Ethical Truths

about 2 years ago

But in contemporary insurrections there is something that especially unsettles the revolutionaries: the insurrections no longer base themselves on political ideologies, but on *ethical truths*. Here we have two words that, to a modern sensibility, sound like an oxymoron when they’re brought together. Establishing what is true is the role of science, is it not?—science having nothing to do with the moral norms and other contingent values. For moderns, there is the World on one side, themselves on the other, and language to bridge the gulf. A truth, we were taught, is a solid point above the abyss—a statement that adequately *describes* the World. We’ve conveniently forgotten the slow apprenticeship during which we acquired together with language, a relationship with the world. Far from serving to describe the world, language helps us rather to *construct* a world. Ethical truths are thus not truths about the world, but truths on the basis of which we dwell therein. These are truths, affirmations, stated or not, that are felt but not proved. […] Truths are what *bind* us, to ourselves, to the world around us, and to each other. They give us entry into an immediately shared life, an undetached existence, regardless of the illusory walls of our Selves.

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