Truth and Consequences

John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)
Fri, 26 Apr 1996 14:18:03 +0900

Holly Swyers writes,

"This gets back to my question about why we should study
anthropology at all. If we are truly relativists, there is no better
or worse - only different."

Which is why at the end of the day none of us is a relativist.
That old bugger reality won't let us evade making judgments
forever. The moment comes when we are forced to choose how
we will live, work, play and, sometimes, die.

"If anthropology is about sitting around, seeing what is different
and just saying - "oh, that's interesting" (which is in itself a
judgment - what is not interesting?), it's a leisure activity and
I'd rather be a concessonaire at Wrigley Field for all the good
I'm going to do in the world."

A reasonable judgment. That's why the issue that both Dwight
Read and I have raised in different ways is so important. If we
fail to speak to the great issues of our times, we are, as the
scripture says, mere sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. We
must find ways to speak with conviction while remaining
humbly aware that, to use another Biblical image, we always
see through a glass, darkly.

John McCreery
April 26, 1966