Fire
Tripod
The Nine Muses The Philosophy of the GOOD
Fire
Tripod

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Just Plain Musings: Living



After all the philosophical musings, there are still the ordinary musings on the practical job of living in this world. Why are selfishness and the separation and the hardship it brings about, so hard to defeat? Why can’t we humans extend to others a love, like Christ himself demonstrated to us; that perfect love that asks nothing in return; that is given as a gift from one human being to another? We follow his words and deeds in the bible, but we don’t seem to grasp the real gist of what he was giving to us. We even use the bible as a wedge to separate, and divide us even more. If Christians themselves cannot find the love needed to unite them into a single whole, as Christ intended, then how will we ever reach out to the other groups and faiths of our world, to join in the love needed to form the trust and cooperation that can alone make this world the united whole we have always been striving for. Why are we all hypocrites, saying one thing but doing another?

I know how hard it is, because even as I write these words, I know that I harbor within my own heart the prejudices and biases that divide me from others. The effects of the hurt that others have caused die hard within us. Often they remain buried, and out of sight to our consciousness, lurking as mere feelings and moods that spring to life as a hatred or a vindictive streak that stops us short of allowing us to feel that oneness that Christ showed to all. How can we come to grips with something that we don’t even know exists?

We meet someone, we immediately feel something, an old memory or an old wound; we immediately form an opinion or a judgment about that person, either for good or not. Associations, not even conscious, create within us judgments about people we don’t even know. If we create these judgments about total strangers, how much more difficult is it to do as Christ told us, to turn the other cheek to someone who has grievously hurt us; to forgive a true enemy? We all seem to be caught in the vicious cycle that hurt causes. The only way to break such a cycle is to go against the forces within us that cause us to hurt someone else. The world is as it is because people continually think that hurting will resolve hurt; it doesn’t.

What keeps the human from forever missing that prefect love – is it only the scars of fear and hurt? No there is more to it than just hurt. The human individual is the arrogant human. The individual and the arrogance of selfishness is part of it too.

Some years ago, Ayn Rand proclaimed her philosophy of selfishness, which touted the glories of the individual. Her stirring proclamation of the glory of the individual human spirit, and its triumph over the mediocrity of communalism, beguiled the masses into thinking that the individual was the hallmark of man’s purpose in the universe, and the height of his achievement. Her personal history of the misery she suffered at the hands of the communal society that Communism had created, caused her to miss an important point. Individual freedom and the achievements and creativity it engenders are only truly experienced when they are shared and freely given to society. 1 That is the crowning achievement of art, and all it really is; art is meant to be shared. The human cannot create in a vacuum. He strives to achieve affects that will be shared and experienced by all. Not everyone can create, but all can share the triumph of creation. And that is the point; man or woman the creator – the individual – can become man or woman the arrogant superior being. And just as Icarus flew into the sun in his arrogance, and destroyed himself, so our arrogance deludes us into thinking that we are too good to turn the other cheek, to forgive and forget. The human always builds on the achievements of others; not on the backs of others. Man or woman finds their glory in the good their achievements create, not on the misery they engender. And that is what keeps us from making that effort that Christ made; from reaching that perfect, selfless love that can only engender the trust that will finally save mankind from itself – arrogance. I am myself arrogant in trying to tell others, of what I perceive as my own failings. Where I fail, I urge others not to fail. Our world must not fail, for our own sakes and the sakes of our young. And that is still another paradox in the paradox of life – society depends on the individual, and the individual on society; neither can be slighted or ignored.

And finally, as I have reiterated many times on this web site, it is the Good in us that allows us to find the way; it will enable us to live our lives as true warriors, and carry out our duty by ignoring the hurt that society rewards us with, and the arrogance of our own self-importance. Like the warrior, who on the battlefield, defends his comrades as he defends himself, so we must also live life with even the least of our brethren in mind.



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FOOTNOTES

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1 This does not mean that artists or innovators should give away their creations, or compromise them, but that they should not leverage them to hurt or use others. Man can increase himself, as long as he does not decrease others. It also does not mean the elimination of private property – the communist tried this to their utter detriment. As in all things a mean must be reached; their is enough on earth to provide for all equitably – the equitably is the problem.

Originally Published:

November 15, 2007

Revised:

July 3, 2014