Objectivity

@ K. 2002 07 26
Mission: to challenge glib ideas about objectivity, to honor the other, to humble but not deny the self

Who am I to be objective?
GBS

The Shaw quote I’ve known and been fond of a very long time. It is profound as well as funny but needs a great deal of interpretation: like a good saying of Jesus. Then, also as with a good saying of Jesus, a universe full of room is still left for disagreement.

I’ll share a view of one other great thinker and doer before piercing the bull’s-eye of my target. (Until I can unbury my own copy of Paolo Freire’s book I am forced to paraphrase.) Freire said that nothing can or should be entirely objective: as that would deny the reality of the subject: me; you. Similarly, complementarily: nothing can or should be entirely subjective: as that would deny the reality of the world, the universe: that which is not strictly me; or you; or you and me.

Still: there are more of us who hold objectivity as an ideal than there are those who militate for subjectivity. (Subjectivity can’t “rule”: how would we determine whose subjectivity was the sacred one?) (Shakespeare’s? Shakespeare didn’t try to rule.)

What should a mere human bean have in mind if they wish to honor objectivity? It occurs to me today to emphasize the metaphor of the Martian. We should think: not What will the jury make of this; nor What will my Congressman make or this; nor What will my father, or wife, or priest think of this; but What would an alien of talented sentience think of this?

We should seek the common denominator of a sentience. It too should be alive, it too should be “conscious,” it too should be mortal … But really, our “Martian” should have as few other denominators in common with us as possible.


This subject (and my ideas too) deserve better than my few available minutes can give them. I’ll do better when I can return.

I’ll also wish to argue why “God” fails as an objective reference: why government is no good, why priests fail, why “god” is little better: why “Science” is little better … No, we need Martians.


Trouble with Martians: Why should we believe they’re “honest”?


2004 02 23 Material I’m struggling to introduce in my Society section on Group Intelligence [Link to be restored] runs parallel to this.

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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