Post # 838      A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE

Our usual inclination for unrestricted, casual musing, somehow led us to a novel, all-encompassing and ubiquitously, applicable, conceit. Our Planet contains a fundamental, unchanging and metaphysical source of natural energy, demonstrable, not alone in its gravity, shifting of its tectonic plates, electricity, and meteorology, but indeed, in an entire, “obligatory,” panoply of earthly, dynamic phenomena. The same is inclusive of evolution and life itself, as well as the formulaic, growth and decline, of its fauna and flora. [general comment: If all of humankind’s research and exploration to date, have provided somewhat less, than full and all-encompassing, explanations for these eternally present, phenomena, they have done so, at least sufficiently, to rationally dispel atavistic beliefs in superstitious, and non-empirical, causation.]

We would venture to say, that, by dint of evolution’s development of a unique, advanced and sentient, being, viz., Homo sapiens, there, was implicitly, created, a measure of derivative, analogy between, Man’s recognition and acceptance of his planet’s immutable, phenomena, on the one hand, and on the other, his analogous, recognition of an eternal and existential, obligation, to, likewise, abide by certain fixed, immutable principles, relative to all humankind, desirous of living in society.  

Humankind, by its beneficially, permanent election, to live in society, voluntarily and necessarily, assumed the existential obligation of living in accordance with societal, mutually, accepted principles; the latter, as stated, a metaphysical requirement, as fixed and non-negotiable, as the planetary, phenomena, of tides and gravity. If any thematic difference should exist between the two comparatives, it is, fundamentally, in their nuanced etiology, i.e., the difference between, accruing such obligation by empirical and pragmatic necessity, as distinguished from the analogous, but naturally created, planetary concomitance, of eternally, inflexible and unalterable, dynamic phenomena.

“Principles,” as such, may permissibly, be defined as fundamental truths, which function as individual guides for belief, and behavior. They are society’s “GPS,” reliably and enduringly, directing the individual member of society along the correct orbit to the traditionally, established and agreed standards of acceptable action. Societally standardized, established principles, themselves, are the empirical result of the cumulative, anecdotal life experience of its members, within the realm of that society.

The mainstream individual, based, on the course of his life experiences, gradually accrue a consistent self-identity, a self-image, founded upon his perceptive recollection of personal experiences; notably, his past responses to life’s varied stimuli. Based upon this developed, self-image, he gradually construes, and thereafter maintains, stable and acceptable principles, consistent therewith, enabling the rational evaluation of his own views and behavior, as well as those of others. Possessing moral principles entails situating ones compass’ due “North,” sited on a perceived good self-image and an assured sense of confirming rectitude. The latter is inclusive of personal behavior, to the extent of its being in harmony with the acceptance of established and consistent societal principles. Should certain of his society’s principles, be altered or eliminated, the compliant citizen responsively, amends or eliminates them, in response. Illustrations of the latter observation, are noted, in the cases of the Statutory, elimination of the prohibition against selling and drinking alcoholic beverages and, as well, the wise retirement of the cumbersome, unfair and religiously, biased “Sunday Blue Laws.”

The thematic point is that those, inner-directed individuals, whose developed and secure self-image have the required capability to evaluate their own thoughts and actions, within the context of their personally established, inner sense of rectitude, i.e., principle. Others, not so constituted may be relegated to the dependent and vulnerable position of reliance upon others, (“outer-directed”).

The etiology of the insufficiently socialized, persona may be associated with a voluntary or situationally, casual approach to liberal education and the consequent lack of introspective inclination towards self-examination, and insight, relative, as well, to other members of his society. His perception of life and of its critically, nuanced issues is, but, a shallow one, if at all, existent. His dependence on those others, who seem to appear, confidently knowledgeable (who, in reality, may be feigning such knowledge) is his default. His failure to develop his own self-image, consistently adhering to personally developed, guiding, principles, makes him vulnerable to demagoguery or, dependence in “group think.”

This lack of ability or, alternatively, the disinclination, to live in accordance with personalized, stable and consonant principles, provides an arable field for the development of the “cult,” and of delusional conspiracy mongers. It renders credible and attractive the accepted notions and diatribes of sly, “snake oil salesmen,” in sync with their ignorant, horde of compliant, acolytes; in lieu of efforts to exercise reason or to develop independent thought. Principles of rectitude, morality and good government, are witlessly, abandoned, or, conceivably, deemed to be nonexistent, on the part of such useless, and often, dangerous, “populist” citizens. For such individuals, reliance upon a tactically convincing charlatan, is facile and convenient, compared to the strenuous effort expended in the employment of an underdeveloped, and accordingly, unused, personal exercise of reason.

To date, there has existed, yet another, immutable, and frustrating, comparative; in addition to the stated, obligation on the part of the Planet, to exist with other phenomena, and the permanent charge on humankind living in society, to eternally, live in conformity with established, principle. It is the existential necessity of a democracy, such as ours, to maintain a population of educated and informed citizens, living, indeed, in accordance with established, principle, on one hand, and, on the other, the continued, absence of the requisite ability of society, to date, to do so.

-p.   

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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