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072 Is everything relative?

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  • 072 Is everything relative?

    ← 071 Art and spiritualityIndex073 Building retreats →
    A common way of understanding relativism consists in saying that everything is relative. It is quite easy to realize this statement both in thinking and in experience: any idea is related to other ideas and any object we meet in our life has connections with other objects. All of these connections make it connected, related, that is somewhat a synonim of relative. A common objection to this idea is that, if we say that everything is relative, we are forced, by the content of the statement, to apply it to itself: if everything is relative, it follows that the statement itself must be considered part of everything, so that it is to be considered relative. As a consequence, we are forced to conclude that it is impossible to say that everything is relative, because this statement makes itself relative. Actually, we can reveal a trick in this conclusion, because it chooses to accept and adopt a logic that has to be considered relative, that is, unreliable. Let’s see in detail how the trick works. What follows is the first sight, apparently correct and complete, of the reasoning:

    1) we say that everything is relative;
    2) we apply the content of the statement to the statement itself;
    3) we conclude that the statement itself is relative.

    Now let’s reveal and show the steps that are actually hidden and ignored in this reasoning.

    1) We say that everything is relative.
    1a) Hidden step. We accept and adopt the logic that allows to formulate the statement, in order to deduce its consequences.


    2) We apply the content of the statement to the statement itself.
    3) We conclude that the statement itself is relative.
    3a) Ignored step. If the statement is relative, its logic cannot be adopted, because relative means unreliable.
    3b) Ignored step. If its logic can’t be adopted, we must nullify point number 2).
    3c) Ignored step. As a consequence, the statement “everything is relative” can’t be criticized, because, in order to criticize it, we need to make use of its logic, but we have seen that adopting its logic brings to negate its logic itself.


    As is shown, once we have realized that everything is relative, we can’t carry on by applying the statement to itself. If we want to carry on with something, we need to adopt different logics, different structures, different languages and ways of reasoning. These different languages are what I have tried to show over the blog. They are languages that try to make best use of elements taken by the contexts of philosophy, science, literature, poetry, theology, art. At this point, in order not to be overwhelmed by all of this stuff, it’s good to choose some most important topics to deal with, by using the languages I have just referred to. Again, the course of the blog is an attempt to determine them.
    Last edited by Angelo Cannata; 14.05.2020, 12:03.

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