From the moment of our conception, our potential to decide and act is severely constrained by inherited biochemical traits.

Once we are born, we enter society in a social and economic context that is entirely not of our own choosing and very rarely changed in any substantive way by a free act, thought or deed. By the time we go to school, the course of our life is not known, but it is more or less set. The arena left to moral choice is absurdly minute, if it is exists at all.

Conscience, in the personal and moral sense understood in Western societies, is little more than a set of biochemical reactions in the brain to the challenges of the interaction of ingrained habit, social custom and individual tendencies. Shame and pride, in normal doses, are socially ingrained. There is nothing magical or "supernatural" about this.

In this context, the only purpose of institutions such as the churches or government) is to attempt to enforce socially mandated behavior; those that have failed to do this have either disappeared (the Shakers) or gone woefully astray (Stalinist Russia).
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