A Version of Goodness
James Adrian
January 14, 2024

      There is more than one understanding of goodness in the cultures around the world. Most children learn feelings that they were not born with. There can be a confusion between one's sense of fairness and what goodness really is. Too often a model of goodness is formed by the laws of the land and what the law considers justifiable. Ideas about justice can enter into a person's understanding of goodness.

      On this Sunday, I joined a conversation with a group of people who have been discussing spiritualism and matters relating to it. Many people spoke. A few of them talked about self defense and what to do about threats of violence.

      Some of the reactions to my comments revealed that there are well-meaning people who are willing to deal with attacks by moving out of their higher self - engaging in fear, combativeness, and anger.

      There is a popular theory of goodness that is modified from actual goodness to include combativeness and fear as being acceptable, and in particular, justifiable. Surviving incidents yourself can seems so important that there is a temptation to be violent.

      Taking the legal consequences as a guide, many underestimate the power of one's demeanor, words, and actions - considering unkind words and combativeness the first line of defense. The circumstances can be varied and complicated, but What Would Gandhi or Jesus Do? Are your actions those that reflect your love of humanity? Are you willing to stand between a child and an attacker? Do you take no risk of dying yourself? What credibility do you have as one committed in goodness?

      Threatening events and violence can raise troublesome issues. They may seem complicated and they are almost surely stressful. The values that I am advocating are about what you want for all concerned. For example, if in an attempt to disarm an attacker you find yourself in possession of a weapon, your feelings and values likely affects the outcome. What do you want for everybody?

      If you are always mindful that every perpetrator was first a victim, many situations become a problem to be solved mutually; but even if that is hopeless, fear, combativeness, and anger will take you out of your higher self and risk making you a participant in the wrong you wish to correct or obviate.

      If a struggle gives you some control of events, are you thinking "I want to kill this evil monster" or are you trying to save lives? What is your commitment to goodness? Will you make decisions on the basis of fear, combativeness, and anger?

      We are not warriors. We are teachers.


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