Reality is objective because subjective and subjective because objective, and both because Personal. (I hold, indeed, that to be is not different from to be known, and that fullness of being may not distinguishable from both being known and knowing, being loved and loving. Indeed, God Himself, in the Holy Trinity, both knows Himself and is known by Himself, loves Himself and is loved by Himself, for He is Three Eternal, Consubstantial (that is, of one substance) Persons. When He creates, He knows and loves the creation, and so the creation exists, by having a share in His own existence.)
In this post, I do not desire to argue for one opinion over another, or to suggest where lines should be drawn between what or how something is objective and what or how it is subjective, but rather to show that to say that reality is subjective and to say that reality is objective are not, in fact, to say different things, but to say the same in different words, to show that to say that morality is objective and to say that morality is relative are also, in fact, but to say the same in different words.
No one really denies either the objectivity or the subjectivity of reality or of morality. In order for there to be a subject there must also be an object; where two or more objects are brought into a relationship with one another, there will be at least one subject! A person’s perception of reality is itself real. Nor does anyone really think that reality or morality are always the same for all persons. When I say that I am watching the dawn I may be stating a truth, but we cannot infer that at all times I am watching the dawn, nor that everyone or everything is watching the dawn. I am real, the dawn is real, and countless other beings are real, and we are differentiated from one another, and therefore we are related to one another. Reality is, necessarily, relational – and thus, if you will, relative. This is as clear on the plane of morality: all human beings are not indebted to treat or relate to all other human beings identically (indeed, to attempt such a thing would be, and I believe this is plain to all human beings, an abomination and a horror! – besides being quite impossible). Assuming you are married, you must relate to your spouse in a special way in which you must relate to no one else – and this does no injustice either to your spouse, or to yourself, or to anyone else. Rather, if this were not so, a great good, namely marriage and all the goods which marriage means, entails, or supports, would not be possible. Something which is of course never the same, and also similar, is true of every friendship: even could we be friends with every human being, and indeed every creature – and this may well be our destiny! – yet we would be friends with each human being, each creature, in a manner different from that in which we would be friends with every other human being, every other creature, for no human being, no creature – no blade of grass, even – is quite the same as another (is to be the same to be not two, indeed, but one?).
Even to say that reality is subjective or that morality is relative, is to give testimony to the fact that reality is real, that morality is actual – or, at least, that relationships and persons are important. If I understand correctly, some, at least, of those who most insist that reality is subjective and morality is relative, will make statements such as, “Love is good. Hatred is wrong.”
What is Truth?
Truth is Personal. Indeed, the Truth is a Person. He relates to each of us personally, uniquely. Not one of us does He lead to oneness with Himself in quite the same manner as He leads another (indeed, our creation, our reality, our personhood subsists in our relationship to Him and to His Personhood (or shall we say, in His relationship to us?) – for that relationship, that knowledge of and oneness with Him to be the same, would be to be the same creation, the same person, the same being).
Copyright 2019 Raina Nightingale