The Horns of a Dilemma

A229D0F7-A122-45A0-8B9A-EA4980863545Yesterday I read a very good, witty, and entertaining post from a blogger I follow. I so enjoyed the post that I “liked” it and I wanted to write a comment complimenting the blogger.

But I didn’t write that complimentary comment because throughout the otherwise excellent post, the blogger used the word “than” when the correct word would have been “then.”

The blogger would write something like “But than…” or “And than…” and proceed to say what happened next.

I so wanted to post a comment that said something like this:

I really enjoyed you post, but you need to understand the difference between “than” and “then” and use them correctly. “Than” is used to form comparisons between two things, as in “I’d rather have a slice of pie than a salad.”

“Then” is used to express a sense of time or what comes next or used to be, as in “First I’ll have a salad and then I’ll have a slice of pie.” Thus, to write “And than I sat down to watch TV” is wrong. It should be “And then I sat down to watch TV.”

As I said, I never posted a comment because I didn’t want to sound like a pedantic asshole, even though I probably am one. And I didn’t want to make the blogger feel bad.

On the other hand, I felt as if I was depriving the blogger of a “teachable moment.” Wouldn’t it have been beneficial to that blogger to point out that he or she used the wrong word multiple times in an otherwise great post?

The post received a lot of love. Plenty of likes and more than three dozen comments. But not one comment mentioned the “than/then” issue.

What would you do? Would you bite your tongue and let the blogger continue to potentially misuse the word “than” in future posts? Or would you have let the blogger know so that he/she wouldn’t keep making that same mistake?

Q of Q — It’s a Matter of Time

It’s been a while since I’ve responded to one of the Queen of Questions, aka The Haunted Wordsmith’s, Q&A posts. But this one is about time, and I’ve got some time on my hands, so why not?

    1. What is something you always put off for as long as you can? Filing my taxes.037BD8AF-4CEB-4D6D-BA92-F168DA645136

    2. Has time sped up or slowed down for you as you have aged? Oh my, how time has sped up!4AD5848A-518C-48DD-8000-C0EAC8F4ACA0

    3. What time period do you think you most belong in? This time period.

    4. What book would have a completely different feel if it was set in a different time period? “Lord of the Rings” set in modern times.

    5. How do you like to waste time? Some (e.g., my wife) might say that the time I spend writing and reading posts is a waste of time.

    6. Have you ever killed time since reading or watching The Phantom Tollbooth? WTF is the Phantom Tollbooth?

    7. You have two hours to yourself…how do you spend it? Blogging.

    8. How often do you think about the Doomsday Clock? Never.02C8AF67-4B51-46E7-B54B-9C97E91F8113.jpeg

    9. Do you think we are nearing the end of times (for those who believe in it)? I don’t believe in the religious notion of End Times, but I have to admit that since the election of Donald Trump, we may be nearing the end of rational times.

    10. Armageddon is upon us…do humans survive? Sure. We’re a hardy bunch.

    11. How will human’s time on Earth be up? The planet will cease to be able to support life due to inaction on climate change. There, I said it.

    12. What is your favorite quote about time? “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

    13. What is one song that makes you time travel? “Cat’s in the Cradle.

    14. Speaking of Time Travelers… The Doctor (Dr. Who), Time Traveller (H.G.Wells, The Time Machine), Phineas Bogg (Voyagers!), or The Traveler (Star Trek: TNG): Who would make the better traveling companion? I only time travel solo.

Time Is Not On My Side

3523B7DA-8078-42B3-B329-F067DDAFFAF7.jpegI wonder if I will be able to keep this pace up much longer. Blogging has become very special to me. Dare I say sacred?

What started out as a little ripple has now has turned into a flood. Just this month I’ve averaged 572 views, 175 likes, and 75 comments per day. Woo hoo! I am totally enraptured by those stats. And thank you all very much for your support and positive response to my blog.

But — and you knew there would be a but — there is a problem. You see, I want to be able to read and respond to all of the comments others have taken the time to make on my posts. And I’m now following 176 great bloggers, most of whom post daily and some of whom post multiple times a day. I want to read everything that all of you post, the operative word being “want.”

And then, of course, there is posting what I write, which is generally between three to five posts a day. I write flash fiction, I rant about politics and society (e.g., Donald Trump), and I respond to multiple daily prompts.

But the bottom line is that there is just not enough time to do it all. To read each and every comment and respond to each. To read each and every post that the bloggers I follow post and to comment on them. And to write three to five of my own posts each day. Something’s gotta give.

But what? Well, unless I can figure out how to add more hours to each day, or to get by with zero hours of sleep, I am going to have to cut back on the number of posts I write each day, including the number of prompts and challenges I respond to, and to probably pare down the number of bloggers I follow.

I really hate to take any of those steps, but I don’t think I have a choice. At least not if I want to stay married and relate to my kids. So I hope you’ll understand if I can’t reply to every comment you make and I can’t read every post you write and if I can’t respond to as many daily prompts.

Someone once said something about life getting in the way of blogging, but I can’t let blogging get in the way of life. I’ll try to keep up as best I can, but you might start to see and hear a little less from me as the year draws to a close. Still, I hope you’ll stick around.


Written for these one-word prompts: Scotts Daily Prompt (keep), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (special), Your Daily Word Prompt (sacred), Ragtag Daily Prompt (ripple), and Word of the Day Challenge (enrapture).

Morality: Objective or Subjective

909E2401-3F73-4359-AC70-D4B839CE7F59In my latest provocative question, I asked, “Is morality objective or is it subjective? If you believe it’s objective, what is its source? If you believe it’s subjective, how do you know whose concept of morality is correct?”

Perhaps a better question should be: does objective morality actually exist?

What exactly is “objective morality”? One definition I read said that objective morality is “the idea that a certain system of ethics or set of moral judgments is not just true according to a person’s subjective opinion, but is absolutely and undeniably true for everyone.”

Another definition said that objective morality is “the idea that an act of good or evil is always right or always wrong, regardless of whether one person believes it is right and another believes it is wrong.”

Did you notice that both of these definitions start with the words, “the idea that…”?

And what is an idea? It is an opinion, a perspective, a belief, a thought, a concept, a notion. Interesting that the word “fact” is conspicuously absent from any definition of objective morality.

Back to my original question. “Does objective morality exist?” Is objective morality a set of definitive laws gifted to humanity by God, where God has determined what is “right” and what is “wrong,” and these determinations are deemed to be unimpeachable?

Or is morality subjective? Does it relate more to time, place, and social norms (culture) than to a universal code of conduct attributed to a supernatural deity?

Objective morality exists because God exists

4E1D4FF7-A36A-4BD2-84FB-FDC71FB9CB6FDo you buy that? If morality is an objective set of rules handed to us by God, shouldn’t what God defines as morality be considered the same by every human being across time and in all cultures? Shouldn’t all humans, since we were created in God’s image and we are all God’s children, universally agree upon and accept that which God has told us is objectively moral?

Yet we don’t.

Time, place, and culture

Let me make a few observations about the influence of time, place, and culture on morality.

Hitler had millions of people killed in the 1930s and 40s. Did he consider what he was doing immoral? Or did he believe that he had a moral imperative to cleanse Germany of all but the purest Aryans?

At the time of the Spanish Inquisition, did the Catholic monarchs consider it immoral to require Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity or to face expulsion or execution? No. They simply wanted to ensure Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms. What could possibly be immoral about that?

Did the Pope and the nobles of Europe in the Middle Ages see anything immoral about the Crusades? Why would they? Their goals were based upon a command passed down by a higher authority to restore Christianity to holy places like Jerusalem. What was wrong with pillaging the countryside and killing thousands of Jews and Muslims while doing God’s work? Nothing. It was what God wanted.

Our own American genocide of native Americans was excused because of the moral imperative of Manifest Destiny, which was deemed to be the young country’s mission from God. And less than 200 years ago many farmers and plantation owners in the American South owned slaves. Did they consider slavery to be immoral? Of course not. To them, all God-fearing Christians, there was nothing immoral about owning another human being.

Today most people find what Hitler did, what slave owners did, what occurred during the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and even the American West, to be morally wrong.

But for the people at those times, in those circumstances, and within those cultures, they were widely accepted as being society’s norms.

Most of us in Western cultures in the 21st century agree about what is or is not moral. There is a broad consensus across our culture about what is right and what is wrong. And that broad consensus helps us arrive at our communal morality.

Yet not long ago, there was a broad consensus across some parts of our country that interracial marriages were immoral and that homosexuality was immoral. Even today, some people believe both are still immoral. Yet the broad consensus in this country is acceptance of interracial and gay marriage.

Morality, then, is really how individuals interpret a cultural consensus. And since different cultures at different times have had different consensuses on what is moral, then morality must be subjective, relative to time, place, and culture.

What God wants

Those who insist that objective morality can only exist if God exists define objective morality as what people should do or ought to do, regardless of time, place, or culture. But who defined what people should do or ought to do? Was it God? Or was it humans who, based upon their ideas (opinions, beliefs, thoughts, views) of the communal good, decided what people should do and ought to do?

I read somewhere — I can’t remember where, but it stuck with me — that the religious, having invented God in their own image, use objective morality as a way of turning “what I want” into “what God wants.”

Isn’t morality really what people would like to have happen? Isn’t it a human consensus, shaped by the time, place, and culture in which we live, that defines what we should do and how we ought to behave?