Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you finally live
-Hafez, poet (1315-1390)
This quote was at the bottom of a newsletter I receive, and it had the effect of stopping me in my tracks. What exactly did this author mean by those words?
I understand the theory that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong (I don’t agree with it or find it rational, but I can see why some people might adhere to it in their efforts to avoid God) but how in the world can a person talk about truth and love without having a concept of right and wrong?
This reminds me of a discussion I once had with a Unitarian Universalist woman. She was explaining to me how she tried not to ever use the words “right” or “wrong.” since she didn’t believe in the concept. She even tried to avoid it when talking to her daughter, who was about 3-4 years old. Instead of saying, “You have your shoes on the wrong feet, ” she would explain that, “Your shoes will be more comfortable if you wear them the other way.” It was fascinating to hear the verbal gymnastics that were necessary to completely avoid the use of those terms. During our discussion, when I was asking how she trained her daughter and kept her out of danger, she said that it was mostly a matter of respect. She went on to tell how they talked a lot about not doing things because it was “disrespectful” to other people, and how she and her husband tried to use those type of words even when they had a disagreement. I asked her if it was wrong then, for her husband to disrespect her? I was amused by the confused pause before she fired back, “Well, I sure don’t like it!” It made it quite obvious (to me, anyway) that you simply can’t live without the concept of right and wrong–you just call it by different names.
And in the above quote, isn’t the author simply saying that “veracity and love” are…right? And how can you even have a concept of veracity (truth) without accepting that there is such a thing as UNtruth…which is wrong?
How can rational, thinking people parrot silly sayings like this?