Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hashkofa Hating

From the comments:
By definition, MO people are not as convinced of the truth of their Hashkafah as UO are of theirs. (as Lamedzayin pointed out, he sometimes stays up all night pondering questions of Hashkafah.) So, of course, they can't get up a really good hate at someone, because they just can't care that much. Really strong hate comes from really thinking that you are right.
I'll agree with the last bit ("Really strong hate comes from really thinking that you are right") but it's simply slander to say that MO people are not convinced of the truth of their hashkafa. The difference between haters, and non-haters doesn't come from having different degrees of emunah, but from how they see the world. (And because I don't want this thread to deteriorate let me say at the top that there are plenty of UOs who see the world correctly, and plenty of MOs who don't.)

The haters, generally, are absolutists, and like all absolutitsts they are presuming that there is always a true answer for every genuine question, and that the true answers, once found, will all be compatible with one another. They imagine the universe is harmonious and coherent.

Absolutitsts, unfortunately, forget what the Sages taught: Shiv'im Panim laTorah The Torah has 70 faces. And when two or more of these faces clash, it does not mean that one has been misunderstood; nor can it be said, a priori, that any one face is always more important than another.

As Isaiah Berlin put it: "Liberty can conflict with equality or with public order; mercy with justice; love with impartiality and fairness; social and moral commitment with the disinterested pursuit of truth or beauty... Conflicts of values are an intrinsic, irremovable part of human life; the idea of total human fulfillment is a chimera.

This idea is pluralism, the idea that, in many cases, though there may be a shared set of assumptions and a basic ‘core’ of values, there is still no single right answer.

The right-thinkers are pluralists; therefore they approach hashkofa questions with less anger and more humility than their counterparts the absolutitsts. Their pluralist's lack of anger isn't, as the commenter suggested, because they have less faith in their own ideas, but because they never lose sight of the larger idea: total human fulfillment is a chimera.