It’s odd that something so central to the health and success of human life could be so widely misunderstood. If I had to guess, I would say that more than half of the world’s population associates the thought of love with at least partly negative experiences and feelings. I think it is for this reason that people don’t behave with more commitment and determination to love in their day-to-day life. People see happiness as their goal, rather than love itself. So, many people just think of love as a potential tool for achieving happiness.
This approach is based on a misunderstanding, though, because happiness is nothing more than our love of the present moment. So long as you love the present moment, you are happy. It’s that simple. But love plays other central roles in our upliftment. So long as you love your idea of the future, you’re optimistic. So long as you love peace, you are patient. So long as you love truly ethical principles, you will naturally be ethical. So long as you love friendship, you are friendly. So long as you love learning, you are curious. The list goes on…
Love fuels everything that is important to us in life, in other words.
There cannot be even a momentary feeling of success in life without love somehow underlying that feeling. But, whether there’s actually anything there that could count as true success will depend, not on the feeling of success, but on the principles that underlie the love. In other words, “What is the basis or the reason for the love?”
When universal principles—like respect for the unity of life, recognition of equality, or goodwill toward others—underlie our love, then that love is truly triumphant. These are moments when we have triumphed over the constant temptation to identify with our stunted, myopic, body-centered identity and have chosen instead to identify with our vast and unlimited self—our true self. When we identify with Life itself, with Love itself, and with Consciousness itself, then we naturally recognize the universal principles that ought to guide our actions. These principles are expressions of what I’ve often called, “selflessness” in my recent articles, because these expressions require us to subjugate any competing individualistic preferences in making many choices (examples of such principles underlie everything from language and speech to respect for laws and deference to ethical norms, as I wrote about in this article and this article).
So, when we identify with the Life that we are, we naturally express love by acting in alignment with the principles of selflessness.
But, when selfish/self-serving/individualistic principles underlie our love, those expressions of love are actually unhealthy failures; they are expressions of a failure to align with our true identity. By failing to align with our true identity, we are left still feeling the underlying lack of contentment that comes from not getting to enjoy being the love, beauty and splendor that we unconsciously know we truly are. So, like credit card purchases that inescapably must be reconciled later, our choices made with narrow individualistic principles leave us feeling unfinished and incomplete. Choices made in this way will therefore always leave an inescapably unpleasant aftertaste that keeps us searching for a fix. That need to search, in turn, is what generates our individual impulses and preferences that compete at times with our allegiance to principles (i.e. the “competing personal preferences” above).
Fortunately, many of our behaviors are fairly easy to separate between the two camps of narrow-selfish-unhealthy love and expansive-selfless-healthy love. Again, the key question is, “What is the basis or the reason for the love?” What we’re trying to determine here is whether that reason is healthy or unhealthy. We generally love whatever seems to affirm us. So, this means we also need to ask the question, “What/Who do you assume that you are?”
To answer that question, we have to ask ourselves where our identity stops, or put another way, how far we assume that the “I” inside each of us extends. Does the “I” only extend to the boundaries of your body, or does it exist beyond your body? Are you a solitary mind, or are you conjoined with other minds? Our true success in life literally depends upon how we answer that question. We cannot truly succeed in life without answering this question correctly.
If you love something that affirms a mistaken and unhealthy view of yourself, then that love is actually a failure, not a success. It strengthens a crippling, unhealthy identification in you, which ultimately hurts you rather than uplifting you. It’s like trying to uplift yourself by stepping on your own foot; you may feel that you were uplifted, but you actually went nowhere and simply hurt yourself instead.
In other words, healthy choices are those that are based in the broader, healthy, correct understanding of yourself—your true identity. From that identity, we naturally act upon the universal principles that subjugate and override the cravings and impulses of the narrow mistaken identity. So, universal principles actually protect us from that mistaken, unsatisfying, unhealthy identity.
The Distorted Role of Love Today
All expressions of love are alluring and agreeable to a certain extent, because they involve positive energy, but not all expressions of love are uplifting and harmless. People want to justify their actions upon the mere fact that they feel love, they feel good, around those actions; they want the good feeling, and not any appropriate principles, to justify their behavior.
But unprincipled behavior is unhealthy behavior. So, let’s take a quick look at how to distinguish between some healthy and unhealthy expressions of love, based upon whether those expressions stem from the universal principles that underlie our true identity…
1) Civil Rights / Human Rights
Equal respect for the rights of other people is an expression of noble-selfless-healthy love. It’s a form of identifying, not with the human bodies and social positions that differentiate us, but with the commonality that unites people. Feeling unity triggers love in us.
The things that people have in common form the basis for civil rights and human rights, so acknowledging our unity accordingly, rather than denying that unity when it may feel convenient to do so, is what compels us to respect those rights (I can’t cover the difference between civil rights and human rights in this article, though).
Yet, applying a double-standard in one’s acknowledgement of the rights of others is just an expression of narrow-selfish-failing love. Double-standards are really no standard at all.
If your respect for others’ rights is merely applied according to what “team” the rights-holders are on, then you’re actually rejecting the principles upon which those rights are based. In other words, rather than applying the principles that would require you to subjugate your competing personal preference (in this case, your preference to see your beloved teammates treated better than others are treated), you’re instead indulging that personal preference in defiance of those principles.
The above category of narrow-selfish-unhealthy love encompasses many behaviors, like racism (see discussion below), sexism, uneven administration of the law, voter-suppression and jerrymandering, bullying, lying, swindling, and many forms of criminality. But, what all these behaviors have in common is that they ignore the basic principles that emerge when we recognize that people are united at the level of the needs and interests that we share (a full discussion of the basis of rights is way beyond the scope of this article, though).
Extending the concept of rights a bit further, we arrive at the concepts of justice and fairness. Those who use a double-standard to apply the principles that govern justice and fairness are committing all the mistakes mentioned in 1) above. To apply the rule of law willy-nilly or according to favoritism, invoking the name of justice, is to not have justice or the rule of law.
Feeling a love for your country does not make you a true patriot, nor is such love necessarily noble or healthy.
Having love for the principles that one’s country stands for is true patriotism. Beyond that, having love for the fact that one’s country is grounded in the timeless universal principles that underlie our true identity (principles like freedom, equality, and fairness) is an expression of noble-selfless-healthy love—and this would be true and healthy patriotism. It’s an expression of reverence for the principles that sometimes require you to subjugate any competing personal preferences. Love for the ways that one’s fellow countrymen live together and treat each other is another truly patriotic expression of love, as it is reverence for the principles that guide a nation’s social behaviors. But such patriotism is healthy only if those principles are also healthy in the way I’m describing above.
Meanwhile, people who claim to love their country, while undermining or omitting their country’s noble guiding principles in their own behavior, are just expressing narrow-selfish-unhealthy love. That’s just another example of refusing to defer to the principles that ought to guide their choices. So, how one defines the country that they love (or what it is that they love about their country), and not the mere feeling of love for country, is actually what determines whether one is a true patriot or not.
Those Americans who are racist, then, are not patriots, because they reject the core principle of equality upon which America is based. Can they reject equality and still love a nation that’s an expression of equality? That would be like being a compulsive liar but claiming to love honesty. Those Americans who corrupt the vote or administer justice unevenly or flout the country’s laws or Constitution cannot meaningfully be called American “patriots,” either. Patriotism requires the selflessness that expresses as one’s willingness to adhere to the principles that underlie and perpetuate the health of the nation.
Language is just what happens when people express themselves according to a certain set of principles. The only reason that language exists is because groups of people agree to consistently adhere to that set of principles (they at least implicitly agree). Civil discourse is just language with a few more principles added on top.
Societies use these principles to pass information between people. The information that is shared then becomes part of a communal repository of knowledge that is accessible to anyone who shares in the communication (the internet is a great illustration of a repository of knowledge that is accessible to anyone who shares a communication link to it, although there is much shared knowledge outside of the internet that is accessible to various social units, like families, clubs, colleagues, and cliques).
People can then use information in those shared repositories of knowledge as the basis for the decisions that they would make in life. So, the more complete and accurate the information, the more likely it is that the decisions will be well-founded. This means that when people distort the information in the repositories or add false information, they are adversely impacting others’ ability to make sound decisions.
The bottom line is that those who adhere to the principles of language are actually serving others. By communicating honestly and not distorting the communal repository of information, they add to what’s in the repository and extend its accessibility. So, when such people subjugate their competing individual preferences and impulses, by refraining from lying when lying could get them what they want, those people are exhibiting a selfless adherence to the universal principles that accompany our true identity.
Notice, then, that merely communicating with another person creates a potential occasion for love. It’s a moment when we can acknowledge that the cooperation of communicating is based upon an awareness of our unity—upon the principles and selflessness that stem from this awareness. So, those who love communicating because of our underlying unity are loving healthily, while those who love to lie, or love to be heard because of the individual recognition they get for what they say, are not healthily loving anything in so doing.
Why We Want to Hate Liars (and How not to Hate Them)
Let’s take a moment to look a little deeper at communication…
Language is an incredible tool that has enabled humanity to excel far beyond other species. But what kind of communication has enabled this progress? It’s truthful communication, right? It would be ridiculous to assert that the great, enduring achievements of humanity were accomplished primarily due to the practice of lying
As I mentioned already, by sharing the truth with each other, we create a reservoir, or repository, of information that can potentially be tapped by everyone. This repository of information makes all of us exponentially more effective in achieving our goals. What would your world be like, if you only knew what you individually could figure out about the world, without any information that had ever been communicated by anyone else? No doubt, it would be very primitive and difficult. The communal repository that is generated and sustained by people speaking truthfully is largely what enables us to shape our individual worlds in the ways that we want them to be.
This repository of true information, therefore, represents a critical type of wealth that is shared by communities, and it is achieved through the cooperative project of truthful communication. So, whether we know it or not, we are all joined in a cooperative project of wealth-building, in enlarging and maintaining a reservoir of truth for each other.
I believe that each of us is at least subconsciously aware that this project is part of what it means to be human, so each of us identifies to a certain extent with our role in this cooperative truth-telling project. Naturally, then, a sense of betrayal arises whenever others appear to exempt themselves from the project by lying. Such people are effecrively trying to steal truthful information from the communal repository with their lies, because adding a lie actually replaces the truth that the lie contradicts. If a crowd was actually 10,000 people, and someone says that it was 100,000 people, then this threatens to erase the truth from the repository that the crowd was actually 10,000 people. Liars thereby threaten to undo the good-natured, cooperative work of the truth-telling project. In short, they steal the truth and undo the work that others continually do to maintain the reservoir of information that is so precious to humanity.
No wonder, then, that people hate liars.
Much of our hatred toward liars can be avoided, though, once we understand where our hatred is coming from. True, anyone who habitually thumbs their nose at the convention of truth-telling should probably be excluded from the conversation, and their input into the reservoir of information should be filtered out, but we should also remember that such people do not require our hatred. We should absolutely exclude liars from the conversation, but we should not exclude them from our goodwill.
In my last article and other articles, I have pointed out that the people who excuse themselves from upholding principles like truth-telling are simply behaving childishly, while on the other hand, those who uphold the noble principles that preserve the social fabric are like the adults in society. So, think of the liars as little children, and don’t hate them. Exclude them from conversations and other cooperative contexts and keep them from positions of power as much as possible, just as you would with children. But, don’t let their existence shut down your heart. Now more than ever, our hearts need to be open.
To preserve the positive direction of the planet as a whole, open hearts are pivotal right now.
Racism and America’s Confederate Monuments
Closed hearts come from closed minds, and narrow-mindedness leads to narrow-heartedness. A narrow mind is a stunted, unhealthy mind, because recognizing our true identity requires open-mindedness. Without an open mind, we won’t be inclined to question our conditioned assumptions that we’re merely individual human bodies. Without such questioning, we will never undertake the deeper reflection and introspection needed for understanding our more expansive and subtle identity as Life itself (as I suggested in this article, astrology functions because of the truth of this identity).
Racism can only exist in a narrow mind—a mind that denies human equality because it hasn’t looked for any identity beyond human bodies and the individualistic identity. One who truly believes in the principle of human equality cannot identify with racism. A person who truly believes in human equality might stray momentarily into racist behavior, if their adherence to their own principles lapses, but that person will never be able to justify racist behavior from within their own belief system.
America was born from the principles of liberty (freedom) and human equality. The whole system of representative government that America pioneered was an attempt to embed the notions of human equality and freedom into governance. This experiment in government occurred within a complex environment of institutionalized slavery, though, so the American experiment would not even have gotten off the ground if it had attempted to abolish slavery and challenge British rule at the same time. The Civil War would have occurred within the Revolutionary War, and America would never even have emerged as a nation at all.
Although America’s founding principles probably made the Civil War inevitable, that war didn’t occur until about 70 years after America took its first fledgling steps into self-governance. By that time, the relentless efforts by noble Americans to end slavery had so enraged the South that 11 southern states seceded from the Union and the war soon began. These 11 states actually created a “Confederate Constitution,” and Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 of that constitution was expressly designed to prevent anyone from being able to restrict slavery anywhere in the Confederate states in any way, whatsoever. That clause simply stated:
No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.
Clearly, then, the Confederate generals like Robert E. Lee killed other Americans so that Southerners could continue to enslave other human beings with impunity (i.e. torture, murder, rape, beat, over-work, under-nourish, under-educate, impoverish, and/or humiliate African Americans with impunity). The heroes of the American Revolution didn’t fight for anything like this at all. So, we don’t need to conflate the two groups, even if some of the founding fathers had slaves. It was possible for the founders of America to live by noble principles and yet still own slaves and not lobby actively for slavery’s immediate abolition, given the circumstances of their times. Back then, freed slaves could easily be re-captured and enslaved, and they had great difficulty earning a decent living, so the question of whether and when to abolish slavery was like the question of when to surgically remove a cancerous tumor in a patient who might not have the strength to survive the surgery.
From this, it should be obvious that there’s an easy way to distinguish between Civil War figures, on the one hand, and national heroes like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, on the other. We just need to ask, “What principles and related actions of theirs are being celebrated in our monuments of homage to them?
In the case of the Civil War figures, the principles and actions of theirs that are being celebrated in the monuments to them are: 1) a denial of the principle of equality, which is notably a bedrock principle upon which America was founded, and 2) their military genius at killing those Americans who did uphold the principle of equality and who fought against the supposed right to own and enslave other human beings. The South’s war “heroes” committed themselves to categorically denying the rights of slaves. Then, those same southerners further abused the rights of others by killing Northerners in defense of slavery. One abominable selfish action followed another, and all of these simply expressed the narrow, unhealthy, selfish identity.
But, in the case of founders like Washington and Jefferson, the principles and actions of theirs that are being celebrated in the monuments to them are: 1) their championing of the principle of equality—again, a bedrock principle of America’s foundation, and 2) their political and military genius at killing and repelling those British who denied the principle of equality to the American people, and who asserted a right to subjugate those people through a monarchy that denied them any real representation in government.
So, we don’t need to reflexively conflate these two very different cases. If tearing down the monuments to the “heroes” of the Confederacy is justified, this does not logically imply that we should also tear down the monuments to the heroes of the American Revolution. Those who are not normally attentive to principles in general could be expected to miss the distinction, but anyone who looks at the principles that each of these monuments honor should clearly discern the difference.
In short, those who killed their fellow Americans in order to deny African-Americans any legal protection against torture, murder, rape, over-work, under-nourishment, impoverishment, under-education, and humiliation should by no means be honored for doing so. Anyone who cannot see the above distinction between Confederate war leaders and America’s founders is likely just inattentive to the principles that underlie the distinction.
Loyalty to People vs. Loyalty to Principles
What would it be like to be someone who doesn’t live by principles, but who nevertheless lives in a world that is run by principles? Such a person would be constantly at odds with the world, as they routinely failed to adhere to the principles that the world expects everyone to follow. If the world expects honesty, and you exempt yourself from speaking truthfully, you’ll be constantly trying to escape detection and accountability. If the world expects people to honor their debts, and you dismiss creditors as having no hold over you, you’ll constantly be haunted by your creditors’ ghosts. If the world expects obedience to the law, and you behave as if the only laws that should be obeyed are those that you can’t get away with breaking, you’ll live in constant fear of justice. If you were such a person, you probably would continually need lots of support from others, just in order to survive in civil society and avoid punishments and censorship.
But, let’s take a moment to look at the kind of support from others that you would probably seek. Since you’re not adhering to principles, if you sought support from someone who habitually did adhere to principles, that person would probably not be interested in aligning with you (at least not once they realized your lack of principles). Therefore, the only people who would be available to align with you long term would be those who didn’t mind your abandonment of principles. Principled people do mind when others abandon principles, so the people who would be open to aligning with you would be those who were not principled people.
This would probably suit you just fine, though, because you would feel uneasy anyway about making alliances with people who would hold their loyalty to principles over their loyalty to you and your unprincipled behaviors and attitudes. Principled people would be exactly the kind of allies who would turn against you when you exhibited unprincipled behavior, so you would naturally gravitate toward a policy of seeking promises of personal loyalty to you from your allies. This would reassure you in advance that, if your allies were ever faced with a choice between adhering to principles or supporting you unconditionally, they will support you and dismiss principled actions.
In short, you’d want a guarantee that your allies were committed to doing whatever you wanted, rather than doing what any applicable principles (e.g. laws, rules) would otherwise dictate.
You’d want loyalty from your allies, without exception.
What we’ve just inferred above is that unprincipled people will seek the loyalty of unprincipled allies just in order to survive in a principled society. This is why loyalty figures so prominently in the affairs of cartels and mafias. Notice, then, that these alliances stem from weakness and an inability to manage in civil society, and not from any strength or special entitlement. This weakness is just another illustration of why the narrow-mistaken-selfish identity is unhealthy for us to embrace.
So, when you see people who emphasize loyalty but don’t seem to care much about principles, you’re just seeing another way that the narrow selfish identity harms those who embrace it.
Review of My Prior Post(s)
Now let me get off my soapbox long enough to review prior posts, and after that, I will close this article with some predictions. In my last post, I said that in mid-May, the US could re-open its economy in what would later look like a somewhat premature move, and I suggested that this was what would be hurting Trump’s public image during his difficult astrology of Sept-Oct this year. This indeed seems to be where we are now and where we are headed.
I also suggested in my last article that the coronavirus would help us see who was adhering to principles like honesty and deference to the truth, and who was not. I think this is also becoming clearer now as well. I wrote:
The coronavirus gives us some discernable reality to follow, in a time when deception has made so many things impossible to discern. The resulting clarity will ultimately bring to light who has been deferring to the truth and who has not–who has abandoned universal principles and who hasn’t. We’ll then see why an abandonment of principles is such a dangerous and tragic choice to make—something that I’ve warned about many times in recent articles.
In the next 3-5 months, the coronavirus proliferation will show us just how dangerous and tragic the abandonment of truth and other principles is (which I also warned about in “The Crash Course of 2019” from a year ago). If you’re wondering why it would take America so long to bring the virus under control, when many other countries have been able to do so much more quickly, I believe that the explanation is pretty simple. I’ll just rephrase my explanation from my last article:
It’s hard to fix an environment that you don’t even acknowledge.
There are real consequences to trying to sideline reality, in other words. The main consequence is that you can’t very effectively manage reality, if you don’t acknowledge what it actually is and don’t seek to understand it.
On a lighter note, in a much earlier post from a few years ago, I suggested that the Saturn-Ketu conjunction of 2019 would bring us to another milestone in spaceflight and of our understanding of life’s prevalence in the universe (as would the Saturn-Ketu conjunction at the end of the present decade). So, I’ll just take a moment now to point out that many countries finalized missions to Mars last year, some of which are being launched this year. Moreover, discoveries were made about features of Mars that support the possibility that for over 2 billion years, life had a long opportunity to evolve on Mars, because Mars had flowing rivers throughout that time. Even now, scientists are tracking unexplained cyclical spikes in the oxygen and methane levels of Mars’ atmosphere, and such spikes are common traits of biological organisms. As I wrote in this article, the fact that astrology works actually implies that life must pervade the universe, so keep your eyes on the heavens!
Some Predictions for 2020 & 2021
As for my predictions about coronavirus, I have a fairly simple summary: it’s going to get much worse before it gets better, and we will probably be wrestling with it very heavily through next spring. America is nowhere near having the coronavirus under control, and astrologically speaking, it doesn’t look like we will even enact a plan that could bring it under control until late November or early December. Moreover, whatever plan gets enacted in November/December will not be fully effective until the spring of 2021.
So, despite everything that has been done in the name of combating the coronavirus, I believe we are still going to be severely overwhelmed by its presence for about another 7-10 months. This is because our progress against the virus will likely come while Jupiter and Saturn are together in Capricorn (from late Nov 2020 to April 2021). I think this is when we can expect to see a vaccine and/or some other method for arresting the virus’ progress.
This Jupiter-Saturn duo is highly effective and constructive in Capricorn (Jupiter’s weakness in Capricorn is largely canceled, if Saturn is also there in Capricorn with Jupiter). Jupiter and Saturn were already together in Capricorn from late March of this year until the 2nd week of May (at which point both went retrograde). That’s why, in my last post, I said that we would likely make progress against the virus until around the second week of last May, at which point we might prematurely cut our virus control efforts short, which in hindsight would be evident.
I think we are still only at the early stages of this hindsight, though, and in September and October, the gravity of the covid situation will be far more clear (and much more troublingly so at that time than it is already). The reason I’m pointing to Sept-Oct is that Jupiter and Saturn go direct again around the 2nd half of September, which means that we will be pretty fully disillusioned about the virus by around October (the retrograde motion of Jupiter and Saturn has to do with gathering the knowledge/perspective, know-how, and positioning needed for making progress toward an objective). In late Nov., both Saturn and Jupiter will be together again in Capricorn, and it’s not until then, at the earliest, that we’ll even start to look like we’re making progress against the virus (probably slowly starting to make progress this Dec. and increasingly so all the way into May of next year)
So, my main prediction around the coronavirus is that in September, October and November (especially October and November), it will be extremely apparent that we desperately need a way to control the virus. In my last article, I said that this effort would at least manifest as a major economic stimulus, which I still believe, but if the coronavirus case count is already rising as much as it now is, I can’t see how the extremely heightened need to address the coronavirus in October/November would not highly support another nationwide shutdown. I think the main question around this is whether there will be sufficient political and social appetite to undertake the severe measures that controlling the virus would require at that time—especially because those measures will surely need to be in place from Nov/Dec 2020 until at least April 2021, judging by the astrology. Since the Jupiter-Saturn transit through Capricorn lasts from mid-November 2020 until early April 2021, this timeframe is sure to correspond to the US (and the world) somehow implementing effective measures against the pandemic.
The devastation to the US economy will therefore continue to escalate into next year, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the stock market somehow sidestepped that downslope, particularly given the likelihood of another economic stimulus plan.
I do also foresee a very strong likelihood this fall that Trump will try to disrupt and undermine the election, especially about 3-6 weeks before the vote (when Rahu conjuncts his Sun and then Ketu conjuncts his Moon), but the 2020 Election will be the subject of my next article. Trump will in any case be faring much more poorly in the public eye in late Sept/early Oct. than he currently is.
I also believe that Trump and Michael Bloomberg are mere moments away from rekindling their war of words, and that this war will extend even beyond the November 3rd election date. I say “November 3rd election date,” because I’m not fully convinced that the election will happen on that day. As I mentioned in a prior article, the astrology immediately following the election is a bit confounding, because it has positive and negative indicators for both Biden and Trump. I’m now starting to think that this ambiguity is going to be reflected as an ambiguity in the election results, either because the election is postponed, or because absentee ballots make the tallying very slow and controversial. This may even suggest that the courts would be involved in settling election disputes.
I’ve also noticed that there seem to be a few indicators in Trump’s family of potentially changing residences after the election, but many of these indicators are for next spring, rather than for around January’s Inauguration Day. This may suggest that Trump could lose the election but that the loss might not be effective until well after the ordinary transfer of the presidency on inauguration date. Yet, in this article my aim was to address ethical issues, so I can address these election issues in my next article, which I hope to have researched and posted before the end of September, when Trump’ behavior will really start to become wildly controversial (if you think his behavior is controversial now, just wait until the end of September and beginning of October!).
Until then, please be the Love and the Life that you truly are, and embody the principles of healthy, selfless love however you can! You are our only hope now!