We Are All The Same

 

Some are in it for the money,

Some are in it for the fame.

Silly fools are these,

We are all the same.

Some say there is an afterlife,

Some say we’ve lived before.

Eternal bliss or damnation,

Or ever passing through another door.

Some say there is a god,

Some say they just don’t know.

Some say it’s irrelevant,

As onward time does go.

Whatever the case may be,

In a state of constant change.

Of one fact I am sure,

We are all the same.

 

Merely To Be

“You merely are to merely be,”

These were the words he said to me.

“I am sorry sir I do not understand”

Was my reply to the old man.

“You asked for my thoughts,

Did you not?”

As I nodded, he coughed and gazed at me,

“Well that’s what I think”, continued he.

“I merely am to merely be?”

“Don’t overthink life Davey Lee”

Apparently the old man had no more to say,

He merely smiled and walked away.

On Genuine Goodness

The basic nature of all humanity is that of genuine goodness.  The most natural of human experiences and the most noble of efforts is that of self cultivation.

As is the case with everything that is; we humans are sufficiently self equipped to function in accord with our basic nature.  Our basic nature is inwardly revealed at the point of spontaneous urges of kindness and courtesy towards strangers, and at the point of similar such inclinations of concern and compassion for those with whom we are not even acquainted.  Even though our natural tendencies and inclinations do not dictate our actions; nonetheless these spontaneous urges are most certainly indicative of that which actually is our most basic nature.  The nature of every person is that of genuine goodness, regardless of what course of action they may pursue.

Such being the case, there is no need for external instruction as to internal goodness.  We humans are sufficiently self equipped thusly.  Goodness is not driven in from without, but rather is developed from within.  In order to be good, we only need to choose to function in accord with our basic nature.

The basic nature of all humanity is that of genuine goodness.  The most natural of human experiences and the most noble of efforts is that of self cultivation.

The Genuine Goodness of Human Nature and the Christian Perspective

As most folk who are acquainted with me know, I am a firm believer that the basic nature of every single person is that of genuine goodness.  I write and converse quite often on the topic.  I recently made the acquaintance of an Internet friend who has posed a series of thoughtful questions pertaining to my assertions regarding the basic nature of all humanity.  I am all too happy to do my best to answer sincere questions, and thus today I will address the following such inquiry:

If humans are naturally good, why does Christianity beg to differ?

This question allows for a most practical discussion on the matter, for my thoughts regarding basic human nature do indeed contradict the Christian perspective on the subject (or vice versa, depending on one’s frame of reference).  This question has arisen before, as one might well imagine, since our culture is so heavily influenced by the Judeo-Christian philosophy (a fact with merits and demerits from time to time).  In order to do this topic justice, I must do the following:

-Review my thoughts regarding our basic human nature

-Discuss my thoughts regarding Christianity

-Conclude the discussion by answering the question as best I know how

A REVIEW OF MY THOUGHTS WITH REGARDS TO BASIC HUMAN NATURE

The basic nature of each and every person is that of genuine goodness.  Most entities of the cosmos function quite consistently in accord with their basic nature, yet we of the human species differ somewhat in that we are free to make select choices based upon calculated reasoning and conditioned thinking.  Consequently, individuals can and very oftentimes do function contrary to their basic nature of genuine goodness.  Such inconsistent behavior clouds the true nature of the person, and furthermore creates difficulty for we who maintain the case that all people are genuinely good to support our thinking on the matter.  Yet, the key is to realize that our actions do not always reflect our nature.  Hence, in this case, the proof of the pudding is not necessarily in the tasting of the product thereof, but rather by way of reflection upon the recipe.

Our natural function is that of genuine goodness.  Our actual function oftentimes is quite the opposite.  Yet, I maintain that every person, regardless of our many diverse personalities, conditions, situations, cultures, upbringing, and yes; even our religious beliefs; all share a common mind with regards to certain matters and situations, and that this common mind inwardly reveals and innately manifests our true nature in the most spontaneous of all settings.  I have come to believe that we do not know our basic nature by observation of the actions of others, for the inconsistency thereof clouds one’s true nature.  Rather, we know our actual nature by intuition, for every person (I do believe) innately feels certain inclinations in certain situations which reveals to us for a brief moment our own true basic nature. 

Spontaneous inclinations are based upon spontaneous feelings, which in turn reveal our actual basic nature.  Once the brevity of the moment passes, our mind then calculates thoughts which leads to our actions regarding the setting at hand.  The actions that we choose to take, if any at all, do not necessarily reveal our nature, but may very well reveal our character, which is an altogether different subject.

As an example, let us say that a person walks into a room that is empty save for one person.  A young lady is seated on a chair, with her purse on the stand which is beside her.  The young lady is weeping, head in hands, with sobs and moans which move us.  I repeat:  “WHICH MOVE US”.  That moment; that SPONTANEOUS  moment, is the setting when our basic nature creates within us a feeling over which we have no control.  Is there any  person who can deny that  FOR A MOMENT that person would not be inwardly moved by the scenario at hand?  The fact is, that our nature is such that we are momentarily disturbed by the moans of a lady sobbing or even an animal moaning in pain.  I maintain that this momentary feeling, over which we have no control, is our true nature innately moving us. 

Now, the moment that we begin to think this situation through, we are no longer feeling the natural inclinations of our basic human nature, but rather we are contemplating thoughts and calculating our decisions.  Consider a hypothetical example of four different individuals who enter the room and encounter the circumstances just as I described them. There are a variety of courses of actions that each might pursue at the point of contemplation thoughts and calculating decisions:

a)  One person might  move across the room slowly, sit next to her, and quietly inquire as to what is wrong and whether they can assist her.

b)  Another, wishing not to get involved, and out of respect for the lady, might quietly leave the room, hoping neither to have disturbed her, nor to have been noticed.

c)  A third person might sit down, and merely do their best to ignore the young lady.

d)  Another person altogether might realize an  opportunity at hand, and thus grab her purse and flee the room.

Now, I leave the assessment of the character of each person in the hypothetical scenario at hand to the reader’s own reasoning, but I assert my thoughts on the nature of each and every person.  I maintain that every person, regardless of the actions which they pursued, who encountered the scenario of a young lady weeping would MOMENTARILY be inwardly moved.  I furthermore maintain that our true basic nature of genuine goodness is that which would in fact be inwardly moving us with regards to the circumstances.  Thus, I assert that each of the four hypothetical persons so described share a common nature of genuine goodness, which spontaneously moved them each inwardly, even if for a brief moment, before they contemplated, calculated, and chose their respective courses of action.

THOUGHTS REGARDING CHRISTIANITY

Christianity is an agenda based philosophy which is based upon certain concepts which I cannot accept as reasonable (though at one time I most definitely did).  I furthermore maintain that its realm of thought is that of speculation which accepts certain theories as alleged facts. Amongst such theories:

-The theory that there is a supernatural realm

(I deny that such is reasonable.  I do not necessarily deny conclusively that such exists, I merely maintain that there is no evidence that allows that I can know conclusively that such does exist.  Hence, I deny that such is reasonable)

-The theory that there is a “heaven” and “hell”. 

 (I obviously deny that such is reasonable,  for such would be of the aforementioned supernatural realm.)

-The theory that the Judeo-Christian writings (the Bible) are supernaturally inspired. 

(I find the Bible more fascinating now than even when I believed such to be inspired material.  There are some wonderful philosophies therein; and there are some grossly misapplied and misinterpreted writings, and some clear discrepancies therein.  All such when followed as a way of life have historically created social hardships and shed innocent blood.  Inasmuch as I love certain concepts taught therein, all the while loathing others, I deny the notion that any or all such writings are inspired by the supernatural, for I deny that the belief in the supernatural is reasonable)

-The theory that humankind is inherently evil or that we are eternally accountable for our earthly discrepancies, and thus in danger of eternal hell fire and brimstone. 

 (I deny such as reasonable.  There is no evidence of the aforementioned realm to satisfy my intellectual reasoning, AND there is the aforementioned evidence of our own intuitive tendencies which reveal that our true basic nature is that of genuine goodness) 

-The theory that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, and that he saves those who believe in him from eternal punishment in hell

(I find it reasonable to accept the historicity of such an individual.  Assuming that he actually lived, and assuming the accuracy of his basic message, I believe that he was a social reformer.  In fact, his “golden rule”, which was very close to the teachings of Confucius some 500 years earlier, is actually an appeal to a universal principle of social reciprocity which in order to be applied, merely requires that one function in accord with our basic nature of genuine goodness.  Like most social reformers, his message was rejected by the established thinking of the day, as evidenced by his execution, assuming such to have actually occurred.  As to his relationship to a deity, or as to his being a deity, or as to his role regarding salvation from hellfire and brimstone, or regarding deliverance of his faithful followers into the eternal “sweet by  and by”, I reject all such as unreasonable since there is no evidence to support the theory of a supernatural realm whatsoever.)

CONCLUSION

The conflict between the Christian view that human nature is evil (“there is none righteous, no not one”), and my view that the basic nature of all humanity is that of genuine goodness; is owed to the fact that in order for the general story of Christianity to be accepted, one must adopt the view that we are naturally bad and our only hopes are to be spared from eternal damnation by the atoning effect of the sacrificial blood of a perfect Savior. 

I, on the other hand, maintain that it is more reasonable to trust my own intuition rather than to trust the alleged written revelation of another.  

In closing, I would assert that there is a synthesis of my philosophy of the genuine goodness of our basic nature with that of the Christian philosophy.  In fact, I have not changed much as a person since my days as a Christian.  I have always been sensitive to the plight of others, but at one time I thought that I was fulfilling a “mission from God” in so feeling.  Actually, I was listening to my intuition.  My closing point is this:

I maintain that the most natural of all experiences and the most noble of all endeavors is to develop from within the natural goodness which is our true basic nature.  The Christian who lives a good, generous, sensitive life;  with the aspirations of living throughout all eternity in heaven after this life, does indeed develop from within the natural goodness which was always there. 

The perspective differs in that the Christian attributes to God that which I believe is merely natural.  But the process of moral self cultivation of every individual would be most desirable and beneficial for all society, regardless whether the one party does so believing he is merely developing his natural goodness from within, or whether the other party does so in order to do “God’s will”.

And such concludes my thoughts on “The Genuine Goodness of Human Nature and the Christian Perspective”.

Davey Lee

On the Common Good and Competition

The society that determined that “the common good” would be its common goal; would accomplish that very task.  Everyone would be fed; everyone would be sheltered; everyone would be provided healthcare; everyone would be educated; and everyone would be encouraged to pursue their interests and skills for the benefit of the common good.  Commodities would be produced for consumption and practical use, and there would be absolutely no partiality in the distribution thereof.  Such is stated as a “could be”, because among the challenges to the noble concept of “the common good” is the contemporary myth that competitive markets are a superior way of life to any other, and sufficient to satisfy to the needs of humanity.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Competition is what it is.  It is a struggle which yields a winner and a loser.  In any competitive setting, such is the result, for such is the nature of the very concept.  To assert that competitive markets address OR EVER COULD address the basic needs of humanity is an insult to one’s basic intelligence, a misrepresentation of the basic nature of the concept, and a most unfortunate myth.  Competition is merely not a natural or an efficient way to live.

Not that competition is wrong.  Competition is a form of entertainment, but entertainment by reason of common sense should be experienced as a way to pass the time; not as a way to live one’s life.  I have enjoyed the experience of competition in a variety of fashions and formats my entire life.  As a child I spent many an hour playing board games with my two sisters, and  participated in countless games of “pick up” baseball, school yard basketball, and touch football.   I recall with fondness these experiences, for they were harmless bouts and feats of wits and physical skill which endeared me to my loved ones and allowed us all to enjoy some quality time together.  Yet even in those minor settings of competitive fun the logical yield was the end result:  Someone always won and someone always lost.  Such is the basic nature of competition.

To live life by means of competition is foolish at the very least, and vicious at a most rudimentary level.  Reflect upon the reality of the results of free markets:

Some have food in abundance; others go to bed hungry.

Some have shelter from the elements; others have no bed  AND are hungry.

Some have cosmetic surgery; others suffer continuous agony due to health needs.

The stomachs of those of who “win” in a society of competitive markets can be fed to excess; whereas the stomachs of those who “lose” must do without.  Those who “win” in a society of competitive markets enjoy the security and comfort of a home; whereas those who “lose” must do without.  Those who “win” in a society of competitive never lack the funds for even selective surgery; whereas those who “lose” must bear pain and physical breakdown for lack of means to health care. 

Allegedly wiser minds than mine say that such does not have to be the case.   Proponents and apologists for a society based upon competitive markets assert that those who lack in a capitalistic society are to blame for their own state of poverty.  Yet such is not consistent with the countless examples of the poor and needy who are overworked, underpaid, and oftentimes unemployed.

Competition is what it is.  Competition is a struggle which yields winners and losers.  Real life winners are those who bask in the pleasant rays of the excessive supply of capitalism.  Real life losers are those who are burned by the reality of the natural yield of competition.

Competitive markets do not, nor will they ever supply the needs of humanity.  A society which would seek “the common good” requires depth of thought, sensitivity for the needs of others, and impartial distribution of practical resources for the benefit of every single person.  There is no place for allowing anyone to lose in the all too real experience of life.  At least, not in a society which seeks the common good as its common goal.

Society and Human Nature

Is not society an extension of the self? 

The basic nature of all humanity is that of genuine goodness.  There is no reason to doubt such, for if each person reflects upon their most basic inclinations, they will find that deep in their intellect, they WANT to do the right thing.  In fact, every person has a common sense of natural “oughtness” which is derived from our common sense of natural “goodness”.  Our natural inclination to do “the right thing” is based upon our intuitive knowledge of the very concept.  Hence, there are circumstances which are so spontaneous and so instant that before we have time to rationalize our actions, we feel inclined to do what we naturally know is right under the circumstances.  This natural knowledge of “the right thing” is in fact our intuition, by which we can know our own basic nature.

For example, let us presume that we see another person lieing on the side of the road, clearly injured and obviously incapacitated.  Would not our natural inclination in such a circumstance be to stop and render aid?  That instantaneous feeling is our basic nature responding to our intuitive knowledge to do the right thing.

Now, this is not to say that our actions are always or even ever in accord with our basic nature.  In this very scenario, the instantaneous inclination to render aid, would immediate lead to rationalization of the circumstance which would lead to a consequent course of action. One person might speculate that based upon the remoteness of the area that it might be too dangerous to risk personal injury, so she might pass on by (And, she might use her cell phone to call for help, which would be practical.  Yet, her original SPONTANEOUS thought would have been to stop and render aid).  Yet another more cynical type might speculate that the injured person likely brought these unfortunate circumstances on himself, and thus he might choose to just pass on by and not “get involved”.  Then again, another person might note that the injured person’s skin color does not suit his taste, so he might pass on by due to a personal  prejudice.  

These are but a few reasons that might motivate a person to “just pass on by”  and perhaps to even “not get involved”, yet I maintain that EVERYONE would have a momentary, instantaneous urge to “do the right thing”.   That spontaneous urge to do the right thing is beyond our control, yet the course of action that we pursue is very much within our control.

So I return to my original statement that society is but an extension of the self.  Should we not as a society function in accord with our basic nature?  And is not our basic nature that of genuine goodness?

Idealistic I may be, but I believe that my case is sound.  We all WANT to do the right thing.  We merely get caught up in our own lives and circumstances, and thus we so oftentimes act contrary to our basic nature.

When a person lives contrary to his/her basic nature of genuine goodness, that is most unfortunate.  When a society functions contrary to the basic nature of genuine goodness, the ramifications are catastrophic and heart wrenching.

I maintain that the most natural experience and the most noble endeavor is that of self cultivation of the genuine goodness of our basic nature on a daily basis. 

Society is but an extension of the self….

The Cosmos and Collective Relationships

The only natural collective relationship is that of interconnection between all beings of the cosmos.The only natural collective identity then is that of the universe.

The only natural collective interests then are those of the universe as a unit.

The cosmos is our example of natural relations and collective interests. The interests of the universe are those of harmony and balance. These interests are met solely due to the fact that things of the cosmos function according to their basic nature.

Were the bodies of the cosmos to confederate and conspire for the purposes of conquest and commercial interests, then the bodies of the cosmos would be functioning contrary to their basic nature. Furthermore, the harmony and balance of the cosmos would give way to chaos and continuous “star wars”.

When humanity thinks of identity and interests in terms of natural relations; as opposed to thinking of such in terms of national relations, perhaps then harmony and balance will be the way of humanity; as it truly is the way of the cosmos.

Indeed, the cosmos is our example of natural relations and collective interests.