Saturday, April 22, 2006


Is Topical Passion a Sign of Intellectual Weakness?

CB: As of late, I have been leaning toward moral relativism. Just leaning, not diving in. It is seeping into other parts of my intellect. When I was passionately conservative, holding opinions of all kinds on nearly any subject, I ignored that which I did not know. The resurgence of relativism, for me, has come as a result of reminding myself how little I know or possibly could of the many topics that I used to be so desirous of being passionate about. As I am trekking this phase of my life, I wonder if passion is a result of a lack of intellectual curiosity.
If you stop a sign carrying protester and asked them the top 25 questions on the topic they are marching for, how many of the questions would be answered correctly? If you took 10 experts on the topic to speak to this person, would the person be able to hold their own? Sadly, we all know the answer to that. This is not cynicism. It's just true. So, in reference to the question, if the person were recognizing all of the facets of the topic that they did not yet have a command, would they feel comfortable marching about the topic? Can a conclusion be drawn that a person's willingness to march on a topic has a direct correlation to a lack of real knowledge on that topic for which they make signs and wear comfortable shoes?
This, in many ways, relates to my desire to not just ask people to vote, but rather to educate themselves until they feel confident that they can vote wisely. In that case, sometimes you wouldn't vote and that decision would be wise given how little you know and wise because you are aware of how little you know. These quantities are relative, but the core concept is about right.
I think the struggle now is this awareness of my limitations weighed against my desire, like most others, to have positions, beliefs and wise opinions. The middle ground, sooner or later, will show itself, as I believe I have stood upon that middle ground before. I just need to find it given my most recent intellectual and information inventory, so to speak.
It seemed prudent to share this here as the few kind souls who read this have probably wrestled this one more than once.

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