By Pierre Belhomme
The Impact of Standards of Propriety
Standards of propriety -- whether a thought or action is right or wrong -- seem to impact most, if not all individual and community decisions, at some point.
Conflicting Standards of Propriety
It seems that the world community can be separated into subcommunities that include nations, states, counties, cities, neighborhoods, families and, at least theoretically, individuals. In addition, some subcommunities such as clubs and associations consist of selected members from multiple communities. It seems that one purpose for these subcommunities is the opportunity to implement propriety standards that the subcommunity members hold in common but that are not specified by communities higher up on the community hierarchy chart.
In this scenario, the possibility seems to exist for subcommunities to establish standards that conflict with other subcommunities on the same hierarchy level. If these subcommunities interact in a way that involves their conflicting standards, what set of standards should be used as a guide? A reflex answer might seem to be to avoid such interactions. Perhaps this is the rationale behind segregation. The problem with this reflex answer seems to be that, since the existence of subcommunities seems to extend to the individual, as described above, and even a pairs of individuals might have differing propriety standards, each community member could potentially be isolated from all others. This seems not to be the picture of successful community.
The other option seems to suggest compromise by which one or more subcommunities agree to develop a new set of standards that they can both accept. However, such resolution seems to require negotiable standards. How should the standards conflict be resolved if one or more subcommunities consider their conflicting standards nonnegotiable?
The Impact of Conflicting Standards
Propriety standards seem to form the basis for most, if not all, written and unwritten guidelines. Standards conflicts would seem to prevent communities from functioning. Building codes, human rights, even health care guidelines seem to require understanding of what is right. Without right and wrong, there would seem to be nothing to prefer or desire. Any outcome would be as appropriate as any other.
Resolving Conflicting Standards
War seems to have been considered a solution for resolving conflicts in standards. The rationale here seems to be that the subcommunity that is stronger in some characteristic should decide the standard for the interaction between the subcommunities. However, that, in itself, seems to be a standard. Who establishes this as the standard? Perhaps, most probably, the stronger subcommunity but as well, perhaps both, in faith that each is the stronger.
Perhaps chance is also employed as selector among conflicting, non-negotiable standards. The problem with chance as such a selector is the manipulatibility of chance to alter its outcome and therefore the unsuitability of chance as an objective decision-maker. Another such possible problem seems to be the difference between chance and propriety. If the goal is propriety, and the conflicting parties acknowledge a lack of understanding regarding propriety and toss the decision to chance, it seems that they hope to have that chance of achieving propriety. However, the value of this approach also seems of little intellectual value in achieving propriety because, it seems, not knowing what propriety was before they threw the decision-making to chance, they might not recognize propriety should they even chance upon it.
Do either of these options really assist in establishing propriety? Aside from outside intervention of a being capable of effecting outcomes, an option selected by victory in war or by chance does not seem to guarantee propriety of the selection. Perhaps war and chance are considered methods of finding out what this being knows to be appropriate perspective.
The Source of Conflicting Standards
The Bible seems to describe standards conflicts as being caused by an abandonment of the sole leadership and guidance of the superbeing, referred to as God, who establishes human standards of propriety and provides individuals with certain understanding regarding such matters. This suggested abandonment of God's leadership and guidance seems also to have resulted in abandonment of provided understanding. Perhaps, it seems, due to rejecting God's guidance, individuals' understanding of propriety has wandered off slightly, perhaps leading them to different conclusions to which they might cleave with the furvor appropriate to concepts as fundamentally important as standards of right and wrong.
I am not aware of the secular community's explanation for such non-negotiable propriety standards conflicts or how to holistically get past them. Objectively, the Bible seems to offer the best and most supported explanation I've heard.
Propriety Standards and Community Success
In my opinion, perhaps a certain level of community success is establishable solely via voluntary acknowledgement of the sole leadership of this superhuman being. This seems to bring to mind the possibility of human coercive efforts to effect such acknowledgement. Coersion, however, seems not to be the ultimate solution. The apparently reported many years of human existence seem to confirm that.
It seems, however, that many are still searching in their own way to understand how their lives should be structured and how they should interact with others who might also be searching for understanding, perhaps from different resources and in different ways. From my perspective, even as a believer in God and perhaps, especially as a believer in God, this seems to mean for me that God is authority over both my life and the lives of others and, as such, is the hub of community interaction and success and the establisher of standards of propriety. Attempts to establish alternative standards seem, at best, exploratory and at worst, harmful. This seems to be supported by my apparent observation that many if not all technological and other alterations to what seem reported to be original design seem to require destruction of one or more resources to create the newly designed resources and, despite the advantages of these new resources, seem also to be accompanied by harmful by-products and side-effects.
Perhaps, as apparently reported regarding the major alteration of the Florida everglades, humankind will, at some point, decide that certain alterations, with all their advantages, are not an improvement on the original design and are worth restoring to original design. Perhaps,since community individuals seems not to have yet pulled the plug on their explorations of alternatives to sole leadership and guidance by God, I hope that God furthers my growth in understanding about standards of propriety I should hold, the standards of propriety held by others and how I should address conflicts between the two that seem to present themselves. In that way, my portion of the community will, hopefully, be successful.