Causing Injury

See Unhelpfulness — Medium

Will is the fundamental driver of good and evil. There is an argument that can be made that we have little control in a world where we all die, where disease can ravage with seeming impunity and where all of recorded history becomes over time an exercise in muddying up anything that might be taken to assign responsibility.

The person who argues along these lines can probably discount the idea that the bulk of what happens is the result of our consciously willing it. Even in the case of explicit actions resulting in injury and death, the court records attest to the vitality of debate on both sides when the matter of responsibility is the subject. So to argue that will drives good and evil is hardly a truism. It is in fact more of a theory.

But as a theory it has legs. Particularly in a democracy, which is the evolutionary destiny of governance, the assumption is that a person’s actions are, by being known, their responsibility. If, in fact, our actions are mindless and selfish, this is no excuse. It is a concession to what we justly call the lesser angels of our nature. We are aware, at some level, that we hold the bag. This is how things are moving. This is our teleology — the end toward which our journey tends.

Without this understanding, we are easily washed into a sea of cynical suppositions, largely meant to explain why things are so bad. I have friends who truly believe that if a culturally attuned elite could manage things, we would be better off.

We have witnessed a general reduction of violence and criminality over the last several decades, yet we are awash in perfectly justifiable complaints about police violence toward minorities. We have had decades of contentious gridlock but the dynamics of economic well being seem operative just the same.

Let the information flow we all complain about continue. Let big data process it. Evaluate what harm is and from whence it comes and how it can be mitigated. When all is said and done, we will conclude that self-respect and the capacity to think critically are the very foundations of health and that selfishness and mindlessness are slippery states indeed. And if this effort is successful these obvious answers will be supplemented by the wisdom that we are motivated mainly by what we idolize whether it be money or fame. Or that we — as advocated here — reject idolatry entirely and will to live according to decent values. Or, most likely, we are a mixed bag, a spectrum, a congeries of battling values that correspond with the values we are discussing here.

When explicit injury is caused it may be deemed accidental, but what caused the accident? If it was alcohol, what caused the mindlessness that led to the tangible harm?

When there is bullying, do we say that the bullies had no will to do harm? Of course they did, whatever may be their own ultimate explanation.

When damages are done and injuries ensue, there is guilt abroad, whether acknowledged or not. And where there is guilt there is responsibility, whether it is accepted or not.

It is a tragic reality that mass killers seem to care little who they injure and kill. It makes one think if advocating that such persons move to the last act immediately and take their own lives. In advance. What is the satisfaction in doing others in when the object of anger is simply yourself?

These are not questions I can answer. But I can say that the person who thinks of intentionally injuring someone will think again if the intent is consciously submitted to Tolerance, Helpfulness and Democracy.

The most egregious of injury no doubt is what takes place behind closed doors — domestic violence, cruelty to children and the enslavement of persons for sexual purposes. All of these things are willed, all of them create a immediate and residual of harm. None can be controlled eventually save by self control. Self-control comes with the practice of Triadic Philosophy.

This is from a new Kindle book called Universal Good and Evil.