Finding The Middle
Let me add some thoughts as you consider Mother Teresa and then I shall shortly give my comments.
The truth at the midway point is not usually a piece of data, but a true and accurate direction to obtain the most desirable of results.
To obtain a desirable result there is always a wrong extreme on the left and on the right. On the other hand, there is always a way to achieve the goal.
For instance, if you get the flu you can go one extreme and take many medicines that do not work and may even make the condition worse. On the other extreme, you may do nothing for yourself or even go out in the freezing cold.
He who follows the Middle Way discovers the path which will bring health at the earliest possible moment. The two extremes usually accomplish nothing, but the Middle Way brings the most efficient results.
As a side note to the lady having the baby without doctors my first wife and I had all our children at home and I delivered six out of seven and one of them had a cord around his neck and with another I had to turn the body to get him out. They were not easy labors either as the average was about 30 hours.
Everyone thought we were crazy including the authorities in the church. We were lucky we were not thrown out at that time. Many times my wife came home in tears because someone told my wife that her baby would probably die.
Most of our children were born in the 70’s when no one was having home births let alone delivering their own, so everyone we knew were very alarmed at us for being “extreme.”
But from the viewpoint of the Middle Way were we being extremists?
By the way, all the children were born well and healthy and the average weight was about ten pounds. The largest was 13.5 lbs.
Concerning RH negative – that was my mother’s blood type and she was warned by her doctor to not have any more children or she and the baby could die. Well she slipped up and had me so that’s one time I’m glad the doctor’s advice was bypassed.
I must admire Adrian for driving a taxi in London. I think London Taxi drivers are probably the best in the world. They also take much better care of their vehicles than in New York. You never see a London Taxi with a dent or a scratch.
And Adrian, it looks like the English are smarter than the Americans. They are at least blaming the right people – the politicians – for the problem with oil and gas prices. Here in America most people think it is the big oil companies who make less than 10¢ a gallon on their product. (Written in the year 2000) Here the government makes about 5 times as much or about 50¢ a gallon tax with no investment on their part. But I understand that in England the tax is around $4.00 a gallon. I hope our gas taxes do not have to become that high before our people wake up to the real truth in the middle.
Another thing that is scary here is that during our last oil crisis we only imported about 33% of our oil, but we presently import around 65% largely thanks to Clinton and others restricting domestic drilling, even though it is more environmentally friendly than the risk of oil spills from foreign oil.
It is interesting to see how easily the people have their focus diverted from the Middle Way.
It is also interesting that just as the United States was on the verge of using oil as a fuel that there was a big crisis in whale oil. Many feared that we would be doomed to a world without the light of lamps because of the limited supply of whales. Talks of price controls, rationing, restricted whaling abounded. What they lacked was a basic faith in the genius of mankind. Because we are reflections of God nothing is impossible for us and even today it will not be long until we have perfected alternative fuels that will end our dependence on oil.
Concerning Mother Teresa here is my opinion. I think all charities and give-aways should work around the following principle which has been reduced to a well worn cliché.
“Give a person a fish and you have fed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.”
On the other hand, you cannot take this to the extreme either for there are times that a starving person needs the fish for immediate relief and has no time to learn to catch anything. Sometimes you have to feed him until he has strength – then you can teach him to fish.
This is where I see Mother Teresa missing the Middle Way. She gave away many fish and fed the multitudes a day at a time, but never advanced a program to teach them how to fish – at least not that I know of.
I do think she came close to the Middle Way when she first implemented her programs for she had to risk her career and endure their disdain of numerous jealous male leaders who didn’t think a mere nun should head such an enterprise.
In initiating what she did she caused a much needed change of emphasis within the Catholic Church. Such change represented the truth in the Middle.
I didn’t get much response concerning that I may be an extremist in delivering our babies without the aid of any doctor or any other person. I hope the group is not afraid of offending me.
Actually part of the answer I was looking for is that I did not give you enough information about the situation so you could make an accurate judgment.
Here are a few more pieces of information.
My wife at the time was from England and had a phobia of American hospitals and delivery methods and I could not have gotten her to a hospital with a crane. I was thus forced to learn to deliver our own children. I found a fireman’s manual on emergency delivery and discovered that this little book told us about all you needed to know.
The greatest stress for me outside of the risk to my wife and child because of childbirth in general was the fact that if something did go wrong (which can happen at home or the hospital) is that I may have been charged with something. I received quite a bit of reaming from numerous sources as it was.
As we prepared for home births we discovered this.
(1) Statistically worldwide home births were safer than hospital births.
(2) The doctors are always in a hurry and force the woman to push too soon causing tearing to the mother and damage to the child.
(3) Sometimes they use a suction device that cause permanent damage to the child.
(4) Doctors cut the cord before all the super nutrient blood passes into the baby. This blood is essential to the baby’s health.
(5) Doctors would have probably delivered our children by C-section because they were large and the labor was difficult, but if the mother is willing to go through the labor, a large baby can be delivered with no tearing or surgery if she refrains from premature pushing.
(6) Doctors are sometimes sloppy about getting all the placenta out. Usually this is no problem in a natural birth where there is no rush for quick delivery.
(7) There was greater risk of infection in the hospital.
(8) No hospitals in that day would allow the father in the delivery room and my wife insisted I be there.
(9) If there was a major problem we could most probably get to a hospital before things became critical.
So after considering all these things I did not consider it to be far from the Middle Way of truth to deliver our own children. In fact the more I learned the more I saw that normal deliveries were the true extreme.
Question: Are there times that we must act by force for the good of individuals or groups? For instance, suppose someone is trying to commit suicide or perhaps a believer’s child is in danger of dying because of religious resistance to medical care?
Where do we draw the line?
This and all other judgments where we seek the truth between the two extremes does indeed take the wisdom of Solomon.
Visualize yourself hanging on to a giant pendulum as it swings back and forth past the midway point. As you are in the swinging motion it seems that it is the midway point that is swinging back and forth and not yourself. This is, of course, illusion for it is you attached to the pendulum which is swinging to extremes where the midway point remains still and the same throughout the motion experienced by those attached to the movement.
Those who do see the truest and most efficient course of action on the middle path are often seen as being the ones who are oscillating back and forth whereas the true drifters are those pointing the finger of accusation. Because of their own attachment to swinging from one extreme to another they cannot discern one who is still in the middle. It appears that the enlightened one is moving rather than themselves.
This is the same illusionary mistake made by primitive man. He saw the sun moving through the sky and this led him to believe that the sun was moving around the earth. But when the truth was known it was found that it was that the rotation of the earth caused the illusion of the sun moving through the sky. None of the apparent motion of the sun had anything to do with any movement seen from the sun.
Those who discover the Middle Way are like suns. They appear to be in motion, but in reality they make their stand at the mid way point. Lightweights move past them and are unaware that the apparent motion is caused by themselves.
Speaking of Solomon, he did utter a most important key to discovering the midway point of truth.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Eccl3:1-8
“Never say never,” is one of the keynotes of the midway point. Because circumstances are always in motion around the one who is in the middle he must choose a different course of action as the circumstances change. Even though he may stand firm on unchanging principles, the application of those principles will be different as the group or humanity sways back and forth.
Even so it is with the use of force. There are times to use force and times to refrain from force.
It is interesting to remind ourselves that the use of force and the application of the principle of freedom is the core dividing difference between the Brotherhood of Light and the Dark Brothers .
The basic difference is this. To the Brothers of Light the most important principle to always empower is that of freedom of the individual and group. Freedom is more important than any marginal risk of accident or even death on the physical plane. Patrick Henry stated well the thinking of the Brotherhood when he said: “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Of course, the Brotherhood realize that physical death is not the end of all things, but is a mere transition and there are many things worse than physical death.
All of the leadership among the Dark Brothers seek to maintain power within their sphere and fear their power is threatened whenever the principle of freedom abounds in the hearts of mankind. They therefore project their objectives as the “good” and seek to accomplish that good by force.
Observe the totalitarian regimes around the world which are in harmony with the thinking of the Dark Brothers. The leaders there tell the people what is “good” and use force to make the people do the good. As a result the good as seen in the eyes of the people never gets accomplished.
For instance, in the old Soviet Russia the good ideal of equality was taught and the people were forced to pursue it or else. The result was a lack of equality and dismal failure of the system.
Now in the free world all peoples are threatened by the same principle. We are being indoctrinated with the idea that the basic nature of human kind is evil and the only way around it is to force men and women to do good.
We must pass laws to force us to wear seat belts, helmets, obey speed limits, forcing us to abstain from harmless and harmful drugs, forcing taxes from us to spend on hundreds of give-away projects for our own good whether we agree with them or not.
The Dark Side has no faith in the ultimate goodness and responsibility of human nature whereas the Brotherhood of Light does always bet on mankind’s ability to see what is right and eventually follow it through their own free will. When a normal human being sees and understands what is right he will normally follow it.
Thus the Brotherhood of Light seeks to educate whereas the Dark Brothers seek to obscure the truth and apply force.
Now the difficulty in seeing the truth comes in when the exceptions to the rule come about as pointed out by Solomon.
When should we use force then?
(1) Force is appropriate to restrain someone from disrupting the freedom and peace of others.
(2) Force can be justified to restrain a person from harm who is in such an emotional state that he is not aware of the results of his action.
In this case it would be right to physically restrain a person from suicide. I have done this on several occasions and felt right within my soul about it. I once tackled a young lady who was shoving pills down her throat and held her nose to force the pills out. I physically restrained another on several occasions from doing herself harm.
I believe that this type of action should only be used in immediate danger and outside of this we need to allow people to do whatever damage they wish to do to themselves as long as they are aware of what they are doing.
If a person doesn’t want to wear seat belts, or wants to smoke or drink or take drugs he should have this privilege. The drunk driver, however, should not be allowed to endanger others on the freeway. We need to change our system to place emphasis on education rather than enforcement.
If we had applied all the billions spent on the war on drugs to education and rehabilitation we would be a much more drug free society than we are now – and our prisons would have a much smaller population.
The basic keynote of the Middle Way is “use minimum force and allow maximum freedom.”
It is obvious that each group, government and country does require some funds to accomplish group objectives. What should be the guiding principle in obtaining money for group goals? Is it right to tax the people? If so how much tax is appropriate?
Is it right to take money by force for a good cause from people who do not support that cause?
Sept 14, 2000
Copyright by J J Dewey
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