(MENAFN - Arab News) A couple of articles I have recently written have been the objects of a strong reaction and criticism from some readers. One is "Is Lady Gaga needed?," the other is "Freedom... really?." They both talk about "morality." My views are rejected and, of course, I am ready to accept the fact that others see things from a perspective that is clearly different from mine. It is "theirs" and they have the right to it. I, too, have the same right.
But I keep being troubled by the definition of "morality." The official definition is "principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior." Behaving in a moral or ethical way is said to mean acting well, honestly, honorably. Acting "wrongly" evidently means the opposite.
The immediate questions that arise here are: Who is to say what is right and what is wrong? Who has the right to decide what a human being is to do? You will possibly answer, "The human being him/herself." Correct! No one should ever tell you (or Lady Gaga, or cartoonists or pseudo-filmmakers) what to do. Nevertheless, this does not imply that whatever a person decides to do is the "right" thing to do. I believe that the measuring tape for human actions should be the consequences they give rise to. Either you like it or not, you are "your brother's keeper," you are responsible for what you think, say or do, when others are involved or concerned. You are responsible for what your "words" or "actions" cause as an outcome. As an intelligent person, you cannot think "I say or do what I want and... the hell with the others!" Well, actually, you "can" think and say it. Many do and.... this is just what I am talking about.
I know that prophets and the like have been at first ostracized for their new, revolutionary ideas. But their ideas were aiming at bringing "love" to people, not hatred, "good" not vice and aberration. They were not preaching behaviors that any individual, deep inside, "knows" to be incorrect, harmful. The human spirit, if not the mind, is capable of "feeling" what is the right thing to do. But then many other, mundane considerations start shouting with a stronger voice, and the little whisper of the "intuition" is drowned away in the noise.
People decide what to do in absolute freedom, and make terrible mistakes. They just follow the whim of the moment, or their greed, bigotry, the latest fashion, their craving for power, the desire to appear "cool" and... they end up getting entangled in a web of "outside" conditioning which they are totally unaware of. The world's history is full of bad decisions that seemed "good" at the time. Then... someone realized the truth when it was too late.
Therefore the question "What determines what is right and what is wrong?" takes us to wonder if there is, if there can be an actual procedure, a set of rules for deciding of anything whether it is right or wrong. Well, there actually are two. You have "the Law" and you have "Religion." But I don't believe that they can be the ultimate guide. How do I know? I simply look at the results. As to the law, I hear of the infinite number of crimes that are committed daily all over the world. As to religion, I see how much hatred it is causing, when used in the way it was not intended to. The ultimate "guide" can only be found inside ourselves, i.e. in myself and in yourself. I and you "know" deep inside what is right and what is wrong but, in order to actually perceive it, we need to free ourselves from the huge amount of conditioning that has, and still is bombarding us from all sides, and become "aware" of our inner beauty. And to "see" our inner beauty we do not need to prove that other people are "ugly."
Elsa Franco Al Ghaslan, a Saudi English instructor and published author (in Italy), is a long-time scholar of positive thinking.