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Comments to Liesel & Jerry

Nov 08, 1994 08:42 PM
by Jerry Schueler

Liesel<You tell about having written a paper on Chaos Theory.
I'd love to read it, but don't know how to get into the theos-l
archives.  Can you tell me how that's done? Also once I've read
it, would you be willing to answer some questions? I got 1 book
on the subject out of the library not too long ago, & it didn't
make much sense.>

I have to apologize here.  I am very new to UNIX and have no idea
how to access the theo library through email.  Nor do I recall
what the title is (schueler01 dot somethingorother I think) I can
get there via ftp nowdays, but I don't know if you can fpt or can
only email.  However, I do recall awhile back that John Mead gave
out directions for how to do it (these are lost in the bowls of
my archives, and I simply don;t have the time to try and recover
them).  Perhaps John, or someone else, can help here???

Jerry H-E<This is precisely why I was hoping to have a discussion
concerning ethics on this network.  Discussions concerning
ethical decision making is not the making up of rules that
everyone should follow, but the exploration of the consequences
concerning the choices of ethical actions that we are faced with
every day.  Ethical decision making has to do with gaining
insight into our own actions and decisions, as well as those of

Jerry, please excuse me for butting into your conversation, but I
thought that we already have had a lot of discusion on the
subject of ethics (I still have some scars around here
somewhereorother).  I have repeatedly pointed out that ethics is
a huge can of worms and unless we just like to go fishing we
should aughta leave it alone.  Case in point: A while back you
said to someoneorother that true ethical behavior is doing what
is *right* rather than just following rules.  Hitler vs Shindler
comes to my mind as an example that you, or someoneelse used.
Then, when someone mentions Ollie North, who did what he
*thought* was *right*, you imply that he acted solely from
selfish motivations of money.  While I am not an Ollie fan, it
seems to me that you just undid your own ethical beliefs.  Or did
I miss something here? My point is that if a small inner voice
tells us that a rule or law is not right, and that we should act
in some other way (Mai Lai during the Vietnam era, for example,
where obeying orders meant murdering innocent civilians) how are
we to know, at the time, if we are really *right* or not when we
break a law? Of course, nothing beats hindsight (and if Hitler
had won the war, would Shindler have still been *right* ?).
Breaking a law for a *higher good* is itself a can of worms that
almost invites anarchy - though I will admit that under certain
situations, I would do so, and be willing to live (or die) with
the consequences (thus putting myself somewhereorother above a
Kholberg level 3).  Are you saying that Ollie was *wrong* even
though he inwardly believed that what he was doing was right (and
I think he really did believe at the time that he was doing the
*right* thing.  For arguement sake, lets assume that he honestly
believed he was doing a higher good).  And, since you enjoy this
topic so much, why can't you just come right out and tell me what
the difference is between the ethical beliefs (or system, or
whateveryouwanttocallit - I have yet to hear just what you think
ethics really is) of a Christian and that of a theosophist? I
have asked this several times, but you and Eldon have so far both
responded with a lot of softshoe that I haven't found impressive.
I have no problem with gaining insight into one's actions, but I
can't yet see what that has to do with ethics.  Why can't we gain
insight into our actions through yoga or some kind? How about
self-introspection during a quite moment? Where do ethics come
into play here? Are you suggesting by this that we should label
all of our actions as good or bad? What then? Try to get a gold
star by more good than bad? Who is counting? God? What do we win,
a better future life? And how do we define *good* and how do we
define *bad* (except in terms of each other of course).  Just
maybe, Ollie defined "good" as lying to Congress.  Without rules
and regulations, anyone can make up their own sense of right and
wrong.  While I can see the need for rules and regulations, I see
little for worrying about a set of ethics to follow.  And I will
say yet again to you that dragging the early theosophists,
including HPB, into it does not impress me either.  She had her
own agenda, one that I understand and appreciate.  You have yet
to tell me what ethics has to do with any of this in such a way
that I can understand you.  Are you trying to tell me that HPB
was always ethical, in the normal or Christian sense? (I hope you
are not that naive.) What exactly is your definition of ethics
that you so strongly desire to talk about? If you define ethical
decision making, as you did in your post, as "gaining insight"
into the actions of others, then I would suppose that you have
already labeled me as a troublesome soandso who is clearly
unethical.  HPB defines good or bad as having to do with motive,
period.  What happens when we hurt someone with a good motive
("the road to Hell is paved with good intensions" may be true)?
Hitler's motive was to improve the world.  Does this make him
good? How can you, or anyone else, know what my motives are? And
if you did, what difference would it make? How can you know what
Ollies are? Your doctrinal dissertations on ethics, so far, have
sounded very biggoted to me.  I don't seriously think that they
are.  I feel strongly that you simply haven't thought about it
completely and put it all into the proper words.

I apologise for my rambling here.  I seem to keep repeating
myself on this issue.  But I get very tired of you and Eldon
harping on ethics and never really saying anything but a bunch of
useless pithy sayings.  If you want to talk ethics, fine, but
please say something for a change besides how darn important they
are.  I can go to church and hear that.

                    Jerry S.

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