Posts Tagged ‘moral philosophy’

Spirit of the times is a no man’s land where the rules of engagement are different from what man has to face as an individual. As a moral being it is Truth that determines truth of action.

29 Day 5

‘The Business of America is Business,’ was a slogan of the roaring Twenties. How true was ‘Wealth is Power’ when the entire nation went on playing at stocks and in a matter of four years the stock market crash of 1929 wiped thousands and thousands of their life savings; it sowed unrest at home and was felt all across the world so much so it is cited as one of the contributing factors for WWII. Despite this catastrophe so many marched under a new mantra ‘Greed is good’ of the 80’s and it led to 2008 economic meltdown. Does it not show that bad experience can never mend a society or prevent a nation from repeating their mistakes when actions are wrong. Spirit of times without Truth often is Nemesis, who is shown slow-footed. But she always gets her man.

The Don Pacifico incident of 1850 showed Britain’s supremacy over the seas and their gunboat diplomacy was their right to avenge a perceived insult with impunity. Lord Palmerston dispatched a squadron of the Royal Navy to blockade the Greek port of Piraeus to teach the Greeks a lesson for the harming of a British subject, David Pacifico. In 2018 two Russian agents struck at their targets at Salisbury and contaminate some parts with novichok and all that UK could do was protest. Spirit of times showed ‘gunboat diplomacy’ as an idea but useless as so many others.

29 Day 6

Between Cause and Effect falls a shadow, spirit of the times where a no man’s land exists. Within a war we shall find many inexcusable actions going on making a mockery of the moral stand of the parties. War on terror supposedly was waged to introduce democracy in the Middle East. Chief petty Edward Gallagher was accused of shooting civilians, murdering a captive Islamic State fighter with a hunting knife in Iraq, and threatening to kill SEALs who reported him, among other misconduct. Similarly many events are played out between warring parties.

In the War on Terror between the US (2003) and others Daniel Pearl was only a journalist who had nothing to do with war. Nevertheless he was kidnapped and killed in 2002. Where is justice for the innocent victim?

When a moral being casts aside as with war the rights of widows, orphans the idea, ‘Might is Right’ only speaks of spirit of the times. So Truth shall certainly claim its sovereign right to settle account. Time is no bother.

It is thus spirit of the times has moved and nations without exception are affected by it.

29 Day 7

Human institutions are run to achieve their objectives. Truth, which they avow in prospectus is gilded and show off them in best light. Only it remains what each individual brings into it.






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Science is for man and not the other way around.

The earth slowly gave rise to life and the fact that it is a habitable planet means its a living planet. Life forms that cannot make a living from their context need to know why. There are two options before man. Either he has to make the environment change or he has to change. Science is essential for man to formulate an action plan so he knows what is to be done. A farmer living from labour in his fields acquires certain knowledge so he knows when to make the soil ready for sowing planting and harvest. The earth presents a kind of manual for all those who are keen to benefit from. Science in short is knowledge borne out of experience.

But ask if Science is doing its job correctly and allow people in different walks of life to share their knowledge so life on the earth is more pleasant than before. More than millennia of living has only made living fraught with grave danger we are either applying our knowledge wrongly or Science on which we have laid so much trust is not serving us well. Instead we allow technology to force our hand in directions that bodes us no good in the long run. Technology is Big business and if profit motives guide governmental plans to scorch the earth or pollute waters and yet hope Science can find a solutions to the changed circumstances are we to praise Science as handmaiden to success? Let me quote from Life Science: “Scientists have long known that the distribution of mass around the Earth determines its spin, much like how the shape and weight distribution of a spinning top determines how it moves. Also, Earth’s spin isn’t perfectly even, as scientists know thanks to slight wiggles in the movements of the stars across the night sky that have been recorded for thousands of years.” Fine that the scientists have sedulously recorded all the facts but despite of their efforts polar caps melt and the earth wobbles much more at alarming rate one will have to conclude they are only plugging the crumbling dike with their finger while the level of the water dammed rises ever so high. “Since 1899, the Earth’s axis of spin has shifted about 34 feet (10.5 meters). A new research quantifies the reasons why and finds that a third is due to melting ice and rising sea levels, particularly in Greenland — placing the blame on the doorstep of anthropogenic climate change”. Science certainly must be considered as the right of every man who considers himself as one who knows his place in the society of men and is determined to make it count. But Science alone cannot help for reasons beyond any human being.
“”We have provided evidence for more than one single process that is the key driver” for altering the Earth’s axis, said Surendra Adhikari, an Earth system scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and a lead researcher on the new study.
This brings back to the moral question of knowledge that is applied. If man wants to use it for his own enjoyment in his time does he have to leave the earth fit for nothing else regardless of his offspring and generations to come? Is it not what we see about us. All the affluents and carcinogenic waste from industrial complexes are let into rivers with impunity. Of course governmental agencies set up to protect the environment are told to look other way so that big corporations can make more profits, and it fits with the objectives of the party in power. While they are in power they may dispense their favors to whomsoever they please. It is thus individuals and political parties flex their muscles to show their freedom and libertarian principles count. Morality of an individual must be allowed to its full expression which is to work with forces that have looked neither to hours and days but hold a variable speed than that of man. We are here for a certain period of time and let not our freedom be a millstone around the necks of generations to come. If the temper of short term success (that can be counted in dollar and cents guide the acquisition of knowledge we may be sure Science we pursue cannot be of much worth. No wonder we have read of news in the media of Academic malfeasances where doctoral theses are dodgy and deceptive. ‘Fame and fortune in the life time’ is what afflicts Science and not truth. It reflects the prevailing attitudes where morality, like truth is reduced to transactional. Science could do better.

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It is said religion is the opium for the masses. In Lotos-eaters Tennyson writes the effect of the lotos:

” Eating the Lotos day by day,

To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,

And tender curving lines of creamy spray;

To lend our hearts and spirits wholly

To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;

To muse and brood and live again in memory,…”


Poetic fancy of the poet however does not connect with reality as we know today. This is not how religion is practised.

The Scripture teaches us God is Love; good moslems similarly declare their Allah is compassionate. In that case what is the problem? Somewhere along the line prophets and their sayings are interpreted to mean entirely false. Whether God of the Jews or Allah of moslems religion has become synonymous with hate. In short religion has become the Achilles heel of mankind.

Through human understanding what can we know of love of God; or what is mercy? At least reason ought to teach us to try our best as human beings to demonstrate what love and compassion would mean. Would it not? In what way we can show holiness by some rituals? In India those who practice Jainism cover their mouth lest they swallow some little flies by mistake while yawning. However little do they see the millions of bacteria that float in the water they drink. It is impossible to match holiness of divine Being or be perfect in observing injunctions of prophets with regards to our cleanliness and diet. For the simple reason in a world of acid rain and tainted earth with various chemicals all our idea of cleanliness come with margin of error.

In Jonathan Swift’s immortal tale the central character Gulliver is brought to the land of Brobdingnag. It is written that he was repelled by the women of that land. They were monstrous in size compared to him. Their faces when magnified so much skin pores seemed to his scrutiny as moon craters! Matter of size brought about this change naturally. If we were to see as an eagle our eyes would require the size of an orange. To sum view of our world is limited by our human-ness. As a result our sense of beauty is affected; so must our understanding. How noble or mean is your God?

When Prophet Moses gave the Children of Israel the law, was it his understanding or that of God at fault?

Under the Law it was an eye for eye, a tooth for tooth. Shall we say under the Old Covenant the law represented a certain values but it was codified according to human understanding? It is of this St Paul writes to the Hebrews thus: ‘For the law made nothing perfect…(He.7:19) Instead It erected a screen between God and them. For instance during the Feast the Jews mistook the voice from heaven as thunder. (Jn.12:29) The Jewish nation lived by the law for a millennia or so and yet when God spoke, ‘I have both glorified it (name) and will glorify it again (vs.28)’ they understood it altogether in another sense.

Moses gave the law but with Jesus came the New Covenant. For Christians this New order supercedes the Old. Jesus brought grace and truth(Jn.1:17). When Jesus came to save the world he had a clear mandate. It went thus: turn the other cheek if one smites on your right cheek. He showed it in practice as well. Luke 9:51-56

Before he was to be crucified he wanted to visit Samaria. He sent an advance party to make arrangements and the people of Samaria refused them. When they told Jesus of their refusal John and James were furious and would have brought fire from heaven as Elias did. Jesus rebuked them saying, ‘they did not know what manner spirit they were of’. He did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. Jesus quietly led them to another village.

When I hear fellows casually use ‘Jihad’ to justify their criminal actions and mask foolish notion of global domination I can only say, their understanding is far off the mark. If they are misled, how much more foolish are their imams who preach hatred and violence as though it were a religious duty?


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A Shadow Play


In the time of Emperor Wen a minor official in the Palace, Lai Chutang having retired from his office returned to his native village. By special permission he had retained his title meaning ‘Reflected Glory” which reminded all of his closeness to the Imperial person of the Emperor. As days passed his pride also increased. Once he slapped a villager who stepped on his shadow and let it be known then and there that he shall not tolerate any impertinence to his person or his dignity.

One night a burglar broke into his house. He jumped on to the terrace from a tall tree only to land squarely at the feet of Chutang who, as bad luck would have it, was awake. It was with great difficulty that he managed to escape. Next day the burglar was asked by his wife what happened to his face, which was black and blue. The man said that he stepped into darkness, which however had a life of its own. ”What’s more it carried the voice of Reflected Glory,” he added. How did you know that?”

I knew where I was going.”

How come that you are in pain and bruised all over?”

Going into was easy. It was getting out in that darkness, that nearly did me in. O dear not a word of this to any one.”


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The human body has about 1,000 kinds of receptors, structures on the surface of cells, which let the body respond to a wide variety of chemical signals, like adrenaline. Some receptors are in the nose, tongue and eyes, and let us sense smells, tastes and light.
“They work as a gateway to the cell,” Robert Lefkowitz told a news conference in Stockholm by phone. “As a result they are crucial … to regulate almost every known physiological process with humans.”
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said it was long a mystery how cells interact with their environment and adapt to new situations, such as when they react to adrenaline by increasing blood pressure and making the heart beat faster.
Scientists suspected that cell surfaces had some type of receptor for hormones.
Using radioactivity, Robert Lefkowitz managed to unveil receptors including the receptor for adrenaline, and started to understand how it works.
Brian Kobilka and his team realized that there is a whole family of receptors that look alike — a family that is now called G-protein-coupled receptors.
In 2011,Brian Kobilka achieved another breakthrough when his team captured an image of the receptor for adrenaline at the moment when it is activated by a hormone and sends a signal into the cell. The academy called the image “a molecular masterpiece.”
Mark Downs, chief executive of Britain’s Society of Biology, said the critical role receptors play is now taking for granted.
“This groundbreaking work spanning genetics and biochemistry has laid the basis for much of our understanding of modern pharmacology as well as how cells in different parts of living organisms can react differently to external stimulation, such as light and smell, or the internal systems which control our bodies such as hormones,” Downs said in a statement.(AP news of Oct,10,2012/Karl Ritter,Louise Nordstrom)
For scientists creating new drugs this breakthrough holds tremendous interest. For a moral philosopher it may be in the manner cells react to external stimulation. Think of each individual as a cell. Cannot individuals like cells react to moral imperatives of Truth which is in an abstract plane? Biological imperatives of reproduction,- propagation of one’s kind, has an abstract counterpart in love. Truth loves its own kind and would see it accepted as natural as one breathes the air or winds down after a day’s work.
Each chromosome has its genetic material and so has a moral being the requirements of truth.

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Aristotle by birth and circumstances was marked for being a boon companion to the royalty. His father was the physician to the king. He had access to the court of King Philip of Macedon and naturally he would be asked when the time was ripe, to undertake the education of his son who later was known as Alexander the great. When he was seventeen he approached Plato to be admitted into his famous Academy. It marked a definite break from his roistering carefree life. Soon his independent spirit and inquisitive mind impressed Plato to refer him as the “mind” of the Academy.
After a seven year stint in Macedon as the tutor he returned to Athens to found the Lyceum which later would be known as the Peripatetic School.
Next he turned his attention to piece together all the learning of the past and present, under different categories and make them available to study for the future generations. In his book Organon he set down six treatises on logic and scientific reasoning. Deductive reasoning that he advocated would later be challenged by inductive approach that was based observation from results of many experiments. In the Metaphysics Aristotle explored the fundamental nature of reality and being, which is the foundation of philosophy.
Aristotle for all his breadth of knowledge and study would espouse an aristocratic point of view naturally imbibed by circumstances of his birth and circumstances.He averred that some are marked from birth for ruling and others for obeying. One would think herein lies the paradox of intellect. Your conscious mind argues impeccably but unconscious mind slips in a few home truths where your own experience and pet peeves half buried, give it an altogether twist.
He agreed with Plato that education should be in the control of the state.
At the age of sixty-one he entered the last phase of his life that began with the news of the death of his patron Alexander the Great. The Macedonian faction at home lost the power and Aristotle by association was vulnerable. He was denounced for piety and went into exile and chose Chalcis, his mother’s homeland where he died in the following year.
Aristotle is said to have written some on thousand manuscripts during his lifetime, unfortunately only a few of them are extant.
From the fifth to the fifteenth, Aristotle was regarded as the fountainhead of all knowledge. Dante considered him as the Master of those who know.’ Reaction came with the Renaissance and Francis Bacon. In whichever case past his admirers and detractors his impact is immeasurable and his synthesis of wisdom owe to his own keen faculties but in the way he spread them as coherent whole ever since at the disposal for all to profit and furtherance of human knowledge is his unique achievement.

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(Aesop is here discussing with his friend about their past and Xeno the Cynic presses the story- teller closely about the discussion they had the day before.-b)
It was evident Xeno had given much thought to the last discussion he had with Aesop. “But you did not get equal chance. Neither did I.” Xeno explained in so many words about his past. He was the second son who merely replaced the one who died before. He said, “I knew I was not loved for what I am.” Controlling himself he added, “By the time my younger brothers came my parents were cured of their folly and they got their share, alright.” Suddenly Xeno fell silent.
“Yes, my friend,” Aesop explained, “there is so much ignorance and cruelty. Those who ought to have loved and cherished us merely failed in their duty. We came into this world naked and dispossessed already. It is the law of deprivation at work. We had no choice in the matter. Did we?” Xeno shook his head.
“It is random and an accident. Why make it worse by feeling sorry? The law of deprivation entitles us to another law.”
Xeno shot up his eyebrows.
“Yes. Law of Compensation.” Aesop said, “Whatever good comes your way you have earned it. How I came into the household of Iadmon was not how I went out.”
“You are still cash strapped,” Xeno asked, “Aren’t you?” “Yes,” Aesop said, “Making riches was not how I wished to be compensated.” Aesop realized life compensated him only in directions he sought to remedy his wants.
He told him a story to llustrate it. An Argive went in search of gold after hearing of a gold rush in the neighborhood. He came to the right spot all right. But he was too late. So many had before him panned gold from the rocks and so quickly too, and had exhausted the deposit. So he went on in dismay not knowing where. He stumbled upon a field strewn with bodies of men and horses. A bloody carnage the battlefield had witnessed and he was the only living person there. The Persian army lay dead in their rich apparel and armor before him. He picked as much gold plated helmets and body armor, not to mention swords with handles studded with precious jewels. He brought home a fortune! There was gold much more than he would have ever picked from panning. Was he wrong if he treated his find as compensation for his trouble? (Selected-The Life of Aesop-Ch:8. 9 )
note: Law of Deprivation and Law of Negation denote the same.

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