The problem of righteousness

August 22, 2017

 

It is seductive, that wonderful, comfortable feeling of righteousness.  However, I chose to resist the seduction.  Because, I have learned; righteousness is a false mistress quickly and easily turning into self-righteousness..

 

Have you ever noticed how good it feels to be right?  Oh, it is delicious when you can stand there and defend your position!  Being the one to know, the one in power!

 

Yet, when put in a position of being wrong, it feels terrible. Most people feel strongly compelled to defend their position even if they know it to be wrong.  No one likes to be wrong. Everyone feels better when they are right.  Truth doesn't have anything to do with righteousness really.  

 

The emotion of righteousness, born of judgement and divisiveness, propagates from our automatic human desire to be right and our abhorrence to be wrong.  Anytime we believe something to be true, we naturally, unconsciously start to collect evidence for the truth of it; as if we have put on filtered glasses that only let some colors in.  Unless we are consciously working hard to be open minded and discerning, we can easily get sucked into stilted or misleading rhetoric, or false news, which creates “truthiness” with no substance just the mere feeling of truth.  Both truth and  truthiness can be used to justify righteousness.  And then righteousness begets divisiveness where all communication is blocked.  A stalwart division is created because in the failings of the human mind, both sides believe themselves to have a monopoly on righteousness.

 

Righteousness only exists in contrast to it's antonyms (none of which are good).  People in disagreement feel put down (made wrong) when someone presents their case against them with righteousness.

 

When  it is hard to tell the difference between truth and truthiness, it is tempting to react to righteousness with automatic resistance regardless of whether it is grounded in fact(truth) or not.   Proven, well documented truths and facts, that go against our current beliefs, automatically get ignored or resisted, even more emphatically than lies that hold a sense of truthiness. Unless …  we consciously avoid of the seduction of righteousness.

 

Righteousness is the only emotion I know of that feels good AND is useless, at best, and divisive and dangerous, at worst.  Because the useless and antiquated nature of Righteousness, I believe it should be categorized as a vestigial emotion that hasn't yet been lost fully through evolution.  Maybe there was a time in our history where it had a function but now, like the appendix, it can kill us when it gets infected, flares up and explodes.

 

If being righteousness isn’t worth striving for, what really matters?  For me it is the pursuit of love, happiness, and healthy humans and a healthy planet.  What really matters to you?

 

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