the moral consciousness, above rules
Jan 11, 1994 06:40 AM
When we usually hear of morality, and of distinguishing good from bad,
it is usually in terms of an organized religion like Christianity, where
we are given rules of behavior, without perhaps a good explanation as
to why they are important to follow, and told to simply to live our
lives a particular way.
In terms of business and of conduct as a good citizen of a nation, we
are also given rules to live by, a set of laws to follow and rules of
ethical conduct. We are told that certain behavior is good, ethical,
honest, and other behavior is bad, unethical, dishonest. We are taught
a sense of right and wrong that is based upon obedience to the laws of
our land and upon a standard of fair treatment of others.
In either case, these rules are minimal standards, standards aimed at
the common man. They are to provide for the peaceful functioning of our
society, with minimal discord among its citizens.
Morals, ethics, and the discrimination of good from bad all relates
to the same type of awareness. Let us call it moral consciousness.
It is an important part of our lives. As we increase our powers of
perception and overall awareness of life, we find that we do not cast
it aside. Rather, we find it ourselves growing acutely aware of it,
as it becomes self-conscious, instead of automatic, habitual,
Until we reach the point where we become able to distinguish the good
and the bad in a situation--and there is always a mix of both!--we need
some arbitrary rules to help us get by. But when we become aware of
this side of life, and develope moral consciousness, we find the rules
a hindrance rather than a help. When we can see into the complexity of
a situation, look with penetrating insight into all the possibilities,
understand the true impact of each possible action, then we are using
this moral consciousness. We see the help and harm in each way that we
can go, and we *choose* consciously, rather than instinctually, in
clear awareness of the impact of our actions.
Rising above the need of arbitrary rules of conduct, we do not find
ourselves without any sense of right or wrong, any sense of good or
bad, any awareness of morals and ethical conduct. No. It is exactly
the opposite. We were truly unaware of the right or wrong in a
situation when we were clinging to the rules, without really thinking
about and trying to understand the situation of the moment. And it is
when we leave the rules behind, and derive them in our consciousness
from scratch, in response to the current situation, that we are truly
exercising this higher form of awareness.
Moral consciousness is higher than thought. It goes beyond Manas, the
sense of personal self, distinct and apart from others. It goes to
Buddhi, the sense of connectedness. Moral consciousness comes from the
penetrating awareness of our essential unity with everyone and
everything that we meet in life. We perceive situations based upon our
true impact on them, knowing both our side and the other's side as one
and the same, taking everything into account fairly, without any bias
towards our own personal benefit at the expense of others.
We need to continually rise above a sense of personal self, and see
ourselves and others as essentially one. In our activities in the
world, one way this comes out is in the ethical, the moral sense.
Directed inwards, towards ourselves, it can be found in continual
self-examination, where we see where we have gone wrong and need to
grow. When we are true to our purpose in life, and self-fulfilled,
then we have lived a good life.
In either case, the moral consciousness refers to the power of
*choice*, based upon a conscious perception of the situation, and an
evaluation of the right and wrong in the many possible courses of
action, the many possible responses to the situation. We are not
operating habitually out of a set of rules that were perhaps never
explained to us. We are rather freshly arriving at those rules
ourselves, in the situation as it happens, and thereby participating
in the situation with a new, a different kind of consciousness than
Consider the mind. It is possible to hear certain opinions, and to
carry them with one. One can speak them in response to something that
he hears, without really thinking about what is being said. He would
have responed without really thinking, merely mouthing words that he
carried with him. Where he to really be thinking in this conversation,
he would freshly arrive at whatever he would be saying. He would be
thinking new thoughts, using his Manas, rather than revisting old
thoughts, and using his memory.
The same is true of the moral consciousness. One can result to old
rules and already-made guidelines to apply in judgement. One can
respond automatically. Or one can freshly perceive the situation, with
all of its good and bad, and make evaluations and choices based upon
arriving at what is right through the consciousness of the moment.
When one speaks of the amoral consciousness, as something that can
be achieved by going beyond the common sense of good and bad, it may
be this that is meant. One goes beyond the arbitrary rules of conduct,
unresponsive to any particular situation. One goes on to an acute
self-consciousness of the good and bad, freshly arrived at in
immediate, conscious response to the situation. One is not bound by the
social rules, and may even at times seem to act in a manner that may
seem bad to others, but one is doing so out of a greater, more
responsive reaction to the immediate situation, and is acutely aware of
the tragic mix of right and wrong, of good and evil in everything
about one. One weights and measures and chooses out of this new type
of consciousness, rather than blindly reacting out of habit, out of
conditioning, according to predetermined rules. And one is functioning
in a part of himself that knows no distinction between him and the
other; he has risen above thought and is functioning in Buddhi.
Eldon Tucker (email@example.com)
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