The Darken Peri

There are blank faces under the leafy moon tonight,
Charred spoons lay scattered on the sandbanks
Whilst pumpkins, pale as sick vultures, tumble
Down to the river,
Making blubbering splashes as they hit the frothy currents.
What is this starlit place?

Wait! A figure glides along the waters.
It has wide marbles for eyes
That trickle lost light from their deepest vaults.
A moon spirit lost in the stygian night.

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Frozen amelioration

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Etched in the Neolithic dawn,

The hexed belt of Orion;

‘Twas then but a symphony of Azure

To the tribal enchantress,

In ecstasy amongst her heterodox forces.

From the splintered lute

To the strains of Pachelbel,

That Dust, taught by the ark,

Doth climb the steep crags

From the abandoned pits

Out into the surreal daylight;

They blink in Ambiguity’s glare.

Is it but a mirage, their newly found glow?

Were they lured by some fall’n angel

To hasher nights?

To eons where the lofty spires

Do rise up o’er the billows

To howling zeniths.

Our crowns wrapped in frantic heights,

The visionaries conjure a new philosophy:

Those celestial Craftsmen

Become the ticking engines of One greater.

Chords of Scorpius woven into orbit

By Aristotle’s euphoric cries

Of ‘eureka!’

Now I stare out through a window,

A plane sketches the open clouds,

In the calm, I believe it sounds:

A stir in the ether;

The burning of the Alexandrian vaults

In Rome, as Zeus takes up his bolt.

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The birds and stars are going about

Their steady evening muse,

Free from culture – who could doubt?

And so far more in tune.

I gazed ‘pon the shores and ‘pon the brooks

And ‘pon the tide drawn rills,

O ‘pon the scattered shells I looked

To capture with the quill.

How I wish I could descend

Into those curling blues, the glens

Of corralled rock and salty lanes

Down to where the sea gods reign.

Alas! My lines of inky verse

Would surely take their flight

And drain away to bot’mless depths

That never see the light.

Our thoughts are fragile things.

The Chapel Tree

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O depart foul client of mine gaze!

For ye are but the shadow of a Beech;

Your hidden stalk of Ivy stands

Amongst the golden fields of Wheat.

And when the Reapers make their rounds

Your cackling elder face doth greet

Those slicing, flaying sounds.

Tree! A day once came when, scythe in hand,

I wandered through our summer lands.

But the fields were now all scorching heaths

And the hallowed skies a thorny wreath,

That could have been thine crown.

I watched, as the warbling birds

Fluttered in light bars o’er the dry hills

To shelter in thine verdant head:

A mass of emerald scrolls.

A Source of Goodness

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In light of my last post (‘On the Nature of Morality’) I thought it fitting to present an alternative argument for the origin of our morality, this one with a very different approach to goodness than the first.

We need to establish what goodness is in order to create any reasonable system of morality, if we cannot do this then the system is not based on reason as such. We can begin with the observation that some acts are seen as intuitively wrong (e.g. murder, theft, lying), not always for the sake of anything else, simply because we see these things as wrong.

But what is wrong? And for that matter what is good? A satisfactory substitution for the idea of goodness is something that stimulates positive sensations upon the moral faculties. This is how we know that some acts are inherently wrong or right. Some acts are moral, some are not. So some acts stimulate the moral faculties, some do not. There must be a distinction between these, some quality that some acts possess but others do not.

All things appear to have a cause even if this is not strictly speaking the right way to look at the world. So all things in reality can be related to a cause even if it is not a true cause. We can postulate goodness and badness as real entities in themselves that lie within some actions. This is what causes the stimulation of the moral faculties (the stimulation must have what can be identifiable as a ‘cause’). These are known as Moral Carriers.

It makes more sense for all these Moral Carriers to have the same origin since they cause similar stimulation of the moral faculties. Whatever is the source of goodness is which has infinite potential (if all morals acts contain good then we could in theory have an unlimited number of them – hence we need a large source of goodness). It is therefore reasonable to postulate the existence of infinite goodness.

Such a source of goodness cannot have a spatial existence since it lies outside of the sensual realm. We could never hope to place infinite goodness somewhere since this would be completely illogical. Therefore the nature of this goodness must also be divinely simple hence goodness cannot consist of quanta. Therefore the only way goodness can be present in the sensual reality is if infinite goodness is reflected dimly in certain acts in our realm. There are certain intensities of this reflection and this is why some acts are more moral than others and some are more striking to us.

The reason goodness must be innate therefore is that we cannot comprehend that which has achieved infinite extension. Moral goodness is a reflection of infinite goodness. This has achieved infinite extension. Just as we cannot explain the infinite, we cannot explain a reflection of it. We must just know what moral acts are.

On the Nature of Morality

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Is it not so that all acts are followed by a consequence? Even if causation is but a product of the rational mind the world nevertheless appears to follow this law and I have yet to see an exception to it, thus the notion of cause and effect is a part of the way in which we view the world, its objective truth does not matter when we are considering morality.

It must also be so that no act could ever possibly be moral unless it was followed by either a good or bad consequence, and by good in this context I refer to it in the sense of progression and the pleasures. Repeat an act often enough and it will be remembered, the same goes to the consequence that follows. If the act of shooting citizens is repeated often enough the consequence that follows (the death of citizens) will become remembered as being directly associated with the act of shooting. Now I ask, does a child who has never fired a gun before, nor has been told of the implications, know that the act of firing will be directly followed by death? He will not (for the sake of the example we shall say that the child also has no foreknowledge of the affect that sharp moving objects have on people). It must be the case then that the child learns to associate act with consequence. The approach is inductive and such a relationship cannot be known a priori.

We can apply this approach to the whole of ethics, indeed it soon becomes clear (under this idea) that the raw act in itself is nothing to do with morality, it is the association of the act with a good or bad consequence. Of course there are cases where acts are difficult to distinguish from consequences. Murder is now called an act, one commits the act of murder, but the ‘act’ of murder can, as we have seen, be separated into the act of shooting (or whatever method is used) and the resulting consequence of the victim dying. It is the same with all ethical dilemmas.

This relationship between act and consequence I have called Moral Induction and leads to the formulation of a moral act (that which is a synthesis between act and consequence).

Moral Induction leads to the formation of universal maxims that are regarded as unchanging and objective. Over the course of a finite number of examples the act of murder is created, due to the negative consequence of the act there becomes something inherently wrong with murder, it is seen as a bad thing. However, this law is formed by an inductive method and hence it can never be proved beyond a doubt that it is objective. To do this we would need to see if the act of shooting was always associated with the consequence of death (or something equally bad), but this is impractical not to mention wrong. There is a much easier method to test the objectivity of such a moral law. We need only ask: are there ever any examples where the act of shooting (or something equally violent) do not lead to a bad consequence? Indeed it is possible to think of some, and from a utilitarian perspective pleasure need only outweigh pain for it to be so. If there are examples that disprove the objective law that a moral act is good or bad then the moral act is not objective and must be inductive. This is the case with all ethical dilemmas and hence morality is based on a finite number of observations and outcomes. Even though some circumstances disprove the law we will begin to associate act and consequence (and hence the goodness of the consequence with the act) if it happens enough times and is overall seen as good or bad.

It must be so then that things are only good or bad in relation to their effect on sentient beings. There is no moral worth in doing an act if it does not relate to the pain or pleasure of sentient beings. In saying this it appears that morality is a flexible thing, dependant on personal experience and circumstances. The innate sense of morality we feel when considering or doing a moral act arises from Moral Induction and is simply related to pain and pleasure – there is nothing objective in such morality. This being the case, might it not be possible to create a perfect society through tools such as education and psychology? Ethics does not have to be about the way the world ought to be, it could equally be about the way we want the world to be.