Introduction For Paths
Hi, in my last post I discussed the first part of a life path, its metaphysical belief. Once you have chosen your metaphysical belief you are now in position to choose or develop the next two parts of a path, the moral code and the code of conduct.
You can think of a moral code as the set of rules or laws that govern what you shouldn’t do or what would be wrong actions or wrong intentions. And think of a code of conduct as a guide of what you should do or what would be right actions or right intentions.
In some philosophies the moral code and the code of conduct get treated as one blurred code, sort of a blurred ‘behavior code’. As in our previous discussion of a metaphysical belief, it is very important to make very clear choices in one’s path structure. The same thing is true when comes to the rules or laws that should govern or guide your conduct with one additional factor…… your moral code and your code of conduct have to be compatible with your metaphysical belief.
For example, if you are a Christian (theist), your metaphysical belief is in the existence of an authoritative supreme being, God. Well the rules or law that governs whether an action is moral or not, must be compatible with God’s laws, for example parts of the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments is mostly a list of things (actions and intentions) one shouldn’t do, those parts would be part of a moral code. You know the ‘thou shall not’s ……..’ and the things you should do, the “Thou will do’s” would actually be part of the path’s code of conduct.
So ‘thou shall not steal’ is part of a moral code and thou will honor the Sabbath (for modern American Christians, it’s basically go to church on Sunday) would be part of the code of conduct.
But sometimes the word labels can get tricky in trying to decide whether a rule is part of the moral code or part of the code of conduct. A rule God does not want you to do would be interpreted as moral code, but with a few changes…the rule can be read as something God wants you to do and therefore the rule would be part of the path’s code of conduct.
Thou shall not steal, seems pretty straight forward, its part of the Christian moral code. How about the one that says to honor your father and mother? As stated it would seem that it is part of a Christian code of conduct because it represents something God wants you to do, but is it? I of course could change the wording a little and restate it as ‘Thou shall not dishonor thy father or mother”, which would now make it seem like part of the moral code as it is now a rule concerning what not to do.
I can already hear my family and friends, who act as my editors……. This is too dry and boring…… and why does it matter, whether it’s part of the moral code or code of conduct?
Am I a morally bad person if I don’t provide food for my dependent children? Am I a morally bad person if I don’t provide food for the orphans in Africa? Was I being a morally bad person when I wouldn’t buy my child the newest air Jordan sneakers…. Sorry athletic wear….. ?……. am I a morally bad person if I don’t donate all my money to feed the poor? Am I a morally bad person if I don’t buy the poor Air Jordan’s?
I want to be a moral person, I get Thou shall not steal….. it’s kind of clear and I would get ‘ thou shall not dishonor your father and mother’ (where it is worded as part of a moral code)….. but I am not sure it’s clear to me what ‘honor your father and mother’ means for me to do (where it is now worded as part of a code of conduct), I know it sounds right and I can see how I could easily accomplish the intention part of this, but the action part is blurry. Does it mean to obey without question?…… do I help my parents commit immoral acts if they tell me to?
The above illustrates three points, first that simple statements that seem so obviously right when it comes to having the right intention can get blurred very quickly when you have to choose an actual action.
Secondly for most people the morality of an action seems different depending on the people and relationships involved (feed my dependent children vs. feed all of the children of the world), but for some people they don’t see a moral distinction regardless of the people or relationships involved, they feel one should care equally about feeding all the world’s children as you care about feeding your own, great intention but is the action realistic.
And third, there is some sort of basic difference between the universality of a moral code (things one shouldn’t do) and the circumstances that can cloud a code of conduct’s rules of the actions (things one should do).
This third point is the reason why it’s so important to not only take the time to clearly define your moral code and a separate code of conduct, but to also take the time to determine what code an individual rule/ law or guiding principle is part of (the path’s moral code or the path’s code of conduct).
Remember it is beyond the ability of the written word to fully explain these spiritual or philosophical truths, but also remember it’s not my goal to fully explain things with these posts. Remember the point of these posts is to help the reader to better understand and determine the best life path for themselves……. Or at least act as a guide to help get them started in developing a structure that can help guide them on their life’s journey.
So the basics, (complete understanding would again require in person discussion), first the most important characteristic of a life path is that it and all its parts be clearly understandable. If you don’t have a clear path structure or don’t take the time to make sure you have formed a clear understanding of your path and its parts, the path won’t be able to serve as a clear guide in your life decisions.
So keeping it basic, in general moral code laws are about what not to do, code of conduct rules are about what one should do.
Moral codes tend to be more about controlling your actions, while codes of conduct tend to also concern ones intentions.
Moral code laws tend to be universal, while codes of conduct rules tend to be conditional or situational dependent.
And lastly, a Moral code’s laws supersede the code of conduct’s rules when they conflict.
I will better define these points in the next posts, unfortunately since a path’s moral code is tied to one’s metaphysical belief, for me to even come close to clearly describing or explaining what one’s path’s moral code could be, I would have to match the discussion with each different possible metaphysical belief.
Trust me, there is an appropriate and clear moral code and code of conduct for every metaphysical belief (even for agnostics, atheists and deists) and one of the purposes of the guidance center is to help people formulate a clearer understanding of the appropriate codes for their intrinsic metaphysical belief.
But due to the limits of using the written word, I’m not going to try to fully explain everything about a path’s codes, nor even what they are for all the different possible path combinations. I will again discuss my personal experience as an illustrative example. Again what are the right choices of a path’s moral code and code of conduct can vary according to your path and your current stage of practice. My choice isn’t necessarily the best choice for you.
To be continued…… in the next posts, we will look at the last part of a path’s structure (life philosophy/religion), the path’s code of internal practice and look at my personal experience in developing a clear understanding of my path’s moral code, code of conduct and code of internal practice as an example of a path structure………