Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Moral Compass

Moral Compass?

It is a question which increasingly keeps me awake at night.  What force of nature causes the flipping of the poles of the human moral compass? Do the internal tectonics, eroded by discompassionate acts, gradually slip into dissonance or are some humans born with some magnetic abnormality which cleaves toward blackness rather than the light?

The bright, young alleged Boston Bombers are a case in point. News stories abound with theories about what decay in moral standards allowed two brothers, full of promise to turn to the dark side. When did that frightening egress into evil transpire? A transition powerful enough to spawn righteous beliefs in mass murder.

I have witnessed this erosion of human values and respect. I need look no farther than my own backyard. My neighbor, of at least 20 years, yesterday destroyed what  was left of my fence which separates our property line. I left for several hours and came home to the towering piles of trees that used to live several houses down on our street. A forklift was depositing them over what is left of my fence. It has been a long saga of petty vandalism and an errant tree which I removed at my expense. I have tried to remain true to my own moral compass which, I think, values compassion, kindness and respect for human life. The stone Buddha and Namaste sign in Sanskrit at my front door seem to be no match for the selfishness and moral righteousness of my neighbors. Rational requests for a ceasing of destruction have yielded only angry, demeaning outbursts.

Last week I engaged in a furtive search to find replacement slats for the split rail fence which had been in place since the infancy of my youngest, curiosity seeking son. I had abandoned the hope of promised repair by the people who had damaged it and decided that I could, and would, fix it myself. It was fun.  I had envisioned exactly what I would have to do to transport and install the new slats and how nice it would look even against the disgusting backdrop of trash and brush that had been piled against it. My moral compass even allowed me to believe that it would spur my neighbors to clean up their mess.

Sadly, I let the darkness in and yesterday, as my neighbor and 3 workmen stood laughing at me, I let slip a barrage of most un- Zenlike profanity. Yes I am sorry for giving voice to what should have never entered my mind. Is this an indication that my own moral compass has been swayed from true North? I hope not.