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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Living Religion IV: Discerning Good - What Is It Good For?

That this post is going to be somewhat, er, tautological is foreshadowed by its tongue-in-cheek title, which may be interpreted as "What Is Good Good For?" (haha,) or alternatively (and correctly,) "What Is Discerning Good Good For?" - which shakes off some of the self-referential tendency in a discussion like this.

Sadly, as I discussed in these posts - here and here - the current crop of powermongers in the world dismiss "Good" as fundamental to human nature. They aver that it's just some moonbatty idea. And, as I inferred (I hope successfully) in those posts, it is not only the "current" crop, but rather that it is individuals who are thusly crippled inside who aspire to power, so everything is in its proper place, really.

As we see the world increasingly through the lens of these sad pessimists, it then becomes an act of profound spiritual urgency that we look seriously at the question of "discerning" good. One point of departure for this logic is for the simple expedience of maintaining good mental health but, as I have deconstructed the primacy of the self, I would like to articulate just what "good mental health" actually means here. I wrote:
Now, what if this "idea" of the self is actually all there is to it? Read that carefully. Yes, I am flat out saying that there actually is nothing behind it. I am saying that the self is a construct of thought, and nothing more. Nothing, nada, zip.

I follow that with the fact that there is such a thing as "good mental health" but, as it cannot reside in a fictional self (which is a neurotic byproduct of thought), then where does it then reside? As I danced around the residency of "Good" in my last post in this series, I so shall conflate this with "good mental health" here, making it just as unbounded.

Unbounded. That is the word which points to the answer which is impossible to state positively, and can only be hedged about. For "unbounded" cannot be seen or apprehended (only lamely conceptualized, but that is just a "bounded" idea of "unbounded"), but we instinctively "know" that reality is unbounded (right?). It is the same with "good" and "good mental health" - these things cannot be "known," but we are going to use the word "discerned" to at least intimate that we can have some participation in them.

It is the very perception of the fictional nature of the self which brings the good into flower. There is no willful way to evoke good, but there are myriad ways to suppress it. It is those suppressive ways (such as belief in self) which can be addressed, however - and I state here (stupidly positivistically again) that if those things are well-addressed, then good shall flower in the presence of your discernment, or perception. This is where Krishnamurti's oft-quoted "The world is me and I am the world" comes from. It sounds like a bunch of mystical horseshit at first blush, but think for a moment of this fact, and its implications.

It means we are responsible. Not in the negative consequential way (reward or punishment, heaven or hell, etc.), but in an engaged, loving, cooperative, supportive way. A "discerner of good" is a helper and peace-giver to all around himself. She is an immediate soother, and bringer of real community security to other people and living things, and it is absolutely reciprocal, and this reciprocity is readily apparent to the discerner, regardless as to how it may appear to outside observers, who will spin any observation into their own "self"-inflicted neurotic interpretation. This is why we must not assign any significance whatsoever to the "bad things" that we see people do. If we proceed from that accumulation of bounded knowledge, then all that will result is a continuation of the consequences of, well, proceeding from an accumulation of bounded knowledge.

As far as the "attainment" of security goes, this is profoundly different than trying to gain security for the bounded self. And it has profound implications regarding the order of the world. This is what "discerning good" is "good for."


In my next post, I hope to muster the ability to discuss "The Urgency Of The Sacred" and, as currently planned, a follow up which touches upon discerning good yet again. Then I hope that I will have the clarity to try to share some of what I see and feel in regards to this whole "Living Religion" thing. Which is really, really dangerous ground, but I am an intrepid fool.

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