The Relationship of Morality and Spirituality

#21
I recently made a good post on the old forum concerning the topic of morality-spirituality relationship. To be more precise, it was about reincarnation research and apparent lack of any "karma" shown by the evidence.

I think I can re-post it here - it would be revelant for this discussion (if it is not good to post something both on the old forum AND here, please let me know!)...

Well, I do not believe in any form of "divine judgement" - and the actual evidence from parapsychology, transpersonal psychology and near-death studies seems to confirm my disbelief. Whether we like it or not, we apparently live in an "amoral" universe; all notions of "good" and "evil" are man-made, and, therefore, relative, subjective and contestable. No Absolute Cosmic Laws to follow.

I'm afraid that some moral realists will start to criticise my moral anti-realism in usual ways - e.g., "without objective moral laws, anything goes". Well, not really...

First, the consquences of our actions do not stop with death, but persist after it. To quote the article:

Stevenson, an expert on psychosomatic medicine, suspected strong emotions are (somehow) related to a child’s retention of past-life memories. Traumatic deaths, he thought, leave an emotional imprint. Indeed, most of the children he studied claimed that they had met a violent end previously. There was also a gap of a few years between lives; reincarnation is never immediate. And for the most part, souls seemed to stay local. That’s to say, the “previous personality” often lived in a distant village, but not quite so far away as to require a passport. Oftentimes, Stevenson observed, the child had habits and fears linked to the nature of death. Those who said they’d drowned in a previous life had an unusually intense fear of water; those who were stabbed displayed a crippling knife phobia, and so on. There were even three cases of children who’d reacted violently when they’d unexpectedly crossed paths with their own “murderers”. It’s bizarre to picture preschoolers lunging for the throats of adult strangers. Nonetheless, it made sense to Stevenson, since in his view, the children were attacking those who’d gotten away with their murders.
Second, the consequences of our actions are not limited by sphere of the personal (and interpersonal), but affect world-in-large. Even the most minor action contributes to the global state of events, and ultimately influences the whole mankind - maybe, even some non-human realms and entities. Such influence may be very small, almost invisible - but it still adds to the whole pull. Robert Anton Wilson brilliantly described the principle in his "Cosmic Trigger", in the chapter "A lesson in Karma":

Karma, in the original Buddhist scriptures, is a blind machine;
in fact, it is functionally identical with the scientific
concept of natural law. Sentimental ethical ideas about justice
being built into the machine, so that those who do evil in one
life are punished for it in another life, were added later by
theologians reasoning from their own moralistic prejudices.
Buddha simply indicated that all the cruelties and injustices
of the past are still active: their effects are always being felt.
Similarly, he explained, all the good of the past, all the kindness
and patience and love of decent people is also still being
felt.
Since most humans are still controlled by fairly robotic
reflexes, the bad energy of the past far outweighs the good,
and the tendency of the wheel is to keep moving in the same
terrible direction, violence breeding more violence, hatred
breeding more hatred, war breeding more war. The only way
to "stop the wheel" is to stop it inside yourself, by giving up
bad energy and concentrating on the positive. This is by no
means easy, but once you understand what Gurdjieff called
"the horror of our situation," you have no choice but to try,
and to keep on trying.
As we know, people who had transformative spiritual experiences tend to become much more compassionate and humane than they were; but such increase in compassion appear to be "non-moral" in nature; after all, experiencers often describe being "beyond good and evil".

I suppose, the higher compassion are just the result of higher conscious lucidity and the higher intellectual efficacy (including social and emotional intellectual efficacy) which is achieved by spiritual experiences. Cruelty and violence and not "evil" in the absolute sense - they are just plain stupid and, on long-term, counter-productive; and they require non-empathy (e.g., the severe mental and emotional separation) towards victims. The former is obvious to the highly socially and emotionally intelligent person; the latter is impossible for the fully-conscious, hyper-lucid person. It does not require following any rigid "moral code". It is simply natural.
 
#22
I recently made a good post on the old forum concerning the topic of morality-spirituality relationship. To be more precise, it was about reincarnation research and apparent lack of any "karma" shown by the evidence.

I think I can re-post it here - it would be revelant for this discussion (if it is not good to post something both on the old forum AND here, please let me know!)...

Well, I do not believe in any form of "divine judgement" - and the actual evidence from parapsychology, transpersonal psychology and near-death studies seems to confirm my disbelief. Whether we like it or not, we apparently live in an "amoral" universe; all notions of "good" and "evil" are man-made, and, therefore, relative, subjective and contestable. No Absolute Cosmic Laws to follow.

I'm afraid that some moral realists will start to criticise my moral anti-realism in usual ways - e.g., "without objective moral laws, anything goes". Well, not really...

First, the consquences of our actions do not stop with death, but persist after it. To quote the article:



Second, the consequences of our actions are not limited by sphere of the personal (and interpersonal), but affect world-in-large. Even the most minor action contributes to the global state of events, and ultimately influences the whole mankind - maybe, even some non-human realms and entities. Such influence may be very small, almost invisible - but it still adds to the whole pull. Robert Anton Wilson brilliantly described the principle in his "Cosmic Trigger", in the chapter "A lesson in Karma":



As we know, people who had transformative spiritual experiences tend to become much more compassionate and humane than they were; but such increase in compassion appear to be "non-moral" in nature; after all, experiencers often describe being "beyond good and evil".

I suppose, the higher compassion are just the result of higher conscious lucidity and the higher intellectual efficacy (including social and emotional intellectual efficacy) which is achieved by spiritual experiences. Cruelty and violence and not "evil" in the absolute sense - they are just plain stupid and, on long-term, counter-productive; and they require non-empathy (e.g., the severe mental and emotional separation) towards victims. The former is obvious to the highly socially and emotionally intelligent person; the latter is impossible for the fully-conscious, hyper-lucid person. It does not require following any rigid "moral code". It is simply natural.
Very interesting Vortex, I liked it a lot. Thanks for sharing.
 
#23
If by spirituality you mean non-physical/source consciousness/the no thing that gives rise to the physical - there is no relationship. Well none other than that any and every thing physical is an expression of that spirituality. This is so very clear and very basic that I can only think that those who don't know are those who are trying to use their intellects to play around with thinking about states that they have not allowed themselves direct objective experience of.

So . . okay . let's do the intellectual wheel-spin. Morality is simply a set of arbitrary standards of behavior. It plays out as what the majority in a group see as right-wrong, honorable/dishonorable,etc. So anything, yes anything - murder, rape, theft, oppression, kindness, caring, thoughtfulness, forgiveness can constitute morality. People waxing about "morality" are with rare exception waxing about the moral code that they put stock in. And without to much strain we can see that the morality - spirituality error is much the same thing as the "my religion is most spiritual" error.

Spirituality (as defined above) simply is. It is not something one work towards or attains. It is there, inescapable. What one can attain is a far greater objective awareness of non-physical.
Is that all it is? If so, then it's hardly worth talking about at all.
Yes that is what is. Not only is that plain from even a cursory look at societies, it's the definition of the word. Now of course everyone has their preferred morality which they often view as being the definitive morality. So much so that they simply term it "morality"

As for " hardly worth talking about" I disagree. One's implemented (as opposed to just preferred) morality will affect one's experience in physical to a great extent. So it has great bearing on what sort of physical world one lives in. What I see as important is practicing congruence between one's preferred morality and one's implemented morality. So a person who prefers a morality that supports individuals having the freedom to express their thoughts without censor benefits in implementing that. They are not implementing that when they support the censoring of ideas they dislike.

Saiko, I partially agree with you. I also think that morality is just a set of arbitrary customs supported by this or that society and culture; and often this set is a quite dangerous one, prescribing people to perform cruel and opressive actions. For example, for the centuries it was a moral demand for parents to inflict regular and harsh corporal "punishments" onto their children, to prevent them from becoming "spoiled" (e.g., becoming the proponents of something which is deemed to be "immoral" by the particular society - or an opponent of something which is deemed by this exact society to be "moral"). For now, the common moral demand for parents of the Western societies is not to hit their children. This is, I think, much more humane (and more spiritual) - but this is not "more moral". If we think that this is "more moral", we have to ask ourselves what exactly makes our Western morality better than the the one of the non-Western people.

Here we come to a problem: to evalute morality, you have to rely on some "meta-moral" (or "supra-moral") criterion - e.g., on something which preceeds and/or trancends the local customs of human cultures and gives us a possibility to judge moral codes (and reject the ones which do not pass the judgement).

And this is here where spirituality comes to play. The higher consciousness and intelligence obtained through spiritual experiences give people a possibility to see through their indoctrination (the set of belief that has been implanted into their mind since the early childhood), to resist indoctrinated behaviour with their will, and to evaluate the common beliefs of their society from the position of more lucid, free-thinking and compassionate person. That's why many mystics and magicians (especially the "spiritual rebels", such as Alastair Crowley, Timothy Leary or Christopher Hyatt), may sound "amoral" to much of the population - and, I suppose, one of reasons why magick and mysticism were supressed by organized religions and ideologies.
 
#24
Vortex,
I agree highly with both your previous posts in this thread. Thanks for your insight into this.
I had never really looked at it the way you stated on the NDE experiences, but it does make sense that knowledge of higher levels would make a lot of the stuff we do on earth seem rather trivial to a point regarding good and evil. Especially when you consider our common beliefs from society and our own notions of what we deem acceptable behavior being stripped away.
 
#25
Here's a question... If it was conclusively proved, and widely accepted, that consciousness survived bodily death, would it result in more, or less, value attached to the material human life? Would suicide rates go up?
I suspect most suicidal people think they are going to enter oblivion, but at the very least many of them probable have a DE. I guess people would be less likely to try suicide because they would know that it would not be the end anyway.

Most of us value human life anyway, and I'm not sure those that don't are really acting rationally anyway.

David
 
#26
I guess people would be less likely to try suicide because they would know that it would not be the end anyway.
On the other hand they may be more likely, as they can throw in their 'difficult' hand and try something else ?
 
#27
I suspect the answer to the question "would it cause more suicides" depends on what happens next. If I knew for a fact I survived physical death, the next question in my mind would be something along the lines of .. " how do my actions now affect the life I will be moving into?" (And I should add those left behind who will be affected by it). In other words is there any guarantee that the situation I take my life to avoid will better than the one I am fleeing? I am sure some take their own life with a lucid mind but I suspect some do not, or have lost perspective on their current situation thinking that whatever follows cannot be worse than what they suffer now.

Then there is the question of taking the life of another creature.

This is perhaps an area where motive is particularly important. I can think of a number of reasons why a person might take their own life, or that of another most of them understandable in their context. Who can truly fathom the motive of another person?
 
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