Anxiety is everywhere, short tempers and bellicose attitudes – what has gone wrong? How can we regulate this mass mood of doom? The great spiritual leaders of the past and present have always said that our serenity as a culture depends on our humility as individuals; the greatest have told us that we are all sinners, and that our pride will lead us astray – why are these generally accepted principles so hard to follow?
Is it because we are all sinners, but too proud to believe it? If you have some inkling of a right way of doing things, are you now qualified to judge the rightness of others’ ways of doing things? Aren’t we all that way sometimes, though? Every religion and government, great and small began this way; a group of us found that they had a good set of rules and customs to enhance at least some of their people’s lives – do those who benefit from systems like this always insist that theirs is the only true way?
Or do they grow from contact with other systems unlike their own, as infants do when they first recognize that mommy is more than just a caregiver, and has a mind like their own, or later when they learn to appreciate the individuality in each person of their growing world? This passing across cultures of information about, and methods promoting what each society practices to promote their interests has been demonstrated everywhere human populations have met each other; often resulting in wars over those differing ways, but usually also in some of those ways being accepted and absorbed – why does now seem so full of fear, when we can look back and see how the social contrasts have taught us all about each other? When we have proof that we are all so closely related?
Can I look at someone from across the world, with a different way of understanding the world and different ways of interacting with it, and see a distant cousin who I must greet with friendliness and curiosity about our differences, or must I be apprehensive of those differences, knowing as I do the value of the ways I learned in my youth? Wouldn’t a humble recognition of my own state as a person with human failings (a sinner) negate my pride and let me see just such a cousin, with a mind like mine, but an individual growing in the world we both appreciate, each from the perspective of the system that socially programmed it? Why can so many people not see with this simple empathy? Does sin cloud their eyes?