The fundamental flaw in human society is a lack of moral character. While certainly there are many people who have good moral character, they are too few to dominate the aggregate behavior of homo sapiens. Selfishness dominates. It issues many lies to distract and manipulate human consciousness to its advantage. Lies are the sound and literature of theft from the public good. Selfishness justifies itself with the excuses of “belief” and “moral principles,” which are attempted disguises for its denial of truth. People believe what they want to believe; facts don’t matter. Religions in particular, and often government systems, are used as excuses – whether labeled as “salvation” and “righteousness” or “law” and “order” – to exclude, and to inflict cruelty on the excluded.
How are we to eliminate this flaw in human society? Good character is not something that can be compelled. The only way to improve aggregate human character is for the individual to commit to maintaining and improving his and her own. Beyond the personal benefit of gaining a justifiable self-regard, the good of such a personal commitment can diffuse into society by the effect of the individual’s example on the people he and she interacts with, and perhaps on some of the more distant observers.
Compulsion is the obsession of bigots who gain political power and seek to use government as a tool to force others to fit into the framework of their bigotry. The commitment to base conscious action on good character, regardless of the corrupting pressures from society, must be a free choice, a declaration of independence, if it is to have any reality at all.
You, the individual, have to keep a balance between judgment and forgiveness of yourself so your mistakes and lapses can be recovered as lessons and improvements, and so you can maintain the psychological health needed to conduct a happy and fulfilling life. The specifics of what you do are always influenced and constrained by the environments and conditions you find yourself in, and the events you have to live through, but the manner in which you address the challenges of living comes exclusively from your moral character; and that is what you have control over in this world.
Also published at:
You In Humanity
25 July 2017