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Self-reproach is a positive step to personal and collective peace. It’s the realization that for the ball to start rolling, it’s up to me to take an honest look at my human nature and my choices.
Self-reproach is the sixth element in how humans function. But it is the first one that really takes introspection. Your mind takes a deep look into your soul and discovers what your real human nature is accomplishing, both positive and negative including the mental decisions you’re making to follow your life warpath or peacepath.
(Audit of Humankind, chapter 2.11)
How to bring peace and prosperity to humankind? First of all, we have to know how humans function. That is the goal of this chapter. Such a subject needs a book … and more … The goal here is to highlight the key ingredients and show how they all work together. Just like making an apple pie, which I so happened to bake on Thursday. You put the ingredients on the counter. Here are the ingredients for how humans function:
- Human nature The human ability to have positive and negative thoughts and actions
- Free will The human ability to make choices regarding their thoughts and actions
- Behavior The result of the expression of human nature and free will
- Code of ethics: a set of rules that channel behavior to be conducive to peaceful coexistence
- Justice preventive and rehabilitative measures to bring humans into conformity with the code of ethics.
Then you need the correct quantities of each ingredient, properly mixed together in the precise order, placed in the pan and heated to the proper temperature for the right amount of time. If only we could all bake perfect apple pies! Well, I blew it.
I opened the oven and out billowed the smoke from a blackened would-be pie and stunk up the whole house. I had to laugh because it was what you see in a comedy! That’s not the end of my apple-pie baking days. We have a couple of apple trees, that’s why I decided to try baking. There are more apples to be baked. But, I want to do it better. Hence the 6th step.
- Self-reproach. The awareness I did something wrong, I didn’t apply the baking ethics correctly, coupled with the desire to change it and make it right.
It wasn’t anybody else’s fault that the pie was burnt. Not the ingredients, the author of the recipe, the oven … it was me. The questions are what, where and how did I go wrong and how to avoid the same errors next time.
Humans take risks and challenges. Everyone makes mistakes, I need to recognize my misbehavior. I didn’t follow the instructions, rules, ethics. I need to learn from my deviation. I’ll leave the apple-pie episode aside now.
There is only one reason for ethics, applying them is for the benefit both of the person concerned and society in which s/he lives. There are various ways to get the rules across to people, I’ll just mention the soft and the hard way: The soft prevention, through teaching to avoid breaking the rules, the hard punishing when the rules are broken.
I’m simplifying here, I realize that, but it is to make clear why we teach and why we need rehabilitation including sanctions: to reach our goal: change. If we’re self-taught, we self-change so much the better. We realize and become aware we must keep the rules. This might not be changed in the strict sense of the term but it is the beginnings of setting forth a path of self-discipline. If one cannot self-discipline then they need outside disciplining. This could take the form of a relative punishment but remember, this is not revenge or vengeance, the goal should be to help, even insisting that the person follows the rules.
This awareness and change of heart MUST start with self. Many people think… the cause of the problem is the other person. You know what this is? We’re back to point one: Human nature and its non-recognition of that attribute in oneself. When two or more people are involved in a mishap—It happens but—It’s rare that a problem is 100% the fault of one of them. Each has to follow this process of how they themselves specifically work.
- Awareness and recognition of my human nature, my responsibility in this situation
- Awareness that I exercised my free will fallaciously is such-and-such an area
- Awareness that my behavior was not exemplary
- Awareness that I broke such-and-such a rule, I didn’t follow the right pathway
- Awareness that I’m responsible for an injustice.
- Self-reproach, the awareness that I’ve done wrong, that it’s my fault… that I’m in this mess… which is the very point of today’s blog post.
Until each of us can follow these steps in our own lives… how can we expect others to do so?
Honestly, I do not like the term self-reproach and I’d gladly replace it … if I could find something more appropriate. That said, it includes the two essential elements of step 6:
- Self, responsibility for my decisions, for my free will
- Reproach, A sincere inquiry into my own human nature. Where does my behavior need improving?
Self, an inward reflection
Self-reproach starts with an awareness of one’s own human nature, free will, what one’s done with those two ingredients… how they’ve behaved… Aware that there are rules and that they’ve not been practiced. Some life ethics have been transgressed that have caused both pain and sorrow for themselves and others with whom they’re interconnected.
It’s a self-realization that instead of assembling an infinite number of puzzle pieces … perfectly, that make up proper behavior, they’ve been breaking it apart, shaving off the edges, Instead of behavior being pristine, it’s a shambles.
The justice aspects of prevention and rehabilitation are now internalized. They are no longer imposed by fines, handcuffs, or judges. The individual has made their own free will decision to master their own human nature. This is positive self-reproach.Peace comes when justice is internalized. it IS no longer imposed by fines, handcuffs or judges. The individual has made their own free will decision to master their own human nature. Click To Tweet
Self-reproach is an awareness that’s ready to try to turn their own situation around. It’s time to pick up and fix those pieces and assemble them the way they should be. According to the rules of a harmonious life for self and for others. It’s a self-recognition that one’s outlook and behavior has to change and conform with something more in line with interconnectivity with other humans, with animals, with the plants, with land, with water, with the atmosphere, with space… with the universe.
This awareness, this recognition starts with self… not with anyone else. That’s what free will is all about. It begins by your own free will decision of harnessing your own free will. You can harness the will of a horse an elephant and a lion, the right kind of training can do that. And you can harness the will of a human being against their will, we call it propaganda, we call it kidnapping; we call it indoctrination; we call it brain-washing. We have all sorts of names for it and. In our right minds, we know that it shouldn’t be done.
We know that each of us should be able to make up their own mind freely. This is one of the pieces of the puzzle we have immense difficulty in knowing what to do with. On the one hand: giving an individual free will to design their own life and lifestyle and on the other setting in place the right type and tempered controls so that we can all live in a harmonious society.Here's the conundrum. On the one hand: giving an individual free will to design their own life and on the other having the tempered controls so that we can all live in a harmonious society. Click To Tweet
Reproach, a sincere evaluation of my own behavior
We’ve hopefully received preventive education and maybe been subjected to painful sanctions. If so, they have a common goal. That of helping us follow a correct behavioral path. Or helping us come to a self-realization that we need to change and follow the right direction, the one with ethics that leads to peace and prosperity.
A self-reproach definition would be that aha moment, that wake-up call, that realization, that you want to emerge from the dark tunnel. You comprehend that a change of direction, different decisions need to be made regarding your own human nature to move to greater peace and prosperity.
Yes, it can be accompanied by remorse, even sorrow, penitence, contrition, but this realization leads to a healthy frame of mind, not a depressive state. There’s also the 7th key to combat depression, as we’ll see next week.
AA one of the longest-standing, effective programs for rehabilitation from an easy-to-fall into and easy-to-fall-BACK-into, many-times-daily bad habit.
This is more than just correct education… after all, even the well educated go off the deep end. Many have participated in excellent preventative education. Many have benefited from helpful rehabilitation. Let’s realize at what level deep self-reproach operates. It is at neither the education nor the rehabilitation level. It is at the human nature and free will levels. The deep-down personal mind level.Let's realize at what level deep self-reproach operates. It is at neither the education nor the rehabilitation level. It is at the human nature and free will levels. The deep-down personal mind level. Click To Tweet
Here’s the equation of how humans function.
With self-reproach we are talking about the mind level. The mind is the deepest innermost side of humans as we saw in chapter 9. True, human nature and free will involve the mind, but self-reproach needs a personal conviction and fortitude to venture down a self-examination pathway. This personal evaluation and consequent switching from a more warpath to a more peacepath way of life is the reason why the human mind is malleable. The plasticity of the mind is why we can do a self-reproach mental examination.
This is definitely getting into the psychology of humans. Some would say this is getting into the spiritual side of humankind. I do not want to open that chapter here, not because I don’t want to discuss it, we will. But here I need you to focus solely on the mechanics of how humans functions. Those mechanics are the 7 outlined steps (the 7th next week) and particularly this one about self-reproach.
You can only begin to change—solve personal issues—when you first see your own behavior (3rd ingredient of how humans function). When you realize you’ve made the wrong choices (2). That in fact, your human nature (1) has gotten the best of you and brought out the darker side of you. You’ve been given the ethics (4) through education and rehabilitation (5). Now, it gets really personal with self-reproach (6), the first and foremost internal mental examination that leads to real peace and prosperity.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.10 of Audit of Humankind.
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