Sunday, August 05, 2012

Judging Orders from Different Orders

I want to discuss further the science-technology-market symbiosis I discussed in my previous post. This symbiosis has created an unprecidented level of material wealth and well-being fo rthose participating in civil societieis in which those orders are healthiest, most developed, and most interactive.

But that is all this triple order can do. It cannot make us more moral except insofar as it can (and will) encourage whatever behaviors -- hard work, innovation, creativity, efficiency -- that result in success within those orders. These are virtues within this triple order, virtues which may be shared by other orders, or may be viewed as vices in other orders. To a bureaucrat, there is no greater evil on earth than efficiency. Aesthetic qualities -- a central concern of the artistic order -- that cannot be made profitable are unimportant, or even harmful, in the market order.

Complaints that the market order can only improve our material conditions and not our souls are both correct in their assessment and utterly beside the point. The result of the science-technology-market order symbiosis is not to make us more moral, but to increase knoweldge and improve our material conditions. Morality is the realm of the moral order -- or, to be more expansive, the artistic-moral-philosophical symbiotic order. Yet, even here, boundaries blur -- the artistic-moral-philosophical triple order comments upon the science-technology-market triple order, which in turn has recently been directed, through the scientific order, to understanding the biological underpinnings of the moral and artistic orders.

At the same time, nobody would think it at all sensible to think the moral order should demonstrate "efficiency," as that has nothing to do with morality per se. And what would an "efficient" painting or poem be? Using values from one order to judge another can lead to nonsense. Also, would we expect the artistic order to make us better off materially? Hardly. That's not what it does. So we should not complain that the market order does not do things it is not even capable of doing. There are values which are higher in one order over the other. And there are people who feel comfortable in one order -- or set of orders -- over another. Why should we insist that everyone must prefer the order we prefer? It is the height of arrogance to insist that our values are the values all others should hold -- and that everyone should rank them as we rank them. "Judge not lest ye be judged" applies to those who show a preference for participating in one order over another.
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