Beauty, Goodness, Truth in Language

We can make statements of three kinds.

Subjective beauty

This is beautiful/ugly for me, I like/dislike this.

No one except me can say what I do or do not, should or should not find beautiful. I am an ultimate authority on my subjective experience.

Only I know what I like and what I don’t like. Only you know what you like or don’t like.

Intersubjective beauty (or goodness)

This is good/bad for us, we like/dislike this.

Such statements can be made only in reference to (a) a collective of individuals (b) some interpersonal process by which this collective have reached an agreement. No one outside of this interpersonal process by a certain collective can make any definite claims whether something is good or bad for this collective.

Examples:

  • Going to this movie is good for us as a group of friends because we all like it and we well have a good time together.
  • This constitution is good for us as a nation because we have debated and voted.

Objective beauty (or truth)

This is true for everyone.

Such statements can be made only in reference to an impersonal and universally replicable process of acquiring knowledge (like scientific method). No personal or interpersonal process of acquiring knowledge can make such claims, because they won’t be universal, they will be true only for some collective or individual perspective.

Note that universally true statements are actually universally not proven wrong so far. Even the speed of light in the vacuum (the most constant constant out of constants) may have been different in early Universe or may be different in some parts of Universe or may become different later.

Mistake

A lot of people conflate three types of statements into one: subjective. They truly believe that what is beautiful for them is good for any collective and universally true for everyone.

This is such an obvious mistake, a very-very limited and tiny perspective on the Whole Gigantic Universe believes that it’s preferences, likes and dislikes are good and true for every other countless perspective at every time.

Most conflicts and wars arise out of this mistake.

Conversation Type 1

  • Person A says: this is the most important thing in the world! We all should do it!
  • Person A really means: I like this thing so much!
  • Person B (who dislikes this thing) really hears: you are not important for the world!
  • Person B says: you are stupid, this thing is total bullshit, I won’t do it ever!

Boom, person B automatically hears personal insult, goes into attack/defense mode and we have an escalating conflict.

This is an acquired habit of thinking and using language and seems like a necessary step in the growth of a human being.

We can not stope here and learn to think and speak better, in a way that leads to mutual understanding not conflict.

Conversation Type 2

  • Person A says and means: I like this thing so much! I think this is good for us.
  • Person B (who dislikes this thing) hears exactly that
  • Person B says: I dislike this thing, why do you like it? Why do you think it will be good for us?
  • Person A says: Because XYZ
  • Person B thinks: hmm, maybe I should try it OR hmm, I won’t try it but now I know what Person A really likes

I very much prefer having conversations of type 2. They are so much more enjoyable, productive and helpful to all participants.

Notice how Person A started by staying very-very close to the direct experience. Direct experience is that Person A likes this thing. Imaginary experience is that this thing is the most important in the world.

Direct experience is reality, imaginary experience is, well, fantasy. There is nothing wrong with fantasy, it can be extremely beautiful and good. However when it’s mistaken for reality it often will turn ugly and bad really fast.

Direct experience is always subjective: I see this, I like this; I hear this, I dislike this; I feel this, I am neutral towards this.

The whole conversation was an interpersonal process by referring to which Persons A & B could say that this thing is good/bad/neutral for them as a collective. This decision was not imposed by any authority, but was reached in a real dialogue between subjective perspectives.

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