Humanity, Survival and the Way of Truth

Humanity emerged into an earth with the highest biodiversity ever, sustained within largely cooperative ecosystems. These ecosystems had evolved over hundreds of millions of years to exist in homeostasis that is a dynamic balance of collaborative harmony with a minimum of controlled conflict. Within such a milieu both the individual and the community found meaningful expression. Although parallels can be drawn with the biblical Garden of Eden, I am not particularly making that analogy.

Humanity, Survival and the Way of Truth

“The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane” Mahatma Ghandi

Survival on this Earth has been hard for people for as long as we know. When I speak of the difficulties we constantly face I do not only intend those of a physical nature, but also mental, emotional and spiritual. There seems to be an inverse correlation between these elements in that the more physically comfortable or safe we feel the more mentally, emotionally and spiritual disturbed we become. We are a fundamentally troubled species. Human history has been fraught with struggles for dominance that have left a wake of death and suffering, and not only for our species. Humanity is a young species dating back only some hundreds of thousands of years. Many other species trace their ancestry across millions of years.

Thus humanity, with its over-sized intellect, was trust upon the earth and here we are today still wrestling with the same existential predicament as our ancestors. I do not intend to cast people as the villains of this story. Our troubles have been with us for so long that we take them to be normal and have become indifferent to any other world view.

There seems to be a long standing indifference by a huge section of the world’s population that has made people apathetic and complacent resulting in a widespread abdication of responsibility with regard to the consequences of actions. People are born into one religion or another but nonetheless only pay lip service to adherence to a higher moral order.

Such behaviour by millions, and now billions, of people has created a vacuum of attention that has been filled throughout human history by opportunistic military, economic and political interests. It appears that the masses prefer to be told what to do rather than apply their senses and discerning abilities to a choice. It is inexplicable that people are so naïve so as to assume that the powers-that-be have their best interest at heart, in spite of the fact that this has repeatedly, and across all known history, not been the case.

In my opinion, humanity is accelerating towards highly undesirable negative outcomes. The military, economic and political interests will continue to do what they have always done and the vast majority of people will succumb, as they have always done.

There are some though who can see through this wretched state of affairs and think that we can do better and should be better. How can such people survive in such an indifferent world?

I think that it is important to be well informed about the situation that your particular community is in and to have some idea as to how this would evolve in coming years. With this in mind one might develop a meaningful altruistic purpose that one finds fulfilling and worthwhile. This can be a plan for an individual, a family, a group of friends or of people of like mind. In articulating such a purpose one would need to adopt a code for ethical conduct that would be used as a moral compass. Such a moral compass should be sustained, and especially so, in chaotic times.

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to face adversity without a spiritual backbone.

Humanity, Survival and the Way of Truth

We do see the physical world to have had a starting point. What the situation before this point might have been is truly unknowable to our intellect. We do still require, however, to put our best hypothesis forward so as to extrapolate from it what the characteristics of existence after that ’big bang’ moment could be. So, let us say that before anything else there was God and absolutely nothing else. There was then a creation moment when God expressed himself/herself into existence and what ensued is evolutionary history. We may be right or wrong about the whys and wherefores and details of evolutionary history but we must accept that this has resulted in what we perceive through our senses today.

By this reasoning there is nothing that could possibly exist that is outside God’s expression and I strongly believe that it is on this bedrock that we must build the edifice of our spirituality. It will thus be our source of strength and inspiration. All scriptures of all religions are clear on the point that we are the children of a good God. As an expression of such a God, we should not consider that we have a ‘duty’ towards a higher moral order but that we ‘are’ that higher moral order, with all that that implies.

We should strive to survive and to be a beacon of hope. It is our responsibility to keep the torch of truth burning and to pass it on to future generations. “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” Mahatma Ghandi.

This article was published in the Times of Malta on the 16 June 2023

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