Man with thick smoke covering his face

Smoke and Mirrors: the Human Condition

Today, I woke up thinking about the human condition. My condition specifically. Before I go on, let me say that I’m a Christian. I thought about the fact that I was born into this condition, and if that being the case, guilt was a correct emotion for me to feel. By this condition I’m referring to the many varied things wrong with us humans, made obvious by the state of our world. Something’s wrong!

On the personal level it manifests itself as selfishness, a constant desire to put myself, and my desire number one. To continue to satisfy these desires at whatever the cost and to only really do good things when they do not compromise the satisfaction of these desires. That is to say I like to do good, the idea pleases me but I’ll usually only do it if doing good doesn’t require the sacrifice of something on my part.

I’m part of the most intellectually advanced species on the planet, a species capable of space exploration, and art, and music, and yet on a routine basis I’ll hurt the people around me, and even hurt myself. I’m reckless, I destroy more than I create. I do what I shouldn’t and don’t do what I should. Often enough, I see what is plainly good, and turn away from it because evil acts often offer more in the short run.

I see this clearly, and yet I can’t escape it. I’m not saying that everything done in the pursuit of personal satisfaction is evil, just that when we’re driven by it, often enough we find ourselves on the wrong side.

On the larger scale, this condition is war, poverty, hunger, overpriced healthcare, environmental degradation and pollution, genocide, suicide, terror. We fight against these things on a daily basis as if they were part of some invisible force with a power of its own, not realizing that to truly win the fight we would have to essentially fight against ourselves.

How do we win the fight against ourselves?

Well a good way not to do it is to imagine that ourselves is everyone else. That’s what war is about, seeing evil in someone else and being unable to see it in ourselves. So we demonize THEM, and “angel-ize” ourselves
and all of a sudden there’s no more grey, just black and white.

The primary healing work that needs to happen for any change is in ourselves. As individuals.

The world is very good at telling me what’s wrong with it or what’s wrong with me, but I find not as good at telling me what to do about it. The most I get is “donate 2 pounds a day”. Then they tell me how to fix myself. All over TV, magazines, newspapers, internet, they’re selling me this and that lotion or body wash, or suit of clothes or house or car, or job that’ll make me “feel” better about myself and help me to forget the ugliness inside.

They’ll teach me manners, how to speak to people, how to smile when I don’t mean to smile, and say “excuse me” when I don’t mean to. How to do good deeds, and pretend to be kind, how to open doors for folks, and be generally “a nice guy”. When they’re done I’ll feel better than everybody else, because I look better and smell better and have more things and people think I’m a “nice guy”.

These are not answers!

The world keeps telling me how to fix the outside, how to make it look better, how to be less trouble to society, but the outside is not where the problem’s at. Everybody knows it if they take the time to think about it. The problem is not how much exercise you get and how white your teeth are.

And I don’t want to act kind, I want to BE kind. I don’t want to act selfless, I want to BE selfless. I want to smile and mean it. All of these “solutions” are geared towards making me “feel” better, and in that way they play right into the hands of the problem, because in taking on board these solutions I’m again, making it about me, and how I feel. I want to BE better, because I’m sick of this disease; I want to change from the inside out. I want to think less about myself without having to think about thinking less about
myself. I need something real, not this “smoke and mirrors”.

What’s real? Real goodness, real charity, real love.

So now I go back to the initial question. How do I respond to the way I am? The way I was born, the way everyone was born? Is guilt the answer? A lot of religion would have me say that, but how can I feel guilt for something I’m not responsible for? Well then is it God’s fault? Did He get it wrong? Is it Adam and Eve’s fault with the original sin and all that? So I find the stumbling block. This need we have, to blame things on something. The story goes (whether or not you believe it) that when Adam was asked about
eating the fruit, he blamed Eve, who blamed the snake. It’s always our first reaction, who can we blame, who can we condemn? But what does that solve?

I’m not looking for a scapegoat anymore! I’m not worried about why I’m this way or who’s to blame anymore. I heard that I can be fixed. I heard there’s a place that I can go where I can find real healing, real change, GENUINE… from the inside out. It’s a big promise, a big ask, but I’ve tried it. I’ve been trying it for years, and dare I say it, I think it’s working.

Because I don’t know how to change the inside of me, I’m great at the outside, that I can handle. and I don’t know anyone else that knows how to do this thing. I’ve gone back to source, to God, and told Him who I am, and what I do, and why I do it, although I think He knew. I’ve told Him I don’t like it, and that if He’d help me change I’d be really grateful.

I believe there’s good in me. I believe there’s good in everyone. I couldn’t believe in God otherwise. We’ve just got to find ourselves, find who we were meant to be, who we were made to be. Go back to the source, go back and find Love (the opposite of so much of who I am), …could love be a person, … and could His name be God?