Views & Voices

Living Legacies — Realizing that affinity for life is what love is all about


Many people find it difficult to cope with the all the changes that occur in their lives on a daily basis. They feel confounded by the many demands and conflicts in their family and immediate community, and yet they feel compelled to add alternative demands arising in their own minds.

That there are alternatives often appears to be deliberately hidden from them by their cultures and their traditions.

Paranoid, or curious about the life they find themselves experiencing, they have the feeling that they sacrificed their youth, their dreams, and their happiness for the chance to build and defend a world which is a legacy for somebody else. At times there are hints of satisfaction and joy in their lives particularly if they discover the heritage also seems to give their lives a sense of accomplishment.

There are times when it seems all our efforts are for nought. We have built pyramids in the plains and deserts of our planet, and mesmerised our minds, to preserve what we thought was our legacy as an afterlife, only to find that tombs also crumble.

Everything, every great work, every great thought, every tear of grief or happiness seems doomed to join the lost treasures of human achievements. Our most astounding human activities of intellect, art, and science are threatened by change; by inevitable extinction, after which it will be as if none of it existed. The only thing we can be certain of that matters is the ‘here and now’, but both progress and regress seek our attention.

Cultural progress, from the feudal monarchies and monasteries of the old world to the pioneering spirit of a free new world where individuals were to be regarded equally, seemed to somehow hold out the hope of a future in which humankind could live without prejudice; where peace would be given a chance to guide the planets, and even if it was a little too joyously romantic, that love would steer the stars.

At least we could discover that all we need, for the chance to live peacefully with each other, is to accept that real human love exists in many forms. Imagine, freedom and love, freedom to love, freedom to live…without fear.

Descendants of malevolent heritages, who ask us to abandon such freedom and love, for their version of a religion; make us take oaths to deny those hard won freedoms from serfdom, slavery and oppression, for the sake of avaricious economic systems that is oblivious to human suffering, and inconsiderate political views that serve neither principle nor the people.

They have the audacity to insist that nearly every discovered scientific fact be replaced with unfounded, unprovable myth and superstition. They feel empowered to control people through fear, by instilling in them fabrications of unnecessary guilt and shameful ignorance.

In addition, there are those who have corrupted even this ignorance for the sake of monetary profit at the expense of the people, for the denial of individual edification in a way being close to sadomasochistic slavery; it mimics willing human sacrifices, where not only our hearts are ripped from our chest, but our minds are stolen and flung away as ‘impure’ thoughts. Even these very words you are reading now will be considered as words of the devil, so far affected are the fanatics, by irrational religious teachings.

And what do those profiteering prophets give up? What do those marauders of our minds and bodies ultimately sacrifice? They sacrifice the noblest causes of mankind’s quest for reason, to use intelligence for knowledge of life and for goodness, in this moment of our living when we need it the most. They would heave compassion aside, and toss intelligence for the sake of having money, which is useless until it is spent on the human needs of we, the people.

The most unremitting torment of a people can be epitomized by those who have been denied their freedom to inherit the opportunity of experiencing being human; of living without hindrance to realising their dreams and joys of life.

Historically, the poor are enslaved until they are freed by force, or are offered refuge by a benefactor, or deprived until they are destitute, upon which they may resort to violence because they feel they have nothing to lose.

An invitation to share the wealth of the new world has been made, but lamentably, it seems in practice to have been twisted into a Trojan horse; a lamp held aloft in the storm of human existence to lure and fleece the poor of the little they have left;

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

What good are these words when torrents of torment reign over our planet, with subterfuge, lies, and reprehensible deceptions contributing to the corruption of the legacy of the United States of America’s experiment, of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people, not perishing from this Earth’?

The U.S. Constitution and its message of freedom and equality for all is now in danger of being usurped by a rabid religious right-wing that is completely devoid of any sense of respect for life, freedom and equality; completely incapable of seeing that its legacy to the future is blind ignorance of reality.

The War on Ignorance

It isn’t just America any more, it’s the whole planet, all people. America is floundering in its inherent Constitutional aim, its legacy to lead the global community to where its Constitution suggests our species should progress, without undue hardship; by pursuing happiness and sustaining a continuing heritage of life’s riches for our descendants. This is why it is so important that freedoms, equality and human rights be safeguarded from religious fanatics, corrupt politicians, and the profiteering economic models so beloved by the right wing conservatives. Conserving a culture does not mean we must bind the present so that the future can be blinded to progress. The bonds must be cut if we are to be free.

There can be no respect for those who would force others to believe only as they do. There can be no respect in disregarding the poor, the deprived, the ill of health, or the aged. There is no honour in creating the conditions for deprivation when we have the means, as we do on a planetary basis, to work for the eradication of famine, fear, ignorance and inhumanity, and to struggle through all the changes we must face to survive with our reverence for life intact. There is no justification for pompous piety of deities whose mythical existence has long outlived our primitive need of them.

The United states of America should have been able to share with the world the one thing it holds most dear; individual freedom, but deplorably, it tries to charge for it, capitalize it, Christianise it, evangelise it. Liberty cannot be reduced to a commodity without being corrupted; it cannot be sold without someone being enslaved. It’s not possible to impose an inflexible condition of ideology or religious belief on individual freedom without making a mockery of personal independence.

The Legacy of Freedom

The history of politics shows attempts to build a culture on intellectual concepts, as opposed to simple instinctual huddling together in a shelter for communal support, protection from predators, and environmental threats.

This evolving exchange of instinct for intellect is strangely neglected by many researchers when they cite our fight – flight – freeze response as being due to the base instincts of early Man, and a primal source of aggression and violence in today’s humans. This oversight of the intellect’s significant displacement of instinct is further frustrated by the failure to appreciate that without intellect our cognition is severely restricted in its capacity to evaluate self awareness, in the psychological sense.

Moreover, our self awareness, as part of our cognitive process, is not static, but evolving, as is the cognitive ability itself. This evolution of sentience enables heightened degrees of awareness of our individuality earning the right to freedom, free will and choice, through the intellectual capacity to dominate the primal instincts, emotions notwithstanding.

The ability to be oneself in any culture is affected by the rules of the culture, which nevertheless, no matter how restrictive, must eventually alter and evolve in order to accommodate survival and growth in all senses of the word. Where individual freedom is part of a culture, the culture must be able to accommodate divergent views.

Democracy in any of its varieties represents progressive attempts to provide humanity with societies that provide empowerment of individual freedoms and recognition of human rights, whilst building a world community of support for its people. This is a relatively new global view, in that the whole planet is now involved as a collection of interrelating communities and nations which, not all that many years ago, were mostly unaware of each other.

If the USA is the culmination of such social evolution, then it can be seen as an experiment in democratic freedom and individualism. That experiment is based more on intellectual perception, and learning, and reasoning, than it is on the instincts of our ancestors, barely able to think beyond recognition of their daily needs. Abandonment of feudal lords and serfs, of allegiance to tribal monarchies in favour of self-governing bodies elected by the people, should also have been accompanied by the renunciation of created folklores, religions, priests, messiahs, and gods.

The human species is on the cusp of this abandonment, which demands a leap, not of faith, but of change, which seems almost impossible given those who, for whatever reason, still think it is necessary to cling to religions, myths and superstitions to explain reality.

Change is not impossible. If we look at the changes which directly affected the generations of the last century we see two things.

Firstly the changes wrought by the industrial and technological revolutions were adopted by our ancestors, and we regard most of those changes as advances, which we now take for granted. Some developments have passed so speedily that we don’t even know what they were.

Secondly, it is the rate of change, particularly in the technological area of computers, that makes many people feel threatened. They feel things are moving too fast for them. No sooner have people, even newly graduating students, made the effort which enables them to adopt the latest advances, than they find their knowledge and skills superseded by more recent developments. Fear arises that we are attempting to design the next stage of our own evolution; micro-chips attached to our brains, nanobot thingies swimming in our gene pools, whilst our humanity gets indignantly washed down the drain.

Clearly, a hybrid human computer, that adhered to a religious belief whilst trying to obey its programming for scientific reality and monetary profit, could only be a fiction in a Hollywood movie plot.

The conclusion of such a story line could never be salvation, only insanity; insanity that short circuited life, love and evolution. Computers, and closed minds, have real difficulty in admitting mistakes. Personalities aside, marriage between science and religion is a tenuous fragile relationship fraught with the danger of crashing and crumbling into the dusty remnants of our instincts, should we ignore our own cognitive evolution.

The human condition can be nurtured to grow and evolve for the better, rather than for mythical salvation, if we embrace intelligence and logic instead of superstition, fear and ignorance. There is a real need to discourage and resist those people who would regress us to a time of intolerance, slavery and oppression, in an attempt to validate their religious belief and writings.

The Realization of What We Are

The real danger for us is in stopping; stopping thinking, stalling our intelligence and ignoring our own ability to become more than what we are, that we convince ourselves to forfeit freedom, or worse, misconstrue what freedom and its responsibilities really mean. We will deny our natural ability to evolve, if we stagnate in the baseless delusions of traditional beliefs, and our own untested notions, if we think we are less than what we are.

What we are is active evolution in human form. It doesn’t end there though; each of us is not a slice of transition between generations, living unchanged for seventy or so years before we die. If superstition and blind belief do not interfere, we are growing, altering, and adapting every second of every minute of our lives; changing, morphing, living continuances of life.

Our bodies and brains are the actualization of life, modifying and evolving for the next moment, from micro-second to microsecond, for the next breath we take or give, unless we think we are nothing more than a static entity, with the fixation of an unalterable personal attitude. In that frozen state we minimize our ability to evolve and our immediate legacy to ourselves largely ceases to function, because we try to keep everything the same, familiar, nonthreatening, and safe. We hold our breath, and thereby lose it; suffering results.

When we think we know who we are, who it is that makes decisions, we have personalized an idea of ourselves, an ego; made to seem real beyond the moment it is needed. We have made it something that it isn’t.

Every time we adopt an image or an unverifiable concept as reality, instead of adapting to the reality of the moment, we are fooling ourselves into thinking we know something we don’t, and mostly cannot know. To avoid having to admit we do not know, we try to protect our own internal image of the self. We personalize ideas, concepts, and constructs, to the point of losing objectivity, and worshiping our own ego for being so clever as to think it knows who it is. It is a short step away from projecting that ego image on the idea of a god.

Our brains aren’t made to be stagnant; to simply adopt what they are told, or even what they tell themselves without doubt or curiosity. They have evolved to perceive, to question, to learn, to reason, and most importantly, to adapt to the reality of the moment. What we are, each of us, is evolutionary events in real time. Evolution in motion, alive and adapting to every moment of reality – if we let it.

This does not mean that we lose our personal identity, our unique individual character. It is just that when we have the freedom to be what we are, the uniqueness, of who we are, is born of its intangible selfless integral relationship with reality; inherently human, intrinsically free, and quite capable of recognizing all the mistakes and achievements that humans make as they evolve from one moment to the next.

If we stop our own internal evolving cognition, our intelligence, for the sake of a belief, we deny reality. Denial of reality is insanity, and madness becomes our legacy. It is the legacy that our children will have to cope with, until they gain the freedom, the ability to rebel against the madness, and discover the quest for life’s meaning for themselves.

We can bequeath them a terrible confinement of ignorance, fabricated lies, and even bigotry, or we can leave them with the freewill to learn, to experience everything, and to love the reality of being able to adapt to life as it happens, to pursue happiness.

We can bequeath them affinity for living; for life. Such affinity is commonly known as love, and as such, as far as we can tell, pervades the Universe. Planets gravitate towards each other, as heavenly bodies are known to do, and so perhaps we can truly say that ‘love steers the stars.’

Adapting life for the goodness of love is not an unreasonable aim, or even an unrealizable reality. It is, in fact, the natural state of the human condition, but we have to change and adapt our cultures to enable and nurture that reality of love if we are to leave a realistic legacy, allowing our descendants to discover life being as wonderfully unique as it should be.

Life without trust in human goodness is as senseless as it it is insane.

Realizing that affinity for life is what love is all about, is more than a thought, it is an observation of each individual’s life and ultimately their legacy; a legacy of participation in life that never stops evolving.

As evolving is what we are, then who we are capable of being is life, in love with all that is real and good. That can only happen when we care for each other, love each other, and freely, willingly, express love to each other regardless of race, color, age, gender, or creed, without fear, deception or constraint.

Love is celebration of life; life that is an ever loving, evolving awareness of its universe in all the grandeur, beauty and truth that we can discover.

Part 1 in this series is here.  |  Part 2 is here.

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