The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.
What light from yonder window breaks?
by Phil Spickler
17 Oct 1999
Greetings from the Old Folks' Home --
I'd like to begin by clearing up some possible confusion about who's
who: I'm the real Phil Spickler writing this; that other Phil that's been
making all the noise is actually my grandson, Philip Spickler III, and
although he's a fairly bright fellow, he sure has a big mouth, and is rather
wordy. However, over the years, he has sat on my lap and when he got bigger
at my knee, and I've attempted to impart as much information and hopefully
wisdom as I possibly could to him. And some of it, I guess, has taken, but
to my amazement and sometimes approval, the little fellow has a mind of his
own, and you know how impetuous and passionate youth can be.
Having been a philosophy professor for some time, as well as a
teacher and practitioner of Scientology for more years than I care to
mention, I feel modestly competent, by virtue of education and experience, to
make some commentary about what appears to be a philosophic discussion
(dispute) that seems to be in progress on that excellent vehicle for
self-expression known as the IVy-subscribers list. My grandson has finally
given me an opportunity to say a few words, and if he'll butt out for a
little while, in spite of my advanced years and failing faculties, I do
believe I have something to offer.
One of the subjects I taught many years ago was called Moral
Philosophy, and this is a fairly vast and well-written-about subject; and at
the very bottom or most fundamental area of it is/are questions regarding
notions of right and wrong. There have been a lot of opinions about right
and wrong, just about as many as there are people, but among professional
philosophers who have emerged both in the context of the religious world and
the academic, some pretty interesting things have come to light, and I'm
pleased to say also that that former student of mine, L. Ron Hubbard,
managed, in his putting together of the Axioms of Scientology, to say some
pretty good things that cut right to the marrow after all the centuries of
argument about absolute right and absolute wrong versus relative right and
But I am also pleased to see that right into this present moment, some
of the young people on the IVy list are carrying forward these notions,
although I might take tham slightly to task for not defining the nature of
their discussion and its terms necessary to get through such matters.
One thing that fiery redhead did point out that I think is most
helpful in resolving things that can be exceedingly difficult to resolve is
something that just about every living human being can agree with, and it's
so basic that even philosophers find it irresistible, namely, that there's a
very strong identification between being right and surviving, just as there
is a very strong and understandable connection between being wrong and
Now this gets human beings into a lot of trouble, because, as a
survival organism, human beings naturally and natively, unless they're
horribly fouled-up, have an innate and built-in desire to be right, and even
beyond the biological necessity for this requirement, we've all seen the
mental and spiritual consequences of being wrong and what that can do to
Now if we shift over to Shakespeare for awhile and one of my favorite
characters in the play of the same name, Hamlet, we see a fairly young Prince
of Denmark with a tremendous moral dilemma, and because of his inability to
put in a stable datum or a certainty, he's hung up on this dilemma for most
of the play, if not all of it. So he's stuck on a "maybe," and he's got this
big problem, which hangs in there as sort of a timeless theme throughout the
story. So there he is, right off the bat, asking himself "Whether 'tis
nobler in the minds of men to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous
fortune," which is either a sort of apathetic or pan-determined view of the
issue, or whether he, Hamlet, should "take arms against a sea of troubles,
and by opposing, end them." As you can see, poor Hamlet didn't have much
access to the sort of tech we have nowadays, and so he was just blindly
conceiving of a sort of a GPM solution, and if you know the play very well,
that conception resulted in a lot of death and misery before the play ends.
But there it is: these great philosophic questions about right and
Wrong. Of course, in "Hamlet," we're given to believe that the present King
of Denmark killed or had his brother, Hamlet's father, assassinated so that
he could become the king, and then Hamlet's mother Gertrude, to Hamlet's
horror, goes right ahead and marries the dead king's brother, Hamlet's uncle.
Well, this certainly gets us into the area of right and wrong and what to do
about it when it's observed.
Now the thing I always liked about young Hubbard's clarification of
these matters, which I think makes it pretty easy to wade through some
difficult moral mazes, is in going right to how Right and Wrong get
established in human affairs. If a bunch of people form a group (large or
small), in which there is widespread agreement and understanding of the laws,
written and unwritten, within that group, and somebody does something that
violates one or more of these considerations, you have that which is called
Wrong. Conversely and obviously, if you stick to the rules and obey the laws
of said group, and perform laudable examples of so doing, you are right.
It's also observable that with the passage of time, things that might be
right in one period or place of a group's history may years or centuries
later, as things change, have gone completely to the opposite and be seen as
wrong. This leads to and gives great support to the relativistic notions of
Right and Wrong as they pertain to human affairs.
Now there are some groups that insist on the idea that there are
absolute Rights and absolute Wrongs, which gives them the reason or excuse to
sit in judgment in perhaps a very unhealty way of anyone else who is
different or thinks or operates otherwise, and they get accused of pretty
rigid thinking, perhaps rightly so. I don't think, in human affairs, it
makes a lot of sense to be static and unmoving when it comes to
considerations of right and wrong.
Some discussions or disputes in this area can be quickly and easily
understood and dismissed if the recognition occurs that one or more people
may be involved in the situation because they're doing everything in their
power not to have to feel the sensation of being wrong. If you're made
wrong, or you start to feel wrong, as we all know, it's about one of the
heaviest chains imaginable, and the earlier incidents on it aren't just light
affairs of verbal disputation, but have death, pain and destruction as the
consequence of being wrong.
Realizing that, I've tried to encourage my grandson and anyone else
who will listen to me, as young Hubbard did when he came out with his Service
Fac tech, to try to find some way in these discussions, using admiration and
acknowledgment, perhaps, to let everybody involved somehow come out of it
feeling right as a much greater importance than who won the argument.
All the best to all concerned -- with highest hopes for the best
Internet list --