This is not rocket science. Murder, rape, theft, betrayal, lying, abuse, racism, injustice, war…make your own list. These actions and institutions feel wrong to us. They seem so “not right.” Less extreme are the choices many of us face each day, often compelled by this idea: “Do the right thing.” Politics is made of battles over right and wrong, good and bad. When our ethics and moral beliefs are violated, we rage, accuse, shout, threaten, demean, and mock, bringing any rhetorical means to bear to either correct our opponents’ thoughts or shut them down. (See Facebook feeds over the past couple of weeks.) Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Rwanda, and so many other killing fields scream at us that something is wrong. Day after day after day, the headlines peddle the terrible cruelties of the previous day.
Births gone awry, no-win ethical/moral dilemmas, death claiming children, seemingly random violence at the hand of nature. Psychological trauma, learning disabilities, relational dysfunction, suicide.
The mystic saints tell us all will be well, all will be well. Perhaps…but just now, something is wrong.
One thing made clear by the ruling of the Supreme Court concerning the right of Gays and Lesbians to be married and have their marriages recognized in all 50 states; people on both sides of the issue acknowledge with shouts and fury that something is wrong. Many believe a monstrous wrong has just been righted, and others believe what’s wrong has been multiplied.
The point? As I examine my theology/philosophy in a time of change, one of the tent-posts is…something is wrong.
Sin. Injustice. Out of balance. Misaligned chakras. Chaotic chi. Ignorance. The suffering that comes from desire. Evil.
Call it what you will. Something is wrong.
For those who believe there is nothing really wrong for there is no true compass other than evolution’s pragmatic chase for survival and reproduction, I would simply point to the unending quest to make life “better.” Whichever axis from which we approach it, we are all working to make things better. And suppose you believe I need to understand that there truly is nothing better. Will you not try to persuade me that your understanding is good and right, and that in accepting your belief, my life will be…better?
The ever-present quest for “better” implies that there is a “worse,” and that in a world set to rights, there would only be the good, and nothing to push back against.
Something is wrong.
Confronting what is wrong, and working on behalf of our conceptions of goodness, truth, and love, thereby pushing back the damaging impacts of the wrong, seems to be a fundamental task of the well-lived life.
When we ignore this, and hide in a curtain of self-protection and comfort, whatever’s wrong slips inside us, and we become part of it. And the something wrong with the world is now the something wrong with us. Or maybe the something wrong out there has been inside us all along.
We can debate—we must debate—just what the nature of the wrong might be, but the fact of wrong’s presence seems indisputable.
Something is wrong.