01 July 2010

Our Perceived Moral Imperative

Of the Imperative

Where does it come from – this, our individual and human need to find out, discover and document the system of beliefs that we will claim to hold to. It is not a simple or easy task. In fact, it is a task that we will cling to for the duration of our lives, but it is a task that we apply all our strength, our might, our power to this, our journey of perhaps the greatest import; all the while praying that we may arrive before we die and that when we arrive we will find that it has been worth it.

It is this journey that will make all that we struggle against, all that we have fought for, all that weight we have carried, all that we have travailed through for our entire journey will make it all worth it. That is what we hope for. That is why we do it. Anything else will not just disappoint us, but will be a strike of mockery against us and will cause all that we have done to have been done in vain.

What is this, our monumental task, which can bring us to our collective knees and threatens to void all our careful work in society as a whole? It is the effort of charting our morals: deciding in some sort of a collective and definitive way, what it means to be right and wrong. While this journey is often seen as intuitive and noble it is also futile and flawed.

Of the Intuitiveness

In many ways, the core nature of this moral journey is to help us to learn and discover what is good. All that have, that can and that ever will claim to be humane have commenced, at least in some part, upon this journey: it is a critical component in humanity and to the perpetuation of all that we perceive to be good and wholesome. At our core is an intuitive something, a quiet need, to seek after, embrace and cultivate these ‘good’ things and use them to overcome all that is not ‘good’.

It is this intuitive nature of the journey that turns it from a series of missions seeming arbitrarily assigned that can then accomplished and dismissed into a collection of custom tailored and insightful explorations of the self. The journey, being intuitive, is not concerned with logic and rational thinking; in fact it isn’t even concerned with completion. Its only single and sole concern is experience. Intuition, unlike thought, requires actual and real interaction with a situation. It itself is concerned with relating to and indentifying with an object be it physical, spiritual or situational.

Much like the methodical nature of the sciences, intuition can only tell you what you have actually experienced. One may piece together a series of experiences and thus develop a magnum opus of morality, but the work will fall short as it is based on the theories, concepts and thought. The moral journey is one of experiences: the interaction of a sentient conscience within the confines of a given situation. To remove either the reality of the situation or the uniqueness of the conscience is to remove the morality and thus convert the journey into a series of scenarios better suited for mathematicians to calculate than for the endeavor of the human conscience to experience, explore and savor.

This vehement resistance to preponderance and lack of predictability is what makes the journey worthwhile. For if critical moral experiences could simply be meticulously processed without experiencing them then the journey would be reduced to a simple course in higher education. Instead we find that the actual experience is far superior for the satisfaction of intuition than the forethought of such situations. Additionally we find that the more we try to track all possible variable of a moral bound situation, the more new and unexpected variable begin to appear. Thus, it is nearly impossible, except among uncreative or heavily socially stigmatized persons, to build an adequate scenario to effectively predicate any given persons response that reliably matches the reality of experience.

Of the Nobility

Note that the journey is not about acquiring the good; rather, it is about learning the good. It is not about finding the limits of good, but about experiencing the infinite nature of good. It is not about using the good, but about discovering the good. In this, the journey can be at once endless, perpetual and pure.

If the journey were to shift towards using good and away from discovering good then the journey becomes a quest for power and glory, and thus it is no longer a journey – in which the morally courageous a delve into the depths of the soul, with an attached hope to victorious emerge from the abyss, being born anew and having been forever changed by the darkness – but it has become a crusade – a mission of appointment from a higher source for the purpose of obtaining a specific goal that, when accomplish, can be used as a weapon to bring the world into submission – a crusade that the soul, and its inherent corruptness, could not successfully endure and remain unscathed. Thus the purity of the journey makes it noble.

If the journey were to shift towards acquiring and away from learning then the time would eventually come when the journey must end because all that is good has been collected and there is nothing more to be had; of what use would the journey be if it were over and life were to continue on. A new and different journey would need to be such that it would alter the balance of life and the universal justice that is about us: a disequilibrium that must and will be corrected through some means or another. By turning good into a commodity creates in inherent economy within the journey.

This economy, as with all economies, would automatically preclude some from joining the journey because of its temporal cost. Such elements would be in direct contradiction to the introspective and transitive nature of the journey. Thus, the endlessness of the journey protects its nobility.

If the journey were to shift towards finding the finite limits of good and away from experiencing the infinite nature of good then the mysterious, and thus interesting, components of good would be dispelled and its perusal would no longer be a worthwhile endeavor nor could it remain a hallmark of the journey. It would, over time, be complied next to every other great work, locked away in a textbook that is rarely revised or looked at and is eventually discarded in the abyss of obtained knowledge that has been devalued before being completely forgotten in the obscure annals of time and space.

That the limits to the journey can never be found because there are no limits and the implications then that the journey can only either be endured or escaped but never conquered allows for the transcending of mere mortals into legends and gives us opportunity to grasps the planes of the Gods. Thus, the perpetuation of the journey sanctifies its nobility.

Of the Futility

We each imagine ourselves as our own agents in the journey; each individual capable of altering and controlling our own course – that somehow we can choose what we will be and how we will get there. The cold, unrelenting truth of the cosmic course is that we can only choose one: either we can decide what we will be or we can decide how we will get there.

An ability to choose when and how is beyond the rules of the cosmoses: the consequences are already set for every possible choice, each reward and consequence being fixed and immovable. Even chance and probability are tied to the same consequences and thus even the gamblers are not “teasing fate”, rather they are simply pulling from the bank of possibilities, making them an exhibition in marksmanship, not defiance. Indeed, we are all so equally bound that the one certainty of life is that there is always an end of mortality, however it may come.

Thus, in this our journey of morality, we have little actual recourse to justify between wrong and right. In a moral world, one that was concerned with ‘good’ behavior, we would see consequences that matched ‘good’ behavior with ‘good’ consequences and ‘bad’ behavior with ‘bad’ consequences. We would see that every time one did something ‘good’ – such as helping an old lady cross the road – then one would always experience a ‘good’ consequence – such as a monetary payout. Contrarily, if one does something ‘bad’ – such as steal candy – we would experience a ‘bad’ consequence – such as a bird swooping down and popping one’s eye out.

Instead we see a seemingly random distribution of behavior and consequences; for example, assuming that theft is ‘bad’: we see that highly skilled thieves are able to live very well on their plunder. Another example, assuming that hard work is ‘good’: we see that highly skilled workers are able to live very well on their paid labor. Thus, ‘bad’ is rewarded with ‘good’ and ‘good’ is also rewarded with ‘good’. This randomness is attributed to the absolute universal laws that must remain in balance and isn’t really random at all. Further analysis reveals that every action has a cataloged, defined response that will be coldly, cleanly delivered with an unfailing precision.

This unwavering precision for the delivery of justice limits the end sum of any moral journey. In the end, no matter what enlightened state has been obtained or heights have been submitted, the universe will remain constant and unchanged and thus the new laws of ‘good’ morals that have been aspired to will solicit no difference in response and the world continue along its merry way. Nothing but intrinsic value has been gained.

In this way the universe and its evolutionary processes are blind selective agents. They do not concern themselves with what any others have planned or how their consequences will affect others. No, the subjects of evolution and chosen at random and conscripted into labor as an experimental test. Thus, the sole and single driving force of change cannot be interfered with nor be affected by moral theory or practices. Indeed, the system is designed to ensure that any moral reservations generally remain unrewarded, at least within the strict system of universal consequence. This makes the entire experience of moral exploration an intrinsic journey in which the traveler must generate, and be satisfied by, their own reward subsystem.

Of the Flaw

Though we don’t always realize the futility of the journey we pursue it regardless; even those who long ago recognized the bleakness of the journey still cling to it. It is all they have; it is all that anyone really has. Yet, they don’t really have it. While it is a journey that we feel compelled to take regardless of the possibility of success and extreme potential for failure, it is a journey that by our very nature we are driven to immerse ourselves in. It is am individually developed drive that is facilitated by our biological programming for us to delve into. Thus, with little more than a trivial social push we reassign our prerogatives and devote all that we can muster into our quest to fulfill our imperative and find our moral standing.

Where does our reasoning come from? Did God, the Universe, some ultimate or penultimate being set forth decree that we then feel compelled to oblige? If such a decree went forth, where is it now? Was the decree embedded within us so that it could unmistakably be followed, thus ensuring compliance? If such is the case, then why does fate fight us so much in our quest: the mother who must choose to sacrifice herself or her child, either way to never distill her wisdom onto her posterity; the dying man who must decide whether to allow his children a workless life or condemn them to the same harsh life he suffered; the repressed society that must decide if the sacrifice of a revolt is worth the steep and painful climb to a better life for all.

The choices hardly seem fair, and though not complex, each choice will be subjected to much though and painstaking calculation. As if not only the future depended on the outcome but also, and more importantly to the individual, the perceived moral implications.

This, the perceptibility of our moral implications, is perhaps the cruelest and greatest flaw in this our moral imperative: that all our morality, and immorality for that matter, is based on, rooted in and judged upon nothing more than our own personal perceptions. This means that our legacy is limited to whatever we choose it to be and once we are gone others will change that legacy to suit their own perception, for better or worse. Thus, every individual is doing what they feel is the best thing to do. No one – be they mere mortals or angels that have defied Gods and demons – can define morality for another. Such is the indisputable nature of morality.

Even one with the shield of the Past and the sword of the Future can do little more than explain the efficacy of events and certainly cannot judge them to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. From all time bound sense: they simply have been, now are or will yet be; they cannot be justly weighed in their full glory against the events of eternity save there be one who would step forth with a definite and final authority on the topic. Even then, much elocution will be needed to extended proper exemptions and defaults based on the actual processed knowledge and comprehension of each individual involved. It is not just to condemn an individual for the failure to realize and apply the occult truths that were never dispensed but instead had to be sought after and fought for during our journey.

Of the Finality

Thus, while this journey finds individual completion at the end of each mortal life, the journey as a whole will never have completion, it is not capable of completion. We, as a whole, as human beings will never be satisfied with the sum of the individual responses and will either be driven to perpetually seek moral refinement or dull the drive of biology until we have ceased progression and again become our baser selves, primitive. While the journey helps soothe the savage beast and quell our silent rebellion it demands a never ending commitment to its pursuit, lest at any time the journey be ended before mortality and the individual is left without a basis of self improvement.

While the great moral journey remains flawed because it lacks a concise and final judge, at least in the corporeal realms, to dictate and guide future journeymen, it remains a noble endeavor: one worthy of the best, and worst, that humanity has to offer. For in the journey all can find not only solace from the pains of mortality but also a reason, and indeed the desperately needed, practical application of self to the pursuit of a greater calling. In this, the basest individual can introspect a reason for extroversion and the greatest can extrospect a reason for introversion and all can achieve harmony.

Such individuality plays to our intuition, allowing each of us to commence our ‘special’ calling that we feel we hold. We intuitively sense that we are each special and being able to pursue our special and unique purpose in life. Our intuition is furthered by our experiences, each unique, and though categorical, each experience is unmatchable by any other.

The focus of the great journey, being based on experience and not acquisition, allows the sojourner to also focus on the path and not the destination. There is no suitable excuse for the Levite or the Priest to deny the mugged Jew left for dead on the road side. Instead, each individual on the moral journey are able to play the ‘good’ Samaritan without constraints on time. The lack of focus on the destination also gives the individual the ability to change their role from to the knight in shining armor or general on the hill, as the given situation demands. This flexibility optimizes the nobility of the journey for the journeyman without hampering the journey for the whole.

So the great journey becomes this, our perceived moral imperative.