Tag Archives: moral obligation

shot down-3Have you been asked, "Who said you could do that?" Ask yourself how many times this has happened to you. You’ve just decided that you’re going to take some kind of action. It probably won’t fall within agreement with some of the other people involved. You announce what you’re going to do and someone asks you why you’re going to do it. You convey your reason and the other person proceeds to shred your reasoning convincing you that it’s not a valid premise for your choice. Not only do you begin to doubt yourself but now you feel obligated to concede to your interrogator’s preferences and refrain from acting on your own decision.

With our western culture having grown into being so technical, scientific and materialistic we have slowly fallen into the need of having a reason or justification for everything that we do. We find ourselves making excuses and apologizing for acting in our own interest while others accuse us of stepping on their toes or not doing things in a “reasonable” way; reasonable translating to their benefit. Why have we allowed ourselves to become so self-effacing and deferent? We now consider it politically correct to defer to others before we service ourselves. Board Certified-1And even there, we must now be board certified, licensed, validated, approved, screwed, glued and tattooed.  Why is it now so important to gain approval from others? Where did this mandatory deference come from? The answer is, you guessed it, our childhood programming. Think I’m wrong? Remember all the way back to grammar school where we heard, “If you didn’t bring enough to share with everyone else in the class, you’re not allowed to have any yourself.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Since our culture is devoid of any tangible Rights of Passage, we remain stuck in our childhood personas still needing permission from our parents (transferred to those we give over our authority to in adulthood) to do anything. We have not “put away childish things.” They linger like an infectious undercurrent sabotaging any heartfelt urgings that contradict the needs of our families and surrounding peer groups.

valid-2This kind of head space we find ourselves in, that is in conceding to external “validation”, comes back at us through many different expressions, all challenging the personal authority and Self-Trust of our own adequacy that we’ve earned through our own personal experience giving us license to decide things for ourselves. The following expressions are just a few of the things we hear thrown at us creating a self-staining tailspin while bringing us under the judgment of those who feel just as little personal authority and Self-Trust as we are allowed to. Literally, we are the blind led by the blind.

  1. “What’s your reasoning behind your decision?” – Aside from plain curiosity, this usually is indicative of someone wanting to have some say over what we do. This could either come from their need to confirm their own beliefs or to maneuver us and our decision into a perspective that’s beneficial mostly to them.
  2. “What’s the meaning of this?” – This statement is a bit more aggressive and attempts to assert a measure of authority over us. Its most commonly heard in career and work environments which are more forgiving to an attempted dominance assertion due to it being a work environment and under the leadership and authority we accept as being appropriate there.
  3. “What were you thinking?” – Asserts the same type of authority as number two but from a more personal and familiar perspective. We most often hear this coming from family members who are either honestly concerned about our choices or who are attempting to undermine or coerce us over to their way of thinking in order to put themselves in a superior family position. In this position they are more able to expect obedience of other family members…including us. This could also be applied to siblings attempting to usurp parental influence.
  4. “How could you…(do that to me)?” – This statement is even more familiar and aggressive than number two or three. It usually involves a more intimate connection with us thereby implying some sort of agreement or obligation that we are assumed to have betrayed. The accuser can then expect us to become subservient or penitent after our acceptance of responsibility for our “transgression.”
  5. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself” – This statement aligns with “How could you” but from a more general perspective. It not only implies an obligation that must be atoned for but also partially removes our accuser’s accountability for its application. If they are confronted, they simply reply citing generally accepted values and moral set in place by other than our accusers that they believe that we will also adhere to.
  6. “Who said you could?” – This statement is also very aggressive and aligns our accuser with the prevailing authority. If we accept their alignment, it is assumed by them that we will concede to their desires, expectations and opinions. This is, again, another “power play.”
  7. “How could you be so stupid?” or “What were you thinking?” – This is also very aggressive but most often comes from either a parent or someone we have allowed to have authority over us (or someone we have selected as a parental surrogate after leaving our family). Remember, it’s human nature to seek to replace our family and environments with something or someone we’re used to or accustomed to. Even if they are hurtful to us in the long run, we most often seek the familiar; feeling we will know how to handle it.

judges-2All of these statements, and I’m sure there are many more variations, imply our submitting to a level of acceptance judged by others coupled with an abdication of our innate right to think, feel and act pursuant to our own heart and desires. Accepting their premise submits to an almost completely tacit agreement that we owe a “validatable” explanation or excuse to someone else for doing things that benefit us but might run contrary to their preferences, or in other words, receive their permission.

We have fallen into a trap of pursuing personal excellence based on the values and preferences of others. We have an urgent need to begin listening to our own heart and to give ourselves permission to make our own decisions based on our own personal experience. Yet, our childhood habit of waiting or seeking external approval trumps all the efforts we can put into personal motivations that benefit only ourselves. By accepting external dominance we have, essentially, given away our power. But that is only the obvious tip of the iceberg. There is a reason that goes much deeper than that. When we allow external values to dictate what we will Blaming-1permit ourselves to do, we unconsciously abdicate our accountability for the decisions that we make. This exonerates us from any blame. Our deepest contemporary fear is being found at fault and having our personally believed inadequacy become exposed for the entire world to see. Our deepest need is to cast aside blame and avoid deeper scrutiny thereby avoiding exposure. This is why our fascination with super heroes is such a dominant theme in our envy of them.

External authority and blame are paradoxical bed partners. They feed off each other for their survival. Without one, the other dies. If we don’t accept external authority, blame has no place or meaning in our lives. If we don’t accept blame, external authority has no power over us. The best way to obliterate both is to accept and become our own authority through becoming self-accountable for our own lives and decisions according to our own hearts. We’re no longer shown or taught how to do that at home or in school. We are in desperate need of a revitalization of the inner wisdom which we all have. Our current western cultural perspective about accountability is that it has become all about placing blame. We can never achieve peace of any kind until this dynamic is disarmed and discarded.

…and why did we choose to have them?

Kid spiritsLet me start off by saying that they are not ours. We have only created a space for them to visit. They were attracted to us because the environment we can and most likely will provide offers them the building blocks that will prepare and enable them to have the experience that they have chosen to come here for.

There are two things happening here. First, and for the most obvious reason, is that we have chosen to respond to our most basic and animalistic the urge toward having sex. We’re human and excitement, sensuality and natural urges come with the territory. However, the second motivation, and for the most varied of reasons, is that we’ve chosen to believe that bringing a child into the world would somehow answer or complete the picture of how our world should be and what and who it should consist of. This can be done consciously or unconsciously. Many of us might not recognize the driving forces within us that would choose or allow this to occur. But in this light, and conscious or not, the belief systems we and our partners hold are the key to the formation of the world that will give our child the impetus and encouragement toward living their chosen experience, whether Dinner guestsconceived in the most loving of encounters or through the most brutal rape. We are like hosts inviting someone to dinner. On some level our guests know what we are capable of providing for them and subjecting them to. But it is still their choice to accept with no guarantees…only potential to fulfill their intentions as having the child is for ours. You might even view it like a landlord-tenant agreement with the potential to be honored or broken. In this light we can see that nothing is fated. Nothing is meant to be. In this world all is chosen or rejected, accepted or refused. We buy our ticket and take our chances. We believe that some tickets offer better odds than others, however, we humans have the capacity to rationalize anything. But still, as I said, our chosen beliefs hold the key.

For those of us who, at the least, have arrived at the precipice of acknowledging and recognizing the perspective that we are much more than what we can see, feel, hear taste or touch, this perspective will hold little surprise or threat to our perceived self-value. However, for those of us who have not moved past that perceptual barrier, my perspective may seem fantastic and arbitrary.

When I say a threat to self-value, this may seem puzzling at first but I think after you read some of the reasons claimed for having a child you’ll understand how this could seem so.

Family-ChimpsThe first reason is the most simple and, perhaps, what most people claim is the reason for bringing a child into this world. For two people who are truly in love and are able to share themselves with each other and the world, it’s natural to want to have a family in which to share that love directly. This can usually only occur if both parents are mature enough to be accountable to themselves and to each other. When I say accountable, I don’t mean so much as being obligated toward answering another’s needs as much as being comfortable in our own skin in accepting and dealing with the choices we make without needing to cast blame on others for any unwanted circumstances. However, I believe this circumstantial perspective is in the minority among those parents currently bringing children into the western world today. For most there is an equating of love with possessiveness and security needs in supporting our self-image through the arrival and behaviors of our children. In other words, our children are a reflection of how we view ourselves and if they don’t live up to our ideal we somehow feel betrayed resulting in our seeing ourselves as less than who we believe we must be. Even simpler still, we believe our self-image is dependent on our ability to mold them into our ideal of what we wish we could be. This belief creates all sorts of pressures that run counter to our child’s need to express themselves according to their own heart. In this light you can see how having children could pose a threat to our own perceived self-value.

So now we can see that there are two driving forces that lead us toward having children; one to share the love we feel and the other to fill some vacancy in our perceived self-value within our moral and cultural codes. The fact that we must have a reason for having children in itself is strange enough to comprehend. Yet, with this in mind, let’s move on to reasons that amount to our rationale for having them.

Envy-1Reason one for having children may be to have them so we as parent(s) “can feel loved and needed by someone.” For those of us who never received the nurturance needed to feel loved and wanted, the unconscious urge to find it somewhere else can be overwhelming. It can lead to our doing things that compromise our values simply to garner the love and attention that we never received in our childhood. Having children may actually run contrary to what our own hearts may desire, yet, in having them we have been trained to believe something lacking will be fulfilled.

Father teaching young son how to hold a footballReason two for having children is in believing that they will fulfill the projected image of ourselves that we believe we have been unable to accomplish ourselves. We can see this in those of us as parents who, deep down, believe or have been trained to believe, that we are somehow inadequate or a failure in some way unless we’ve accomplished something worthy of the approval of others. This need for fulfillment is then transferred to our expectations of and hopes for our children to fill the void. This reasoning can be rationalized by stating to ourselves that we want them to have the things we never had or that they should have the opportunity not to make the same mistakes that we have. They, again, will usually feel the pressure to be or do things that may run contrary to what and where their heart tells them they need to follow.

BabiesReason three for having children, and this is probably the most common one, is that we believe that we are “supposed” to have them and that we are somehow deficient or defective if we don’t. This comes as a result of our own childhood training telling us that important decisions about our lives are determined by others and that we’ve never received the encouragement or allowance for making and being confident in our own decisions providing the potential for benefiting ourselves. We were told who we should be, what we should want, what we should believe and what is best for us. On the heels of that, if we do follow our own path, people become fearful in dealing with us since they somehow “know” that they should be making their own decisions. By not following “tradition” and the “majority” we are somehow odd and are not included in the groups who “follow all the rules.” This belief is followed through in the media with tales about courage being a characteristic and an elevation for vigilantes who don’t follow the rules and “do it their own way” flaunting the rules that we who do need to feel secure and unexposed for lacking that same courage ourselves.

Father & Son SignReason four is our belief about leaving a legacy. We want someone to carry on the family traditions, names and patterns. This will somehow insure infamy, but more importantly, our personal recognition through our remembrance by others after we’re gone. This is a feeble attempt at mortality. This is quite evident in hearing about parents who expect their children to carry on the family business even if, again, carrying on that business runs contrary to their own heart’s desires and wishes.

sex-1Reason five seems to be the most nebulous. Our pregnancy was and “accident.” It’s stated almost as if it wasn’t our “fault” that it occurred. Are we really that disconnected from our comprehension of cause and effect or is it just our way of giving ourselves permission to do what our culture expects us to not only plan ahead but “be prepared” for its inducement?

Reason six is those of us who feel pressured to have and raise children conceived through “illicit” behavior, as penance for an unsavory life style, through moral obligation, religious values, rape, or any host of other reasons entangled in values that somehow coerce and contradict our own inner urgings and heartfelt yearnings.

Producing children is certainly in keeping with our knowledge about the tendency for our species to perpetuate itself. But it seems a bit twisted to always consider ourselves in a position of having to explain ourselves for doing so in the context of our cultural conditioning. It’s a natural process. It seems that our cultural conditioning has somehow made our alignment with the process of our physical urges and natural patterns as somehow demeaning socially but that the cultural “obligations” for having children necessary for acceptance within our culture. The proverbial wink and a nod acknowledges the disconnect but quietly condones its results. Why the disconnect? What is it that is so openly expected from us yet so subliminally objected to Censorship-1when we do follow those urges? Is distancing ourselves from the fact that we still are animals after all rational even though our culture and religious tenets profess us to be “special” or above the animal qualities and characteristics that qualify us as part of nature’s magnificence and beauty? Why is not just expressing love for each other and producing children acceptable enough in its own right and seen as a natural alignment with our own heart simply because supporting nature and love is essentially the same thing? Why must it be something else?