It’s often said that to be productive and happy, a person has to feel part of something larger than her or himself, and serve that larger thing with a true and abiding heart.
Or is something far vaster and greater going on with evolution, of which humans are an inextricable part, though to this point a failing experiment? Is man truly the measure of all things?
To fail as a human being has nothing to do with society’s yardstick of status, wealth and respectability. As is plain for all with eyes to see, a person can be a billionaire and have tremendous fame, and yet be a malformed, miscreant person.
To fail as a human being means think only in terms of my self, my family, and my country. It is to be externally rather than inwardly oriented, to care more about what others think than about what one feels and thinks in one’s heart.
Still, the questions remain. Indeed, they have become more pressing and urgent, since the self has become so small and squalid; the family has disintegrated; and the nation become an empty shell of identification, no more meaningful than a worn, colored cloth waving in the wind.
It’s a strange but frequent feature of human nature that decent people often serve very false gods, literally or metaphorically speaking.
Which is worse, to believe in a false thing and serve that, or to believe in nothing and serve only oneself?
I don’t know, although I’m sure nature abhors a rational, dead heart more than an irrational, passionate one. Even so, great evils are always done in the name of great good.
One doesn’t identify with humanity; one realizes in one’s heart that one is inseparable from humanity. There is no extension of identification from the self to the tribe, from the city-state to the nation-state, and from the nation-state to the world. The expansion of identification ends at national borders in a global society. Identification itself has to go.
Why should I identify with anything? One is what one is, and has to see and remain with it to learn and grow. It isn’t merely that the old order has collapsed, which it has; it’s that all artificial, man-made orders have lost their meaning.
A prominent fellow from Ottawa wrote me last night and said, ‘“Cosmic intelligence’ presumes a different set of presuppositions than 2,000 years of Christian social thought.” Indeed it does.
Aside from the truth that “2000 years of Christian social thought” have little to do with what Jesus taught (Christianity should really be called ‘Paulism’), the Judeo-Christian philosophical framework has become as archaic in people’s lives today as an ancient archeological site.
Preserving archeological sites is important for the future of humanity; preserving thought and belief systems is destroying the future of humanity.
I’m not attacking “2000 years of Christian social thought.” There is no need to, since it’s crumbling from its own contradictions and irrelevancy.
The human experiment is failing because man’s external and technological success is being used by the fading voices of power and privilege to mask man’s inward and spiritual failure.
The larger thing that we are part of as human beings is not a nation, ethnic group or religion; it is the human race itself. Not ideally, romantically, as some kind of utopian dream, but as certain as the sun on one’s skin.
What beauty there is this moment—a bright, warm late-afternoon sun after days of clouds and rain; green grass after months of brown drought; a full, limpid stream flowing by at my feet; and birds singing above the sound of the cascading water.
Sitting in the full sun under a dying sycamore, one feels the paradox of being—at once fleeting yet timeless when one is fully present. Soon the sun slides down below the treeline, a chill descends, and the day is over.
The earth recapitulates death with the setting sun every day, and life with sunrise. Why don’t we do the same as humans?
Creation is not just what occurred 14.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang. The universe is not a clock slowly running down in entropy. Creation is recapitulated every moment in the cosmos and in nature, as it is within us when we know how to completely let to and die to experience, psychological memory and the past.
To die each day is to be reborn each day, and to deepen and grow in insight, and serve humanity until the end of one’s days.
“Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?