Moral discourse has suffered greatly within the past 300 years. Due to the schools of thought that popped up during this period we have ended up in a place that has no more true north. One of the main justifications for relativism, is that: the arguments of the various traditions posses what can be called a conceptual incommensurability. This means that the arguments may be internally valid but that there is no rational way of weighing the premises that are employed to set the ground for what is to become an internally valid argument.
Given this conceptual incommensurability it has been proposed that there is no valid reason for any arguments beyond personal choice or, in other words, beyond appeal to irrationality, or whim. Thus, the good ceases to be anything else than what one considers to be good based on completely arbitrary choices. The problem with this attitude is that the ground beneath our feet has been taken away and that currently even those deeds or actions which in the past might have been considered horrendous can be argued for as being good from this hipper relativistic perspective. While there are for sure actions which almost none of the adherents to a relativist position would declare as being permitted, they do this not by following through with their primary concept, ‘may each and everyone’s whim be moral law’, but, based on the remaining remnants of traditional values that are still permeating the intersubjective space.
But, for how long can these remnants keep us safe from a world of utter chaos? The answer is not for too long, if we don’t act to stop the continues decay into absolute ungroundedness. Stopping this process requires us to first understand what went wrong with our understanding of morality and second what we need to do in order to rebuild a meaningful moral backbone for society. These principles, if followed through, need to be so structured as to ensure that they will not lead to a state of utter social deconsolidation and fragmentation (something which the absolute relativist position does not do).
If we look at what morality is, we will find out that it aims to tell us what we have to do in order to reach the good. It aims to move us from a state of lack towards a state of fulfilment. It aims to change our current nature, which is seen as the chief cause for us finding ourselves in the unbearable present and to guide us towards the ideal future. In this sense, it builds within us the elements that are necessary for leading the good life. Or, at least, that is what it should be doing without any recourse to dogma and interests.
As we left the middle ages, one of the main lines of thought in Europe was that there is an unbridgeable gap between what is and what ought to be. And, thus, any ought cannot be grounded in reason. Due to this it is not wrong to make the leap that all hierarchies and rules that have been imposed upon us until this time were imposed in order to ensure the flourishing of some individuals and their close group of acquaintances and to guarantee the maintenance of their power. While it can be stated that this is at least partially true, it doesn’t mean that it is the whole truth. However, due to the realization that these sorts of patriarchal impositions had no valid basis, one cannot blame our ancestors for trying to get out from under their guise. Problems started appearing due to the fact that the only thing that we actually managed to destroy, was the teleological element of the old moral system. Meaning that we were left with the following two elements: the existence of a traditionalistic human nature and moral injections that are antagonistic to human nature because, supposedly, they are good, but with no means that would explain why they truly are good.
The step of obliterating the old teleological foundations was and will be seen as a very important one in further evolution. However, it will also be seen as a painful one. Because once people were left without their ultimate question, all that remained was meaningless. Thus, they jumped on any ideology that could provide them with something equivalent to what they lost, an ideal or a meaning. Hence, we entered the age of ideology that started around the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century and that hopefully is about to end in the near future.
The age of ideology is problematic because it gave us new ends that could replace the old ones. However, it didn’t do much to vanquish the preexisting power hierarchies (the people placed in the hierarchies changed but the hierarchies themselves mostly remained the same). Thus, we used old structures upon which we placed new ideals that were not compatible with the old structures. This led to a state of chaos and to the generation of conflicts so grand and of dictators so veil that they will indefinitely have left scars upon the history of humanity.
Seeing the fail of the exercise of creating just a new ideal we need to do more than this and we need to change all 3 elements of the 3-fold scheme: 1) we need to redefine human nature, 2) we need to create new moral injunctions, and 3) we need to create a new ideal. We need to do all of these in such a way that our statements will not be given a static shape, but that they will be given dynamism.
Our moment in history is uniquely suited for something like this. Due to the change that has taken place over the last 2 generations, our society is in a state of significant chaos. Former limits are being forced to disappear at higher speeds than ever before due to technology that makes them senseless. With every exercise of the imposition of traditional limits, economic well-being diminishes, because the current technologies can only reach peak capacity if they are utilized by humanity, not by nation states, not by religious groups, not by cultural or sub-cultural groups. The forms of the past that relied on this sort of heavy segmentation of humanity in multiple groups are slowly vanishing as they become less and less reliable modes of interaction within a non-segmented world and depends on non-discriminatory technology. Thus, marking the perfect moment for us to engage the restructuring of culture and civilization. However, not on a national, or regional scale as has been done before, but on a transnational and transcultural scale. We are given the opportunity for the first time in human history to truly think and disseminate a new global, human culture and civilization. And for this we need to start from that which I have mentioned in the above paragraph.