To help this world be a better place must certainly be every thinking human’s desire. Our planet is faced with innumerable problems, physical and spiritual; the attempts of our leaders to solve them seen neither wholly pathetic nor wholly laudable. They are doing the best they can; even the apparent exceptions to this rule act positively, given the definitions of reality to which they ascribe.
But, as courageous as the noble attempts to solve Earth’s problems have always been, and as successful as some of the solutions have proved to be in some limited areas of concern, still the over-all depth, breadth and intensity of the difficulties facing the world have only increased over the centuries until the existence of the biosphere and of humanity itself is today swinging in the balance.
It was disastrous for the Carthaginians when the Romans burned Carthage to the ground; it was certainly unfortunate for the Israelites when Rome razed Jerusalem and sent her people into captivity; it was devastating to the Native Americans when the Europeans moved westward; but today we seem determined to destroy the entire world.
It was tragic when the Sahara swallowed the fertile fields of Africa due to human incompetence, but today we lose a football size field of rain forest every second; every year, an area of rain forest the size of Pennsylvania is burned and converted to pasture, losing forever not only the wondrous potential pharmaceuticals growing there in their natural state but simultaneously cutting the throat of the largest oxygen- producing organism in the world.
We have all enjoyed the benefits of aerosols and cars and air conditioners, but the ozone deteriorates. It seems that soon being outside anywhere at any time of day will be deadly. It was a great accomplishment when our miracle drugs dramatically reduced infant deaths, but today we have well over three hundred million people eking out lives of barest subsistence without meeting the needs of minimal nutrition. Three hundred million of our fellow humans are malnourished or starving today. What did you have for dinner?
Any solution designed to solve any of these problems or the myriad of others facing humanity is certainly good and should be encouraged. But it is not now and will never be sufficient to address the problems of the human condition one at a time or even in groups of related problems at one time. We can link acid rain, ozone depletion, the ruining of our rivers, lakes and seas with excesses in our technologies, but the basic issue will remain untouched by any such approach.
The reason for this is simple. We can attempt to solve a vast number of problems, but the solutions will always cause more problems as long as we do not know the result of our actions. With limited minds, obstacles will continue to mutate and evolve as do bacteria in response to our latest miracle drug. A host of new and worse difficulties will continue to arise until the day we change the fundamental error of our thinking.
There is a field next to this house where I’m writing these words. A year ago it was a pasture where a dozen horses grazed. Today it holds thirty houses; another fifteen are scheduled for completion within the next six months. From the standpoint of the silent field, this must feel exactly like a cancerous growth.
What utility do these houses have in relation to the land? Where once there was a mutual harmony of organic life, now there is concrete, asphalt, chaos, death. And yet the new residents living here are grateful for this relatively cheap housing: for many of these young families, this is their first escape from apartments into the grand experiment of private ownership. And in another thirty years, this will doubtless be a quiet, even a sedate neighborhood, with tall, stately oaks and maples lining the streets.
I remember climbing up a huge old stump—twice as high as I was tall, four times as wide as it was high—down the hill from the house where I grew up in Seattle. It was in the middle of a forty acre tract which we called, “The Swamp.”
This ground was not particularly swampy, at least not much more than anything of Seattle, but calling it The Swamp added a certain dark mystery to young children.
Fifty years before I entered The Swamp in awe and wonder, there was a magnificent stand of Western red cedar and Douglas fir there. A hundred years before that, the evergreens were so thick and tall all over Western Washington that anyone magically transported there from today would think they had wandered into the most wonderful park on the Earth.
What a tragedy from the perspective of the Native Americans! But our small tragedy when The Swamp was razed and turned into the sterile asphalt of a parking lot and the plastic and steel of a shopping mall was no less tangible and painful for our childish sensibilities. And yet the close proximity of the nascent stores was viewed as a Godsend by several senior citizens of our neighborhood.
I remember looking for an ancestral home with my family when I was nine. We could not find it—it was gone, a memory now only, replaced by one more freeway off-ramp. This in the middle of a wheat field in Eastern Washington! A serious loss, surely—but those who use the freeway every day to hurry home to their families might disagree.
What exactly is a problem? A great evil from one perspective may prove a blessing from another. But even if we can find some problems that everyone can agree are definitely problems, it does not follow that everyone will agree on the solutions.
And even if everyone everywhere were to agree on the problems and the solutions, there is no guarantee that the solutions would work. Even if everyone everywhere agreed beyond the slightest doubt that the Sun circled the Earth, our planet and our neighbor star would not be likely to deviate from their orbits.
Reality is not democratic!
Regardless of how much we would like everyone to believe in our cherished dream worlds, it doesn’t make them real for anyone other than our own selves.
Don’t assume I am implying that it is wrong to attempt to solve any and all problems. Everything that can be done should certainly be done. What I am saying is that our solutions have never worked well because we as a species have never addressed the one fundamental problem that is causing all the others. How do we transform our actions so that they have only life-supporting effects?
Until this basic issue is addressed, it will never be possible to solve the myriad difficulties of the
human condition. How can this be done?
‹ Sheridan Census-"How many busy minds?" Horse Slaughter ›
Everything here is
Submitted by Kevala on Fri, 03/19/2010 - 00:34.
Everything here is everywhere;
What is not here is nowhere at all.
This world is subject to manifold uncertainties. Making the human body secure is difficult or impossible. If it is not fed regularly, it starves. If it is not protected from the elements, it becomes ill or dies. It is subject to accidents: it can easily be crushed, broken, burned. There appears to be little or no possibility of living much beyond the century mark.
Financial security is a chimera, shaky in the best of times. At any moment, the meaning and structure of our lives can be shaken to the core by death or illness of a loved one. This life is fundamentally uncertain.
Even the most expensive defensive armaments can be surmounted, subverted, destroyed.
Given these obvious facts, what choice is there other than impotent frustration or despair? We shake our fist in rage at the cruel, judgmental God who created this horribly painful world.
Joy is fleeting at best -- a stolen kiss, then the darkness and isolation of permanent loneliness or the dullness of blind, mindless fog. How many of us have chosen to eclipse our subtle perceptions to avoid seeing the ugly reality of Earth? How many of us dull our outraged senses with movies, television, videos, work, drugs, alcohol, or a countless series of other anodynes to still our pained and outraged sensibilities?
How many of us have ever dared question why? And for the rare seeker of Ultimate Knowledge, has not the result more often than not been the discovery that life is essentially meaningless? Is it a pointless drama created by a mad God?
Or is it perhaps a random result of biochemical processes, inevitable somewhere, sometime in a nearly Infinite Universe? How often does the seeker despair of independent discovery and adopt belief systems of others, be they religious, philosophical or scientific?
Where is one who has succeeded in knowing the True Self, the Inner Controller, the Divine Mind?
Our senses lie to us. Our thought systems structured by sensory experience, logic or belief are necessarily flawed if we take as premise anything we perceive as ultimately real. Life is not the result of a consensus of opinion. It is not dependent on our sensory experience, our rational thought or on our beliefs.
Our senses lie to us. Every day we see the Sun rising in the East, setting in the West. This was incontrovertible fact for countless millennia to the vast majority of humanity. The Sun circled the flat Earth. Everybody knew that. But the perception was false; the logical and scientific systems based on the observations were flawed; the religious and philosophical systems based on this common daily experience were in error.
Our senses lie to us. For centuries, the indivisible nature of matter was accepted as gospel. But what rational mind today doubts that matter is only congealed energy? Most of that which we consider solid is 99.9999% empty space! Take an atom and expand it to the size of the Louisiana Super Dome andwhere is the matter? A tiny beebee sized lump in the center is the nucleus, containing the protons and neutrons; a few infinitesimal ghosts flitter around the outer bleachers, these are the electrons; all the rest is empty space. Where is the solid matter?
Our senses lie to us. What we have come to believe, based on our experiences, may not necessarily be true. Our knowledge of the world is changing at an ever-accelerating rate. That which was certain fact yesterday is today questioned and may be refuted tomorrow. The sum total of human knowledge is doubling every two years. Who is abreast of its discoveries? Who, indeed even can be abreast of its discoveries?
It is common today to view our scientific achievements with pride; some of us therefore feel contempt for the woefully ignorant philosophical and religious systems of previous generations. This is human nature. But it is just another level of ignorance.
Our interpretation of reality is everything. We have many good reasons for all of our feelings, but the fact is that our moods change like the seasons: at one minute we are filled with love and joy, at the next, we know only hatred, pain and fear. And in every case, we feel completely justified in our feelings, based on our interpretation of reality.
The principle in operation is that the world is as we perceive it. There are fundamental differences in degrees of consciousness from person-to-person and even from moment-to-moment within each of us. Some days we feel better than other days, some days we feel less burdened, some days we are more creative, happier, more at peace with ourselves and with our Universe.
There are countless degrees of consciousness available to every human. There is a state of conscious where all is still and dark and the conscious mind thinks of nothing. This we call sleeping.
There is another state where we are limited only by our imaginations; absolutely anything we can conceive occurs. This we call dreaming.
And there is the state we call waking, structured by certain definite physical laws, in which life is quite predictable. This is a state where if you place your hand in fire, you will be burned, where if you step unprotected off the top of a fifty-story building, you will surely die. Pain, suffering and ineluctable death are the eternal handmaidens of life in the waking state.
But the waking state is subject to variation. Anything that changes is not permanent, it is not eternal. We can at least conceive of lives with little pain and suffering, even if death in the end is the final result. What might the limit of such variations be? What is the potential of human life? Is there a limit?
Most would agree that there have been “great souls” on this planet -- individuals who are so far beyond the standard that we revere them as being enlightened, saints, geniuses, or even God incarnate. Is it that there are only a gifted few who are capable of deeper thought, perception, understanding and love?
Or does everyone have this potential, and is it simply not developed in the average person?
There are many ancient traditions in the world that maintain that anyone can rise to complete human consciousness, that anyone can live the highest state of human development. Far from being the exclusive privilege of the chosen few, blessed by birth or circumstance, these traditions claim this is the natural birthright of all. If this is true, it must not be difficult to move into a more expanded level of consciousness.
It must be neither complicated nor a matter of faith.
It must not require a giant intellect nor an unswerving belief.
Nothing must be required that is not possessed by all humans everywhere. The only requirements would be curiosity and the willingness to give this development a chance. How curious. This well describes the practice of Ascension as taught by the Ishayas.
I fail to see a solution to
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 03/16/2010 - 17:06.
I fail to see a solution to the OP's pruposed problems in putting faith, hope and trust in God. That's just not the catch all solution you'd like it to be. Think about all the blood spilled, all the land sterilized, all the lives ruined across history, all in the name of religion. Not just across history- today, this very minute. Weather it's a suicide bomber set to kill people and earn his way into heaven... or a new, larger-than-life super church, which they cleared forests or grasslands to build. Every one of it's patrons filled to the brim with "faith" and "hope", even as "God's creatures" are displaced by expansion. Faith in God could be a tool, a component in the solution (if there is a solution) but without action faith is simply an empty thing, a thing that makes us feel good but dosen't actually get anything done.
My thoughts on this: "How do we transform our actions so that they have only life-supporting effects?"
In this day and age, I personally don't know if it can be done. People push push push to consume- that's all life seems to be anymore is the need to consume any and everything. Industry, progress... these things make life easier, make life better. At the same time, the natural world is the price of progress. People want to save the earth, but comfort always wins out. "The country side it beautiful, there's lots of wildlife, but we need the fuel underground to make our lives easier- rip it up." "What breath taking grassland! But, alas, we need to pop up another cookie cutter suberb because the population is booming every year."
So on, so forth. People aren't connected with the earth anymore. At some point back in history people had to learn, to know, to be a part of the natural world in order to survive. We've lost that, we've become as mindless cattle stuck in a muddy feedlot.
The answer is so simple that
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 03/16/2010 - 13:23.
The answer is so simple that most humans fail to believe it, let alone to even consider it. Put our faith, hope, and trust in God instead of man.
That has not worked so far
Submitted by Jared Koenig (not verified) on Thu, 03/18/2010 - 14:50.
I am confused as to what god should one put "faith, hope, and trust" in. Krishna, Thor, Horus, Ra, Zeus, Dionysus, Allah, Mithra, Ishtu, Helios, Mercury, Yahweh, Xi Wang-mu, Shiva, Ishtar, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, ect...? Also, because you support not having "faith, hope, and trust" in man, I do not suppose I will ever see you at the hospital. After all, you wouldn't want to trust your life to some lowly doctor who has the power to save but isn't worthy of that trust because he doesn't have a book that was written about him by bronze age goat herders. Don't drive a car because you would be trusting engineers that designed and built that car that were only men and women. Do not drink water out of the tap because it was only men and women that have purified it and created the means to get it to you. Do not eat anything that you have not grown or hunted down yourself, or else you would be trusting the lowly men and women who grow, harvest, clean, package, and prepare it for you. Your attitude is detrimental to an advancing society.