We’ve reached a societal point where we look at a situation, wrap a strong emotion around it, and label it “good” or “bad”.
Murder, bad. Right?
What if the person who was killed had committed a crime deemed punishable by death? Would that change the judgement? Is the guilty party still deemed guilty for murdering when the dead was going to receive a death sentence?
That’s the thought that kicked off my recent pondering. I applied this concept more locally and liberally, and realized how easily the public is manipulated by emotion: ”If it feels good, do it”.
I focused on the subject of Gardening/Crops.
Almighty created all living things; herbs of the field, trees for food, animals, fish, birds and mankind. Creation was labeled “Good”.
Rules were established to maintain a system supported by Almighty and optimal for mankind.
Included in those rules were those specific to foods:
Certain animals and creatures were not meant for consumption
Mixed seeds and mixed breeding are not allowed
The soil must be allowed to rest and replenish every seven years
Seems pretty easy to follow, right? The great thing is that when the Rules were followed, Almighty would respond by giving good rains to keep the cycle running smoothly.
Enter the illusion of intelligence called public thinking.
If an animal or creature tastes good, then it’s meant to be eaten
When plants or animals don’t produce as profitably as hoped for, create a hybrid or GMO product to outdo the original
Use up the soil, wear it out, then toss in some chemicals to make it more productive
These emotional based choices don’t look toward the long-term effects; they’re the product of a spoiled child’s litany: ”I want more, I want better and I want it now.” Forget about what’s right, what’s good and what’s been proven to endure thousands of generations. We can do it better.
Similarly, emotions are used to ploy people with items they simply “must have” to feel valuable, or to meet societal expectations, or to follow societal “norms”. This tactic has proven quite useful in separating people from their hard earned wages. Without drawing on those emotions, we’d simply be left to make purchases that were necessary. Oh, the horrors!
Emotions hold so much importance in society, but truly they change more often than the wind direction. How can a firm stand be made on a shifting base?
A favorite quote states that permanent decisions should not be made based on temporary emotions. How appropriate. How many times have a group of pained people pressed for policies to protect others from pain? Isn’t pain a fact of life? You have joy and you have pain.
Often, state and national laws follow similar logic. Look at seat belt laws. Emotions run amok from grieving family members create rules and dictates that penalize a person for not buckling a strap on their body each time they sit in a vehicle.
It’s akin to the declaration my Hubby made when my son could have killed himself during a fall from a very high tree branch he had climbed. Hubby firmly stated “you cannot climb any more trees!” While I was similarly shaken with emotions from the near fatal incident, I was quick to alter the edict (one of very, very few times that we disagreed on issues related to the kids). Kids climb trees, kids get hurt.
We cannot eradicate boo-boos and pain by employing more emotion-based rules, but we can apply common sense to keep ourselves out of the most dangerous situations.
My personal choice is to look at life through the lens of Torah, where sound judgement rules – rather than emotions.