The Freedom to See for Ourselves

We each have the ability to see and understand things for ourselves. Yet, all too often we let the opinions and agendas of others take us in. Mass media is particularly insidious, creating a variety of alternative realities and imposing them on our thinking.

As human beings we can never fully comprehend the reality in which we live, physically or spiritually, but we can recognize that a single true and coherent reality must exist. And, we can each make an effort to align ourselves with our understanding of this truth.

In the previous post I proposed a way of seeing and understanding the world on the basis of justice. I wrote of a dependable, self-sustaining structure underlying the whole of reality, which has the character and balance of justice.

Religious people may understand this as a function of God’s Grace. Others might see it as a function of the integrity of the natural order in the universe. I believe both are true.

Unity and balance can be recognized in both the human and natural worlds, if we have the eyes to see. The elegant balance found in nature will, if left alone, always manage itself with a delicate, yet robust and resilient functionality.

Human society has a similarly purposeful balance. But, it is often distorted by the insistent efforts of people to manipulate things according to their selfish desires, rather than with any sense of the right order to things.

Religion has taught us of the integrity and interdependence of the relationships that make up the fabric of the human world. Science has shown us that the earth’s biosphere is a delicate web of life organized as an integrated network of networks.

Whether in the natural world or in human affairs, any disruption or injury inflicted upon the balance, (that is, when an injustice takes place), will incur consequences that may not be immediately apparent. Yet the repercussions spread rapidly abroad as each impact leads to others in widening concentric circles that extend themselves in perpetuity.

Why is this important to our understanding of freedom? Understanding the basic structure of things allows each of us to see the truth for ourselves without undue influence from others.

While consultation within a group or with a trusted friend can be an important safeguard, the ability to recognize the consequences of events for ourselves, to “see with our own eyes,” allows us to determine our own course of action without responding to pressure. And, recognizing the reality of our own impact on the world provides us with a degree of protection from our own potential to engage in overly emotional, ill-conceived, or destructive acts.

A cursory review of human history reveals numerous examples of poorly considered actions with disastrous consequences. Both individuals and groups are quite capable of “going off the deep end,” as we all know. How does this happen? Well, sometimes we think we have everything all figured out when, in fact, our information is limited and we are only aware of a part of the “truth.”

Still, our perceptions and decisions must be fully our own, even if we arrive at them in concert with others. It is very important to step back periodically and find the mental space to think objectively for ourselves.

Reminding ourselves to touch base with our personal understanding of the structure of justice, and to check and recheck our motives, will pay huge rewards in the avoidance of unnecessary trouble.

Justice is a gift that will not go away. To ignore or repudiate it is fruitless.

However destructive the consequences of unjust acts may be, justice remains integral to the substance of reality, unperturbed and uncompromised. It will always guide us toward understanding, however misguided or confused we might at first have been.

We can count on this, even in the darkest night.

Justice is a primordial law central to the character of the universe, and the ground on which human freedom will grow and flourish.


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