Good versus Evil – Right versus Wrong

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

The most common, the most difficult topic: good versus evil. Even those who would ignore it cannot. It stands out, like the proverbial sore thumb but to this society’s disgrace and downfall, it chooses not to deal with what causes the sore thumb, but to wear gloves in order to hide it.

Broad and bold statement but an intelligent and observing person with integrity cannot help but describe her reality. The human world is made up of conscience. Conscience means morality. Morality means awareness of right versus wrong. Some will no doubt jump on my bad phraseology but that only goes to show how words can be used to plunge into the many-tunneled rabbit hole of denial.

The point of this argument is that good versus evil is a foundational reality of Earthian living.

We observe people, particularly leaders, and we think, she is evil, he is good. Are these subjective thoughts? Is there no solid place to stand when speaking of conscience and morality? Or does it all depend on the times, the location, firmly held beliefs or feelings? Are good and evil interchangeable under changing circumstances? Is no objectivity possible when confronting these two ever-present antagonists?

I say this, that if conscience and subsequent moral choices depend on anything other than objectivity, whatever emerges can only be a morass of bad choices.

There has to be a firm footing when I confront choices between good and evil. Such cannot be dependent on any collectively held beliefs for these never cease to demonstrate and prove their falsity. Can I be objective in choosing between good or evil? My answer is ‘yes’ and such a footing is not difficult to find and retain.

Let me try to explain.

Defining evil: that which causes loss, hurt, pain, sorrow and death to another strictly for my own gain or benefit in terms of power, money or pleasure. How simple!

Defining good: that which does the opposite of what I described above.

A good person lives a socially upside down life. Instead of taking, she gives. Instead of causing harm, she will accept harm to herself, not as a martyr or due to powerlessness, but fully aware that she is demonstrating a counter lifestyle and that she always has the choice to not accept the demands made by “goodness” in her mind and heart.

There are many good people in the world; many self-sacrificing individuals who live by the code of goodness. The problem is, such a code applies to everyone, not just to “special” individuals and I can say that those “special” good people would be the first to say that they are the ones living a normal life whereas the rest of society is essentially living out in left field convinced that the left-field existence is how life is meant to be lived.

Result: civilization dies and both the good and the evil (selfish) die with it.

Primary thought upon waking up this morning: “It is time for you to leave. Are you ready?”

I considered the question while on a half hour drive to a job. I looked at my life and faced the one thing that remains I still want to complete. Would I let go of that, and close my travel bag? It was a difficult choice but my answer was, “Yes.” Why did I answer ‘Yes’? It was the selfless choice!

I learned long ago not to take the concept of “the time has come” literally. In the spirit realm time is non-existent so the use of the term always relates to one’s preparedness; one’s state of mind. My state of mind lately has been one of deepening sorrow for this world. One of shock would also describe it. Consequently my primary thought would be: it’s time to leave; I cannot participate in whatever man’s civilization is bringing forth. I do not want to experience it.

The people of earth have everything required to live a quasi blissful life. They can engage their environment without the least need to hurt, harm, destroy, or kill anything. Sadly, seems to me, they always ask the “survival” question backward: “what will happen to me if I don’t…” and fill in the blanks.

The proper question when addressing life is always: “It doesn’t matter at all what happens to me, it matters that I be faithful to my calling which is to honour life.” Then proceed from there to do just that to the best of one’s awareness and empathy, allowing these to grow and change the world.

Good and evil exist as forces, or powers if you will. Denying the reality of it only exacerbates it. They will never, ever just “cancel out” – one must choose one’s side. It is not even possible to be a fence sitter – they won’t let you. There is no neutrality in duality. He who is not for is against. I learned that the hard way!

29 thoughts on “Good versus Evil – Right versus Wrong

  1. Regis Auffray

    As usual, you make much sense and I challenge anyone to come up with an opposing point of view. As I am backing up files dating back to 1998 (many of which include your writings), it is clear that you have been steadfast in expressing your themes.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for commenting, Régis. There is consistency in the drive to explore and discover my own meaning for my life, yes, but my methodology has changed much in those subsequent years. I know I would have never dared (nor known how I ever could have) said that knowing good from evil and living it would become so clear to me, so obvious.

      Reply
  2. Alice Funk Farie

    Excellent points! This is an issue I grapple with daily. I love your paragraph where you state that the good will usually say that being good is living normally and it is those who are living otherwise that are in left field. But those who are living selfishly think that is the normal way of life. And that really says a (disheartening) lot about the state of this world.

    I had always feared death. But recently I have taken a similar attitude as you have put forth. I am feeling more and more ready as I become more and more acquainted with the conditioning of society. I am only 40, but I am already so exhausted by the psychological state of the world. The moral compass is just diluted now that I struggle with human encounter more with each passing day. I just can’t understand how people can make the decisions that they do in life that are so hurtful and ignorant of one another. It has made me turn so far inward that they all probably think I am the selfish one because I have become more reclusive, and they probably think I don’t seem to care as much about them as they think they are showing that they care about me. But while their actions say one thing, it only acts as a cover up because their intentions and ways that they handle some situations when they occur show their true colors.

    Thank you for this very well worded delineation between good and evil..it really helps me feel more solidified in what I already felt to be true, but have a hard time standing on firm ground with and feeling confident about.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you for commenting and adding to this thought. These are mind-churning times for those who are cluing in that there is something seriously amiss with not just our society, but with our global civilization. It’s like it began to go off the tracks some time back and increasingly, the “system” and those who believe in it and rely on it, are desperately pushing the train further off track. It’s like this society is embarked upon a collective death wish while playing a game of let’s pretend we’re going through a healthy and positive change and we’ll come out of it better than ever… like “Let’s make our civilization great again” without a clue on how to go about doing it except more reliance and those forces that are destroying civilization!

      Reply
  3. Regis Auffray

    Posted at WordPress a moment ago…

    As usual, you make much sense and I challenge anyone to come up with an opposing point of view. As I am backing up files dating back to 1998 (many of which include your writings), it is clear that you have been steadfast in expressing your themes.

    *Régis (Reg) Auffray*

    Email: *r jauffray52@gmail.com *

    *Website: **http://www.authorsden.com/regisjauffray *

    *Facebook: **http://www.facebook.com/people/Regis_Auffray/538821429 *

    On Sat, Mar 31, 2018 at 7:40 PM, ~Burning Woman~ wrote:

    > Sha’Tara posted: “[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ] The most common, the > most difficult topic: good versus evil. Even those who would ignore it > cannot. It stands out, like the proverbial sore thumb but to this society’s > disgrace and downfall, it chooses not to deal with wh” >

    Reply
  4. franklparker

    I certainly agree with your definitions of good and evil. I take them as inalienable truths. However, I am less certain of your assertion that “The people of earth . . . can engage their environment without the least need to hurt, harm, destroy, or kill anything.” It seems to me that every living thing exists as food for other living things. That is an observable fact that is undeniable and humans are no different. Life is a process that ceases if consumption ceases – not immediately, I grant you, but inevitably some time after the cessation of consumption one dies – of thirst or starvation. The trick is to avoid excessive consumption, by which I mean consumption beyond what is necessary to sustain life, and to consume only such things as can be returned to the earth via one’s excretions.
    Technology has given us the ability to create things that do not degrade quickly and that are so small that they can be easily be moved from a place where their gradual reduction to dust is harmless (the Pyramids, ancient stone buildings, statuary) to places where their degradation is toxic to the creatures that inhabit the land and the sea.
    Other species exhibit the same propensity as humans for over-consumption leading to unsustainable population growth, followed by extinction. Humans are, perhaps, the only species with the intelligence to foresee such potential destruction and devise means of avoiding the inevitable. Thus far, they have proved unable to take the drastic steps required to do so.

    Reply
    1. kertsen

      In the case of animals their populations always level out because outside influences such has heavy mortality , environmental change , predation. So far we have escaped these brutal levellers due to medicine and technology. Famine , war and climate change may well put an end to our success.

      Reply
    2. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Frank.  If we can accept that many individuals have struggled, some successfully, most to martyrdom, to bring about a change of state from evil to good using advanced forms of teaching and revolutions, then we must realize that these people and their followers believed in the eventual victory of good over evil. What we see however is that the good intended was, barring the lofty rhetoric, severely limited in scope of application. This limitation imposed upon change guaranteed that the change would be stillborn and the original situation of evil would sooner or later reassert itself. That is how I read history.

      Why then, must the change agent ask, should I bother seeking to make change if it is guaranteed to fail on the long run? If my sacrifices and those who espouse a similar goal are ultimately for nought? If all that will come of it is the establishment of another oppressive regime with a different name?

      Because we dare not! Because we fear mockery or condemnation. Those who propose a truly different way of life are instantly labelled anarchists or utopians. The implication is any attempt to change the status quo is nuts or a form of terrorism.

      As you know, I do not believe, for example, that predation is a necessary part of nature’s balancing act. How could I when the greatest and most successful predator daily demonstrates the falseness of that belief?  Yes, bodies at our level of development need to ingest solids to maintain themselves. The question to be asked is, does this maintenance process need the inflicting of pain, suffering and death on others?

      Can we exist without killing? Of course! It’s well known that humans do not need to ingest meat to have a healthy diet, quite the contrary. I proved it to myself.

      We don’t need to jump head first into the solution. We begin where we can know it makes sense. We work on our changes; our attitude to others, be they Earthian, animals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects. We work on developing an empathetic relationship with all and use our discoveries to lead us into that place where we become friends instead of enemies. Good instead of evil. This is the role of the mind, the one aspect of us, as human beings, we know does evolve and over whose evolution we have full control if we want to exercise it.

      Reply
  5. kertsen

    To say there is no fence sitting is to deny the major activity of the majority of the human race. Even serious prophets like Jesus Christ knew that perfection was impossible : ‘You are saved but if you would be perfect sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me .’
    Morality is like intelligence it’s not a black and white issue , some people are more moral than others.
    Here is a more serious example : a young woman wants a baby , she craves for a family to care for and look after, but we know that in the world millions of babies are uncared for , should she do the moral thing and adopt a homeless child or have her own?
    When Sam Harris wrote ‘ The Moral Landscape ‘ he defined morals in the much the same way as you have in this piece. When you consider an action decide if it increases the well-being of others.
    It’s a very neat definition but it has one glaring snag ; my action might increase the well being of my workers with a pay rise but decrease the well being of those who have to pay more for my services. We could call the well known wealth pyramid a well being pyramid and the well – being of us rich westerners is at the top of the pile.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment Kertsen. To claim “fence sitting” regarding one’s involvement in good or evil would be like claiming ambivalence regarding breathing or not. Involvement is unavoidable. War demonstrates clearly how the same person can be utterly evil in one setting and appear normal, say in the family setting. When it comes to good and evil behaviour, whether one makes a deliberate personal choice or acts out of ignorance or knee jerk reaction, a side is taken, always.

      Reply
      1. kertsen

        Of course a side is taken : please yourself or please other people and the highly moral chose the latter much more frequently , the psychopaths always put self first.
        The problem is that often the moral actions we carry out are not examined properly and prove less moral than we thought. We give to and care for those who already have sufficient , let me give an example. Mrs Kindheart not only takes her own children out for the day but she takes all their friends and pays out of her own pocket ; yet none of these children are really needy. We could argue that nonetheless her action fulfils the criterion of increasing the well-being being of others.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for the comment, Kertsen. I fully agree with your observations here. I have seen that often enough myself when a member of a “rich” church seeing how the rich and comfortable take care of the rich and comfortable. The exceptions were never the high ranking members of the congregation.

        However we got it, we became moral beings and that was a gift, but not a stand alone one. We were given the means to make that particular gift meaningful and workable. The means, contrary to popular belief, wasn’t love. Within each one of us Earthians resides this little bundle of energy neatly packaged waiting to be opened. That energy has the power to change everything about us, what we are, what we’ve become. It is the awakener and empowerer. The problem with it is, it will not bend to our will; it will not allow itself to be corrupted; it is independent of all faiths, hopes, loves, and recognizes no other authority but its own, and for good reason: it is superior to all else that proposes itself to help us choose properly and wisely. Without it, such choices are impossible as we can readily see.

        That thing everybody possesses which they must allow to possess them in turn; which is the seat of all wisdom, is compassion. “Do this” said the Teacher, “and you will understand the meaning and purpose of life.”

        From compassion one can speak of good and evil and know exactly what one is talking about. What such a one cannot do is teach this wisdom to another: that is impossible.

  6. Akhila

    Sometimes or most of the times nowadays I experience that duality..not like dual mentality.. but the puzzle of good and bad? Which is good which is bad? Which should be opted as it’s subjective primarily

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Hi Akhila, thank you for commenting. To the “normal” mind there seems to be flexibility in choosing right over wrong, good over bad, or in judging one versus the other. To truly understand, for us who are consciously moral beings, we need to find the key that unlocks the riddle. That key is compassion. Without actually living the compassionate life it is impossible to always know right from wrong. From compassion it is quite impossible NOT TO KNOW. Compassion however cannot be taught, but only suggested to another. The individual must make that terrible and irrevocable choice to live by the “code” of compassion on her own. There is no help here, no God, no Buddha, no Jesus, no self-help books, only the personal choice. Once the choice is made compassion takes over and does the teaching.

      Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for commenting, George. Yes, until more and more individuals choose to walk with compassion, those gloves stay on.

      Reply
  7. Phil Huston

    Positive and negative are universal forces. What appears as evil or maruading may be a solution. Natural harmonic balance is an ongoing battle. And here’s that nasty old thought that in the grand scheme of things beyond our scope who is “right” and who is “wrong?” IS their a legislative body in charge of “morality?” Must it always be an issue of convenience or service, personal edactity or altruism? We’re here to mend broken hearts, or to fart around? I’ve heard both. Wouldn;t know how good rose smelled if you hadn’t stepped barefoot in poop. Unless you’re a big fan of fresh poop and find roses nauseating…Yin and Yang. No one would know how compassionate one is without the horrors of the world to measure it against.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Tanks for commenting on this difficult subject, Phil.

      Got a bit of time now (I don’t have to work at night… yet!) so I’m going to go through your comment and comment on that in turn. Preface: if I were still where I was, say, thirty years ago, I would mostly agree with you. I can’t anymore.

      Point: positive and negative are universal forces. Agree because much evidence points in that direction. What I totally disagree with is the instant and facile marriage of P/N with Good/Evil. One set has absolutely nothing to do with the other. One is observed natural forces. The other has to do with consciousness and morality. I could write another essay on the differences but I certainly should not have to. Let’s move on.

      Point: what appears as evil or marauding may be a solution. That is erroneous thinking based on incomplete information. Evil is evil unless we agree that maiming, hurting, causing pain, embarrassing, mocking, bullying, torturing, killing… is all OK (NOT EVIL) if we can use “we’re looking for a solution” as our excuse, because make no mistake, people enjoy – that’s ENJOY inflicting such on others, usually the physically weaker, the poor, the marginal, and of course animals. People enjoy inflicting or watching all forms of violence, some of it so pervasive as in organized sports that it isn’t even called violence but considered great entertainment. That has nothing to do with nature but everything to do with evil programming. Our rejected religions were not wrong when they taught that.

      Point: is there a legislative body in charge of morality? You bet there is. Not out there in space or the cosmos; not in Rome or in Mecca or wherever. Not in ancient religious tomes and the words of dead prophets and rich gurus. The “legislative body in charge of morality” exists inside each and every one of us so we have no excuses, ever, for acting in ways that are detrimental to others while being in some way beneficial to us. That is evil and acting against our “better” if undeveloped mental nature.

      Point: (skipping some I feel already touched on) No one would know how compassionate one is without the horrors of the world to measure it against. That is simply false, but it is how we are taught so we will attach the concept of doing harm with that of “learning” as if we could not exercise compassion unless we lived in a shit hole world. Compassion is a way of life, much better expressed where there is no extant evil. If there were no evil in this world everyone would be compassionate, there being no other logical way to exist in a non-evil world.

      Caution: do not confuse a non-evil world with a perfect world! That is the programmed thought. Perfection, being an absolute, will not manifest in a material world. That in no way allows anyone to assume therefore that evil must rule where there is no perfection. These are the false assumptions made by people who rely on programming that leads to and maintains false reasoning.

      Reply
      1. Phil Huston

        You are the queen of the semantic twist. This right here? No one would know how compassionate one is without the horrors of the world to measure it against. That is simply false, but it is how we are taught so we will attach the concept of doing harm with that of “learning” as if we could not exercise compassion unless we lived in a shit hole world. Compassion is a way of life, much better expressed where there is no extant evil. If there were no evil in this world everyone would be compassionate, there being no other logical way to exist in a non-evil world.

        If some of that would make my grass grow I’d have you come spread it on my garden. You always get busted for your outrageous concepts of the higher order that embraces nothing but a subjective, at best, “good.”

        And this chunk of brilliantly wordy, conceptually contradictory gas? Caution: do not confuse a non-evil world with a perfect world! That is the programmed thought. Perfection, being an absolute, will not manifest in a material world. That in no way allows anyone to assume therefore that evil must rule where there is no perfection. These are the false assumptions made by people who rely on programming that leads to and maintains false reasoning.

        Flies in the face of the concept of rapturous goodness preceding it. Next we’ll talk about how gravity is the root of all evil and if we were enlightened enough we could, as a group consciousness, haul ass though space and pick our own sun. You should start a church.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for commenting, Phil. An interesting “hot” response but typical for a devil’s advocate. I need to ask, when have I ever, and I mean ever, spoken of any concept of “rapturous goodness”? There is no such thing that I know of. I just believe that intelligence, consciousness and awareness of moral choices give us the tools to deal with a world that, for a spate of very good reasons, is off the rails.

        We can, of course, continue to dump coal in the burners, work the levers like a mad wizard and force the train to proceed without tracks. It won’t go far. We can build new tracks under the train, but at this stage that would be prohibitive and counter productive (wait, you’ll see what I mean soon enough). We can choose a new way to proceed after abandoning the train which after all has brought us little else but magnificent wrecks – though we choose to see only those parts when the train actually ran pretty good from our side of the tracks. (Warning: that was a metaphor for civilization.)

        Imagine that an individual is actually, sincerely, concerned about the overall condition of her society, civilization and world. Imagine that she’s thinking about it all and casting about for ideas, ways, concepts, that could either change the existing paradigm towards a fairer, juster, kinder, and safer one. She describes her ideas and tries to explain how they are meant to work but before she says anything, she’s experimented with those ideas and discovered that for herself, as an individual, they do in fact work. Would you expect her to remain safely quiet about her “discoveries” or to talk about them and when challenged, to try her best to explain how they would work, and what the results would likely be.

        To those who find the concept of personal compassion and the desire to create a “good” world, repugnant or an opening to lavish scorn upon it, I must ask, “Is it because you live in an insular, safe little cocoon protected by a violent global military and equally violent banking and industrial complex that you don’t care what is happening to your world?” A simple question, really.

        I would “start a church” if the concept had any value but that is a pointless exercise and in the long run it would only serve to destroy everything I’ve written and talked about. So, no church. Just one self empowered individual who happens to know that we can do better, not as various kinds of collectives but as individuals committed to changing the world the moment they begin to realize how badly screwed up it is.

        Oh yes, that means such an individual has studied the concept of empathy and agrees that a human being should be empathetic. Imagine having to feel everything “you” inflict upon others, how swiftly you would come to my line of reasoning.

        Enjoy the day Phil.

  8. Tiny

    I like your definitions and have similar ponderings from time to time. And I agree there is no neutrality in duality.

    Reply
  9. Lisa R. Palmer

    I’ve been sitting on this for days, mulling it over, considering… While I tend to agree with most of what you say here, there was still something that didn’t sit right to me, though I couldn’t put my finger on it. Some of your commenters seem to have addressed my concerns, so I just let it go. Came back today to read it once more, and so…

    You say there is nothing ambiguous or subjective about good and evil, and I want to believe that. But experience tells me that is not the case, at least not for me. (Though we understand that though I am a compassionate and empathic being, I have clearly not yet come to terms with your ideas of compassion as a way of being.)

    A couple decades ago, I used to teach “magick” to newbies. I always began my teachings with an in-depth look at magickal (spelled with a “k” to distinguish it from illusionist tricks) ethics. The standard phrase for such ethics was/is “an’ it harm none, do as you will.” Sounds simple enough, until you start looking at details, and specific situations. Because how we define “harm” is always situational. We move and direct energy in magick, meaning we move it toward something, and away from something else; harm done. My goal was always to teach that if one truly understood both magick, and magickal ethics, then one could never actually engage in ethical magickal practice; such a thing does not truly exist…

    I believe that is what we are dealing with here (or I am, anyway – lol!)…

    Extreme example to make a point: suppose I live in an abusive environment (call it the world today). I suffer every day because someone (many someones) enjoy my suffering, if only because it benefits them in some way. I see others suffering as I do because we cannot escape, and I do what little I can to ease their suffering along the way. One day an opportunity arises to oppose the evil oppressors; I can destroy those of us who suffer for them.

    Is killing myself and my fellow sufferers an act of evil, or an act of good (mercy/compassion)? By your definition of evil, I am not “strictly” benefitting myself alone, but I am taking away the other sufferers’ choice to continue or not. That would seem to be harmful to me, even if ultimately it is a kind act that would bring great relief…

    I just don’t know… mercy killings have always been a grey area for me. You don’t need to respond to this, as I’m just sharing my thoughts, and exposing both my bias and my shadow in the process… lol!

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I do not know if I can clarify what I mean by good and evil not being subject to interpretation. Earthians so love to use grey as the primary shade of their relationships, mainly because grey allows one not to take full responsibility for one’s thoughts, words and deeds. Let me tell you a personal story, hopefully not altogether boring.

      Once upon a time I believed in God. That satisfied my needs for a definite yardstick by which I could measure myself, God being the ultimate perfection in my mind. When I became a born again Christian, age 32, I discovered the “fact” that I could have God’s Holy Spirit indwelling me 24/7 and by that means I could always, without fail, know right from wrong. Would an indwelling divine spirit countenance me sinning and live with that? Not possible. I relied on that faith for as long as possible until I realized I had been duped. The Holy Spirit either did not indwell me, or didn’t give a flying you know what about my thoughts, words or deeds. Bottom line, it had always been entirely up to me to make all the tough choices and live them.

      By age 35, divorced, free, I was seriously thinking of leaving here and finding some group, some place, where I could spend my life “doing good works” so to speak. Opportunities abounded. I had lots of useful skills and spoke 2 common languages fluently and could manage quite well in Spanish. I made plans, then the Teachers arrived. Everything changed. According to them, the hardest but most effective “good work” is best done in one’s neighbourhood, where you are known and your honesty or hypocrisy is easily seen. I was shown how it is my rich and entitled world that needs help; needs to change attitude and understanding. I wasn’t going anywhere-I wasn’t running away from the more difficult “ministry”.

      I was raised here. I lived and worked here. I would never know or understand any other place better than this one. I was a part of it and I was it. What I was, it was; what it was, I was. Chilliwack was my prison and we were all under its rules. I would have to work within the prison while a member prisoner. That’s when I realized I didn’t have to run away to any exotic place to practice the things I was learning made a person into a human, humane, being. I saw the degeneracy and selfishness of my prison environment and began by choosing to live differently. Change would begin with me and it didn’t matter if it never went beyond that, but I had the means to talk about those changes and used them.

      Which brings me to the topic. Can we always, without fail, know good from evil? Can we avoid the confusion? Whence comes the confusion, first of all? Our programming. So, the point isn’t to focus on what’s right or what’s wrong, but on what makes us confused about it. We must, by whatever means, rid ourselves of our Earthian programming, or brainwashing. We must find our self empowerment in all things. That’s what matters. The issues you bring up are non issues for me. I read your concerns and knew instantly what was causing your uncertainty.

      Imagine you’re a surgeon and you are called to do a life-saving operation on a known mass murderer. Your job is to perform the operation. But what a golden opportunity to put an end to evil by allowing the murderer to die under your hands. You can get away with it. You would be more of a hero if the murderer died. But here’s the key: you’re a surgeon. It’s what you do. There is no issue here. You are not saving the life of a murderer, you are doing what is right. You can’t go into the ramifications and consequences of what could happen if that person is set free to kill again.

      But that’s not all the lesson. Such an approach can lead to mercy killings, as we well know. So we must begin at the beginning. Compassion and empathy as that which guides our hand as self empowered beings. Compassion and empathy apply to me as well as to all and sundry. When operating empowered by compassion we can only do that which is right and good because it applies to me and everyone else. That’s the whole point. There are no issues of feelings and emotions. We encounter them but do not make our decisions based on those. We rely exclusively on the state of compassion we live within.

      That is why I mentioned the Holy Spirit concept. What did not work in religion, works now with compassion. I can no longer make decisions for myself independent of compassion. In a very real sense, it is compassion that makes my choices. I go with them because they are always superior to anything I could personally come up with. When I act under compassion I am not responsible for the consequences but I am a part of the consequences. I am irrevocably joined to everything I think, say and do. Self empowerment leads to self responsibility and acceptance of consequences. All consequences are personal because compassion develops empathy.

      Reply
      1. Lisa R. Palmer

        Thanks for the clarification, Sha’Tara. The last paragraph in particular makes sense to me, bringing your compassion as being into new perspective. That helps a lot… 😀

  10. stolzyblog

    Pretty interesting discussion, Sha’Tara. But what else would one expect: opining on the themes of good and evil. I don’t think compassion is an absolute. By that I mean something along the lines of: there is not a clear and obvious and never improvable empathic state of being and response to all encounterable situations, From this stance, compassion is more like an ideal — something worthy of striving towards and perfecting. Thus, in my lingo, it is like a virtue. Degrees or states of compassion exist, and I can certainly see within my life and those of others I’ve known well over time, that, having willingness, their capacity for compassion has improved or evolved over the years. Also, comapssion is connected with knowledge. The more deeply we understand and relate to situations, and especially to people, the more possible it becomes to enhance our practice of compassion or empathy. Putting all this together, I see a strong relation between your notion of compassion and my notion of Holy Spirit. On the other hand, I’m confused when you say, every so often, that once one decides to choose compassion (i,e, being compassionate), the work is done and ethical life becomes easy. I do not imagine it not being a consistent chosen effort to exercise maximal (or sometimes even partial) empathy in everyday circumstances. Resolve is one thing. Persistence and awakeness to newly perceived degrees of subtlety in life another. So here too I see practiced compassion as a virtue, in other words, a chosen dimension of inner moral cultivation, to be forever deepened. (Here I mean ‘moral’ as an inner individual perception, not an externally provided maxim or dogma.) This strikes me as a kernel task of our present moment, our times, to develop individualized creative conscience for dealing in new more effective and morally sensitive ways, informed by the virtues we determine to practice and become more observant about.

    I love your warrior approach to this compassion you uphold.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Robert. Lots of thought into that!  I never meant to imply that compassion is an absolute, in fact absolutes cannot manifest in duality without destroying it completely. A universal solvent would mean the end of the universe.  While I sometimes get tired of even talking about compassion, I need to re-explain something here.

      Imagine a classic story, say “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. Imagine that all you’ve ever read of it was a condensed version written for grade four students. In a way you could claim that you’ve read Les Miserables but in fact you have not until you’ve carefully studied the entire four volumes, ideally in French. Then your claim is valid.

      On the surface it is possible to lump compassion in with other virtues, with love and altruism and kindness, goodness, whatever. Here, yes, there are endless “degrees” of actions that are erroneously labelled compassionate. Here choices remain as to when to be compassionate and when to choose otherwise.

      That isn’t what compassion is, not when one enters into that reality. Compassion as I’ve come to know it is in a category by itself. It is a force, a power. It is a stand alone program that, by permission, takes over one’s mind and directs it. To repeat myself, once one has opened up to compassion as a guiding force, all decisions are made through that filter. You no longer have a choice because you do not want to have a choice! The reason is simple: I would not have the courage nor the wisdom required day by day to live compassionately on this world. There are too many seductions, too many fears, too many traps so that we go scurrying back into our old ways when something comes that exceeds our known resources. Compassion supplies the energy of mind that I don’t have. Yet that does not make me dependent, as on a god for example. The energy is simply mine, but from sources I don’t know I have, or cannot access but my compassionate state can. It is both, myself and something greater than myself.

      When I imply (did I say it?) that to the compassionate the ethical life becomes easy, I don’t mean the doing of it, I mean the choosing of it. It is easy to choose to do the right thing when you know it’s the right thing and you know you no longer give yourself the choice to act contrary to your compassionate nature. So you cannot do evil – imagine that on a world such as earth.

      The problem with choosing a gradual awareness and “awakedness” is obvious: the road is long and there are endless ways the “matrix” can put the fire out. One of the ways is emotional responses that trigger non-compassionate if totally legitimate responses to events or situations. The road of gradual awakening does not rely on self empowerment, and if my description of compassion seems to deny self empowerment, I’m sorry but I don’t know any other way to describe my relationship. Perhaps detachment for all other relationships?

      This isn’t a satisfactory reply but best I can do tonight. Long day, and it’s late… again. Thanks, Robert, for the challenge, and the kudos at the end… 🙂

      Reply

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