Monday, April 12, 2010

Can Man Save The World

Save this, save that, save so many other things. Thus go the fervent appeals of those worried about the endangered planet. But can we really save the planet by saving this or that? Is the problem really that simple and straightforward? It seems we are not squarely facing the problem; we are paying attention to mere symptoms without looking into the root cause producing those symptoms. There is a deep disease that we have ignored to our peril. We are only playing a hide-and-seek game with ourselves.

Now, what is the disease and where is it? The disease is in man, not in the planet. It is in man's view of himself. For many centuries, especially since the Western Renaissance, man has seen himself as the master of the planet who can treat it any way he chooses. Man has gloried in his cleverness and technological inventiveness, but his success is now bearing bitter fruit. The bitterness is getting worse and worse. His own existence is now seriously at stake. He has no one else to blame. In this, western man has led the way. The rest of the world gradually followed.

Man preferred to forget that he did not come to the world of his own will. He also preferred to forget that the planet and everything in it are not his own. He did not want to admit the possibility that there could be a vast scheme of things in which he has an appointed place and an appointed function, that there are laws that he cannot violate and boundaries he cannot transgress without facing great peril. His superior intelligence and abilities have been given him because he has a responsibility he must fulfill. If he refuses to do that and lives another way, he at once loses his justification for existence. He no longer has a place in the scheme of things.

Man preferred to see himself as the cleverest and the most technologically efficient animal. But he is animal nonetheless. So he prowled, plundered and robbed, killed and maimed anything and everything, including his own kind - the disadvantaged, the weaker and the less clever among his fellow men. He is still perfecting his technique in this demonic work.

This all-devouring, never satisfied animal that man has become is now trapped in a never-ending cycle of wasteful production and wasteful consumption. His economy stagnates and comes to a grinding halt unless he can spend on things that he could easily do without and are of no real value. His eating only whets his appetite for more. He has denied himself even the contentment of an animal of prey, that eats his fill and then relaxes in satisfaction. Pitiable creature that man has become!

Of all man's faculties the one he has abused most is his ability to use language. He invents alluring slogans to hide the truth, to flatter his own ego, and to mislead, deceive and exploit his own kind. But all the while he has remained self-deceived.

It looks doubtful whether the planet can be saved. The deep and repeated wounds man has inflicted on the planet are fatal. It is too late. In his pursuit of the world he has at last succeeded in getting himself banished from that very world he loves. Worse than that, he has banished himself from his true and noble self; he banished his soul in order to gain the world. His confident efforts only mock him now. He must accept the grim truth and get ready for his exit.

However, all may not yet be lost for man. He might still retrieve his soul by making one final choice. Will he continue to see himself as a mere clever animal, or will he try instead to see himself as a unique being in a supernaturally ordained scheme of things in which he has a unique role and responsibility? He can redeem himself through wholehearted recognition of his guilt and sincere repentance for his willful blindness and arrogance. He must submit to his Creator and Master and unconditionally accept his appointed role. The Master of the planet will take care of it in any manner He pleases. Man need not worry.

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