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Re: Sickly-Sweet Ethics Defined

Aug 04, 1997 06:00 PM
by Titus Roth

Lynn Moncrief ( wrote:

> However, I still believe that an attempt to "first" create an ethical
> system is useless and pharasaic unless it is motivated by love and
> compassion. But, I don't think we're in actual disagreement here because
> you mentioned "conscience". As long as that conscience is informed by the
> principles of love and compassion, a right system of ethics will be
> expressed. And that brings in the inner work that you described.

We probably more or less agree.

I'll admit to being a little confused about how HPB's words are being
interpreted in the discussion which has ensued.  Your comments bring us back
to the original topic - always a good thing to revisit when we get off into
tangential and increasingly abstract subjects.  HPB said, approximately, that
we need a clean life and a pure heart.  I find no fault in that.  Ethics go
together with compassion.  Compassion without ethics is no compassion and
ethics without compassion are no ethics.  Yet, they are a distinct yin-yang
pair and both need to be cultivated in their own way.

I'll give a concrete example of each case.  Fine print: this is drawn from
people within my experience and no similarity is implied to anyone on this
list!  Some parents I've known say they love their children.  Yet they don't
discipline them at all.  Closer examination showed that they were using their
children for their own needs and they were afraid "lose" them if they did't
give them their every want.  Is that love a complete love?  At the other
extreme, some parents were very controlling and harsh.  Ostensably, they had
high ethical standards, but in reality they were merely vicariously making up
for their own lack of ethic.  Are those real ethics?

>> 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.

> I'm truly sorry for my ignorance, but could you please define
> "enantiodromia"? I looked it up in my dictionary, but it contained only the
> connecting form "enantio-" and entries for words containing this prefix
> that are specific to chemistry. I think I do understand what you mean and
> agree with you, with sentimentality as a do-nothing state based on pure
> emotion. 

As I recall, Heraclitus used it first.  In the sense that I used it
(plagiarized from Jung) it means a reversal of dominants.  When one polarity
of a truth is emphasized at too great a cost of the opposite, the opposite
comes in with a vengeance.  In this case compassion without careful attention
to ethics becomes the opposite of compassion.  Likewise ethics without a
cultivated compassion become unethical behavior.

>>  Ethics are the bones, compassion is the flesh.

> Hmmm. I think this analogy works well if we're thinking of creature with an
> exoskeleton. :-D

Let's just hope it doesn't become an ex-skeleton. ;)

Since you're interested in astrology, I had the following in mind when I said
that: I associate ethics with Capricorn, ruler of the bones; and I associate
emotional sensitivity with Cancer (opposite of Capricorn), ruler of the
stomach and breasts - kind of soft fleshy things.

- Titus

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