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Goodness is Natural Yet Difficult

THEE Note:Closed The significance of unfolding dualities remains uncertain. However, they appear to provide a useful perspective and possibly some validation for the formulations.

An Unfolding Process

Man is a moral being for whom the desire for goodness is natural. This desire is almost a reflex and extends above and beyond what survival or society dictates. It is part of our identity to act virtuously. We view it as an expression of freedom and a responsibility to ourselves. Nevertheless, it is a common experience that goodness can be rather difficult in everyday life, especially in urban, depersonalized settings.

Ideas, methods and rules in any community may be deficient. However, what lies beyond current conditions is in the gift of our humanity: the personal capacity to rise above limited social conceptions of what is right and good. The only remedy for improving the world's ills lies in each person standing up to social pressures, as previously elaborated in relation to communal existence. People are not amenable to re-programming, so improvement is an evolutionary process akin to punctuated equilibrium, and it demands something difficult of each of us.

The unfolding duality allows us to unpack and understand the moral conflicts that we face, as a member of society and as a part of humanity. It presents as follows:

The duality of natural method v difficult requirement poses a dilemma in choosing and acting. This dilemma occurs with all Groupings in the Structural Hierarchy but manifests differently for each. This natural v difficult dilemma at each Level is a thesis-antithesis dialectic which is transcended by synthesis to produce a new natural method at the next higher Level, where a new difficult requirement emerges. The system is cyclic: synthesis at R"G7 engenders the natural state at R"G1.

Explanation of the Progression

RsH"G1: Use Ultimate Values

ClosedUse Intuition v Be Reflective

In using ultimate values-R"G1, the vehicles of goodness are naturally used by everyone and values appropriate to the situation (e.g. fairness, beauty, truth) are easily applied. Whether it is for ●enjoyment-G11, ●aspiration-G12, ●knowledge-G13, ●helpfulness-G14, ●exertion-G15, ●submission-G16, or ●unification-G17, using intuition is the natural method to choose and use the value.

The use of intuition does not, however, always produce the result that you desire. For example, when you help someone who begs, kindness may come naturally. However, it is possible that you are being exploited and the money will be spent on drugs or given to a gang-boss. It is only possible to be confident that what you are doing is good, if you reflect on your actions in the light of the situation and relevant knowledge. So the difficult requirement to be reflective raises your application of values to a higher level.


RsH"G2: Find Strength

ClosedUse Conventions v Think Independently

In finding strength-R"G2, you are helped by society to exert a natural self-control in daily life. Normal socialization ensures conventions in regard to self-restraint, civility and social order become second nature to you. As a result, the natural method in finding your strength, whether in relation to ●doing what you love-G21, ●reaching truth-G22, ●giving accounts-G23, ●being of service-G24, ●staying the course-G25, or ●accepting reality-G26 is to use conventions that society has provided for the particular case.

Using convention is typically easy and natural. But conventions are societal and historical, and often unfair or unsound. So there is a difficult requirement to think independently so as to see through society's limitations and often harmful restrictions.


RsH"G3: Overcome Pain

ClosedExpress Sympathy v Get Involved

In overcoming pain-R"G3, the natural method for goodness is to express sympathy for another. (You should also have sympathy for yourself.) No society can explicitly support a callous disregard and contempt for those who suffer. Nevertheless, it is evident that much suffering is ignored or minimized. Some groups oppress other groups. Many in positions of power show little concern for the effects of their choices and policies. If you want to make a difference, then the difficult requirement is to get involved.

Expressing sympathy involves some action, at least speaking up and showing solidarity. Each such communication contributes to the emergence of a new and better psychosocial reality. This change can occur through use of the various instruments for healing: ●gratitude-G31, ●forgiveness-G32, ●generosity-G33, ●sacrifice-G34, or ●self-purification-G35. Getting involved demands more specificity and directed action with these techniques.


RsH"G4: Build Character

ClosedGive of Yourself v Open the Imagination

In building character-R"G4, the natural method supported by society is to give of yourself. This authentic contribution will manifest in ●heroism-G41, ●talents-G42, ●presence-G43, &/or ●integrity-G44. However, situations are commonly ethically tricky, there may be conflicting advice, and the best course is difficult to determine in practice. The difficult requirement for the best outcome is to open the imagination. Imagination can allow awareness of the needs of others and reveal the nature of complicated situations.

The current advocacy of social entrepreneurship is an attempt to focus and activate imaginative responses to social ills by those who are willing to give of themselves in social life.


RsH"G5: Attain Equanimity

ClosedTry to Identify v Be Detached

In attaining equanimity-R"G5 in difficult social situations, the basic and utterly natural method is to empathize with the other person or group. This usually leads to identification, but we shrink away if the other is hateful, damaged, devalued or too different. So actively trying to identify is needed. You do not have to be the Dalai Lama or Confucius to make this effort. Once identified, most people can rather effectively ●be cooperative-G51, ●be wise-G52, or ●be compassionate-G53.

The danger in this situation is often over-identification. It is all too easy to lose perspective, to get overwhelmed by difficulties, to get drowned in impossible demands. For some, there may also be the urge to dominate and control others following identification. So to do good, there is a difficult requirement: to be detached.


RsH"G6: Embrace Vitality

ClosedMake Your Way v Integrate Yourself

In embracing vitality-R"G6, the most natural method to release goodness is simply to make your way in society. This flows from ●being active-G61 and ●being receptive-G62. By being receptive you become aware of what is needed, and by being active you provide for those needs. Society depends on each person developing themselves and contributing to society in their own distinctive way. As long as it is graceful, self-reliance is evidence of goodness. Only a self-reliant person can assist others who are not, and all helpfulness should assume future self-reliance of the recipient.

While personal dignity generates wishes to make your own way without being too dependent, dependence on a social milieu is unavoidable. The individuality of each member reveals a power discrepancy between each person and the social system. If you are to do any good, there is a difficult requirement to integrate yourself.


RsH"G7: Entertain Great Dreams

ClosedBecome Authoritative v Assume Leadership

When entertaining great dreams-R"G7, it is essential to become authoritative to ensure social impact. The provision of goodness for wider society through sharing personal knowledge is natural. However, if you are authoritative and others are lacking a proper grasp of what you understand so well, then something further is needed to produce goodness: in that particular area you must assume leadership—a difficult requirement.


Originally posted: 7-Jun-2013

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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