Wizard of Oz
The human character is a diverse spirit with many different capabilities, which alone make little sense, but together form a coherent organism that is able to create great art, great culture, great civilization. When any of these capabilities are separated from the whole of the human spirit, it becomes misguided and often self-destructive, not only to the individual in question, but also to the community as a whole.
It can be said that the human individual possesses four general abilities: intelligence, love, courage and idealism. Intelligence and love are both separate abilities, in that the former often involves a cold, rational thinking process, while the latter is an emotional capability not always in accordance with rationality or reason - but the two of them nonetheless are co-working factors of the human spirit. Like in the soul of women, love becomes an emotional logic, which expresses intelligence through feeling, while the soul of men tends to express intelligence via rationality and create a distinction between that and the emotional life. These are two different ways of how intelligence and love function within the dynamic human individual.
We mention courage as the third ability, because it has less to do with capability and more to do with power and ideal. For intelligence and love to prevail, there needs to be a motivating force that fuels the thinking process of finding answers and conclusions, as well as the want and urge to love; to protect and nurture. Without some form of motivation or striving force, our intelligence suddenly runs in loops and we repeat our existential problems over and over until we're caught in a circle of negativity - "this can't be done." And without a will to love and something to love, we become indifferent to the things around us, turning inward against ourselves, which means that the expressive force turns into a self-destructive state, also known as depression.
Courage canalizes our tensions, motivations and forces into a will to achieve and move forward, based on our abilities. We call this idealism, in that it's a phenomenon that isn't the product of material conditions, even if these may have an impact on courage as a motivation. On the contrary, idealism often faces material resistance, and the level of strength and motivation vary according to the individual ability. Think of this as war: the weakest men out on the battlefield will hide behind the bush, hoping to escape death, while the strongest move forward toward the enemy lines, regardless if it means they'll die before they reach their destiny. The material destiny is measured against that of idealism, which dictates our commitment to our ideals and beliefs. Even if we don't survive the war, we've fought according to our ideals, fuelled by what we love and value, backed up by our logic that says when to shoot and when to take cover, motivated by courage.
Too many people today in the modern world don't fully understand the importance of having ideals and being able to use all of our four abilities. As Nietzsche proclaimed, the emergence of rationality and materialism also meant the death of God, or the death of ideals, which "freed" us from God, but not from ourselves. As a result, we have a lot of power and need inside, but nowhere to use them, as we lack something to fight for, except immediate survival and pleasure (job, food, sex). For others who have escaped this entropy, the ideals are there but not the courage. Many anarchists belong to this group: all theory, no action. Without courage, idealism quickly relapses into symbolism without direction.
Love is another important aspect of the human character, because it signifies a relationship to something, a connection. This requires a mutual understanding between the two or more forces involved, which contrary to modern individualism, means that We Are Not Alone, only small organisms part of a life larger than ourselves. We're in it, but we're not "it." Because we're not gods on earth, we cannot dictate everything in life that we don't like or find pleasing. True love is recognition of this fact, because it requires us to give up some of ourselves to be able to receive from others. While many today are busy trying to manipulate, cheat or lie to get something out from other people, they are actually fooling themselves, because when they need strength or help from people the most, they will find themselves lonely and deserted. Love is not a "freedom" or a "human right," it's something that has to be earned, nurtured and protected, otherwise it slowly die out due to corruption from within. No happy face in any family photo album can hide that!
But in order to find balance in a relationship between individual and surrounding, we must study how the system of the surrounding works, to learn its fundamental laws and principles. We use our intelligence for this end, to learn how an idea can be put into action and what that action will bring with it, in terms of consequences. If an idea can't be put into action, it's unrealistic and must be modified. Likewise, if the consequences of that action don't respond to the expectations, we may want to find another way of acting upon that idea, or changing the idea itself. Intelligence is the level of logic, or the ability to assess ideas that can be put into action with the expected consequences, as close to the fundamental laws of reality as possible. Therefore, some people can be brilliant in for example improving agriculture, but forgetting the limit of how many crops we're able to farm from the land without destroying the earth for a long period of time. In other words, our thinking process must always be evaluated against the world in which we live. Good logic means our assessments create a minimal friction between what we believe is real, and what is actually real.
These are the four abilities we've been gifted with, and all four of them are vital to our existence here on earth, but it all depends on how they operate together. For instance, many people have what we often call "a good heart," but may in turn lack intelligence; hence they become kind but stupid people, which of course create problems. Some are highly intelligent but carry a heart of stone inside, making them excellent scientists but indifferent citizens of a community. Others are full of courage and bravery, but are not sure what they believe in, so their power becomes misguided and lead them into trouble. It's not hard to come up with every day examples that show just how important a balance is between these four abilities.
When all of these are present in the human spirit, there is chance of completion and transcendence, because we escape the extremes of either ability - thus its inherent pitfalls - and create something extraordinary beyond what each individual ability is capable of. Like in a brilliant symphony, emotional tension, appropriate structure, power and direction join hands in a storm of the will to live and strive ever upward. Higher and higher we reach, the better we become at managing our abilities toward greater and greater ends. Finally, we're able to look back on previous wonders like the Ancient Greece, baffled by what we actually are capable of achieving.
The hardest thing for many is to come to terms with how to utilize our gifts. How do I learn to love with passion and honesty? How can I use my intelligence to solve great problems? How can I bring forth my courage at the right time? How can I reach sensible ideals to fight for? For many centuries, these questions have been turned to a faith in God, who has been presumed to hold the absolute answers in his possession. Most have been disappointed, waiting all their life on their knees on the truth to come, on a truth that over time has been revealed as yet another product of the individual.
The problem is not so much that God has been revealed as a man, but that the man has been trying to play games with our lives, sending double messages. A life devoted to waiting on greatness to happen, runs out in the sand. Think of it as the boy who doesn't dare to ask a pretty girl out. He lacks courage, so he "waits," but nothing happens. A year later and that same pretty girl is married. This gives us a glimpse of direction on how we must proceed: we need to believe in our abilities and ourselves, not in some random, entropic, unknown force that can't be assessed correctly in this world. If we necessarily need a god, we need him here on earth, giving us directions that coincide with our reality. The force and motivation can be found outside or inside of ourselves, through pressure or through encouragement, but it all starts by us believing in whom we are, what we want and what can be achieved. It starts within the unexpected force of the human spirit - and beyond all fear, resentment and negativity, rule that same force which may drive you to the end of the world, before you reach your goals.
August 5, 2007
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