A Subjective View
The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard believed the only truly objective creature to be God. Given that God is pantheistic (ie. everywhere), he is infinitely subjective. The only way that objectivity can exist is by considering the viewpoint of every being that has ever existed all at once.
We are all subjective. Each of us is a unique blend of influence and experience. The decisions we make, the allegiances we form and myriad other decisions are coloured by those influences and experiences. Any person true to themselves will recognise this and work within it’s limitations.
Left wing historian Howard Zinn makes no secret of his own subjectivity. “History in an infinite number of events.” he says. “Inevitably you must select from those infinite number of facts those things which you are going to present… There's no way of avoiding a process of selection. And once you make that selection, that selection is based on you point of view, whether you acknowledge it or not. Whether you even know it or not."
The problem that the individual faces in society is that there is an orthodoxy at work. A particular subjective view purported by government and the media. If you believe in that bias or prostitute yourself to it there are no limits to what you can achieve. However, if you hold views contrary to the mainstream bias you will yourself be accused of bias. Of not being objective.
The political orthodoxy is well ingrained in society. It is far easier to subscribe to it because it requires no effort. No evidence. A journalist, an activist whose opinions diverge from the mainstream is required to qualify their opinions. To provide concrete examples far and beyond what is required of the mainstream. And their opinions can be quickly dismissed by reiterating the popular view.
If we recognise the limits of an objective view then we can begin to gain a more accurate opinion of our world. Bill Hicks once said, “Sometimes I have to ask myself what I think about things. Then I can get a better reading of what’s true.” This is the first step. As I’ve already stated, it is far easier to adhere to orthodoxy. To accept that what politicians and media figure tell us is the truth. This way lies self deception. The easiest path is invariably the wrong one. Remember, if something seems too good to be true or too simple to be true, it usually is. Only by garnering a number of different opinions can we begin to get something approaching an objective view. This means stepping both to the left and to the right of the mainstream. If three different groups agree on the same point it’s fairly certain it is the truth. On most matters the only thing we have to rely on is sheer gut instinct.
The unprecedented demonstrations against the war on Iraq showed the limit of mainstream bias. That people are fully capable of rejecting political orthodoxy when it is clearly non-sequitous. If we can bring those same feelings of disquiet to the every day then we can begin to gain that true reading of which Bill Hicks speaks. With that we can begin to construct the fair and equitable world which has so far eluded us.
Get it done.