Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Measurers of Art

As I read through reviews at Metacritic, I wondered - why are these opinions valid? Often they are contradicted by the values of the masses, yet people still let these "critics" evaluate art. Is it because -- these few are better at measuring what is "objectively" valuable? Either that or they are -- nonsensical? (Disjunctive syllogism.) Could these people, then, be more valuable than the masses?

The interesting question: would any of these people truly believe in treating other people differently under the law because of it currently? How about in the past?

Let's consider a very outlandish scenario. You, a Thinker, and a Barbarian are alone on one large island, with one human. You are the last humans on the earth. The Barbarian treats you contemptuously, but doesn't kill you. You are beneath him. He is strong, but not good. The woman is attracted to him, but you know that if you kill him, she will come to you and she will respect you. She knows that if the positions were reversed, the Barbarian would immediately kill you. You think that this man will populate the Earth with dumb but strong legions. The utilitarian question in the state of nature: do you kill him, perhaps even in his sleep? Do you even have any qualms about killing him?

This elaborate story is perhaps a little exaggerated. I could apply the question to anyone in the state of nature: do you sacrifice your ideas in your weakness? If someone bullies you and takes your money, what do you do? What sort of morals really exist in the state of nature?

And is our current state so much different than the state of nature, with its infinite power struggles?

2 comments:

Simple Minded said...

The platform for conflict and the ways of dealing with it are what has changed. It goes a bit beyond the surface as attitudes have also changed to correspond.

undergroundman said...

Exactly.