[Love Notes / Business Ethics / Lovebook]
What is Pure Love? What is Win-Win? What is the relationship between them? And is this link between the spiritual Reality & a practical principle and approach sufficient to save our individual and collective bodies/hearts/minds/souls?
How can I live a life that is both decent and happy? How can I have both spiritual joy/insight and worldly security and thriving?
How can we as a collective move towards less chaos, madness, and corruption, and towards more honesty, competency, transparency and wholesome helpful productive creative shared joy?
How can we keep from destroying ourselves with nuclear weapons and other circumstances teetering us upon the eve of destruction? You spend long enough wobbling along a tightrope and eventually you fall — right?
You see, we people want to find our happy home with safe and loving relationships and other arrangements within which we can grow our personal, homey little joy. But we also need to be good and to follow the higher Way. And if the country falls apart or the world collapses into nuclear fire, our happy little home also slips into the chaos or fire. So how to put it all together? Surely God wants us to reach out and take the good life, but just as surely does God want us to reach out and share the goods with the rest of God’s children.
What to do? What to do? How to find an OK balance between selfish longings and selfless love and action?
What is Pure Love?
Pure Love is the Light that creates, sustains, shines through, and love-lifts everything. It shines through each conscious moment and we can relate our feelings, ideas, words and deeds to it better by following and developing our own inborn sense of awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, competency, compassion, loving kind gentle consideration, and shared joy.
Pure Love is the only aspect of our conscious experience that Knows what is really going on, what really matters, and how we can best fit into the chain of events in a way that helps us and other people live happy, healthy, productive, joy-centered lives. Pure Love is an infinite eternal Joy.
Pure Love alone is truly wise. It should guide our feelings, ideas, words and deeds — which know themselves to be only as useful as whatever underlying insight arranges them.
Pure Love is eternal and infinite. Everything else within our purview is not. Accordingly, our ideas and feelings will not relate literally, definitively, or 1:1 with Pure Love. The best they can do is point adequately well towards Pure Love so that we can poetically (not literally, definitively, or 1:1; but not therefore inadequately) understand and follow the inner Light to the point that we keep growing in the wisdom that understands that and in what way it is True to say “We are all in this together.”
Pure Love is the impetuous towards wisdom, the path of wisdom, and Wisdom Itself. Pure Love points us towards our own inborn guardrails: the push towards aware, clear, honest, gentle, kind, compassionate, joyfully sharing thought and action; the push towards “We are all in this together, now and forever.”
Pure Love is only kind, generous, and joyfully giving. Pure Love chooses all of us always forever. To the degree we sync our thoughts and actions up with Pure Love we are kind and gentle and helpful and selflessly joyful — ie: we also choose everyone always forever.
Committing to Pure Love is scary because we are worried we’ll have to sacrifice all the things we really want: our safe little happy home withloose-leaf tea and health toast in the morning, a pleasant stroll at midday, a glass of wine with our chicken and sweet potato dinner, a partner, a family, friends, nice vacations, eating out in restaurants, going dancing at the ball, kids having friends and getting good grades and bright futures, etc etc etc.
What if Pure Love makes us take the vow of poverty? Or celibacy? Or turns us away from our weekly wine and cheese binge? What if Pure Love pushes us towards a less lucrative career? Or towards a less physically beautiful partner? Or towards donating most of our time to helping the poor instead of raising a family? or Or OR!
Because we are not as wise as Pure Love, so we don’t know exactly what It is about, but we’re not without insight into It (lucky us! how else could we hope to organize our thinking/acting around It better and better?) and we have a distinct sense that Eternal Goodness (aka: the Light, Pure Love, God, Buddhanature, Etc) places less import on our daily cafe au lait than we do.
The best we can generally think to do is to pray, meditate, study the works of more enlightened people, practice loving kindness, and perhaps join a faith community (religious, philosophical, or etc) so that we have people with whom we share a poetic handle upon what is beyond literal description.
And that’s pretty good.
But is it good enough?
What would be good enough?
What is Win-Win?
Can I run a business and/or have a career that provides for the needs of me and my family and that is also good for other people and the world? Can I do this while having time for my own intellectual/emotional/physical health, and for my duties to my loved ones and to my communities and country and world? How do I know if I am on the right track or not? How do I stay grounded in the Peace that Passes Understanding while still yet living in this human-sized world with all my human-sized hopes, fears, and understandings?
A win-win can be as simple as a compromise between two kids in the backseat fighting over a sock (maybe there’s another sock somewhere and it isn’t actually that one specific sock that is so precious?) or as complex and far-reaching as healthy governments (transparent, uncorrupt, honest — where wise and good impulses consistently win and keep more power better than unwise, selfish, spiteful, and otherwise bad impulses) and an effective nuclear disarmament treaty that prevents the destruction of our world.
A win-win is everybody gets what they need and everyone together shares the deeper insight that they don’t really want more than what they are getting and that what they most fundamentally desire is their most fundamental duty: recognizing the Light within themselves and everyone else.
A win-win is a happy, helpful, honest outcome that all sides find together. A win-win is a process that generally requires ongoing work and recalibrations. A win-win is shared spiritual and practical insight in action.
An individual’s wisdom practice is also an ongoing attempt to stay centered around the Light that alone Knows what is best for everyone while flowing as directly as possible off of that Light into life (note that part of flowing as directly off the Light as possible is keeping in mind the necessarily non-literal relationship human minds and hearts can have with infinite kindness). To find win-wins we must establish Light-centered relationships with ourselves and others and keep working together for shared joy.
Locating, building and growing win-wins amounts to sharing manageable, clearly-defined wisdom projects with other people.
But how? What procedures can keep us together grounded in the Light and both proactive and guarded against our weaknesses — which love nothing more than pretending that their selfish twitches come from the Light (or some inner sense of grand Rightness, whatever one’s personal philosophy calls that inner sense [calling it “insight into the meaninglessness of it all” is not an unheard-of trick]) — ?
The fundamental insight of Pure Love is summed up well by a conversation among a handful of first century Jews:
The Lord our God is One. Love the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself. Your neighbor is everyone — especially those in need of help.
But I just want to sneak off with my baby doll to someplace safe and sound where we can be happy together. I’m just a person and my underbelly is soft and needy.
And that’s how most everyone is.
A few really do move so far beyond selfishness that they abide consistently and with stability in a deeper realm where the Know and are guided by selfless Love. But to the extent that people attain wisdom, they are too wary of the corrupting-influence of spiritual authority and too aware of the necessity of all people to find their own relationship with the Light to say more than “we are all in this together; wisdom is kind, and kindness is gentle; we are all in this together”. So don’t expect wise people to request your blind devotion to them or their cause.
Expect wise people to be aware, clear, honest, compassionate, kind, joyfully giving, and loving towards everyone — to get and live what it means to say “we are all in this together”. Expect yourself and others to behave in this manner to the degree you are at any given moment wise. Right? Expect wisdom to be like itself: unfailingly kind, gentle, effectively helpful.
Wisdom is insight into what people are really like, what is best for them, and how they can move alone and together in ways that are best for everyone: that requires honesty about the inherent imperfections in human beings and their communities — imperfections that are best addressed with transparency, power sharing, and a separation of spiritual and secular authority. Why? Because wisdom within humans is always fragile, and even more so between humans; and because secrecy, consolidation of power, and the confusion of worldly insight for spiritual insight are corrupting.
A great deal of evil has been caused by people pretending they possess more wisdom and goodness than they do. Probably more than the wisdom caused by people pretending wisdom and goodness are relative concepts with no grounding in anything True.
How to proceed together?
How to find win-wins as part of healthy individual and collective spiritual quests?
God help me because I don’t know.
What should we do?
Where to begin?
How to create enough space to hear and follow the Holy?
And how to do collaborate on this venture with others who have different stories and traditions about the Holy?
And how to avoid hypocrisy in ourselves and in our processes and results?
The first step is respectful, loving, gentle relationship. Not offering everyone the kind of intimacy that you cannot offer everyone, but offering everyone the compassion that admits we are all essentially the same we all need both God’s love and loving and respectful relationships with our fellows.
But how to compose yourself so that you build this kind of rapport with yourself and others?
The second step is creating clear, transparent definitions, delineations, and structures for dealing with individual problems. We require clarity, honesty, and transparency to share a vision; and we cannot work on an issue together without seeing it together.
But how to find the right balance between the need for clarity and the need to just get going already? And how to find this balance not just for yourself, but for all involved? How can we all together find that balance so we keep moving forward constructively? Both spending all our time on definitions and protocols and rushing ahead without adequate understanding and planning hinder our ability to move forward together in helpful, manageable, fruitful ways. How to get the balance right?
The third step is to work work work together towards solutions that all sides recognize as successes and that the Light — shared by all at a point deeper than ideas and feelings and thus to an imperfect but still significant degree relatable and communicatable — approves.
But here again we are faced with the question of how much organization is too much and how much is not enough. And here we face the further problem of ascertaining how much spiritual insight we can realistically expect individuals to attain and groups to share. Pretending spiritual insight is counterproductive, as is eschewing the spiritual aspects of the issue at hand.
What is a framework that allows everyone to relate individually and collectively to the spiritual underbelly of an issue, while also effectively addressing the practical superstructure? The spiritual aspect of life cannot be fit into human ideas and feelings, but we cannot think and act without some ideas about how to think and act. What dogmas can help us work together?
All along our journey is threatened by our human tendency to sacrifice sustainable and collective health and shared joy for short-term and/or individual health and happiness. Joy is a spiritual Good: Joy is grounded in the insight that God’s Love is Real and It is present and It is only and truly kind. Happiness — like human love — is not necessarily always so wise.
The Virtue of Liberal, Representative Democracy
Can we do better than seeking together aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, and kind? Can we do better than transparent organizations, clear rules for power sharing, and requirements for honest, open, collective decision-making? I don’t see how we can do better than the ideals of liberal democracy: open, transparent, honest, good-intentioned, just, collective government with power sharing within the government, separation of church and state, and the ability of all concerned to follow and effect the decision-making process.
In a nation-state meaningful input from all parties would be achieved with uncorrupted universal adult suffrage and transparent, open, honest government with effective safeguards against power-consolidation, corruption, dishonesty, and madness; and a cultural preference for clarity honesty thorough-competence integrity goodness kindness and shared generous playful joy. In smaller projects, the meaningful participation of all involved would be similarly achieved — but on a smaller scale and tailored to the needs of the individuals and organizations involved, as well as a compassionate awareness of all who will be affected by the decision-making process. (It is not practicable to have every person who will — in this interdependent reality — be affected by xyz decision vote on the matter, but those responsible for the decision must meaningfully account for how their choices are likely to effect others — including those not at the decision-making table).
If you are making a decision within a given religious organization, than it makes sense for that tradition’s dogmas to come to be included in the decision-making process. But even here the dangers of our ability to confuse our desires for God’s will mean that the fundamental boundary lines — as in the last paragraph: aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, respectful, kind, open-hearted/-minded, joyfully sharing; formally protected by openness, accuracy, competency, transparency, power-sharing, anti-corruption measures, and meaningful oversight and input from all involved, and informally protected by a preference for honesty, clarity, integrity, kindness, goodness, compassion, and shared joy — should be maintained.
All human decisions and actions are most fundamentally spiritual in nature. But spiritual insight cannot fit into human minds and hearts — let alone into human dogmas. The beauty of liberal democracies is not that the a nation state is God, but the reverse: a nation state is human, and humans need the safety and freedom to find their own relationships with the divine, themselves, those closest to them, and their many overlapping communities. The bare bones spiritual values and the practical guardians of these values that liberal democracy pursues [as in the last paragraph: aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, respectful, kind, open-hearted/-minded, joyfully sharing; formally protected by openness, accuracy, competency, transparency, power-sharing, anti-corruption measures, and meaningful oversight and input from all involved, and informally protected by a preference for honesty, clarity, integrity, kindness, goodness, compassion, and shared joy] is enough to keep everyone on the same page. This is because any meaningful human philosophy, religion, and/or worldview is centered around an attempt to live aware … joyfully sharing — to understand/live better and better insight into that and in what way it is True to say “we are all in this together”. No other way of thinking/acting means anything to human hearts and minds, and therefore no other way of thinking/acting allows one to be meaningful to oneself or to anyone else.
So idunno. In the end, we know the way: admit we are all in this together and that our need for love and shared joy is not just some animal urge but the deepest and most profound Truth of our individual and collective lives; and work to build and maintain organizations and approaches that allow us to share that fundamental insight while we work together clearly and deliberately to find solutions to problems large and small that benefit everyone. Sticking to the bare bones spiritual values allows us to stay centered on what we can and must all agree upon for us to think and work meaningfully together. Both too little spiritual dogma (ie: “Who knows whether or not it mattes how I treat myself and others?!”) and too much spiritual dogma (ie: “God is like this and relates this way to that religion and that way to that one”) distract us from essential the matter at hand: sharing meaningful relationships and decisions, and in this way finding win-wins.
But what should we do exactly? I can agree to the basic steps, and I agree that representative democracy is a spiritual good because it creates a framework within which it is more possible to be both happy and decent/joyful (because in more corrupt governments more foolish/greedy/cruel/idiotic ideas, actions, and lifestyles are more likely to gain and maintain power and prestige than in less corrupt governments — see Representative Democracy is a Spiritual Good and perhaps Supporting Biden is a Moral Imperative), but how can we effectively safeguard representative democracy and how can we reliably find win-wins?
Is there a spreadsheet that would help?
Authors: The Committee for Responsible But Still Happy Love
Editorial Oversight: Bartleby Willard
Occasional Over-the-Shoulder Suggestion: Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew M. Watson
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