On a personal note, I’ll confess that the following was written because of an early morning dream. The previous night, being overwhelmed by the illusion of futility, I’d decided not to write further unless invited, and with a promise of financial reward attached.
But the dreaming mind knows better. I can’t recall how the dream started. What I do remember was sitting in a large convention hall at a dinner hosted by a football coach. He was chastising (in absentia) ticket holders who hadn’t shown up. And he was honoring fans who had. He rewarded the most loyal ones with lifetime game tickets. The middling ones received the current season’s tickets only.
Exactly how this followed, I cannot tell you. But I knew I had to keep writing, and that a blog on Virtue was what needed to be thought through and posted.
In rethinking the recent blog on ethics, I connected several dots for the first time. I’ll also connect what I’ve written on Virtue to Dr. Jordan Peterson’s most excellent videos on the subject. Spoiler alert: we agree in substance entirely. My particular contribution is the multi-dimensional Life Wheel geometry. It adds depth and dimension, a new perspective if you will, to the mix. In addition, I look to the energy concepts embedded in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for a more comprehensive take on Virtue.
But, Dr. Peterson first.
In Why be Virtuous, he says:
If you’re going to rely on your sense of meaning, make sure that you don’t pollute the mechanism. . . . try not to utter falsehoods, because you warp your neurological structure by doing so. . . it will read out pathologically. . . if you rely on it to guide you, it will run you right off a cliff. So that’s why there’s a moral element to this.
. . . Why be virtuous? That’s the question. It’s so that you can bear the suffering of life without becoming corrupt [forgetting, becoming disconnected, dissociated from the core center of who you truly are] . . . it’s practical. There’s nothing more practical than that. Unless you want misery . . .
Listening really closely to Dr. Jordan Peterson on the Necessity of Virtue helped me recognize that in fact, he is fully aware of and gives us all the elements of the Life Wheel. It’s as if he as a “natural,” intuitively aware of the Wheel’s existence. But he zips right passed it, like Einstein and his famous equation, not knowing what he has been given.
With emphasis to underscore the correlation with the Wheel, he says:
Virtue, ethics, morality isn’t a field of study. It’s a mode of being upon which all fields of study rest. It’s also a mode of being upon which all everything you do in your life rests. . . And more deeply than that, what role it is that you play in your life in the world.
. . . To the degree that they [clinical clients] are embedded in a network of relationships where virtue is fundamentally absent, they’re tortured and tormented and they’re unable to find firm ground.
. . . Modern people are fundamentally materialistic. There’s some utility in that. We’re masters of material transformation. And the fact that we’re materialistic in our scientific philosophies has made us extremely powerful – maybe too powerful for our morality – extremely powerful from a technological perspective. But it has blinded us to certain things.
I think one of the things that it has really blinded us to is the nature of our own being. 2:32 because we make the assumption that the fundamental constituent elements of reality are material. We fail to notice that the fundamental constituent elements of our own reality are NOT material [outer surface rim of the Life Wheel]. They”re emotional [energy level]. They’re motivational [light and conscience levels]. They’re dreams. They’re visions. They’re relationships with other people. They’re dependent on consciousness – and Self-consciousness. And we have no materialist explanation whatsoever either for consciousness or Self-consciousness. And we don’t deal well from a materialistic perspective with the qualities of being.
[As an aside, here is a personal example of how my life experience has prepared me step-by-step for the unforeseeable future. I started as a musician, training my hands and building keyboard skills. This translated into typing faster than a speeding bullet, which made it possible to pay the bills as a legal secretary. In that job, I learned transcription, which later served me well as a graduate student taking ethnology courses. During that time, I learned that recording interviews not only freed me from having to take notes, the better to give the subject my full attention. Transcribing gave me the humble awareness that – of what I thought I had heard — I’d consciously registered at best a small fraction of what had been spoken.
The payoff even further down the pike is that now, when I listen to youtube videos dense in spoken content, I know to transcribe them word-for-word, the better to really “hear” all that has been spoken.]
A second, but also interesting aside. It’s a parody perhaps on the theme of Crime and Punishment. Full-spectrum virtue has its intrinsic rewards. However, in some civilizations, notably the corrupted and/or materialistic ones, virtue also entails short-term punishments. One example is the choices and inherent consequence of Socrates’ death, described by Plato. In Essay 2 on Death, I wrote:
Fear is the natural outcome of limited materialistic beliefs equating the end of physical life with total extinction. Those who experience the True Self as immortal and indestructible are not plagued by fear of mortality. No doubt the courage and solace which sustained Socrates as he calmly accepted his death sentence — not as an escape, but an affirmation of principle — came from the depth of his soul awareness.
Now then. My first point: the complete and accurate paradigm embodied in the Life Wheel makes it possible to distinguish the qualitative/functional differences between morality/ethics and virtue.
For this reason, the importance of acquiring/restoring a complete and accurate paradigm to common understanding is top priority matter of human survival. Put another way, without agreement upon a complete and correct paradigm, a community of shared, effective communication based on common understanding is not possible. (Who do you suppose would actively promote this negative/destructive outcome, and why? Who stands to benefit?)
Second, conversely, if you live in a hollowed out, atheist reality paradigm, there is no place for genuine Virtue. It’s origins and home have been ruled out. This, once again, underscores the urgent importance/benefits of using a complete and accurate paradigm as one’s reality map.
Hint: The Tower of Babel Dilemma serves to divide and conquer us, putting us at the mercy of “the dark side of the force.”
I’ll show you where this line of thinking leads, and demonstrate my point with a comprehensive picture of Virtue placed in the larger context of the Life Wheel. For Virtue, like the Law of Karma, is an energy concept correctly located in the fatally forgotten middle level of the Life Wheel – the level which serves as the necessary two-way Gate-Keeper between intuition and the material, manifested world.
As I progress, I am supplying links to earlier posts which are integrally related, so you can connect the dots for yourself – catch up with me, if you will, if you’ve not already been following along.
[Coincidentally, I heard Dr. Peterson say the significance of Christ’s being a carpenter is that he had to do good work – build houses that stay standing. Agreed. However, in addition, I believe the Aramaic word for “carpenter” is the equivalent of the Old English “joiner,” meaning one who connects all the pieces together – one who has the ability to unify/assemble separate parts into a single, coherent whole. It has also been said that he came to link Heaven and Earth. Interesting. Food for thought. Just saying.]
In my early years, I was satisfied with sayings like, “Virtue is it’s own reward.” And, “The reward for a good life is a good life.”
But there is more. In essence, virtues are hardwired at the energy center. They are woven into the DNA. [There’s much that can be said about the I Ching‘s fascinating, anticipatory correlations with DNA science, but that’s beyond the scope of this piece.]
Suffice it to say here that Morality is a different subject. On the one hand, it partakes of Divine Law, as in the Ten Commandments handed down from God on Mount Sinai to Moses. On the other hand, it also partakes of Human Law, as in church/state administrative codes which attempt to legislate moral behavior. Outcomes are inconsistent and not always so hot.
What follows next is an assessment of the relationship between the Life Wheel and Uses of Language. The link to Axiom 6 from The Handbook also describes the Tower of Babel Dilemma. Here are excerpts:
Used as a linguistic tool, the Positive Paradigm Wheel promotes clear, accurate and effective communication.
. . . Like humanity itself, the English language is an endangered species. Clear and effective communication can no more be taken for granted than any other aspect of the civilization.
Corollary C: Politicians who would set nations against each other and who flirt with nuclear holocaust for the sake of petty ego satisfaction and personal power are evil-doers. Even when they cloak evil actions in moral terms, their rationalizations are a danger to us all. The ultimate good requires unmasking their double speak and rescuing the language in the interests of human survival.
Corollary D: Just as the basic genetic structure of all mankind stems from a few original strands of DNA, universal ideas and archetypes are inborn and inherent to our psyches. They’re not restricted by political or national boundaries.
The basic axioms of the archetypal Positive Paradigm pattern and its use as a clarifying linguistic tool offer a foundation upon which to build upon a common sense discourse, reestablishing the universal basics common to everyone, everywhere.
Corollary E: The Wheel gives us a model for redefining love, authority, science, crime, stress, and a host of other key concepts whose meanings are con-fused (lumped together inappropriately), making it difficult to communicate. The 64 Essays on Change in Conscience are a start in this direction.
What follows is the Essay on Virtue from that collection.
Essay 54. VIRTUE
In the West, virtue suggests righteousness, but in fact Te is a term that refers to the potential energy that comes from being in the right place and in the right frame of mind at the right time. — R.L. Wing, The Tao of Power
The last thing to say about strategy is that it exploits opportunity, the right moment. Greek theologians called it Kairos, the point when the new is received. . . Ask: “Is this something that fits our strengths? Can we develop the service that satisfies?” Then comes the third element, the right moment to seize the opportunity by the forelock, to run with success. — Peter F. Drucker, Managing the Non-Profit Organization
The destiny of mankind is not decided by material computation. When great causes are on the move in the world. . . we learn we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty. — Sir Winston Churchill, Radio broadcast to America
Definitions of virtue are mixed and confusing. Ancient derivations suggest goodness or power. Latin roots imply manliness or worth. Webster’s definitions refer to moral excellence, right action and thinking. In a woman, virtue is said to imply chastity. In a man, it implies effectiveness or force. It can also mean the power to heal or strengthen.
In ancient Asian traditions, virtue is used as an umbrella term. Healing sciences correlate the healthy functioning of each internal organ with a specific virtue, while weakened energy centers generate negative emotions.
For example, heart energy produces either the experience of love or expressions of cruelty. Kidney energy manifests as either gentleness or fear. Liver energy has the potential for either kindness or anger. Lung energy produces confidence or grief. Spleen energy manifests alternatively as openness or anxiety. Combined positive energies blended together create a transcendent virtue called compassion. In Western traditions, this compassion is called charity.
Though in medical schools it remains a little know fact, oriental and occidental healing traditions have common origins. The caduceus, the familiar symbol of the modern medical profession, has its origins in Greek mythology, which in turn extends back to Himalayan traditions, and still further to ancient Egypt. In Greek mythology, the caduceus is the healing staff of the messenger god, Mercury. In yoga traditions, this symbol represents energy anatomy.
As a shorthand logo, the staff represents the spine. Twin snakes encircling the axis represent alternating positive and negative energy currents. Intersecting points where cyclic energy forces meet at the axis are the major centers of transformation, chakras. Wings sprouting from the bija point at the top of the axis represent the ajna center, known as the “third eye.”
I Ching traditions describe virtue as the competence acquired by coordinating and balancing the yin-yang functions and concerns associated with each subtle energy center, then harnessing these energies to serve consistent, positive ends. It is not gender-specific.
Confucius compared virtue to an oriel. He observed this bird as being perfectly in harmony with nature: precisely accurate in the timing of its flight, poised upon well-chosen landing, and sweet in its song. Who, he asked, could hope to be more virtuous than this winged messenger?
Such virtue is radically different from arbitrary moral codes specific to a particular time and place. Sometimes an elite class imposes morality upon presumed inferiors in order to exploit them. Often, the unspoken maxim is, “Do what I say, not what I do.”
Rich corporate owners, for example, expect their workers to be hard-working, law-abiding and honest. For the most part, however, they themselves act as if above the law. Compliant workers though moral, aren’t necessarily virtuous.
Soldiers follow orders, mindlessly destroying life and property for the sake of pay. Warriors uphold the codes of their particular tribe or clan. Heroes act from love to protect life. Great leaders like Lincoln, Churchill and most recently Giuliani, however, shed light on the human condition during history’s darkest hours and times of greatest need. They exemplify innate virtue — the courage which leaders of all cultures share in common.
Vice is the opposite of virtue, while sin is the opposite of morality. Villains are those who abuse energy potentials to destructive ends. Chief among the vices is pride, taking natural gifts for granted, forgetting their universal Source. Another is deception, pretending to have virtues one lacks in order to get respect and compliance from others.
Indifference, apathy and paralysis are perversions of virtue. Stagnations in the human body and body politic reduce an organism’s vitality and capacity for positive action. Macho moral codes which assume virtue is exclusively gender-related become self-fulfilling prophecies — IF women and men are fooled into accepting them.