The Wayfarer's Journey
We are born into life surrounded by a world that is confusing, scary, and seemingly endless at first. Over the course of our lives, we learn. We, as human beings, are designed to learn. We cannot help but learn, absorb experiences, and incorporate our interpretations of these experiences into ourselves. The more thoughtful that we are about interpreting our experiences, the more value we derive from them and the more knowledge we acquire. Much of the knowledge we acquire at first deals with survival and learning how to perceive the world around us. This knowledge is greatly influences by parents, family, or whatever people are around in our childhood years. In many ways, we adopt their interpretations as our own. At the same time, we do have moments when we are alone, touching, smelling, tasting, seeing, and hearing, in which we are using some of our own faculties to experience and learn. As we enter adulthood, the learning process more and more becomes our own. We begin to evaluate and make decisions about some of our learned knowledge. This process never really ends.
Because this life-long learning process is a natural and automatic part of our lives, it is reasonable to assume that it is perhaps the most important part of life. We must, therefore, engage in the path to knowledge with a sense of importance. As we explore the world around us, we are simultaneously exploring ourselves. We see, hear, touch, and generally sense everything around us through our own faculties of perception. We therefore color everything we experience with ourselves and our interpretations. Many of our interpretations are automatic and are something we hardly ever think about. The more that we think about our interpretations, however, the more that we are learning about ourselves. This aspect of knowledge, learning about ourselves is just as important as learning about the world around us. Through both of these simultaneous paths, we learn and become all that we will ever be in our lives on Earth. Let us escape the trappings of indulgence, laziness, and mundane weariness, for there is so much about what is essential in life for us to experience and learn. If we are going to live life, we must live it with purpose, and there is no purpose more essential to nature and what we are than the pursuit of knowledge.
Spirituality and Science Are Two Doorways to Knowledge
Too often, modern-day society thinks of science and spirituality as opposites and more often than not, spirituality is dismissed as a path to knowledge. Yet, when one thinks about it without prejudice, both science and spirit are literal doorways to understanding and learning. Science is a methodology of using information gathering to hypothesize solutions to questions and using rigorous testing to determine firm conclusions. Frequently, science leads us to ambiguous results and more questions. Much of knowledge is uncovered that way, in which what is learned leads to more questions. This is not a problem of science, but rather, a natural aspect of learning. The conclusions that we draw today may be over-turned tomorrow with better forms of testing or more specific ways of examine a given problem. Science is supposed to be a process that is followed without bias and prejudice, yet it often is full of biases and prejudices when different scientists compete with their different hypotheses. This is also not a problem of science, but rather, a problem of human beings in wanting to be right and eliminating opposition to one's beliefs. Science is only useful when it is practiced with an open mind and without bias. One should also hold conclusions as current laws with an openness to future refinement or changes due to future discoveries and testing.
Likewise, spirituality should be thought of as an every-day endeavor in the exploration of knowledge. Unlike religion, spirituality deals with open-minded exploration and the discovery of faith through unexplained experiences that seem to be beyond the human ability to explain. Many of these experiences can also find future explanation and that possibility should always remain open. Personal revelation fuels faith far stronger than rules and principles that are enforced by other people such as is the case in religion. It is not to say that religion is wrong, but it only becomes a practice of true faith when one experiences a connection to the given religion through personal revelation. What separates spirituality from science is that the spiritual lies in a realm where, at any given point in time, appears to be beyond the scope of science for understanding. Such concepts may be approachable by science in the future, and one should remain open to that possibility. Science is just a methodology, not a religion in and of itself. Too many people treat it that way.
If we are to accept that the path of knowledge begins with understanding one's self, then we must also accept that being one's self is also important. This is known as expressing and living one's own individuality. There are many interests in society that really want to categorize us and have us respond, not as individuals, but as categories. In recent years, these categories are often described as communities. A community used to mean people who lived in the same area, town, or geographic region of some kind. Now, we have terms such as the African American community and the LGBT community. The use of the word community is to avoid the less kind sounding term category. Usually people reject begin in a category and want to be thought of as individual people. Yet, market forces, the media, and politicians all benefit from having people think of themselves as being a part of categories and respond when ever called upon as a category with a predictable response. Of course, people who are African American share that trait in common and are certainly free to have and express other common traits. Yet, these common traits journey close to being stereotypes. Since negative stereotypes are pretty universally frowned upon, those who are interested in categorizing people now utilize positive stereotypes, still with the aim to group people together and ignore individuality. Companies who wish to sell products and services benefit from focusing advertisements on targeting demographics in order to have a single message affect large groups of people. This same technique does not escape the strategies of politicians in trying to herd votes and support their way.
Staying away from the political implications of categorization, one can also see the importance in respecting one's own individuality in the pursuit of knowledge in life. How does one truly know himself or herself if he or she is constantly responding to programming implemented to categorize them? Apart from fashion trends, choices in entertainment, choices in food, and other market-driven tendencies of people in any given category, categorization also influences peoples' career choices, hobbies, academic interests, and other deeper life endeavors. Being an individual is not rejecting trends merely out of a choice to be different or rejecting similar attributes that one shares with other people, but it does deal with one's own formulation of choice. One needs to ask himself or herself if decisions are being taken based on one's own true, free preferences, or if decisions are just automatic, based on some programming that somehow has developed over time.
From an early age we are programmed by others, including parents, teachers, and important figures in life. These early lessons are important in learning how to function in life and in learning how to deal with survival. During the adolescent years, it is common to question one's parents and the programming of the past. This is a positive move if it is introspective and reasonable. The desire to just be rebellious is, in and of itself, a way of DE-programming and re-programming that is instituted by outside forces, such as entertainers and teachers who like to drive their own interests and instill their own views into people who are open to new things and are, in many cases, open to being programmed even further. One constantly needs to examine one's self and look at what programming has come from outside forces and what is from internal programming. Both internal and external programming must be equally reviewed in furthering one's own personal evolution. It is a hard enough process to do on its own, but it is even harder with outside forces putting great effort into trying to eliminate individuality and one's own personal freedom to build one's self.
We are all born into this life as individual beings. We, as children, need care in order to develop into (hopefully) self-sufficient individuals who engage in community and partnerships out of choice. There are many out there who like to group us together into communities and collectives outside of our choice, negating our individuality. Even spirituality and religion are not safe from this collectivist attitude. Most spiritual paths, like Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have a variety of interpretations or denominations. A lot of these denominations, especially those in Buddhism, foster a collectivist attitude that negates individuality and basically ignores a huge part of whatever meaning life can have.
If a spiritual philosophy sets a primary goal the elimination of individuality in favor of the realization of being part of a whole are essentially stating that the meaning of life is to realize that it is nothing more than an illusion of being an individual and we all are going to return from the whole that we came from. Even if we do all come from a whole, the simplistic concept of the meaning of life being to just realize that it is a illusion and that we are going to return to the state we were at in the first place. If this is the meaning of life, then it is simply pointless. Why should we be removed from the whole and made into individuals if our whole purpose is to just reject life? If one is to spiritual, then one is already accepting the premise that there is some meaning to life. If there is meaning to life, then there is importance in this individual experience that we have in life.
Is it not more meaningful to embrace life and to embrace our individual experiences? Embracing our experiences means to engage in communication and creativity in sharing our experience with others who are having their own individual experiences. Human history remembers names like Albert Einstein, Johan Sebastian Bach, and Martin Luther King, Jr., because they had a contribution that they shared with multitudes of others. They had individual experiences and endeavors that shared great meaning to others in this life. We are not physical beings having spiritual experiences, but we are spiritual beings that are having human experiences. Yet, our individual spirits mean a great deal to this life. It is, in fact, the only thing that will remain, in some way, after we are gone. The pursuit of life experience the realization and sharing of one's experiences is a spiritual endeavor. It is also a fundamental endeavor that could not happen if we are just a part of a unchanging whole throughout time.
The Responsible Individual vs. The Parasite
One of the gravest issues that is affecting the world today is the reality of the human parasite. In nature, a parasite is any being that lives off of the productiveness of a host being. All life feeds on life. We need to eat plants, fungi, or animals in order to survive. Obtaining this food, however, involves work in some way, when we look at the scenario in a basic matter. One needs to hunt, grow, or gather food in order to survive. A parasite, however, merely needs to attach to a host and feed off of the work that that organism does in order to survive. This reality exists in the reality of human beings, and has throughout time. Still, today, this reality is growing and growing in the modern era. This reality, however, is not only bad for the hosts, but it is bad for those who are in the role of the parasite.A human parasite is one who is comfortable with living off of the fruits of the labor of others. There are those who are severely disabled and are literally not able to work or engage in some productivity to be self-reliant. These people are not parasites. They are human beings that do not have the ability to function as independent human beings on their own. Unfortunately, there are many people who wish to benefit from the work and productivity of others, playing the role of the incapable when they are not incapable in reality. Politicians and other entities who seek power or benefit from these parasite who feign incapability take form those who are productive under the guise of assisting those in need. They are more than happy to have the people who are feigning need to increase the number of supporters (or votes) that they need in order to achieve their own personal goals.Those who wish to live like parasites are more than happy to throw their support behind such politicians, because they can live a life of less effort. yet, these people are also living in a prison. They do not benefit from the feeling of self-reliance or accomplishment. They must live with a conscience that excuses their reality. For their reality consists of living off of the fruits of others. There is no such thing as government dependency, for the government itself is not where the funding comes from. It comes from the labor of those who work and pay required taxes to the government.
Those who have worked their entire lives, paying into investments or government programs do deserve to receive the fruits of their labor that has been stored for their future. Those who fall on hard times do deserve assistance to help them become self-reliant again. They should also feel from their conscience a desire to repay their assistance to the society that helped them in their hard times. Those who are children born unto parents deserve the natural care from their parents who made the initial choice or took the initial act that brought them into existence into a natural state of being dependent in the early years of development. All these factors considered, there are a large amount of people around the world who seek to benefit from the welfare states that exist within governments as an escape from actually being productive and self-reliant. These people deserve the label of parasite. Furthermore, the politicians and designers of government systems that encourage this behavior deserve the label of being masterminds of theft. Such politicians are the product of the left side of the political spectrum. This statement requires that one understand the true model of the political spectrum, which consists of the right wing being the practice of anarchy, or no government, and the left wing being socialism, fascism, communism, or other forms of absolute government.
Doing the work of supporting one's self is a harder road to start. It may even be a harder road for some time, but their are fruits to be reaped by one's own effort in life. The commitment of one's energy is reciprocated, mostly delayed in time, by nature. Those who work to support themselves live with a clean conscience as far as their own energy exchange with reality is concerned. Those who do not work, while having the capability of doing so, must live with the knowledge that they are benefiting from the labors of others. There are defense mechanisms that such human parasites can employ to try to help their conscience feel better. They can think of themselves as victims, for example, while realizing that they are not. They may feel that there are no repercussions for this. Whether one is religious, spiritual, or neither, however, reality is reality and there is no escape from it. There is a law of energy in the universe. The more energy that one puts into the universe, the more energy that one reeves back.
Throughout the world, there are people who are working very hard to support themselves and loved ones, while at the same time working for paying taxes to those who do not deserve it. Those of us who are in this situation will continue to do so as long as we can. We we can no longer shoulder the burdens that are placed on us by the parasite of the world and the robber baron politicians who enable this theft, we will shrug. We, who are the Atlas of Greek mythology, will shrug and let the world fall. Who will survive then? Those who have developed their skills for effort and productivity will have the upper hand on those who have no skill other than supporting the politicians who give them their reward in return for votes. Ayn Rand wrote her legendary book Atlas Shrugged based on the concept of those of accomplishment who eventually give up on feeding the takers. Yet, there are more Atlases to include in this model. There are those who work period who also are shouldering a great burden that are ready to shrug. The robber barons who are our politicians will not be able to function without a working class to make the machines of society run. Even the Elite Working Class that are unionized will not be able to maintain their high level of politically reaped benefits without the real working class making up for their benefits with low ages and high taxation.
Global Progressivism, whether it be socialism, communism, or fascism will fail. It is only a matter of time.