Jun 14, 1998 01:28 AM
by Thoa Thi-Kim Tran
Welcome back, Einar!
>When speaking about ethics, we often seem to take for granted that there
>must exist some universal 'Ethic Code' a set of impeccable rules that we ca=
>abide to, and thereby becoming some sort of 'moral Adepts'.
>My late friend and teacher used to state that: "there does not exist a
>single 'vice' among humans that has not at some time in some culture been
>considered a 'good deed' or 'right conduct' - and vise versa
>This does not mean that there is no 'right conduct' or that we can't live a=
>ethically pure life. What it does say is that we should go very carefully
>about when we throw moral judgment on the deeds of others or human conduct
>in general. Furthermore, in my mind, there exists no moral judgment at all
>that we can use on the 'nature' i.e. the life other than the human species.
>The life of the animals is simply 'Natural' and therefore not ethical in it=
That's why it's important to see, feel and listen for every case. By doing
that, we can be flexible in our responses to each situation. Do you recall
the situation in which some South American Soccer Players became stranded
in the Andes? They had to eat their dead. Another is an old ethics
question. If a life raft can only hold a limited amount of people without
sinking, do you push away excess people who are desperately trying to crawl
into your raft?
>I hold dearly a thought that I borrowed somewhere which says that: 'Whateve=
>action you do, it is the motive that counts. Whatever you do with absolute
>loving kindness in your heart, will result in a beneficent outcome in the
>end, no matter how wrong it may seem to a witness at the moment."
The problem I see is that people sometimes mistake a need for control with
love. We often are not aware of what our true motives are. Some parents
abuse their children in the name of love and discipline. A pedophile can
claim that s/he loves the child. Some even insist on the right of being
left alone in their love bonds.
>We need to stop looking at life and nature as a collection of 'separate
>things' and start seeing it - yes actually PERCEIVING it - as a undivided
>web of life. We need to stop blame other humans for our misery and start
>PERCEIVING every single person we meet as a brother or sister - or better -
>as an expression of what I am myself. Let me give an example in a simplisti=
>exposition on karma.
>I read in the Bible that humanity fell into sin when it ate the fruit
>knowledge - of knowing wrong from right, i.e. knowledge makes personal as
>well as common human karma of another dimension come into being. Today I ca=
>still agree to the words of St. Paul in: "The evil that I don=B4t want to=
>I do, and the good that I want to do - I don't do" (please excuse my
>translation from memory)
>In other words, there is an abyss within myself, even between my still
>imperfect knowledge of 'good and evil' and my actual actions in life.
>Furthermore I am painfully aware of my very imperfect understanding.
>In this bizarre condition I find myself constantly refusing to look my
>actions in the face, thus consciously and unconsciously sweeping my guilt
>under that enormous cover of the unconscious. Then from time to time they
>come up as memories or urges which have to be dealt with, usually by showin=
>them back to that convenient forgetfulness again.
When I look at people I admire, I also see the nobility in myself. When I
look at people I dislike, I also see that in myself. I think that those
who have grown up seeing the best and worst of everything, and have grown
beyond their experiences, can better understand their true nature. Because
they experienced extreme anger, they understand the rage of a murderer.
Because they experienced pain and sadness, they understand another's pain
and sadness. Because they have continued to spiritually grow despite the
hurtful experiences, they appreciate kindness and effort, no matter how
small. During times of darkness, a little light shines like the sun. This
duality also tortures them. They alternate between falling back into
self-protection, sadness and doubt, and an obligation to give light to
others, just as others have given lights to them in their times of
darkness. One moment can be rage at the evils of others, another moment
can be love and understanding of everyone. The torture of this awareness
is St. Paul's "The evil that I don't want to do - I do, and the good that I
want to do - I don't do." It becomes a cycle of self-hatred, self-love,
hatred of others, and unconditional love of others. Love flows into hate
and back, attitude towards self flows into attitude towards others and
back. This is Jung's light and shadow. This is the duality of the same
coin. This is the interconnectedness, for they cannot flow into and change
into each other unless they are equal. This is the mathematical law.
>And the instructions: - Forgive your neighbor for he is never to blame -
>Return hatred with love for only in this way you will heal yourself - Accep=
>everything that happens to you as a valuable message, and thank the
>messenger in your heart for the inconvenience of bringing the message -
>Remember that unconditional loving kindness is the only state of mind that
>does not create havoc in your psyche and thereby in the world - Know that
>love and understanding (insight or seeing) are two sides of the same thing,
>one its expression, the other its perception.
>There are no 'karmic Lords' out there, punishing us with karmic wands. We
>are our own redeemers, and at the same time redeemers of the world. We are
>not alone IN the world - we ARE the World. When we have got this figured
>out, then we will know the real meaning of the word BROTHERHOOD (without an=
>reference to gender at all).
Another way of stating that is: Your hatred of what you see in others is
your shadow. This shadow is the part you reject in yourself. You cannot
face it in yourself and so you project it onto others, and see it in them.
Although you may reject it in them, the shadow is also you. Therefore,
your hatred is in a way self-directed. This is basic Jungian psychology.
=46or example, say I hate racists and male-chauvinists. Why? Because they
belittle and stereotype another group. Because I have suppressed and
rejected my own belittling and stereotyping tendencies, I cannot understand
the racists and the male-chauvinists. They are my shadow, I have totally
rejected them, I hated them. By identifying the belittling and
stereotyping tendencies in myself, my feeling of hatred is tempered, and
understanding of the racists and the male-chauvinists increases. By
understanding them, you have also drawn up your rejected self from the
depth. Through this, you can act without the blindness and prejudice of
hatred. This is possible because you cannot emotionally respond to
anything, negatively and positively, unless there is some of it in
yourself. You cannot hate something that you are not connected to.
Therefore, because you hate, you are connected to what you hate. What you
hate in others =3D What you hate in yourself. Law of mathematics again. We
are saints. We are demons.
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