page contents

Chapter 10 Monism And The Philosophy Of Freedom

The Philosophy Of Freedom
Chapter 10 Monism And The Philosophy Of Freedom


10.0 Naive Need For Moral Authority
[1] The naive person, who acknowledges nothing as real except what his eyes can see and his hands can grasp, also needs for his moral life reasons for action that are sense perceptible. He wants someone to communicate the grounds for action to him in a way that his senses can apprehend. He will let them be dictated to him as commands by a person whom he considers wiser and more powerful than himself, or whom he acknowledges, for whatever reason, to be a power superior to himself. This results in the rise of moral principles handed down by the authority of family, state, society, church, and God mentioned in the previous chapter. The most narrow-minded person will put all their faith in one particular person. He who is a little more progressive allows his ethical conduct to be dictated by a majority (state, society). In every case he relies on some perceivable power. When the conviction finally dawns on him that all these authorities are, after all, human beings just as weak as himself, then he will seek refuge in a higher power, from a Divine Being, whom he endows with sense-perceptible features. He conceives this Being as communicating to him the conceptual content of his moral life in a perceivable way — believing, for example, that God appeared in the burning bush, or walked among the people in human form, telling them with his voice so their physical ears can hear what they should and should not do.

[2] The highest level of ethical development reached by the Naive Realist, is when the moral commandment (moral Idea) is separated from any external being and is hypothetically thought of as an absolute power within himself. What was first sensed as the external voice of God, is now sensed as an independent power in his own mind. The naive person speaks of an inner voice in a way that identifies it as conscience.

© Tom Last 2017