I am noticing tiny threads of a newly awakened human concern for what some call “morality.” For example, witness Vladimir Putin’s very interesting, and from our current point of view, very politically incorrect, Christmas address, where he talks about western countries as having severed themselves from their roots in Christian morality:
Others refer to “ethics.” For example, at Trump’s press conference yesterday, his lawyer spelled out how he will separate out his business interests while president and even employ an Ethics advisor to help make decisions (see minute 24 to 39):
But as I say, this subject is only barely beginning to creep into our discourse. Let’s hope it comes in fully, to the point where not only are we talking morality and ethics, but the values from which they derive.
Because at this point, only those who recognize that humans are still unthinkingly ecocidal, still blindly assuming that growth (in material wealth) is “good,” while ignoring the larger context in which we live — a finite planet with finite resources; only these people (still a tiny minority) dare to look at that little word value straight in the face, and recognize that more and more money (and stuff) is not, ultimately, valuable.
We cannot eat money when the food runs out.
Back in the mid-’60s, when I was a graduate student in philosophy, I taught a section of one professor’s lecture courses. Don’t remember the name of the course, but it must have had something to do with ethics, because one of the students raised a hand and asked if she could do her paper on the concept of “value.” Even now, the memory of what happened next reverberates.
I heard what she said, and instead of parroting some kind of teacherly response out of the repertoire I had been taught, suddenly exploded in despair.
“Values? VALUES?” I spat. “I have no idea what is of value. I don’t even know what value is.”
I had been so firmly and fully conditioned, that “the world” consisted of only two things, “objects” and “facts” used to describe them. I was a good girl. I had absorbed the materialistic world-view, what we philosophy students called “positivism.” I was on my way to becoming robotic.
That was before I discovered Gurdjieff.
That was before I realized that yes, I was mechanical! That I had no idea how to make real choices! That I had no values to guide my life! Instead, I was blind, stumbling along, one foot ahead of the other, in the direction “society” had laid out for me, and desperately unhappy. So I thank that student now, for her innocent question was what ignited the explosion in me, which in turn guided me, within weeks, to discover Gurdjieff’s practice of “self-remembering.”
I suggest that we begin to use the word “value,” the word “moral,” the word “ethical” in our daily conversations. I suggest that we begin to ask, of any action or idea, not just “would it work?” but “is it good?” Good, not just for me, but for others? Would be good for the community as a whole? For other species? For Earth herself? Only as we frame up our discussions of facts inside of a framework of inherent values will we be able to disentangle ourselves from the thick, sticky, thorny briar patch of divergent, and explosive “opinions” that we have fallen heir into, that stir up massive emotional trauma, and that, let’s face it, if left unchecked, could ignite World War III.
Meanwhile, I am concerned that even when we do that, for example, even if we in the west do begin to hearken back to the loving, merciful, example of Jesus as exemplified in our “Christian” roots, can we then also disentangle ourselves from the subtle, devious, centuries-long political/theological/economic strangulation of the structure built on top of this living root, the Vatican, which, BTW, now wants to create a central bank, so that the Pope can be the one to frame up our values. Once again, we see the NWO, the increasingly centralized, hierarchical control technocracy, trying to lead us by the nose into a corral from which there can be no escape.