Today, I’m fulfilling a promise made on a LinkedIn thread in answer to the question, “Crime, Is It Natural?” I responded to look here for my perspective on this very important question. After all, CRIME just happens the very first of the UPSG Essays.
“Our time has committed a fatal error; we believe we can criticize the facts of religion intellectually . . . The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room, or disorders the brains of politicians and journalists who unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.” — C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 13.
“Nature itself has a pulse, a rhythmic, wavelike movement between activity and rest . . . We are capable of overriding these natural cycles, but only by summoning the fight-or-flight response and flooding our bodies with stress hormones. We can only push so long without breaking down and burning out.” — Loehr & Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement
“Your life is created from the inside out, so you must get right with you on the inside — and that takes time and focus on you; not your social mask, but you. . . You are uniquely equipped for a mission in this world, and to fail to commit to finding that mission and then achieving it is to wither the mind, body and spirit.” — Phillip C. McGraw, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out
Linguistic roots of crime indicate a verdict, an object of reproach, or offense. According to Webster’s, crime is an act which the law prohibits. Conversely, it is failure to act as the law orders. Crimes are variously punishable by death, imprisonment, or the imposition of fines and restrictions.
A second kind of crime is an offense against morality, called sin. More loosely, this word is used to refer to something regrettable. “It’s a crime you didn’t finish school.”
What’s significantly missing from Webster’s definitions is reference to violations of natural law. Over millennia, Asian practitioners evolved sophisticated sciences which map the subtle laws of energy movement and study the effects of natural change on human physiology, behavior and institutions. For thousands of years, health sciences, social structures, business practices and the education of monastic, government and military leaders alike were based on this practical understanding of human dynamics.
Westerners, in contrast, have little functional understanding of natural law and violate it with impunity. We experience subtle energy shifts as emotional reactions or the erratic ups and downs of daily life. Because Western cultures are historically out-of-tune with energy dynamics at this level of law, it is often referred to as the unconscious. Crimes of passion and self-sabotage are proof of this bind spot.
The focus of Conscience: The Ultimate Personal Survival Guide is the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Change. It embodies a time-tested method for making the unconscious conscious. As the repository of natural law, it fills a gap in the way we’ve been taught to think about life.
Restoring its ancient wisdom to current awareness could correct mistakes in the ways we think and therefore act, revitalizing virtually every field of endeavor, from the healing and entertainment arts to the political and social sciences.
In I Ching context, the worst crimes are those we commit against ourselves when we accept and act on limiting suggestions. When we block out the lower octave of sub-rational intelligence (the middle, energy level of the Life Wheel) as if it didn’t exist, we fail to recognize and release the buried fears that sabotage our rational decisions.
When we disown the higher octave of our super-rational awareness, (the center of the Wheel) we block out intuitive access to the Book of Life, written in our very DNA — the universal source of creative solutions, the means of healing every disease, and hope of ultimate survival.
Those who dismiss, demean or control children with fear condemn them to empty lives of masked conformity on the material surface of the Life Wheel. Instilling extreme ideas about death, as if it were either a reward or ultimate punishment, one’s only hope or worst enemy, results in living inappropriate to reality.
The more moderate, I Ching view accepts mortality as a natural change. Sages use keen awareness that time on Earth is limited as motivation to live authentic to their true selves, making the best possible use of every precious moment here and now.
To keep people in ignorance, lulling them into inaction by minimizing future dangers or the opportunities inherent in them is irresponsible. To withhold the information we need to be effective in meeting and surviving immanent challenges is most certainly the ultimate crime against humanity.
For a timely wake-up call would serve to shake us out of self-denial and shatter the prisons of narrow thinking. It could rouse the courage to face up to the unknown, to slay the demons that lurk in the sub-rational mind. It might also open us up to our super-rational potentials and the distant calling of eternal life.
The positive resolution of crime is atonement. In social relationships, it’s accomplished by setting wrongs right. At a personal level, it’s accomplished by returning to a lifestyle compatible with natural law. At the deepest level, at-one-ment is attained by overcoming separation and restoring one’s original at-one connection with conscience and the creative source.
The negative consequence of unrepentant wrong doing is punishment. Breaking human laws, as Webster’s enumerates, precipitates punitive results. Over time, the natural law of karma returns actions in kind to the doer. Retribution can be visited in many forms, from mental or physical disease, to personal, professional or financial misfortune. The biblical admonition holds true: As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
Carl G. Jung, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 13.Alchemical Studies. (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 1967.) p. 36.
Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. (Free Press: New York, 2003.) pp. 30, 31.
Phillip C. McGraw, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out. (Free Press: New York, 2001.) pp. 12, 13.