We are terrifying creatures; awful and selfish, beings that not only have forgotten how to love, treasure and respect those around us; we are now so many cracked souls that lack the knowledge of how to care properly for ourselves. We turn ourselves over to desire, indulging in selfish actions that ultimately fail to serve our needs, to mend the fractures that spread like cobwebs throughout the fragile material our lives are crafted from.
It would be so nice, so easy to believe that humans are good, that at the heart of every individual, if properly motivated, there is a core that decent. It would be easy to then to believe that if we lift up enough people, if we prick at the hearts of enough of the affluent, we can change the world into someplace that we need not suffer. This belief is rejected - there is no heart of good. The core of our very being is built around selfishness and pride, and it takes willful effort to rise beyond that. Benevolence alleviates guilt, charity gifts washes the giver with pleasure. We alternately bless and curse the success, the providence, of those around us, dependant on our own situation…
And we have the audacity to do good without examining our motivations.
But the point of this ongoing work is not to simply to stress the depravities from which we can not escape. It is to evaluate how the institutions of mankind function through the lens of this understanding of who we are. It is to encourage constant evaluation of self, recognition of our motivations. It is to propose the cultivation of a generation that takes these principles of mindfulness and understandings of human nature and applies them to the governing of their own lives.
Lovely as these ideals read (and be sure that every reader knows a different version of this to be the truest form) we must now address why this battle is already lost to our generation, and maybe even for those to follow. We fight the tyranny of dogma, the passage of beliefs and behaviours, both true and untrue; we all have them, the beliefs of our parents, our grandparents, mingled in the waters of our own peer group. We harden into it, and it becomes a part of us, tools by which we test our reality, these truths by which we live. They help us to discover our peers and to identify the interlopers. They protect us from many things that would harm us. But because the passage of dogma is dependant on authority, and the youth are not encouraged to test and recognize the selfish nature of themselves, they grow only to continue to repeat the sins and atrocities of their elders. Those that break free, that test the dogmatic teaching of their elders are emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically abused; the elders, the culture, the society expects that the principles of selfishness will reign and to escape the pain, the wayward child will return to the flock.
How can there ever be a change in a system like this? How can there be right and wrong in a world that is ruled by the tyrant force of dogma? There is only approval and disapproval in our world, a reality governed only by the values of the rules, or worse, by the untested values that we have inherited from our youth. It would seem we are beyond hope.
Again, this is rejected; so long some are aware, so long as some ignore the pain and seek for something better, we are capable of creating change. We must set aside our ultimate goals, resign ourselves to the fact that Utopia is ultimately No Place; instead, we must focus our energies on laying the paths that will not only carry us toward those distant goals but allow others to follow in our wake.
Ultimately, it will come down to the communities, the pockets of like minded people who live and care for each other. The closest thing most of us will ever experience to what we desire from Utopia is the safety and joy we feel when in the company of our families, the joy of knowing that no matter what happens, there is someone nearby that cares for you unconditionally, who is invested in your success and is willing to share in your failures. We seek to the comfort that we lose in a world that tells us that all you possess is yours and yours alone, that you do not owe anything to anyone. We have stripped ourselves of the responsibilities and obligations of family and community, not realizing that in the loosing of these burdens, we have separated ourselves from our desires. We have begun to demand that everyone recognize us as family, and in doing so, we continue to alienate ourselves from others.
Look beyond the issue that weighs most heavily on your mind; examine it holistically within the greater framework of your life. Seek your values, your guiding principles - test everything, allow none of your thoughts or actions to go unchallenged. Rebuild your family and relationships, seeking not only that which adds to you, but consciously seeking to be a blessing to others who travel with you. Would you share in the suffering of a fellow pilgrim?
Author's Note -
Some of you may have noticed that this essay is late in updating; I whole heartedly apologize for this and promise to do better in the future.
This is not the essay that I had originally meant to submit for your consideration, but the more I wrestled with my first idea, the more I came to realize that I had not laid out the groundwork of my beliefs and philosophy for the reader to understand. I'm not even sure I have done so effectively in the work above, as I believe it speaks more to my passion than my reason.
This is where we must come together - ask me questions, contact me and challenge my beliefs. I have been alone with my own thoughts for far too long; lend me yours, and let us see what we can create.
JD Gryphion 07-27-17, 23:00