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Deliver Us From Virtue by Rocket Kirchner

After the Fire

Image by _william via Flickr

by Rocket Kirchner
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Rocket Kirchner (blog)
Rocket Kirchner (youtube channel)
May 25, 2012

Lao Tzu says that when a man praises virtue he turns other men into criminals. WOW! Now that is really throwing the gauntlet down. I have always found it ludicrous how we humans actually think that we are moral, ethical, virtuous people, and that we actually waste our time seeking to exalt such nonsense. Seems like we need a good absurdest comedian and a busload of clowns to dance around us and burst our pompous bubble. In the Middle Ages they had what was called “The Feast of Fools”, where one day out of the year people would dress up as Magistrates, Popes and Cardinals in a mock ceremony. Harvey Cox wrote a great book on the subject. The somewhat equivalent to this in the Far East is called “Nasty Night,” where monks walk around one night of the year and yell nasty things to everyone or anything.

When we seek to be good, we play with fire. This fire culminates in us externalizing evil (as if we are above it), and establishes the fundamentalist mindset. It matters not what one believes or what one does not believe that makes one a fundamentalist. What makes one a Fundie is praising virtue as if it has any intrinsic quality of authentic goodness in and of itself, when in reality this activity has the makings of constructing a ladder of self exaltation over others.

The complete blindness of the man who thinks that his good is “THE” good is the peak of attachment to an illusory self. The root of every bloody political revolution be it religious or anti-religious or just plain an ideology of thinking that it will make a difference and make the world a better place, has separated humans from each other. The minute we think we are good we are doomed. The only crack that we have in a kind of real goodness is not to be conscious of it, not to seek it, but rather to simply love people in word and in deed including loving those who hate us. We must seek to serve others and forget about all of this moralistic crap. Period. For only love and servanthood can deliver us from virtue, and being delivered from virtue is the same as being delivered from evil.

Suggested links:

False Self and Original Nature: Reflections from Suzuki and Merton

When Virtue Turns Deadly

The Seven Deadly Virtues: A Guide to Purgatory for Atheists and True Believers


The self as the ultimate source of all tyranny by Rocket Kirchner

Rocket Kirchner: The Cult Of One + Thawing Out

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16 Responses

  1. This article touches on a teaching of Jesus.

    And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

    Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

    The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
    I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

    And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

    I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
    Luke 18:9-14

  2. Lao Tzu must have been taken out of context and interpreted here as some anti ethical, anti humane, anti anything good.
    Supporting good things in life cannot be undermined by advocating the alternative.

    When did the opposite of virtue become crime?
    Virtue must be an odd word for any discourse of contemporary ethics.

    • Donal , check the links . One describes Kurt Vonnegut explaining how virtue becomes deadly via the Vietnam war , because after WW2 the Nazi’s were so evil that we made the mistake of thinking that in comparison that we were so pure . this false purity became a form of twisted virtue that turned into a form of a collective national self righteousness and thrust us into become aggressors and demonizing anyone who disagreed with us as being criminal. This also explains McCarthyism .

  3. Anal Randian Fundament.

  4. Walking our talk is not easy, hats off to you Rocket and to the “Old Boy.” There are many versions of the Dao De Jing in English, and somehow all the ones I’ve ever seen still manage to communicate the wisdom of Lao Zi. Some scholars say he never existed, that it is simply a recension of aphoristic traditions by various scribes over time. Does it really matter? Your insights could have come from a Sufi mystic. There are perennial commonalities we all share, and there are always new ways of presenting them. What we face today that is different, is the sheer scale of the risk to life and our biosphere that the destructive technologies of weaponised science have unleashed. How do we turn that around? Where do we point the sharp end of civilisation? Head for Mars? Paul Ehrlich says we are killing our life support systems, and the politicians are just too stupid to do anything about it. So, roll on annihilation, whoopee! Full spectrum Strangelove down-linkage forever! How can you teach intelligent common sense to complete imbeciles who only think in slogans, brands and cliches? Its not just a feast of fools, its a bolemic feeding frenzy for brainless bigots without a living cell to share between them.

    • Speaking of Sufi mystics — i think that Rumi can be applied here ”Reason has eaten out your eyes”.

      Reason becomes so unreasonable when virtue is exalted to the point where it looks down on others and sets up a hierarchy and false duality of so called good and evil , instead of love . all humans should be treated equal . the exaltation of virtue becomes an idol and sets up an us and them mentality . dangerous deadly doctrines , fundamentalism , and social epilepsy ….

  5. Talk about SYNCRONICITY!!

    I have spent the last couple of days (when not REEMING Jamie Dimon) – rereading for the umpteenth time – Love Does Not Condemn by Kenneth Wapnick (of Course in Miracles fame). I am rereading the section on .. you guessed it – pp.507-517) Ethics and Morality.

    Why? To remind mySelf, at this critical juncture in the CrapitalIST Armegeddon, that my job is not to DO anything, per se, but to BE the idea, as best I can, of nonseperation.

    I decided today to go and read your article about theThe Self as the Source of Ultimate Tyranny.

    After I had done that, I REALized what I have been struggling to REALize for months — that I really have nothing to worry about. The Others ARE me, too. And somehow that Holy Instant will produce miracles. Not an easy life, but MIRACLES. They are “good” – they are NATURAL.

    The Course is constantly stressing that we are NOT to feel “virtuous”. Someday, IF I am really blessed, I will get that.

    Healing this planet is surely going to take some work, but just put in that ounce of effort for someone else is such freeing of who we REALLY are.

    • Doesn’t it take the virtue of humility to come to such mind blowing realizations though? Surely, you wouldn’t want to delivered from that virtue….

      • Justin , good question . Humility only comes thru love and servant hood . when one is conscious of being a virtuous person , things get dicey . Being delivered from virtue allows one a crack at authentic virtue , which is rare indeed. paradoxical indeed .

    • what i said about not seeking or being aware of being good or virtuous , nor conscious of it , is really Zen , and is also very Christian . you might want to tap the link below the article of the christian -zen dialogue between Merton and Suzuki on dealing with the false self . sounds like you are in a good head space to dig it . LOL .

      • The ancient Taoist masters had a lot of paradoxical sayings. Part of their “wisdom” came from an idea that they should leave ordinary people alone to work it out for themselves.

        I really wish I could remember the master who said (approximately): “if you teach the common people to revere wealth, they will knock themselves out trying to obtain gold. If you teach the common people to revere wisdom, they will knock themselves out pretending to be wise.

        • Neitzche would concur with the danger of that ;;herd mentality . what is interesting about the Masters is that they seek to rise above dualism , becuase dualism is concieved and concocted in the finite skull . ..therefore subject to expressing all of the machinations of that illusion .

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