For many centuries before the advent of the compass, voyagers, especially seafaring voyagers, relied upon a unique mineral, called “lodestone” (magnetite) which is possessed of magnetic properties (always indicates true north) for consistent and reliable directional guidance. Especially useful in long ocean voyages, the lodestone made foreign commerce and, when necessary, emigration, possible; and was essential in military applications; it has been recorded that the Vikings used the lodestone to make possible their premeditated raids and pillaging of foreign cultures. The directional advice of this unique mineral could be relied on irrespective of challenging sea or foul elements.
The primitive lodestone was, in time, replaced by the mechanical compass, faithfully indicating due north, which later morphed into digital guides, which communicate with Earth orbiting satellites for guidance that is reliably accurate and precise.
In this writing we are taking the liberty of using the lodestone (magnet) as a metaphor for the needed establishment of a fixed setting, a bedrock true north, for guidance in matters of of optional choice of behavior and moral direction, which seems to be appropriate at this unprecedented, and confusing moment in American history.
The beginning of the creation of an ethical, personal lodestone no doubt, has its origin in the early childhood period. It should be noted that the establishment of a life-long moral compass cannot be created by mere teaching and citing literary parables; the instruction as to right action is most convincing and becomes deeply imbedded by actual examples of rectitude practiced by the parent. Teaching one thing and behaving in another, is worse than confusing, it destroys all belief in the instructed standards taught. Empathy, honesty, truthfulness, respect for others of different appearance and ethnos, loyalty, sensitive consideration for others, especially the poor and disabled, appropriate behavior, desire for the fulfillment and enhancement of the self and society, are among the numerous required subjects in this education. If established properly and ratified by the parent’s own behavior, consistent with the taught standards, they become enduring, fixed compass points of reference in the child’s future voyage through life, in later confrontation with ignorance, bigotry and improper behavior.
Consistent with our oft-repeated personal belief, we would supplement these early (and subsequent) teachings, with the recommended reading of good literature, which opens the reader to the existence of classic ethical issues which are eternally and universally experienced and acted upon by humankind.
The maintenance of an available moral compass, or ethical lodestone, reaffirms a firm and confident self-image and personal identity in the individual, and serves as a fixed, accessible reference and directional guide, when presented with a maelstrom of ignorance and disreputable behavior as appears to be the diagnosis of this unprecedented and shameful presidency. Confidence in the validity and intrinsic virtues of our ethical standards will give confidence and hope to all lodestone bearers, of a corrected course of travel. -p