Thursday, 14 April 2011

The nonsense of relativism

I've always  had troubles with this big word: Relativism. To me it is more like a tool or a mechanism to either liberate or manipulate people, depending on the audience's level of intellect.
Those in power may use this to make sure that big mouths have to shut up, especially voice from those who are concerned with morality, ethics and human right. "Respecting other culture" is a nice politically correct term that can be used and overused quite safely these days. However, to a certain extent, it stops people from truly care for others. I posted here the link to a great article written by Jacoby. If you see a 17 year old girl being in trouble with an arranged marriage, should you practice "relativism" by  respecting her culture and let her be, or should you choose to tell her that she has other choices?
I chose the later. Because I agree with Jacoby, I cannot accept a multiculturalism/relativism that tends to excuse, under the rubric of “tolerance,” religious and cultural practices that violate universal human rights.
Not a big fan of the Pope myself, but I like his quote:  
We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one's own ego and one's own desires.

Link to Jacoby's article on BIG QUESTION ONLINE

Monday, 4 April 2011

The right to judge?

It is part of human nature that we are capable of judging, in order to survive. For instance, passing a dark alley alone  is not very wise, or touching a steamy substance can be hurtful. We do it with information provided, and this can lead to either likely correct generalization or less likely correct assumption which we conveniently call Stereotype. From this point of view, stereotype is necessary evil, existing as a survival value but can easily lead up to discrimination.

Having accepted this, we may learn how to avoid pre-assumption and stereotypes by CONSCIOUSLY gathering as much information as possible before giving judgement. It is impossible NOT to give judgement, but Intercultural Awareness can help us to slow down the judgement process and aim at a more reliable and accurate evaluation.