Following

Let us not be uneasy that the different roads we may pursue, as believing them the shortest, to that of our last abode; but, following the guidance of the good conscience, let us be happy in the hope that by these different paths we shall all meet in the end.

It is taken for granted in adult society that we cannot all be generalists skilled in every area of learning and mastery. Nevertheless, we apply tremendous pressure on our children to be good at everything. Every day they are expected to shine in math, reading, writing, speaking, spelling, memorization, comprehension, problem solving, socialization, athletics, and following verbal directions. Few if any children can master all of these “trades.” And none of us adults can. In one way or another, all minds have their specialties and their families.

Sin is not exhausted in describing individual acts which aren’t very nice. “Sin” is fundamentally a description of our entire situation, one of separation from God, alienation from him, arising out of our rebellion, our refusal to do his will, our insistence upon the following of our wills.

The Buddha, that is now “Awakened One,” diagnosed the human condition in the following way. Life is out of balance and characterized by suffering because all things are impermanent, and yet we desire things as if they were permanent. We each view our own self as if it too were permanent and completely independent from our selves, and so we think of our self as competing for those things with other discrete selves. Everything that we desire will ultimately pass away – we cannot hold on to anything in the end, not even our own bodies and minds – so our inappropriate desires are frustrated and we suffer, only to be reborn again into anew life of desire and suffering. To break the cycle of rebirth (samsara), we must overcome our ignorance about the true nature of things, cut the root of desire, and give up attachment to self, for we are anatman, no-self.

A man following Christ’s teaching is like a man carrying a lantern before him at the end of a pole. The light is ever before him, and ever impels him to follow it, by continually lighting up fresh ground and attracting him onward.

Many will receive great help, and many will be entirely healed by a practice somewhat after the following nature: Wit a mind at peace, and with a heart going out in love to all, go into the quiet of your own interior self, holding the thought - I am one with the Infinite Spirit of Life, the life of my life. I then as spirit, I a spiritual being, can in my own real nature admit of no disease. I now open my body, in w2hich disease has obtained a foothold, I open it fully to the inflowing tide of this Infinite Life, and it now, even now, is pouring in and coursing through my body, and the healing process is going on. Realize this so fully that you begin to feel a quickening and a warming glow imparted by the life forces to the body. Believe the healing process is going on. Believe it, and hold continually to it. Many people greatly desire a certain thing but expect something else. They have greater faith in the power of evil than in the power of good, and hence they remain ill.

Young people, what need have you to follow the trendy slogans of these intellectual leaders? You ought better to gather some comrades and pool together all you energies; go forward in one common impetus, following what appears to be the path of survival. All together you will never be short of strength. If you encounter a deep forest, you can always hack your way through; you can open up the wilderness; you can dig wells in the desert. Why should you stick to old ruts and beg for guidance of these wretched guides?

True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and fearlessly following it.

There persists, however, throughout the whole period the fixed scientific cosmology which presupposes the ultimate fact of an irreducible brute matter, or material, spread throughout space in a flux of configurations. In itself such a material is senseless, valueless, purposeless. It just does what is does do, following a fixed routine imposed by external relations which do not spring from the nature of being. It is this assumption that I call scientific materialism. Also it is an assumption which I shall challenge as being entirely unsuited to the scientific situations at which we have now arrived.

The good man should be a lover of self (for he will both himself profit by doing noble acts, and will benefit his fellows), but the wicked man should not; for he will hurt both himself and his neighbors, following as he does evil passions.

All err the more dangerously because each follows the truth. Their mistake lies not in following a falsehood but in not following another truth.

The happiness of ordinary persons seems to me to consist in slavishly following the majority, as if they could not help it.

Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a man. Suddenly, I awoke, and there I lay, myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.

When the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten; when the belt fits, the belly is forgotten; when the heart is right, “for” and “against” are forgotten. There is no change in what is inside, no following what is outside, when the adjustment to events is comfortable. One begins with what is comfortable and never experiences what is uncomfortable, when one knows the comfort of forgetting what is comfortable.

A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation.

Freedom and the consciousness of it as a faculty of following the moral law with unyielding resolution is independence of inclinations, at least as motives determining (though not as affecting) our desire, and so far as I am conscious of this freedom in following my moral maxims, it is the only source of an unaltered contentment which is necessarily connected with it and rests on no special feeling.

Customs are made for customary circumstances and customary characters... The mind itself is bowed to the yoke; even in what people do for pleasure, conformity is the first thing thought of; they live in crowds: they exercise choice only among things commonly done: peculiarity of taste, eccentricity of conduct, are shunned equally with crimes: until by dint of not following their own nature they have not nature to follow: their human capacities are withered and starved: they become incapable of any strong wishes or native pleasures, and are generally without either opinions or feelings of home growth, or properly their own.

Customs are made for customary circumstances; even in what people do for pleasure, conformity is the first thing thought of; they live in crowds: they exercise choice only among things commonly done: peculiarity of taste, eccentricity of conduct, are shunned equally with crimes: until by dint of not following their own nature they have not nature to follow. Whatever crushes individuality is despotism. [And] I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized.

Avoid singularity. There may often be less vanity in following the new modes than in adhering to the old ones. It is true that the foolish invent them, but the wise may conform to, instead of contradicting, them.

Being morally good, for the majority of Americans, means following the norms and values of their society or culture - whether this be their peer culture, their church, their country, or a combination of these. The theory that morality is relative to societal norms is known in moral philosophy as cultural relativism. Many others claim that morality is relative to the individual and is different for every person depending on what they feel. This theory is known in philosophy as ethical subjectivism.