Justice (part 2): Beyond the Golden Rule

So where is justice when people “get away” with crimes, or when one community profits at the expense of another? Obviously there is none from the individual point of view: some individuals and communities/tribes/countries win, and some lose. As a whole, however, we lose. How? Because neither the winners nor the losers are well placed to carry the grand experiment of life forward. Continue reading

Justice (part 1): A simpler Golden Rule

Picking up the thread from We, myself and I, we are exploring an alternative understanding of who we are. We (I’d vote to include any life form capable of self-consciousness, but I’ll leave that for another time) are life becoming aware of itself. This happens through individual life forms, which exist for relatively short periods of time. But a conscious mind trying to make sense of the world while learning to function through a particular body and brain could easily confuse this individualized manifestation of life with individual existence. Continue reading

Part of the solution

I was just reading about the film Green, described as a “visual essay” on the plight of orangutans, a very human-like species that is going extinct rapidly. I’d like to watch it, but I’m a mess already just reading about it. So many emotions… but we have to be careful of emotions.

I’m sure the film will have me blubbering at human cruelty. And while human cruelty is a terribly well-documented phenomenon, I think the vast majority of it is not intended as cruelty per se but the sad result of our fractured relationships with each other and the world. Continue reading

We, myself and I

If there is a unity to life, then consciousness might not be the solitary affair we tend to think it is. After all, we already noted that the mind is hard at work before the self appears. Another way of putting this is that consciousness precedes self-consciousness. We are aware before we are self-aware.

So who is driving before we take the wheel? Are we simply born with pre-installed software — thankfully not made by a certain large corporation — that runs the show at a very basic level until we start writing some more advanced programs? Continue reading

The unity of life

The self appears to be something we create or, better yet, assemble.  But I said at the outset that we are going to proceed logically. So if I am going to maintain that I and me are not the same, and that me is a later development, then it is only fair to say something about I.

Of course, there is no logical answer to the question of who/what we are. The best I can hope to do is to outline something you won’t simply reject as unreasonable, something you can accept as enough of a possibility to make it worth reading on. Continue reading

Iran and the US war on the world (part 2)

So let’s look beyond the crisis of the moment, and beyond US military involvement in one part of the world over the last 10 or so years. Let’s go back to the end of World War II, when the US emerged as the most powerful nation on earth. The Soviet Union stood a somewhat distant second, shackled to the restive Eastern Bloc with its leadership resented or hated even within its own borders.

The US did something smart. Instead of imposing harsh measures on Germany and Japan, as had been done to Germany at the end of World War I, it pursued economic engagement and recovery. Its two main foes became two main trading partners. Continue reading

Iran and the US war on the world (part 1)

So now it’s Iran, and maybe Syria? After Iraq and Afghanistan, and Libya. And can we throw a bit of Pakistan in there? We’re only talking wars here, or at least armed intervention. And only in the last 10 years or so (long after the Shah came and went). Can you really blame Muslims who see a US agenda to attack or control them? Of course, it might just be about controlling all that oil. Except that the US has all but turned a blind eye to the rights of Palestinians in “greater Israel” while squawking about the rights record of anyone it does not claim as an ally. And let’s just not mention who the primary targets of waterboarding and the whole Guantanamo/extra-territorial detention apparatus are. Continue reading

Where do we start?

So I want to maintain a kind of serious focus without sending you screaming off the page. Well, here goes.

Like I say in the intro and the About page, compassion (love in its widest sense) makes perfect sense in a straightforward way, without any need to appeal to God or any other supernatural force for help. But there is a catch, or else we’d be living in a rose-colored world and I wouldn’t be writing this. Continue reading

Ground zero

The Why? page of this blog can serve as an introduction, but I can’t assume you have read it. And it’s important to give you a reason why I want to go on about logic and compassion, and why you might want to read it.

The reason is simple. After a million years or so of evolution, humans have failed to get to first base. Armed conflicts, environmental catastrophes, economic chaos — enough said. We treat each other and our world brutally. The only thing one could reasonably expect for our future is extinction.

Of course, humans are also capable of greatness, of selfless acts that benefit life as a whole, often enough in remarkable ways. So what is the problem? Why can’t we get it together? Continue reading