Sunday, July 23, 2017

Justified Anger And Misuses Of Spirituality

I have seen a game played by any number of people who consider themselves spiritual. They would do something that would deliberately bring on an angry response. Then they would claim that the person is negative or evil or a neanderthal for getting angry. The person playing this game would then walk away feeling superior to the person whom he has played in this manner. The anger would be the proof of one's superiority and the inferiority of the other person.

The game is quite similar to a related game that is played by some people who consider themselves rational. These people would make some kind of a poisonous statement; that would bring on an emotional response; then they would walk away saying that the other person is irrational or crazy or neurotic.

Seeing such abuses, there have been any number of people deciding that there was something wrong with, respectively, spirituality or reason. That is wrong. The problem is that these things get used for wrongdoing. All sorts of things can be used for wrongdoing, including many things that are not at all bad in themselves. Money, intelligence, beauty and all sorts of moral values can be used for wrongdoing; but that does not make any of them bad. However the more they are used in this way, the more they become discredited, and the more credible becomes the case of the people who want to see them as something bad. And of these there are plenty.

So for example we have any number of people in the baby boom generation going around that the people younger than themselves are negative or neanderthals or evil because any number of them have negative or angry feelings. I am sorry, the conduct of any number of these people deserves angry responses. If you have left the world a worse place than you have found it, then anger at you is legitimate. These problems will not be solved by “positive thinking” or anything of the sort; they will be solved by informed and directed action. For a problem to be solved it has to be seen, and if you think that this is negative then being negative is part of the process. Failing to do so is not enlightenment or anything of the sort. It is lying to yourself and others. Many of these people started out seeking to do the right thing, then they did the wrong thing. So when someone else seeks to do the right thing, these people smugly claim that they have been in the same place and then moved beyond it to better places. They did not move to better places. They moved to a worse place. They started out caring about the world and its future and became short-sighted and careless. That is not an improvement, it is a degradation.

Of course many of these people have availed themselves of all sorts of spiritual knowledge, and not all of them have been using it for right things. If they are using it to aggravate people in order to make them look bad, or to make it look like legitimate anger at them is something wrong with the person who has it, then that is not rightful use of spiritual knowledge. Neither predatory behavior nor dishonest behavior counts as enlightenment. Misusing this knowledge in such a manner discredits spirituality as such. And that makes things bad even for people who are using spirituality for rightful purposes.

I have seen all sorts of misuses of just about everything that is there. Just about anything that is good can be made bad. This is the case with both spirituality and reason. Reason is a good thing, but it can be used for all sorts of wrong things. Spirituality is a good thing, and it can also be used for all sorts of wrong things. It is important that people who stand to be hurt by misuses of such things have the knowledge that they need not to fall for predatory conduct. Then they will be able to separate the value from the misuses of the value. They will be less likely to turn against the value itself, and the value will remain free to be used for rightful purposes. This is the case, once again, with spirituality and reason both.

As for anger, no, it is not always a wrong thing. There very much is such a thing as righteous anger. Once again, being angry at people who've left the world a worse place than they found it is righteous. You can get as positive as you want to get. That will not solve the problem. In such situations it is rightful to get angry or negative. Only by being recognized first will the problem stand a chance of being solved.

So the misuses of spirituality for wrongful ends have lead many people to conclude that spirituality as such is a bad thing. That is wrong as well. Once again, reason can also be used for all sorts of wrong things, but that does not make reason bad. Anything that is good can be used for wrong ends. Any value can be corrupted. That does not discredit the value; it discredits those who use it for wrong and make good things into bad things.

So no, being angry or negative is not always unjustifiable. There are many situations in which such responses are correct. When a nuclear reactor blows up you have to tell people what has happened. Failing to do so because doing so would be negative is not enlightenment; it is lying. When people are poisoning the planet and leave it a worse place for their children than they have found it, being angry at such a thing is right. Misusing metaphysical concepts to make it look like it is the other person's problem makes metaphysical concepts that much less credible, and it also makes you look like a jerk to anyone who has any insight into the matter.

The correct approach is to actually solve all these problems. The people who work on such real solutions deserve all the credit that they can. The people who misuse metaphysics or anything else to hide from or deny these problems are the true villains. It is rightful that they be seen in the negative light. And it is rightful that people go to work solving these problems head on so that the world that they leave behind for their children be a better place than they have found it, however "negative" anyone paints them to be for that reason.


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