After reading various articles with different statements on the Libyan situation, such as Libya: Pros and cons of being major oil producer, A Victory for the Libyan People?: The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya and What’s Happening in Libya Explained, a question I’ve posed numerous times before came to mind again. I thought others might ask it too, so I decided to write about it.
Although in the world there seem to be obvious divisions on what is considered right and wrong, is there really a right or wrong? Are things really one way or another? If yes, how is it that so many are convinced of it, yet evidence shows that there are others with a different idea and with the same certainty? Does it mean that each one of us actually thinks we are correct and everyone else is not? Is it possible instead that each of us sees things differently and none of us are really right or wrong?
Most individuals, especially in the West, would agree that there is a right and wrong way. When we study the history of the people from this side of the world, we find that the type of thought that prevailed was Aristotelian. Aristotle states that something can’t be and not be the same thing at the same time or different times. This analysis is the basis of formal logic and includes the law of identity, contradiction, and the excluded middle. I will not go into detail on the matter, but a quick example is of use to put it in perspective. The first thing it says is that an apple is an apple; it is not a non-apple; it is not an apple and a non-apple; it is also not neither an apple nor a non-apple. In contrast to this logic is the paradoxical logic. This logic’s thought is reflected in its name, paradox, and it states that it is and it is not, and it is neither and it is nor that. In short paradoxical logic states that it is both an apple and a non-apple and neither an apple nor a non-apple.
Aristotelian logic pushed for right thought, while the latter right action. Although they seem the same, they are not if you think about it. To say one’s thought is correct is to stop at speaking an idea that conforms to what others think, to act right means to bring about that thought or statement to reality. I can say I speak the truth because I know it is the right thing, but not do so. The consequences of my actions will eventually take their toll, one way or the other people will find out I lied or my lies will go against me. On the other hand I can say that I don’t think I have to speak the truth, but throughout my lifetime I do speak the truth and here as well, my actions will develop their consequences.
The question of right or wrong will most likely never meet equilibrium until individuals are continuously convinced that one thought is better than others instead of trying to look at the actions of others, and even here when we look at actions it should be through a neutral eye. If we judge someone on their actions with our preconceived notions it will be the same thing as if we were saying we are right and they are wrong. As many psychologists show through their successful therapies, empathy and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes is the only way you can hopefully see what they see, understand their actions. When you have truly put yourself in another person’s shoes you will realize that they are just like you: trying to find their place in this world, trying to find harmony and peace in their life, along with a purpose and happiness.