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Ethics is lodged within us all

COSMIC CURTAINS

Ethics is lodged within us all.
Just as our makings are.
We spring from a cosmic process 
founded, science tells us,
on a small collection of patterns.
We discover these as we move in the same
direction as the cosmos.
The most obvious pattern is the
least acknowledged.
It is the inherent presence of
ontological values 
in every soul 
on our small planet.
Each action we contemplate
is met by phalanx of blunt truths 
that constitute the very center of ethics.
Are we being tolerant?
Are we being helpful?
Are we being democratic?
Are we avoiding idolatry?

What we call conscience is the presence
of these ethical benchmarks
within each of us.
Each one can be shown to
interact with the others.
Each addresses
the foundations of true progress,
toward a cosmos that reflects
the intended pattern for humankind, 
set from the foundation.
This is the "more" that Hamlet could have told.

If this seems overblown and arbitrary
it is because of the mess that 
we've made of ethics.
We've lived by binary 
either-or thinking
which issued in narrowness,
thoughtlessness
and betrayal of the
aesthetic mandate 
to achieve
beauty and truth in our living.
The revolution of this century is
the recovery of the ontological values
within us all.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhk0ckaCxDI
The remarkable video at the link above is of a performance of "Sto perigiali" Mario Frangoulis and Mikis Theodorakis in 2001.

Frangoulis and Theodorakis are joined by musicians, including two bouzouki players, and a very large audience that is completely familiar with the words. The audience joins in at Frangoulis' prompt.

This is my very favorite Theodorakis melody. Those who know Theodorakis only for his "Zorba" music are in for a treat. When I was in Athens in 1966, for a short period of study with Constantinos Doxiadis, I knew nothing of Theodorakis. But about five years later, my friend Irene Vassos sang "Sto perigiali" to us. I have never gotten the tune out of my mind.

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Stephen C. Rose Bio

Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…