My recent Vipassana sit has inspired some thinking about morality and ethics. In particular, I have come to doubt the program of western thinkers attempting to pin down an algorithm for right action. If volition is considered to be the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong (as is held by Buddhists) then in fact no algorithm exists. Indeed, there is ultimately no way to say what is right and wrong from an external viewpoint. Only the actor can judge.
Of course, this is only at the highest levels of attainment. Before that level is reached, ethical judgements must, by necessity, undergo some convulsions. One must deal with apparent contradictions that the heart insists on ignoring
This is frankly a troubling thought, that right and wrong is NOT a matter of thought, and cannot really be understood. This undercuts so much venerable thinking in the west (and having studied philosophy extensively in college, I'm confident in saying this). And yet there is some solace in this - to be able to invoke a sense of peace, calm, even hope in the world without regard to outcome or circumstance strikes me as an ultimately fulfilling existance. But in the interim, we must appeal to objective, logical analysis our actions lest human behavior descend into chaos. And to do that one must elucidate principles of action which, while not True, are certainly useful.