Virtue creates order

Virtue is fundamental to the Natural Path as it creates order and harmony.

How is order currently created within our society? By a legal system. What are the dominant aspects of the legal system? Police exist to maintain social order and capture criminals who break laws - although many of their powers for maintaining order have been taken away. Once captured people are tried within a criminal system. A court judges a case based on government's laws, judges establish precedents - effectively law, and a criminal is sentenced. The prisons are full so sentences can be commuted by parole, can be lessened by judges as prisons are full, and the level of the prison population is a significant factor judicially. Sadly fame can also influence the sentencing as has been demonstrated by the lack of punishment for the criminal conduct of famous American actresses. Equally absurdly immoral was the release of Ernest Saunders, convicted for stock market fraud and released because the poor man was old and ill. How old and ill were the people who suffered as a consequence of his fraud?

The legal system with all its flaws provides order for society by giving her people an external moral code that is followed to varying degrees and where punishment is provided to varying degrees. The laws themselves maybe based on morality although that is not always the case as the governments have vested interests, but the conduct of law is not based on morality but on a combination of policing and punishment facilities. The general disempowerment of people in western society, especially in the cities, tends to abdicate responsibility for social order, and this disempowerment is enhanced when Natural Path defence of one's property is considered a greater crime than the crime committed by the criminal and punished accordingly.

This system is not creating order in our society but merely keeping the lid on the worst excesses. Fundamental to this disorder is the lack of virtue of most people in society. Paraphrasing, the virtuous are those who are not caught. Everyone sees crime - white collar crime and personally-violent crime. They commit low levels of crime themselves, petty theft from the office etc. Young people are brought up to lock their valuables as if they are unlocked it will be perceived as an invitation to theft. People are forced to wear money belts as pick pockets are rife and adept at stealing wallets. The list of consequences of the lack of virtue is endless. Police with limited resources are prioritised to keep the streets safe from violent crime whilst the greater social impact crime is not policed.

How much more order would there be if people were brought up to be virtuous? If we could know that the majority of people would be virtuous how much more pleasant would life be?

But virtue has greater rewards. And that concerns stress. Whilst the temptation and committing of the criminal act might be almost instantaneous, the level of stress and personal turmoil is far worse. For many criminals this might not appear significant as they are so distanced from their Paths already, but for ordinary people committing a crime leads to much personal discomfort. And how many virtuous people cause others stress? Sometimes virtuous actions in others triggers one's own guilt, but the actions themselves are harmonious. Even if your actions bring you into conflict with the social order (this can happen if the social path is far from the Natural Path eg environmental degradation), if you believe your actions are virtuous then society cannot hurt you. You have an inner strength. It is the seeds of this inner strength that Ecosophy schools can hopefully provide, and with stress mechanisms in place the students can cope with what society has to offer - throw at them!