Verdicts

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Not long ago I launched an idea called Triadic Philosophy. It is summarized in Triadic Philosophy 100 Aphorisms available at the Kindle Store.. It grew into several more books. “The Evils of Characterization” is a successor work that develops themes within Triadic philosophy.

“Hurrah for Karamazov!”

This is the conclusion of Dostoevsky’s monumental “The Brothers Karamazov”.

It is among the most positive verdicts of all time. It is the chorus of children around Alyosha, the youngest Karamazov, who is seen as the future and therefore as a sort of redemption in waiting.

The future will be better is the essence of Dostoevsky’s verdict.

Virtually everything we do in life relates to this. Think about it.

Either we act with a certain sense of hope in what is to be, or we don’t. This delves to the very center of who we are.

What Dostoevsky saw, and the reason for this novel in the first place, was that without some of that Alyosha spirit, a will to goodness, our freedom will result in literal mayhem. In the novel, two brothers die and a third is exiled. Only Alyosha survives intact, though for Dmitri there may be hope.

This wrestling with responsibility, will and freedom was the weight of the 19th Century. We perceived that there is indeed a small window of freedom within us all. It can choose good or not.

The following century, the one recently ended, was a textbook revelation of the truth of Dostoevsky’s verdict. Freedom led to choices at the low end of the universal spectrum of values. This century will hopefully push us toward the better choices.

When we do not choose good, we descend into selfishness and and mindless rejection of responsibility. If there is no future, why bother?

Whether we call this nihilism, with Nietzsche, or meanness, with Bruce Springsteen, we are dealing with verdicts. We tailor suppositions to our actual behavior.

We are free.

Either we are free and grace exists. Or we are free in a void and there is no real reason not to be selfish. Anything we build will not last. Anything we do will be a stone in water whose ripples will eventually cease to exist. We are free and we are a spectrum that either wills goodness or accepts and thereby allows for harm.

But hold on!

There is another basis for verdicts. It is fallible but it at least has the possibility of functioning positively. I am speaking of verdicts based on scientific investigation — on results which stand as evidence of whether something is true or not.

Such verdicts are fallible. But they are fallible within an acceptable range and they can change when change is justified, as when DNA evidence overturns a long-standing conviction.

We may well be at the cusp of a general realization that this second basis of verdicts, scientific method, can be used to determine the truth or falsehood of the question Dostoevsky posed.

There is a growing basis for assuming that there is progress. For assuming that harm is what is evil and for measuring harm in order to reduce it.

There is, in short, some hope that science can gradually embrace and transform the world of supposition, rendering it less inclined to superstition, less prone to hopelessness, more open to the progress that takes place when continuity is accepted and fallibility is acknowledged.

Verdicts may become more and more legal and “factual”. There may be less acceptance of supposition, hearsay and (too often) outright, knee-jerk prejudice.

We will approach all verdicts with a measure of skepticism and learnt to distinguish between those that relate to fact and actuality and those built on things we do not or cannot yet know.

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I am engaged on a great journey whose aim is to advance a worldview that can actually change the world from its violent course to one that is sustainable and oriented to the good. Please visit Kindle and check out my titles. If you have KU/KOLL you will be able to read any book at no cost. Otherwise the prices are modest. Please go here: http://buff.ly/1EEEYtn