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Skydiving Needs Absolute Rules, not Relativism

If you go skydiving at the Southwest Florida Skydiving Club in Punta Gorda, Florida, you can count on two things: (1) an exciting experience and (2) the need to follow some basic rules. For instance, before you participate in a dive, your "Jump Master" will give you the following instructions:

  • Don't curl up into the fetal position. (You can slip out of your harness.)
  • Arch your back and hold your arms out in front of you. (To keep you from slipping out of your harness and to get you flying in the correct position.)
  • Stick your legs out in front when landing. (No explanation necessary.)
  • Do everything your jump master tells you to do. (Immediately.)
  • No pets allowed on your jump.

These are not negotiable, especially if you want to live. They are absolutes.

Now let's imagine another skydiving experience. When you arrive a smiling instructor begins strapping a parachute to your back while walking you toward a plane idling just outside. Over the plane's engine noise the instructor yells, "We here at the Relativist Skydiving School believe there are many ways to get from the plane to the ground. We respect everyone's desire to skydive and we don't believe in absolute rules. Just listen to your inner voice, respond honestly to your feelings, and have a memorable experience. We'll see you when you get down!"

If that was your experience, would you go skydiving? Most people who go skydiving are glad that there are strict, nonnegotiable rules. You can't be a relativist at skydiving. The rules are there for good reason. When we know why the rules are there it helps us embrace them.

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