Tagged: antiquity

These days

As long as there are men and teenage boys with disposable income and sufficient testosterone, there will be superhero films. Quality makes no difference to the longevity of this genre.

What I find interesting about the OT is that God does a lot of killing (plagues, fire bombings, and floods); then God hands Moses the tablets upon which is written “Thou shalt not kill.”

Insofar as morality is a human institution, it evolves and changes; it is historically contingent. There’s no ultimate or final position from which to judge moral systems. Earlier systems can be judged to be inadequate from our standpoint. But there’s no way to know with certainty whether these earlier systems are superior or inferior to ours. All I can say is that I’m pleased to not be living under the conditions of 4th century CE morality.

Traditionalist like Gadamer (Truth and Method) argue that “we moderns” can never surpass the greatness of antiquity. Modernists like Blumenberg (The Legitimacy of the Modern Age) assert that “modernity” makes a clean break with tradition and generates its own standards of Truth, Beauty, and Good; modernity has no reason to bend low before the pre-modern world. I side with Mr Blumenberg.

The problem with the traditionalist is that he/she does justify the authority of tradition, but does so on grounds such as “these ideas/values/standards have been around for a long time.” Or, using the logic of the principle of stare decisis, they ground the claim for tradition on precedence, which functions to bind any current or future social order, and its moral system, to that which came before it. From my view, this evidences at whole lotta arbitrariness. These justifications are only convincing for those who think the authority of tradition (of that which came before; of “old ways”) is given or natural, rather than as the outcome of contingent historical events. The modernist point of view destroys the basis of the traditionalist’s appeal to the naturalism of authority of the “old ways” or precedence. It values “the new” above everything else. One doesn’t have to be a Marxist to agree with Marx’s observation (of the modern world) that “everything that is solid melts into air.” Our experience of such a world is that it is made and remade in sometimes cataclysmic fits and starts. Consequently, moral ground is perpetually unsettled. I’m skeptical that 4th century CE morality can put a halt to the movement of the tectonic plates of the modern age, can bring order back into a world in which disorder, the “new,” is the norm and a positive value.