Justice Requires Basis in Offense of Life

justice“O Son of Spirit!
The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor.” Excerpt From: Bahá’u’lláh. “The Hidden Words.”

Let’s consider that we could, in an adult world, do whatever we choose, without external constraints. We might, in such a world, choose to follow a moral formula. We might choose to follow no formula at all, making random choices in every circumstance that surrounds us. In such a world, we might reasonably question, “what about the social contract?”, “what about harming others?”

In considering harming others, we could consider turning the whole framing of this question around. Consider that, in an adult world, we accept that, in doing whatever we choose we might, advertently or inadvertently, offend the life of another or others. Consider that we all, then, have access to complaining about that offense. It seems possible that a justice system could be developed that is based on the complaint of offense against a life.

To consider what offense against a life might constitute, we can immediately consider those offenses that are often listed as ‘criminal’ such as stealing, assault, rape, murder. Starting from a place of strongest offense, society seems to consider that murder is about as strong as it gets. If we look at murder, we see that, as an offense on the life of others, it creates a conundrum. However it is in unraveling that conundrum that a more enlightened justice system can be established.

The conundrum of murder is that, while the victim has had a serious offense against their life, they no longer have a life upon which to offend, not do they have the possibility of complaint against that offense. However, the victim is not the only complainant in the case of murder. Consider that a murder victim is a 20 year old woman who has living parents, a brother and a sister, a life partner, ten cousins, 30 close friends and work colleagues, an employer, etc etc. If we conservatively estimate that the woman’s close circle is around 50 people, and her secondary circle of acquaintances is 200 people, then a case can be made that each of these have a complaint of direct offense on their lives by the murderer.

Putting that scenario aside for a moment, consider that a complaint-of-offense based justice system would have two roles: to determine that an offense against life had been made, and the degree of that offense; and the recompense, reconstruction, or transformative action required around of that offended life. These three accountabilities can be defined as: recompense (restoring the loss); reconstruction (providing alternatives where the loss is permanent); and transformation (creating complete and radical forgiveness from the offended through a caring relationship). How would we estimate what that would mean of 200 complainants of a life taken? Would it make any sense that the perpetrator spend 15 years in a prison? The evidence is that imprisonment rarely creates recompense for the offended, and even rarer, a transformative act for perpetrator and offended alike.

Consider that we might be able to have an authentic conversation about the degree of offense we believe we have suffered. Perhaps such a conversation, even with 200 people, might be facilitated by specialists in clarifying impact. In the case of the murder, that impact (degree of offense) would vary from the loss to a parent to the shock to a recent neighbour. Nonetheless, it seems very possible to be able to compile the full degree of offense. In each case (rather than as a whole), it is also possible to make a formulation about what it would take to transform that offense from the extreme separation and loss it has caused to a state of forgiveness and recompense. Without going into speculation about how each individual case might resolve, it is relatively easy to imagine that the perpetrator of a murder would be confronted with not being able to recompense for the social loss of any of the 200 people, although financial recompense could be argued by an employer who has lost employer productivity and costs to re-hire. In the case of murder it is difficult to see what could be reconstructed as an alternative to that loss to the close circle. It is then, left that the murderer becomes accountable for fully transforming their relationship to the close circle and the whole 200 people, into radical forgiveness and a caring relationship).

An offense against life based justice system has, as it’s core modus operandus, to create access for the perpetrator to transforming their relationship with the offended. For any similar offense, for some perpetrators such access may take many years, for others, much less, and for a few, the whole of their life. Such a system would necessitate that perpetrators play vital roles in community, and around the offended. While it may require certain restraints of the perpetrator, imprisonment would be far less necessary than the current vengeance systems. An offense against life based justice system would be able, maybe even more able than now, to ensure safety around violent perpetrators who have poor self management around their violence.

An offense based justice system can deal with neighbour’s compaints, family complaints, trading complaints, property theft, loss, and damage complaints, political complaints, and social complaints such as denigration, prejudice, or moral shock. An offense based justice system doesn’t work in prescription but can be completely flexible to the circumstances of perpetrators and offended. It can be imagined that an offense based system might be commonly used for many small offenses in life to cut across simmering resentments and optimise relationships across community.

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Transformation

Transformation is usually understood as a change of type rather than an improvement on the old. When faced with a challenge, there seem to be only a two types of strategies. The first and most common is to use the same vehicle (framework, tools etc) that has had previous success, perhaps increasing the effort (resources) and dominate the challenge by a well known activity. This strategy will either succeed or fail. If it succeeds the use of the strategy will be reinforced. If it fails it might still be used or it maybe that another strategy is implemented. If the failing strategy becomes defended and rationalised, even if critically, it might be improved through the increase of resources, but continued use will eventually meet absolute failure and defeat ensures all resources are exhausted. If the failing strategy is recognised for what it often is, a strategy that no longer meets the requirements of the challenge, then a transformative motion can be brought into play.

MilkyWay_201502The history of the world and the more ancient history of the universe is evidence that the transformative motion is in play, regardless of the conscious notice of it. Our human consciousness provides an opportunity to comprehend the transformative motion and even mobilise it.

There is a idea from mystical philosophy, that the creation is perfect. A transformative perspective shows two aspects of this idea. The first is the creation is what it is. What becomes of it over time is all that is, and that any appellation of imperfection to the universe is purely subjective. It just IS. The second is that the human subjective concept of perfection is a true reflection of a real quality and the estimate of perfection by the human being is part of the transformative motion of the universe. This aspect of perfection implies that since the human being became conscious, we have been directly linked to the transformative fate of the world and the universe. In this aspect, the universe has a potential to be perfect in a way that humans (perhaps not only humans) imagine.

Perfection, then, is a state that continually appears as a new type of thing that resolves a challenge, is imagined and, then, forged by the human being. If perfection or a new type of thing can appear, there must be some sense in which it always existed. If it always existed, then why didn’t it appear at some other time, resolve the challenge before suffering ensured. Apart from discussions about the causality of all things, and the specific causality called human learning, it could be said that the transformative motion is one of disappearance and appearance. While everything that is perfect, for all time, exists in potential in the universe, its potentiality or hidden-ness is a function of the apparentness and activity of another type of solution. Only when that solution fails and then disappears, does the new type of thing appear.

Appearance and disappearance of types of things occurs from the largest structures of the universe (the universe itself) to the smallest, over the smallest quanta of time to the largest. Transformative motion, therefore, is the warp and weft of the fabric of the universe.

The question for us, in our meagre human existence, in wanting to effect the transformative process to alleviate our own suffering, is, of anything that causes suffering, or any challenge of which we are now failing, what needs to DISAPPEAR for the new type of thing from which we are not suffering, from which we are succeeding to resolve the challenge., APPEARS.

The Transformative Future of the Arts

Until this article, I didn’t realise there was a divide between the creative industries and the arts. My local university trains their performing artists under a degree of creative arts. To be sure, for them it is all about providing training for a self-sustaining occupation in the creative process, however to me the whole artistic process will, like scientific explorations, become more multidisciplinary to make the next great breakthroughs in artistic expression.

There may be more at stake here than just some new exciting art, entertainment, or design. At stake is the transformation of national and global politics. Much of the arts of today hasn’t changed in any essential approach since Shakespeare, DaVinci, Michaelangelo: the artists becomes technically proficient, gets a commission or provides a product for a fee, the work is targeted to a buyer (church, nobility, mass audience) with a specific appetite. The appetite is driven by the political milieu of the time, and that is the single driver behind the development of genre within an artistic field. So, there is a genre change as the dominant political power changed from the Roman Empire to the Kingdoms of the Renaissance to the Early democratic society. However the artistic expression continues to reflect individualisation, argumentativeness, seduction, misogyny, horror, and even paedophilia. This expression reflects, in otherwords, the socio-political mindsets of the recent millenia. Particularly since the twentieth century, that mental landscape has been undergoing dramatic change. Unfortunately, rather than recognise and being at the forefront of that change, both politics and the arts have been scrambling to keep up, to maintain or exact their power, oft-time simply bludgeoning their way into the psyches of the masses.

Yet, steadily, almost mercilessly, the inexorable tide of transformation of the global civilisation on the psyches of humanity, is demanding a new expression, both in politics and therefore in the arts. The new expression is of: a greater individual independence of mind; a greater empathy and cooperativeness; and equality and synergy of men and women; the investigation and clarity of reality; the education of children; the empowerment of youth; a chastity, loyalty, and integrity; and service. The arts have a great opportunity to lead the way. The questions for todays artists and creative industries are not technical, they are philosophical. How will we be independent and cooperative, champion equity and synergies, investigate reality, honour our word, and serve humanity? The extraordinary feat of attempting to extract a minor insight on these questions, into an artistic expression, will revolutionize the arts and the politics of this nation and the planet.

Nothing new in ‘Explaining Religion’ Project.

Researchers are reported in the Economist trying to understand what? about religion. Well, apparently that there is confusion about why religion might reflect the underlying nature of humanity.  The researchers then go on to ask questions that can only have answers in the underlying nature of humanity.

Why? Unfortunately for researchers, they also are bound by the underlying nature of humanity, and therefore are bound only to ask questions about human being that have answers about the underlying nature of humanity. Logically, of course, anything that pertains to humanity must have foundations in its underlying nature.

So, why is there some sort of discourse of surprise happening here? Researchers are enthusiastically proclaiming what teachers of humanity have long proclaimed, that moral story and cultural ritual increases cohesion of community; that story about punishment for divisive actions even when unsighted by other humans (karma or afterlife) will increase compliance. Even 140 years after publication, researchers of religion fail to read Baha’u’llah’s significant treatise on the evolution of religion, “The Book of Certitude”, and, while proclaiming their own failure as researchers to make adequate literature search, therefore fail to take the lead from Baha’u’llah’s thesis  that diversity of religion is the other side of the coin of the establishment of religion in every culture.

Falling into the trap that there is some surprise in religions association with the underlying nature of humanity, the Economist editorial also falls into the trap of accepting that there are people who are not religious while sharing their dissonance with the world by stating that “Agnostics and atheists think like Buddhists “. In otherwords, while it is possible that some people, people without empathy (the underlying nature), who are psychopaths or sociopaths, are truly not religious because they truly cannot empathise with a greater human nature, they are a rarish group. It is possible that the psychopathic nature was once the leadership nature of early homo sapiens. However, extrapolating Baha’u’llah’s thesis, at a time when homo sapien may have been struggling to survive perhaps even because of a growing consciousness about things to do with death and loss, a member of the clan born to become both a strong leader and, yet, less psychopathic that any previous leader, created new empathic processes in the clan, and perhaps instituted laws against psychopaths and, therefore, the likelihood of them becoming leaders. Initially these may have been around burial and completion while ensuring continuity of clan and leadership.  Millenia to millenia, these types of changes in religious understanding, laws, techniques, where impressed on every tribe and region and culture, according to the specific social but future need of that society to forge a greater unity. Whenever society has hit the wall of the need for the next expansion of unity, those societies would become confused and allow psychotics to advance their leadership aspirations. From the place of leadership, psychotics created such destruction among the community that the communities eventually acknowledged the teachings of new unity by the spiritual leader of the day. Today, the Great Educator for the unity of the global society, Baha’u’llah, has advanced teaching that completely neutralises the psychotic disposition from human leadership and organisation once and for all.

Researchers of religion, by flailing around in material that has been resolved for over 100 years, are lingering far behind the advances in religion that are occurring in the  present and will grow logarithmically. They will not understand religion and will be completely taken by surprise when global human society metamorphoses into a quite new entity.

SPEECH TO MY CHILDREN

(ON THEIR MOVING ON IN LIFE )

While it seems that I have been thrashing along a spiritual pathway for a lifetime. Recently I have realised that there is a way to raise the spiritual platform from which I am working. From that realisation has come a deep aspiration to meet the challenge, and with that a recognition that there are a number of things I need to do, with a range of people, to make this happen.

It seemed vital, as one of my twin sons and his wife prepared to move from Australia to the USA, that I established this new platform and a new spiritual relationship with them, right now. Simultaneously, my youngest son is leaving home for Brisbane, some 2000 kilometres away.

It must be said, before going on that our relationships are strong in any case. However, within that strong relationship I was aware of a myriad mistakes I had made over the years and even as recently as this week. Many of these mistakes were small, and none so large that it prevented us a real and close bond. Indeed, many of the mistakes or rather failings, have been at the threshold of asserting real love. I have realised, however, that many of these mistakes and failings have really been a lack of a deeper awareness of my own being as a channel of love. While I have been aware of the waves of the names of God breaking against each other across my corner of existence, aware of those waves roiling out into infinity, creating futures with love, I have been also aware of my lack of deeper clarity of the movement of those waves. A poor surfer of the waves of love, I have yet needed to act in each moment, and in that acting have been mostly just crashing through with family, friends, co-workers. It is now time to take the challenge, to ride the wave to the breakover, to truly surf on that vulnerable top of the enormous power of love into the future.

So, last night, as we prepared to sit down to eat together for the last time for a while, I felt a deep anxiety about saying something to them, to elevate the tone of our relationship. It seemed a shame that I had only come to this point as they are leaving. Within that experience of shame, a great grief came over me, and I found myself crying on the floor of my room. As I cried, I found myself looking at the source of those tears, and the grief, and found that they were anchored in my own desire to have everything managed according to some internal rules of ‘my ideal life’. As the tears cleared the emotional tension, the dissonance between my desire to be a lover and my resentment to give up my ‘rules’, relaxed. It became clear that I must say what I need to say. It occurred to me, in that moment, that this is courage. Not to be brave and take the battle out there into the family or into the community, to achieve something, but to drop shield and sword, and walk out there, vulnerable, sacrificial.

A calmness began to insinuate itself upon my mind, and I began to formulate what I needed to say. I seemed able to hold better focus, better clarity, on the thoughts of transformative action than ever before. I realised there were two messages I wanted to send off with my children: A plea for their forgiveness; and a vision of a future with them as powerful servants for humanity.

To the extent I can remember what I finally said, here is my speech.

“To my children who are leaving to their new lives, especially to Nathan and Danielle who are off to LA for a couple of years on the next stage of their life’s adventure, and also to Reuben who is leaving home for the first time to start his own life in Brisbane, I want to say a couple of things.

Firstly, over the years raising children and to now, I feel I have made many mistakes. For all those mistakes, and the mistakes you have felt the edge of, I want to ask your forgiveness. I ask your forgiveness so that, if there was anything in my own mind about you, that lead me to that mistake, I may purge it from my mind so that all I see before me are your true spiritual selves. I don’t ask forgiveness for any gain except that comes from being able to enjoy living in the atmosphere of your spirituality. I ask forgiveness so that if you feel even the mildest resentment to me for the mistakes I have made, you might let that resentment leave your heart, to return that space to the love of Baha’u’llah, and to a greater love and giving and sharing for humanity.

Secondly, you will have a wonderful life of service to humanity and achieve great things.  I would like you to think on these things. Give up the burden of gain to follow aspirations of love, giving, sharing, and service. Make ever bigger space in your heart for love and service. Follow then the creative path of service that your heart will lead you. And if, in following that aspiration, you find yourself in need, be assured that you can ask me for assistance, for support. Be comfortable and be confident to ask for my support, you can count on it.”

This morning as they have left for the airport, I decided to write the little speech down. I will have to give it, or a version, a few more times, yet. I feel that I am wandering out into unknown territory, ungrounded and a little vertiguous, and a little confused at the direction I am going. Later I want to be able to look back and see where this moment has lead. Perhaps there will be other things to say, then, of which I am yet unaware. I hope so. Maybe I will find that there is no real ‘top’ to the wave of love. I hope so. Maybe I will find that there is no ceiling to my service for my family and humanity. I hope so.