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Morality is less worthy than empathy

February 13, 2012

White and Green being racist against Black. Sure he is a deceitful bastard, but so are the ones who profess "the good for the majority".

People like to think of the world in dualistic terms. Yin and Yang, darkness and light, female and male, cold and hot, submission and defiance. Black and White govern society’s moral extremes, infecting the world with prejudice as the light grows paranoid and kills the “sinful” darkness.

In reality, dualism is pathetic at best. Nature is not composed of extremes to be destroyed, but of many natural forces. Western and eastern esoterism incorporated notions of light and dark, but they’ve always placed emphasis on the multiple elements governing reality, be them water, fire, metal, air, earth, wood. Most pagan religions – and, by extension, the vast majority of religions that have ever existed, something you would not realise with the advent of Christianity – do not see a world in clear Black and White, for their gods are not only rarely unfettered by such notions, but they are many, offering many philosophies to the mix.

This is why I despise Star Wars and adore Magic: The Gathering. The first is set on a rather clichĂ©d and frankly idiotic notion that there is a good in light and evil in dark (even though the first causes skin cancer and the latter allows you to produce melatonin and thus decrease the likelyhood of dying from cancer), and has the balls to suggest that emotions are inherently evil and robotic “enlightment” is good, while the later, while often subjected to the same “light/good and dark/evil” dichotomy (thanks to the stupid side of the fanbase), does realise that there are not only shades of grey, but many other colours in the mix as well, hence why Red, Green and Blue are every bit as valid in terms of moral purity and decay as Black and White.

Indeed, it is the presence of more than two colours that makes reality so wonderful. There isn’t a single conflict between pureness incarnate and decay unfettered; the human mind has emotions, has intellect, has instincts. We struggle between order and chaos, between peace and freedom, as we struggle between nature and nurture, between submitting to fate and creating our path in life; we struggle amidst all kinds of opposing concepts, and painting everything in either Black or White, or even among shades of Gray, is the most extreme form of self-deception, of denying reality.

Every day in our lives we delude ourselves to simplify things, to offer reasons to hate and to discriminate and to torture and to kill and to become what he most despise, and in a culture that values so much reality denial, eventually deception becomes the norm. Not even in emotions do we find honesty.

Ying and Yang at their purest

I preffer non-black/white taijitu patterns, because they don't truly express Yin and Yang. In this Orange versus Slate Gray version, we have the elemental aspects of both sides being displayed.

I am myself not the most honest person alive. I do believe there’s nothing wrong with a lie here and there. I, however, value honesty above all things; to me, the ideal of morality is the emancipation from deception. Thus, to me, there is nothing more utterly despicable than people who don’t just lie, but embrace deception as their mantra, that not only lie, but that elevate deceit into an artform. Sociopaths of all kind are the apex of this way of thinking, that build illusions like the Gnostic Demiurge.

To make matters worse, it is perfectly possible to be such an expert that your lies become reality to you, and not only do you become a liar, but an hypocrite, preaching what you would never do and yet believing every word of it. This is the principle of reaction formation, the ugliest imaginable aspect of the human mind, that embraces deception to the point of building false emotions.

To me, that is nothing short of horrifying. Emotions are supposed to be the vessels of honesty; a rational mind can think ways of lying, but a mind overwhelmed by raw passions is in no condition to lie. When we feel anger, when we feel love, we we feel fear, when we feel joy, only with efford can we put masks. There’s a reason why sociopaths are better at building illusions: they have flattened, if not absent, emotions. We can build masks all we want, but in the end the volcano erupts, either you like it or not.

The conflict between sociopathy and empathy, between deceit and honesty, between illusions and reality, is, in my opinion, a far more important issue than whatever moral issues we have. Sociopaths can be moral, can adhere to ethical principles, while empaths can be amoral, can reject notions of “good” and “evil”; since the moral sociopath will most likely twist morality into unfettered extremism (indeed, moral sociopathy is omnipresent in modern Christianity) and the amoral empath will listen to his/her empathetic impulses, the question, therefore, isn’t if a person is moral or not; that has little relevance in the end, because duty and hedonism do not make a person “good” or “evil”, unless you’re a particularly stupid brand of religious fanatic.

To make matters worse, society is at all ends enforcing sociopathy over empathy. Politics? You only become a leader if you lie and stab others in the back, putting the “real kings” aside to rot while selfish vermin are trusted. Religion? The quiet, empathetic christians and muslims are lorded over by the exact kind of people that crucified Yeshua, the hypocrites who adhere to God but not to the people, who would rather have all of humanity die and suffer forever than to displease their sky fairy (case in point: evangelical churches are dominated nigh exclusively by this type of moral sociopath, the homophobes who greatly enjoy death of teenagers who never did them wrong). Businesses? Again, you have to be a deceitful sociopath in order to have a stable job. Even artistic fields, which always celebrated passion since it is the drive for arts, embrace sociopathy; the studio executives would rather have a boring movie that is sure to make millions of dollars/euros/whatever than to allow true artists to make a magnum opus that may not enjoy as much success. Walt Disney Pictures, I’m looking at you.

In the end, our moral crusades are petty excuses to look away from the real problem. You will not achieve the greater good by killing people who do not such your deity’s penis, you will not achieve the greater good by diverting world problems on religion, porn, Satan or Lady Gaga. By refusing to acknowledge the real threat, the people whom you trust in positions above you, whom you admire as religious leaders or as politicians, you are only preparing a coffin filled with rusty nails.

The more you adhere to the slow but sure social darwinism, that only the sociopath, only the liar, only the bully survives and breeds, just because said people fill your moral standards, your idea of paradise becomes least likely to become true.

(This final statement might contradict the first pic, but in truth all colours in Magic: The Gathering are sociopaths at their purest, with Red being the empathic exception, being associated with emotions. Green and White might consider themselves better than Black, but they’re sociopaths that use other philosophies)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul W. permalink
    March 1, 2012 5:46 am

    Hypocrites aren’t liars, they merely tell potential truths from a compromised position.

    No matter how you look at things, you are going to have to take ‘sides’ eventually because the world is not big enough to accommodate all we might call ‘colour’. I’m not talking races here but simply using your own metaphor. At best, It’s a speckled world full of flecks that skews any thoughts of real ‘colour’. At worst it is a distasteful, mucky brown. It’s not a fight between the glorified ‘white’ over the detested ‘black’ (you could argue the way we glorify summer and denigrate winter is another version of this), it’s the conviction to keep what ever it is you value distinct and vital, otherwise, that’s when we really turn “robotic”.

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