How To Deal With A “Whatever” Mentality

“Whatever!” is the mantra of the moment.

It is a synonym for relativism, a byword for “anything goes,” and a revelation that situational ethics have made great advances. It makes for an uncertain society.

The Barna Research Group ascertained the following facts as a revelation this is a “Whatever!” culture.

* Three-fourths of all adults believe “there is no such thing as absolute truth. Two people can define truth in conflicting ways and both be correct according to this concept. This is contrary to the long held belief that when there are two polar positions on the same issue one is wrong.

* More than 70% of American adults agree that there are no absolute standards which apply to everyone. This means when it comes to morals and ethics, what is right and wrong, there are no absolute standards that apply to everyone in all situations.

Applied this means there are times it is all right to lie, steal, or cheat. Pushed to its logical conclusion it would then mean there are times it is OK to defraud, embezzle, commit treason or cooperate crime. Whatever!

It is precisely that moral mentality that has led to symptoms of uncertainty in our society. Trust is eroded by it. Understanding breaks down when people don’t have the same system of values. In a whatever world every person is a system of law unto self.

“Mr. Chairman, we need to change these figures to make our financial statement look better to our stock holders.” Whatever!

“I copied a book report form a friend at another school.” Whatever!

“I’m going to use the company credit card to purchase some personal items.” Whatever!

“Randy worships Jesus, John worships Sheila, Larry worships the goddess Sybil, and Bubba worships the tree in his back yard.” Whatever!

“I’m going to use cheap products lacking in quality and unskilled labor on this project and bill these folks for top quality items and work.” Whatever!

The pervasive “Whatever” attitude strips truth of its value, creates a lack of confidence, and makes every individual a personal system of law. It creates a wonderful world of “ME.”

Walter T. Anderson tells a story that illustrates this principle. There are three baseball umpires.

Confidently one says, “There’s balls and there’s strikes, and I call “em the way they are.”

Another, a little less certain, says, “There’s balls and there’s strikes, and I call “em the way I see “em.”

The third, a postmodernist, says, “There’s balls and there’s strikes, and they ain’t nothing until I call “em.”

Standards, laws, gages, ideals, norms, established group ethics, and community morals make for a confident and cohesive culture. A “Whatever” mentality means vague is vogue.