I want to talk about the last time I defecated, and describe in detail all the accompanying sounds and smells. I think you should agree, after very little consideration, that the right to walk away from what you do not want to hear is equally as important as my right to tell it, and no one should ever be forced into enduring such potentially traumatic events.
I may wish to tell you, “For lack of evidence, there is no god named God,” for I might wish to save you from the grief and stress that comes from chasing after a chimera. You, with equally good intentions to steer me away from the fire pits of Hell, want to tell me, “I have faith and don’t require evidence.” You have every right to tell me and I have every right to tell you. You have every right to walk away from my voice, and I have every right to do the same. Were wisdom to prevail, we would find other entertainment to share.
What we do not share is a right to harm or endanger each other. Helpful or harmful acts done to or for others are subject to the rule of reciprocity or reciprocation. We can sense that in the feeling of indebtedness kind acts induce, the urge to get even for mean acts, and our awareness of such urges in others. The Principle of Mutual Authority provides an alternative statement of reciprocity by turning it around so its importance to the perpetual defense against attacks from religion may be recognized. In the same way that to take upon oneself the authority to offer a hug grants the offer’s recipient the authority to return the hug or refuse it, it is true that an attack invites a rejoinder. Since the attacker has taken an autonomous authority to act in some fashion, that action also carries autonomous authority forward to its recipient. Autonomous authority to act in refusal, for example, if one so chooses. Action is required in any case, for good reasons, the main one being to bring the problem to an end.
Our aim, overall, must be to assert our right to respond with factual information to things that are offensive, wrong, or lies, or to assert a right to offend someone in exchange for his right to offend. The accompanying aim, however, is to avoid personal attacks and keep the topic about the subject and not each other. Any offense must be from the topic, then, and not a personal attack on your opponent.
We ought to not be lax about this principle: If others grant us ‘authority’ by their actions toward us to respond in a relevant manner, any absence of response asserts a willingness to receive such actions all through the future by silently granting them ‘authority’ to continue. Moreover, it soon erases any ‘authority’ to respond to them.
Before you offhandedly disagree with that, stop to ponder first how things actually work. Somewhere in the depths of consciousness we are aware of how true it is, and from that awareness arises such concepts as “nip this in the bud” and “put a stop to this before it’s too late,” or “If you don’t tell him right now, he’ll just keep on doin’ it.” We all know, in the depth of our beings, that such sayings are from human experience, and can use this principle to explain why.
Reality 101 by Lloyd H. Whitling (paperback – September 2002)
“We believe Reality 101 is one of the best independently published books on the market.” Rec’d 3/4/06 in a letter from Airleaf Publishing and Bookselling. Buy it, read it, and see for yourself.