We each have the ability to see and interpret things for ourselves. Yet, all too often we allow other people (and their agendas) to influence our own best judgment. Naturally, we are attracted to views that support our preconceived assumptions, but can we really depend on others for the truth?
The dishonesty and deceit of partisan politics runs rampant. Mass media is particularly insidious, creating a variety of alternative realities and imposing them on us in an incoherent stream of sound bites and disconnected images.
Social media is worse. When our friends post an opinionated viewpoint on Facebook, does that make it true? Can we determine our own independence and objectivity?
How can we test the accuracy of cherished perceptions? What means do we have for seeking truth in the midst of upheaval?
We can never fully comprehend the reality in which we live, physically or spiritually. But, hidden behind every disruption (and illusion) there is a stability we can depend on. The world survives repeated cataclysms, always recovering its balance and somehow progressing despite human delusions, duplicity, and chicanery.
In the previous post I proposed a way to keep our balance. I wrote of a dependable, self-sustaining foundation underlying the whole of reality, both material and spiritual, which has the character of justice.
We would do well to align ourselves with this standard, to unite with its’ principles and meet its’ conditions as best we can.
Religious people may recognize this truth as a manifestation 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.
A balanced and coherent unity can be recognized in both the human and natural worlds, when they are freed from manipulation.
The elegant balance found in nature will, if left alone, always manage itself with a highly sensitive, yet robust and resilient functionality.
Human society has a similarly purposeful balance. But, this is often distorted by insistent efforts to control things according to our selfish desires, rather than with any sense of the right order of things.
Religion has taught us of the interdependence and integrity of the relationships that form the fabric of human communities. Science has shown us that the earth’s biosphere is a delicate web of life arranged in an integrated network of networks.
Whether in human affairs or in the natural world, any disruption or harm inflicted upon the balance will incur consequences that may not be immediately apparent. Yet the repercussions of injury and injustice spread rapidly abroad, as each impact leads to others in widening circles that extend themselves in perpetuity.
Why is this important to our understanding of freedom? Understanding the fundamental form and function of things allows us to see things for ourselves without undue influence from others.
While dialog and consultation can be important safeguards, the ability to recognize the consequences of events for ourselves, “to see the end in the beginning,” allows us to determine our own course of action freely, independently.
And, recognizing the far-flung after-effects of our own deeds provides us with a degree of protection from engaging in overly emotional, ill-conceived, or destructive acts.
A cursory review of human history reveals numerous examples of poorly conceived actions leading to disastrous consequences. As we have all seen, both individuals and groups are quite capable of serious error.
How does this happen? Well, sometimes we think we have everything figured out when, in fact, our information is limited and we are only aware of parts of the truth.
It is important to look for diversity of experience and perspective when we consult with others. Only then can we step back to think critically for ourselves.
Always mindful of the foundation of justice, which is a given, (and rechecking our own motives periodically), will pay ever greater dividends in constructive outcomes and the avoidance of unnecessary trouble.
The framework of justice is a gift that will not go away.
However destructive unjust acts may be, the foundations of reality remain trustworthy, unperturbed and uncompromised – even in the darkest night.
Please watch for the next post on or about July 14.
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