Re: Sickly-Sweet Ethics Defined
Aug 02, 1997 09:56 AM
by Titus Roth
"Jerry Schueler" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Most Christians are ethical, and Chrisitanity (as well as all other
> religions) emphasize ethics to the breaking point -- their teaching is that
> if we go to church, and are ethical, we will go to heaven when we die.
Unfortunately, ethics in Christianity have been contaminated by the sense that
they mean outwardly observing a few rules. This has been a very hard image to
shake. I rather doubt that most Christians are really ethical. Moralistic,
maybe, but not moral.
> I agree with you that we have a downward flow in the order of Love->
> Compassion->Ethics. HPB, Judge, and many others suggest that by
> forcing ethics, we will be able to rise to compassion, and then to love as
> you have defined it. I would suggest that it just doesn't work that way.
You are right about forcing ethics in the sense of outwardly following rules
while craving to do the opposite. It is the same, for that matter, trying to
force anything else - love or compassion included.
Love, compassion, ethics all require both inner and outer work. Ethics
require a conscience (the inner state) and a will to follow them (the outer
fulfillment). To develop love you need to both make the obvious gestures of
love and cultivate the inner state. Actions, thoughts and emotions all play
off one another.
> When you suggest to a Seeker of Truth that s/he should begin by developing
> ethics, and a strong sense of right and wrong, then that person feels forced
> to construct and follow a set of ethical behaviors, and misses the forest
> for the trees. Rather, we should develop compassion, and let ethics take
> care of itself.
Ethics and compassion play off one another. One cannot develop without the
other. People who try for compassion *alone* end up in an enantiodromia,
meeting its very opposite: sentimentality. Ethics are the bones, compassion
is the flesh.
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