Friday, July 22, 2005

Love, light, and forgiveness to you!

This post is here simply to serve as a reminder that no matter where you are in life, no matter what you've done in the past, no matter how ugly you think you are, no matter how dumb you think you might be, somebody loves and cares about you. In fact, I'd be willing to bet my life's fortune (about 35 cents) that more than one somebody loves you. If you don't think so, let me tell you this: I love you. I love the fact that you exist. I love the fact that you have the choice to define yourself in any manner you see fit. I love the fact that you are here to read this post. I love the fact that you hold the key to spreading love. I love that you are here to share this life with me in whatever way makes you happy. So, go out from this place knowing that there is love in my and many other hearts just waiting to comfort you and find solace in this. All I ask in return is that you show the same care and concern for others that we are fortunate enough to share this life with. Namaste.


So, some friends and I were talking the other day about ethics. There was (as might be expected) some disagreement over whether or not there exists an absolute standard of right and wrong. I don't believe that there is. Its not that I buy into the cultural differences argument (that right and wrong are simply a matter of culture) or that I buy into a totally hedonist perspective. Quite the opposite. I believe that a hedonistic life is wasteful and limited. But I also think that living according to some arbitrary code handed down to us by religion or our parents or society in general is absurd. For an ethical code to have real power and force, it must be rationally grounded. That is, it must make sense and take into account all possibilities. That's why I can't buy into an absolute ethical code. I mean, for every action that you tell me is wrong, I can come up with a situation where it's not so clear what the right action is. Absolutes just don't allow for such possibilities. Absolute moral codes say that no matter what it is absolutely wrong for you to commit action x. This approach unfairly simplifies extremely complex situations. For example, pretty much everyone agrees that murder is wrong. Yet in cases of war, heinous crime, and euthanasia it becomes less clear. The same holds for most other actions as well. The perfect ethical system would be one that takes all of these issues into account. That, however, proves mightily difficult. Unless one places the burden of ethical action on the individual and not the society or the deity worshipped. That is exactly what the golden rule (or Kant's categorical imperitive) do. The burden of judgement is placed squarely on the shoulder's of the individual. If the actor knows that his actions will have consequence based on the nature and degree of his action, then he will keep his own actions in line based on his own code of what is allowable. That is, if the universe is set up such that doing unto others results (eventually) in that being done unto you, then ethical balance is maintained. There is no need for any judgement day or any such balderdash. Free will of the individual is maintained, as is the divine balance. It is my position that any deity worth its salt would set up its universe exactly in this manner. That way it doesn't need to impose some complicated set of rules or restrictions on its creation. Simply make the system inherently balanced. Positive action yields positive reward. Negative action yields negative reward. Simple. The person acting is therefore judge, jury, prosecution, and defense. Rational free agents who understand this system would therefore out of their own free will realize which actions are beneficial and which are not. There is no need for any complex basis or divine basis of right action. The human mind and will are sufficient to handle the task. This subjective view of ethics doesn't sit well with some folks, however. They apparently aren't comfortable making well-informed decisions for themselves. They maintain that God laid down the law in such and such manner and that we will burn in hell for not following it perfectly. But not even they can agree on exactly what that law is. Some christians think that homosexuality is wrong, others do not. Some find biblical support for their position that women should be subservient to their husbands, others do not. Some muslims feel that terrorizing innocent civilians in the name of Allah is wrong, while others do not. In this ever-changing world, it is increasingly difficult to nail down the tried and true ethics of society. For our continued growth, it is necessary that we have a system in which the agent, not the society, is responsible for ethical judgement. Therefore, I beg you, see the beauty that is already inherent in the system, and seek to synchronize your choices with it.