C. S. Lewis makes his concept for the Law of Human Nature clear when he takes the opposite point of view. His words, simplified a bit by me:
Men have differed about who you should be most unselfish to -- whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first.
Selfishness has never been admired.
Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining "It's not fair."
It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table.
Now if we are agreed about that, I go on to my next point, which is this:
None of us are really keeping the Law of Nature.
If there are any exceptions among you, I apologize to them. They had much better read some other work, for nothing I am going to say concerns them. I am only trying to call attention to the fact that this year, or this month or more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people.
I do not succeed in keeping the Law of Nature very well, and the moment anyone tells me I am not keeping it, there starts up in my mind a string of excuses as long as your arm.
It seems we cannot avoid the Law of Gravity. or the Law of Heredity, or the Laws of Chemistry and Physics. We are stuck with them. But the one Law we all believe other people should never break is the Law of Treating You Rightly -- and it is precisely this law that we all break consistently. And from this transgression, all sorts of minor and major conflicts emerge.
Was Eve's sin one of just eating an apple? Was this a big failing or a tiny miscue? Whom did she hurt for knowingly doing what she knew was wrong? Was this a true transgression or was she just tricked by the serpent? Or were the serpent's guile words just clever enough for her to rationalize taking something she wanted?
How many times a day are we guilty of such disobedience? What are the repurcussions when we do the same kinds of things -- actions that break the Law of Human Nature? That break trust with family, friends, colleagues, neighbors? How would we react if someone did these same things to us? Is C. S. Lewis right when he says that this Law of Moral Right and Wrong is something we break on a rather consistent basis? Why do we do this when we would hate it if someone deliberately hurt us by lying, cheating -- breaking a bond of trust between us?
The World where Selfishness is admired does not exist.
That is why, the second our failures to adhere to the rule of fair play are uncovered, we go to extremes to justify our bad behavior. White lies, or black lies become our way of covering up what we did wrong. We know intuitively from childhood that selfish behavior is wrong. We know selfishness has never been admired.
The fall from grace hits hard for the mighty.
After making billions of dollars more on a squeaky clean image that also just happened to be perhaps the greatest golfer in history, the news has been especially rough. True confessions of one woman after another, all claiming that Tiger really loved them was one of the most dramatic failures of living The Law of Right and Wrong.
In a pattern of saying one thing to his wife and to the media about the importance of family ... and then doing the opposite, Tiger tarnished the most important thing he had. He will still be one of the sport's greatest players, but the whispers on the golf course will follow him for the rest of his life once he returns to the game.
Is it fair that we are angry with Tiger for breaking this bond. Or was this just some private thing that happened between him and his family? Was his failing of the Law of Human Nature any worse than when we hide a failing of our own by coloring the truth to rationalize our failures?
C. S. Lewis issued an apology if someone feels he misappropriately accused them of keeping to the Law of Human Nature. Do you think any of us can accept his apology?
Do you agree with C. S. Lewis that there is a universal Law of Human Nature that we should all be fully aware of? Do we really know Right from Wrong?
Right Way and Wrong Way Photo Credit: nicoledanique.wordpress.com/
Nordegren and Woods Photo Credit: People Magazine and Getty Images
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