Some places, you drive on the left of the road;
Some places, you drive on the right
There isn’t one side that is better or worse
(Though I’m sure some are willing to fight)
It doesn’t much matter which side we might choose
So long as the drivers agree
When here you choose right, but when here you choose left,
Or else there’ll be trouble, you see.
There isn’t one standard that everyone follows
And thus, there is no global law
Because left may be right (which means right would be wrong)
But this, see, exposes a flaw!
If it’s not universal, apologists claim,
It’s fiction, and doesn’t exist!
Or doesn’t exist “in an ultimate sense”
As a thing that omniscient God missed
With no ultimate reason for right or for left
You could drive like you’re mad as a hatter
Since there’s no right and wrong in the ultimate sense
Then the local rules really can’t matter!
So drive where you like—and take comfort in knowing
You can’t be objectively wrong…
And if there’s a flaw in my reasoning here,
It won’t last. Well, at least, not for long.
I’ve written about this before, using other metaphors. But this one asserted itself just yesterday, as I was driving along a narrow road, well on the proper side of that road, on a stretch that featured a bunch of blind curves with a rock face about 20 feet high on one side, and a newly frozen pond on the other. I was staying on my side because anyone who has driven that road more than a handful of times knows that it is populated entirely by idiots. (…pause, while the joke sinks in…) So those of us who drive it know to stick to the proper side.
I think you know where this is leading. A big white panel van comes around a blind curve, straddling the middle of the road like any sane person would do if you had the chance of hitting a giant rock on one side or driving into a pond on the other. So the driver, clearly in the wrong, has to swerve over to where the van should have been all along, and I test my brakes, steering, nerves, and bladder all at the same time. I am happy to report that all passed the test.
A bit later, I am reading something my aggregator throws at me, and it’s someone arguing that the fact that life has meaning proves that death is not final (because something can’t ultimately be meaningful if it is temporary, and since life is meaningful, it can’t be temporary). I’d find it now and link it, but the cuttledog is giving me a Very Meaningful Look. Which, although I expect (and hope!) to be a temporary condition, does not mean that I can therefore ignore it at this moment.
Temporary, transient, ephemeral meaning is all that we know, and all that we can know. It is impossible that mortal beings can know (rather than believe) that ultimate, universal, timeless, objective (and I mean the intersection rather than the union of those adjectives) meaning can exist. The very fact that we (more or less) understand one another when we talk about meaning, means we are talking about the kind of meaning we are familiar with. The kind the cuttledog is reminding me of right now.