Thursday, January 9, 2014

for the sake of...

When an undergraduate student I was fortunate to study with an anthropology teacher who with excellent intention and great skill took on the responsibility of challenging the beliefs of his general student population in terms of any number of topics.  I wish I could remember his name but I can't.  But I can still see his face.  He was a graduate of the University of Berkeley and, well before it became popular in our current culture, shaved his head and grew a beard, an appearance fitting to his iconoclastically and counterculturally inspired questioning ways.  During my term of study with him, he once asked a very provocative question.  I'll paraphrase, "Why do we need heaven or good karma or the love of God or whatever to be a motivation to do the right thing, to be good, to love our neighbour?  Why can't we just do it because it's the right thing to do?"

What would it be like if we simply loved for the sake of love, forgave for the sake of forgiveness, had compassion simply for the sake of compassion? What would it b like to be decent and good people just for the sake of being good and decent?