Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Good and Evil

Many people think these words do not have a place in the modern world: we are what we are, and what we are is determined by the universe of matter in which we find ourselves. We are helpless trams confined to our rails, and whether we express this fatalism in terms of behaviourism or the new genetic determinism, the fact is that nothing is our fault, and conversely, nothing is to our credit. We are simply the blind product of random physical events, biological evolution being the most recent chapter in this inevitable narrative.

Anyone who knows me well will realise that I don't go along with this. For one thing, we are conscious. Well actually, we don't know that everybody is conscious: we can only speak for ourselves. When Jesus Christ said "Forgive them, for they know not what they do" I take that to mean "Forgive them, because they are not conscious: they are physical machines which function without knowing what they are doing."

Consciousness just doesn't fit in with ancient or modern versions of mechanical fatalism. If we all functioned solely as machines, we would be unaware of it. Then even if a human said, "I am not a machine" she would be like a computer with a voice-recording in her; she wouldn't actually have the slightest idea what she was saying.

If the whole universe were exclusively mechanical, it would function in completely unconscious darkness.

Good is the conscious determination to work for the benefit of the whole picture, not just a selfish part of it.

Evil is the conscious intent to inflict real harm. It seeks self-gratification at the expense of others. It doesn't care about the good of the whole picture. At its very worst, it is like Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost trying to invert the two extremes, expressed in his famous resolution: 'Evil be thou my good'.

If a person isn't conscious, then doing evil is impossible.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Push for a Golden Age

Usually "pushing" means selfishly advancing one's own career. But here we have a different kind of pushing. Pushing for a golden age means lifting the world up FOR ALL PEOPLE. This means that we can make a tremendous effort without any little corner of ourselves feeling that we shouldn't really be doing it: we can push WITH A TOTALLY CLEAR CONSCIENCE.

Billions of Christians have been dutifully praying the 'Lord's Prayer' secretly believing that it represents no more than an impossible request which God could not conceivably fulfil. 'Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.' How could God possibly make THAT come true? But perhaps they should humour God and Jesus by kneeling and mumbling the words in a very serious holy voice (better in Latin) while secretly thinking how ridiculous these words are.

Now I believe that the world is in a very bad state. But I also believe that it can be transformed. I believe in steady, long-term, improvement, but I also believe in the occasional dramatic turn for the better which can be brought about by KNOWING the right screw to adjust by exactly the right amount - the neat tweak that makes all the good work of the past suddenly come to fruition.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Neat Tweak

I used to service my own vehicles. There used to be a carburettor and a distributor. If these were not set correctly, the whole vehicle would splutter helplessly without power. In other words, the whole machine, the culmination of thousands of years of research and quite possibly costing a lot of money, would suddenly become a pile of useless junk.

My first vehicle (which I shared with my brother when I was only fifteen) was an old left-hand-drive Willys Jeep. After re boring the cylinders, grinding the valves, putting in new gaskets and spending a great deal of time and love on it, it still wouldn't go properly. It spluttered and stalled and we thought that all the time and effort we had spent on it had been utterly wasted: now it was only fit for the scrap-heap.

That was when we discovered the magic of the NEAT TWEAK. There were two: one was to loosen the distributor and push it clockwise or anti-clockwise. The other was to adjust a little screw in the carburettor that controlled the amount of fuel sent to the cylinders.

These two tiny adjustments made the difference between a pile of junk and an exhilaratingly useful vehicle.

Sometimes a tiny adjustment can bring about a huge and earth-changing result. Certainly steady work and sustained effort by millions of people is indispensable. But sometimes all that work appears to be fruitless and in comes somebody with a tiny screwdriver and puts the whole thing right (probably taking all the glory) with a single NEAT TWEAK.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Crime rate up. Economic downturn. Murders. Knife crime. Kids running riot. Dishonesty. Distrustfulness. Alienation. What is going on?

Given the power, I believe I could put the whole world back on track within fifteen years. I can SEE WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. When you look at the facts you will see just how obvious it is.

Would you like to see the world improve? Would you like order to come back to our cities? Would you like to see our children excel in education? Would you like family life to become stable again? Would you like the streets to be safe? Would you like prosperity to be so common that everyone expects it?

If your answer is yes, follow this blog.