REFLECTIONS ON GOD AND THE TASKS OF HUMANS
I view God as a living, loving, divine, infinite power that created all matter to be cared for and used for the satisfaction and happiness of all living things. God is a force for love that exists in everything. This force thus shapes the fundamental nature of all living things, including humans with their functions; physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual. This divine force designed humans with the ability of ultimate choice or free-will of attention, thoughts, feelings and actions. A good person suffers, not due to God but because of humans making choices with bad consequences. God created a beautiful world for us to live peacefully and justly in, with compassion and love for all things.
Compassion means to empathize with and to love. Empathy and love requires us to realise that there is good and bad in everyone. To empathize with another means having a deep personal connection with another person through imagining or perceiving oneself in "the other's shoes", or through viewing life intimately from that person's viewpoint or perspective. Empathy goes beyond sympathy. It reaches deeper, beyond having the same feelings as another, especially past feeling sad for another or sympathizing, to both understanding why the sadness or other feeling exists, and acting to change or enhance people's lives. Compassion also requires forgiveness and finding everything which we have in common. It means knowing that we have in common our human functions and our ultimate purpose of being happy and satisfied, and finding our common experiences over time and location of human society. Through connecting to our commonness, in a universe of unlimited dimensions, we are able to understand or to know one-selves and other people, and thus to forgive and love one-selves and others.
What the world needs now is for everyone to connect personal responsibility and personal spirituality with changing the world from escalating social in-justice and environmental destruction to social justice and environmental sustainability. Everyone is responsible for regarding the consequences of his or her actions. Suffering is a reality when humans either consciously or sub consciously choose objects or external focuses of awareness or attention, and subjects or internal focuses of awareness or attention, which generate thoughts, feelings and actions which are destructive to their souls and spirits.
On an individual level human actions are directly motivated by goals, that is, thoughts of intentions, and by what is called one's perspective, world view, stance, view-point or attitude of mind, which is primarily a feeling function of the human. These latter terms refer to the way in which one observes and understands the world, and this way is influenced by a personís daily experiences, or contact with the world. There is a circular effect with what we choose to pay attention to causing happenings or experiences, experiences causing perspective and intentions, and perspective and intentions causing what we choose to pay attention to.
At the global level everyone's actions, based on choices of attention, perspectives and intentions together affect every happening in the world. We are the cause. What happens in the whole world is the effect.
Our understanding of people may require a historical materialistic, spiritual and religious world-view of human-kind. It may require a close examination of the nature of humans, the structure of human groups, and of the inter-relatedness of materialistic, spiritual and religious influences on all of humanity, the nations of the world and on individuals. The welfare of the people of a nation in ways characteristic of each historical era has been dependent both upon the natural resources which the land the people live on yields and upon the actions of everyone in that country and in the rest of the world, which together affect nature everywhere due to our inter-connectedness.
History shows us that the first humans lived as hunter gatherers under a 'primitive' system of communism, with a world view that they were intimately connected to or dependent upon nature. With the neurological development of human beings, and with the rise of co-operative labour and of specialised tools and ideas for production among certain human groups, the standard of living of these particular groups increased. From the hunter-gatherer age, a complex network of human relationships appeared world-wide, characterised by "raid and trade", and by "competition and collaboration." But, as humans manipulated the land to grow crops and to farm animals, and as they manipulated people to trade and battle with for resources within their increasing proximity, some individuals appropriated the means of production by violence and stealth. Competition overwhelmed collaboration.
Gradually, the First World or developed countries became dominated by selfish leaders who economically dominated the Third World or developing countries. Such individuals increased their standard of living at the cost of others living in poverty. Selfishness, greed and materialism became their world-view and intentions. These life-denying values became their true religion or their institutionalised deep way of connecting to the universe. Worldwide, religions i.e. institutional vehicles of spirituality became dominantly based on materialism, connecting people to production rather than to nature. Human-kind failed to fulfil their ultimate or single fundamental function and purpose, that is to be one of all happy and satisfied human beings in the world. Our spirituality, i.e. our intimate relationship with God was repressed as individual people's attempts to balance materialism with spirituality, through balancing one's own total needs with other people's total needs, were overwhelmed by a dys-functional world society.
Individuals in a nation inherit their niche or place in society from their descendants and care-givers and from the behaviour of all individuals in the world. Every person in the world is an in-extricable part of the web of political, economic, social, civil and cultural elements of world society. Some people claim that violence is intrinsic in human beings, and that it is inevitable that human groups will go to war against other groups, in order for the very good to overcome the very bad. It is sad that some human beings have such a limited and literal view or perspective of the workings of the human world. They have lost sight of the richness and potential of the human being, and of the fact that we only survive as a human "race" due to our inter-connectedness, and thus there is a need for balance in everything, whether it be a balance of food between the starving nations and the well-fed ones, or an inner balance of one's own personal emotions.
I believe that it is not the characteristic skin colour and physical features of the people of different nations which divide human beings. Rather, it is the application or lack of application of our higher human functions of understanding, respecting, and loving or caring for ourselves and other people, through our free-will, which either divides or unites life.
I think that the world is in need of a social analysis and practice, encompassing a historical materialistic, spiritual and religious world view, that promotes a deep understanding, acceptance and transformation of social structures, and thus lays the foundation to promote loving contact amongst all people in the world. The time is ripe now for a movement to point the way to real wisdom or to experiential knowledge and to realised intentions.
The call is here for faith, understanding and intentions all with action, instead of theoretical knowledge and uninformed action.
The message now is to learn and to act, and to intend and to do.
The practical application of love requires us to be kind to, and to help others daily, and to participate positively in community groups and political processes. If the handful of people in power in the world refuse to live with loving personal morality, then the rest of us can try to influence them to change their selfish world views. A re-vitalization of individual personal responsibility to others and for oneself, and of personal spirituality underlies a fundamental transformation of society. Political parties and activists must state, or have revealed the human values which they uphold in order to maintain their systems and the changes they desire. Only then are people able to make a clear, informed decision about their support or non support of a particular political party or figure.
Those concerned primarily with advocating religious and spiritual or ethical values must direct that these values be put into daily practice, and that individuals extend themselves to searching for the understanding and practices that are required to fundamentally transform the world.
God designed humans to regard the welfare of others. Having concern for others means that one is engaged in altruism. A resolution follows for those who have a calling to make altruism their moment to moment way of life.
"I cheerfully approach life and with a
positive and loving attitude I will
always strive to understand the world
and to help everyone to the utmost
of my ability."
One person taking up the call to be altruistic generates a chain reaction around her or him of others taking up the call of altruism. The altruistic being of one person among many furthers social justice and peace all over the world.
(c) Lai Chew Yarn, August 1996
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