There are several ways of saying, "There is no Truth to tell". One way is to say, "Everything changes". For example:
If everything changes, then Truth is either changing or it is nothing?
If Truth is in a continuous process of change, we can’t be expected to tell the Truth because by the time it is said it may have changed.
If Truth can’t be told, then there is no Truth to tell.
If Truth is nothing then it is impossible to tell the Truth because if there is nothing to say, we can not say it.
ERGO: Either way, if everything changes, then there is no truth to tell.
It is a contradiction to expect people to tell the Truth if there is no Truth to tell.
If there is no truth to tell, then it is absurd to expect people to be honest.
If people are not honest, we have no grounds for trust.
Insofar as we loose grounds for trust, we loose hope for peace.
Although it is not common to say these thoughts out loud, such reasoning works around in the quite parts of our mind and weakens our inner commitment to Truth. We use these thoughts to justify illusions that lead us in directions we would never go if our commitment to Truth were more firm. The effect of statements that undermine a sound vision of Truth, in the long run, are damaging and dangerous. Anything we can do to mitigate the bad effects of statements that smother Truth will help improve the atmosphere in which we live. The more we learn to respect and value Truth, the more we advance our abilities to Progress in Peace.
There is no way to have justice without peace.
There is no way to have peace without justice.
Injustice foments war, but war itself magnifies injustice.
History shows that war punishes the innocent far more than the guilty. There may be a just reason for going to war, but actual war is asuspension of justice. Victory goes not to the most just but to the most fearful.
There is no way to have justice or peace without truth.
The American Way
Is the American Way a way of Truth, Justice, & Peace?
Which American Way? There are hundreds of interpretations of the "American Way". Some of them directly contradict each other.
Does it matter which way is the American Way?
How can we keep the "American Way" if we don't know which way is which?
Is the American Way the way of Truth, Justice, & Peace?
Can we have an American Way if there is no Truth to find, no Justice to seek, no Peace to pursue?
From an evenhanded, logical point of view, if we are to find an alternative to violent conflict, we must talk constructively with each other. We either have to do that or change human nature or remove human conflict.
Conflict is herein defined as a struggle or contest between individuals or parties for power, that is, for control and say so.
Violence is herein defined as cruelty that does physical damage to another person or to property. Violence always involves conflict but not all conflict involves violence.
Nothing in the near future promises hope of removing human conflict. As long as humans are human and resources are limited, there will be conflict of some degree. Moreover, conflict is not, of itself, a misfortune. Conflict is the grist that mills the human story. Our rational life is the on-going drama of how we resolve conflict, that is, solve problems. Disaster comes from failure to adequately resolve conflict.
Although conflict is inherent in our human conditions, we can hope to reduce violence.
Violence always involves conflict, but not all conflict involves violence.
To achieve minimal peace we must prevent war.
War is an extreme use of violence to resolve human conflict.
There can be no war or violence without conflict but not all conflict leads to war and violence.
We can find ways of ameliorating the intensity and calamitous reaction to conflict or we can eliminate conflict or we can change human nature.
We can't change human nature.
We can't eliminate conflict.
Therefore, to stop war we must find ways of ameliorating the intensity and calamitous reaction to conflict.
There are only two ways to ameliorate extreme reaction to conflict: one is by mental and/or physical coercion and the other by persuasion.
Mental and physical force tends to backfire.
Therefore the only practical way to ameliorate extreme reaction to conflict and bring a workable peace to the world is through dialogue.
Not all talking (dialogue) is successful.
Dialogue only works to ameliorate violent reaction to conflict when those involved follow the rules of right reason to a significant degree and choose to make negotiation work.
The rules of right reason are the rules of common unbiased logic -- the kind of logic humans intuitively recognize as valid when educated in rational honesty. The rules of right reason are the requirements of sound rational thinking. The rules of right reason are the basis of common unbiased logic.
Therefore, if we are to have peace in the world we need a world-wide involvement to honestly encourage people to use and have confidence in their own ability to use right reason. We usually call it commonsense.
Leadership & Common Unbiased Logic
We in the U.S. are in a unique position to be pacesetters in advancing our abilites to progress in peace. Most of our leaders appreciate this role and we do make progress. However, it is obvious we do not accomplish what we should be able to do. We could rise to a totally new and constructive position of leadership if we would use our commonsense rational talents more and correct some of philosophical mistakes that stand in the way of promoting high quality negotiation and civil discourse. To consciously use said talents and correct said mistakes we have to recognize they are there.
Many basic logical mistakes appear trivial and the general temptation is to toss them aside with impatience. However, if we leave trivialities unattended they add up and become major difficulties.
One purpose of this present study is to show more clearly how an open, free, constitutional republic relates to religion and culture. A study of civil discourse demonstrates that free, open, decent democratic republics are based on the general acceptance of common unbiased logic, also called 'affirmative logic'. Affirmative logic applied to matters at hand is commonsense.
When enough people accept affirmative logic sufficiently, then they can differ in religion, culture, etc., and still live side by side in prosperous peace.
Affirmative logic does not minimize or try to replace religion, philosophy and/or culture. Religion is too important to be dictated by government or decided by majority vote. In a well-working democratic republic, people pick their theology from a choice of religions and philosophies that represent a long tradition of development and refinement. The more we promote the values of sound rational thinking and encourage the development of knowledge, the more we can trust people to cast conscientious votes and to shoulder their civic responsibilities. This is one reason why it is important for citizens receive a foundation in sound rational thinking in their education. A public who learns the basic rules of common unbiased logic can be trusted with the vote. This is an unspoken assumption in the American Way that we have inherited from our Founders.
When people snub fundamentals of unbiased logic (affirmative reason), they loose their ability to tolerate religious and cultural differences and find it difficult to live peacefully side by side with those who disagree with their religion or culture. When we cannot share together the basis of civil discourse, then people of differing religions, cultures, and ideological schools of thought will continuously run into confrontations they cannot resolve. Factions develop. Often violence erupts.
Affirmative rational theory is not a religion or a substitute for religion. It does not put logic in place of God or before God. It is, instead, a method that grants people the right to make and exercise their own religious choices with a few restrictions against irrational manipulation & violence that are tenets of most religions anyway. There are few things more gentle than the persuasions of affirmative reason.
By examining the requirements of right reason, we find that common unbiased logic has been an underlying commitment in our heritage in the United States. This commitment is so basic that we are justified in saying that it is the essence of our nation. When we stay in harmony with affirmative reason we prosper. When we set ourselves against it (eg. slavery & prejudice) we suffer. Slavery and prejudice are instances of counter affirmative (negative, totalitarian) ideology in action.
By bringing to consciousness the basic requirements of right reason we discover our political identity. We learn what we need to keep, what we need to defend and what to teach in school so we can preserve our inherited freedoms.
If we fail to recognize and appreciate the role of right reason in an open, free democratic republic, then we are in danger of losing our unity as a nation. If we do not know the requirements of right reason (the basics of common unbiased logic), we do not know what to defend when under attack. If we do not know the basic requirements of right reason, we do not appreciate the fundamentals of civil discourse. Without a common understanding of the requirements of sound rational thinking, we, in the United States, face a genuine identity crisis.
Many academic leaders in the USA have lost touch intellectually with the nature and requirements of common unbiased logic. Consequently, we not only have an identity crisis, but we are also creating national double-binds that are agonizing impediments to progress. The worst effect of the double-binds we impose on ourselves is that they hamper our efforts to bring about non-violent resolution of conflict. Our survival as a free society is in jeopardy because we close our eyes to the role that logic plays in negotiating peace.
What is the double-bind? Learning to see it is the most difficult step in curing it. The double-bind involves an ambivalent approach to reason, logic and Truth. We teach, admire, and use the requirements of right reason in liminal levels in our society. We, then, in critical discourse deny and abuse the traditions necessary to promote coherent, inclusive thinking. It is a trick we pull on ourselves and it is completely unnecessary.
The more we turn away from the requirements of right reason, the more we turn away from that part of our heritage we most need to preserve.
In many ways, nation-wide and world-wide, our ability to USE common unbiased logic is growing admirably. In some ways, the media is becoming more fair. Some aspects of modern education promote affirmative reason better than ever. World-wide contacts among differing people advances affirmative reason. The use of computers demands accurate logical connections. The requirements of right reason are more and more being met in many areas of world discourse. This is good. The more we recognize this, the more we appreciate the reality of our present situation.
However, in some areas the requirements of sound rational thinking are being denied, often by the intellectuals whom we count on to promote respect for impartial Truth and right reason. These negative prone thinkers, in various ways, reject the rules necessary for right reason to work. How this developed is the most complex puzzle in the history of mankind, but it is real and it is hurting us.
To solve the puzzle we must first find the pieces. The pieces are hidden. We have to search for pieces, like an Easter Egg hunt. Then we have to turn each piece right side up. After we do this we can start putting the puzzle together.
For example, take the problem of the middle term of the syllogism. Many respected philosophers (David Hume for one) say (usually without thinking it through) that an undistributed middle term is not necessary for reason to be valid. This mistake can be made in an instant and sounds trivial. Although it looks trivial, it is a colossal blunder. To correct this mistake requires years of study and volumes of print. What to do? Refusal to take the time to correct the problem is one of the mistakes that contributes to present problems. It sounds like a minor point, but it is a grave error with major consequences.
Fortunately most humans know intuitively that a distributed middle term is necessary for reasoning to be valid. When we apply this intuition to matters at hand it is commonsense. The very philosophers who deny the need of a distributed middle term, are careful in their own writings to distribute their middle terms most of the time and have apoplexy if their opponents fail to distribute their middle terms. However, the negative prone radical, whenever his/her reasoning runs against reality, can simply zip over the obstacle, say he is reasoning dialectically, and feel justified. Negative oriented dialecticians believe it's okay to skip middle term requirements, because it is part of their philosophy. However, they do not grant the same privilege to their opponents. They set up double standards and double-binds. When this happens, discourse cannot function well. Most people don't know what happened.
Let us say there was a football game where side A believed in following the rules and side B did not. When players on side A deliberately violate the rules, the violators are considered to be hypocrites. When players on side B violate the rules, the violators are considered to be cleaver and original and inventive. This double standard makes a fool of individuals who believe in following the rules of the game.
In football, referees demand that players on both side follow the same rules and fans concur. The game would disintegrate if one side were allowed to violate the rules and the other side was expected to follow them. A game is a game only when both sides play fair.
What if this kind of problem blocks efforts to avoid self-made catastrophes? How do we get anyone to care about the distribution of middle terms?
Undistributed middle terms is only one of many problems in question. What about problems involving intension and extension of terms and other logical necessities? What about definitions?
To intellectually correct fallacies, we first have to recognized they are there. If not, they creep in and create double-binds.
The results of double-binds are easier to see than the causes. At one level, in our education and in the media we promulgate the requirements of sound rational thinking while at another level we deny the same requirements. This double-bind reaches so deep that it effects our identity as a nation and hampers our ability to fulfill the role we could have as world leaders in achieving a workable peace.
Pace Makers Of The Peace Movement --
A peace movement, if it is true to its name, should be a movement toward peace.
In our day of missals, hydrogen bombs and chemical warfare, no one in their right mind could oppose a genuine movement toward peace. In the next war we won't sing, "When Johnny comes Marching Home" because there won't be a home left to march back to or a Johnny left to march.
The danger with a peace movement is the danger with all movements. It could turn into its opposite. A peace movement could become the very vehicle that precipitates the war it wishes to avoid. One of the ways that Adolf Hitler acquired and maintained power was through his promises of peace. He promised peace with a passion.
If a peace movement develops a momentum that adopts a radical, negative prone ideology, then two things will happen. One--It won't work. Two--a backlash will soon follow. If, in the name of 'Peace', we loose our freedom it won't be long until we also loose the peace. A peace movement that tries to buy peace by bargaining away freedom and justice will loose freedom, justice and peace.
The worry that a peace movement could turn into its opposite is a real fear. Without saying why, many people avoid joining various peace movements because they suspect their efforts may be turned against their real desires for peace.
If people were convinced that a peace movement would genuinely bring a fair and free peace, they would join by the droves.
[Note: As mentioned at the beginning, I wrote the bulk of this essay in 1986. It presents a collection of many core ideas of plusroot theory. Plusroot theory is the name of the version of affirmative rational theory articulated in the plusroot web site.
Underlying the whole presentation of plusroot theory is the thesis that: the ability to maintain civil peace and make genuine progress is directly related to the ability of people in a society to follow the rules of right reason. To do this we must be able to distinguish right reason from specious excuse. Learning the skills involved is both easy and hard. It is a community project. Please leave comments.]
Sweet Peace, where dost thou dwell?
I humbly crave,
Let me once know.
I sought thee in a secret cave,
And ask’d if Peace were there.
A hollow winde did seem to answer, ‘No;
Go seek elsewhere.’
I did; and going did a rainbow note:
Surely, thought I,
This is the lace of Peace’s coat:
I will search out the matter.
But while I lookt, the clouds immediately
Did break and scatter.
Then went I to a garden, and did spy
A gallant flower,
The Crown Imperiall. Sure, said I,
Peace at the root must dwell.
But when I digg’d, I saw a worme devoure
What show’d so well.
At length I met a rev’rend good old man,
Whom when for Peace
I did demand, he thus began:
‘There was a Prince of old
At Salem dwelt, Who liv’d with good increase
Of flock and fold.
‘He sweetly liv’d; yet sweetnesse did not save
His life from foes.
But after death out of his grave
There sprang twelve stalks of wheat;
Which many wond’ring at, got some of those
To plant and set
‘It prosper’d strangely, and did soon disperse
Through all the earth;
For they that taste it do rehearse
That vertue lies therein;
A secret vertue, bringing peace and mirth
By flight of sinne.
‘Take of this grain, which in my garden grows,
And grows for you;
Make bread of it; and that repose
And peace, which ev’ry where
With so much earnestnesse you do pursue,
Is onely there.’
George Herbert (1593-1633) [B677p115]