I wrote a piece a short time ago entitled ‘Why Ethic Exists Separate to Christianity’. In it I argue that it is inherent in the human being to strive towards positive behavior whether Christianity existed or no. And I received some questions.
“If we’re all striving for flourishing, who or what defines flourishing?”
The thing is, I don’t think we are “striving for flourishing”. Striving denotes some sort of struggle or resistance. I think flourishing is a natural state like breathing. The only reason we have to strive is because of the artificial conditions placed upon us by the society we are part of, creating maladjustment within our psyche.
Only an individual can identify whether she/he are flourishing. I think Abraham Maslow in his pyramid of human needs demonstrates beautifully what creates flourishing for the human being. These concepts stand true across time and cultural.
“Animals can kill other animals without being “harm[ed] inwards,” so what is it about humans that makes us aware of this justice written into the very universe itself?”
The other day a friend told me about a monkey that had gone through a window in a house in Malaysia, grabbed a baby and basically brutalized it. My first reaction was surprise. What on earth made the monkey do that I wondered. The fact is it’s usually only humans that brutalize others because of the twists caused to the psyche. And I wondered what had made the monkey so mad.
I would not presume to think that the animal is not harmed inwards but I agree that the human is imprinted with a sense of justice. Children demonstrate this natural leaning from a very early age. It is, I believe, all part of our natural being…as natural as breathing.
“If we still feel despair, worry, loneliness, or fear, how do we know that we have understood this morality properly?”
Again after listening to thousands of stories across all class and culture those noted emotions only exist because of what’s gone wrong in the person’s life, thus psyche.
Of course I know I have to point out that there are rare…and I mean rare examples whereby a person has had nothing go wrong at all yet have a disorder of their psyche that leads to unethical behavior in the extreme. These folks I’ve referred to before and I’ve met two. They have what we’ve labeled antisocial personality disorder.
What is the light we aim towards? This is the big question isn’t it? When I first read it I laughed wondering if the author really thought I could answer the ultimate question. But then I wondered…
The essence of the question revolved around me clarifying what I believe. So after studying theology both informally and formally now for thirty-five years, add to that twenty-five years of studying psychology, psychiatry, mythology, anthropology, mysticism and philosophy surely I could say something?
So my next post will specifically talk of what I understand at this time. And the term ‘at this time’ is imperative.
You see I know, that for the author of the question “what is this light” the answer lies in the Biblical story. For others the Quran, others the Torah, others atheism/sciences and so on.
Yet I believe our need to define this light, to label it, to box it, has been our greatest undoing.
In boxing it we have put human limitations on it that are completely opposed to flourishing and growing.
So the next post may be more about what ‘isn’t’, than what is.
For in all my studies thus far I feel compelled to acknowledge like Socrates how little I know.
Perhaps I am too arrogant to say I know nothing as he said. Yet I think should he reincarnate in 2010, he’d perhaps agree with me that we now know perhaps one percent of what is to be known.
What an exciting journey don’t cha think :)?!
Hope you join me next time and please please please comment, argue, debate with me won’t you. Within the paradigm of good manners all opinions are eagerly invited.