A short while ago, I tweeted this.

Intergity, when our heart knows right, and we do it, when our heart knows wrong, and we don’t.

Before you continue reading, be warned this post contains graphic imagery which might disturb you.  If you’re squeamish, please stop reading now.

The issue with integrity isn’t right and wrong at all, it is that we are trained to perceive things a particular way.  If we’re unable to determine that we’ve been trained, then how can we ever know if what we think is right really is?

How can someone who has been indoctrinated since birth break free of the bonds their indoctrination binds them with? How can they do something they’ve been taught since birth to believe is wrong?

This frames one of the many things I hold against every organized religion I have encountered. Dogma. Ask any free minded person what they think about something as elementary as a prohibition on eating the flesh of pigs and see what they say.
Religiously based morals are not based on right and wrong, they are based on mental control.

At its most fundamental level, morals must break down to matters of life and death.  Yet even there, where are the clear lines defining the one from the other?

We all think we know we shouldn’t kill sentient beings.  But sometimes we also know that is the only right thing to do.

Years ago my wife accidentally reversed over a kitten sleeping behind one of the rear wheels.  The kitten’s spine and rear legs were crushed, it’s stomach burst open, emptying its entrails and most of its organs, which remained attached.  We heard it mewl, I got out of the car.  A single glance told me the only right thing to do was to kill the kitten in order to spare it a slow, cruel death.

My wife had stopped the car halfway up the driveway.  Along with her, our two young children were craned forward trying to see.  I indicated she should reverse the car out of the driveway, my intention being preventing our young kids seeing the painful death of the kitten.  She reversed back about 20 feet and stopped again.  All three of them still craned forward.

By now I was extremely angry since every passing moment was unnecessary agony for an innocent animal.  I made a very emphatic gesture at her that meant “GET THE #$$%^ OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!!!”  After looking momentarily affronted, she finally reversed out of the driveway and down the road to a point the children could no longer see.  I closed my heart and crushed the kitten’s skull with my heel.  It died instantly.  But that instantly came many seconds after the determination of right and wrong had been made.

What would an unquestionably ethical religion like Buddhism have had me do?  Let the kitten suffer, while appeasing my conscience with mental mumbo-jumbo about the ebb and flow of life from one state to another in reincarnation?

The only absolute, is that every absolute has exceptions.

That is the fantastic thing about our true soul. It knows what is right, and it encourages us to do it, it knows what is wrong, and it encourages us to not. All we need to do, is hear its voice.  But to hear, we first have to learn to silence the ambient noise of a society gone deaf.

The problem, is the things we’re taught, not the things we know.

About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
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2 Responses to Integrity

  1. Lucinda says:

    C. G., What an agonizing moment. However, I agree with your final point. We are connected to something greater than ourselves and if we hear that voice, we know what to do in every situation.

    • C.G.Ayling says:

      It was difficult for me to post this article. Not for the content, but because I knew my youngest daughter would read it and remember. Julia is now fifteen, it happened well over ten years ago. Sure enough she did, and last night when I got home she told me she remembered the incident. All I could do was give her a hug.
      Why is an embrace as comforting as it is?

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