Friday, June 22, 2007

The Judeo-Christian
The Obliteration
Of The Self

A very wise post from Phanarath over at Gates of Vienna:

What are we as human beings?

We can only ponder and try to get the most from our situation here on Earth. There is a spiritual reality beyond this existence that we cannot fully comprehend as long as we are in these forms that we are in now.

So what can we do?

We can try to be good. We can try to let ourselves grow to include our families, our friends and our fellow human beings.

When I was a child I read something in school that impressed me. It was the philosophy of an Indian — as in Native American — tribe. It said that we as humans start out with an understanding of our selfish needs. Later in life this understanding can grow and we can understand the needs of and feel a oneness with our family, and, as our empathy continues to grow, our tribe, mankind, all life, mother earth, the universe and all existence.

I think that was the most important thing I ever learned in school, and I also think that I learned it by accident. I don’t think I was supposed to learn that the self can grow. I was supposed to learn not to be arrogant about my own culture.

I learned not to be arrogant about my own culture, and I learned it well. For many years I believed everything from other cultures was automatically better then what my own could provide. I lost many important moments with my grandfather, arguing silly things that he didn’t have patience for, nor could he understand how I got them into my head.

I enjoy reading Fjordman’s articles, and how he speculates about how political correctness and Multiculturalism might be connected to or descended from Communism.

But I don’t think that there is a connection, other than the rejection of the self.It’s like having a monkey running amok in our garden with an axe. If you break the axe and the monkey picks up a saw, it doesn’t mean that the saw is somehow a descendant of the axe. It just means that the monkey will do anything to create more destruction.

The monkey here is the rejection of the self. When the self is rejected, there cannot be empathy for others. Instead of letting the self grow naturally, it has been rejected as evil to begin with, and we are left with a hollow human being without the potential for growth.

It’s a Utopian idea: the selfless people of a dream about a perfect world. It must have somehow been inspired by an idea of very spiritually developed people, but when the primitive newborn self was declared evil, this was soon forgotten. And then all manifestations of the self were seen as evil. Love of self, love of family, love of one’s tribe or race, nationalism and so on.

I think Panarath has hit on something very important here. When you think about it, all totalitarianism relies on the rejection of the self.

The Judeo-Christian tradition, on the other hand, teaches that the person is so important, as an individual self, that all should be granted equal rights; the right to free speech, to own property, and to equal protection under the law.

The Bible tells us that we, as individual selves, are so important that God would lay down the life of His only begotten Son so that, if we believe in Him, we may have everlasting life, and share it with Him. Jesus, himself, fretted over the one lost individual so much so that was said,

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them,

'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'

Our Declaration of Independence tells us, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We are the inheritors of such a tradition. We ought to protect it. It is precious.