Monday, January 20, 2020


Seth Godin makes an excellent point today, in a blog post about the quote: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

But it’s not bending itself. And it’s not waiting for someone from away to bend it either.
His point is a simple one; the arc of the moral universe bends because people chose to bend it. And, as a result, it bends towards their understanding of what justice is. While Mr. Godin's point is to caution against passivity, thinking that since the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice that people need to nothing, it's also worth understanding that the universe has no understanding of what justice is. "Justice" is a concept, and not a physical characteristic of the Universe, either the material one or the moral one. The idea that our society is more just today than it was a century ago means only that we modern people agree with what we have now more than we do with what they had then. In this sense, the bend of the arc of the moral universe is automatic, it bends because it always points to the controlling (if not the prevailing) concept of justice for the time and place under consideration. The people who are capable of having their concept of justice prevail find that the arc of the moral universe has come to meet them where they are.
Our culture is the result of a trillion tiny acts, taken by billions of people, every day. Each of them can seem insignificant, but all of them add up, one way or the other, to the change we each live through.
This is simply how societies work. When thousands of firearms owners rallied in Richmond, Virginia, today to protest new laws working their way through the state legislature, they hoped to influence that set of a trillion tiny acts. Whether it was to inspire the like-minded to act as they had, or to encourage the opposition to give up on their goals, they understood that the moral arc of the universe is bent by the force applied to it via human action.

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