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ARTICLE The power of silence ..more
As a human being you have to take care of yourself. This means you have to work. There is you this moment so you want things to be good for you now. There is you tomorrow and you also want things to be good for you then. And there is you next week, next month, next year, ten years from now, and you when you are old. Because you are self-conscious and you are aware of the future, you are a community unto yourself. The proper way to live is to act in such a manner that things will be good for you now and in the future, across time. You therefore want to act in a morally upright manner; you do not want to dispense with ethical behaviour. But if you are impulsive and selfish, you do things that may give you short term pleasure but end up giving you long term pain. The impulsive person is serving himself right now but not serving the good person that he could be. He is sacrificing his future self in the present.
When you listen to good music, you can feel harmony. The sound coming from the violin synchronizes with the sound coming from the piano, and both sounds synchronizes with the sound coming from the trumpet, and the three sounds synchronizes with other sounds. All the instruments and the voices blend in a harmonious manner. That harmony is pleasant. You want this sort of harmony in your life. You will have this harmony when you speak the truth and act in such a manner that takes care of you now, you tomorrow, you five years from now, you ten years from now, and you when you are old. This is you serving yourself properly, and if you serve yourself properly, you will be serving your family and your community properly. All of this is related to responsibility and meaning.
There are people who are suffering and there are people whose lives are meaningless to themselves, and there are people who are both suffering and considering their lives meaningless. These people may end up displaying malevolence while being bitter and resentful about how their lives have turned out. The antidote to the suffering and meaninglessness they experience is to take on more responsibility for themselves and other people. To start their journey out of meaninglessness, they should aspire towards that right now.
All things do not carry equal value. Some things are worth doing and some things are not and you can discover for yourself things that are worth doing. Once you have done this, aim at the things that are most worth doing. If you watch carefully you will discover that the things worth doing are almost always associated with an increase in responsibility.
Who are the people you admire? At least those people will be accountable to themselves and if they have something to spare, they will be accountable for their families and their communities. Those people are “solid” and oftentimes they have a business and are able to take care of more people and involve themselves in their communities in a positive way. These admirable people have a pattern of being worth imitating and that is associated with responsibility. Unless there is something wrong with your head you don’t admire irresponsible people who don’t even take care of themselves.
Why should you be responsible? You should be responsible to be a good citizen. Actually, no. You should be responsible because you need to have a deep meaning in your life to offset the suffering and meaninglessness. You do this by carrying a heavy load, by carrying your cross. You do this by speaking the truth and acting in such a manner that it is good for you in the present and in the future while being good for your family and community at the same time. That is nobility and meaning lies there. Get your act together.
If you don’t get your act together and you act in a manner that is not good for you, something moves in to take the place of what you could have been and that thing is not good at all. If you are living a life full of vices, it is not only that you are engulfed by anxiety and hopelessness, and that your life is lacking real meaning, but that something dreadful, something hellish, moves in to occupy the space that who you could have been would have inhabited, and that makes things worse. Maoism, Stalinism, and Nazism were disasters of the twentieth century. These were totalitarian horrors. Part of the reason this happened was that people like you and I did not take on proper responsibility. When the seeds of the horrors were being sown, they shut their eyes and said and did things they should not have said and done. The seed grew and become so monstrous that it claimed millions of lives. Acting improperly supported the horrible systems.
Stand up straight and take up your responsibility because if you don’t, you are creating a space for hell.
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