Friday, September 19, 2014

Universal Truth, Goodness, Morality, Justice, Right and Wrong.


An unbiased observance of nature, as well as biological and physical systems teaches that while there may be such a thing as a universal "truth," there is no such thing as universal morality, justice, goodness, or even right and wrong. These ideals, where they exist at all, come into being in our lives only where we choose to live according to what is best for the others with which we are in relationship, with whom we share an agreed upon covenant, through a mutual understanding (or at least acceptance) between ourselves and those others whose value we have decided to honor as equally divine.

Without these mutual ties and commitments, whatever is done by an individual is done according to the nature of that entity itself. That is, of course, if we're not assuming the existence of a god or a devil behind the actions of mankind, of mosquitoes, of hurricanes, floods, or the attacks of mountain lions on unlucky day hikers. All creatures commit evil in the eyes of other beings with which they are not in covenant, whenever their actions cause harm, discomfort, pain, suffering or death. Both good and evil are truly, and only, in the eye of the beholder.

No sentient being gives up life or endures pain willingly (without reason), and no natural, inanimate system kills intentionally. If we are to live in a world that includes morality, goodness, justice and things that are "right," then we will do so only because we have chosen such constructs within which to build our society. Even if we believe that there is a god, or some kind of ultimate universal goodness or morality, it might still be useful to act as if there is not, because if such a one exists, its justice is not swift, its mercy is not omnipresent, and its timetable is one that extends well beyond that of the human lifespan.

Like good and evil, divinity is also in the eye of the beholder. We are able to look around and recognize the divine and the sacred in the simple fact of existence. Can a stone sense another stone or the lizard basking upon it in the light of an inanimate sun? Who is to say. But we know what we can see. Perhaps our value to the universe is, in part, our awareness. Though we are certainly not alone in that trait, our contribution (if any) to a universal consciousness is as unique as our individual experience. 

It might be sensible to hope that, in the overall scheme of things, the values that we hold dear represent added value to the universe... a contribution on some level to its self-awareness, something akin to a divine universal achievement of Nirvana. Perhaps part of our charge is to experience all of the attributes of emotion, joy, pain, suffering, elation, in order to demonstrate, for the rest of existence what is possible. Perhaps not. While we cannot know for certain, we can to some extent create the world that we hope for while we are here, and hope for the best. But while we're here, we can do much more than hope.

Look within yourself and outward toward others, not just those human others, but to the plants and the animals as well.  See their innate worth and the divinity shining out from within them, exploding in rays of light from the dark, crusted outer shell encasing their glorious souls. Decide with whom you are in relationship and commit to a covenant that will bond you to them and them to you. If there is a such thing as a universal morality, this is the first step towards finding it. If there is not, you're now a fellow human-creator of it.

While there may not be a such thing as a universal morality, there may be a such thing as universal truth. If there is a universal truth, it includes these facts: We all must die, but most of us want to live. While we are all blessed with the full strength and power of the universe, we are cursed with the vulnerability of our corporal form. While we are able to recognize the sacred beauty and the divinity within every living thing, each of us must destroy some form of life in order maintain our own. There are some realities that we can transcend, while at the same time, there are some evils that we must commit (at least in the eyes of weaker beings) in the most simple act of mere survival.

If God exists, he or she may have created goodness, morality, right and wrong, and justice; but an observance of natural, biological and physical systems teaches us that such a god has left it up to us to recreate those constructs, form them, teach them, and enforce them during our short time here on earth. Whatever god is, it is not an enforcer of human ideals. If anything, he or she is simply the un-caused cause that has caused our hearts and minds to be drawn toward these ideals in the first place. The rest, it would seem, is up to us.