Morality in Retrograde

Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all. If he has not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony.

—Aristotle—

In Book One of Aristotle’s Ethics, he considers perhaps the most vexing question that humanity confronts: What is the purpose of life? Aristotle argues that everything has a purpose or goal, and that the purpose is always to attain some good. The “Chief Good” for humanity is that purpose for which all human action is performed. Aristotle believes that the Chief Good for humans is Eudaimonia (often translated as ‘happiness’).

What is the prime directive we seek as Humans?  Is it Happiness?  If so, then what makes our times happy?

Do we attach this happy moment with something that we bring to it within ourselves, or is it something that we discover inside the moment when it happens?  Is it a prelude of decisions that make us decide this happiness quotient?  Maybe it is the removal of negative thoughts that would harm this happiness quotient?  Laboring over unnecessary thoughts that impede the joy of an experience can be observed all the time in everyday life by ourselves and people we know.  I wonder how much we sabotage the experience with our dissonant moods? I also wonder if we keep our secret thoughts out of public view because we know that it may disrupt the status quo.

Beyond the capacity to experience Happiness, I would question the nature of people who give up their accountability when coworkers or other superiors have conducted themselves in inauspicious ways which leads them to follow in suit.  If you know of wrongdoing that you inadvertently take part in, can you be happy and live with yourself?  Being a part of something complicit you would think must make someone uncomfortable.  If this is not the case, then are they morally corrupted?  So they think of the situation as morally justified and are left out of the equation for judgement?

The soul is divided into an irrational element and a rational element. The irrational element contains a vegetative part concerned with nutrition and growth. The vegetative part is common to all living beings. Since this part of the soul is not concerned with morality, we will examine it no further. The irrational element of the soul also contains an appetitive part. This part is concerned with impulses. The appetitive part obeys the commands of the rational element in the soul of a virtuous man, but disobeys the rational element in the soul of an incontinent man.

Siddhārtha Gautama AKA Gautama Buddha had a specific plan to deal with such matters that he called the Eightfold Path.  In his assessment much of our experience is the creation suffering explained in his four noble truths.

The first noble truth is suffering.  The central importance of suffering (dukkha) in Buddhist philosophy has caused some observers to consider Buddhism to be a pessimistic philosophy.  However, the emphasis on dukkha is not intended to present a pessimistic view of life, but rather to present a realistic practical assessment of the human condition—that all beings must experience suffering and pain at some point in their lives, including the inevitable sufferings of illness, aging, and death.  Contemporary Buddhist teachers and translators emphasize that while the central message of Buddhism is optimistic, the Buddhist view of our situation in life (the conditions that we live in) is neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but realistic.

The second noble truth is that the origin of dukkha can be known.  Within the context of the four noble truths, the origin of dukkha is commonly explained as craving or thirst conditioned by ignorance.  On a deeper level, the root cause of dukkha is identified as ignorance of the true nature of things.

The third noble truth is that the complete cessation of dukkha is possible, and the fourth noble truth identifies a path to this cessation (the Eightfold Path).

The good times which you reflect upon somehow have the sense of possibility built in the potential thoughts we carry around within us.  Not being compelled to undertake the diverging negative thoughts that will come to mind and will not be conductive for a positive experience may just be a factor that challenge us from time to time.

Making goals and achieving them will often result in satisfaction, and even “happy” on occasion.  The harder you work for something and finally comes the day when you have achieved that goal, the sweeter the reward seems to be.  But if no work was placed into some of these goals, yet they were bestowed to you, the taste is not as sweet then if you had labored over it for a period of time.

But if you no longer feel connected to a morality that protects our citizens, or one that is based on a reciprocity that all of us would reason to be morally just, then what in the world helps those that sleep at night who work for immoral companies that know the costs and outcomes for extremely poor decisions that affect the lives of millions of people from their products, byproducts or services?

Plato wrote the Republic in 380 BC. The first book of Plato’s Republic is concerned with justice.  In the Republic, Socrates concludes that everything has an end and an excellence.  The end of the eye is sight, the end of the ear is hearing, and the end of the soul is happiness.  If an eye’s particular excellence deteriorates, then it will not be capable of achieving its particular end.  Accordingly, if the soul’s excellence, which is justice, deteriorates, then it will not be capable of attaining its end, which is happiness.  Socrates proves that justice is wisdom and virtue while injustice is ignorance and vice by demonstrating that the just do not wish to have more than the just, but do wish to have more than the just, while the unjust want more than the just and unjust.  A mathematician does not wish to have more knowledge in mathematics than another mathematician, but he does wish to have more knowledge in mathematics than someone who is not a mathematician.  A person ignorant of mathematics wants to have more knowledge than both a mathematician and one who is ignorant in mathematics.
Because justice is wisdom and virtue, it is stronger than injustice which is ignorance and vice.  The unjust are incapable of common action. If thieves needed to work together, then they would need to act justly with respect to on another. If the thieves are entirely unjust, then they would do evil to each other and would not be able to work together.  Injustice located within one individual renders action impossible by reason of sedition and distraction.

Oh benevolent father send me no pain, don’t turn your back upon me again

I seek to live without the toil, my saga leads only to wander in foil

Mistakes I’ve made plunge me deeper with debt, a point I often return to I regret

To seize the day one must stay strong, fend off the forces that don’t belong

Deny binding forces and live again, or doom yourself and plunder within

The world I live in has many foes, but it is I who decide my circumstance of woes

 

 

Being human subjects us to ponder over such matters that compels us to continually question the status quo and how we fit into the scheme of things over the span of our lives.  The experiences that inhabit our lives despite what position we hold are felt by all of us.  There is no special person that is exempt from the human condition, albeit, people do differentiate in the ways in which they deal with the stark realities that the world bluntly delivers to us.  Some administer better coping skills, education, psychological conditioning, and moral obligations that help people in navigating the hardships in this world, yet I think that there is no one with a conscience that has not somehow been affected by the status of their well-being.

In the spectrum of human affairs a person’s position, career, or social status may interfere with how they conduct their lives.  The politicization of many careers effect a huge portion of those employed in all sectors of society.  Moral turpitude is rampant among many of the citizens that are sworn in to protect the American public.  Whether they actually believe the immoral policies that their employers embark upon only they and God can answer.  Case in point is the following documentary of the war waged upon the whistle blowers by the US government. The distinction to correct the immoral behavior of an organization without “leaking” but rather by justly telling the truth and providing information that is about waste, fraud, abuse, or illegality.  It is precisely these people that the Obama administration is targeting and threatening as opposed to being an administration of transparency, it is one of immense secrecy.

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act!

     ~~George Orwell~~

 

The creation of a governance with no oversight, usurping the United States Constitution, betraying the US citizens, and acting in line with a morality based on Greed, Power, and above the Law is Tyranny.  One example that has taken our country over is The Federal Reserve.  It is by no means “Federal” and is comprised by a group of Private Bankers that was given the power to print and regulate the US Dollar and subject to market manipulation in the deflation and inflation of our currency.  This is by definition breaking the power of the constitution and betraying the people of this country which former Presidents have warned us about time and time again.  The US Constitution gives us the right to print our own money, without interest from the debt.  We have also pulled the gold standard away from our currency, giving away the wealth of this country to the wealthiest few on the planet.

Morality in retrograde is one that infects the moral stability of any institution or nation built upon the lies and deceit of those in power and in turn pollutes the minds of the citizens.  If we do not follow in kind, we just may have a chance, if we continue down the path we are on, History will surely repeat itself again showing to the world the nature of human arrogance and failure to overcome its own moral turpitude.  I highly recommend you watch the following documentary to its completion.  The information of such abuse of power is pandemic.

 

 

 

 

 

My Purpose: The Quest for Purpose

I am by no means an extraordinary person, relatively speaking, I have an average life, with an average means of income.  I have had average problems and deal with them in average ways yet I have always wanted more out of the life I have previously led.  I did not seek employment that would make me wealthy, I did not seek fame or surrounded myself with possessions.  Since I could not sustain that kind of lifestyle even if I could have achieved those kinds of pursuits; I was too preoccupied in just trying to manage what I was allowed to hold on to since much of my material assets were calculated and taken from me by a court order in the aftermath of my divorce.  The want for more in life was not about the pursuits listed above in as much as they were about bringing me some peace of mind.

To rise above the monotonous everyday routines and to question what is truly of value, I must search within myself to find out these answers.  This thought has visited me within different periods through-out my entire life; knowing that I wanted more out of life than what I had seen growing up.  The world is full of wonders and is very beautiful, but it can also be very grotesque.  I do not speak of being a monk, or speak of negating what is pleasurable in life; I only find that for me, some of these pursuits do not provide me with satisfaction, they do not quench my thirst and do not sustain my attention for whatever seems to be holding my soul in captivity.

If you have been witness to a multitude of circumstances, then you have a better perspective than the many with whom only share a smaller limited perspective.  I wanted to align my life in agreement to some of the teachings I had gravitated toward early on as a young adolescent and as a young adult.  I set out to find answers so instead of preparing for a job quest in college, I went on a wisdom quest.  It was by no means an easy path to pursue, and I for the most part only saw latent rewards for this pursuit.  Obviously one must work to sustain themselves, one must navigate the social realms and live amongst others, and do much of what society dictates, because that is the expectation we have grown up with.  For many this may just be fine, and they seem to be content, but unfortunately it is not the case for me.

I do not differ from others in many ways, I do not pretend that I am that much different from them as well, but I do see differences in how people have treated one another for as long as I can remember.  Why this happens to be the case is beyond my imagining.  It seems to be the essential core of my perplexity.

In retrospect I have given immensely of myself to those who probably did not deserve it.  My naiveté did not diminish until I was much older.  When you give of yourself, and are taken advantage of, though it is painful, it is also a great teacher of the human condition.  When you get beyond the paltriness of human interactions, you see into a fragility of the human heart and the social decay of an inferior person.  Why moral turpitude is such a prevalent factor in life is only a testament to the condition of our social inequity and the lack of educated citizens that fail to learn the lessons from its etiquette.  This human plight has been around for millennium.  This is precisely why the Zhou Dynasty in China adopted the Confucian teachings to subdue the existent rifts of social decline in China in the Spring and Autumn period of that dynasty (roughly between 771-479 BCE).
A time when the established system could not meet the demand of development as the ruling classes of China experienced the transition from a slave to feudalistic society the powers that be actively sought out a school of thought to adopt as a cultural unification.  It was a time of “the collapse of etiquette and the deterioration of music”, which implies the ethics and moralities of society were in decline.  The intellectuals of the day were concerned about the future mode of society, hence the most brilliant contention of a hundred schools of thought, such as Legalist, Taoist, and Confucian schools would be considered for the task.

Confucianism is an ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (孔夫子 Kǒng Fūzǐ, or K’ung-fu-tzu, literally: “Master Kong”, 551–479 BCE).   Confucianism originated as an “ethical-sociopolitical teaching”, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han Dynasty.   Following the official abandonment of Legalism in China after the Qin Dynasty, Confucianism became the official state ideology of the Han.  Nonetheless, since the Han period on, most Chinese emperors used a mix of Legalism and Confucianism as their ruling doctrine, often with the latter embellishing the former.  In other words, Confucian values were used to sugarcoat the harsh Legalist ideas that underlie the Imperial system.  The disintegration of the Han in the second century CE opened the way for the spiritual and otherworldly doctrines of Buddhism and Taoism to dominate intellectual life at that time.

The experience of injustice is not something new in human history as we have seen.  In my experience in providing for others, the toil of my labors, and the financial sacrifices I made to make a better life is something I am proud of, yet the devil is in the details of this story.  After the divorce, my life ensued a series of challenges with child custody, lawyers and legal fees, and sadly parental alienation.  I again dreamed of aligning my intellectual and spiritual self  trying to educate myself in accordance.  I have reached some goals I have set out for in my life, and I have yet to meet some of them.

I built a life around my values, and I am proud of what I have accomplished yet I have only scratched  the surface on what I would like to achieve in my lifetime.  After working so many hours in my life I have come to realize that though work is good, it is not the end goal in one’s life.  Work teaches us many disciplines, but one cannot be happy unless they make the work they do matter, or put another way, if they enjoy the work they do, then they will lead a happier life, and if their work is meaningful to them, then in this way our work can be an appropriate end.

I have fallen in the traps that many others have succumbed to along the paths we take.  The Muse’s of my day have chanted their sirens song, and their melody’s have left me in bewilderment until I awoke from the daze.  I have taken the advise of those oracles which of whom I should not have listened to and thus have learned alternative ways to manage my time, efforts, and affairs.  I have believed in a career choice that turned out to be less than what was promised, and sacrificed much of my health, wealth, and leisure to fund my families needs.  The children are now grown and have only obligations to find a life that I can become excited about.  This makes me envision that now is the time for me to project me closer to my new-found dream.  This is a time for me to follow another road.

I have learned that people are good when the least you expect it, as well as bad when the least you expect it.  Some of the greatest joys come from fatherhood, as well as some of the most painful heartaches.  I have come close to death several times in my life, but I’ve somehow managed to survive which leads me to ask why am I here?  Is it that I have a purpose yet unfulfilled on this earth?  Is there some destiny that I have not yet realized?  Have I not perished because there is some undone work I am to do?

I may never know, yet I continue my journey for discovery.  Is it that I quest for a purpose not yet realized?  Am I trying to fill some empty void within myself?  The hunger for knowledge, and wisdom has always been with me.  Maybe because I come from very modest means, and that I wanted to climb higher to new plateaus of understanding.

Whichever the reasons my so-called soul-searching is a part of me.  It is as much of me as my devotion to those with whom I love.  So I guess I am destined to seek.  I do not know when I may find that moment of peace, or that pearl of wisdom that will set my mind at ease, but I can certainly say I look forward to the journey.  I want to never loose my curiosity, and never to have my mind become anesthetized by boredom or folly.