This is a series of 4 articles originally written in 2017 but very appropriate for today.
This article started out about our moral and ethical deficits. Morality and Ethics are perceived based on our belief structure. The more I thought about the topic the deeper into the concept of consciousness and mind I delved. To me, morals and ethics are based on our worldview, how we see our self in relationship to the environment and our fellow travelers. In this, we make decisions based on our early years and what we were taught as a good person, idea, and thought. As a student of mind and consciousness, I can say about 90% of all decisions we make are from our unconscious mind based on our early years’ experiences. It is my hope, that the body of this commentary will help all of us see what we must do to protect our democracy, ethical actions, and moral core of existence.
The day-to-day convictions of most of our fellow citizens can be divided into a moral division that we often see as political progressive (liberal) or conservative. This division is defined or depends on what you see as a good person and the right thing to do. Exploring deeper the concept of “good” we can see this division is based on what kind of family we have. How we think and explain what a good parent is to us. According to George Lakoff, the split of conservative and liberal can be reduced to two kinds of parenting strictness or nurturance. These qualities apply to morals and ethics in all facets of our life.
This division pertains to our thinking and understanding of our family, to morality, religion, and our politics. As a nation, we do not have discourse on this aspect of the political division simply because these concepts reside in our cognitive unconscious and we are not aware of the part they play in our day-to-day decisions and actions.
An example of this is how we see our parents. Parents are the first concept of God to a small child. A child cannot understand the abstraction of God, so in defining God they are told God gives all things. Everything a child receives comes from a parenting figure, thus if parenting figures are punitive and strict the child will grow into adulthood thinking of God as a punitive source of life. Out of this religious choices are made as well as political choices. Political choices are made because a person chooses elected officials out personal beliefs, rather than any abstract future presented by candidates during campaigns.
If we are to remain a democracy as a country we must come to grips with the profound divisions we see in the function of government, social programs (entitlements), accessibility of education, environmental issues, gun control, the death penalty, abortion, energy, civil rights, taxation and not least religious freedoms. The essential division in our thinking of these concerns can be reduced to strictness and nurturance.
The conservative leadership has spent quite a bit of time and money defining the meaning of family, morality (as they see it), as well as education and other topics of political division. They define the topics in a way that their constituents can clearly see and understand and in fact see the proposals as common sense. The conservative platforms, bills, executive orders, press releases, are all stated in language that leaves little digression from the concept of strictness, is fraught with ideas that conservatives can relate to as common sense, and lack any room for abstract thinking. The conservative platforms present a strict cohesion to the definitions put forth leaving very little wiggle room in the thinking or enacting of rules/laws set down by government officials. This kind of thinking is what I call black and white, either /or thinking. All thought is based on excluding any outlying thoughts or circumstances. For instance to allow Trans people to choose the restroom that fits their identity falls outside of the strict definition of male or female. To the conservative mind, the concept of a Trans person is not conceivable. Thus the move to force anything that deals with possible sexuality variations (from the strict sense of gender definition) is required to move back into the either/or mode of male or female.
We are a blend of many different ideas. We all are a blend of conservative and progressive thinking and beliefs. This perhaps easier understood when we think of education. As a progressive voter and thinker, I still believe that education should air on a conservative side teaching cursive handwriting skills and math without calculators. At the same time, I believe school age Trans Children should choose which restrooms they want to use.
No division is ever black and white there are nuances that lend shades of gray to our thinking. A common symbol (or metaphor) is when we say something is hot we are saying to me it is hot and not that it is hot 100% as there is no 100% cold or hot. The space between is a blend and thus becomes shaded as a gray space. To understand what our adversaries are we must begin to understand the subtleties of language and mind/consciousness. As we speak of the unconscious mind we are speaking of those beliefs and thoughts we are not aware of playing a part in our life.
Conceptual metaphors are used in our thinking and speaking to explain abstract ideas. We Commonly use the metaphor of an eight on its side to explain infinity as having no beginning or end. We think in pictures, which we try to convert to words. Infinity to be understood is reduced from abstract to a visual.
This same process happens with morality many often think in financial terms and transaction. For instance, Karma is thought of as payback for deeds done. Morality is thought of in the sense of “you did me a favor and now I owe you.” We often talk of morality in terms of debts and think of it in that manner. Think of such concepts of reprisal, justice, retribution, and compensation are often thought of in financial terms. Much of our moral reasoning is thought of in this type of metaphorical ideas. Progressive thinkers say many immigrants pay taxes and add to the workforce, conservatives say the law is the law and you can’t stay in this country without legal papers.
Returning to the idea of our beliefs coming from family experiences. Morality and ethics radiate from categories in our belief system (archetypical symbols). Morals and ethics are radial emanating from a central model, which has many subcategories but four main sections.
In many ways, our country is in the middle of a divorce. Parental conservative (strictness) father symbols outlining how we are to live and behave while the liberal mother (nurturance) is struggling to feed and nurture our new sense of inclusion of the diversity of humanity in many areas of life. For those of us who are primarily liberals, the new administration feels abusive. The father sees their role as protection (hence the travel band and wall). The overstepping where there is exclusion feels abusive and non- nurturing to the liberal mind. Those who are capable of doing straight thinking in the abstract know that guidelines for safety don’t need to be exclusive or abusive. Children need guidelines in which they can explore and learn (thus nurturing the soul of the child). To me, and many others, the soul of our country and democracy is immigration that brings new ideas and diversity to the palate of our nation.
If we are to sustain our freedom and democracy as a progressive community we must quickly learn to define our concept of morality and ethics in such a way that it seems to be common sense and obtainable. We need parameters that keep us safe and yet allow us to grow and create using the diversity we represent. In many ways, it is a new way of thinking and educating our nemeses so they see the benefit and common sense of nurturing with parameters. Through community brainstorming, we must develop a vocabulary that expresses our ideals and can be understood by the conservative mind and thinker. Discipline and parameters are a necessary part of creative growth. BUT they must be malleable, in such a manner, that we are not thrown into either /or thinking.
It is my belief that we can make Truth an effective force for all humanity.
(c) copyright 2017-2019 by Suzanne Deakins from NON Binary thoughts..