Subjectivity vs. Objectivity
A commonly held belief between debaters and philosophers alike relates to the following phrase: “everything is debatable”. Within that logic, everything about the universe is subjective. However, science, religion and everything in between have created absolutes about the reality in which we live. If we are to believe in the subjectivity of everything but also in the objectivity of some things, a conflict is created. We, as a society, should come to a compromise between subjective and objective views of reality to become a more unified world.
Subjectivity, as defined by dictionary.com, is internal reality. Color, for example, is completely subjective in that quality of color varies from person to person because of the way brains perceive the light wave of completely objective length. By that definition, our reality is ours alone, as no one can ever replicate the exact same internal reality created by our exact experiences. Morals in this way are completely subjective and because of this, moral debates will never be solved. Religious views are, in and of themselves, subjective as everyone does not have the same religious life experiences to form the same religious beliefs. In a perfectly objective world, religion would never be a source of conflict. Everyone would either believe in the same god or no god at all, which is why some objectivity is necessary for basic societal functioning.
Though no formal date has ever been established, the study and debate of subjectivity and objectivity dates back to early Greek philosophers. Protagoras, viewed by some as the champion of subjective philosophical thought in the ancient world, was one such philosopher. He believed “Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not”. In layman’s terms, man- and ultimately reality- is created from experiences, those that we have experienced and those we have yet to experience. Since we create our own reality, we must meld together our experiences for a unified world.
Conversely, objectivity as defined by dictionary.com, is external reality. Using the same example of light, wavelengths are completely objective in that they can be measured and are free of subconscious or conscious bias. Ultimately, our world should be objective for people to experience the most unified version of reality, because no rifts could arise between different schools of thought. Science, in a way, can be thought of as the search for ultimate objectivity, and most journalistic works are also written objectively, as unbiased works are the best medium for promoting the truth. A purely objective world would create peace as it necessitates people lacking individual beliefs, which is inherently bad; however, people’s beliefs are what cause conflicts. A compromise between the two, subjective and objective, must be reached.
In a perfect world scenario, everything should be objective. Free of bias and opinion, all conflict would effectively end. With the end of subjectivity, though, would come the end of opinion and a dissolution of the human experience. At this point in history, an objective view of reality is a dire necessity, but that objectivity must come from a compromise of subjectivity. Until people can learn to handle their beliefs in a way that does not affect others, everyone should simply conform to a unified belief for the benefit of society.