The featured image: Weighing of the Heart Book of the Dead written on papyrus showing the Weighing of the Heart in the Duat using the feather of Maat as the measure in balance.
What is justice? Is personal justice and justification more important than social justice? Is human intelligence capable of offering satisfactory justice? Is divine justice the only possible hope for mankind and all other creatures inferior to it? What is a person’s idea of justice, and how does the larger community of that person understand this concept as being representative of the stance of the community? These are, in my opinion, the significant questions related to justice. The future of mankind in the not too distant future depends upon answering these questions. What will the answer be? Whatever the answers will be, there is simply no visible hope of there being unanimity; unless of course, that unanimity is achieved by means of a power that trumps knowledge! Fear and intimidation – by organizations or governments – is becoming the instrument of control. Free will and free expression, continue to be the challenge.
How has information of possibilities affected human society?
The Internet is many things. It is different things to different people. One thing it is to many people is, a portal into looking at the possibilities for the future. The interesting fact is, humans succeed in looking at the world, reality, and the future in ways that suits their preferences. This ability to shape, color, form, and conceptualize the future by personal visions is the uniquely human power. Whether one wishes to believe it or not, it is the expression of the Maker in humans.
Any person, if he focuses his attention on it, can see the possibility of what his or her life can possibly be. When millions of Muslims decided to escape war and migrate to the EU, they were drawn by the “power of possibilities” of a better life. Closed doors, wire fences, and hostility only stand as temporary roadblocks to that possibility. That is what the community represents as a whole, regardless of which side of the fence you find yourself.
On an individual level, whether a person is born in the EU or migrated from Syria or Sudan, possibilities are determined by the ideas within that individual’s mind. Just as the mind changes with the information it contains, ideas and aspirations can also change. During difficult situations, new information of a troubling nature – even false information – can quickly contaminate the mind of an individual and also an entire community. This is an ever-present possibility in this time of fast communication.
A personal sense of responsibility regarding generating and sharing information is dangerously lacking. Though it is true that, the power of possibilities lies greatly within the capabilities of the individual’s mind, it is also true that information is the basis of such musings.
Two distinct possibilities
The way information is presented today – brief, pointed, and lacking nuance – the possibilities are too clear. This absolute certainty and illusion of truth is dangerous. When a mindset that seeks to understand the world is concise and definite terms take over the thinking of humans, the uncertainty that slows thinking and presents the option of peace goes amiss.
Both, religion and science are guilty of promoting extremes. It is for this reason, only two distinct possibilities seem to appear. One narrative – scientific or religious – presents a picture of gloom and dire consequences, and the other presents a picture of a future free of problems. Either narrative is simply not representative of the truth. The same things when seen from a distance and when inspected closely will cease to present the same satisfaction. Look at the moon: it inspired poets and inspired art, but now we have chemical analysis of the lunar rocks.
There is something wrong when, an artist cannot appreciate the moon any less glorious and more detailed than the words of a poem or an artwork. Perhaps we are trying to work toward a world with people of this kind; those who can hold ends together.
We would find ourselves in a happier place, if we can see that there are more than just two possibilities. There are many possibilities if we are willing to loosen the ties that hold people together, while not severing those ties completely. This idea needs exploration and it lies in the large space between science and religion, art and chemistry, money and altruism.
It is difficult to understand why, human beings are feeling compelled to be at the very “edge” of choices, existence, and possibilities. The information we are generating and that tends to rank by relevance on popular search engines like Google or Bing seems to be the real reason here. Documents and web pages are parsed down to the level of individual words. The determination of relevance by unknown algorithms has quickly shaped human thinking in ways that extremism is the natural end of such use of technology.
Our modern ideas of personal success, perfection, excellence, and justice are closely linked to how we think, and not only what we think. It might be easier to identify what we think, and try to identify thoughts that lead to undesirable outcomes. The desirability or undesirability of those outcomes might not seem clear in the short run, but in the long run they do. How we think, is a process that needs greater attention now!
We would be wiser to think that, not all humans can have the same successes. We would be more honest in acknowledging that, humans differ from each other in infinite ways over a lifetime. The things that hold people together are greater and deeper than what the mind of any one can could ever hope to understand, let alone devise afresh.
Take for example the thought of determining the legitimacy of a religion, or a science. The intent of finding one flaw and calling the entire structure of ideas illegitimate is dangerous. And yet, this is what many debates end up being. Rather than being a platform for exploring a multitude of ideas, the intent is to find one idea that decides the winner or loser. And the winner or loser of the debate becomes representative of determining whether science has won or religion! Entire bodies of teachings and ideas are fundamentally being discarded for a less than comprehensive understanding because, one person decides to explore a minute detail and find the truth in that detail which would represent the entirety of all truth. Somewhere, there is an error right before our eyes, and we are looking too closely to see it!
If we could identify similarities, and keep details out of debates
Those who have the luxury and comfort of engaging in debates should realistically see themselves entirely at a loss of wit and hope when, confronted by a bullet racing in their direction. Reason and charm are meaningless in that fraction of a second! [Coincidentally, this is exactly how information rushes toward the human mind today] The deeper reaches of the human spirit where, ideas of life and death reside, those are the places reason, analysis, and wit do not reach. Science can try as much as it wishes, but the entire volume of human understanding is meaningless if it fails to inspire hope in the heart of the human who needs it!
All humans need hope. It is not necessary that science and reason should entirely stop in their attempts to inspire hope, but it is simply a limit of science to speak about what it can measure and quantify. The things in which science cannot, it can also not offer proportionate hope! Science can point to the immensity of the universe, and speak wonderingly about what the unknown is, and then try to let that unknown prove to be the proportionate reason for hope. Religion might simply leave it to wonder and mystery.
Here is a thing to contemplate: IF the sum of all human mystery and wonder is put in a debate against the whole sum of human knowledge and discovery, which side would win? I opine, it is entirely fruitless and a waste of human heart to find a winner. Let that debate continue, and let there be no answer! Why does there need to be a winner, and what purpose does competition serve? The only purpose it serves is, there is a human or a group of humans who stand the chance of being followed by a human or group of humans. Then, there would come a time when the limitation of our flesh would interfere with the ideas of the mind and the desires of the heart, such as what happens at the time of death.
It seems, all those people who prepare for debates are supremely confident that they would have the chance to get up the next morning and use the material they have prepared. Those might be candidates in an election, or when scientists and religious leaders debate over incomplete ideas.
All ideas are yet incomplete. Let me repeat: All ideas are yet incomplete. In all humility, we should wait to enter into a debate when we have the finality of an idea. At the end of the time, when the opponents have had their say, we only need to offer a complete idea. I would suppose, that complete idea that wins all debates is the truth.
The pursuit of justice and truth
The pursuits of justice and truth should be seen as endless, rather than see them as finite. We should perhaps spare a thought about: What would be done after justice is done? What would be done after the truth is found?
IF the finding of justice and truth is the end, it is an end to everything. Are we, in fact, searching for the end to all things, or are we seeking for things to continue? We might really be inspired to rethink our pursuits, or even what we are seeking to do after we find what we pursue.
The pursuit of religion, politics, science, education and such endeavors, if it is to end in the finding of justice and truth, then we might have to say that peace should finally be found. As long as the human mind is unquiet, and the spirit is restless, there is no peace. Peace will not come to those who stand up and search endlessly, looking into the details of the lunar rocks and the infinite stars. Similarly, peace eludes those who claim to have found the truth, but cannot prove it to all beyond question. The pretense of peace of such searchers is a thin veneer to cover the inner turmoil! The peace that lets a man rest at night is acceptance of the fact that justice and truth and such endeavors are pursuits. These pursuits will not end, but only slow down temporarily, and rise again. Justice and truth, if they are the end – the destination of a journey – then it is simply beyond the mind of man to reach that destination. Whenever a man is inclined to say, I have found it and I know it….there is a lack of humility. There the Divine would stand, and offer man a new reason to be humble again!
To be humble before the Divine One is peace. This humility inspires search, but quarreling and debating need not be a part of such a search. Wouldn’t you personally want to search peacefully, and thereby do some kind of justice to your existence?
Sometimes we think, we ended something… but is only a beginning to something else!