Article 39 contrasted two quite different paths toward problem solving: a scientific approach and a popular or cultural approach. Does it matter which a person chooses? Some people are amenable to either path and others are deeply steeped in one or the other. The second half of the article (the four steps to resolution) taught how to deal with the discomforts that our differences bring. Article 40 showed how expectations boost or hinder our satisfaction with the process. Then article 41 called for thoughtful resolution. It was meant to rule out hasty authoritarian regulation of human behavior. That blog series went far enough for the popular press.
This more intense online course can deal with some painful specifics such as questions of blood transfusion, gender, and abortion. Let us begin by quoting the fourth step in article 39: “Among the original choices, we do not designate right or wrong.” In these medical questions it is possible but not mandatory for scientific and religious approaches to differ, and this blog will not end that debate.
Because time marches consequentially on, an individual medical question calls for decision. The four steps of resolution and other teachings here are not final answers; they concentrate on how we approach decisions. Here we cultivate methods to improve human relationships.
The examination step, contrasting science with arbitrary choice and cultural conditioning, sorts out how much science knows and compares it to the value of cultural and religious rules. This thought is expanded in article 41, “Think first!”
The mellowing step discourages force that leaves no one the wiser. Why we do is as important as what we do.
The fairness step affords equal dignity to all parties. Fairness is reasonably required; however, strict neutrality by itself does not end differences.
The higher ground requires personal growth. By respecting each other, parties to the decision become more understanding human beings. They also appreciate their own limitations. Article 21 taught that my being needed does not include or justify my making decisions for you. I must not want control, whether the decision is to eat dogs (article 39) or to answer one of the medical questions raised in this article.
Today’s example issues deeply affect lives. After decisions are carried out, one or more parties may feel severely injured. The ability to grow beyond (and forgive if that is called for) is an essential part of maturing. Our progress speeds up when we set our minds on surviving everything dealt us and constructing the higher ground in every case. Whether or not a given transfusion, marriage, or abortion ever takes place, all the parties are required by life itself to grow past hard feelings and to achieve mutual love. The Ernstraudian Way, article 38, describes the path including “proceed at your own pace.” We extend patience to each other.