Druid (Nature-Based) Ethics

Wisdom is knowing what to do next, Virtue is doing it
Virtues are goals and not dogmatic commandments. 
Dogmatic rules are only good for our childhood stage before we have enough wisdom to decide things for ourselves. Unfortunately, many people never grow up spiritually preferring to remain rule followers.

The Three Ethical Domains

(July 3, 2022) Nature-based ethics covers all three relationship domains:

Each is discussed in more detail below.

Natural Rights (Ethics Between State & Individual)

John Locke's ideas about natural rights
John Locke's ideas about natural rights. The state only has the authority to limit a persons rights in order to protect the rights of a greater number of others or rights which are more intense than other. For example, restricting liberty with mandatory vaccinations of a large number of people in order to save the lives of a significant number of others. 
Such coercive decisions come down the certainty about the predictions and the number of people affected. Such certainty will never be 100% meaning disagreements will exist. Still in a democracy, the purpose of government is to make such command decisions because no decision is worse.

Consciousness Equality Implies Natural Rights

(July 3, 2022) Natural rights concerns itself with the proper relationship between a state and its citizens. 

Consciousness is really at the center of all practices of nature spirituality and humans have equal amounts. While humans have different personalities, levels of intelligence, and physical abilities, we all have an equality of consciousness. This had a huge effect during the Enlightenment because this is what is meant by the phrase "all men are created equal."

The revival of Nature Spirituality in the Enlightenment caused thinkers to question the purpose and limit of state authority. John Locke (1632-1704) of Britain provided the ideas which were generally adopted in the English speaking world. He wrote the following between 1689 and 1693:

The commonwealth seems to me to be a society of men constituted only for the procuring, preserving, and advancing their own civil interests. Civil interests I call life, liberty, health, and indolency of the body (freedom from bodily pain); and the possession of outward things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture, and the like. (Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration in Kramic 1995)

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Thomas Jefferson of the then forming United States provided the next step. While Jefferson was not skilled at reasoning like the lawyerly John Adams and tended to live his life in separated intellectual boxes, his great contribution to the times was his writing skill and his desire to ground authority in nature. In the 1776 U.S Declaration of Independence he shortened and generalized Locke's phase to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

Happiness thus includes the right to health and the right to acquire and hold possessions. George Mason in 1776 went even farther in his Virginia Declaration of Rights by getting rid of the creator:  

Section 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, 

Basing rights on levels of consciousness continues to have important ramifications. Because animals have some level of consciousness animal cruelty laws can be justified. Conscious animals are not just things. 


Kramic, Isaac, editor (1995) The Portable Enlightenment Reader. Penguin books
Curry, Oliver Scott; Mullins, Daniel Austin; and Whitehouse, Harvey (2019) Is It Good to Cooperate? Testing the Theory of Morality-as-Cooperation in 60 Societies. Current Anthropology. Volume 60, Number 1, Online at: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/701478

Law of Attraction/Return (Ethics Between People)

Large social network example
An example of a social network by 
No studies have been made to separate out the effects of a likely spiritual network from an assumed non-verbal social network. The existence of a spiritual network is required to explain why evolution was attach a material brain to the non-material phenomena of consciousness.

Law of Attraction/Return Due to Living in a Network

(July 3, 2022) The Law of Attraction/Return is a consequence of living within a bidirectional network. It is also called the 3-Fold Law in Wicca. 

The Law of Attraction is a form of distributive justice. Because emotional/spiritual channels are bi-dirctional people seeking to harm others will find that influence coming back to themselves, perhaps not right away but eventually. Responding with more hate will just intensify the effect. If a person's life is a mess just look at what emotional/spiritual channels are typically open.

The Law of Attraction/Return is not the same as the idea of karma found in the Eastern spiritual tradition and the idea of grace found in the Christian Catholic church. Both concepts are judgmental and dualist. 

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Karma and Grace assume good and evil can be defined in absolute terms and be stored up. Get enough good karma and a Buddhist gains enlightenment, get enough good grace and a Catholic is saved and goes to heaven. Yet good and evil can't be defined in such absolutist terms and this is where those religions fail. Good and evil can only be defined relative to some criteria. This is pointed out in an ancient Chinese (probably Taoist) proverb:

An old farmer had worked his crops for many years. One day his only horse broke through the fence and ran away. When his neighbors learned of it, they came to the farmer and said, “What bad luck this is. You don’t have a horse during planting season.” The farmer listened and then replied, “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”
 A few days later, the horse returned with two other horses. When the neighbors learned of it, they visited the farmer. “You are now a rich man. What good luck this is,” they said. The farmer listened and again replied, “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”
 Later that day, the farmer’s only son was thrown from one of the stallions and broke his leg. When the neighbors heard about it, they came to the farmer. “It is planting season and now there is no one to help you,” they said. “This is truly bad luck.” The farmer listened, and once more he said, “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”
 The very next day, the emperor’s army rode into the town and conscripted the eldest son in every family. Only the farmer’s son with his broken leg remained behind. Soon the neighbors arrived. Tearfully, they said, “Yours is the only son who was not taken from his family and sent to war. What good luck this is…” to which the farmer replied “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?

The first statements of the Law of Attraction/Return originated with the Zoroaster or his first generation of disciples (about 800 BCE). Below is a quote from the Gathas which are the oldest part of the Zoroastrian scriptures called the Yasnas. Notice that speaking the truth was thought to  increase the Dominion of God (Mindful One), a concept similar increasing Divine Home Energy which Jesus taught:

(Yasna 31, verse 6) It will go best for him who knows and speaks my (Zoroaster’s) truth, the prescript of health, right and continuing life, what he increases for Him through Good Thought, that is dominion of the Mindful One (the lord Ahura Mazda). (West 2010)
(Yasna 43, verse 2) But best of all could a man add well-being to well-being for himself by understanding through Thy most bounteous will, Mindful One, the transforming powers of good thought that Thou hast created with Right, all his days as he enjoys long life.  (West 2010)

Zoroastrianism was the religion of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. After they conquered Babylon and released the Jews from captivity in 539 BCE the Law of Attraction/ entered the Jewish tradition as shown below:

(Job 4:8 NIV) As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.(Proverbs 11:17) Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.(Proverbs 11:27) Whoever seeks good finds favor,  but evil comes to one who searches for it.(Proverbs 22:8) Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.

The Persians conquered the Greek cities in Anatolia and also heavily influenced Greek civilization. Thus the Law of Attraction is found in Plato in 360 BCE:

(Plato, Republic book 4) Then, as I was saying, our youth should be trained from the first in a stricter system, for if amusements become lawless, and the youths themselves become lawless, they can never grow up into well-conducted and virtuous citizens. …. It would seem, Adeimantus, that the direction in which education starts  man, will determine his future life. Does not like always attract like? To be sure. Until some one rare and grand result is reached which may be good, and may be the reverse of good.

This later Epicurean text (100-50 BCE) clearly states the Law of Return in with the example that fear of your own making will come back against you:

(Lucretius 6.68-79) Unless you spew these things from your mind and stop thinking things that are unworthy of the gods and alien to their peace, the holy numina (motion power) of the gods, degraded due to you, often will cause you injury; not because the mighty power of the gods can be injured, so that, out of anger, it may  yearn to seek bitter punishment, but because you yourself will construct for those who are tranquil with placid peace as setting in motion great waves of anger, nor will you approach the shrines of the gods with peaceful breast, nor will you be able to take up those images concerning sacred body, which are born into the minds of people, messengers of divine form, with tranquil peace of mind. (translated by Chris Eckerman 2019)

Finally, the Law of Attraction/ Return was a core teaching of Jesus  who seems to have been exposed to it on the Magic Trail , a trade route linking Persia with northern Africa. He taught it is teaching 2.1.1:

Whoever has will gain more, whoever does not have will gain less. 
2 Corinthians 9:5-7, Mark 4:24-25, Q (Matthew 25:28-29, Luke 19:24-26), Thomas 41: Validity = 1.59. (Copied from Mark: Matthew 13:11-12, Luke 8:18)


Eckerman, Chris (2019) Lucretius on the Divine  DRN 3.17-30, 5.1161-93, and 6.68-79. Mnemosyne: 72 pages 284-299. Online at: https://www.academia.edu/35459633/Lucretius_on_the_Divine_DRN_3.17-30_5.1161-93_and_6.68-79

Nature Virtues (Ethics of Personal Goals)

Manager Theo Epstein celebrating with fellow Cubs players of the 2016 World Series
Manager Theo Epstein celebrating with fellow Cubs players of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. He built this winning organization by selecting people with integrity and nurturing them with connections. 
(from Fortune.com at https://fortune.com/2017/03/23/theo-epstein-chicago-cubs-worlds-greatest-leaders/

Virtue of Connection (Love) 

(July 3, 2022) The first underlying principle of Nature is connection. In Nature everything is connected. The material network of quantum mechanics connects everything and defines what can and can't interact.

In the human sphere, connection is love but connection is more. I will just let Theo Epstein explain its importance. He was named one of the greatest leaders of 2016 by Forbes Magazine for turning around the Chicago Cubs baseball team. He has some great insights based upon real life experiences:

Said Epstein, “ If we can’t find the next technological breakthrough (in baseball player selection), well, maybe we can be better than anyone else with how we treat our players and how we connect with players and the relationships we develop and how we put them in positions to succeed. Maybe our environment will be the best in the game, maybe our vibe will be the best in the game, maybe our players will be the loosest, and maybe they’ll have the most fun, and maybe they’ll care the most. It’s impossible to quantify.
“When people do things they weren’t even sure they were capable of, I think it comes back to connection. Connection with teammates. Connection with organization. Feeling like they belong in the environment. I think it’s a human need—the need to feel connected. We don’t live in isolation. Most people don’t like working in isolation—some do, but they typically don’t end up playing Major League Baseball.” ( Fortune.com)

Humans are social creatures and "love" is the connective social emotion. Many spiritual practices are based upon one or more of these five expressions of Love: 

Viktor Frankl was a Jewish Psychiatrist from Vienna, Austria who survived the Holocaust
Viktor Frankl was a Jewish Psychiatrist from Vienna, Austria who survived the Holocaust of WW2. From his observations he noticed those people with a purpose tended to survive at a greater rate than others. He published his findings in an important 1946 book entitled "Man's Search for Meaning." Creating this book was his purpose.
“As we said before, any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal. Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,” could be the guiding motto for all psychotherapeutic and psychohygienic efforts regarding prisoners.
Whenever there was an opportunity for it, one had to give them a why — an aim — for their lives, in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible how of their existence. Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that? (Man's Search for Meaning, 1946)

Virtue of Growth and Purpose

(July 3, 2022) The universe itself is growing. All life grows. Yet growth is part of a larger cycles of growth and decay, of life and death. Decay and death is required to make room for more growth and life.

Once we are born humans are in their physical growth phase but in order to grow in wisdom requires a motivating goal,  a purpose of some type. Personal growth requires continuing experiences, education, and introspection. Every person is on their own path. Nature Religion is a path, not a faith. 

Yet following a path into the unknown requires courage and self-confidence which are traits not everyone possesses. Still for those able to have a goal they have an inner strength able to get them through tough times  as discovered by Viktor Frankl.

The virtue of growth as a virtue was made by the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus between 510 and 480 BCE:

(Heraclitus, quoted in John of Stobi, Anthology 3.5.6) Everyone has the potential for self-knowledge and sound thinking. (F31 in Waterfield, 2000


Waterfield (2000) The First Philosophers – The Presocratics and the Sophists. Oxford University Press
Virtue of Balance
Humans need virtues because unlike animals we have a choice of natures. Simpler animals follow their genetic programming but humans because of their goal setting ability, have a wide choice of behaviors. So the question becomes which part of our nature should we nurture? 

Virtue of Balance

(July 3, 2022) Energy in the physical realm always seeks to balance out.

Balance, moderation, and harmony are the opposite of duality. We live in a dualist culture which is reinforced by our dominant religions. Dualism admits no middle ground. Things are Good or bad, we or them, true or false. While the dualist end points exist they are a small part of a much larger middle ground. Things can be good one time and bad another time or even just from a different point of view. Rain on my picnic is bad but rain on my garden is good.  Evidence may be neither true or false but may be uncertain. We may view some one as from another religion or culture but they may like the same things we like. Are they still outsiders?

This dualism corrupts our social sciences  and our social relations. Psychology classifies behavior as normal or abnormal. Because we are right we assume everyone else must be wrong so we refuse to listen.

The earliest mention of balance as a virtue was made by the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus between 510 and 480 BCE.

(Heraclitus, quoted in Hippolytus Refutation of all Heresies Harmony, non-apparent is better than apparent. (F24 in Waterfield, 2000)(Heraclitus, quoted in Hippolytus Refutation of all Heresies They are ignorant of how while tending away it agrees with itself – a back turning harmony like a bow or a lyre. (F21 in Waterfield, 2000)
(Heraclitus, quoted in Plutarch: On the E at Delphi 392b10-c3) “It is impossible to step into the same river twice” as Heraclitus says … “It scatters and regathers, comes together and dissolves, approaches and departs.” (Heraclitus F10 in Waterfield, 2000)

Today balance survives as a core concept in Swedish culture as the word  "Lagom." Paganism survived the longest in Sweden so it has the most surviving rune texts (only ending in 1300 CE) and greatest cultural influences from that time.

A native Swedish Pagan give this definition to me:

"In Sweden *Lagom* is “just enough” or “just the right amount”. Lagom is that feeling of contentment we all get when we have all that we need to make us comfortable. No more. No less. For example, in Sweden…we maintain a much greater sense of balance….the balance between work-home-family-play etc. we do not bring work issues home, and we do not bring home or family issues to work. We separate each and maintain the balance of each." 

The word "Lagom" derives from the  Akkadian phrase Lagu.Mu meaning "attunements to life powers."  


Waterfield (2000) The First Philosophers – The Presocratics and the Sophists. Oxford University Press