Thursday, October 27, 2011

Primary Testimony

Virtues are, in the popular estimate, rather the exception than the rule. There is the man and his virtues. Men do what is called good action, as some piece of courage or charity, much as they would pay a fine in expiation of daily non-appearance on parade. Their works are done as an apology or extenuation of their living in the world—as invalids and the insane pay a high board. Their virtues are penances.

I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a low strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. I ask primary evidence that you are a man, and refuse this appeal from the man to his actions. I know that for myself it makes no difference whether I do or forebear those actions which are reckoned excellent. I cannot consent to pay for a privilege where I have intrinsic right. Few and mean as my gifts may be, I actually am and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance of my fellows any secondary testimony.

Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1841 essay Self-Reliance breaks the bottle of self-serving, egotistical virtues and they float around our mind. They are naked in a puddle of thoughts about the self, and how it conforms to the established charade of doing good in order to receive something tangible in return. Our system is based on take and give rather than give and then give again. Our expectations overpower our truth, and virtues become the bartering chips for penance and forgiveness. We seek the world’s opinion. That opinion is filled with fear and control tactics that keep us from feeling the value in being what we are—whatever that might be.

This world exists because of spontaneous order. It grew spontaneously and developed an objective order that does not allow the expression of the inner self unless it conforms to that order. The psyche is naturally creative and explorative, so characteristics that appear as faults have a certain truth about them, and they can be accepted as virtues. Portions of the identified objective consciousness can mix, merge, and form alliances with fragments of truths, and we identified these fragments as whole virtues, and we use them as measuring sticks for worthiness.

Consciousness flows through interrelated channels of awareness that connect all physical matter. In those channels our breath and the wind are felt as one and the same. In that reality we become the noun and the verb as the verb expresses itself as the noun. In that reality nature speaks for man and man speaks for nature.

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