For me, the pathos of "the human condition" comes down to the choices we have. Doing the best that can be done with them still leaves us bound by them limited to them, and to the choices made by those whose choosing impacted us and our choices. We all could have done better-- could still do better-- with better choices. But. The choices we have are the only choices we have. Choosing to do the best we can with the choices we have to work with is the best choice we can make under the circumstances. So. Sit quietly. Breathe slowly and deeply. Listen. Look. For what arises within. This is called taking stock, seeking the center, and waiting for the mud to settle and the water to clear. This is the second-best choice we can make under the circumstances. It is the choice for mindful awareness and self-transparency. We can enhance this choice by watching all of the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (The shortest ones first). These videos will help us become a student of the here and now. There is much to learn by learning to be present with what is present with us. Being present in the present is the way of learning to see the present, to be aware of it, to know what is happening, to sense what needs to happen in response, and to "get out of the way" in allowing the impulse of our nature to lead the way in responding to what is being called for in the moment with what we have to offer to the moment-- and that is the gate to the next moment, where being present with that present will lead to the next moment, and so on to all that will flow from this present moment, right here, right now, one choice at a time.
Good and evil are not absolutes. They are relative, and change with the shift in perspective which depends upon what side we are on. Which depends upon the stake we have in the outcome. Any outcome. Which depends upon how we feel about the outcome. Any outcome. Which depends on what we like and don't like. I can be either the angel of the lord, or the embodiment of Satin himself, according to how you think about what I do. We can transform the way we relate to the world by modifying the views and opinions we have regarding what happens in the world. Joseph Campbell said, "The formula for the attainment of peace is to act as one must, but without attachment-- to abandon absolutely all concern for the fruits of action, whether in this world or the next, but to enter fully into the action required as action for its own sake, without thought of gain or loss, praise or blame." Campbell fully comprehended how difficult it is to participate fully in life without being invested in the outcome. He was a world-class distance runner in college, and could not attend athletic events later in life because, as he said, "It aroused in me more emotion than I wanted to have to control." The emotion flowed from having something at stake in the outcome. To live as though something matters without it actually mattering is a trick for yoga masters, who might be accused of cheating because they don't actually live in the service of much that matters. It is easy to be peaceful with nothing on the line! Having nothing on the line is the key. We live as though we have everything always on the line. We need to examine that, and see what we really stand to gain or to lose with the things we become embroiled over. How important really are they? Peace is to be found in backing off. In caring less about all things, and only about the things that are truly important. The degree of our attachment to things, the quality of our caring about them, are reflected in our judgment and opinions about them-- and we are responsible for determining to what extent our investment is justified by the value of our commitments. How important are the things we declare to be important? What will we go to hell for? What business do we have in going to hell for that?
Sin is being wrong about what's important. Sin is being wrong about what needs to be done. Redemption and atonement are about seeing things as they are, knowing what is important and needs to be done, and doing it in each situation as it arises all our life long. Anything else is a distraction and a diversion designed to provide us with excuses and justifications for failing/refusing to see what we look at, know what needs to be done in response to it, and doing it in each situation as it arises, all our life long.
We have to come to terms with The Terms of The Deal our entire life long. The Terms of The Deal are always changing. How things work today may not be quite the way they worked yesterday, or will work tomorrow. Adjustment, accommodation and acquiescence, Kid. Adjustment, accommodation and acquiescence. It helps to understand this as part of The Terms of the Deal, with little in the way of opinion and a lot in the way of compassion and acceptance, becoming like water in finding--not forcing--our way, and making do as best we can with what we have to work with in doing what needs to be done in each situation as it arises our entire life long.
Everybody should be in good hands. Adults should have the right to live as they choose-- without interfering with other adults living as they choose. Children are stuck with living as their parents choose until they reach "the age of accountability." All of this seems simple enough, but. It doesn't work. Adults refuse to be accountable long after the age of accountability. Adults refuse to allow other adults the right to their own life. Money and power get in the way. If you have enough money and power, no rules apply to you, and you can get by with doing whatever you want. People with money and power exist to perpetuate their ideals and vision of the good at the expense of everyone else. Equality and Justice Truth and Freedom become words without referents, with everything favoring money and power to the detriment of everything else. When hasn't money and power had the last word? Where have we been free from the controlling influence of money and power? As R. D. Laing might have said, we are playing a game of not playing a game, and nothing is what we say it is, but we don't talk about it because everyone knows that money and power run the game, and nobody can do anything about it beyond pretending it isn't so, and that is what we do.