Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Trusted Transfiguration 12/30/08

Knowledge is the spirit that saves the heart from the darkness of ignorance, it is the light that saves it from the darkness of iniquity.

Abu Ali Thaqafi

Yesterday was the Islamic New Years Day. May you have lasting peace.

The only times during the day when I feel everything is all right is when I'm sleeping or I'm writing even though I'm a wretched typist.

My long story, Brian and Christine, http://db-vagabondtales.blogspot.com/ occupies me everyday. I know how the story ends but I don't yet know how to get there. I'm discovering the pathway as I go, one or two jumps ahead of my readers, cutting my way through the jungle of troubles, misunderstandings and injustices.

One of the big discoveries I've made along that route is that a lot of the trouble Brian has to deal with has come about through ignorance, his own and other people's. The story unfolds and conflicts get resolved by gaining bits of information, putting them with other bits of information, clearing up misunderstandings and thus gaining knowledge.

Backing away from my computer and looking out the window to the street below I see children going to the library. I note how fortunate they are to live in a country where there are libraries accessible to them, where they have schools and teachers, where they can easily gain information which will give them knowledge, and hence understanding and possibly even wisdom.

I also note how much iniquity there is in the world. Wrong doing by people who should know better and who would if they had the ability to learn right doing or who took advantage of the opportunity to gain the information that is available to them.

When I first began reading philosophy my main interest was in the field of ethics, a topic that has occupied philosophers since the beginning. It's a very complicated subject, it seems. And yet it's one of the most outward looking practices of the philosopher. It is germane to the subject of ethics that it address a conscientious and coordinated system of behavior toward other human beings and all living things. It necessarily focuses thought away from the self and onto one's place in society.

The world seems to be so filled with abuses: domestic violence, street gangs, robbery, rape, fathers attacking their sons' soccer coaches, teachers abusing their students, managers abusing their workers, child slavery and prostitution, owners abusing their animals, torture, graft and corruption in government and business, careless wasting of money by the rich, terrorism, racism, religious intolerance, fanaticism, revenge, the gouging of people's incomes by government, the shameless waste of natural resources, overpricing of necessary items, hatred, war and all other iniquities too many to name, that it seems most of the human race has never heard the word "ethics."

People will talk about ethical behavior on the left side while they are cheating their neighbors out of something on the right side. Or what is even worse, they will use the idea of ethics to justify some unethical behavior: "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

My story has given me a chance to look some of this immorality in the face and explore it directly or indirectly. I'm not a great writer but I'm learning. I'm gaining knowledge. And one of the things I've learned is that in order to convey knowledge and understanding a writer must tell the truth and reveal things about himself. Secrets must be told. While it's true that he who has more knowledge can do more evil, he can also do more good. There is no such thing as generic good or generic evil in this life. It all comes down to the individual, his knowledge of the world around him and his behavior in it.

Vagabond Journeys


Big Mark 243 said...

Deep thoughts!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Matches my philosophy of taking the high road when ever possible. I rarely take the low road, but am not afraid of a scramble if that is what it takes :o)

Beth said...

It IS disturbing to think of all the ills in the world, and to try to figure out how it can fit in with a just and ethical society. Let me know if you figure it out, because I sure can't. :(

Hugs, Beth

Joyce said...

Your story has turned into quite a journey and I'm glad you are sharing it with us. As for all the evil in the world, I'm hoping to ask about that when I make my trip to (hopefully) Heaven.
Happy New Year DB.

Maria said...

HI, DB! Your introductory quote reminded me of a little short poem..oh it probably can't be called a poem but it was a thought that I had many years ago while I was going to college...."Education is that station that brings a whole nation to elation"...I was thinking exactly what you talk about here in your entry. How lucky we are to be in a nation where we can all be educated if we want to be. It really is available to everyone that wants it..whether is a Humanities degree from a college or a technical certification from an institute or something higher like a PHD, MD, CPA or passing the BAR. We really are lucky...most people just don't realize it.....or think about it after they go to work full time....Ok, see what you started in me?...I like it though...good luck with Brian and Christine's story...such a coincidence that they are the names of my sister Kathy's kids.....:)