By Jensen, Derrick
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None of this is to say that there are no moral absolutes. It’s merely to say we have become confused as to what they are, how we can discern them, and having discerned them, how we can make sense of them and allow them to guide our lives. Years ago I got into an argument with a woman over whether rape is a bad thing. I said it was. She—and I need to say that she was dating a philosopher at the time, and has since regained her sanity—responded, “No, we can say that rape is a bad thing. But since humans assign all value”—and presumably both she and her philosopher boyfriend meant most especially those humans who have most fully internalized the messages of this culture, and who therefore receive its greatest social rewards—“humans can decide whether rape is good or bad.
It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth—whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here—the Earth is the point.
We both nodded. ” “Exactly,” I said. ” Now she was excited. “That’s the anchor,” she said. ” It was my turn to get excited. “Exactly,” I said again. We spent the rest of the evening sitting at the restaurant discussing—fleshing out—what an embodied morality would look like, feel like, be. If the foundation for my morality consists not of commandments from a God whose home is not primarily of this Earth and whose adherents have committed uncountable atrocities, nor of laws created by those in political power to serve those in political power, nor even the perceived wisdom—the common law—of a culture that has led us to ecological apocalypse, but if instead the foundation consists of the knowledge that I am an animal who requires habitat—including but not limited to clean water, clean air, non-toxic food—what does my consequent morality suggest about the rightness or wrongness of, say, pesticide production?