Friday, August 28, 2015

The Dogs In and Among Us.

Good and EvelThe world we inhabit is in large measure the externalization of our interior states. We project onto the landscape of our lives the cultivated assumptions of our collective experience. Our availability to the impulses to become tragic actors, or otherwise, in the arena of our conflict driven reality is jarring; but a fact nonetheless. In the absence of moral restraint we become the rapist, the child molester, the robber, the terrorist, the murderer, the wearer of the long black coat with the assault rifle hidden beneath looking to create mayhem, the wielder of the long knife on the elevator. In the absence of a moral compass we become the oppressor of the disadvantaged, the enslaver of the stranger, the bigot. Without the compass of moral restraint we become the invaders of countries, the killers of innocents, the abductors of daughters, perpetrators of genocide. 
Without doubt we know that evil exists; we are certain of this because we are aware of its potential in each one of us. Evil thrives unless we make a conscious choice day by day, minute by minute, event by event, not to feed the mean dog within. That mean dog within each one of us fights the good dog all day and all night long. It’s bark is the awful precursor to its terrible, mangling bite. Many of us may resist the fact that we each harbor the best and the worst of all instincts within us. To those who think this I would say that history is full of examples of “good” people who are guilty of committing some of the worst atrocities. For good to be triumphant we must each commit to nurturing that other dog within… the good dog. Essential steps in the nurturing of the good dog in ourselves must take into consideration the factors that give ascendancy to the evil dog. We must identify these factors and act to replace them with more desirable traits. These factors include, but are not limited to the following:
OUR SENSE OF SECURITY OR INSECURITY… The most basic of our needs is the need to survive. Our need to survive is the primary driver of our responses in the various situations of our lives. The quality of our responses to perceived threats is a direct function of the quality of the values we cultivate habitually. Honesty. Courage. Indomitable Spirit. These are values that can be inculcated through commitment to the practice of a wholesome discipline. A wholesome discipline is centered around a true commitment to balanced living. A wholesome discipline strengthens body, mind, and spirit. This strengthening is necessary preparation for the many challenges that living presents. It is a truth well thought out and spoken that "the strong survive". The weak "fall by the wayside", often after taking the easy way out by regurgitating their internal chaos on the world around them. Those who cause chaos are destined for destruction... Self-destruction. The ultimate logic of our existence is that we do to ourselves what we do to others. Thus the ultimate law: Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
OUR INTENTION… The ‘thing’ in us that gives rise to, and that determines the quality of our actions is something called intention. Intention is the big WHY behind every action we execute. To have intention is to be able to determine at the most basic level what we want the desired outcome of an action to be. The good dog in us wants to act in a way that serves the common good. The bad dog’s intention is to serve self, regardless of the consequences to others. Every time we choose to act
in the best interest of the other we are feeding that good dog and starving the mean evil dog. Acting in the best interest of community is not easy, since it requires that we become more and more selfless in our behavior. It demands that we stifle our want of immediate self-gratification in the interest of perpetuating the common good.

Acting unselfishly engenders a nobility that although uncommon, is essential to the building of viable characters and communities. It is what we mean by “being in the world” but not “being of the world”. It seems like in today's world we invest a lot, too much in fact, in feeding the bad dog. This must cease. The strengthening of the good dog must become our existential priority. Ultimately it is how we potentiate the possibilities of being Mankind’s best friend”. To act to the contrary is to become our own worst enemies.

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