Relativity. Strange concept, isn’t it? I’ve noticed that quite a bit in this world is considered to be relative. Time isn’t relative, in measurement anyway, but out perception surely is. An hour of enjoyable games or conversation can seem much shorter than thirty minutes of drab lecture time. We often seem like we need more time when a deadline is present, yet an upcoming holiday can seem to take ages in arrival.
Enjoyment is relative. Some people may read this post and think it’s interesting; most will probably fall asleep halfway through and wake up in time for lunch… I personally like eating spicy food. Some of my friends won’t eat anything hotter than an Altoid mint.
Value is another relative. I value my family and friends above all else earthly. I’d place my Labrador and computer stuff I next in line, but really, all of my possessions could be destroyed if it saved my family from some peril. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that seems like it’s giving the observer quite a bit of power, doesn’t it?
I could go on, but I’m getting relatively tired of examples. Let’s go back to enjoyment. Psychological relativity. When one says that something is relative, he is implying that it is not constant. That brings up a question in my mind; what is constance? In order for something to be constant, it must have constraints. Those constraints must be placed by an entity who/that is in himself/itself is constant or universal. Do universal constants actually exist?
In theory, I suppose they do. The only reason things are relative is because we (humanity as a collective) don’t have the capability to define them absolutely. This blog post has an absolute worth–if we had the time to sift through everything ever written, rank it based on an absolute value system (also theoretically determined by everyone), and assign it a value. Of course, this could never happen. Most of us would be dead, either from old age or boredom, before we ever finished a tenth of what’s been written, but it’s a fun thought.
This is where a divine entity comes in. God is often said to be omnipotent and omniscient; two words which, when combined, make me think of a vastly superior computational engine. A perfect Wolfram Alpha on steroids. That makes me wonder how He sees us. He can calculate our worth to the last, seemingly unimportant detail, and it’s all absolute. He not only defines the constraints, He embodies them.
This is where things get funny. This whole blog post has been centered around the relative worth of things, but if the worth is pre-defined by an absolute entity, what is the use of another value system? If Person A says that a check is worth $5, and Person B says that same check is worth only $4, who is right? In this case, it’s the bank, not the people bickering over the worth of the piece of paper in their hands. I think this is similar to how God sees us. We’re all bickering and arguing over our relative worths, yet our systems matter not at all when we go to the bank!
People often see themselves as worthless. Even if they acknowledge a God, they see Him as too big, or too abstract, or too withdrawn from this world to care about mere people. They think that because they’ve messed up or failed, that He won’t take the time for them. Others see themselves above “god.” They see Him as a concept; a scheme thought up to control the masses and a marketing strategy to sell leather-bound books. Does value really work that way, though? Can we all hold ourselves in abstract value, relative to our surroundings, opinions of others, and feelings? Do we have a choice?
I’ll argue that we do. Judging by the Bible, we are worth far more than sparrows, and God even sent His son to die for us, but again, I am using my relative value system to assign worth to my interpretation. I think I know that I’m right, but you can choose to interpret those verses however you wish. I suppose that all we can do is make the best cases for our value systems. We won’t really know who’s right until we take it to the bank. I’d just hate to be wrong.
Have a relatively good day,