The adoption of a thought is a uniquely human trait. With exposure to so much information which, clearly exceeds any human’s ability to process, it becomes difficult to be certain of anything. A person could be asked to question the validity of any thought, even those dear to him. Where a person is himself unwilling to raise a question, others raise questions with a sense of entitlement without a proportionate understanding to justify it.
There is an unlimited supply of ideas today. Yet, all those ideas are rooted in some very basic beliefs. Those beliefs end up having an enormous following, but at the same time the expression of those beliefs is deeply individual. Freedom of expression, with literally no way to ensure accountability for that freedom has created a strange world. It could be said: it neither belongs to man to give such freedom, nor is it in the hands of man to ensure accountability. This is like seeing the universe at the atomic level, or seeing the world of mankind at the personal level. Both levels present a reality, but either reality is incompatible beyond a point. They cannot be co-sustained indefinitely in a single mind. The larger the difference, the shorter the mental coexistence.
Just on a personal level though, several things must come together and work for a thought to truly be adopted:
- A person must have the freedom to reason on the subject.
- There should be sufficient time for the examination.
- The thought must have worth.
- The pursuit of the thought should bring benefit.
Freedom to reason
The freedom to reason is defined right from an early stage. The very language a human is exposed to, shapes what and how he thinks. The thoughts are intrinsic to the language. With more than one language, thoughts also change in how they are accepted, developed, processed, and expressed. The diversity or singularity of “sets of thoughts” finally shape the personality, with individual ideas connecting in unique ways within the mind of each person.
Freedom is essentially a construct. No human on his own is allowed to develop his own language. How would that even be useful? One of the main purposes of language is communication. There is a language of communication independent of language, but it is beyond the human realm of ability or understanding. Such a language can exist between the heart of a believer, and his communication with the Creator. The Creator is capable of understanding what, even the one attempting to articulate does not himself understand. The Originator of the human mind and heart must be capable of such.
Our ability to reason is already predefined by several factors.
A thought which does not exist in our world, in our vocabulary, is foreign to us. Therefore, the ability to adopt a foreign thought calls upon special use of reasoning.
This is frighteningly common today, as globalization has brought mankind together in ways impossible before. We can cherish this freedom only to a point. Beyond that point, it becomes a threat to identity. The simple fact is, human selfishness puts personal rights before those of others. For a human to willingly give up his freedom, he must have reason in proportion. The thought of surrender is also a foreign idea, one adopted with evidence in proportion to the demand.
Time for examination
Our world is reaching a point of unsustainability. As far as ideas are concerned, we already seem to have crossed that point. There is a “thought war”! Ideas are bombarding mankind faster than can be sustained by any man, or even communities. The speed of execution is crucial, critical to this failure. It seems, the more ideas that emerge, the greater the fire grows.
It is normal, wise, and necessary to detach from information. It is healthy. The examination that is reliable is based on time. For a thought to be adopted and accepted in the form a belief, it is necessary for it to be given time. Take for example, the thought of eternal life.
Eternal life is an idea that must have appeal to a person who understands the value of life. And why is life valuable? Has the experience, or hopes, or achievements, or fulfillment presented such a picture of life as to make it so valuable to the living person. Maybe there are people who will not accept this idea. What about the idea of justice? A person could have experienced or observed so much injustice, it is not possible to think of it being ever put right in this lifetime. The thought of human justice compared to divine justice cannot be accepted by such a person despite of time. What is more, human agencies of justice cannot promise such justice because it is beyond their ability! Any man seeking justice to set right great wrongs – matters of life and death – ends up contributing to the greater injustice, as though we are destined to fail.
And yet, what has eternal life deteriorated to. A man seeks eternal life, but not another’s. We are simply not convinced of another man’s worthiness. We don’t know what causes worthiness. I don’t know, what convinces us of our own!
The time to reason gives an understanding that, it should not be a human endeavor to set right the wrongs of the world. It is impossible to truly save even one other man. Any attempt can only go as far as trying to stop an injustice. That is an achievement. But to say, one man or group of men have the answer to an injustice by providing a suitable alternative is, a lie. The idea of eternal life appeals to those who still have the power to hope in God. That power itself is evidence of God’s support. The God who makes such a thought possible, also has the power to fulfill it. The King of Eternity, the Creator, is able.
No lie is worthy. When a human makes a promise, his promise is limited by so many variables. The greatest certainty that stands for or against the promise, is the Will of God. If God wills to stop something, it will be stopped. If God wills for something to continue, it will continue. In all this, human will has tremendous freedom, but not beyond what God permits.
The truth is worthy. Human impatience and divine patience are greatly opposed to each other. In a lifetime, man wants to do and experience everything God has offered in this world. The truth is, no lifetime is long enough nor is the world big enough. Besides, are we certain of what experiences are unworthy of pursuit! With the prospect of exploration opened up by seemingly unlimited knowledge, every human born henceforth and intelligent enough to understand will die with a greater level of dissatisfaction than any generation before him. Our mind, our heart will live while our bodies deteriorate under the burden of a tiring spirit. This is the great reality of today: the loss of spirit, even of those who wish to do what is good.
When great evil rises, the loss of human spirit is preliminary to the loss of life. The loss of human spirit, seeing that the meaning of a person’s existence is thought to be limited by such superficial and unreliable factors such as government policies, the value of currency, the stability of society, and success of an organization presents a deeply unfulfilling picture of life. Such great evil does exist today. It is fueled by information explosion, making it more and more difficult to find any truth. The claims of truth by anyone are expressions of confidence, or being dogmatic. Reason is pushing humanity toward less and less conviction.
When such a loss of conviction occurs over period of time, no thought seems to have any worth. No thought seems worthy of conviction. This being the case, what thought remains as worthy will be worthy of being considered as truth, despite all opposition or criticism. Jesus Christ presented such a thought. He spoke of God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. That must include a complete change in human society. And it cannot be by the hand of humans. Those who fight for or against such a thought continue to do so within the realm of human activity, regardless of ascribing such action to God. The action of God does not require human agency, and it does not depend upon human presumption.
Benefit – real and lasting
As-far-as it depends upon mankind, only those thoughts are to be considered truly beneficial that lead to sustainability. A simple example is, the way we live today. It is based on consumption without regard for tomorrow, and quite frankly, without regard for the producer. These ideas were unsustainable from the start. The enjoyment had to be temporary. The obvious result of all this mechanization has been, humans too are mechanized; humans form part of the social machine. Despite these early fears of some regarding consequences, humans tried to build a world after the great wars of the 20th century that would entice all people to think of the future with prospects of prosperity and peace.
The human reality is, man has proven himself incapable of thinking that is real and of lasting benefit. Man is focused much more on immediate satisfaction, and certainly not about consequences. Human society has somehow fallen into an unreal assumption that, all could rise together and everyone would be king. NO! In reality, human equality will reduce what is elevated, and there is little chance of distributing prosperity to those who never had a taste of it. Still, the illusion is powerful and those who never had a taste of ease and prosperity cannot be blamed for desiring the same. This desire is possibly fulfilled through covetousness and greed. Then, it goes down to immoral levels. The prosperity does not continue, and what has been achieved also ceases to be.
The world we live in today where, those nations that have built themselves as prosperous on continuing wars, oppression, and exploitation surely misunderstand what the eventuality of such pursuits are. The assumption for nations that have proliferated weapons and warfare was, they could continue to enjoy peace. How is it possible to have such violence burning in their own heart, and not burn down their own house! It is true, the way the world has continued has far exceeded the expectations of the faithful, and judgment from the Almighty is simply a thought. This thought has been adopted by men and women around the world, but those who have abandoned this thought find it simply ridiculous.
It is the thought of something greater and more meaningful that drives man to do what is greater than other animals. Other animals exceed man in strength, in speed, in beauty, but none can exceed man in ideas. When those ideas became strong by virtue of motivations greater than merely what the eye can see and the senses can experience, man entered into an age of building and achieving a world that simply defies history. We are now part of a stage in human existence unlike any other. Precedents fail to explain why and how man is where he is today! New things actually do exist, specific mention of which is not to be found in ancient literature. Even if there is a hint, there is no explanation.
What we find though is, our glory is short-lived and superficial despite efforts and ideas without parallel in the past. It is as though, mankind tried to defy its destiny that was explicitly foretold in scriptures or even the musings of some thinkers. What is that thought? It is the thought of failure, of disaster, of destruction. Those dark fascinations of man are not mere fantasies. They are what good men and prophets saw when they saw the evil and corruption in the world. This is what they were inspired to foretell. The doom of man and other creatures can arise from within mankind itself, but that is explained also as conspiracies of powerful governments and businesses to control the world through a New World Order. On the other hand, there is no other way to explain those things that have happened and will happen other than by the hand of God himself.
It is peculiar to see, how those same people who mock the existence of the Creator despite limitless evidence of His works, will turn around and ascribe to human leaders the powers and wisdom that they surely do not have. Our ideas are adopted, even though we never understood the criteria for justifying them. The truth is: what we have adopted will grow within us, as a child of our own mind, and either it will lead us toward something good, or it will lead us to something bad. We have choice, but only to a point. After the choice, it is only a waiting for consequences!