Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Right or Wrong?

I wrote this (by hand) very late last Thursday night while sitting in a coffee shop at the airport with 7 hours to kill before an early morning flight.

The last time I experienced a night at the airport was at Christmas and it was one of the longest nights of my life, purely because my focus was on reaching my destination (which slowed down time to an unbearable level) despite the fact that I had a choice of books to read or even try to get some sleep, neither of which I took advantage of. This time, however, it was different. Since I often complain (to myself) that I don’t have enought time to read, I figured that the next 7 hours would be the pefect opportunity to settle in with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Strange how things don’t always go the way one plans!

Airport

I did settle in with a cup of coffee and I did manage to get halfway through the first page when I read the following:

“I, for one subscibe to the notion implied by the Heisenberg Principle, that nothing in the universe can ever be accurately observed because the act of observing always changes it. For every life there are a million observed realities.

Reading this, somehow switched my mind into thinking mode. In the end I gave up trying to read further and decided to write my thoughts down instead.

I had never heard of the Heisenberg Principle before but every time I read the sentence it made sense to me. However, that wasn’t what prompted me to get my notebook out and start writing. It was a question that kept popping into my head. A question I felt would be worth trying to explore further.

What if there is no  “right” or “wrong”? Is it possible that it’s only our own perception of what is right or wrong?

I have my values and beliefs of what is right or wrong in any given situation, but that is still just my view or perception. To you or anyone else reading this, my views could be right as well as wrong.

I am fully aware that who I am today and my ideas of what is right or wrong is largely shaped or conditioned by so many people and sources.

I used to experience all kinds of negative emotions when someone went against my beliefs and values or when someone did something I perceived to be wrong. I still experience these emotions at times, but I am more aware of when they arrive which allows me to take a step back before reacting.

I’d like to think that I am a fairly considerate person and I make an effort to be considerate to the people I come in contact with (sometimes I fail, but then at least I learn a lesson). Hurting someone intentionally, either physically or mentally is in my view wrong.

But what if someone belived this to be the right way to behave? What if that someone had grown up in an environment of physical and emotional abuse and violence and as a result ended up believing that being abusive and violent is right!

There may be people who are unable to forgive and to whom revenge is the right and perhaps the only answer.

I sometimes question or challenge myself if I would have the ability to forgive someone who, as an extreme example, had severely hurt or even killed a loved one.

The honest answer at this point is; I really don’t know.

If I did find the ability to forgive such an act, could that then be deemed as right or wrong? Is it possible that, even if I did manage to forgive, other people in my life would deem the act of forgiveness completely wrong?

I am not endorsing violence or hurtful behaviour in any shape or form because that still goes against my values and in my world it is wrong.

I can however, accept the fact that it happens and that I have no power to change that. What I can change is my exposure to it (to a certain extent) which is why I don’t watch the news or read newspapers. I can also change how I react whenever I do get exposed to it whether the exposure is something that I am experiencing in my life or a bit of news that slipped through!

Lets say that someone did something that affected me personally, which in my book was totally wrong. I now have a whole arsenal of emotions to choose from; rage, anger, wanting revenge, etc, which will happen mostly subconsciously unless I am aware of it.

What if instead of reacting automatically, I was to ask myself to stop for a moment and concider what might have made the person do it in the first place? What if I knew what journey this person had experienced that led to this act of wrong doing (from my perspective). Is it possible that the emotion may just be a little less negative?

My beliefs are being challenged as I write this because on one hand, empathy or forgiveness, can’t undo the act of wrong doing but then on the other hand neither can anger, rage or revenge.

I think the lesson for me here is to accept that there is no right or wrong. I have the right to my beliefs and values and so have every other human being on earth without me judging them “Right” or “Wrong”.

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11 responses to “Right or Wrong?

  1. viv66 March 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    This is very, very interesting indeed.
    Most of what we accept as right and wrong are indeed based on upbringing etc but in some ways, the test of whether something works is whether it benefits a society as a whole rather than an individual or a group of individuals. So it’s always very interesting the mirror that sci-fi holds up to us when “alien” cultures are depicted in different ways. If you look at the code of honour held by Klingons and Romulans in Star Trek and compare it with the code of the Vulcans, it brings up some very diffccult issues.
    I do believe that good and evil are absolutes but that the vast majority of what we as individuals experience is a facet of the endless shades of grey in between.
    At the end, for each of us, what we can live with and be at peace with is utterly unique. Some of us wouldn’t sleep nights with the thought that we’d underpaid in a shop and others can sleep like babes over psychotic and damaging behaviour.
    Did you have a good break, after the long wait for the flight?

  2. J March 18, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Viv

    It is so great to have you back here and I really appreciate your input. I totally agree that what each of us can live with and be at peace with is unique to each individual.
    I did have a great break thank you, and for once, I actually enjoyed spending the night at the airport writing and watching people.

  3. iwishicouldtellyou March 18, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Good post, I hear you so well.

    I would like to add, if I may:

    Rumi once wrote – “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”

    That field is available to all of us, in fact it runs through us, in the form of the present.

    When you are present, there is no right or wrong, there is only is, no past to judge your world by.

    peace to you my friend-
    rob

  4. viv66 March 18, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Ooh, I love that field Rob mentions. Shall we meet for a picnic there one day?

  5. J March 18, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Hi Rob,

    Of course you “may add”!
    I am grateful that you did and your comment resonates with me.

    May you always be blessed with joy and happiness

    J

  6. J March 18, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Viv,

    I am packing the picnic basket as we speak!

  7. viv66 March 19, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Great, have you got the lemonade?

  8. tobeme March 19, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    J,
    Thanks for sharing your thought process. I like you conclusion that right or wrong is a matter of perspective and therefore when it comes to right or wrong there are no absolutes. You also have a great realization that negative emotions cannot undo what you believe is a wrong. The key is that by living from spirit, we live love and love in any situation is always the best for all involved.

  9. J March 19, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    tobeme,

    Thank you for your comment. As always your view is greatly appreciated and never fails to give me further food for thought.
    It really was an interesting experience writing this and for the first time in my life I came to realize, as you say, that when it comes to right or wrong there are no absolutes.

  10. Brynn March 24, 2009 at 6:35 am

    This is a topic that could be spoken about for days. If you’ve read ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ you will understand that our parents raise us with the values they were raised with, and if it was a terrible home life, well, they don’t know any better. So where does the blame lie?
    We are all the same beyond our ego, all created equal in spirit.
    Just read something profound. ‘There is a price you will pay for judgement, because judgement is the setting of a price.”

  11. Pingback: Writing for enjoyment « Control Your Destiny

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