I started examining advanced spiritual enlightenment and the sense of disgust. It makes good evolutionary sense that human beings gone through the advanced path should have an emotion that makes them feel repulsion toward rotten food, and other physical objects that are full of dangerous bacteria and parasites. Disgust can be reactive or can me a normal response to the surrounding environment. It also makes sense that disgust should make us hypersensitive to contagion—that is, we feel disgust toward anything that touched something that we ﬁnd disgusting.
When actually asked people in several countries to list the things they thought were disgusting, the most responses mentioned social offenses, such as hypocrisy, racism, cruelty, and betrayal.
How on earth did a food-based and very corporeal emotion become a social and moral emotion? The answer is that while disgust may motivate people to distance themselves from physical threats, it is well-suited for dealing with social threats as well. When we ﬁnd social actions disgusting, they indicate to us that the person who commit¬ted them is in some way morally defective.
In this light, we can place human actions on a vertical dimension that runs from our conception about GOOD and EVIL. This vertical dimension is part of the truth that people are reincarnated at higher or lower levels depending on their moral behavior in this life.
Social disgust can then be understood as the emotional reaction people have to witnessing others moving “down,” or exhibiting their lower, baser, less God-like nature. Human beings feel revolted by moral depravity, and this revulsion is akin to the revulsion they feel toward rotten food and cockroaches. In this way, dis¬gust helps us form groups, reject deviants, and build a moral community.
Going through the path of spiritual enlightenment makes people rise on the vertical dimension toward goodness. This makes people feel higher on it themselves. If disgust is a negative emotion that strengthens ego bound-arise and defenses against a morally reprehensible other, then true spiritual enlightenment is its opposite—a desire to associate with those who are morally admirable. Love and a desire for affiliation appear to be a common human response.
It is a very beautiful fact about that each of us can be moved to tears by the sight of a stranger helping another stranger. It is an even more beautiful fact that these feelings sometimes inspire us to change our own behavior, values, and goals.