a moral consciousness of good and evil
Jan 07, 1994 02:52 PM
Evil is something that we deal with and face at every moment in life.
It is present in everything that we do, just as much so as the good.
Both qualities are present in life. Good and evil form a duality that
expresses a certain aspect of manifest life, and we can face and deal
with the issues that come to us in life, or ignore and deny them.
There is a moral aspect to every choice that we make. We can deaden
our sense of morality and ethics, keeping ourselves colorblind to the
rich spectrum of meaning, the rich nuances of our experiencing of life.
We go through life in continual interaction with others, and we can
do so with heightened consciousness, or automatically, without thought,
out of habit.
When we are acutely aware of our impact on others, when we are aware
of the totality of the situation, including both our intents, our
motivations, and the effects on others, the impact of our actions,
then we are judging clearly, and have some conscious functioning of
the moral principle, a functioning of the moral consciousness.
This is an awareness of the rightness of what we do, or the wrongness
of it, and it embraces our intent, our understanding of the situation,
and our making of choices. It deals with a higher part of us than
the thinker, the mind, Manas. It deals with the relater, the unifier,
the chooser, Buddhi. Ethics and morals are one element of the highest
principle of personal consciousness, of Buddhi, and only seem vague,
illusory, uncertain in us because we are as yet unconscious, unevolved,
unaware in that part of our natures.
Whether we choose to do so or not, we continually perceive our actions
in terms of our impact on others. We see if we are beneficial or harmful
in our actions. And we see the effects of others on us, also beneficial
or harmful in nature.
We establish relationships with others based upon our mutual harmony,
and our ability to reinforce each other in the type of life we would
lead. Should we choose to lead a foolish, selfish, or degraded life,
we would associate with others of like nature, and feel in harmony
with them. There would be no conflict with them, and we would live in
our own little world, our own little circle of friends, unaware of
other types of live, of other types of people existing about us. And
we all do this; we all have our own circle of friends and people of
like mind that we associate with.
When someone of a different nature crosses our path, there can be
conflict. There are different philosophies involved, different rules
of conduct, different values to judge behavior by. Each may see the
other as bad, harmful, an opponent or enemy, someone to be fought or
This brings us to one definition of good and evil. It is but a single
aspect of the truth, and by no means comprehensive, but it is useful
to consider as part of the big picture. Evil could be considered as
something that is in the wrong place, or happening at the wrong time.
With this definition, we could consider a person of another culture,
visiting our land, as evil, if that person's customs conflicted with
our own, and his natural way of behaving was considered criminal in
Morals and ethics are not mere rules of conduct, codes of behavior
to allow people to coexist in a society while causing minimal harm
to one another. There is much more to them than just a culture-specific
pattern of behavior, with certain actions called good and others called
bad, according to some collectively laws and social expectations.
When we engage in action in the world, the *intent*, the goal that we
desire to achieve is Kama. Our planning and understanding of the
situation is Manas. And our *choice*, our process of selection, our
discrimination is Buddhi. It is the principle in which we *weigh the
rightness of all possibilities*, and make final determinations.
In a discussion of the principles, it is important to keep clear the
fact that we are dealing with the subtle nature of consciousness itself,
and not merely of bodies on other planes. We are talking about the
elements or forms of perception, of awareness, of the experiencing of
life and existence, of being a fully-embodied human being.
When we discuss the moral consciousness, we are talking about one
aspect of consciousness. What we say is true on any globe or place
where we can be reborn. In any such world, we are capable of
complete consciousness, composed of seven manifest principles. And
among these is the element of *choice* or *judgement*, the sense of
distinguishing the right from the wrong, the good from the bad. This
sense involves our evaluation of people and things that we meet, as
well as evaluation of our possible actions or karmic interactions
Taking the standpoint of our personality, we have a strong tie in
our personal makeup, our personal karma with our nation and society.
We share in the nature of the land in which we make our home. This
is why we are told to obey the laws of our land--or move--as a
general principle of life. We are not to arbitrarily pick and choose
which laws to obey and which to break.
This takes us to a slightly different view of evil: evil is to know
the right and to choose the wrong. It is unconscious evil if we are
mostly unaware of what we do, and self-conscious evil if we have a
clear awareness and still side with the wrong. From the standpoint of
the personality, we exist in a society, and know the law. We can
obey it, we can break it by accident, or we can intentionally break
Considering our actions, apart from us, they are good or bad based upon
their intrinsic nature. In simple terms, for example, to kill some is
bad, and to save their life is good. To steal is bad, to generously
give is good. There are many types of examples of right or wrong action.
It is different when you consider us as individuals. We are good
citizens or crinimals *by choice*. It is in our continual decisions
for good or bad, that builds our character, and makes us good or bad
people, good or bad personalities. There may be, and in fact is much
more to us than the personality built up in this lifetime, but until
we can bring out other qualities, we consist of what we have built so
far, we consist of the current state of our personal selves.
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application