In part one we examined what I call the natural innate morality that I do feel is written into our code as beings, assuming we are not damaged some how. We can be damaged from birth, for instance a true psychopath has no empathy. Before I continue in part one of this series commenter asked if a person is born broken, is there any hope for them. I want to answer that before moving on because I find it highly relevant to what we shall examine today.
The answer is, it depends, how broken are they? Some are born with no ability to walk, of those some can walk eventually though not very well, some can become Olympic sprinters and some will never walk. So the truth is, how bad is the damage, what therapy is offered, what therapy is possible at our current technology all play into a final answer. One couple may have a lame child but be financially well off and educated. They may ignore the doctor who says there is “no hope” and seek out someone who can do something, pay for it and their child may walk. Another child may be born to poor and uneducated parents, they may just accept there is no hope. Hence of two children born with the same potential to walk, only the one with the greater opportunity to walk will realize it. I believe it is the same with most people with what we call mental impairments.
To make it more complex, the child today who will eventually walk may never have no matter what station they had in life if they were born say 100 years ago. In fact many children who are born ill yet live wonderful lives today, would have died at childbirth or soon after just 100 years ago. So as our knowledge increases if it is properly channeled our ability to heal increases. What is the limit of that progression, we don’t really know do we?
Now let me say I am no fan of the psychological industry and I hate the over use of psychoactive drugs. I also think most diagnosed “mental illnesses” are bullshit, and that true psychopaths are very rare. Most people are “damaged” by their environment and most can be helped. Even then though, how much, well, again how bad is the damage? It is easier to fix a skinned knee then a broken leg. It is also easier to fix a broken leg then a severed arm. So can we install morality in those who have accepted truly criminal behavior as acceptable? Depends on how bad the damage is. Just like PTSD, some get over it, some deal with it their entire lives but function well and for some it destroys their lives. This of course has both to do with the damage and the will, potential and fortitude of the individual.
This all plays well into the segment of morality I want to discuss today, that of “taught morality”. Technically this is also “learned morality” which I described in my last post. However, for the sake of this discussion I am calling “learned morality” the morality gained from individual interaction with the world. Doing things and feeling either remorse or love or passion from those actions. Taking those feelings and shaping morality in your own life with them. For instance in the last post a young boy named Johnny killed a bird with a BB gun. Though he wasn’t caught or lectured he felt remorse and learned never to take a life unless doing so had a purpose. Killing a bird to feed yourself was one thing but leaving a song bird to die in the bush for no reason was another.
In this post “taught morality” is what I want to dig into because it digs deeply into our innate moral code and how environment can damage or distort it.
Again realize that much of what the TV and politicians would lead you to believe about psychopaths is false. Most are not serial killers and rapists, not that they would not do these things given the chance. The key is they are rare, (about 1% of our population) and that they are generally intelligent. This makes them adaptable, then tend to end up in positions of power. Since psychopaths tend to not feel any love or empathy they derive pleasure from controlling others and taking what they want. Since they are intelligent they know a prison cell is not a good place for such things.
So as I said in the last article by being both smart and willing to do what others won’t (for moral reasons) such people usually end up in positions of power in corporations, government, military positions etc. Again not all such people are psychopaths, but many are and these many have a huge influence over society. They then use such influence to alter morality for the masses.
So coming back to taught morality, most parents teach their children that violence is wrong unless it is in defense of your personal safety or the safety of another who is innocent and needs your help. Libertarians call this simply the “non aggression principle”. Many such parents though will blindly back wars where young innocent children are blown up by bombs and simply called “collateral damage” by the psychopaths running the show. In other words properly marketed and sold, that which is immoral can be taught to others as being moral.
This was clear in the slave industry in the US. For years people were taught slavery was moral, hell the bible said so! Making another human your property was okay, it was fine, no problem at all. Children born from birth were taught both as sons of owners and sons of slaves. Yes the slave too in time was conditioned to believe that his captivity was acceptable! Many in fact didn’t know what to do at first when the “War Between the States” ended. Yet why did slavery end? It didn’t end due to Abraham Lincoln for sure, the man was a racist and a statist! He did what he did in his own words “to preserve the union”, and had he been able to do so by “freeing none of the slaves” he would have done so, again in his own words. You can read the letter where he penned these thoughts here.
No slavery wasn’t ended because one man was moral, slavery ended because people in spite of conditioning by psychopaths knew in their hearts and souls that slavery was immoral and continously fought back against it. This even included racists who were unwilling to let go of that immoral conditioning but still understood slavery had to end. What this shows is indeed morality is in the code of creation. There was a 100% conditioning in the early US that slavery was okay, from all levels of government and industry. Today the south gets all the blame but northern industry was the group making raw cotton into cloth. It was the federal government (the Union) that allowed enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law. There were also many abolitionists in the south, though speaking out was considered more dangerous.
You see this is the second tool of the psychopath, the first is programming, get the majority to accept your twisted morality as right and decent. Next in step two you use fear, intimidation and slander to silence those who don’t accept the programming. When that fails you use actual violence to silence those who won’t shut up. The most clear event in recent times of course would be Nazi Germany.
Psychopaths are adaptive though, today you ahve people waving flags, chanting U-S-A, U-S-A, to support a war where children are murdered. Such people generally have sacrificed nothing in this war, they don’t do the fighting. If their relative dies in the war said relative died as a combatant and chose to serve. Often the flag waver tries to equate their loss with the loss of those who are actually on the ground. Today a war means profits and jobs. We don’t even have rationing like in WWII. The war is on another continent, the TV tells us what those in power want us to believe. We are told to do things like “stand with Israel” over Gaza but most Americans sharing propaganda as FaceBook and Twitter memes could not point to Israel or Gaza on a globe if it were not labeled and yet they are willing to sanction bombing of apartments, because the radio host they like says it is the right thing to do.
Blind patriotism is but one form or immoral actions sold as moral actions. Yet if most of these blind patriots had to see the harm, blood, death and destruction they were supporting I think they might stop the chanting of U-S-A and look at the faces of their own children and weep. The anti war crowd of course is slandered as “liberal hippies” but many like me are Anti War, and far from being a liberal peace-nick hippy. I have no desire to harm any man but threaten my family and you may very well meet the business end of an 870 shotgun, sound like I’m a hippy to you? I am actually a former solider who served in the US Army Airborne. I can tell you the most ardent anti war people I know, are soldiers who have seen combat. Remember that please the next time you are told all anti work people are liberal, commie, pinko, hippies by your TV and Radio.
While anti war politics were in the air for a time as the “issue du jour” of the left side of the dichotomy they seemed to vanish the day our current president became president, did they not? Might I point out this is a man that got a Nobel Peace Prize, while bombs were falling on children on his orders. Yet some people have continued to say, killing innocent people is wrong, period no matter who is in charge. Why? Because we know it is true and we know who is doing the killing doesn’t matter. We are those who have broken the system’s programming and who have a deep sense of morality. Why? It is in the human code of creation, that is why.
Most of the chanters and flag wavers do not support killing children, they actually don’t have a clue that is what they are doing. The programming is deep and far more sophisticated today then even 50 years ago. However, as soon as most people learn the truth behind the programming they realize almost instantly that what they have been supporting is wrong. They know bombing a wedding (which our current President authorized) is immoral. They know it doesn’t matter that a “target” was there, they know killing innocent children and non combatants was wrong. Many hear about it and consider it leftist propaganda, but if you get them to think, everything changes.
Yes unless we are truly damaged, morality is part of what and who we are. In fact I would say this is the number one reason people leave organized faiths and eventually find Deism. Led by our morality we can’t like let alone love a vengeful, jealous, murderous god and sure as hell can’t worship him. Inside us though is a spark, the spark of creation itself and deep feeling of what is right and wrong. We know when we marvel at the mysteries of creation that in the words of James Kavanaugh “God Lives” eventually we figure out, that God indeed lives within us. That we are all in Richard Bach’s world, “Children of the IS” and ironically that includes the psychopaths.
On that note I would like to leave you today with the words of James Kavanaugh from the preface of “Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves” one of his best books of poetry in my view. In the preface this is what he had to say,
“I will probably be a searcher until I die and hopefully death itself will only be another adventure. To live any other way seems impossible. If anything has changed over the years, and it has, I only feel more confident now about what I wrote then.
I am far more aware of the power that guides each of us along the way, and provides us with the insights and people we need for our journey.
There are, indeed, men and women too gentle to live among wolves and only when joined with them will life offer the searcher, step by step, all that is good and beautiful.
Life becomes not a confused struggle or pointless pain, but an evolving mosaic masterpiece of the person we were destined to become.”
Another well written and thought out post. I am astounded by the poem at the end especially the last 2 lines. It makes me wonder…
What is this person we were destined to become?
I think there is something very subtle that we may miss here though. Something that the entire story of Johnny and the song bird hinges on. That is the finality of the death of the song bird. Johnny has done something he can’t take back, he may feel bad about it, but what good is his empathy to the song bird?
To demonstrate a little clearer what I am asking, I will relate a similar yet much more tragic story that happened this week in the next county over.
A 9 year old boy named Connor went to play at the park with a couple of his friends. They were laughing and playing and having a good time. While at the park they met a 12 year old boy who asked if they would like to play with him. When they joined the 12 year old boy named Jamarion, he pulled out a kitchen knife that he had hidden in the sand and began stabbing 9 year old Connor in the back.
Connor ran home where he collapsed and died. Jamarion ran to a nearby home and cried for help, saying he stabbed someone and needed to call 911, and that he wanted to die.
We can see remorse and perhaps empathy in Jamarion’s behavoir after the fact, but the big question is this.
What good is Jamarion’s remorse to Connor and his family? For that matter what good is Jamarion’s remorse to himself? He has not only taken a life, but ruined several lives including his own, by this random act of violence.
A fact that he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
I think this is certainly not the person Jamarion was destined to become, nor is dead at age 9 the person Connor was destined to become.
I think we can agree that something here went terribly wrong. If this was an isolated story then we might, brush it off as a rare random thing, but the problem here is that things like this happen everyday.
So we must face this head on. We must ask, how can this be made right? How, is it possible to redeem this? What hope do we have?
I think that we would have to say that all things being equall Connor’s family would just like to have him back.
Jamarion would like to undo what he has done.
The only way to make the world right here is to undo what has been done, to bring Connor back to his family. To give Jamarion a chance to look Connor in the eye and say I am sorry, please forgive me.
I only know of one hope in the universe for that.
And here we have something about taught morality do we not?
Johnny kills a Robin or a Bluejay, he learns and while his learning is no good to the bird, it is just a bird. Johnny learned you can’t take death back, death is final, it is the end.
This other kid stabbed a child, this is a serious crime, he can’t take it back, his life and the lives of others are forever altered. He is not a psychopath, he feels remorse, yes but he is now a “violent criminal” and will be spending time in a “criminal justice system” that may make him a better criminal.
We have here a tragedy with no good to come from it. Death doesn’t come in degrees, it is or it is not.
This might be hard to hear, but Connor could have fallen from a tree, ran into a road and been hit by a truck or drown in a creek, and his death would be no less senseless, the only difference is there would be no one to be angry at or blame.
And who do we blame here? A 12 year old boy? His parents?
How can it be “made right”? It cannot be made right, it never will be made right, not ever, certainly not in this space time.
We have also be led to believe that murder is the only thing like this. That most other crimes can be made right, some can’t ever. If I steal your stuff, yes I can pay restitution and repay my debt to you plus damages and unless you are just a vindictive ass at some point you have to say, you have been made whole.
But when someone rapes a child, how is that ever “made right”?
When someone shoots up another person home, how is this made right? The family will likely live in fear for years and have PTSD even if no one was hurt.
When a nation conscripts a 18 year old boy, makes him kill others in a foreign land and live with it for his entire life, how is that made right?
Christians want to believe God will make it right. Not going to happen. Sending someone to hell won’t fix it and giving the victim a perfect kingdom won’t either.
The only way one can really deal with such things is to understand that there are rules to space time, period. For it to work, some must die, some must be ill, some must be well, etc. That there are consequences to doing wrong as WE set those consequences. That often those consequences are not about “making it right” but more about preventing occurrence.
When a mother of such a child as Connor finds some peace in this, they often say, “I want to prevent this from happening to someone else”. They are now working in the world of the possible with a sense of purpose. Sadly many say, “I want to prevent this from happening to anyone else”. Such are in the world of the impossible.
What I believe is HERE and NOW these things matter, they matter a lot. And we must do out best to prevent what we can and deal with that which we fail to prevent.
However, in the grand scheme it doesn’t matter. The souls of Connor and Jamarion are immortal, nothing can truly harm them unless they give their permission to be harmed in the eternal.
Those are some good points. You are right, some or even most of these things can never be made right in this current space/time.
My hope is not that an evil thing would be made good, but that all evil will be undone.
Which leads into my next question. Which is a question Christians are asked a lot by Atheists. It is a valid question, that anyone who believes in a creator of all things must answer….
If God exists, and God created all things, what kind of God created a world in which evil exists?
Both the evil things done by man, and more importantly natural evil, like the boy drowning in the river you mentioned above. Or people being killed or having losses due to natural disasters.
The question assumes that God did all the creating in this Space/Time, he didn’t. We are co creators, we are co creating each and every day. We have a much to do with the creation of “earth” beyond the base biomes as God in fact we likely have MORE.
As to why pain and suffering. If you don’t believe in an eternal life, this is hard to answer. If you do, if you believe the soul is immortal and free (if it chooses to be) of all suffering after what we call phyical life, it is easy to answer.
Why do you die in a video game? Why is it hard? Why not just make a game where everyone wins all the time, no one dies, there are no bad guys, only good guys. Your character moves though screen after screen of beauty and love and abundance and never suffers, dies, finds a blocked passage, etc.
The truth? As Ricard Bach said, “we are the otters of the universe, we can’t be harmed and we never die”.
Space/Time is our creation as co creators with God. We have pain and suffering because frankly we need it at this point in our journey of discovery.
I know you will say what if all believed this, would there not be harm, mayhem and murder everywhere and would not people just say it doesn’t matter? The answer is NO, we would not.
Find me a person that believes what I just said, and there are many of us. Then show me one of those who harms other people.
Acceptance of violence and pain in this place is not the same as wishing it upon another. I have yet to find a single person that comprehends that we are truly immortal beings, that we are truly co-creators with God, that we truly are here for the purpose of education and entertainment that doesn’t also have the non aggression principle as part of their moral code. Even if they don’t know the term, “non aggression principle” they are living it, that is how you know what is real.
Christianity and all “revealed religions” require something to be true that is not. They require that hate is real. The people that wrote your bible tried to explain it with symbology but you didn’t listen.
John 1:5 “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”
John is a book of gnostic wisdom, a story with a code, not a story to be read literally.
There is no darkness, there is only the absence of light. Aaron there is no hatred, only the absence of love.
Why do people who comprehend the light do no harm to another? Because they are selfish in the most positive way that is why.
If all I have told you is true and I believe it is, then part of why you do no harm, is that there is nothing to be truly gained from doing so.
When one both loves life for the gift that it is, yet no longer fears eventual death for the continuum that it represents, then one is truly alive.
The transformation is radical. You know who I am unlike most here so you know my background. You don’t know that at one time I would cold cock a guy in a bar over an argument and feel good about whipping his ass. You don’t know that at one time I craved fighting in a ring or on a street, neither mattered. I always stood up for the weak, I did that out of morality. I also was quick to use it as an excuse to put another person on their ass.
Today I could only harm a person when and if I had no other choice. Break in my home on a dark night, threaten my wife’s safety and you die. But get in my face, challenge me to a fight and if there is anyway I will walk away.
Why, I know there is nothing to be gained from conflict, I know there is nothing to be gained from causing a person pain, zero.
So why will I still shoot a person if they want to harm another? Because even though this life is but an illusion, even though it is temporary, it is a gift and it is precious.
This may come as a surprise to you, but I agree with your first 2 paragraphs. Because we have free will means we cannot help but shape the world that we live in. Just like the butterfly effect or chaos theory.
Any small seemingly insignificant decision we make can have exponential effect on events, in the future. A relevant example would be the current crisis in Iraq. It is very possible that the decision that the United States made to go to war within 10 or so years ago, had a direct impact on the fact that people are being massacred in that country as we speak.
But you could just as easily lay the blame on the mastermind of 9-11 which caused our country to become vengeful and ready for war.
On a more personal level though, the decisions we make as individuals can have a profound effect on the future and potentially millions of other people. If you had enough knowledge you could probably trace cause and effect of the ISIS crisis back to some seemingly random event like… maybe Bin Ladens father beat him too much as a boy, or his mother abandoned him.
It could go back beyond that to the beginning of time itself, a series of events that all worked together to finally in the end resulted in the terrible events like are happening in Iraq or the terrible results of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.
I think this is where we have to conclude that there must be some other hand at work here. Some other influence on history. If God created the “base biomes” and there was evil in the world before humans came into being, than there must be a creator of that evil that is not God. But is contrary to his nature.
Some other free agents that have more power to influence creation than humans do….
This or these free agents infected creation and made cruelty, pain, suffering, and natural evil possible in an otherwise good world.
Here is a video from an Open Theist, that explains this another way. I lean heavily toward the ideas of Open Theism.
On your next point, I guess this would be where you and I would not agree. You see suffering as a necessary part of our journey. I don’t. I think that we can experience everything we would possibly need without suffering, or evil.
I can think of many examples of this.
Anytime you pick up a book, or explore the world around you, you are gaining experience without suffering or evil. In fact I would go as far to say that everything we experience that has no evil or suffering attached to it are the only experiences we truly learn from.
If there is evil attached to an experience than we only get a twisted sense of understanding that often has to be undone to truly advance. Otherwise there would be no need for the profession of psychiatrists or counselors of any kind.
When an evil happens such as the horrible crime of child abuse, there is really nothing of benefit to be learned. However there is a whole lot that needs to be undone.
If you say that we can learn anything of value through the experience, that cannot be learned by any other means, than you must be saying that, in a way, that suffering that the child experienced is a good thing. If that is the case than what good is a distinction between good and evil, or a sense of morality in the first place?
I would even go so far as to say that this world has gone so far the wrong way, it has been corrupted so much toward evil and darkness that when good comes to the world, the world does not recognize it.
Which is the true meaning of John 1:5. If you read the rest of the chapter you see that in the context of the text.
So with all this evil that infected the earth, what could be done to bring the earth back to the good creation that it was meant to be?
What is it that chases away the darkness?
You eluded to the impotence of darkness. You are right, it isn’t in fact a real thing. A little bit of light and it is gone.
So if light represents good and darkness evil, then all we need is the source of goodness and light to enter the world. Like a light in the darkness, the light overcomes the darkness. Which you can read about in the gospel of John that you quoted.
St. Paul tells us that our faith would be in vain if Jesus did not rise from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:14).
As C.S. Lewis says, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, He would have been either a liar or a lunatic.
And JK Rowling says Dumbledore gave Harry a cloak of invisibility.
Ok, my comment is going to be much shorter. I’m not gonna try to top what you’ve already said, I just have a simple question I really want to hear some thoughts on. Why is Johnny or the psychopath broken in the first place?
I just discovered this site yesterday, and I am so glad I did. I am a “recovering christian” and every post speaks to me, as I am now a Deist who is learning much more about deism from your posts.
I’m reading this blog for the first time in July 2015. I grew up in a Christian home and from the age of 13, I struggled with many aspects of Christianity. In my mid and late twenties, I’ve gone back and forth among Deism and Christian Deism. Reading this, I would most likely identify myself as a Modern Deist. The ideas presented in this blog make more sense than any ideology I have ever encountered. A lot of the conclusions you have made I have also made even before discovering this website. I really hope you pick up blogging again because I love reading and reflecting on what you write.