1. THE ARCHITECTURE OF LIFE
Humanity’s challenges and problems are complex, severe, and compounded by the fact that we add about 1,500,000 people to our population weekly.
Life is full of peril. It’s always been and always will be full of peril.
Everywhere we turn, all life forms struggle to survive and reproduce.
As a consequence of that struggle, within humanity, we see injustice, inequity, violence, and suffering. Most of it is caused by ignorance.
We want desperately to solve our problems. But how?
How can we reduce ignorance and suffering and expand knowledge and justice? Where do we begin?
As Albert Einstein observed, we can’t solve our problems from the same level of thinking from which they originated.
What level of thinking are we at?
What level must we get to?
How do we get there?
Journalist Edward R. Morrow once said, “The obscure we see eventually, the completely apparent takes a little longer.” Curious statement, “the completely apparent takes a little longer.”
Mark Twain, commenting about life, said similarly, “What tedious training day after day, year after year, never ending to learn common sense.”
“The completely apparent.” “Common sense.”
As we grow older, we learn that common sense is not that common.
Common sense to an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
Wisdom about what? Wisdom about life.
About the irrefutable architecture of life, which is what this Blog, and the book 7 Words That Can Change The World, is about: the structure of life and how it works.
What sustains life…and what destroys it.
SEARCHING FOR CLARITY
Allow me to relate to you the nature of my background.
It will help you understand how I arrived at my conclusions. Please grant me this indulgence.
As a child, I was disturbed by the insensitive and unkind ways we humans treat each other.
I recognized that the pattern was cruel and unsustainable.
“Why do we create so many problems?” I wondered. “Life need not be this difficult,” I thought.
At that young age, I could not understand much beyond my instinct that something was wrong.
Ahead were many roads for me to travel and much to learn.
As I experienced and observed life as a young man and later as an adult, I continued to be troubled deeply by cruel and destructive behavior that I witnessed over and over.
- I was disturbed that our world is thick with suffering, inequity, injustice, and exploitation.
- I was haunted without relief by how we destroy each other, our environment, and our own bodies and minds.
- I wondered how we could live amidst abundance yet simultaneously exist in a sea of anxiety, fear, insecurity, greed, and self-centeredness.
- I had a desperate need to understand.
My inherent nature, contemplative and proactive, drove me into the classrooms of our world.
I recall that I never wanted to be anything.
I just wanted to be, to follow life’s bidding.
When I think about that now, it occurs to me that was an unusual approach to life.
It was an inclination that set me up for an unpredictable, sometimes perilous, and often rewarding journey.
- My curiosity and sense of adventure propelled me.
- My abilities and discipline enabled and sustained me.
- Circumstances and serendipity allowed me.
- I became and, to this day, remain a student of life.
In my travels and experiences, I was aware of my motion but not my destination. The latter I knew to be distant.
It would reveal itself only after an arduous journey, just as a great mountain yields its summit only after one conquers its lesser peaks.
Victories and defeats nourished and thrashed me.
I forged on in search of the common but elusive thread that weaves through and binds all relationships.
I immersed myself in rich learning experiences in a broad range of seemingly unrelated fields.
I feel as if I have lived numerous lifetimes.
Over time, external forms began to dissolve into a transparency that revealed glimpses of the underlying foundation that girds our existence.
Clarity emerged that liberated me from much of the cultural programming to which we are subjected relentlessly.
I began to see and understand the cause and effect relationships of life.
Once clear, I was able to ask and answer some fundamental questions.
I examined our religious belief systems because, for many of us, albeit less and less, they color our observations and form the basis for our decisions that result in our actions.
I searched to discover that which is sacred.
While all religions claim to have sacred qualities, I was determined to identify those things in life, in reality, that are truly sacred.
Having exhausted my search for sacredness in the world of religions, I looked for a non-religious reality-based understanding of what is sacred: that in life which cannot at our peril be violated, damaged, dishonored or destroyed.
Drawing on my life’s experiences, and study (cosmology, evolutionary biology, and world religions) and still more experiences as an older student at Harvard and Yale Divinity Schools, I finally found what I was after.
It is a way of relating that is not arbitrary but imperative.
It addresses the reality that everything in our world is related and that the proper manner of these relationships must be understood and practiced if we are to survive and advance as a civilization.
This manner of relating is characterized by qualities that nourish and sustain the relationships of life, as opposed to those that damage and destroy them.
It may be that which Lao Tzu alludes to in the brilliant Tao Te Ching (The Way of Life) written twenty-six hundred years ago.
The answers are simple, elegant really, but elusive.
They have to do with what I refer to as the foundational relationships of life, “sacred” relationships.
Out of these relationships, all relationships and endeavors follow.
As you read on in future installments of this blog, you will understand.
The odyssey of my life that propelled me through a labyrinth of rich educational experiences convinces me that we humans must find a new track on which to travel.
- It is evident that there is a need for a belief system more relevant to the complex and increasingly sophisticated age in which we live.
- A belief system with the potential to achieve universal acceptance.
- A belief system responsive to the problems of our time and capable of drawing people everywhere together.
- Of most importance, a belief system that can reduce ignorance and suffering and expand knowledge and justice.
I concluded, after I spoke with many others, that there are countless people—an ever-growing number—who seek such a belief system.
To be continued……