Moral Perspectives

The more and more I dive into, what some would call, the world of mysticism, spirituality, or transcendence, I find that there’s less and less I know about the nature of reality itself.

Many people I run into and happen to have a conversation with, even among many of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, it becomes evidently clear they also don’t know the nature of reality either, though, many seem to believe they do. And I’m not trying to bash anyone or even place myself above them. It’s not like that at all. What I am trying to do is pull them back into perspective of what reality actually is: physical and spiritual. You can even call it the rational and irrational, the emotional and logical, the objective and subjective. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, but it does matter that you realize it’s there: the landscape of morality and morals.

Carl Jung, as you might know, is a particular favorite of mine, in terms of psychology, philosophy, and overall wisdom he had to provide. And it’s really complicated to go into all the details of why that’s so, but I think it would help the people reading my blog to understand what Carl Jung’s objective was in his life, that way, you could get some sort of picture of what my objective, or objectives, are in my life.

I think I’ve said this before, but I’m not quite clear what my objectives are at this point, but I don’t think, your goals, they actually manifest within yourself, but rather, they reveal themselves to you in a variety of ways, which is subtly different.

An example of this would be like a treasure map. The actual “treasure” itself does not lie within the map but is revealed through the map. So in one sense, your objective is to complete/follow the map, but in another sense, it’s to get to whatever destination the map is leading you to, the treasure. And then you ask yourself, which one do I find more valuable, the treasure or the map?

Maybe it’s not obvious which one is the right answer, but I do think you at least have to give some credit to the map, itself. Which leads me to my next point.

I think, one invaluable “map” we have, that many people seem to ignore, and at their peril, are books. Books, or, a collection of maps from people before us, are so invaluable, both fiction and nonfiction. And here’s another strange thing to consider is nonfiction.

They say “history is written by the winners”. So I ask, is that really nonfiction? They’ll certainly frame certain wars, let’s say, as they were the ones on the moral high ground. I mean look at the Crusades. That leads me to another question, what is nonfiction?

And let me give you the Merriam-Webster definition so you can answer the question with me.

Nonfiction: prose writing that is based on facts, real events, and real people, such as a biography or history.

And to answer my own question, is history in the way it was written, even as biased as it might seem, is that nonfiction? Yes, it is nonfiction. Because the reality and events they described, if they’re being truthful (and that’s a tricky thing), it was real to them.

Let me give you another example, one that many might disagree with, but there’s value in understanding where I’m coming from.

Were the Jews to blame for the demise and destruction of Germany after the events of WWI? Were they the reason for Germany’s economic and political collapse? Obviously not, right? I mean….obviously. Not.

That’s not what the Germans thought, or so, the Nazis thought. And you could say, well, they were just evil and cruel and irrational. I’m not like that! I’m a rational thinker!!

To that, I would say, no you’re not. Let’s take the current political situation for a moment, but only a brief moment, as I’m not too fond of talking politics.

I was speaking to my friends yesterday of Climate change, of all things. I brought up some points, and he brought up some of his points. One point that he brought up was Exxon Mobil, and their horrific contributions to climate change i.e. global warming. In a sense, you could say, they’re directly, or indirectly, responsible for the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, whatever number you can think, but they’re responsible, partly, for the deaths and just awful conditions it’s leaving those in countries that might be seeing rising sea levels and so on.

So I pose the question then, what if Exonn Mobile fails to stop their “monstrous” actions? What if they fail to “change for the sake of humanity”? What should our course of action be to rectify this act of malevolence against the survival of humans?

Should we send those people at the top, those who’re making all the decisions to not comply with Climate Change policies, should we fire them?  Should we send them to jail? What’s the proper course of punishment for this, seemingly, malicious and greedy act?

What about those at the bottom, the factory workers? What should we do with them? Should we also punish them because they’re working for such an evil corporation who fails to better themselves for the sake of humanity?

Obviously not, right? They’re just “doing what they were told”. It’s not their fault! They have a family to provide for, maybe a kid, a wife, a mother, who knows? They don’t deserve to be punished for what someone at the top did, right?

Ha, you might see where I’m going. This was the exact case of the Nuremberg trials when surviving members of the Nazi party were put on trial for their crimes against humanity. In the eyes of the jurors, what they did, it was unspeakable and deserved no less than the punishment of death itself.

But hold on. They were just following orders, so they said. It wasn’t their choice to murder all those Jews or to send them to the concentration camps. It was the people higher up who were, coincidently, not there to be tried. Why should they take the responsibility, and, in turn, punishment, for the actions of others?

That’s because it was their responsibility, and we know that, especially in something so obvious as the Holocaust. And here’s my final point in this brief moral case. The reason why it was their responsibility is that, and Solzhenitsyn spoke on this as well, there’s no such as the “communist party” or the “Nazi party” but rather, the Individuals who make up those communists and Nazi parties.

But that leaves another question: How did those individuals get there? How did they get to the point where they could justify the murdering of innocent men, women, and children? And how they got there is through their beliefs which are nested inside a value structure.

So how did Hitler and Stalin justify their killings of tens of millions of innocent lives? It’s because those people, the Jews, the Kulaks (hey, even the Islamics vs the Jews in Jerusalem), they truly believe that the “opposing side” had stolen something from them and it was their moral obligation to make things right. The other side wasn’t innocent in their minds, which to them, it was just good (the Nazis) vs. evil (the Jews).

The question is, how do you make things right when some steals from you? War? Concentration camps? Sending the CEO and all the workers of Exxon Mobil to jail?

When you frame it that way, you can see that a lot of these “political issues” they’re not so obviously political issues, but rather, moral ones. And that’s what I was trying to get across to my friends yesterday in our conversation.

But I’m carrying on too long, and let me tie this back into the original point I was making at the beginning of the whole post, what was Carl Jung trying to achieve in his lifetime?

Again, it’s not so clear what he was trying to achieve, specifically, but what I think many can conclude, as well as myself, was, he didn’t care so much about these big ideologies or set of complexes people associate themselves too, but he cared about the individual.

That’s because when you start with the individual, you no longer say, I only killed those Jews because the Nazi Party told me to, but you take full responsibility for your actions, and hopefully, that enables you to make the right actions, whatever those might be.

That means you’ll no longer, so easily, cling on to these potentially dangerous ideas such as the one presented in Nazi Germany, 1933, or even the idea of regulating “free speech”, which is what’s going on today.

It will no longer feel like it’s you (and your party) against the world, but rather, it’s you vs. who you were yesterday, and tomorrow, it’s you vs. who you are today, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and so on.

But my friend also left me with a really good question to ponder on as well. That is, how do you “focus on yourself” when, in a world like the one we have today, that would just be seen as being inactive and/or lazy?

I didn’t have a good answer. But that’s something to consider. It really is.

thanks for reading,