Saturday, October 1, 2016

Knowing right from wrong?

The essential question.
I posted this about a year ago but we have short memories so re-posting may not be a bad thing. Besides, the current political environment almost demands a review. Do you? Know right from wrong? That’s a moral question, not one of legality. As we well know since we have a new president elect, you can comply with the letter of the law and fleece us sheep to your benefit, yet undermine the intent of the law. 

In a court of law we are told that not knowing the law is no excuse for breaking one that we may not even know exists. Much worse when we do know, but manipulate the system for your own enrichment, at the expense of the sheep. Even when the law is known it may be consciously broken, allegedly for reasons considered to be valid. And what do we mean by valid? For a higher good that transcends the strict definition of legal compliance? For reasons of making a judgement call that may violate a conscious awareness of our internal criteria, but nevertheless “may” have a desirable outcome? What sort of definition might we hold of “desirable?”

A person may choose to live by the spirit of that law instead of the letter of the law, which of course, presumes the person is aware of whatever difference may exist between the spirit (or intent) and the letter (strict compliance). Then we need to consider prescience: the capacity to project into the future, outcomes that will occur as the result of judgements and actions previously taken. Can anyone know ultimate outcomes? Obviously not (unless they are an inside trader). Then comes a much deeper question: Is there any benefit to outcomes that turn out to be not what we intended, but rather are what we consider to be wrong? Or might wrong results lead to further right results? THAT is the essential question!

Knowing right from wrong is a highly complex moral dilemma that must begin by examining that essential issue. Parents must wrestle with that issue every moment of every day and most times end up rolling the dice and hoping that their decisions result is right things for their children. 

Politicians (at least ones with a conscience—oxymoron?) are challenged routinely with making choices without thorough consideration or prescience and more times than not wrong results come from allegedly right choices. For whom? Their benefactors? Themselves (at the expense of their constituents)?

Family members likewise are forced by the nature of a constantly changing world to choose between what they believe to be right, but often times turn out in ways that are wrong. Are parents doing their children favors by never giving them the opportunity to struggle with the challenges of life in order to cope as adults? Or by overly protecting them and serving as surrogate moralists, once they have grown to the age of emancipation? 

Do we choose to construct walls between what we want the world to be and what it actually is? And do we then take the next step of letting our loved ones know that we only want to be fed a constant diet of nice words and deeds, forgetting that by employing their culpability and compliance, it forces them into conscious liars? Do we ever extract our benefit out of the hides of those we recruit, all so that we may live a life of delusion and division between what we wish and what is? And then, do we have the willingness to admit an obvious wrong doing with the forethought that by owning up, our egos will burn with a furious fire that creates in us the discomfort of admitting we used others for our benefit at their expense? 

Does anyone actually embrace what they consider to be wrong, suspecting that there will be a positive outcome? Or isn’t it true that we become strong in places that are broken, and by struggling to overcome our brokenness we are made stronger yet. It is probably true that few, if any, ever set out to do wrong, knowingly. And it is without any doubt that by facing our deepest fears, we learn to live with fear and make it our greatest friend and teacher.
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