Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moral Evolution and the need for new “Forbiddens”

Life is filled with dualities and we seek the middle road between -- or rather we bias to one side and then back again, this is the way of “dynamic moderation”, the way of the golden mean, the “moving golden mean”.

But in the course of evolution there is another phenomenon, not the eternal cycle of opposites or parts and elements of a collection, but a definite progressive development where the old is cast off and the new replaces it.

In the course of Human moral evolution, we have the notion of the mean, the endless spinning mean, but we too have to leap to new stages, we take a grasp at the higher ethic, we make a criticism of the former code, we reach to the noble and cast out the Forbidden.

Human moral evolution works through a painful process of naming a forbidden, castigating its cadre and then embracing a new principle of compassion and love.

When the thinking people look at the course of civilization we see many things that must be declared “forbiddens”, things that are daily practice, perhaps repulsive to some but on the whole accepted and sanctioned by law and tradition. But we cannot accept these forbiddens they must be outed, named and condemned.

The evolution of forbiddens and the evolution of goodness are one and the same. The Social Diverse continues to evolve, our ethics are in constant creative motion, and our civilized home is restless. The forbiddens mark our progress; they are the measure of our enlightenment, the footholds of our ascent.

Ask yourself what are the new forbiddens of this epoch? What is the next moral and ethical platform? What are new commandments and constitutions of this time? Just what have we learned in the 21st century; what things are completely unacceptable in this age? On what issues do we make a complete break with relativist ethics and say this injustice or abuse or neglect will not be tolerated under any circumstance? When we make the leap to the forbidden from the pragmatic then we have evolved, otherwise we are just “practical”.

Moral evolution is a constant striving and struggle for the higher. It is in a state of continuing transcendence, always transcending itself, transcending its last known position, its last idea, its last battle, its last memory.

The struggle of good and bad form a special kind of dialectic called the “value dialectic”. This duality is highly biased and does NOT seek balance as other forms of duality do, which are more “practical” or “objective” or “managerial”.

We want more good and less bad, that is our direction, that is the irreversible arrow of ethical progress.

Meliorism is inherit in morality and bound up with the value dialectic, the effort to make things better is eternal for a Human being.

The Evolutionary Good is a good that evolves from stage to stage and generation to generation. This Good progresses and transforms and leaps and revolts. The Evolutionary Good drives us ahead and gives each generation a task, and gives each individual a programme at each personal phase of growth.

Idealism is what drives the heart to a loftier goal. Without idealism there is no energy or desire to power the ethical engine of History. Pragmatism though sounding wise to some is in fact the sigh at the end of a moral cycle when ideals have lost their appeal. Idealism is one and the same with striving and struggle, without it there is only compromise and “balance”.

Forbiddens mark out or measure our ascendance. When we have a leap but we have no forbiddens, then we are in trouble for we have no proof of our changed behavior. We have no higher standards to show our learning and thus no objective benchmark to prove our credibility. We must be able to say “NO” this will no longer be done, for moral progress is one of self denial.

In the 21st century, there is great moral leap that Humanity must take, and this leap must be manifested in forbiddens, in new commandments. What will they be?

There is a difference between a list of rights and a list of forbiddens. Rights come in conflict with each other, and rights require interpretation, and rights are often whittled down by the practical. Rights are more in the sphere of “Law”, but forbiddens are propelled from the realm of the Human Spirit. And this makes Spirit higher than Law, for it guides the Law and is not derived from Law.

Key ideas:

Evol utionary  Good
Striving and struggle
Value dialectic
Practical dialectic
Moral Evolution

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