Just what is selfishness anyway? In my little book, Wilderness Cry, I define selfishness as anything directed at self. That is a very general, and, necessarily all inclusive, definition. I daresay that most people who have been disciplined in almost any ‘religion’ would automatically associate selfishness with their inculcated concept of sin. Certainly, there are degrees of selfishness, just as there are of most things—those extremes have been labeled as ‘sin’.
Also, in my little book, I make, what may seem to many, to be a rather ‘bold’ statement by proclaiming that everything in the universe is evil by virtue of its selfishness. That, of course, brings us to another ‘curve in the road’—just what is ‘evil’? Here again, we have been imbued with the idea that evil must be equilibrated with sin. In truth, those who have led and instructed us have designated anything and everything which seems ‘distasteful’ to us/them as sin. It all started with the chief sin policeman, himself, Moses. That gentleman started the fire with just ten ‘pieces of kindling’. However, the three Abrahamic religions that followed kept ‘loading the wagon’ with sin logs so that even as I speak, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is constituted of nine hundred, 6″x9″, rather small print, pages of ‘sin kindling’—and the Jews thought they had it bad with a measly 640, or so, laws.
You might ask, what’s the point of all this rambling? I would likely amaze you and possibly even scandalize you by saying “God made it to be that way” for a very specific purpose. Allow me to explain one more time. All gravid creation exists in a time and motion framework. Time, of course in an incremental measure of change. Every living thing is required to do basically the same things—come into existence, stay in existence for a period of time , reproduce, and die—all of that requires change. When any entity dies, it begins the immediate decomposition process. When that process is completed, its basic elemental residue will be assimilated into other objects. That process will occur repeatedly until all return to the unchanging and unchangeable ‘singularity’ which I/we call God, Allah, Buddha, Brahma, Yahweh, etc.—the one and only true God which I have defined as A Perfect Rational Being.
Minus selfishness, which demands change, the universe would stand still—it would exist in eternity. So, in order to function, everything must, by its very natural order, be continually and continuously changing. Furthermore, literally all change involves selfishness—meaning that all change is directed at the appetite of self. Again, in Wilderness Cry, the universality of that selfishness is well elucidated.
In light of the foregoing understanding, it seems imperative that we alter our attitude about the ‘sin’ in selfishness. In a general sense, everything needs food and water, shelter, protection, reproduction, etc. It is the extremes of those fundamental activities that have been decried as ‘sin—that was Moses’ method of dealing with his wayward subjects. I vouch to say that God ‘cares naught’.
God gave all living things instincts and intellects with which to deal with adversity of all kinds—no individual nor group has developed a fool-proof plan yet—I dare say they never will. Everything belongs in the ‘food chain’—sooner or later everything, including us, will become food for something (bacteria, mice, rats, bears, who knows what)—God made it to be that way. In essence, God feeds off himself.
The founding fathers of our nation, having experienced the tyranny found in other forms of government, recognized that selfishness, bridled by regulatory controls, was the only way humans could govern themselves successfully. So, they devised a constitutional form of government which incentivized each person to become industrious for himself (selfishness), while, at the same time, helping support the ‘common good’ projects such as schools, roads, infrastructure of all kinds, military for defense etc.—they called it Democratic Capitalism. In addition, their system not only allowed for, but encouraged charitable support for the less fortunate. Unfortunately, their record was terribly marred by the blight of slavery. In their defense, they inherited a fourteen thousand year legacy of slavery. Furthermore that legacy was fostered and supported by religion. The world seems for the most part to have come to grips with its ‘wicked ways’, but the remaining scars are wide and deep, and continue to linger, creating smoldering hostilities.
Why then would God create such a selfish universe? I pondered that question long and hard before I came to realize the rather obvious answer. God, actually had a need. He needed to demonstrate his Perfect Love to the world and himself. In the abstract, love is just a concept. Active love requires a lover and a lovee—what greater lovee could God possibly have than an entire universe(s) of evil (selfishness) which he, himself created, and, in which he resides?—enter his son and our brother Jesus. Jesus saw the ‘big picture’—he witnessed the unbridled greed of the king and ‘upper crusts’ of religion. He taught us that love (acceptance) of God and our neighbor was the only way to peace and happiness. So, he graciously accepted the yoke of torment and death so that God and his creation, including you, I , and Jesus, himself, might be exonerated. Could we ever thank him enough? I don’t for one second believe he ‘expects’ any thanks—that would be selfish of him. However, I do believe it would do us some soul-searching good to pause occasionally and say to ourselves; “thank you Jesus”.
So, what’s all the hullaballoo about? Basically, its about religion using our God-instilled instincts to demean and control us all for money, and ’empire building’. We have a system of laws which were enacted for purposes of dealing with extremes of selfishness. We don’t need religion teaching us that we must ‘appease’ an angry God. God is Perfect—there’s no way that any or all, collectively, could please or displease him.
Have you noticed how we are continually shifting the blame onto God—we are perpetually admonished by our priests and preachers to beg God to change something. I’d suggest to you right now, God will not and cannot change anything he has loved (created)—everything will play out to its intended completion. We are the ones who must change our attitude, our way of thinking, and our understanding. We must come to the full realization that the Spirit (WILL) of God exists in every particle of energy of which everything is made—I defined that as spirituality. It is only through the acceptance of that singular, like-minded, concept that peace can ever be achieved.
Yes, we are selfish—God made us that way so that we could live and function in his selfish, ever-changing, ever-evolving universe. That is the method God used/uses to demonstrate his Prefect Love through the death of his mirror image, Jesus.
My call for The World-Wide Communion of Spirituality continues—it is our only hope for peace.