Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A new dawning

The definition of dawn used by the old desert Arabs (the Bedouin) – that dawn is that moment in time when there is sufficient light to distinguish between a white and a black thread – has a romantic appeal about it. There is a vagueness which opens up many trains of thought. One determination of dawn will be different from another. There are inevitable shades of grey implicit in the definition as is the quality of the eyesight and judgement of the observer. Also implicit is a tolerance and an acceptance that there will be differences in interpretation – that the beginning of the day – the beginning of anything is never finite. This level of tolerance and acceptance of differences of opinion is needed today, particularly when the ‘blame’ game begins.

This is not to say that the Bedouin were particularly tolerant or intolerant, students of Arab history will be able to shed light on this topic – it is the human quality of the definition that appeals. We each have our own views of the world as seen through the filters of our particular circumstance; our education; our life experiences; our society and culture but above all based on the view we have of ourselves and our position in ‘our’ world.

No one, repeat, no one, ever does anything to deliberately disadvantage themselves. Any action taken by anyone will always be because of some perceived benefit or advantage. Poor judgement may be evident as when a politician tells an ‘untruth’ and is instrumental in losing an ‘unlosable’ election; it is evident when a financier engages in corrupt dealings; it is evident when someone deliberately kills another. But the fact remains that at the moment the decision was made to carry out the action, it would never have been carried out if not for some perceived advantage – to try and cover up a mistake, to make more money or to eliminate a rival.

It is always a matter of choice – to carry out the deed or not to carry out the deed. To then deliberately seek punishment for the perpetrator is a natural reaction, but is it the best course of action? Remember that shades of grey exist and there is no absolute black or white.

Surely a new dawn in the treatment of criminals is called for – to educate them to have at least some understanding, that all humanity is related, would be better? We all have our strengths and weaknesses and no one can claim to be ‘better’ than anyone else. According to our understanding of life, we all do the best we can. To ‘blame’ someone for an error of judgement is a bit harsh. Society should be ‘blamed’; you and I should be ‘blamed’ because we make up the society that gave a particular person a view of the world that happens to differ from ours.

Educate the perpetrators so they may understand that there is a law or cause and effect. Teach them ethics. That treating others as they would like to be treated is the only viable option. That what goes around, comes around. That if you hit someone with a stick often enough they will sooner or later turn around and hit you back. This means in effect, you are hitting yourself. Not very clever!


Brock Atkinson said...

Some people just don't want to learn. Must we brainwash them in order to convince them that ethics and morals are good, a la A Clockwork Orange?

How do you propose that we educate the people that simply can't see what most people see?

Andrewlifecoach said...

By example Brock, by example. If you do something good for someone they will find it very difficult not to be good to you. It works by a kind of osmosis. It just seems to work - don't ask me how!
It is a long process - Socrates started 2400 years ago. Jesus told people what to do - treat others as you would like to be treated - 2000 years ago. We are still learning!!