Tag Archives: Morality

Deepak Chopra: You Are Not Your Body or Your Mind

What are the components that make up an identity? Stated another way, who are we and why? Day to day, we are most aware of the bodies that move us from place to place and the minds that construct thoughts and words. Even impulses and ineffable motivations, like the pursuit of morality, the desire for love, and the occasional waves of intuition might be explained away by science and psychology. But are these the only factors that define us? In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses the true nature of who we are, at the core of our existence.

What is comes down to, and what many of us already feel, we are neither our bodies nor our minds in totality. Our bodies and minds rather exist within us, within our consciousness, which is greater and more complete than a mere collection of cells or series of synaptic connections.

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Is the UK’s Online Pornography Ban Going Too Far?

david-cameron-220_1774555fWe know many people were fairly preoccupied yesterday with the news of the royal baby’s birth. But here is another story from the day that is going to affect far, far more people.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new sweeping government plan to ban (or at least dramatically reduce) viewing of online pornography. The plan, due to begin by the end of this year, will force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block all pornography-related search terms and websites. Individuals wishing to access pornography on their own Internet connections will have to contact their ISP directly in order to opt out of the program. “Extreme pornography” (such as content depicting rape scenes) will be entirely prohibited. Specific measures will also be taken to locate and prosecute viewers and distributors of child pornography.

So far, so good? Maybe not. Cameron appealed to the very sympathetic cause of protecting childhood innocence, but many are calling such blanket measures a violation of privacy rights. Here are some of the arguments:

1. First there’s the idea that the Internet should be a freely accessible source of information (in the broadest sense of the word). If people wish to restrict certain areas of the Internet in their own homes, then that is their prerogative.

2. Many raise the issue of who will determine what is “pornographic” versus what is informational, artistic, or just regular news (will risque images of celebs count?). Also, many mainstream movies are quite graphic, even depicting rape, child abuse, etc. How will these be evaluated?

3. Some argue that censorship of any sort is like a gateway drug for the government. Ban online pornography now, and what other online viewing habits will start being regulated as well?

4. One of the biggest concerns is that Cameron’s plan doesn’t actually address the pornography industry, sex trafficking, child abuse, or violence against women. It seems to be a way of painting over the issue, when there’s still a really dirty wall underneath.

Cameron’s ban qualifies as what is colloquially known as a “sumptuary law,” or a law intended to enforce morals and control certain consumption habits. This has included certain styles of clothing, food, and various “luxury habits.” The argument could be made that if you ban the material associated with the improper habit (ie. alcohol, revealing clothing, or, in this case, pornographic websites) then the behavior will necessarily decrease.

On the other hand: “Guns don’t kill. People do.”

What do you think?

 

Thumbnail image credit: James Blinn/Alamy

Deepak Chopra: Why Do Bad Things Happen? (Part 3)

In the last post we arrived at a conclusion that will surprise many people: If the good parts of your life are to have meaning, the same must be true of the bad parts.  This is a continual message delivered by the world’s wisdom traditions. It’s a fantasy to believe that being good will keep you from confronting the bad in life, or that there is ever enough pleasure to eradicate pain.  The ills that visit every person’s life exist for a reason. Yet each of us is fostering a different set of reasons in our heads.

 

At a superficial level, you can indulge in a blame game that never ends. The world contains enough malefactors to keep blame going for your entire life. My parents made me this way; my boss hates me; corporations are evil, and so on. As we keep projecting blame outward, the short-term effect might be that you feel better. It’s crudely satisfying to judge, blame, and hate. But even as the roster of villains proves endless, blame postpones the day when you have to face your own involvement. The world’s wisdom traditions are not superficial. There is no point in abandoning blame in order to feel better, to look good in the eyes of others, or to play the role of saint.

 

Rather, getting beyond blame is a way to actually solve the problem of suffering. In a sense, to act like a saintly martyr who turns the other cheek and patiently awaits for goodness to prevail is just as superficial as blaming other people.  Life is dynamic and complex. If you are ever going to get to the bottom of your own suffering, you have to be alert, aware, and constantly flexible. Playing a role, like taking a rigid moral position, freezes the mind. Consider a harsh judge on the bench who gives the maximum sentence to every defendant and refuses to consider mitigating circumstances.  Like a stopped clock, this judge may be right twice a day. There are malefactors who deserve harsh treatment. But what about the countless defendants who deserve to be treated flexibly, taking all their circumstances into account?

 

There’s a harsh judge inside each of us. Freud labeled it the superego, an aspect of the psyche absorbed in early childhood when the wrath of a parent seems absolute. Young children understand morality in black-and-white terms. They are praised for being good and punished for being bad. As a person matures, shades of gray enter the picture. One adapts to the truth that there is good and bad in everyone and reasons for actions that blur the line between right and wrong. But some part of us retains the memory of a black-and-white world. On that basis, there are millions of people who hold on to a clear-cut scheme of morality. This scheme is sometimes called Old Testament or fundamentalist, yet religion doesn’t necessarily dictate its terms. Childhood punishment probably plays just as big a part.

 

When bad things happen, all of us refer to our inner compass. We compare the present moment with a model of good and bad. In the case of people driven by the superego or by rigid religious teachings, the following principles are basic:

 

1. Two universal forces contend for control of creation, one being good, the other evil. Human beings are caught in this titanic struggle between light and darkness.

2. Forgiveness is provisional, blame is permanent.

3. Guilt tells you when you have done something wrong.

4. Judges, both inner and outer, have the right to assign guilt and blame.

5. God is the ultimate judge, keeping an eye on all sin and wrongdoing.

 

When this scheme is embedded in your psyche, your reaction to bad things is predictable because you have so little room to maneuver.

 

1. Your first instinct will be to look for someone to blame.

2. You will generalize that bad things are done by bad people, not by people who made a mistake or had a moment of weakness.

3. You will not be satisfied until someone is punished.

4. Random misfortunes will seem like hidden messages from a watchful God.

5. Self-esteem will depend on how perfectly you obey the rules.

6. Breaking the rules is always wrong, even when there are mitigating circumstances.

7. Anyone who challenges your dogma is morally suspect.

8. Life contains hidden punishments delivered by God.

9. Temptation comes from the devil or the dark side of creation.

10. You must defend good in order to prevent evil from gaining the upper hand.

 

This is the scheme that millions of people applied to the problem of terrorism after 9/11, at a time when “us versus them” thinking was encouraged by a right-wing administration. Other voices and more reasonable views were drowned out. But it wasn’t just the right wing, which sees itself in charge of moral values for the rest of society, who reacted that way. Because we all have a harsh inner judge inside, the vestige of a child’s black-and-white view of the world, the voices of fear and revenge came to the surface.

 

As long as you believe that universal good is warring with universal evil, you cannot escape constant vigilance, which brings with it several very negative things. Vigilance is stressful and leads to tension. The fact that vigilance is unrelenting makes it fatiguing, and to fend off fatigue, you must become rigid in your watchfulness. That’s why in times of crisis, authority becomes harsher and more demanding. Everyone has to be watched; no one is exempt. Except for the watcher himself, which is how society arrives at paranoid watchdogs like J. Edgar Hoover who become monsters of morality while keeping their own failings a deep secret, even from themselves.

 

We can call this whole scheme moral fundamentalism; it is the most basic view of the universe and our place in it.  What are the benefits? To a fundamentalist, there are many.

1. The scheme is simple. You know where you belong in it.

2. No troubling ambiguities exist.

3. Your sense of goodness is reinforced by clear rules about sin and virtue.

4. Justice comes down to retribution, which satisfies our primitive desire for revenge.

5. Society knows who should be included and who should be excluded.

 

To see the fundamentalist model at work, one doesn’t need to live among hard-core religionists.  Watching a baseball or football game suffices, because sports are a field where the enemy is clear, the goal is unquestioned, and the rules must be followed or you incur a penalty.  The rise of religious fundamentalism in the past few decades has also caused moral fundamentalism to seep into politics, which is why, in the present divisive landscape, it becomes necessary not simply to defeat your opponent but to turn him into an immoral culprit.

 

To get beyond a black-and-white world requires more than growing up. The whole scheme starts to fray, and ultimately break down, only when certain key insights begin to dawn.

1. Good people do bad things, and vice versa.

2. Revenge doesn’t solve the problem of wrongdoing.

3. Judging against others opens you to their judgment.

4. Everyone is alike in being tempted; everyone is alike in wanting to be forgiven.

5. A punishing God cannot be reconciled with a loving God.

 

At first these insights are troubling. No one likes to feel the ground shift under their feet. From the outside, it’s hard to comprehend just how disturbing it can be for a fundamentalist to change.  The simplest kind of compassion and sympathy actually feels dangerous and wrong. Live and let live feels like an invitation to let sin run riot. Lowering your guard means you will be attacked. Loosening the rules will automatically leads to depravity. Here we have a clue to how fundamentalism is enforced, not by the sheer satisfaction of knowing that you are good but from the hidden terror of falling from grace.  Hellfire and damnation are totally necessary, because they justify the fear you feel. Only when you realize that you have set yourself up as both judge and victim does the scheme of fear and guilt break down.  It dawns on you that you are divided against yourself, and then your goals change. Instead of constantly watching out for evil and guarding against attack, you long for a new kind of security that also includes peace and forgiveness.

 

(To be continued)

 

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Right and Wrong

Question:

The question is about right and wrong. I think that one has the responsibility to act according to one’s level of consciousness, which gives us a guide of what is right or wrong for us right now. From your definition of karma in Synchrodestiny, it is clear that karma is neither good or bad, it is just the collection of our past experiences, which affects how we interpret the world right now. Doing something which according to our level of consciousness, say kill somebody, does not produce good or bad karma. Then there is the notion that from the point of view of the Universe, everything is perfect, wars, famine and all; everything has a grand purpose in the perfection of creation. But I cannot accept a rape, or a murder, or war as perfect and good. It is something that I interpret from my level of consciousness and I think it is wrong. If everyone thinks everything that happens is OK, then we may end up in anarchy. I think everybody should act according to what they believe is right or wrong.

Anyways… you can tell that there is something that is missing for me to completely understand this. If everything is perfect and good in the grand scheme of the Universe, why do I see things as right or wrong for me? I remember a quote from the Science of Being where Maharishi says that the more we meditate the more clear this will become, but I would really like some clarification from you.

 

Answer:

It’s perfectly sensible and appropriate to see murder, rape and famine as wrong behavior, and to follow those values as guides for action.  At the same time, there is a valid state of consciousness that sees all the action in the universe as a whole   as your own   true self,  as something that  is perfect and good.  That all-inclusive awareness is perfect and good, that doesn’t mean you would  think murder and rape is a good thing to do. That enlightened  knowledge  is something you realize as your own essential nature, it is not knowledge about how to behave and act. In that sense it transcends notions of right and wrong karma. So it is not appropriate to apply the understanding from this  state of consciousness about existence  to the notions of right and wrong behavior  of a different state of consciousness.  

Love,

Deepak

 

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Beyond Belief: Sam Harris Imagines a “Moral Landscape”

 Good science fiction is a worthy genre, and although it’s darker and more tension-filled to imagine a dystopia run by berserk robots or malicious aliens, there’s occasionally a gentle story, about a future where kindly scientific wizards save mankind from its  age-old ignorance and folly. In this imaginary utopia human beings have risen above their base drives, reason prevails, and the highest good has been achieved. America’s founding fathers had such a vision, although they didn’t call it science fiction.  In his new book, The Moral Landscape, atheist Sam Harris tries to call it science without fiction, but he’s on shaky ground. 

The book’s subtitle, "How science can determine human values," gives a précis of the main idea: in place of the messy, irrational way that human beings make decisions about right and wrong, Harris proposes that a rational view, based on valid scientific data, can provide us with an absolute moral compass. Very few adults with a memory of history would easily swallow that the scientists who brought us the atomic bomb, napalm, Thalidomide, Agent Orange, DDT, and ever more diabolical weapons of mechanized death are now to be embraced as bringers of the good life. But as in his previous books, Harris is really swinging again at his familiar piñata, organized religion. Do we not have the example of atheist Denmark and Sweden as places full of really good people, as opposed to the Taliban, who throw acid in the faces of young girls trying to go to school when religious law forbids it?

Harris tells us that morality can be scientifically determined by "maximizing the well-being of conscious creatures." In an interview on his website, the author  elaborates: "If there are more and less effective ways for us to seek happiness and to avoid misery in this world–and there clearly are–then there are right and wrong answers to questions of morality." In other words, let’s toss out custom, social agreement, emotional attachments, and religious guidance in favor of reliable data. 

When asked if science is really the right judge of morality, Harris says, "Yes, in principle. Human well-being is not a random phenomenon. It depends on many factors–ranging from genetics and neurobiology to sociology and economics. But, clearly, there are scientific truths to be known about how we can flourish in this world. Wherever we can act so as to have an impact on the well-being of others, questions of morality apply."

"In principle" religion was supposed to do the same thing.  It hasn’t had a sterling record in producing human happiness, but the prospect of science doing any better is likely to be just as fraught with error. Harris is as idealistic as any Southern Baptist seeking to be reborn, but let that pass.   He is treading on the fashionable ground of happiness research in the field of positive psychology, which has blossomed in recent years. One of the basic findings of this research is that people are very bad judges of what will make them happy. For example, the notion that money brings happiness is profoundly flawed, and so are short-term jolts of bliss that one gets from, say, a shopping spree.

The interviewer points out that ideas of happiness come into conflict, don’t they?  If I want a nice juicy steak and you belong to PETA, won’t there be a clash? Harris is sanguine about this small glitch: "There as some circumstances like this, and we call these contests ‘zero-sum.’ Generally speaking, however, the most important moral occasions are not like this. If we could eliminate war, nuclear proliferation, malaria, chronic hunger, child abuse, etc.–these changes would be good, on balance, for everyone."

This is the first whopper that makes one wonder if the author is writing a satire on morality.  To begin with, the eradication of global ills that he cites aren’t scientific in nature; everyone, including poets and monks, wants to achieve them. The fact that war hasn’t been eradicated isn’t for lack of scientific data to enlighten us (indeed, science is the chief reason that modern warfare is so ghastly). Nor is it for lack of a rational answer. The persistence of human aggression is deeply rooted in our divided nature, a part of the inner struggle that never leaves the human condition.  Child abuse doesn’t occur because a parent goes, "Oh, I forgot that my child would be happier if I didn’t beat her."  The decision isn’t rational and therefore cannot be cured by sweet reason.  This kind of naiveté on Harris’s part raises suspicion about his connection to psychological reality.

Harris can feel the strangeness of his proposal, so he is quick to assert that science isn’t the only answer. "We already have very good reasons to believe that mistreating children is bad for everyone." Really? Isn’t the point that despite these very good reasons, child abuse continues?  Skipping ahead, he says, "I think it is important for us to admit that this is not a claim about our personal preferences, or merely something our culture has conditioned us to believe. It is a claim about the architecture of our minds and the social architecture of our world. Moral truths of this kind must find their place in any scientific understanding of human experience."  The tone is placating and reasonable, but the assertion is nonsense.  It’s exactly personal preference and social conditioning that keeps most wrong-doing alive, whether we are talking about centuries-old tribal animosity or families where beating your children is the accepted thing to do (and pretty satisfying, no doubt, when the wallop is delivered in such families).  

Harris is so sure that we need to stop going to church and start watching Nova that he rushes forward fearlessly.  The interviewer brings up the Taliban, who feel great about what they do, not just because denying all rights to women is moral but because it is dictated by God.  Harris remains unruffled: "There may be different ways for people to thrive, but there are clearly many more ways for them not to thrive. The Taliban are a perfect example of a group of people who are struggling to build a society that is obviously less good than many of the other societies on offer." He seems unaware that Osama bin Laden is the most popular person in the Muslim world and that Islamic media persistently held up the Taliban regime as the closest to an Islamic paradise that any society has ever achieved. A lot of people are going to need a lot of hours on the Science Channel, it would appear.  In many ways it is Harris’s cool objectivity that feels the creepiest, as when he asserts, "It is not, therefore, unscientific to say that the Taliban are wrong about morality. In fact, we must say this. . ." Is he implying that we wouldn’t abhor the Taliban before science came along to enlighten us?  If we did know that the Taliban are morally criminal already, why do we need Tom Swift, Jr. or even Albert Einstein to reinforce the point?

The interviewer inserts a bit of realism by asking if the Taliban might have different goals in life than someone else. Harris’s answer again raises the possibility that his book could be a spoof. "They don’t. They are clearly seeking happiness in this life, and, more importantly, they imagine that they are securing it in a life to come. They believe that they will enjoy an eternity of happiness after death by following the strictest interpretation of Islamic law here on earth. This is also a claim about which science should have an opinion."  He seems oblivious to several things. A) Attempts to tell others how to live their lives generally meet with great hostility and resistance. B) People like to try out various alternatives in life, some of them against their own interest. From these negative experiences we develop wisdom and insight (not always, of course). C) Emotion can never be separated from decision-making. People who have suffered the loss of emotional centers in the brain find it almost impossible to make any decisions. We do what we like, and like what we do.

Stripped of its rhetorical decoration, however, The Moral Landscape gussies up old-fashioned utilitarianism, whose motto is "the greatest good for the greatest number." Like any 18th-century Benthamite, Harris doggedly pursues the utilitarian line as if people are counters on a game board. He calls this board "the moral landscape," a field of all choices where some people make bad ones and others make good ones. In his position of benign arbiter, Harris wants only to move everyone higher up on the game board. (Thus, if you want to ride a Harley screaming down the highway without a helmet, a scientist needs to remind you that motorcycles have lots of accidents and riders without helmets suffer badly in crashes. Is Harris so naive that he doesn’t see the human capacity for denial?)  The agenda here is to get human nature to shape up and fly right. "Given that our experience is fully constrained by the laws of the universe, there must be scientific answers to the question of how best to move upwards, toward greater happiness." Well, no there aren’t.  One of the principles of science, quite pertinent to the laws of nature, is known as entanglement. It says that isolated phenomena are in fact not isolated but linked to one another. The same is true in our daily lives. We experience the good and the bad tangled together, and because we are participants in this entanglement, not cool observers, it’s all but impossible to disentangle good from bad. 

Harris should try talking to any psychiatrist, who will offer abundant testimony about patients who know what they are doing wrong and what is causing their pain, yet who never change — or change very slowly. The underlying argument of all utilitarians is the definition of happiness as a surplus of pleasure over pain. But it was discovered, by Freud, and long before him by practical psychologists, that people don’t change because their lives get too painful. Millions of people pursue addictions, stay with abusive partners, refuse to leave miserable jobs, and indulge in self-destructive behavior of all types. Pain won’t make them change; they change when what they are doing no longer works.  In addition, there are lots of activities we enjoy, such as marathon running, where "no pain, no gain" applies. Harris’s definition of happiness doesn’t surmount these objections.  He simply waves around new words like neuroscience and genetics to plaster over the proven fallacies of the "maximize pleasure, minimize pain" view of human happiness. 

A small voice in Harris’s brain must be telling him how close he’s veering to the popular image of Dr. Strangelove, because he sounds a note of seeming doubt. "Positive social emotions like compassion and empathy are generally good for us, and we want to encourage them. But do we know how to most reliably raise children to care about the suffering of other people? I’m not sure we do." This moment lasts only a short time, however, because he is soon back to his main theme. "These questions have answers, and only a science of morality could deliver them." It seems to escape his notice that compassion, a leading quality in Buddhism, didn’t save Tibet from a brutal invasion and repression by the Communist Chinese. Oh wait, there weren’t any moral scientists standing at the border to remind the invaders of the natural laws they were violating.  

Harris slights the role of intuition and feeling, which is the main way that ordinary people make moral decisions. Doing good feels better than doing bad. If doing bad feels good instead, then by the utilitarians’ own argument, the person will continue to do bad. Horrifying as it is to contemplate, mass murderers enjoy what they are doing and sleep well at night. After the defeat of Nazism, countless ordinary Germans were not remorseful over what they had condoned under Hitler; they regretted instead that they lost the war. This, not the wrongness of their actions, determined their attitude. And since we are speaking of World War II, it is generally agreed that the defeat of Hitlerism justified hundreds of thousands of deaths on the Allied side. In what way did their sacrifice improve the happiness of the dead and wounded, or of their surviving families?  Moral philosophy has been wrestling with these issues for centuries. Harris’s band of reasonable scientists are a joke when offered as a better idea. 

Near the end of this extensive interview, Harris gets to pounce on his real prey, the faithful. When asked if religion has been helpful in guiding morality, he says, that it has generally been unhelpful. "Religious ideas about good and evil tend to focus on how to achieve well-being in the next life."  This is not remotely true of many strains of Buddhism, Vedanta, and Judaism, and it’s a gross simplification when applied to Christianity, which has both an afterlife and a doctrine of morality that applies to the here and now. When Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is within, he isn’t pointing to the resurrection.  The Sermon on the Mount, like the Ten Commandments, is a guide for the present. I agree with Harris that it isn’t helpful to cling to religious dogma — the reasons have been obvious for centuries — but throwing out Moses, Jesus, and Buddha because their teachings were violated by future followers is just as misguided as throwing out the law because there are bad judges.  Moral truth is embodied in our wisest sages and holiest saints. Given the ease  with which repressive regimes can buy nuclear bomb  scientists and pharmaceutical companies and  oil companies can buy scientists to produce studies to support the preordained conclusions, can Harris produce a "moral scientist’ who has wiser and holier things to say? I doubt it.

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The Moral Brain: 5 Tips for Transcending Moral Dilemmas

In my post this week in Psychology Today I outlined the brain systems that work against moral behavior, throwing us into chaotic internal states. The brain is wired for morality, but it is also wired for fear and craving, which are powerful and often insurmountable opponents. Similarly, the brain is wired for forgiveness and retribution, so we are always caught between opposing poles, trying to resolve them.

The problem is, we know what we believe is "right," but the more primitive brain usually wins the battle or else causes us to freeze in our daily strivings. How do we overcome the opposites in the brain? And if we rely on Einstein’s belief that "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created," how can we access this new level? In my book: "Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons To Overcome Fear," I outline the biology of spirituality, which I will draw on here to form my arguments.

Continue reading on The Huffington Post

 

 

ALBERT EINSTEIN to BARACK OBAMA ! : GANDHI

 FROM Albert Einstein to Barack Obama: GANDHI’S INFLUENCE

REFERENCE: Recent News  of President Obama’s remarks that Gandhi is his Inspiration, his Personal Hero!

“Let no one say that he is a follower of Gandhi. It is enough that I should be my own follower. I know what an inadequate follower I am of myself, for I cannot live up to the convictions I stand for. You are no followers but fellow students, fellow pilgrims, fellow seekers, fellow workers.” (Mahatma Gandhi about Himself)
 
About Gandhi Albert Einstein said:
“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”
At another time he said: “I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward. The example of great and fine personalities is the only thing that can lead us to fine ideas and noble deeds. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus or Gandhi with the money bags of Carnegie?
George Harrison (One of the Beatle) said: “They used us as an excuse to go mad and then blamed it on us. Gandhi says create and preserve the image of your choice. The image of my choice is not Beatle George – those who want that can go and see Wings. Why live in the past? Be here now.”
President of United of states of America, OBAMA, said:
"In my life, I have always looked to Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration, because he embodies the kind of transformational change that can be made when ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things,"
"That is why his (Gandhi’s)portrait hangs in my Senate office; to remind me that real results will not just come from Washington, they will come from the people,"
“It’s a pleasure for me to join today in commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s day of birth, celebrated across America and around the world by service to our neighbors and other good works. Gandhi’s commitment to creating positive change by bringing people together peacefully to demand it resonate as strongly today as they did during his lifetime. Through the power of his example and his own unshakeable spirit, he inspired a people to resist oppression, sparking a revolution that freed a nation from colonial rule. In formulating his strategy to achieve freedom, Gandhi had a choice, and he chose courage over fear.”
America faces many choices as we work to address the challenges of our time. We must act from a place of strength and conviction to reclaim the high road and position of moral leadership that has defined the United States at its best.
 
“Gandhi’s significance is universal. Countless people around the world have been touched by his spirit and example — his victory in turn inspired a generation of young Americans to peacefully wipe out a system of overt oppression that had endured for a century, and more recently led to velvet revolutions in Eastern Europe and extinguished apartheid in South Africa. Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of their great debt to Gandhi. His portrait hangs in my office to remind me that real change will not come from Washington — it will come when the people, united, bring it to Washington.”
“I need you to stand up and work for change. Let us all rededicate ourselves, every day from now until November 4th, and beyond, to living Gandhi’s call to be the change we wish to see in the world.
Edward R. Murrow, KBEborn Egbert Roscoe Murrow (April 25, 1908 – April 27, 1965) was an American broadcast journalist:[at Gandhi’s funeral]:
“The object of this massive tribute died as he had always lived – a private man without wealth, without property, without official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi was neither a commander of great armiesnor ruler of vast lands. He could boast no scientific achievements or artistic gift. Yet men, governments and dignitaries from all over the world have joined hands today to pay homage to this little brown man in the loincloth who led his country to freedom.Pope Pius, the Archbishop of Canterbury, President Truman, Chiang Kai-shek, The Foreign Minister of Russia, the President of France are among the millions here and abroad who have lamented his passing. In the words ofGeneral George C. Marshall,the American Secretary of State,"Mahatma Gandhi had become the spokesman for the conscience of mankind, a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires."
TAIL PIECE:
Following are some famous quotes by Mahatma Gandhi that capture the essence of Gandhi’s values(morality in politics and beliefs(spiritual/political/social):
·         Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.
·         First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
·         As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.
·         The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.
·         You must be the change you want to see in the world.
·         Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.
·         One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds.
·         I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
·         Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.
·         The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

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RE-examining ‘Religion/Spirituality and Sex’ : A cross cultural perspective(with sp. reference to Indian Philsohy& Culture!

 a

RE-Examining
 
I am starting here by , a ‘ NEW SERIES’ of entries on My Blog entitled, ‘RE-xamining "Religion/Spirituality and Sex’ : A cross cultural perspective(with secial reference to Indian philosophy and culture) on this much confusing and controversial topic/word-‘SEX’, especially An relation to religion and spirituality with spiritual or Divine Intentions for cross cultural understanding and for  new insight about all this,ie.SEX in relation to GOD/Divine ,Religion ,Sexuality and Sprituality in amusing,interesting ,Educating ,informative, most scientific,compassionate,spiritual manner  and in reverence to LIFE,NATURE,COSMOS & GOD-‘The DIVINE’/DIVINITY! Especially for the benifit  Young generations (globally) in their own language and  and terminology.As SEX is most important when you are young,yong at heart,or Life Affarmative,"YES" to cosmos Type Person, without personal or communal or extra religious bises or biase against RELIGION and LIFE as such,because of distotorted or perveted or confused views about SEX & RELIGION/Spirituality.
I assure You  that  peoples’ views will not be the same after reading ,what ever is going to appear and unfold under the This entry through my pen with  Inspiration and ‘Blessings’  of the ‘DEVINE!’,without any intention to offend any body or any particular religion or for that matter any religion or Faith or belef. in any way intentionally or intentionally in particular and in general.
HOEWVER THIS effort is particularly intended to clear the  wide spread confusion/mess/FALSE spreaded  by’ Non-believers’ , so called intellectuals and peveted or vested interests(Political and Commercial Ideologies and intentions) intentinally or unintentionally or because of their IGNORANCE OF THE POWER  and DIMENSIONS OF RELIGIN and Sprituality/Divinity,Called by MANY  With Love and reverence- ‘GOD’or LORD.Because he is the Only Who is really LORD OF this world.
This to say ‘non belivers’ (in divine) them look yourself in MIRROR!.And Ask Why dont’ you FOLLOW the WAYS OFTHE WISE , Just & COMPASSIONATES/Worshipers of LIFE/Divine!.And Please stop spreading lies about Divine and Spritual People and therir lives.Just continue with the lies spread about your so called demi GODS &godesses ,which you creat and desroy through Your Glossy Magazines and Movies(Illusion of Light and shade/colours and drama).But dont come in the way of rightious!
ARISE & AWAKE! & Follow the wise( Real-KNOWER/Knower of the REAL/Divine)!
_____________
 May Divine show me the way as WE March forward!,Discussing commenting , questioning, ,answering  about this Word/topic/subject,  with ‘divine/spiritual intention’ to bring ‘new insight’ into subject of SEX and SPIRITUALITY,for the benifit of New Genration Globally!
Jut Wait……few minutes!
                                                                             YOU ARE  "WELCOME!"
 
WELCOME! for  Commenting and Questioning,about MY Today’s ‘INTENT’ -(My Intent is to say:"SEX IS DIVINE!"- If Intentions are ‘divine’!(27th May,’09), And about the the  article/topic/subject/Discussion I am intending to begin NOW & HERE!.
One and All!without any hesitation!/inhibition/prejudice/biase/malice!,Only with love and/for mutual undesrstanding!
Let Us begin!"Love all!as they say before starting in Ping pong play.
 
Enjoy Readings on this Blog! "HERE & NOW"
 
With Love & understanding  to one and All! "Jai HO!" & Amen!
 
@runR

Heaven, Hell, or Prevail?

Radical EvolutionFor the upcoming issue of EnlightenNext magazine(which ships out on Wednesday!), we’re focusing on a very big topic: the future. More specifically, what does the seeming minefield of contemporary global crises say about our current trajectory? Are we nearing some sort of end times, as many seem to believe, or are we simply experiencing the inevitable growing pains that accompany the evolution of human civilization?

As part of our investigation, I had the privilege of interviewing Washington Post reporter Joel Garreau about how he thinks accelerating technological evolution will impact culture, values, and even what it means to be human. I had heard Garreau’s ideas before in a 2005 EnlightenNext interview about his bestselling book, Radical Evolution, in which he discusses the implications of the fact that humans are the first species with the capacity to guide their own evolution. But getting on the phone with him was an entirely different experience. Garreau has a particular aptitude for conveying just how much our lives and our world are actually changing, even though we may not be aware of it. To make this point, he threw out a handful of compelling stats, like the fact that in 1965, the entire North American Defense Command had less computing power than a single iPhone today—or that in the not-too-distant future, ambitious parents will literally be able to buy extra SAT points for their children through memory enhancing drugs. But while statistics like these are certainly mind-bending, Garreau’s main focus is on the moral questions they raise. In fact, he says that how we choose to utilize our technological muscle will determine whether our future ends up like The Jetsons, The Terminator, or something in between.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

EnlightenNext: It seems that on one hand, some of these technologies when put to good use could rapidly catalyze our ability not only to deal with the most pressing issues of our time, but to create a new world. But it also seems very likely that these technologies could be used for ill. Doesn’t there need to be a corresponding development in—

Joel Garreau: —wisdom?

EN: Yes, wisdom.

JG: Right. I don’t think there’s going to be a pill for wisdom anytime soon, and I think that the question you’re asking is the most crucial one for us to address. The way I see it, there are three scenarios: heaven, hell, and prevail. In the first, heaven, all of these marvelous technologies come online rapidly. We conquer pain, suffering, stupidity, ignorance, and even death. Essentially, it looks indistinguishable from the Christian version of heaven. And it could happen. You see amazing headlines in the paper every day.

The second is the hell scenario. That’s the one in which these new technologies get into the hands of madmen or fools. Believers in this outcome suggest that if these technologies are used for ill, the whole human race could be wiped out within the next twenty years. And this is also a credible scenario.

The trouble with both the heaven and hell scenarios is that they are technodeterministic. In other words, both perspectives hold that technology drives history. They say that humans are pretty much along for the ride, and there’s not much we can do about it.

As a humanist, I’m pulling for a third scenario, which I call prevail. To understand this scenario, imagine a graph with two curves on it. One curve represents society’s increasing challenges; the second represents our potential for adaptive response. If our response curve stays more or less flat while our challenges rise exponentially, then we’re obviously in trouble, because the gap just keeps on getting wider and wider. But suppose our responses are also going up at a similar clip. That’s at the heart of the prevail scenario.

You can see an example of this in the Middle Ages. Looking at the future of the human race from the perspective of that time, you could be forgiven for thinking that we were pretty much toast. You’d be seeing marauding hordes and plagues and all sorts of evil stuff. You’d probably be thinking, “God, this isn’t going to end up well.” Then all of a sudden, in 1450, along came the printing press, and there was a new way of storing, sharing, collecting, and distributing ideas that was previously unimaginable. This led to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, which gave birth to science, democracy, and eventually to the world we have today. What’s interesting is that all of this change was beyond the imagination of any one king or country. It was the collective action of millions of humans organizing themselves in a bottom-up way. They didn’t wait for the leaders to tell them what to do but changed their world to produce things as best they could.

We see this prevail scenario again on 9/11 with the fourth airplane that never made it to its intended target. A couple dozen people onboard, empowered by their cell phone technology, diagnosed and cured their society’s ills in a little under an hour. Was it a perfect solution? Obviously not, because they all died. But it was good enough. They were ordinary humans who didn’t wait for their leaders to come up with a solution but did it themselves. So the heart of the prevail scenario is the idea that humans can act collectively to produce astonishing change . . . and we’ve been doing this for a very long time.

To read or listen to the entire interview, click here.

 

Read blog entries from other EnlightenNext magazine editors at blog.enlightennext.org/

What to Do About “Mad as Hell”

People are incredibly angry these days. The governing class in America fears a "populist backlash," as the New York Times dubbed it. They are worried that if ordinary Americans get mad enough, they will derail recovery plans. But this isn’t only a Joe Six-Pack phenomenon. Anyone with a decent sense of morality knows that the bad guys are being rewarded. Fat cats earning bonuses for demolishing the economy seem like thieves being paid to rob banks. Only in this case the bankers were the ones who robbed the bank.
 
Morality is founded upon taking responsibility. In the normal course of things, wrongdoers don’t get to celebrate over champagne for ruining other people’s lives. Much less does the ruined party have to pay taxes toward buying the champagne. But the financial elite shows no sign of contrition. Top executives at some companies like General Motors and AIG have renounced or greatly reduced their bonuses. Still, countless bonuses are being paid out at lower levels of these companies. Rationally, for AIG to hand out $165 million in bonuses is less than a thousandth of the bailout money they received from the government. But it’s still an outrage. Anger isn’t rational, and neither is morality.

Morality is intuitive. You know in your bones what’s right and what’s wrong. Yet morality is also learned, and it has a huge social component. No two people and no two cultures agree all the time on touchy moral issues. Relativism has to stop somewhere, however. Bernie Madoff’s last-minute contrition doesn’t remotely ease his massive immorality. Wall Street types sneaking their bonuses in under the wire are part of a general moral collapse. The social element counts for a lot in this case, because the ethos of Wall Street gleefully permitted runaway greed, reckless disregard of other people’s risks, and general anarchy in the pursuit of profits. In the crude lingo of trading, customers were mooks who existed for one purpose only: to be promoted out of their hard-earned money.

This is a roundabout way of saying that populist anger is moral and right. It’s not simply a glitch that needs to be smoothed out. A system of morality cannot exist without accountability. In this case, Wall Street needs to be pulled back into the social contract. Traders pride themselves on being gunslingers, but when there are too many gunslingers, they outnumber the law. That is still the prevalent situation. (The fired-up CNBC reporter who ranted against Obama’s plan to rescue distressed homeowners turned to traders on the floor and screamed, "Any of you guys want to bail out your neighbors?" The frightening part wasn’t the arrant selfishness on display. The frightening part was that he and his kind feel righteous.) The financial elite don’t want to change their ways. After grudgingly accepting a slap on the wrist, they fully intend to go back to business as usual.

What would it take to change a whole subculture that has escaped all ethical boundaries?

The Obama administration needs to face this question head on. Sad to say, the brilliant minds that were recruited to make up the President’s economic team all come from the same financial elite that wants to escape responsibility. No reckless CEOs have been fired. No ill-gotten gains have been confiscated (except for Madoff’s). No financial "truth commissions" are in the offing. It’s a blessed turn of events that adults are now in charge of the government. Officials from Obama on down offer one sensible, confident policy after another. The change from the feckless Bushies is like night and day.

But being an adult has its limits, and we are in danger that technocrats will solve the meltdown with bland expertise. The human element needs to count for more, much more. I’m not talking about anger run amok and show trials to destroy scapegoats. But people need to have their anger addressed straight on, not sideways, and issues of healing, justice, and truth-telling must be given high priority. Being irrational, anger doesn’t compute for techies. It’s not a variable they can punch into an algorithm. No matter. The claims of morality hold a society together. There will be no trust until we have somebody to trust in, and whoever that may be, they must rise to moral leadership on the order of a Lincoln or FDR. The main problem isn’t economic collapse, it’s a warping of values — not just on Wall Street but among right wingers, militarists, rigid Christian fundamentalists, and the apathetic majority. Obama gives every appearance of being immune to this warping. Now he needs to straighten out millions of other people who feel betrayed and abandoned.

 
 

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