Reality will always have 2 sides.
Reality will always have 2 sides.
Like any animal, human’s basic – or perhaps first – instinct is to survive. The value of one’s life as opposed to another is presumably higher. Of course this is not to discount moments in life where we suddenly feel the desire to give up our own life to protect another, for example, our child, our parents or maybe even our close friends. But fundamentally, I think our right to live takes precedence over another’s.
So in order for someone to do good for others, something has to be fulfilled. A person needs to feel safe before he can help someone else. Hence, in order for generosity, cooperation and kindness to flourish, we should ideally create a society that encourages everyone to feel safe.
However, this is extremely difficult. We are a society that thrives on, depends on and expects competition. It is the only way we see ourselves progressing. Ironically, competition does not allow a person to feel safe – even if a person is living a life of excessiveness. This is because in competition, we are constantly looking over our shoulders trying to stay ahead of someone or looking ahead trying to beat someone. Ultimately, someone loses. And when someone loses, he no longer feels safe and therefore loses the ability to commit to helping another person. If you take away someone’s sense of security, you force him to focus on himself because he has to find away to become safe again.
You cannot make the world a better place when the quest for survival is a constant state of nature for both the rich and the poor, the hungry and the well-fed, the haves and the have-nots. If competition is highly regarded, then no one is the winner since the game has no final whistle.
Your academic achievements can only do so much in the real world.
If there isn’t a God, then we could sure use one. How else can we stop the evils in this world if we ourselves cannot draw the line between good and evil?
It would be particularly helpful for a God to dictate for us certain paths that cause conflict between the mind and the heart. It would be useful if he/she could play the role of a referee and tell us the rules of this game we call life, should we make a mistake. And it would be especially useful if he/she was a fortune-teller and tell us if there ever will be a world with complete harmony because if not, then we are certainly wasting our time trying to create one.
But if we were to want a God to provide us with the answers, we must be willing to give up our freedom. How many of us are willing to do that? To want a God is to want to be dependent. And as Rousseau once said, dependency destroys freedom. Therefore expecting autonomy while still believing in a God would only lead to the demise of one’s sanity and thus the opportunity to have (perceived) freedom.
If there is a God, then it is clear he/she is a non-interventionist. God has perhaps only given us the essentials of being a human and let us free into the wilderness of the abyss to fend for ourselves. It is God’s way of telling us to do what we will with the gift he/she has given us – the gift of life. But when this is all over, we have to accept the consequences of all our actions. And pay the price in the after-life. But this is only if God exists.
Stories from an airport-security-clearance veteran
Here’s one for those who are graduating this May/June.
My ability to help is limited. And perhaps yours too. But the inability to do something (or anything) should not be a reason why we remain ignorant.
The Central African Republic (CAR) is going through one of the deadliest civil wars in recent history. The Seleka – who are made up of mostly muslims – and the Anti-Balaka – who are made up of mostly christians – are in the midst of destroying themselves.
There has been minimal media coverage, peacekeeping presence and aid. I wish I had the power to do something about that. But I don’t. And that is why I write. Hoping that maybe…somehow it can be of the tiniest, littlest help or glimmer of hope so that there can be an end in sight and subsequently, peace.
There has been an ethnic cleansing; by militias that are made up of more child soldiers than actual ones. Women are being raped. And together with children are forced to survive on their own while the men carry on with the fight.
Its hard to live a privileged life when things like this still happen all around us. Maybe that’s the reason why I’d rather be living in a place like the CAR. The naivety in thinking my presence would in someway affect the outcome is obvious. I know that. But in a world where hope is rarer than a lunar eclipse, there seems to be no other option that would satisfy me.
As for now all I can do is pray to god – even if i’m not sure there is one. And hope that somehow my writing can help.