30 June 2008

Threalmic deadlock breaking

Truth v Justice, Justice v Freedom, Freedom v Truth

Whilst idly threalming recently, I have mulled over a possible new paradigm for navigating our chaotic civilization (as one does).

Many wayfaring pirates on today's threalmic seas have found themselves with crappy compasses and confusing charts, as most of the truths, traditions and teachings that have guided us in the past, are increasingly losing credibility and coherence under the serial scrutiny they are subjected to by the sway of spin from seductive sellers of serious style and specious substance. So I posit here a possible navigational aid to help marooned piratic souls find direction again through this increasingly befuddling fog.

How can a modern pirate find bearings in the vast tumultuous sea of isms:

alarmism, antidisestablishmentarianism, Buddhism, capitalism, cephlapodism, christianism, conservatism, communism, empiricism, environmentalism, fatalism, feminism, fundamentalism, futurism, Gaiaism, hedonism, humanism, ismism, legalism, libertarianism, materialism, nativism, nacissism, neologism, obscurantism, post-modernism, racism, rationalism, relativism, solipsism, scepticism, socialism, sophism, threalmism and Zoroastrism?

The rule of thumb set out below is a necessarily oversimplified, but satisfactorily reassuring, priority setter, to help find a way through these ismatic shoals of moral, intellectual and legal complexity.

It is built on three principles that are already well established as navigational aids. For the most part these markers have already have been placed to identify reefs, wrecks, channels, chasms, whirlpools and currents by our forebears and been repositioned, abandoned, re-designated, added to, tendered to and ignored by subsequent generations on countless voyages of discovery and pillage into meaning and coherence in history, literature, politics, art, science, law and life. But these markers are now too numerous, conflicting and confusing, and many of us need new simplified usable rules so we can again navigate meaningfully in these waters.

So here it is posited that the three interdependent markers to look out for in applying this threalmic trichotomy are ...


Is this an Amway sales pitch? Nope. It's a life choice rule of thumb, that goes like this:

In dealing with cultural complexity, generally:

The Truth in a proposition bests its Justice;

The Justice of it bests Freedom to refute;

And Freedom to conjecture bests Truth.

This therefore purports to be a deceptively simple "scissors, paper, rock" deadlock breaker for analysing otherwise irreconcilable moral, political and cultural conflicts.

Just what "Truth", "Freedom" and "Justice" are for any person , is a matter for their own beliefs, cultural proclivities, prejudices, education and influences. Whether a person is a piratical old fraud, a believer in the one true faith, an ardent socialist, a rational economist, a post-modern posture stylist, a global warming warrior, a scientific empiricist, a narcissistic hedonist or some or all of the above, this process can still potentially help inform sound personal choices when faced with complex multi-valented information.

Each person can invest their own version of the value they attribute to each of these core principles when implementing this handy deadlock breaker. And it can be applied to almost any threalm: so whether you're sitting in the dark staring at a bigscreen, reading a doorstopper, opining on fashion, judging Idol judges, jousting with a journalist, communing with a pod, analysing scrum penalties, creating a sauce, planning a trip, positioning a bush or composing a blog post; you can calibrate your assessment through this prism:




If there is to be any buy-in for this then a threalmer must acknowledge or suspend disbelief enough to accept that these interacting core principles are indeed wrestling for resolution in most engagements with our multi-mediated universe. And a case has to made that it is possible to ethically and satisfactorily reconcile these three core principles by the application of this rule of thumb. But if these small hurdles can be overcome, it might yet be a minor but usable enhancement to the craft of living in the contemporary threalmic condition.

Are these three principles at the core of civilized threalmic engagement with the universe? Are they sufficiently comprehensive to be useful? Hell it seems that it is actually seeking to set a pre-ordained balance between moral, epistemological and situational imperatives (Phew!).

A wee grand surely? Yes, but for now these slightly problematic issues are to be postponed for future posts and comment. Today, this threalmic deadlock breaker is simply posited for maturation and exposure to sunlight.

I am hopeful that further exploration and exposition, might yet transform the pleasingly symmetrical proposition that:

Justice bests Freedom

Freedom bests Truth

Truth bests Justice

into a cultural navigational aid that has some merit. We'll see.

There is a little work ahead on this. If it crosses their ken at all (which seems unlikely), these superficial speculations would be dismissed out of hand by cultural absolutists of all stripes and also by the Popperian hordes . But I do acknowledge, to the extent that I am able, for I am only a rank poseur on this, that there is an element in these agricultural speculations, that scratches a niggle of doubt that the great Karl Popper might have not quite got his cloth completely whole with his prescriptions on scientific rationalism, especially for us mere cultural wayfarers. So I can, for the time being anyway, blithely pursue yet one more poorly intellectually resourced attempt to re-inject a little of Adam Smith's innate "moral sentiment" into the ongoing cultural distillation process. I purport to do this by giving (using convenient labels for illustrative purposes only) Smith's "Justice" a role between Popper's "Truth" and Hayek's "Freedom". It instinctively feels like injecting such an element into the balance could give our navigation of the cultural deluge more points of traction for us confused threalmic rubes, who otherwise feel quite unnourished from the dry scientific emptiness of the vast weight of falsifiable conjectures, or from the dubious absolutisms of true believers.

But even, as seems likely, this attempt stalls at birth, this thread of threalm has already refracted some new perspectives. And further examination could even yet throw up additional fancied insights into the mystery.


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