Create Human Progress
This I believe. We all have the responsibility to create human progress beginning with Self. To do that we must make every effort to reduce anger and suffering and grow in knowledge. Only then can we contribute more fully toward creating a better world. It was through this extensive searching, studying and personal awareness, I have come to a more complete understanding of what ancient and contemporary gurus, mystics, philosophers and their stories insist upon……
At the center is the individual. YOU are the instrument!
I am sure of this because I have sought out and received the same message about human progress from multiple sources throughout time. And, I have arrived at the same general conclusions based on my modern yet very different experience.
All the ancients from Plato to Meister Eckhart to Buddha and Jesus knew that human life consists of suffering. Not because of democracy or socialism or because you can describe yourself as a victim. It’s because life’s problems create struggle and suffering.
Human progress arises out of our effort to create antidotes to this suffering. But the self-discipline to insert oneself into problems and difficulties to create lasting solutions creates suffering too. It’s uncomfortable to face problems head-on. We sweep problems under the carpet or run the other way. We self-medicate. So the pain and suffering piles on.
We often view responsibility as negative, a limitation that holds us back. But it is the primary way we solve life’s problems and at the same time derive meaning and purpose.
When you ask someone what has shaped their life, they don’t say my trip to the Bahamas. No. It’s the tyrannical manager, the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a doctor visit–this is how we grow. Addressing problems head-on is how we rise to and progress out of the chaos of problems. We create order, something better; we improve ourselves by facing life’s problems.
Your efforts to shoulder the difficulties, to build, shape and progress by facing problems head-on, demonstrates that you understand life’s value. Facing life’s problems is purposeful. This is where you find meaning. Run toward problems because human progress depends on it. Humanity is much loftier than we think!
Note the pattern here from multiple sources and times.
Socrates sought answers to the suffering dilemma. (470 BCE). How can we live the good life and what to do about human suffering? He left us these inspirations. “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Likewise, Aristotle (385BC). His searching left us these inspirations. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Immanuel Kant said in the 1700s, human-kind must emerge from a self-incurred immaturity. His motto was, “Dare to understand. Increase knowledge and purge errors.”
Thomas Jefferson. 1800s knew we suffered due to lack of knowledge. Upon founding the University of Virginia, said, here we will fuel the limitless freedom of the human mind and not be afraid to tolerate any error so long as we are growing in the knowledge to combat it.
David Deutsch (2012). All failures and evils are due to insufficient knowledge. Problems persist but we must continue improving and growing in the knowledge that helps us uncover and eliminate errors.
Steven Pinker (2018). “Progress unguided by human progress is not progress.”
Jordan Peterson (2018). “Take responsibility for your own life.”
The call is for each of us to find meaning in shouldering the responsibility to develop a purposeful life. The caveat here is that to have a purposeful life you must be growing, increasing your value and progressing. Victimism, cynicism, rage, resentfulness, nihilism and angst are the antithesis of a purposeful existence. At bottom, purpose and meaning reduces human suffering. They are the counter balance.
We must identify the resources and potential within. Then, develop your knowledge as you cultivate your own ideas and discovery for the solutions and progress particular to you. After that, help others do the same. Keep upping the ante, raising the bar.
Avoid the downfall of judging and labeling, looking on others with accusing eyes. This detracts, adds to and spreads disparage. Rather, look at your neighbors as an advocate.
A deliberate life of true purpose is strenuous and difficult. It requires a source for continuous spirited output of service to the world. If done properly, just as the river flowing into the vast ocean cannot make it overflow, so too, the streams of stimuli from culture and society cannot overwhelm you.
You are the Instrument!
© Brian Braudis 2019, All rights reserved
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Tags: Human Progress, Life's Problems, Meaning, Progress, Purpose, Suffering, You are the instrument