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Doing the un-thing

"To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless." - G.K. Chesterton

It's easy to love the lovable, pardon the pardonable, believe the believable and hope for the hopeful. But those aren't the real tests, those are the daily defaults. No... love, forgiveness, trust, faith, hope, honour and dignity are only valid when challenged. They only take on meaning when their meaning is questioned. We can say we love one another, or we forgive an unkind word or action, or we believe in peace, or we hope for a better world for our kids, but some words are only meaningful if they're universal. Those are the words of morality, ethics and goodness.

But none of us is perfect. Surely good enough has to be good enough. There are some who are just simply unlovable, there are crimes and sins which demand no pardon, there are unbelievable truths...we see them, or variations of the truth, reported on the news every day. How can we reconcile the requirement that concepts such as morality and ethics... the very basic that constitutes each of us as a human being separate from a mere animal classification... how do we reconcile that those are measures of perfection with the fact that we're not perfect? Can you be 90% moral? Is it ok to maintain your ethical standards 'usually'?

Is it sufficient that we just try? After all, that's what happens in reality. We try. Some try a whole lot harder than others. Some personal standards conflict with others. If morality is fixed in stone, and mine is at variance with yours, is solution or resolution possible? Is one of us 'wrong'? Is one of us more ethical than the other, or are we just different? Can two different ethical systems both be equally accurate and useful? If so, shouldn't they each allow for that? Shouldn't we allow for others to have diametrically opposite views, beliefs, fundamentals? Why the search for universal truth if there is no such thing? Who would recognize it as such if there is such a thing?

I would suggest that there is indeed such a thing as universal truth. The assumption inherent in that phrase is that there is a single common universal truth. It assumes that the same truth applies to everyone. In fact, it's hard for me to imagine that the same truth applies to any two people. So why shouldn't a universal truth take into account the individuality of the population that it applies to? Of course, it must. That's the only way (that I can see, anyway) for one to exist. The only other possibility would be for all individuals to somehow come to a mass agreement, and that obviously isn't going to happen.

Some would make the case that the journey to constantly improve on these matters, the only ones that truly matter, is what defines individual purpose. Some just default into a daily existence, and let the chips fall where they may. Others are so practiced and comfortable with their own existence that it defaults for them. They naturally do the 'right' thing. The ones who do this most frequently, most consistently, most selflessly are usually the ones who get labelled as role models, or idols, or heroes.

What of the rest of us? We plod through our days, dealing with issues as they arise, hoping that our background, our experience, our skills, our beliefs will be sufficient to get us through any crisis we might face, real or imagined. By most measures, that's enough, at least, if our goal is to just 'get by'. But it's those life-moments, those major decision points that are governed by our higher standards which end up defining us truly as who we are. All the rest is window-dressing. It's those moments. The one where you step in to break up the fight between strangers, the one where you gain enough courage to leave a toxic relationship, the one where you nurse someone else through their problems because they can't do it alone. Those are the moments, the moments when our beliefs, our morals, our ethics are tested that we define ourselves.

Those who have determined that they are worth the risk, whatever the risk might be, have reached a level of understanding that cannot be taught, only experienced. The personal tragedy in a lot of lives is that we sell ourselves too short. We either fail to see the opportunities that our experiences present us with, or we turn down the opportunity to put ourselves to the test when it really matters. In either case, we miss opportunities for growth, we slide past the understanding that comes with challenge, we forego the value that we truly are. We forget to be who we are.

It makes living easier in a sense, but superficial in another. Most of us automatically adjust to some kind of unsettled equilibrium between the two, and slosh around in the uncertainties of our own blackness.


I believe in the old fashioned golden rule. I believe it is one of the most important universal truths. "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." I try to live that way.

I believe in the old fashioned golden rule. I believe it is a universal truth. "Do unto others as you would have them do to you."

(I guess that means you can repeat yourself when you comment on one of my posts, Rick.) Sorry.

I believe in the golden rule too, but is it a universal truth, or a universal wannabe?

I mean, it basically says 'tolerance', but we don't do that day-to-day. So, do we be realistic or philosophical? Practical or faithful?

An intriguing dichotomy, I think.

Rick, I thought of you when I read the following quote.

"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Interesting that you brought this up, as I have a theory on that. I believe that most of us are born with a built in "moral compass" Not to say this is not shaped by our parents, friends and environment, but I think it is kind of standard like brakes on a car. This accounts why most people who live by different religions..even athiests, will do what's right not because of some supreme judgement, but just because it is the RIGHT thing to do. Whatever it is that defines "right" is hardwires somewhere down in our psyche, and it is the basis for the universal understandings that build the foundation of society. At least, this is my theory and I am "off a bit" anyways by most accounts! Good to visit ya again!

Shane: Interesting theory, and what's even more interesting to me is that it pretty much is in line with what I think too.

I think we primarily act out of selfishness (self-survival) and secondly we act to assist others (keeping the species alive). It still intrigues me, though, even if this sense of 'rightness' is hardwired in some manner, I'm guessing it's rooted somehow by the fact that we all exist as social animals, and in spite of crime, murder, war, hate, etc. we still have that sense of commune underneath our individual differences.

Back in March, I posted what I've referred to as the Five Basic tenets of 'is' (which is the theory that I've been developing for myself for some years now). Here are the first four:

PART 1: It is the single most fundamental and primary inherent nature of every human being, when faced with any decision involving two or more options, to always select the option that is right (answering 'yes'), where 'right' means
a) there will be no unwilling victimization of another human being, and
b) the overriding responsibility of any generation is to the next one.

PART 2 (corollary to PART 1) : Every human being has an inherent, "built-in" default decision-maker, which always selects the right option, unless overridden through conscious intent, whatever the reason or consequence. Further, such decisions are constantly present, being made and being acted upon.

PART 3: The more a person allows their default system to function (often referred to in context with words such as 'instinct', 'gut feeling', 'synchronicity', 'serendipity', 'intuition', 'meditation', etc.) in an unquestioned and unchallenged, but actively observed way, the more "right" they will learn to become.

PART 4: The yielding of decision-making to the default mechanism grows in an exponential way, as does the overriding of it.

....and it's good to have you back, too. So glad things worked out the way they have.

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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