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Richard Rorty: False Truths of the System

There are certain questions that can never be answered satisfactorily by philosophy or any other means simply because the arguments for each both have convincing factors. Epistemology versus Ontology, what we know about the world and what the truth about the world is a good example. Even so-called conspiracy theorists that don´t trust establishment will sometimes catch themselves wondering whether the evil plan of the elite is really for the greater good. American philosopher and pragmatist, Richard Rorty raises another unanswerable question: can you have ethics without morality.

The general distinction between morality and ethics is simple. Morality deals with how we adopt attitudes and principles of society whereas ethics deals with rules that we set for ourselves. Rorty writes the burden of ethics weighs heavily on people who choose not to follow a religion or popular belief. Whereas everyone has the freedom of choice and create their own ethics, in doing so creates a higher purpose in life than is only imagined and not actually real.

Essentially, our personal beliefs are self-serving. We have to feel comfortable with our actions and are blind to acts of wrongness. Rorty describes ethics as a useless emotion with which we protect ourselves from truth. A good example is the most common aspect of human values, namely, money, love and power. We want it, we need it and will do anything to get it. This is what we tell ourselves, but is it really true?

The truth of the world does not exist

Money is essentially worthless. The financial system effectively works on a basis of perpetual debt. We only think we need money because everything in the system is assigned a monetary value. We feel good having power over others, but your real power comes from within. Wanting power over others is really a sign of weakness.

The same can be said of love. Love comes from within and if you love everything you don´t need to be loved. We are all one therefore we are loved as one. The system creates fear and hate so that we are ignorant of our true selves. Instead we turn to morals and ethics that we believe really matter.

In his book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature,” Rorty wrote:

“Truth cannot be out there cannot exist independently of the human mind because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there. The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Only descriptions of the world can be true or false. The world on its own unaided by the describing activities of humans cannot.”

In the paragraph above, Rorty is referring to the question of epistemology versus ontology, but he could just have easily been referring to the concept of ethics and morality. They only exist because we belief they exist when in reality they are created by political and religious systems.

Rorty says the system can only be changed by a grounded notion of sentimentality. Look back at the history of humanity and you discover social injustice and violations against human rights at the turn of every page, hardships engineered by the systems of politics and religion. The false truths of societies established institutions is your education, the ideas that shape your view of the world and no matter how much they destroy the lives of innocent people we continue to live ours in blind faith.

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