Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Best I Can Do For Moral Advice

The Best I Can Do For Moral Advice

Anyone you have made love with,
it is because you were really looking for God. 

If you have known hundreds of partners,
God may not say this publicly,
but I think He is proud of your efforts. 

Don't let the freedom in this truth get you in trouble,
men will be judged for other things.

I think about the best I can do for moral advice,
in such a universe as we live, is to say,

try not to hurt any living creature 
because your odds for happiness 
will increase. 

           This is certainly not the poem I was expecting to use to discuss the merits of education, but I happened upon a line in a letter written by John Keats that influenced me, "Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”
            There is something inherit in the human condition that necessitates that we endeavor to find good on our journey through our own subjective experiences. To the big questions, "What is good?", "What vision of good do we have?", and "Is it a good worth having?" there are no objective answers. There are no schoolhouses or classrooms that hand out maps to travel the road to happiness. There are, however, men with opinions of their own, derived from their own interpretation of their form and moral values. There are societies with cultural practices. There are teachers with wise instructions. There are worldly goals with enticing titles and sizable checks. But you will have to learn a lot, with the door shut, with the lights off, when you're alone with your thoughts; and that is precisely why the best moral advice is acquired, absorbed through your skins, sewn into your soul.
           The "freedom" in Hafiz's "truth" is more than just going to bed with many men and women, it is deeper than that - it is a calling to take whatever we can from any soul that touches ours. And in this way, we have made (or will make) love with many people.

“I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.” ― Neil Gaiman

The Thinker, Auguste Rodin
Philadelphia 2014 

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