Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Spiritual Advocate

The Eye is Open

Dear Spirit Dude, What did you learn from the whole Janet Jackson Boob Incident?
- Wondering

Dear Wondering, What I learned is that in the United States a white man can forcibly rip the clothing from a black woman, and the black woman will be reviled and scorned and the white man will suffer no consequences whatsoever.

Dear Spiritual Advocate, What did you learn from the Matrix movies?
- Neowannabe

Dear Neowannabe, I learned that sometimes, no matter how badly a movie seems to scream for a sequel, it should not be made. Especially twice.

Yo, Eyeball dude person, can societies be immoral or moral?
- Pontious

Dear Pontious, No soundbite answers available here. This requires some set up and some sort of starting point that we can agree upon.

First we need to determine what is meant by society and what is meant by moral or immoral. You may find it odd that I shall choose to use circular definitions as it may be most beneficial to view the two concepts as being interrelated and codependent. One problem with Western thought is the tendency to strip things down and attempt to isolate them from anything else in order to gain insight into their ‘true’ essence. Ignoring the fact that some sort of interrelatedness is part of, or perhaps in fact is, our true essence.

Society being a word used to describe the actions and purposes of multiple persons, definitions of society involve how society is ordered towards individuals. It is therefore written:
“Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority.”
But, what is ‘the common good’? And what is this about the ‘exercise of authority’? It is written: “By ‘authority’ one means the quality by virtue of which persons or institutions make laws and give orders to men and expect obedience to them.

“Every human community needs an authority to govern it. The foundation of such authority lies in human nature. It is necessary for the unity of the state. Its role is to ensure as far as possible the common good of the society.”

Common good again.

And so it is written further: “A society is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them. As an assembly that is at once visible and spiritual, a society endures through time: it gathers up the past and prepares for the future. By means of society, each man is established as an ‘heir’ and receives certain ‘talents’ that enrich his identity and whose fruits he must develop. He rightly owes loyalty to the communities of which he is part and respect to those in authority who have charge of the common good.”

Hmmm. Authority and common good again.

We shall leave this for now and allow some digestion and some questioning. We shall take this up in the next issue.


Buck said...

Dear SA,

Re: JJ Boob Incident…am I wrong in thinking that as a society we’re nuts? On one hand the limits of decency are applauded as “artistic expression” while on the other hand we cry out in righteous indignation when those "limits" are passed.

Re: Pontious & can societies be immoral or moral…is it possible to have a substantial discussion of morality without addressing absolute truth? It seems that otherwise morality is reduced to opinion.

Frater Bovious said...

for the Spiritual Advocate:

Re: JJBoob
Yes, sort of. The media is crazy like a fox. I don't believe the majority was as outraged. Even if 10 million were 'outraged' that leaves 250 million people yawning or gainfully employed.

Absolute Truth vs Opinion

Everyone has an opinion. Not everyone wants absolute truth. Some world views are dependent on the denial of absolute truth.

Many try to fit Absolute Truth into their world view, believing that Science has dealt with the concept of absolutes. Still, they seek. But, you can't reason with a hungry man.

Caution, lest you frighten the penguins. They will run in fear even when hungry.