Friday, May 26
Friday, May 26, 2006
We all wrestle between our higher and lower natures, between what gives life and what leads to death and cultural entropy. Ironically, putting a lot of emphasis on morality and conformity may undermine social cohesion and ethics by polarizing people against themselves and against each other, leading to secrecy rather than healing. If we were all able to openly confess our "sins" to the world, without fearing judgment, we'd all find it very healing and repair some of the damage to our culture done by duplicity and violations of trust. But fear of being singled out and marked as "evil" stops us, so secrecy continues to undermine our wholeness, pushing us to come down hard on people who get caught while becoming strangers to each other. "An eye for an eye" grapples with "Judge not, lest you be judged." Religion addresses the problem at a particular point in our development, but becomes a liability when the dogma falls into the hands of a moral elite and a rebel culture forms based on the belief that everything is OK (usually with the caveat, "Not OK to accept the moralists"). That dichotomy, between the moralists and the amoralists, can undermine the cohesion of a culture, leading to invasion by another culture or to the sacrifice of a scapegoated class under an authoritarian or regime or anarchic tantrum. The question at this point is whether we'll develop an ethical foundation and repair the schisms in our culture as well as misunderstandings between cultures, or whether we'll engage in catastrophic warfare, sacrifice a class of "deviants" (the poor, addicted, criminal or otherwise troublesome members of society), demonize the wealthy (not hard to do with Enron etc.), or resolve the internal warfare in all of us that sows the seeds of chaos in the world.