Morning Meditations #66: The Power Of Love

MM 66I don’t know if it’s the excitement and passion I have poured into the last few days of my life, but I almost never wake up at 3:23 in the morning and decide to stay up, but that’s where I’m at today. Some of you noticed my post yesterday about being challenged on social media, and indeed, accused of shortsightedness on various issues. I have taken on all doubters and even been proved wrong a few times, which is a good thing, as most people know what happens when I am wrong. Even letting some guy manipulate me into a giant thread defending a fucking “meme” that is true. My high level of respect for human intellect is susceptible to trolling such as this because of an innate nature to teach, even when learning and listening aren’t in someone’s heart. Not going to change just because a few bored humans seek to entertain themselves by wasting time. Of course, this turns the mirror back to me.

What the hell am I doing if only like minded people take my writing and research seriously? Is everyone else either ignoring me, becoming agitated, or trolling me? Happily, I have an answer for this moment of self examination.

If I can help even one person understand that morality is intrinsic to life, and that there really is science and evidence behind why it is good to be good, then every breath and calorie spent is worth it. If there is a chance that someone that religion and blind faith has hurt like it hurt me can be helped to understand the pathologies exhibited aren’t entirely their fault, then it is worth every moment wasted by some internet troll. Truthfully, I could go on and on about the reasons I publish and post like I do with the message I dutifully carry. This is the burden of a secular humanist and a hard determinist.

Revealing the elements of daily life in a purely physical realm to improve quality of life for as many people as possible is my great joy. It comes close to utilitarianism Benthem stylie, but contrasts even from the elevated and evolved version propagated by John Stewart Mill. While both are consequentialist in philosophy, my determinist view, (often confused with fatalism, but please don’t do that) which does acknowledge consequential philosophy’s utility (good irony), allows for plentiful and important elements of reality to bubble up from the past. This might seem counterproductive from a lifestyle meditator, but bear with me, please.

Seeing as everyone is a product of their environment, even spiritually, we cannot hold folks ultimately accountable for every part of their personality. Seems a slippery slope, but I assure you this doesn’t mean that people aren’t responsible for their actions. A child born into a violent and abusive family will be conditioned to see the world in that way. Now, they may choose to rebel against the reality they face, but even that action is determined by the nature of their environment, as it would be nonsense to rebel against an abusive family if there isn’t any actual abuse. Yet, if this abused child did take on the violence inherited from the environment and acted out on others, we would need to protect ourselves from such a person, thus holding them accountable for their actions. Hating them or blaming them wouldn’t be productive at all, but rather we would need to use all the powers of love and understanding to protect ourselves to the point of potential incarceration. Lions on the loose would be a bad idea in downtown Fayetteville.

This is true if a person is brought up well but still turns into a predator. Other internal factors of which they have no control may be the very thing that triggers a behavior.  This too would point to them being a victim of an internal intellectual (or biological) environment. Evidence collected may point toward a biological foundation for consciousness, but even if you need to hang on to the idea of the soul, that still won’t lead us down a path of blame. How could I be held accountable for having a soul that needed to be psychopath and harm others or myself? I would still be determined by the actions of a soul before my life even begins. “Don’t hate me, my soul needed to become a heroine addict to elevate to the next level.” There is no blame in this theory either. The loving and understanding thing to do would be to protect ourselves and loved ones, followed by the offering of a helping (and shielding) hand in an effort to lessen their suffering. One of my intellectual heroes, Sam Harris, makes the point,

“So you can’t take credit for your talents, but it really matters if you use them. You can’t really be blamed for your weaknesses and your failings, but it matters if you correct them. Pride and shame don’t make a lot of sense in the final analysis. But they were no fun anyway. These are isolating emotions. What does make sense are things like compassion and love: caring about well-being makes sense; trying to maximize your well-being and the well-being of others makes sense. There is still a difference between suffering and happiness, and love consists in wanting those we love to be happy. All of that still makes sense.”

He says this in reference to free will (which I am not buying either), but he comes to this conclusion as a determinist. I know this has been a long philosophical rant, but it makes the point I began with hum with gong-like sustain.

Using the power of unconditional love for one another allows us to criticize, or open a healthy discourse on the problems we face, not just with the world at large, but with each other as well. This is the mission I set out to accomplish daily. Do I? I cannot really care outside of being told that I am hurting folks. This is an issue for you, the Gentle Reader, to judge, or perhaps if that word is too heavy for you, this is an issue for anyone to assist me with understanding myself.

It is almost 6:00. What a great way to spend the first two hours of my day, thanks for being a part of it.

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