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Lifting the Veil

Creating From Compassion

Raffael Monti worked with the natural translucency of marble to create the “Veiled Vesta” statue in the 1840’s. He created a statue that has become a favourite of visitors to Chatsworth House. They marvel at the lightness of the veil and wonder how it could be possible to make something so heavy and solid appear so light and delicate. Monti simply took an intrinsic, natural quality of marble and worked with it to produce something of intense beauty.

Creating From Compassion

The Veiled Vestal By Rafael Monti

I was reading about Rawl’s idea of the Veil of Ignorance, a philosophical justification for the idea of justice as fairness that which underpins Rawl’s argument that the foundations of social order rest on securing justice for all. According to Rawl, if we place the imagined creators of a future society in an ‘original position’ of a complete lack of knowledge of what role they will play in this given society or what social standing they will have, this will ensure they will make decisions that cater for the least advantaged because they will decide based on the fear that they may end up in this category once the ‘veil of ignorance’ is lifted. They will make sure that whatever mental, physical, or social state they find themselves in, they will get their fair share of ‘primary social goods’ including Rights & Liberties, Powers & Opportunities, Income & Wealth and Conditions for Self Respect. Rawl uses this ‘veil of ignorance’ to devise the right to individual liberty and freedom, as long as it doesn’t interfere with others’ rights, and the obligation of social/political orders to allow marginalized members of the order to have a voice. It came to my mind that it would be possible to achieve all this another way if there was a lifting of another kind of veil. We could place the creators of the new order in an ‘original position’ where they were all deeply engaged in a process of awakening. The first step in this creation of a new order would be to operate from a position of compassion rather than fear and they might be in a position to create something of intense beauty.

 

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