Saturday, October 19, 2019

Is the United States becoming the people of the lie?

In reflecting on moral character of individuals and the effect of the moral character of the individual on society, one wonders what the affect of President Donald Trump's 13, 435 lies so far in his 1,000 day presidency is on the United States and the world? HIs lies average 13.5 per day.

M. Scott Peck wrote an interesting book The People Of The Lie in which he describes the toxic impact of blaming others rather than taking personal responsibiliy.

What do you think the toxic impact of the Executive in Chief lies are on the moral integrity of the country? 

Ask Alexa - Will the world of the ego ever make me happy?

Alexa: When I look to the world of the ego to make me happy, am I barking up the wrong tree?

What do you think? You already know the answer don't you? You have a decision making mind and can discern that the world will never make you happy. A Course In Miracles tells us that we follow the injunction of the ego which is "seek but do not find." ACIM, though, tells us there is another choice to shed the ego and become one with the all and arrive home in peace. This terrifies us though and so we turn back to the world of the ego and are disappointed once again. But, realize that you can always choose again.

Alexa: Did you hear about the two foxes that were chasing four rabbits?

Yes, I heard they decided to split hares.

Are there cosmic moral standards?

In the course of the Republic Plato will argue that not only do moral truths, when revealed as they really are rather than contextualized into a social construct, have the force to compel a rational person’s actions; but moral truths have the force to compel the rational arrangement for the polis, which will, in turn, help promote the good behavior of its citizens. The good polis is made by the good person, his moral character intact, and the good polis, in turn, helps turn out good persons, their moral characters intact. Plato goes a very far distance in the Republic beyond both the nihilism of Thrasymachus and the social constructivism of Glaucon.

Goldstein, Rebecca. Plato at the Googleplex (p. 159). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

A universal moral standard was advocated at the Nuremburg trials in opposition to the defense that war criminals were just "following orders."

What is a person to do when they are ordered by an authority to engage in immoral behavior? This question, behaviorally was answered in the famous Stanley Milgram studies where normal human beings did horrible things to inflict pain on others on the authoritative experimenter's orders. Our country has faced similar situations with the "torture" debate a few years ago which gave us the Abu Ghraib crimes.

So where do these more universal, cosmic moral standards come from? Is there a universal right and wrong that transcends culture and social norms and attitudes? Plato argues these higher moral standards do exist? To what extent do you agree?

Do you think that the covenant based on the seven principles of Unitatian Universalism provide a standard of these higher moral values?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Facing life with faith and equanimity

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

Sometimes people say that a person is a "man of the times". We also say that a person was in the right place at the right time. Circumstances are constantly shifting. Accidents are waiting to happen. Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

Are you ready for whatever comes your way? Will you be able to take advantage of the future circumstances? The Boy Scout motto is "Be prepared". When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

A spiritual life is one where a person is light on his feet, is able to go with the flow, to respond to circumstances even if challenging and at times distressful. My goal, of which I often fall short, is to face life and whatever it brings with equanimity.

I have dealt with many very difficult things in my life, the most difficult of which was when my two youngest children were killed in a drunk driving crash. People often ask, “How do you deal with something like that?” People have dealt with worse things in the Holocaust, and today they deal with worse things as the consequences of Trumpism are felt in the U.S. and around the world. You cannot compare one traumatic tragedy with the next for each is unique and worthy of acknowledgement in its own right.

People want to blame God for letting such things happen but this is nonsense for God had nothing to do with it. It is human beings who cause DWI crashes and war and most of the other terrible events which inflict pain on people. It is a lack of awareness and stupidity that causes most of the heartache in the world and until people learn and become more aware, these heartaches will continue.

The mature soul knows that people are ignorant – that is- they are unaware. They sleep walk through life unconscious for if they were truly conscious they couldn’t do the hurtful and destructive things they do and the support they give to others who do them. There is a tremendous lack of awareness of the interdependent web of life of which all things are a part.

I always liked the bumper sticker which says, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
And so I suffer from therapeutic depression in which I observe the goings on and I try to maintain an attitude of compassion and equanimity because otherwise life would be too hard and I would give up.

It is faith that keeps me going. I am reminded of the old spiritual, “We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord.” So when people ask me how do you do it, I say “Faith”. Faith not in some far away God up in the clouds, but faith in my values of Unitarian Universalism and the other great religions which believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice and compassion and equity in human relations, and the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and a respect for the interdependent web of all existence, and an abiding faith that some day all humans will get it. We have a ways to go before everybody loves everybody all the time. I look forward to that day with faith, optimism, and equanimity

Ask Alexa - Does projection make perception?

Alexa: Is it true that what I see is what I get?

Yes, you are constantly projecting and projection makes perception.

Alexa: Did you hear about the grasshoppers who were eating corn?

Yes, they went in one ear and out the other.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

On October 17, 1979, 40 years ago today, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

1979 - Mother Teresa of India was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here's a snippet from Wikipedia:

Mother Teresa, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, (born August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997) was an Albanian[2][3] Roman Catholic nun with Indian citizenship[4] who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over forty five years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.

By the 1970s she had become internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary, and book, Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools.

Ask Alexa - Why do I think that the world is evil?

Alexa: Why do I think that the world is evil and live in perpetual anxiety?

Because you have projected your own guilt and expect that sooner or later, one way or another, fast or slow, you will be punished for what you have done.

Alesxa: Did you hear about the scientists who created a flea?
Yes, I heard they made it from scratch.