Some consider it a compliment to be described as “worldly”. To others of a more reflective disposition, such a label might be seen as unfortunate.
Our “world” as we know it depends upon competition for survival at every level of living organism and if we at the human level realize this, most of us seem oblivious or ignorant of the result. Which is to live in fear and misery.
Just as the mouse or vole lives in terror of the hawk wheeling overhead, so the human lives in terror of the despot or the greedy capitalist hoovering up the world’s scarce resources and keeping as much of it for himself as he can. Doling out slave wages to the hapless van drivers and factory workers chained up to his money making machine.
Living in fear also of the petty politicians who live to prey on others rather than serving the people who elected them. Or worse, seizing power and creating a tyranny. Again the motive is the same – fear and greed. They will take to survive. And they believe the more they take, the greater their chances of happiness and survival. Oblivious to the fact that happiness does not work that way.
Power corrupts and you can see this at all levels in all societies. Local and central government politicians, elected or otherwise, soon come to believe that they own the public assets they oversee. An unfortunate “groupthink” develops both on the left and the right. Those in poverty are seen as scroungers out for all they can get, refugees are seen as greedy opportunists who are out for economic advancement.
The lowly, the desperate, the poor and the needy become demonized. Those who wield power over them come to see them as a threat to be contained or eliminated.
There must be better people in this world. People not consumed by greed and power. People who see the world and human behavior for what it is and want to change it. But perhaps they are the “meek” and whatever the scriptures might say, they do not inherit the earth.
Those who inherit the earth are not the mild mannered who wish peace and happiness and plenty for all. They are the people who, like Benjamin Disraeli, have climbed to the top of the greasy pole and intend to stay there. They have committed all sorts of brutality to get to the top and they will fight tooth and nail to remain in power.
Is it worth fighting against these people? Well the word “fighting” may give us a clue. Violence can never be right and yet aggression seems the only way to wreak change in a world governed and dominated by violence and obsessive greed.
The other way is resignation. Let these fools grasp for their baubles. Let them discover the age old truth that human desire is never satisfied, can not be.
Take yourself as far away from such people as you can go. Both metaphorically and physically. Reject the painful and hideous group think of the political parties and the leaders of our corrupt capitalist businesses. Live as far as you possibly can from their ideals and their physical locations. Become a Stylite, live in the desert or on some remote island in some emerald green sea.
And in your mind be free. Living without greed and hatred, envy and the ignorant desire to dominate and conquer.
There is little you can do to cure the world. So leave it, ignore it and recognize that this too shall pass.
“There must be better people in this world. ” There are! You are one of them!
Well, that is very kind of you to say so. Perhaps I just grumble too much!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Kind words indeed and thank you. Would that a lone voice could make a difference. Perhaps one day as a species we will eventually change our minds and our ways.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I do wish a lone voice could make a difference right now. There seem to be a lot of voices, shouting.
One does not have to be a pillar saint
about your own crap
that steams and hisses from the desert
not to be perceived with the nose
I am having a little difficulty interpreting this. Could you elaborate?
Hello Mr. Anthony Garner
The other’s evil is evident
to expose one’s own evil
is the hard work everyday
The object must be to become “not evil”. Impossible according to the Christians (of which I am not one) but I think one can greatly improve one’s own behavior and personality. As you say, looking at other people’s behavior may help to isolate and alter own own behavior.
It is the Christian cross
that man is fundamentally evil
which is sanctioned with the decree of original sin
we live between bad and good
the daily decision to be better
that is the work in every subjective moment
we are all only parables to the other
i am not a messiah
i’m not a judge of others
everyone has to go his own way
it is best
when we shoulder our cross ourselves
I confess to being a non-believer in Christian dogma. I have thought very seriously about the concept of original sin and believe it to be the Christian interpretation of what in more recent years we have come to think of as Darwinism. We have evolved. All animal life evolved from a single cell organism. When we were all mere plants we survived on photosynthesis. And then as animals we grew teeth and claw. We developed a head, an intestine and an anus. And the began what the Christians would call original sin – we had the power to survive by eating other animals. Hence I believe that what we need is to evolve beyond this horrible evolutionarily curse, perhaps aided by modern science. Our entire psyche needs to be tweaked, adjusted to (voluntarily) subtract from our nature the cruelty and bestiality with which evolution has saddled us.
I am however a true believer in the beauty of what the New Testament teaches us about morals and human behaviour.
The consciousness of the person
what we have in common with our relatives, the animals
have arisen from the soul
The one-god belief tries to convince us
that we are through the sin-fall
the choice between good and bad
are passed out
the turning away from truth
through the doubter
the person of today
have to try
between the inner world and the outer world
to arrive at subjective insight
trying to find the better every day
LikeLiked by 1 person
The meek WILL inherit the earth, just not on human time-scales. Besides short term “proofs” such as Ghandi or MLK and others (e.g., Anthony G., who encourages people to live “without greed and hatred, envy and the ignorant desire to dominate and conquer”) who taught passive resistance to oppression,
Jesus death and resurrection assures His followers that there will come a day of effective justice in which he will “settle all the scores,” not in anger or one-upmanship, but in compassion even for those who will be separated from eternal life.
A big change, a cleansing would be welcome, should it arrive. I’m not at all sure that the greedy, vicious and venal are actually at fault. They are perhaps just “unaware”, un-awakened if you like, in the Buddhist sense.
Is the hawk wrong to hunt and terrify his prey? Evolution perhaps is what got us where we are today and perhaps evolution will get us where we want to be tomorrow.
Perhaps we will evolve the desire to be better and perhaps we will see the rightness of such a course. And perhaps science will show us how to breed a better species.
Perhaps we will pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.
In a geological timescale!
I suspect that our main problem is that while hard sciences have given us amazingly power, our mental and behavioral sciences remain quite soft. If we don’t yet understand our nature then how might we use that information to understand how to lead our lives or structure our societies in better ways? To paraphrase a line from the Spiderman series “Great power requires great understanding of how to use it” (as opposed to just “great responsibility”). So far science seems to have mainly just given us the power side. Thus I consider our species unbalanced.
Recently Eric Schwitzgebel posted about a faith he has that if he were able to sit down and reason with a moderate supporter of the Rubin Stacy lynching and party, that he could evoke a sense of moral shame in them. It’s a faith because he knows that the evidence is against him on this. In the commentary I propose that our soft mental and behavioral sciences will need to up their game for true progress to be made. https://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2021/09/does-heart-revolt-at-evil-lynching-of.html?m=0
How terrifying. And what horrible similarity to the dark days of Fascism. A young civil servant of my acquaintance tried to play the Nuremburg defense in a conversation I had with her the other day. She was bound to obey government whatever they asked her to do and whatever the consequences. I like to hope I would have taken the decent way out had I been a civil servant in Nazi Germany and blown my brains out if there were no other way to avoid loading Jews onto the cattle trucks. I like to hope that I would take my own life rather than acting out some terrible nightmare.
You are right of course – we are unevolved, barbaric. True animals whose reasoning in behavioral terms has a long, long way to go.
I find as I get older I get more fearful as well as more liberal. We live in a truly terrifying world. The volcano and the tidal wave hold no such terror as the brutality of man.
I have no answer of course and to be honest very little hope. The naked ape has been inventing for thousands of years. Agriculture began 10,000 years ago.
How much longer do we have to wait before we can cure our own souls I wonder.
I also think it is still a wonderful world, Anthony. There really is a lot of goodness out there. Honestly!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I think you are right but little goodness seems likely to be found amongst our leaders in politics or the economy. The trouble is that the good tend to be meek and not movers or shakers. The world is moved and shaken by those who have the energy and a greed for power and money. There are exceptions of course. What a puzzle. What a difficult situation we face. Climate catastrophe and a species unwilling or unable to change the ways which have lead us to the edge of the precipice.
Economic growth, ever increasing consumption. A greed for more money, goods, and stuff in general. None of which beyond a certain points creates any happiness.
Until we make happiness and the general good our goal we are doomed to fail. And perhaps to extinction.
We do not need more cars, mobile telephones and concrete. We do not need to extract more and more finite resources from an enfeebled planet. We need a new order where greed is seen for what it is – self fulfilling and futile. And where co-operation is seen as the antidote to competition and corruption.
LikeLiked by 1 person
As usual, your musings are most thought-provoking!
It is possible, as the saying goes, to be “in” the world, but not “of” the world. Wherever we find ourselves in the world, and whatever is going on in that location, we can remain apart from it by embracing our own sense of what is right and beneficial to us and others.
Martial artists are taught that imposing violence on another is wrong, unless one’s actions are in defense of your own life or the innocent life of another. They are also taught that whatever action is taken, it should only be to the degree of whatever is necessary in self-defense. The hawk and the tiger are not murdering their prey; they are doing what is necessary to survive. Each acts in accordance with its nature.
British physicist, Harold Wilson, once wrote, “Never accept the world as it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it could be.” You clearly see the potential for our world to be far better in character than what is often evident in the news these days, and it is because you see what it could be, your recommendation to remain apart from it, can only be beneficial if we are still technically “in” it.
In 1867, British philosopher, John Stuart Mill, wrote, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”
Those who are consumed by greed and power are “of” the world, and those who suffer or who are disadvantaged as a result of tyranny and greed can still be “in” the world, without contributing to the other corrupt forces that sometimes seem to dominate around the world. One day, ultimately, there may only be the “meek” remaining, but it will only come when the forces of corruption are eliminated—perhaps some corrupt-world-ending apocalypse.
I agree with Lolsy’s Library. You are definitely one of the better people in this world and I believe what you call grumbling is actually your earnest wish for a better world and your readers here seem to understand this well enough.
Better days ahead!
“The hawk and the tiger are not murdering their prey; they are doing what is necessary to survive. Each acts in accordance with its nature.”
The human animal however is the only species “gifted” with the power of introspection. The hawk and the tiger are unable to empathise with the terror felt by their prey or to feel remorse for the distress they are causing as a pre-requisite to their survival.
Thank you blind evolution. You have created monsters and as a thinking monster I would like to reverse the damage you have caused.
“One day, ultimately, there may only be the “meek” remaining” – yes, I certainly hope so. But I hope this may come about by genetic engineering rather than some terrible catastrophe.
Mill was right of but as an individual to change the course of the world is like a naked swimmer at sea trying to divert super tanker. Although if enough naked swimmers, thinking the same thoughts, and with the same objects, were to gather around that super tanker, then maybe they would achieve their object.
As you well know I am a non believer in gods and so forth and yet I believe the better parts of religion do show us in a moral and ethical sense what we should be doing.
The writers of the New Testament were naked swimmers trying to change the course of the super tanker.
If enough people were to join their attempt, who knows, perhaps progress could be made!
I believe, having known you through cyberspace for a few years now, our outlook is the same. Whilst we want to see the beauty in the world (and there is a lot of it out there), we see the disorder, the disarray.
I believe, we both live comfortably, and are not truly impacted by what is currently going on, on a day-today basis, albeit from an economic, social and security perspective, yet we continue to loose sleep over the injustices playing out on the common man, on a global scale.
I for one, don’t want to live out my final years in misery, so how do we intend to operate going forward? I think we have three options, and a new pill to take (a Morpheus-ism and not a new product from Big Pharma!):
1). Take the blue pill, do what we are told, fall in line, live out our final days in ignorant bliss, this shit doesn’t affect us so we are OK.
2). Take the red pill, break away from governmental / big business bondage and become an activist (not a “slacktivist”) and put all of our energy into trying to change the world around us, protesting, lobbying, striking, doing whatever it takes to force change.
3). Take the yellow pill, live in the moment, the absolute now. Do not concern ourselves with atrocities of the past and the dystopian potentialities of the future. Whilst being fully awake to what is really going on in the world, develop personal practices to keep us at one with nature with a calm mind at all times. If time and health allows, develop community projects which operate outside the current paradigm, however small. And above all, in the immortal words of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin “Kill. Your. Television”.
I choose the yellow pill (I just hope it’s not banana flavoured…)
“3). Take the yellow pill”
Yes, I believe that is the choice which I have also taken. I have never been nor is it in my nature to be an activist. Partly because activism seems by necessity to involve violence and I would rather lead by example and eschew violence which only begets more of the same.
I believe too that our outlook is indeed the same.
But as to pills (yellow or otherwise I do believe that eventually some sort of intervention might be the answer, possibly. The Christians talk of “original sin” but I prefer to think of it s our evolutionary baggage. We have evolved to be a thoroughly nasty species in parts and I for one would happily take a “pill” to become something altogether better. Happier for a start, with a more positive and optimistic outlook.
The idea is haunted by the likes of Dr Mengele but of course it need not be. Eventually perhaps a voluntary and willing subtle alteration of our very DNA might lead to a better world.
Or at least that is my hope!
LikeLiked by 1 person
It may well be a simple case of finding ways to covertly add psilocybin in to the water supply 😀
LikeLiked by 1 person
To a mystic the human experience is transient, human history seems to have little effect on evolution, wallowing as it does in worldliness. There are more important things afoot than being merely human, as going into the Silence and listening would affirm. Some have abandoned their own and humanity’s wilful efforts and are already there …
All best wishes,
It is well nigh impossible to fight, in any event against, against a situation which prevails across the entire animal kingdom and which has continued ever since animals first evolved from the earliest life forms. Of course we are told that the Buddha and his ilk returned time and again to attempt to save or convert mankind, to provoke or encourage “awakening” but as with most ancient tales, the myth has probably overtaken the simple truth.
Willful effort seems unlikely to achieve world peace, the abolition of poverty or the creation of happiness in our train wreck of a species. Abandonment and quiet resignation are probably the only meaningful responses!
All good wishes
Buddha probably recognised the perennial path of evolution running deep in humans, (or what my mystical experiencees tell me is in fact the source of everything – Reality. Evidently the Buddha did not know or did not realise only Reality can bestow Itself – that the reality of all existence is only caught by those prepared by Reality itself, not taught.
It seems to me as soon as the mystical experience enters through the individual on whom it is bestowed, ie Buddha in this case, human organisation eventually degrades It into mere human morality and ethics.
Your observation, “Abandonment and quiet resignation are probably the only meaningful responses!” overlooks the very real realisations to be found in the Silence I also mentioned. You can’t abandon your humanity but you can relegate it to its true place, replace it by going into the recesses of the experience of the Silence to get you through the priority you are so painfully giving the human condition.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Although as you yourself have noted, an inevitable part of the path is to become more empathetic towards suffering. It seems to be a natural and certain consequence of the retreat into silence. Or so at least I have found. But yes, I do find the human condition very painful indeed. And I am sure those in real need find it a great deal worse.
All good wishes
Relegate humanity to its true place. Yes there is probably great utility in that approach. Frankly thereis absolutely nothing to be done with or for humanity. It is a lost cause and a lost species which, like almost all species, will highly probably become extinct anyway.
Dr Brian Cox said, on one of his TV shows, that people often ask him why he smiles and looks so up-beat when he describes the ‘heat death’ of the universe, which the laws of physics predict, when everything we’ve ever known and loved, all of human endeavour, all meaning and life, will disappear into a timeless ocean of disconnected electrons approaching absolute zero. And it was because it put our petty concerns into perspective.
But there’s more, I think, which I think you understand. The more we try to face and come to terms with the ’emptiness’ that is our deepest fear, the more humble it makes us, and hence, with the dissolution of our grand designs and the fretting and plotting and regretting and resenting that go with them, we’re freer to see the beauty of what is, now. The backdrop of maximum entropy in the far distant future makes a rose or the sound of a raindrop or the face of a loved one impossibly, almost unbearably, wonderful.
That humility and its counterintuitive reward is expressed in the Christian teaching, with its iconic, ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Buddhism, too, is based on the practice of letting go of desire (including the desire to be free of fear or pain, etc.), essentially very pragmatic and atheistic. I’ve sometimes thought it could be expressed simply as: in order to become happy, we must stop trying to be happy.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wonderful thoughts. I have never been happy and must stop trying. Love Brian Cox’s programs – pure art mixed in with the science.
Humility and letting go were very much in the forefront of my mind this evening as I let go and in a very uncharacteristic moment found myself shouting incoherently in the garden. With rage and sadness and grief and helplessness. My dear old father in law has been pronounced today to have but a few weeks to live and it will leave a large hole in my life (not to mention my wife’s!).
I went walking – it was the only thing I could do. And I was surrounded by both beauty and sadness – a blue evening sky, birds and birdsong, flowers and trees and hedgerows and peace.
I guess I felt just like Brian Cox staring up at the sky. Our little, little lives in the midst of such grandeur and infinity.
I’m very sorry to hear your sad news, Anthony.
LikeLiked by 1 person