What I believe – Part 1

Posted: March 25, 2018 by Rick Godspell

I find it both interesting and troubling how much our beliefs dictate our behavior and character. There are times when there could be objective proof or no proof at all but our certainty about whatever chosen course of action dictated by said belief can be objectively destructive while we proudly consider it to be a subjectively positive, even an ordained event. All because of a belief.

This is a powerful thing. How many times have you acted on a strong belief with the result having some type of powerful effect or consequence for you or someone with whom you are connected to in some way? The problem I am attempting to illustrate is that this belief filter that we each have conditions how and what emotions are elicited at certain stimuli. If we do not allow for that filter to be mailable and versatile and ultimately shaped by the objectively provable fact, then the actions that result may be well-intentioned but ultimately destructive, harmful, and never in balance with the objective real world in which we all actually exist.

The last paragraph is a perfect description of who I was well into my early 30’s. So completely out of balance yet so defiantly certain that whatever I did was somehow cosmically ordained. All the while preverbally stumbling and sometimes slamming my way through other peoples lives without a thought to the carnage and chaos left in my wake. As I aged it became very clear that the world does not revolve around me and every action and belief has very far-reaching consequences. I am now on a journey that I hope will eventually grind away the sharp edges caused my ever-protruding ego and allow me to slip past and through without leaving a wake.

So, as my perception of the world changes with each new fact so does my systems of belief and relationship to reality. The goal is to always get closer and closer to reality rather than further away from it. After all, I have found all the belief systems that I was raised on pathetically egocentric, simple, parochial, and ignorant of how beautifully fulfilling balanced and rewarding the unfiltered objectively real system of life we all live within actually is.

That leads me to the first expression of my beliefs:

We are a system of systems living within systems living within systems.

There is almost never one simple answer to any question, especially when it comes to the current social, cultural, and political problems we are all facing now. Our bodies are made up of billions of elements with billions of micro-organisms and bacteria helping to maintain our biological systems. The coding of our genes and the expressed functions and structures somehow have created the foundation in which the unknown thing that we label consciousness resides. All within a much larger physical system of life and death, within social and cultural systems, within a planetary system, then on into galaxies and beyond. You get the point.

When we discuss the issues within this blog and podcast it should be noted, that while I attempt to express my ideas and make my points or form my arguments, the fact that we are within these systems is always at the foundation of my approach to describing the problem and seeking a solution. There will never be a cut and dry solution to any problem, and when dealing with such an established system as the influence of money in politics or how best to provide and structure health care, there will always need to be a multifaceted approach. This is extremely frustrating for me in the context of attempting to relay an all-encompassing foundational solution within a limited time frame while wading through the emotional shrapnel that occurs during most political based discussions.

We lack a coherent long-term comprehensive plan for our future.

Currently, it seems that even the thought of evolving into a society that values our mutual wellbeing over money and profit causes outrage and disgust.

The corporate mantra of ever-increasing immediate profit at all costs has replaced any reasonably sustainable balanced long-term approach to what we all “believe” capitalism to be compared to what it has actually become. The problem with this approach, is what next? Is that it? We just keep using up all of the earth’s resources to make cool gadgets and weapons without regard to the consequences to the system of life upon which we all rely?

No problem for me, but already we can see some serious issues already forming for the next generation. The following generation after that, well it starts to get darker.

Obviously, the climate is changing and that is already having direct effects on the wellbeing our global cultures and systems.

We are currently in and directly causing the Sixth Extinction Event without even noticing. We have plastic and other pollutants now at the bottom over every ocean and everything in between all the way out into space with an accumulating amount of orbital debris.

As our global population is sprinting towards 8billion we are now starting to see how very soon we could start having conflicts around fresh water and how we are going to adequately feed this growing population.

As I see it, the only way to move forward is to work together on mutually agreed upon and mutually beneficial goals that focus on solving the largest most common sense and ethically pronounced problems facing us all.

Money is not natural, it is only a symbol of value. What do we actually value?

Our current cultural and political situation is a perfect example of what happens when we value money over knowledge, consumption over cultivation, ego over compassion, ideology over freedom, and tribalism over unity.

I cannot overstate the obviousness of the in-process money grab that is our current president, administration, senate, congress, corporations, and billionaire donors.

By valuing a mutually beneficial future over immediate profit at all cost, solutions that allow for real and long-lasting economic and cultural growth are easily considered and enacted. There are many historical examples including our constitution, the civil rights movement, environmental protections, the enactment of global human rights, the clean water act, the animal welfare act, the long list of acts and amendments the FDA and EPA put in place to assure our health, social security, and even safety belts were all put in place because it benefited everyone and helped all of us move forward in a positive way. Sadly, there are always those who want to fight tooth and nail to increase their wealth and power with every willingness to sacrifice any who oppose their goals and no compunction against deconstructing anything that balances the playing field for all.

We are in desperate need of a clear and coherent culturally applicable code of conduct.

Within that long-term plan, we need to have a code of conduct taught and implanted from cradle to grave. I don’t think anyone can deny that the if we all chose to hold each other socially and culturally responsible for adhering to this simple and all-encompassing code of ethics, we would generally be better off as a species.

The eight virtues of the Bushido code, the written version envisioned by Nitobe Inazo in the book “Bushido: The Soul of Japan”.

I am listing the labels here and then suggesting you follow the link to The Art of Manliness link below as the guest post from Tom Clark is one of the better presentations of the code I have read.

These are:

  • Rectitude or Justice
  • Courage
  • Benevolence or Mercy
  • Politeness
  • Honesty and Sincerity
  • Honor
  • Loyalty
  • Character and Self-Control

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/09/14/the-bushido-code-the-eight-virtues-of-the-samurai/

Some would argue that the Christian bible currently provides this form of moral guidance. I was raised on the King James version, had some time to engage with the Tora, the Koran, and even the Book of Mormon. None of those religious books have any come close to presenting such a clear and desperately needed culturally applicable code of conduct. This is not intended to show lack of respect towards those belief systems, rather none of those religious presentations are as much of a distillation of positive guiding behavioral principles as the 8 virtues.

I will address the obviousness of that statement in a later post.

 

Thank you for reading.


References

  1. The Extinction Crisis - Data and observations from the Center for Biological Diversity
  2. Space junk problem is about to get a whole lot gnarlier
  3. Space.com Ugly Truth of Space Junk: Orbital Debris Problem to Triple by 2030
  4. Bushido Code: The Eight Virtues of Samurai - The Art of Manliness
  5. Bushido - Japanese History
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