conflict philosophy

1/3- Le Choix est la Chose

5:43:00 PMPaul

We are often posed with a statement considering rehabilitation as well as the various possibilities of governing, guiding, and correctional systems: Does Man have a choice in the proposed scenario. For an example, I respectfully refer you to the priest in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange (why yes that is the only book of his I've read), who puts forth an impassioned argument in this vein in opposition to an extreme form of that fiction's systems. He asks whether an individual can be truly good without the ability to make the conscious choice. Of course, Mr. Burgess's point leads us to a direct response to that very question, but that really isn't what I'm aiming towards here.

We act as if all we need to do to have a choice is be born, that as long as no major oppositional or arbitrating forces interfere's, that we can be good.First, let's look at good and evil, and the priest. Is it really religion's job to give us a choice? It enforces its tenets with positive and negative reinforcements by which all others are measured and which none have ever equaled. While semantically, we have a choice according to the priest's religion, we're rather limited, because there exists very little middle ground. One either receives copious rewards for doing what's suggested and expected or relentless and unbearable punishment for abstaining. This is an either/or proposition (and no, i haven't read Either/Or yet, so I may be repeating easily accessible knowledge). There is the suggestion or Purgatory in some beliefs but the idea there is that it's still preparation and training for a second attempt at adhering to the rules.

This extends to every religion or philosophy to which I've ever been exposed or I've ever explored. The underlying connecting theme of even the most docile offering is that it's there to improve your life, but a more sinister phrasing follows: "Either do what's written here or you'll be miserable." This is only an inference and only my perception, but just as much of an inference that following a teaching will lead to joy or peace. So, do we have a choice when offered morality from any one particular or number of combined disciplines?

The answer is not to abandon religions or philosophies altogether. This impressed promise of relief or reward occurs in every proposed system of behavioral molding, from political doctorines to psychological journals. It's suggested to put a certain party in office or to revolt and establish a different system of government or to follow a prescribed routine to gain our happiness. And any course of action outside the studied and established methodology will result in dissatisfaction. So, Do We Have A Choice? Ever?

A system by its very nature even implicitly bars the room to choose between any two or multivarious options. I hear often that people say they have to work and the impudence in me vomits forth, reminding them they have a choice. The choice is to starve, though. This doesn't only apply to the current and often derided system. Often, teh more revolutionary ones dictate quite severely that their propositions must be obey and any opposition must be crushed (points for honesty). So, in our current surroundings and in any proposed topia of any kind, our choice is invariably limited to the most superficial and ineffectual.

We've been told alternately by one product of the Far Right that The ends justify the means and by one of the Far Left that actions performed oppressed are by definition different from the very same actions perpetrated by the oppressors. So, we see that even diametrically opposed schools of thought both view the Intention as the deciding factor of an action. But it's all wrong. To plan for a purpose to act in name of a future or greater occurrence whether you deem yourself the beneficiary or future generations, then the action is inherently wrong. There always have and will exist opposing intentions or aims and that's the true dichotomy, not a good v. evil, but rather Us v Them.

The Action is the reward in itself. It must be viewed as such. Every conscious decision or unconscious move made is in the interest of self-preservation or even self-benefit. The moment a philosophy is applied prior to or attached after-the-fact of an action, it is impure and you become evil. And perhaps not universally, but no such evil exists. Acts committed with the noble label of "For The Greater Good" are a falsity. No good is purely good and no proposed good is a natural good. All suggestions of benefit are rooted in a current ideology and laced with an often undisclosed motive. Even in the most equanimous and equitable social construct, whatever that is to each individual with enough free time to mentally erect one includes systematic provision, at least implicitly, that dictates anyone who doesn't obey will endure fruitless misery.

Every act leads to satisfaction, even sacrifice and even that with the direct aim of displeasing oneself (for the sake of experiment, perhaps, or contrition). As established, that committed under the pretense of fulfilling a future aim is inherently betraying one's own interests. The paradox behind the second half of this statement is obvious and over at least 3000 years old. It is the human invention of intent that defines an action. Otherwise the only choice, the basest choice we possess, innately, is life or death (and yes, you're right, I suppose Shakespeare did beat me to this point here). So Do We Have A Choice?

And if we don't have a choice as individuals, and if trying to establish a collective system where choice is possible further limits by its institution the choices available to us, and if even trying to abandon the concept of choice constitutes a philosophy (albeit primative), then where are we left? With Action, yes? With immediacy in the truest sense of the word and nothing else, with each moment building upon itself. How do we acheive this and still maintain some semblence of peace, peace being the absence of constant fear and destruction? I'll let you decide.

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