Sunday, August 10, 2008

Truth Crushed to Earth

If we imagined that good always prevails would we engage life with a different plan? The answer to that question might be more important than we think and as in all things important it might be painstakingly elusive as well. Why ask the question in the first place?

It’s only important if we embrace the possibility of truth being embedded in the statement 'good always prevails'. The idea that good will prevail over the course of time is a philosophy handed down by generations of writers and thinkers, theological and secular.

If we accept the truth of that idea as an acknowledged principle, then it raises the question of whether or not it should alter the way we live our lives. If I accept that good prevails I might elect to care not a thread if I abet its ultimate triumph, another way of saying it doesn’t matter what I do in my life. I might also say it this way, “If good always triumphs in the end there is no need for intervention on my part.” Conversely, if I decide that the flow of good required for triumph is inherently tied to my personal actions, it creates the need of a demanding code of conduct, a code directly predicated on embracing one simple belief.

If I answer one way, the moral direction of the universe demands nothing of me. If I answer the other way, the moral direction demands everything of me.

Martin Luther King wrote the beautiful phrase “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It is a philosophical and poetic phrase. Is it true? If the moral universe bends toward justice do I have an obligation to help it bend? Do you?

In that same speech given on August 16, 1967, King quoted a William Cullen Bryant phrase of matching power, "Truth crushed to earth will rise again."

If good can be equated with justice or truth, then we might combine all of this thinking into the idea that good, justice and truth prevail over time, or as King poetically states, “over the arc of the moral universe”.

Do we have a part? Or is it out of our hands and lying in the larger hands of the Creator? Or, is it possible the hands of the Creator exist at the ends of our arms?


Lynilu said...

What a powerful question!

First, let me say that I try to live my life as well as I can. I do that, yes, in part because I think "I should," but mostly because when I do so, I feel much better about life and about me. I like feeling good, plain and simple. When I let negative energies take over my actions I simply don't like how it makes me feel.

That being said, is it in us or in the Creator? Yes. It is both. I believe the Creator is us, and we are the Creator. Our energy is the Creator's energy. How we use it is the rub. Do we, or can we, make a difference as individuals in the good of the world? I think yes.

A simplistic example: have you ever noticed a person scowling or with a worried frown? If you catch that person's eye and smile, often they smile back and continue with a pleasant expression. A simple, small, seemingly unimportant act changes the atmosphere, the mood, the attitude. I think it can work like that in the bigger picture.

I think that collectively we can effect an even greater change. When our energies are bound together, they become even more powerful, good or bad. Unfortunately it goes both ways.

I just heard an Olympic athlete say something that impressed me. She spoke of how people who compete against each other in other circumstances come together to form a strong team, a winning team. I think that applies to life. We are often competing, yet when the circumstance is such that we unite and apply our collective skills and energies, it is amazing how strong is the amassed power.

It comes back to that karma-thing. What goes out from me will come back to me. I want to be kissed, not kicked.

Seven said...

As always, exceptionally analyzed and articulated. The world is a better place with you in it.
I have always thought that such a simple statement as the one above would be a fine testament on anyone's headstone.If by being here we make things better rather than worse it might not qualify as a life perfectly lived, but perhaps it is one lived as it should have been?

Lynilu said...

I've always found it as easy, perhaps easier, to be kind as to be a jerk. I just don't understand why anyone would be otherwise. Perhaps it is faster to get ahead by walking up the back of others, but I'd rather look them in their faces. And I'd rather have that epitaph than riches or a big name or whatever is gained with lack of regard for others.

Thanks again, 7, for your thought-provoking question. Good comes from good. :)

kathi said...

I believe that eventually good will prevail, but it's when good men do nothing waiting for that to happen that bad things happen to good people caught in that time frame of waiting...waiting for someone to step up and do something.
There are many examples, but I'll use slavery and the Holocaust as two.

Always provoking thought, Seven.

Seven said...

Kid B,
If what you say is true does the following equation stand up as empirical?
inaction against evil = evil

kathi said...

First, let me say that I believe it's impossible to have lasting inaction against evil, because I have faith in man. With that said, it seems a natural assumption that inaction against evil would allow evil to continue, simply because it could.

kathi said...

...and I agree 100% with King's statement because I believe in my heart that man (not every man, but mankind) is just.

Anonymous said...

7, like the rainbow the arc of morality is made up of uncountable contributions that bend toward truth. Our actions either support the arc or dimish it albeit on a daily basis. The Creator gave us free will to accept that responsibility and I think the vast majority of contributions to the arc give it, universal morality, splendor and truth. If we no longer can see the arc, I think we are using our free will incorrectly and it will no longer shine or bend toward the truth.

Seven said...

Terrific articulation of an important thought.

Jenn said...

I believe both.

I do believe we have to let the good triumph. By that, I mean we have to live true. To ourselves but to what is good and true and right....and sometimes, that isn't for an individual. Or more accurately, it doesn't feel like it's for personal gain or growth at the time.

Your words are much more eloquent but I've always said that I always land on my feet. And I've always known I didn't stick the landing alone.

I absolutely love your last sentence. Beautiful.