Thursday, May 24, 2012

High Ground

The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven.

John Milton
Hello Rose
People are in the habit of expecting and demanding from other people the same ethical rules they try to apply to themselves. It is as if a person knows all about right and wrong and is therefore qualified to teach others. Ethics is a very complicated topic which has absorbed philosophers since the beginning of rational thought. And what makes it complicated is, among other things, the difference between thought and behavior.
Morality has become a rather cheap word these says as politicians chime out about their individual moral stands on one issue or another. We've heard about the moral high ground as if it was a vantage point for casting stones down on those who don't subscribe to the moral tenets of the hill dweller. The annoying fact is that what is moral behavior in one instance is immoral in the next. And that's why it is so important to come to an understanding of ethics and how it affects the individual and the society he lives in.

If a single act can be right in one case and not in another it means we can't judge morality just by human behavior. A soldier is allowed to shoot an enemy soldier but not his next door neighbor, no matter how scurrilous he may be.

We must judge human behavior, if we allow ourselves to judge it at all, on the basis of motives. Motives are mental things. It is very difficult in most cases to know what a person's motives are for doing anything. Those are hidden in the mind of the doer and not public domain. And the person who is holding in mind the motive is free to lie about it if he wants to. .So the overall subject of ethics is not about behavior but about thought. Which brings up the question, whether you act on it or not, if you think an immoral thought are you being immoral? If you are then it is even more important to discipline your thoughts than your actions.

We have all looked into the smiling face of the "so nice" person who is secretly holding close to his mental chest the most dangerous desires and ideas. That person is living in hell. Without realizing it his mind has put him lower then the low moral ground. His pretentious at being the nice guy have forced him into hypocrisy, and sooner or later the thoughts in his mind will spill out into behavior and everyone will be amazed and shocked.

While the true evangel will carefully examine his thoughts and desires to conform them to his highest ideals and thus stand firmly on an invulnerable moral ground no matter where he is.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never give up.

1 comment:

Rubye Jack said...

I've been thinking a lot about this DB, and it seems to me there may be immoral acts that come from an instinctual place. However, if as you say, we ponder and decide upon what is right and wrong, then hopefully our thinking can overcome our instincts. I think conditioning can even help sociopaths.