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For full effect, it is important to start with the earliest entries and work your way through the exercises to the most recent.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Contrasting Examples 1 and 2

Having formulated a proper understanding of Falzhaefengilt we can now properly identify the spiritual underpinnings and determine if there are issues.  This is most quickly exhibited by contrasting examples 1 and 2.

As noted in example 1, the central motivation was compassion, which is good.  Compassion takes us out of ourselves and makes us consider the needs of the other.  Once understood, the answers to the questions posed become very simple.  To act compassionately towards someone in need is always good.  To recognize your own prejudice is also good provided you don't confuse an action of compassion with an attempt to relieve "bourgeoise guilt."  Recognizing your own fallen nature is good.  Asking someone to pray for you is good provided it is humble and not pretentious.  The opportunity is also a chance to deepen your charitable instincts.  But what is best is when the motivation is directed outward.

Example 2 is not so easily understood.  Certainly Falzhaefengilt is at play but there are more troubling spiritual issues.  Was there too much identification with the angry father?  Was this done out of contempt or compassion?  Was it actually an attempt to inflict shame on the angry father -- in other words an attempt to let him know you saw what he did and embarrass him in front of his children?  These questions need to be explored.  The attempt to flee in this case might have been done out of honest shame for an outwardly charitable action that was actually not done in charity.

The consequences of a charitable action are not always clear.  It is more likely that the end results are good though the motivation was flawed.  Reflection on our motivations is important so that we will to do good and not evil, but it is not the final step we need to take.  Ultimately we can only conform our will with our actions by directing both towards the good of the other.

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