Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two Kinds Of Mystery

Can you get people to make a better world just by demanding it, or do you first need to talk about what kind of people can actually make a better world?

A dispute over helping people is not a dispute of reasons and logic. With a few exceptions everyone agrees it is better to keep people alive and healthy than not. The dispute is over where people find mystery.

There are two places to find mystery, and the corresponding two kinds of people who find themselves living in these places.

First, there are the people who think they owe society, and society owes them.

And second, there are the people who think social obligation comes from what they owe themselves.

"Social justice" is the demand of people of the first kind. The mysterious knowledge that this is right comes from their unconsciously learned, repeatedly regained security of acting in role. They feel a "patriotic" love of the scenario that they play roles in, and believe society owes them justice as payment for fulfilling their obligations to play their roles.

The mystery the second kind of people see is that love makes us happy, and that when we forget to love we owe it to ourselves to remember. Their demand is personal integrity, not social justice but the personal justice of being fair to ourselves.

They say:

We don't owe others anything, except to remind them to remember to love. We owe each other that because of the coincidence of motives that makes social life possible. When I help you remember to love, not only is there a chance you'll love me in return, but you serve as a reminder to me to love when I forget. Helping you I help myself, when I remember what I have done, when I look at you now and am reminded, and in expectation of good things from you in the future.
The people who believe in obligations to and from society don't agree with each other what these obligations are. How can they when the origin of their mystery is unconscious learning?

And the people who believe only in obligation to oneself can't agree to any set program of social justice at all. They want to find out what social arrangements, in this particular time and this place, work best to help people remember what they owe themselves.

The people who believe in social obligation each know which programs they want, but they can't agree with each other.

The people who believe in obligation to oneself can agree with each other, and don't have any preconceptions of the best way of moving forward.

We have social mystery, we have personal mystery, both somehow locked within our nature. You know, don't you, what kind of people can actually make a better world?