(About a 3 minute read)
In our world
Are things which should never be violated
That are violated.
Is not the question a bit more complex than “to be or not to be”? To live or to die?
For if we chose to live, then question becomes what is the good life, the best life our species of great ape is allowed by the gods to aspire to?
That’s one question no sane person wants to screw up when answering. What is the best life we can live?
To me, the best we can aspire to is to live as true to ourselves as possible and still be socially and environmentally responsible.
To me, our true selves — and the true selves of other people — are among the sacred things of this earth. The things that we ordinarily have no right at all to violate and profane.
Others might name other things best or more sacred — things other than authenticity. Wealth, power, gods, happiness, purpose, and love seem to be among the more frequent answers. But to me none of those is truly capable of being realized by an inauthentic man or woman.
What is even a billion dollars if you are not true to yourself when making it or spending it? Think on that question for awhile, and perhaps you will see my point.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” — Mark 8:36.
Knowing human nature, there has in this bizarre would of ours already lived a billionaire who bought a yacht that wasn’t him or her, then spent years aboard it cruising paradisaical islands while snorting coke out of lost and lonely boredom with their party boat.
No matter how exciting life is, mere excitements are no substitutes for living passionately.
But if being true to yourself really is all that important, then does anyone ever have a right to try to change your thinking or behavior?
It seems to me obvious that we should live in ways socially and environmentally responsible — and that we can be held accountable for, say, dumping toxic waste in the city’s drinking water. But that leaves a huge gap — a huge question.
Suppose your friend is seriously harming herself in ways that yet harm no one else, nor the world — do you have a right to intervene to prevent or stop her from purely self-harm?
Some good folks might say there is a higher power (such as a god) or a higher law (such as a law of nature) that gives you the right to intervene. But I don’t have eyes sharp enough to see that. It might be true or not. I myself wouldn’t know.
Here’s what I believe I do know. You do indeed have a right to intervene in some reasonable way if — and it’s a big “if” — if your intervention is aimed and and likely to bring about their being true to themselves.
If not, then you have no right to intervene.
And that’s basically it. That’s pretty much the essence of it. But how do you yourself see the issue?
This post was inspired by a poem on Suki’s blog that can be found here.