Published in InZicht, february 2014
What the heck ethical behaviour has to do with radical self investigation, one could say. No idea. It appears to me that many philosophical subjects only cause problems to the mind, however I could be wrong. I have been wrong before. Likewise right or wrong, or worse good and bad seem to be ultimate matters to moralists who are not quite awake yet.
To me the ‘right’ action results from the total energetical constellation of the moment. As such it is obvious to me that a refrigerator should not be dumped in the woods, although there are people who show a different attitude. Moreover I am not exactly amused by lists with do’s and don’ts, or the ten commandments for that matter. Seems rather artificial to me. These are fit for rules of thumb at most. Stealing is not quite okay, but if required by the circumstances, it is to be tolerated. Punching someone in the face isn’t okay either most of the time, yet it is most practical at times. Rules and exceptions, you know.
Can a genuine investigation of ethics result in something suitable? Of course, in the relative realm each form of thorough and profound investigation can reveal much. Consequently I sometimes advice people to examine a subject down to the last detail. And as often is the case with advice, it seldom is followed up. The problem of course is that it is a separate entity, an individual, being the starting point of an investigation of ethical actions.
Another problem is that indeed we can develop a conscience, a kind of compass with databank, but circumstances can arise at any time in which we will deviate from morality, after which we will feel guilty again, which then again nicely works out for ego confirming purposes.
As I see it, I can not know in an absolute manner what is right or what isn’t, because I can not write an alternative history nor can I really overlook all effects whatever action may have in the long run. Shortly: I don’t know.
So what remains is to act spontaneously, conform the context of the moment and that I can not ‘do’. There are no rules, because nothing stands apart or on its own. That, to many, is weary and so there is nothing left for the mass but to deal with the rules and the conflicts resulting from it. Different rules can and will conflict with each other. Maybe the moralist and the egoist might turn out to be less different than appears to be at first sight. And moreover: intuition is different from conscience, as far as I am concerned. Intuition, as I know it, is non-moralistic. So for someone feeling himself a separate individual it might be useful to overcome the tendency to neglect his intuition. Then at least a non-egocentrical, compass which is not distorted by culture is available.
Who or what wants to act rightly? What is right? How is that determined? Can you overlook all variables? Can you really say that something is bad without knowing all consequences, which again cause all kinds of things, the consequences of which are uncountable and unknown as well?
Little Hans was suicidal and depressive and a pain in the arse. Was that bad? It was hell, surely, however it made me start searching, it motivated me tremendously and ‘I found’ (or was found). And was that good? For many, yes. Others I treated too harshly ast times and my former family and so called girlfriends I have wronged on more than one occasion (and tried to help as well). So consequently: I do not know.
Good and bad are relative, however I will probably deal with a guy who is mistreating a woman and at least I will ask someone who is throwing a car battery along the road, whether he is in his right mind or not. Is that good? I do not know, but I just cannot keep my mouth shut in such a situation and sometimes I am annoyed by stupidities and separated tomfoolery. At the same time on a relative level I am not really consequent I guess. We eat and grow biological vegetables, have twenty-two solar panels on the roof, but I also love to smoke cigarettes and we have two cars in the driveway and let me say not really the most economic ones. Irresponsible and also scandalous.
So…I don’t know. To someone who thinks to be ‘someone’ it can bring much to occupy oneself at times with ethical dilemma’s and to draw some self confrontation from it. But it seems more essential to me to find out what is real, what you really are, to stop running from emotions, or to stop protecting and feeding your ego. But then again, what do I know?
Text Hans Laurentius; Translation by Johan Veldman