Enlarging Our Inclusive Moral Language

ENLARGING OUR INCULSIVE MORAL LANGAUGE That we lack an embracing moral language, a language that could acknowledge all viewpoints, sufferings, terrors, common humanity, the appalling rich/poor gap, eco-degradation, is becoming painfully obvious. We seem to have no language in which we can speak of all contributions to our human condition and its processes of restoring nature’s replenishment and human flourishing. We don’t even have a language in which we can acknowledge and address the feelings and perspectives boiling among people throughout the world. Poetry, or what I call ‘broken text’, can stir new ways of thinking. Poets can’t protect families from bombardment, negotiate cease-fires, resolve disputes, make peace or establish justice. But they can expose and stretch the limits of language, and challenge ourselves and our readers to imagine more honest, compassionate, embracing tongues in which to address this unspeakable world-wide tangle of fear, injustice, and brutality. The following poem, written by Joy Ladin during the mutually hostile Israeli/Gaza war, was one attempt. Perhaps it will provoke other efforts to create the language to give us all need to speak with (rather than screaming at) one another about these seemingly incessant conflicts with which we are so intimately involved…

The injustices are obvious; so’s the shame. Rights and wrongs – don’t bother arguing. Argue with me later, when people aren’t dying.

Missiles fall on Israel. Gaza is burning.

Victims perpetuating victims’ pain, bombs, shelters, rights and wrongs. Don’t bother arguing. In the womb of Holocaust, Naqba was brewing.

Missiles fall on Israel. Gaza is burning.

History is generous with nation-forging flames. Rights and wrongs – don’t bother arguing – harmonize our anthems of inalienable yearning.

Missiles fall on Israel. Gaza is burning.

We share a God, one God, water sources, sacred texts, rights and wrongs – not worth arguing. This is not God’s doing.

Missiles fall on Israel. Gaza is burning.

November 2012 – Joy Ladin On a larger canvas, David Korten makes an encouraging attempt to find this language in his two articles in Yes, February 2013 -,’Cosmic Awareness and Global House-keeping’ and ‘Integral Spirit and the New Economy’, identifying therein these DIFFERENT WORLD VIEWS in three stories that convey very different understandings regarding relationships, agency and meaning.

  1. 1.     DISTANT PATRIARCHS – Our most important relationship is to a distant God who is the sole source of agency and meaning – most religious traditions tend to perpetuate this view.
  2. 2.     GRAND MACHINES – We are alone in a mechanistic cosmos devoid of agency and possessing no purpose or meaning. Some scientists 
  3. 3.     INTEGRAL SPIRIT – We are intelligent, self-directing agents integrally connected to all of creation with a distinctive role and responsibility to advance the continued creative unfolding of life’s possibilities.

Your contribution to the search for the language in which to communicate our inclusive moral stance as the human species recognising our trusteeship of the integral spirit of this life nurturing planet is always warmly welcome.


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