•    Morality Has No Conscience   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    By-Line: Morality should NOT be thought of as society’s “Preeminent Guiding Light” in tempering, regulating, molding, influencing or guiding human behavior and values. At best — it is a fickle, often truant, secondary stop-gap safety-net measure — in case something harmful sneaks past the real “Preeminent Guiding Light.”

    And what is the ‘real’ Preeminent Guiding Light?        COMPASSION.

    As noted in the Topic introduction entitled “Compassionate Truths” — Compassion is not widely revered, cultivated, respected, encouraged and ‘groomed’ at home, in schools or at the workplace. But the Ego is. And so is the Intellect — the neglectful designer and CEO of Morality. And that is precisely the problem. Ego, by its own reckoning, sees itself as the nemesis and arch-rival of Compassion. Ego is exclusively self-inflected and self-directed to the “I – Me – Mine” obsessive concerns — making it, by its very nature, a ‘selfish’ preoccupation. Compassion, on the other hand, is always traceable to a concern for ‘others’ — making it, by its very nature, a ‘selfless’ exercise.

    As tendencies go, those who extol Compassion as the supreme virtue are often labeled “socialists” or “Marxists” (and anti-American). And those who tout Ego as the supreme virtue are typically labeled “capitalists” — “industrialists” — pro-American (and Ayn Rand devotees).

    In the developed countries of the west, societies first and foremost, widely revere, cultivate, respect, encourage and groom the individual Ego — while extolling its virtues as a hyper-motivator and a rocket propellant “call to action.” One could reasonably describe it this way: “The Ego has been ‘weaponized’ in order to cultivate a highly industrious, productive hive of worker bees.” The United States stands as the supreme example of its enormous success in this regard.

    Fundamental human perceptions, understandings and World views are all filtered through and fashioned by one of these two basic building block operations — Ego versus Compassion.

    In some religions, especially Buddhism, Sufiism and Taoism (and Christ’s teachings), Compassion is what is revered, cultivated, respected, encouraged and groomed as the highest good. But statistically these religious factions are a small minority of all religious adherents. Most mainstream religions stand as extreme examples of acute Ego obsession — as in mammoth “Messianic Ego Trips” and “Delusions of Grandeur” that highly motivate adherents to “spread the gospel” and “convert the heathens” to their ideology. This has often perverted their original core teaching’s emphasis on Compassion. This perversion of religion was made possible when religion became dogmatized, politicized and monetized (weaponized) by manipulators with other agendas wholly unrelated to the religious teachings.

    The “Killer Bees” are bees that were weaponized in a laboratory, who then escaped and are now rapidly spreading across North and South America. What a brutal irony — because un-weaponized bees are man’s best friend. Without them we could not grow, en mass, all the food that feeds the World. The genesis of this colossal debacle? The greed of monumental Egos on “Messianic Ego Trips” blinded by “Delusions of Grandeur” who wanted bees that would produce more honey — for higher profits.

    This illustrates — surprisingly — that this is NOT actually an “Ego versus Compassion” warfront. The Ego, before it was weaponized like the Killer Bees, was not an irresponsible, dishonest, dangerous, malevolent instrumentality. It served a basic, important biological function — allowing humans to realize that the foot I see is attached to “MY” body and that “MY” foot and “MY” body are different from “YOUR” foot and “YOUR” body. This is a good thing to know — so we don’t amputate the wrong foot from the wrong body when such a medical procedure becomes necessary.

    So Ego, per se, is NOT the enemy. It is only the ‘weaponized’ Ego that is an irresponsible, dishonest, dangerous, malevolent instrumentality. So the task, as most Buddhists well-know — is how to tame and de-weaponize the Ego so it is not a mortal threat to humanity’s well-being. Let’s now look closely at how morality has and has NOT been operating in society.

    One of the problems is this. Morality is erroneously understood to be the preeminent moral compass and guiding light in tempering, regulating, molding, influencing or guiding human behavior and values. And as many historians have pointed out, “Social morality is immoral because it compromises with society.” Morality is context sensitive — relative to the widely accepted ‘norms’ of a particular time and place. It’s a chameleon. And that is its hypocrisy — which makes it unreliable and unworthy of its “Preeminent Guiding Light” status. It also tends to be a gutless coward. Albert Schweitzer once lamented the fact that physical courage is so revered, rewarded, respected and commonplace, while moral courage is so ridiculed, reviled, despised and so very rare (think demonized ‘whistle-blower’ snitch).

    But by far, the most alarming misconception about morality is that it is perceived as being a kind of Jiminy Cricket inner “conscience” for each individual to listen to for guidance (as in the Pinocchio story). This is a patently false, erroneous depiction of how morality operates. Morality is strictly a ‘shaming’ device and nothing more. It works by instilling guilt for one’s moral offenses — and then subjecting the offender to public ridicule. Most importantly — morality is NOT an “inner voice” of conscience. Morality exclusively references an “external” value (public opinion) and it is context sensitive — relative to the widely accepted ‘norms’ of a particular time and place. It’s a chameleon. The only Jiminy Cricket inner-voice “conscience” there is comes by way of Compassion.

    In the Pinocchio story, Jiminy Cricket is the inner voice “conscience” of Compassion — NOT morality. Stated more succinctly — conscience is synonymous with Compassion, not morality. To be even more succinct — Morality has no conscience. That’s the problem with morality. Morality is strictly an opinion-poll-based weather vane that keeps looking to see which way the wind is blowing in public sentiments. When the social majority deems slavery to be a useful, productive, profitable, acceptable social practice — its morality does not condemn or shame that conduct as immoral. And when the social majority deems slavery to be an inherently unfair, unjust and unacceptable social practice — its morality condemns and shames that conduct. The conduct is exactly the same in both instances. So morality is an unanchored, shiftless chameleon that is swept along in the current generated by the faithless whims and vagaries and vicissitudes of public opinion. Hence morality can only be described as “having no conscience.” For this reason, morality is fully capable of being completely silent, non-judgmental and utterly complacent while unfathomably horrific atrocities are being openly and routinely committed — as happened during the Holocaust. One of morality’s chief crimes is cowardly habitual “Dereliction of Duty.”

    And when the foundation of a society is built around something as shiftless, derelict, fickle, capricious, faithless and volatile as morality — that society will, in turn, be deemed unstable. And that society will correctly be characterized as “having no conscience.” Thus it quickly becomes inescapably clear how vitally important it is that Compassion, not morality, be deemed the “primary function” Preeminent Guiding Light compass and guide for tempering, regulating, molding, influencing human behavior and values. Then Compassion will be readily available to all via the inner voice of conscience and empathy — a far deeper, more constructive, more enduring insight than morality’s shallow, ever-shifting “guilt” mechanism. Guilt should only be considered a secondary line of defense — a desperate last-ditch effort to regulate a sociopath who’s been alienated from Compassion.

    At this important juncture the critical point has to be stressed as to WHY morality today should never even be considered a significant guide for human behavior or a meaningful influence in American life. If the Trump era has taught us anything at all — it is that there are few moral consequences for even the most egregious, reprehensible conduct by public officials. Morality has little influence because there are such meager discernable consequences for immoral conduct. And morality keeps habitually falling asleep at the wheel. Morality has proven to be a cowardly shrinking violet — time and time again — failing to assert itself to temper even the most bone-chilling abusive human behavior. Without question, we have invisibly passed into a parallel universe where morality has largely vanished from our borders. But lets be honest — it had been in notable decline for a long time and it always was grossly inferior to Compassion as a compass and guide for human behavior and values.

    NASA’s shuttle had a fail-safe system with multi-layered alternate back-up options that relied on the many redundancies built into the shuttle. There was the “primary” function — which everyone hoped would work properly, so that no fail-safe alternate operation would be necessary. If the primary function failed, they had contingency plans in their “fail-safe” protocols that would actuate a totally separate back-up instrument, different from the primary instrument — and if that also failed, most often they had a third back-up alternative. With some of the most critical shuttle functions they had as many as 7 or 8 distinctly separate alternative options they could fall back on as a safety net. That was the concept of “fail-safe” — i.e., if it’s going to fail — make sure it fails safely.”

    Similarly — Compassion must be deemed the “primary function” Guiding Light compass — which everyone hopes will work properly, so that no fail-safe alternate operation would be necessary. But today, society has relegated that assignment to morality. It’s a misguided assignment. Compassion must be deemed the preeminent guidepost and the supreme guiding light relied upon in tempering, regulating, molding, influencing or guiding human behavior and values. Ask yourself this — Just how comfortable would you feel being around someone where the only reason he doesn’t shoot you through the head and take your money is because such conduct is not currently morally acceptable — according to the majority in the latest opinion poll of the general population? Somehow, for me anyway, I would find it profoundly unnerving to think that the only thing saving me from a bullet to the head is the outcome of a fickle, often truant, transitory opinion poll referendum. And it gets even more frightening when you consider WHO was swept into the White House via one of the last opinion poll referendums.

    Compassion is the only appropriate, worthy candidate as the primary-function “Preeminent Guiding Light” compass for tempering, molding, influencing or guiding human behavior and values. Now we can probably hear the roar of hysterical laughter from the skeptic who shouts “What an incredibly naive suggestion this is.” But that cynicism is also context sensitive. And the context right now is that Compassion is not and has not been widely revered, cultivated, respected, encouraged and `groomed’ at home, in schools or at the workplace. At the same time — Ego has been. So the root cause of the problem — Ego (me is superior to us) — ends up at the top of the hierarchy as “Commander in Chief” — in the driver’s seat — while Compassion gets booted into the back seat and told to shut-up (more accurately — tied-up, gagged and thrown into the trunk as a hostage).

    Compassion is how we de-weaponize the Ego. If Compassion had been widely revered, cultivated, respected, encouraged and `groomed’ at home, in schools and at the workplace, as Ego has been, it would not sound like such a ludicrous idea — making Compassion the “Preeminent Guiding Light.” If Compassion had gotten all the kudos, the ad spots, promotions, advancements, bonuses & incentives, tax-breaks and welfare hand-outs that Ego has gotten, Compassion would now be an enduring monolithic guardian and protector for us all right now. And that is the paramount point of this entire article!

    The bottom line is that WE created this monster — this perverted inverted value system and we did it at the grass-roots level, in the home, in schools, at work and in the gangs and groups we identify with.

    WE did this. WE can change it. And the motivation for change is “dire necessity.” The machinery for change is as grass-roots as it can get — start revering, cultivating, respecting, encouraging and `grooming’ Compassion at home — then take it to school with you. That alone is a sufficient start.

    Be a cynic at your own peril. It’s YOUR future. And your children’s children’s future.
    Compassion isn’t dead. It’s just sleeping beneath a long, hard Winter snow.

     

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog


     
     

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    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog


     
     
  •    Reflecting Pool Discourse — Blog Introduction   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    “It is a more complex decision to live your life, rather than let your life happen to you. There are always more reasons to not get involved.”
    — Russell Crowe Tweet —

    There is a way in which Russell Crowe’s penetrating insight dovetails, in an interesting way, with another well-known axiom: “If you’re not part of the solution — then you’re part of the problem.”

    Until I read Crowe’s tweet, I had always just seen the axiom as a kind of ‘call to action’ for people to get politically involved in the struggle for social reform. And of course — it is. But the remarkable phrasing of Crowe’s tweet brought home the point that the axiom applies just as well to “the struggle within” each person — the struggle to understand the meaning and purpose of one’s life; the struggle to fulfill one’s potential; the struggle to ‘awaken’ to a new understanding that will finally make sense of the chaos within; the struggle to see our own faults as clearly as we see the faults of others; the struggle to attain the wisdom that we wish all humans had.

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse blog represents an attempt to reconcile the outer political-religious-social dynamics with the inner world of the human psyche — so as to convert the outer political-religious-social issues — from external dogmatic abstractions into a meaningful correlating map of the individual consciousness — with its hopes and dreams and needs and its long history of labeling, categorizing and defining ‘things’ — sometimes inaccurately in the heat of the moment.

    If the term “politics” or “religion” has any meaning whatsoever, it is realized only within the heart, mind and soul of each individual. Religion is not some ‘thing’ that is “out there” somewhere in the public domain that I agree or disagree with — rather it is an interactive dynamic within a psyche that interprets, defines, judges, categorizes, and reacts to that outer abstraction. With this understanding, the inquiry into these terms necessarily begins within that judging, interpreting psyche — because before we can decide ‘what to believe’ we have to first know what it is that we now believe and why we believe it.

    Jiddu Krishnamurti succinctly described a common glitch in this predicament when he said, “We are confronted with a dilemma that inhibits our ability to actually learn ‘New Things.’ This is because we listen comparatively. That is, we compare what we hear with what we already ‘know’ … what we already believe. That which does not comport is discarded. All listening of this type obviously prevents us from listening.” The big problem with this is that we all do this and we do it habitually and unconsciously. So it requires an extremely disciplined, focused effort to run this video in slow motion so we can actually see ourselves doing this — incessantly.

    Ordinarily, the proverbial wisdom is “Don’t talk religion or politics at a social gathering — if you don’t want to turn the ‘party’ into a War Zone.” Yet that caveat is assuming that the treatment of the topic is strictly as an external debate about the outer abstractions the topics are wrapped in. But when you unpack the contents and dive down into the deep end of the pool of the interpreting psyche that is ‘sorting the incoming mail’ — the outer skirmish is by-passed and the inner skirmmish begins.

    To this end, the Reflecting Pool Discourse blog presents a variety of Topic Categories with related articles intended to redirect the reader from the typical outer abstractions to the inner workings of the mind that is considering the issue. When properly understood, this converts the process from one of “examining the subject” — into one of “examining the critical mind” that is judging and interpreting the subject. It gets very, very interesting very quickly when articles are read in this way.

    All of the topics at the Reflecting Pool Discourse blog site are open for discussion and your participation by way of Comments on the articles posted is genuinely invited and encouraged. At this point in time, Moderator approval IS REQUIRED before a posted Comment will appear on a Post (necessitated by spammers and hackers). There is a very rapid turnaround time for Moderator approval — typically less than a few hours.

    TOPIC CATEGORIES

              1. Reflecting Pool Blog Introduction (uncategorized articles)
              2. Compassionate Truths
              3. Religion’s Mortal Wounds
              4. American Politics at Toxic Levels
              5. Animal Welfare Discourse

    Leaving Comments:: You can only leave comments for “Posts” — as Word Press does not display a comments section for “Pages.” But Keep in Mind there is a Post article for every ‘Page’ article — so you’ll always be able to submit a comment for every article on this site. If you see a ‘Page’ article you want to comment on — just find it under the same title under the ‘Posts’ section. To leave a comment to a Post — there are two “Required” fields that must be provided: 1) Your name and 2) your Email Address (E-mail address will NOT be displayed on the webpage). Keep in Mind comments submitted will not appear immediately. It takes 2-12 hours for it to appear — due to moderator approval requirements. Remember to click the reCaptchya “I’m no robot” security box BEFORE clicking the comments ‘Submit’ button.

    Special Note: The “Page” version of the article was necessary because “Post” articles can NOT be organized into Categories in any menus — because they are strictly date-ordered to show how current they are. But on Word Press Blogs — “Pages” do not allow visitors to leave comments. So I published all blog articles as both “Pages” and as “Posts” — so visitors could post Comments on every article here.

    Pages Categorized: To peruse this Blog site according to the Specific Topic Category, there are two Menu Options. Option One is to look under the “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” section on the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Page article you like under the listed Category. The Category header link is Worth Viewing — as it summarizes the importance of that Category. Clicking on a Page Title will take you to the Blog “Page.” The Second Option for viewing Topic Categories is to go to the “Topic Categories” mid-way down the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Topic of interest. This will take you to the first blog “Page” for that topic — with other Pages for that Topic appearing beneath that. There are two blog pages per page.

    Pages – Page No. Order: I have also arranged blog “Pages” according to their page number — which was simply a way to organize “Page” articles according to their level of IMPORTANCE. To peruse the blog “Pages” according to the page number, go to the “Pages – Page No. Order” section on the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Page of interest.

    ALL POSTS in Reverse Date Order (most recent on top): To view the entire string of blog Posts, which appear in Sequence with Most Recent First (descending order), click on the most recent Post (the first listed post) under the “All Posts – descending” heading on the left-side Menu Panel. Keep in Mind when you enter the “All Posts – descending” section, ALL posts from ALL Topic Categories are mixed together and the posts appear in descending date order, regardless of the topic category. To view “Pages” that are segregated according to the Topic Category they fall under, select a Topic under the “Topic Category” heading on the left-side Menu Panel — or better yet — go to the “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” on the left-side Menu Panel and select the article Page of interest to you. (see, “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” above).

    Recent Comments: To peruse the Comments submitted to the Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog by visitors, look under the “Recent Comments” heading in the left-side Menu Panel and select the Comment of Interest. Clicking on a Comment will take you to that Comment where you will be able to post your own comment on that Comment.

    Our Topical External Website Links: Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog “Website Links” appear under numerous headings that include the term “Website” in the heading. They appear in the left-side Menu Panel and they are labeled according the Topic Category which their subject matter falls under. These are “external” websites that will cause your browser to migrate away from the Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog website. Many of these “external” websites belong to the Reflecting Pool Discourse creators and you will see the word “Our” in the link title for these website links. Others are Third Party websites which we felt provided important, accurate, reliable information relevant to the Topic Category they are listed under. The word “Our” will be missing from these third-party website link titles. We always try to list these external website links according to the Topic Category they relate to, for easier browsing.

    Memorable Quotes: At the very top of the left-side Menu Panel is a revolving Marquee that displays 16 of the most memorable Quotes we have found in our travels. A new quote appears every 20 seconds. We will change \ rotate in a new batch of 16 quotes on a regular basis, to keep the offering fresh.

    Twitter Posts: On the left-side Menu Panel is a Twitter link to our “CatDaddy_NY” Twitter page (http://twitter.com/CatDaddy_NY). It used to dispay a few of the most recent Twitter posts — but — Twitter changed the ‘feed’ protocol so that it is a major gauntlet to set-up now – so I just have the link to my Twitter page. Clicking on the Twitter Feed label “Follow Me on Twittter” will take you to our Twitter site. On some browsers holding the CTRL key down or right-clicking on the link will offer an option to open link in a new window or tab.

     

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog