I had a great day today, and I was feeling BIG, until I saw this:
Ideally, we stick to our ideals. I deal, I do, I do what I think is right. Deal the cards, deal ’em straight, do not ever cheat That’s an ideal. I deal, dealing, doing. Do it. It’s that simple. It’s not a word game, it’s not any kind of game at all. It’s real life, and if you think that is a game, well, play as best you can, but every game has losers and winners.
Ah, you say, now I’ve got ’im. He thinks he’s good, but I’ve got ’im. You are thinking: who’s ideals? Mine, or his, or the ideals of a zealous maniac? Well, I forgot to mention that you have to think about your ideals. You have to realize that they are your ideals, because you have evaluated them and found them to be sound. You can’t just take someone else’s ideals and make them your own. I doesn’t work that way. The ideals of a zealous maniac are not true ideals, because they have been planted in him. The zealous maniac has never thought them through to their insane conclusions. Well, there are, of course, exceptions.
Here we come to the question of indoctrination. Can you indoctrinate an ideal? No. You can indoctrinate an idea, but you cannot indoctrinate ideals. Ideals can be presented, taken or left aside . . . they cannot be indoctrinated, because, by (admittedly, my) definition, they are something that every single individual must think through and establish for themselves.
Here we come to the question of moral responsibility, and that’s the core of it all. Each and every single one of us is morally responsible for what we do. What are morals? you may ask. What is morally correct, what is not? Is that not a question of upbringing, of indoctrination? No, it is not. Each individual has to think about it. That is the key. If we could find a way to release every single human being from his indoctrination, to allow each person to actually think, I am convinced that they would all come to a similar, if not exact same, conclusion.
The conclusion could be described as enlightened self-interest. Or – yeah, I know, straight outa the Bible, baby – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Just because it’s a stupid religious book that has caused incredibly nonsensical wars and the destruction of countless good-willed people doesn’t mean it’s completely devoid of good ideas.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Can you, as an individual, honestly deny the value of that phrase? Can you, in the dark hours of the night, say to yourself, ‘fuck that’? Can you really, in the depths of your heart, cynical though you may be, having really thought it through, deny that simple truth?
Unless, of course, you are a masochist, in which case you’d have to become a sadist in order to agree with what I’ve just said, haha.
All this reminds me of the determinists. Mistakenly, many people believe that the determinists propagate some kind of preprogrammed world, along the lines of ‘it is written, so shall it come to pass.’ Or that they will undermine the morals we’ve all built up, remove the feeling that one is responsible for one’s actions. This is not the case. Very misunderstood, those poor determinists, but I won’t go in to that now.
What interests me about them is that they want to substantiate their ideas with scientific evidence. So they’re connected to the part of science which is investigating how the human brain works at the most basic level, even beyond the level at which you might suppose free will originates. These scientists see that something is going on in your brain at a point where it hasn’t yet presented you with a single thought, not even at an unconscious level. They’ve delved deeper, and they are saying that our thoughts aren’t ours, in a sense, because what we think, what we perceive to be a spontaneous decision, comes from a level of physical, chemical reactions that have determined what we do. Though I agree with many things the determinists say, the evidence submitted thus far is very controversial, and completely open to interpretation. Since I am not a scientist, I can comfortably dispense with the necessity of substantiating my statements with tons of statical data (likely skewed).
I think I’ll just stick to my romantic ideals for the time being. Neurons, you’re fired. What for? For even thinking about this shit.
Ah, Christ, how’s a knight to live, in these hard old times? A knight of words, nowadays, needless to say. Couldn’t wield a sword worth shit. Could have, maybe, wouldn’t have, probably. A dreamy knight, I would have been. A knight who writes poetry because he can’t turn his fucking brain off. He would have liked to turn it off; he would have wondered at the way the other knights did.
And nevertheless he would have killed. He would have done his duty. Take the salt, and do the duty. With reservations, but nonetheless. Protect his own, and kill the rest. Lucky bastard, got two children to his name, survived to this day. He loves them. So, he’d kill.
Or I’d have ended up a peasant, a churl.