3 Comments

Many big and inspiring questions here. I feel I've been working on similar questions recently myself.

One thesis I've been slowly working my way through works its hypothesis as (from what I understand) the ethical as coming before the ontological, rather than vice versa. If the ethical comes after the ontological - after Being, after human existence - does that mean that the ethical is man-made, subjective, and must be created and then implemented? If this is the case, then the ethical is also trial and error, and must come after the deconstruction, after stage I and either during, or even after, the reconstruction of stage II. If this is the case, then can it really be a basis for reconstruction?

If the ethical comes prior to ontology, then one must already ethically be to truly be at all. Here, the process of reaching towards the 'Ground of Being' in deconstruction is also a process of entering the ethical realm. Then, in exercising the capacity to participate from that Ground of Being in the phase of reconstruction, there is also a participation with a higher ethical force guiding a person's actions and the whole of phase II. This might even imply that the ethical was there before stage I as well, establishing an understanding of entering a spiritual path from the beginning to be an ethical endeavor and not a egoic one, although both are necessary because the former is overwhelmed by the latter in manifestation.

To me, this would make sense because the spiritual path is an endeavor to enter a greater participation with conscious life, which as you already mention is necessarily social from the start. It's already there. It doesn't have to be made, just participated in. The cancer comes when there has just been enough deconstruction where the reconstruction can occur, but it comes from the prior ego instead of the Ground of Being - black magic. It doesn't come from the ethical, but the surface and artificial.

I'm reminded of a story told about a monk who was begging in the local town, away from his ashram. There, a man came and harassed the monk, spit on him, and hit him, but the monk (thinking he was doing his rightful duty) just sat and observed and didn't react to this. Later he left the town and went back to his guru at the ashram and told him of how great a student he was for passing this trial. However, the guru admonished him and rebuked his lack of action, and told him to go back to the town to see what was happening. So, the monk went back to the town and saw that the community members had all gone to that man's house and set it ablaze, destroyed all his belongings, and set him and his family out onto the streets for assaulting a 'pious' monk. When the monk returned to the guru and told him what had happened, the guru told the monk that if he had simply hit the man back, none of the rest of that would have happened to the man. It was the monk's own egoic righteousness that caused the greater harm done to man in the town and his family.

I share this story as an interesting anecdote for the pondering of what ethics really is and where it comes from. I don't really know how to take it. Where's the edge between a person's egoic righteousness dictating what the ethical is, and what the ethical actually is? This isn't to say that the abuse these "accomplished meditators" are guilty of isn't truly abuse and that they aren't guilty of it. More so, for me, I wonder if the ethical is created before time and enters into the world through a person's participation with the Ground of Being in each moment, rather than some sort of 10 Commandments given as a prescript. Also, who is the 10 Commandments really for?

Sorry about the essay of a comment. Much more I question and could write and ponder on these topics. Thanks for the inspiration in this. I appreciate your writings.

Expand full comment

Hey Joshan, just wanted to say that I really appreciate your contributions in this space. I think Michael Brooks would be proud of your ability to continually weave together spiritual awareness and material analysis. Much needed in these times!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks Brian, this is really kind. Michael continues to be a huge inspiration — such a unique blend of spiritual & material analyses, & I agree, a very useful fusion nowadays. Thanks again!

Expand full comment