This divisive election campaign is the outcome of our own egoism. If we want something else, we must change ourselves. Realizing and wanting are the keys to generating change.
Good morning America. It’s Thursday, the second post election day. It’s over, but it’s not done. Now, we need to look beyond the quagmire of the 2016 US election campaign and see what lies ahead.
As I wrote before the election, the new president will have a full plate. In fact, I think that the plate is so overflowing with problems that no president could handle it alone. It’s time for the rank and file to wake up and take initiative. We are at a critical point in time. If we stay idle now, tomorrow might be too late to fix up society.
From Incomplete to Complete
Let’s take a look at the world around us. Everything in life moves from incomplete to complete. Did you ever try to eat an unripe apple? Don’t, it’s extremely sour, foul tasting, and quite unhealthy. But when ripe, it is the exact opposite: sweet, delicious, and wholesome.
Likewise, pediatricians use growth charts to track the development of children from infancy to adulthood because they know the stages of growth from infancy to adulthood. In other words, we too develop from the incomplete to the complete. However, this does not stop us from thinking of children as beautiful, since we see in them their great potential. If we thought that they would remain as they are—short, weak, and uneducated—we would feel sorry for them rather than think that they are beautiful.
Additionally, for the most part, the more developed a being is, the longer it takes it to achieve its final state, and the more unappealing it appears as it develops. Therefore, humans, undoubtedly the most complex creations on the planet, undergo the longest and most unappealing states on the way to perfection. And yet, the inevitable result will be more beautiful and pleasant than anyone can imagine.
As it happens with everything else in existence, nature will take us to our final, complete state regardless of the resident in the White House. It would be wise of us to focus on how to achieve this state as quickly, painlessly, and pleasantly as possible.
Until now, our only concern has been how to stuff ourselves with food, gadgets, wealth and power. But we can see that this path is quickly exhausting itself. Now we have to think about how to make our lives pleasant in a more sustainable way—one that coincides with our predetermined perfect state.
Everything Was Fine until We Came
In nature, perfect means balanced. On all levels of reality—still, vegetative, and animate—life is completely balanced. It is not immobile or stagnant, but fluctuates in an ebb and flow motion under the influence of two mutually complementing forces—one positive and the other negative. These forces maintain a dynamic balance that sustains everything. Sunrise and sunset are equally necessary, as are the seasons, and as are life and death. Heat expands toward cooler areas and high pressure spreads toward low pressure. Everything is dynamic, yet everything is balanced.
Until the arrival of humans, everything evolved in its natural course. We, humans, changed everything. In us, the negative force manifests as egoism and the positive force as altruism. And yet, we are the only part of creation that has evolved thus far virtually without the force of altruism. “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen 8:21) is not merely a verse from the Bible; it is a fact of life.
Roughly since the beginning of the 20th century, egoism has completely taken over and our development has accelerated exponentially. Within a few decades, we have managed to put everything that nature has built over billions of years at risk of extinction.
World War III or No World War III—That Is the Question
This election has proven that nothing drives the candidates but greed and the lust for power. We cannot expect these qualities to straighten the course of our planet. In fact, we can be certain that unless we the people force the government by our conviction to transform itself into a pro-people administration, as opposed to a pro-elite government, we will find ourselves in the midst of another world war—and this time a nuclear one. If anything positive has come out of this election, it is the realization of the true nature of our leaders and the disillusionment we feel about their intentions. Now that we know who they are and what they want, we have a chance of making a change. Previously, we were asleep.
Instead of Taking from Ourselves We Should Add to Others
It may seem like a major undertaking to change our conduct from uninhibited egoism to something more balanced, but it is actually much easier than we think. The first thing we need to know is that it isn’t necessary to choke our egoism. There is no reason to; it has generated everything we have: plenty of food, advanced medicine, technology that makes life easier, and all the other amenities of modern life. It would be senseless and pointless to relinquish these comforts.
Instead of taking away from ourselves, we need to add to others. We need to start thinking more socially than personally. Each of us has tremendous potential. Sadly, more often than not, we never fully develop our true potential because we waste tremendous amounts of effort maintaining our social status in the hostile and suspicious social environment we have built for ourselves. Instead of fighting ceaselessly, we would all benefit if we used our talents to benefit society.
Likewise, when all the cells in a body contribute to its well-being by flawlessly performing their individual tasks, it manifests as robust health. If we looked at humanity as an organism of which we are all parts, we could apply the same rule. We would feel that contributing to society is tantamount to contributing to ourselves. King Solomon called this trick of our minds, covering hatred with love (Prov 10:12).
Simply put, we need to instill in our society a strong sense of mutual responsibility and mutual consideration to balance the enormous amount of ill-will we have been injecting into society for over a century.
A Conscious Act of Balancing
It need not take a lot in order to invert the current negative trend that leads to an all-out war. In fact, when executed on a massive scale, any amount of genuine good intentions will make a world of difference. And in our case, this literally means a different world.
To achieve this, all we need to do is realize that our problem is our egoism, and then want to change. “Realize and want” is a formula that, when applied en-masse, allows the positive force mentioned earlier to impact us. Just as water flows down to the basin, when we create a want for the positive force—by realizing that we need it in order to set our society straight—that force will fill up the want inside of us and change us. This is why I said that the change is easier than we think—because we do not need to create it, we simply need to realize and want it.
So let us unite above all our differences, draw this positive force into our societies, and make our beautiful diversity the treasure it can be—to everyone’s benefit. Let’s not wait for anyone; let’s just do it!
Featured in The Jerusalem Post