(Excerpts from the book "Cult of Freedom", vol II, chapter 5)
The enigma of moral truth - The solution of the enigma of moral truth - Reflection about reflection - Information - Violence of information - Informational capital - Mass information - Convictions and truth - Justification - Moral violence - Ideological violence - Unnatural sciences - Scientific morality
1 The enigma of moral truth
In the being of mind, truth is the most important. It is clear what the being of mind is - it is a constant search. But what is truth? Truth is whether what mind has found corresponds to what it was looking for - namely, the correctness of the construction of society, the beauty of social structures, the eternity of the result of its efforts. Any other conception of truth is futile. If we understand truth as the correspondence of our knowledge to material, physical reality, then such scientific truth is irrelevant - knowledge of the laws of physics, biology and even psychology tells us nothing about what right in this life. We're not going to live by the laws of physics and psychology, right? If we understand truth as the correspondence of our knowledge to facts, then this legal truth has little meaning - only to restore justice retroactively. It will not apply to the future, because facts are only in the past.
Now, however, with us everything is the opposite - scientific truth enjoys esteem and respect, and moral does not cause any enthusiasm but only continuous controversy. Good, if without blood. This is no accident. Moral truth is insidious, it is not so easy to pin down. If truth in science shows that we are closer to objective reality, then in the search for correctness, beauty and fairness it shows that reality is closer to us. Sounds a bit strange, but it is true - surrounding reality, built by us, nears the ideas seated in mind. Although in both cases it is possible to move arbitrarily close, while remaining arbitrarily far, truth would do a good service if it were to assess the progress of the movement. In the case of science, that is so. The reality that science researches is unknown, but "given" to us, and therefore the application of the criteria of truth to scientific results looks competent and legitimate. In the case of ethics we fall into a trap. On the one hand, what might be the verity of what we just took out of our head? On the other hand, if the result is already in our head, then we know it? And from both these sides, truth looks illogical, incoherent and far-fetched.
Obviously, the reason for such a striking difference between both truths is hidden in the object of search. Physical reality, despite its incredible complexity, is yet somehow simpler than ethical. And our life confirms it. How clever and advanced we are in all that relates to science, but when it comes to morality, we are real children. Let's try to figure out. We know that freedom is the basis of ethics, but this truth is trivial. And at the same time it is incomprehensible. Freedom allows, generally speaking, anything. Then what's ethical truth? Does it really exist?
It must exist. Ethics is objective, and if there is objectivity, there should be correspondence to it. If it did not exist, it would be impossible to judge not only the actions of others, not only about good and evil, but about anything at all. I believe that then we would not have scientific truth, either, not even the most modest. But the most important thing is that it would be impossible to negotiate and become free. But this is the essence of objective ethics and, obviously, the only criterion of the correctness of our actions. Yes friends, if the criterion of scientific truth is confusing, complicated, includes specific techniques of practical, experimental and mathematical verifications and even the need for the approval of competent experts, the criterion of moral truth is shamefully simple - the truth makes man freer. It is sad that the simplicity of the criterion is inverse to the complexity of its application.
- Knowledge through creation
The main problem is that one can learn about it only later, after the fact and result. There is no way to find out how true our actions are before we get down to them. And sometimes, before we finish. And often until much later, until all their long-term effects have become clear. Usually, for simplicity, people consider an action correct if it corresponds to a norm. Norms are even called "moral facts", alluding to that they having already been tested and proven to be true. For this purpose, they say, norms exist. For example, "stealing is bad". But this is a case where simplicity is worse than theft. First, an exact match between the actual situation and the formal norm does not and cannot exist. For example, what if stealing is the only way to regain stolen property? Of course, strict adherence to rules is necessary anyway. But it is important to understand that truth has nothing to do with it! And, second, are norms themselves always correct? Some, for example, believe that property is theft.
It's different in science. What is scientific truth? It is reliable information about independent reality, which is always present nearby and continuously manifested in a variety of phenomena that we observe and remember. That is, it is knowledge of the past. The past is always regular, therefore, scientific truth is the knowledge of cause and effect relationships, allowing us to predict the future to some extent. But only to some, and the farther we look, the less this extent is. In science, the future is always random. If in the past we find determinism, in the future we find freedom. And although both are features of objective reality, they require completely different approaches to knowledge.
Knowing the future is only possible by influencing it, replacing randomness by expediency, turning description into prescription, creating ethical reality out of the pristine objective reality, which as a result acquires the traits of CG observed around us. These traits are the facts of ethical reality, discovered during this transformation. And that is how it happens in our lives. By our activity, we both create and understand ethical reality, for only by creating a new good do we learn that it is the true, objective good. Just as, for example, to find one’s own meaning in life is to make something objectively useful. But is it guaranteed that one will become freer, if one knows the facts of ethical reality? Of course not. Even phrases that describe the truth, "that’s right" or "that’s good", essentially mean "we have to do so" or "we should do so" and are hypothetical, because the real result of creating anything is unknown. Hence, moral truth is not the correct description of the facts of ethical reality, but the description of the correct process of creating such facts. For, facts only exist in the past.
- The impossibility of description
It may be hard to believe but it is true. Description of the correct process makes us the servants of deterministic causality. All we have left then is to follow the description, which is just an ordinary law having nothing to do with the future and freedom. It turns out that the knowledge of moral truth leads us not to freedom but in the opposite direction! It is impossible to know the correct goal. Moral truth is unknowable. That's a bitter truth.
What does that mean? Knowledge both hinders our activity and helps it? It both suggests a goal and misleads? I'm sorry friends, but I could not resist getting to Fig.5.1. Looking ahead, we set goals, and these goals are an invented concretization of the unknowable CG, behind which a new freedom is hidden. The goals are mysteriously based on existing knowledge and norms (i.e. on an existing process). Acting, we create a new good which is never exactly in line with our goals. With experience and knowledge, we set new goals. This going in circles is a meaningful, free movement, in contrast to natural chaos, where freedom and determinism are blindly fighting each other, almost like good and evil. Bringing meaning to this fight, we are helping reality move towards the good.
- The role of the contract
But if so, then we know the direction? Of course. Ethics leads us in the direction of CG by its firm hand. The paradox is that the freedom that lies behind CG means the greatest range of goals and, accordingly, the lack of direction! Perhaps we act randomly? This seems to be true. However, in this case, it is unclear why we have written and read so much, and even postulated that ethics is objective and that people have guaranteed chances to agree. But the possibility of a successful contract is based on the only one thing - that the correct process of creating CG exists! The very participation in the contract, in accordance with our FP, of both as many as possible and only two people, tells us that we might know the truth! But not alone.
So the process of creating the good exists, but its description does not? In fact, whether the process as such exists is also a question. We know only one thing - the new good is unpredictable but will always come to be in one way or another. We can say that there is no process, but there is always its result. But what about FP with its ensuing norms? Is not the correct procedure the only criterion of the correctness of the result? Moreover, it is the only possible process by which objective ethics somehow directs us! Then, maybe, everything is the way around? The description exists, but the process does not?
On one hand, yes. The contract is the only way to get CG - by following rules we can plan infinitely far away, i.e. straight to CG! In other words, knowing the way to reach true knowledge is equivalent to the knowledge of truth. And we do not even need to have infinite time for that. The method is the truth, especially if it is practically implementable, which, in theory, applies to the contract. No wonder the idea of the contract seems to us to be the good. So, the correct procedure of the contract guarantees the correct result, and FP is the only possible correct procedure and the principle of the cognition / creation of the good. Here it is, the moral truth?
Of course not. Because, on the other hand, if there is the correct way to create CG, we can assume that CG is already created. After all, the method of its creation is it itself! And then what? Everything is created, we can die. Fortunately or unfortunately, it's not like that. First, FP is a concretization of CG, which is not much more specific than the word "CG". It also has to be obtained as a result of the contract. And, if we have not forgotten, to obtain it we need to create an infinite number of norms. Second, although it is a procedure, FP is not a formula. There is something so vague in it that it deprives it of a deterministic result. That, however, would be expected from the correct procedure of creating CG. Third, FP, like all knowledge, does not indicate the ultimate goal. A procedure can only specify interim goals. What's the use if the rules of poker specify who wins? How does it follow from this that the parties must strive to win? Or even to play? Fourth, expanding the "first", it is necessary to clarify that the infinity of creating norms is not an end in itself, but the result of the fact that every norm, being a concrete knowledge, itself asks for its abolition and replacement it with something new, for knowledge is - as the determinant of reason - the enemy of freedom. The procedure negates itself!
What then is the relationship between FP and the process of creating a new good? FP is not the process, but only a part of it. It does not create the good as such, it only certifies the "prize", the objective verity of the result. It is a way to apply the criterion of moral truth, which is to make sure that everybody becomes freer, it is a way to evaluate newly created freedom and fix it as a norm. But the discovered norm, though it refines the previous one, cannot follow from it in principle. It should be new, unpredictable. A norm is just a consequence of the application of the criterion, a kind of side effect that only enhances our ability to plan for a new goal but, like all knowledge, does not suggest it. Eternity has not disappointed us - it is endless and we can go on living without fear of a quick end.
From this we can conclude the following. The new is randomly generated, the contract only screens all the wrong, giving purposefulness to the random, and the obvious shortcomings of the current screening procedures is a likely reason why many crazy ideas have been for a long time considered - and are still considered! - definitive truths.