In one corner of the world, in Afghanistan, the newly freed masses experiment with free elections, yet the inhabitants are so universally illiterate they need photos and symbols to match candidates and ballots. Moqadasa Sidiqi, a 19 year old Afghan woman cast the first ballot from Pakistan where the polls opened half an hour earlier. Who she voted for is fairly irrelevant. That she voted at all is the point.
In another part of the world, in Paris, France, we have the runway shows going all week. Here somewhat malnourished models parade fashions for mankind (and womankind) to clothe themselves with. Again, the human animal is revealed to be concerned with the procreative impulses and fashion designers and models, whose own sexual impulses seem to be a bit scrambled, have been culturally anointed to develop and display the clothes which are sold in department stores and fashion boutiques throughout the world. The apparent non-sequitur of having unsuccessful procreators designing outfits designed to facilitate and inspire the procreative urge is apparently lost on most. Like having a blind man choose the color of your necktie, the march of mankind is filled with these astounding ironies and inexplicable cultural and social developments.
Juxtaposition of the voting Afghan woman or the fashion models and we see that mankind has noble and base instincts. There are exploiters and the exploited. There is the desire to express oneself and make a difference. Underneath it all is this dichotomy of desiring to be a unique individual yet one who is accepted by the masses.
George Bush helped make that moment possible for Ms. Sidiqi, but the world will ignore that truth. Those who wage war are always burned upon the altar of public opinion, no matter how noble or decent the motivations. The truth is too complex for them to address.
The concept of the relativity of good and evil is beyond the masses comprehension. All things, all actions contain both good and evil aspects. Life is a series of reactions for most. They react to their environment. Their family, friends, teachers, business associates and neighbors all exist as the background from which an individuals reactions will be formed.
War is not only evil. Intent matters. If one goes to war to slaughter enemies and for self-aggrandizement, say as Napoleon Bonaparte did, that would naturally be a war of greater evil. Going to war to free others from oppression and to protect ones citizens is an entirely different war. Those who say all wars are evil are correct and yet if one fails to address the issue of intent, one is completely missing the relative good of war. Most in the west will agree that the freedom of women to vote is a good thing, but that is our own judgment--an opinion formed after centuries of chauvinistic practices and policies that led to greater human suffering.
You could ask what these fashion designers in France think of Mr Bush's wars and the overwhelming reaction would be amazingly negative. Yet the same folks would espouse their joy in Ms. Sidiqi's newfound ability to freely vote. This would illustrate that threshold barrier to intelligence and provide another non sequitur. No Bush war - no voting. That concept is too difficult to grasp. It forces them to address that apparently impossible task of seeing good and evil as relatives and not absolutes. A good war? Impossible! Surely, all of us peaceful, enlightened and culturally astute humans can see that Ms. Sidiqi would be voting anyway if the UN sent a team of diplomats to talk to the Taliban. George Bush and his evil wars are entirely unnecessary.
Such is the dilemma. Relativity poses trouble for most folks no matter where you apply it. Einstein opened a can of worms at the beginning of the twentieth century which the cultural elite of the year 2004 still cannot seem to grasp.
A subaudible frequency of ten or fifteen cycles cannot be detected by the human ear and yet it is felt by the nerve regions in the solar-plexus and around the heart. It causes physical distress and yet the cause of this distress cannot be ascertained. Moral relativity when presented to most is much the same. It causes a vague sense of distress because the concept is just out of their ability to understand.
Can an evil act result in greater good? Yes. Does this mean one should not hesitate to do evil things? Of course not.
For some of the illiterate masses George Bush is a hero and a saint awaiting beatification, to others he is a devil awaiting his trip to hell. To the literate west his actions are even harder to understand and the same divisions of opinion occur.
And yet in the grand scheme of things, Bush, politics, and French fashion are all quite insignificant even though the masses living at the moment elevate them to the appearance of great import.
Once one has mastered the relativity concept one sees that 'history' is just the ink and paper while 'greater understanding' is the book.
Each member of mankind will someday realize that it is those ever-expanding understandings which are truly eternal and important are the whole point and purpose of living life.