Lesser Morality

Being a patient soul, you continue to watch.

The topic of the Lesser Morality brings us closer to that of practical human ethics. The divinities were previously put forward to account for the consistent and universal aspects of Change. Yet, our own contributions to Change must also be included in this model. Every person makes decisions and has their own set of directions. We are also aware of relative perspectives. This is the subject matter of the Lesser Morality. This subject is closely tied to the new exhibits that are in development, and it is believed that the work done over there will result in necessary adjustments and improvements to this flawed presentation.

The most obvious distinction between the divinities and these lesser moral agents is one of scope. As previously described, a person is smeared across the dimension of Change. That smear is limited; we have a particular position relative to everything else within this realm. Therefore we have a perspective. Those relationships mirror the breadth of our presence in Change; for each particular moment or stretch across the flow of time that we focus on, we may have different relationships with other entities.

Therefore, each discernible entity occupies a region within Change, and as we focus across the length of its presence it has relatively-adjusted relationships to everything else. Because it has a discernible length, we can also talk about an internal set of relationships. These two sets of relationships, external and internal, make it possible for us to experience moments in time despite not changing in an ontological sense.

For what does it mean to "be" that aspect of us that is spread across Change? We can tell a story of all the possible moments, and thanks to our metaphysical understanding we know that each moment "is". If each moment "is", and we subsume the moments, then we must experience all the moments and their internal relationships. This sense of flow, this experience of deliberation and cleaving to moral pathways, is therefore proper and contained within ourselves. That we are in one moment rather than another is relative, but the internal relationships have been identified and metaphysically fastened, so we will continue to experience them indefinitely in our common manner.

Let's take a step back and refocus. This aspect of our existence, the experience of each moment within our whole, allows us to speak about deliberative change. Unlike the divinities, lesser moral agents may be characterised by their deliberative reaction to various possibilities. I mean to say that when an agent perceives multiple possibilities it experiences some type of deliberation and cleaves to a certain direction. It seems to involve a type of chance that is weighted by the agent's directions. There may only be finite options, but nonetheless the experience of deliberation and decision making is a peculiar type of uncertainty.

This is a description of something experienced; any human should have access to this sense of decision making and possibility. Experiencing Change is different from watching a movie; we sense that we have an active role in the process. We are also a limited part of this show; we exist in a greater context and have a sense of self relative to other agents and challenges. The other agents, even if they consist of only a simple nutritive drive, have similar roles in the picture. Combined with the influence of the divinities and the breadth of possibilities, temporal reality becomes an incredibly complex and detailed whole.

This is tied directly to the assumption that there are different possibilities, that chronology is not a linear experience. For if there were no alternative possibilities, how can we describe the personal experience of deliberation? There would be no subjects of deliberation. To eat an apple involves a certain experience, and we can partially explain it by reference to the apple. Yet in a linear, movie-like existence, what could account for how we experience the perception of possibilities? What could explain our experience of deliberation? It would seem inexplicable, if not outright incoherent.

An alternative might be to interpret it as the sensation of perceiving multiple mock-moments. These mock-moments would be wholly contained as objects within the linear flow, and our deliberation is really just the experience of perceiving a group of these objects. The objects do not reference any alternative path, that would be a misconception.

Yet, how curious that sometimes these "mock-moments" are actually experienced a short-while later. We somehow perceive the mock-moments, are able to pick which ones are more likely to resemble the next linear frame, and it often comes true! At any rate, in a linear model one would not expect us to consider such objects as possibilities that we may strive to bring about, because such an interpretation presupposes possibilities. If we have referenced some meaning by that term, then we know from the earlier metaphysical discussion that it "is", and therefore its presence must be honoured. Other coherent notions, such as "intelligence", lead to a similar result. Linearity is therefore rejected when we acknowledge that we are aware of certain information and meaning that necessitates possibility.

Unlike the divinities, the directions of a lesser agent may be frustrated. Organisms often fail to align themselves correctly with the universal Way, resulting in frustration and death. Organisms are also numerous and experience competing Dao. This discord causes organisms to clash, whereby they may kill each other. The result is the frustration of the Way and denial of excellence.

This provides a general framework for all ethical judgments. It defines what each organism ought to do, and when considered in light of the Greater Morality it completes the general picture of how events ought to progress. It is good for events to progress in such a fashion whereby all things are in harmony and can behave in accordance with their nature, and it is evil for their efforts to clash and be frustrated. However, this simple explanation hides a great deal of complexity. People must carefully determine the nature of an organism, and consider what would constitute excellence relative to its current state and context. The beginning and end of the organism’s life must also be accommodated. Other fields will frequently be drawn upon to examine and answer practical challenges.

There will come a time when one must decide whether to favour one organism over another. It is easy to claim that one will always support excellence and avoid frustration, but that standard will not provide an answer for every practical scenario. For example, in times of scarcity a person may need to decide who will eat and who will starve. The decision will invariably result in both excellence and frustration. Only by considering sustainability and the greater context can one successfully follow the most promising path.

You once again hear the video being extracted, but nothing takes its place. The room lights up, and a new tour guide appears.

I hope you enjoyed the presentation; please help yourself to a cup of tea and follow me into the next exhibit room. I would like to tell you about particular metaphysical concerns that we have considered.


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