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The Elusive Truth

Commentary

I was raised by devout Christian parents, but I have never been a member of any church. I do not claim an understanding of the world and its problems beyond that of anyone else out hoeing in their garden. It is plain to see however, that there are many crosscurrents in the overall mentality of humankind. Perhaps mankind does, and should, rule the world, but human kings should never rule mankind. We have enough to each rule ourselves.

A soliloquy from one of Wm. Shakespeare’s dramas, I think it was Hamlet, who said, “To be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them …” It appears that most of humanity has usually taken the latter route, and taken arms as a solution of their problems.

We have catapulted from one war to another over hundreds of generations. It should finally appear that war is not a solution, for after those hundreds of generations, we are still struggling with that sea of troubles. Have we simply not understood who, or what, the problem is? Each generation must learn anew. I would suggest that our problem may simply be the fact that we suffer from a degree of ignorance, which our egotistical nature refuses to recognize. In his book, “This Thing Called You,” Ernest Holmes says “The limitation of locomotion and travel in ox cart days was not imposed by divine fiat. It was imposed by ignorance.” Our ignorance is not overcome in one generation. Somehow, we all seem to think we know enough.

Humanity is the basic problem. Someone who despises you to the degree that they try to eliminate you from the earth gives one pause as to how to deal with them. The main problem seems to be our lack of agreement on what life is all about. Do we educate our children to realistically cope with reality? We fail to agree on just what reality happens to be? Our main purpose in education seems to train people to function in society, and how to earn a living. In education circles we have very little to say about how to live that living. We may get into philosophy and psychology later in college, but by that time we are pretty well set in our appraisals of reality. In accepting freedom as a tenet in our society, we have unwittingly approved the freedom of ignorance, as well as the freedom of intelligence. We are all a little of both, but that is not an invitation to dictatorial rule.

Joseph Goebbels, Germany’s Minister of Propaganda for the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, demonstrated what the misuse of information can do to turn a population into twisted forms. We are quick to grasp at any straw if one thinks it will bring him unlimited power.

The basic problem in all of civilization is, and always has been: Is life just an accident of nature, so eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you die; or is life a gift from a divine creator, which gives any human the chance to grow from ignorance to intelligence, to become a master of himself throughout eternity?

We live with many differences in what religious people believe. We have different ideas of what a supreme being is, or ought to be. It is beyond our ability to define God for everyone, as we have different mentalities. Is he a person sitting on a throne somewhere, all powerful; or an ever present, creative, loving reality.

Whatever we believe, it seems obvious that we alone are responsible for ourselves. We each have our own struggles, our own sometimes confused solutions, and our own results. As has often been said, “Your life is what you make it.” I hope, and truly expect, that we’ll eventually agree on how to do that properly. May God bless America.

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