by Rev. Gregory "Doc" Lowrey
(I wanted to post this while I was thinking about it and so this is "from the hip", a first draft. It may get changes later - please excuse any brain farts)
I would like this to be a longer post, but I want to at least get it started and perhaps the simple statement (which I have never seen) of this basic simple but essential fact will be sufficient.
Just as Jesus points out "The 'natural' man is an enemy to God", humans are at the most basic level "animals" who put individual needs and wants above concern for others. This is NORMAL and is the normal, basic foundation from which nearly all people actually operate - a purely animal level where little to no concern is shown for anyone (or anything) who do not show direct advantage to, or are confusingly different than that individual (each of us).
What Jesus then asks us, and which every religion or philosophy promoting civilization and especially altruism also ask or suggest is that we each make a personal decision and incontrovertible commitment to lift ourselves above our NORMAL condition to one that considers other things besides our own individual concerns.
This teaching of Jesus or the Law given by Moses which Jesus summarized as the foundation of his "Religion", asks us then to NOT be normal, but to learn to "desire" and practice a so called "higher law" or order of living, one that acts responsibly and with respect for all of God's creation down to the smallest of His creations and that we exemplify that concept by treating others - and I would include all creation, not just people, as we would desire that we ourselves would be treated. That we would do this HONESTLY is crucial to our success, so we would also desire "Instant Karma" or quick reprimand for our violations of this higher standard.
But what is most important to realize about our community at large, especially those who attain power - remember the truism "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" which we see a lot of in our huge beurocracies now days, but anyway, what we realize is that the animal nature is so strong and so natural and normal as the human condition that another saying becomes quite relevant. "Talk Is Cheap"!
What we do see is almost every group of philosophical/religious difference essentially "Talking the Talk" but often not even attempting or claiming it too difficult to attempt living this higher law by "Walking the Walk". Still, by claiming the belief, our leaders at least and it seems to some small or large degree our whole population, whether they be Buddhists, Baptists, Atheists or whatever all do this very same thing.
For this reason, seeking social change or personal change for that matter, even though thought (and often talk, even self talk) precede any action, "Talk Is Cheap"!
The proof is indeed "In the Pudding" and neither you nor me nor any potential "leader" in any sense can "Give What They Have Not Got"!
It simply cannot be done, yet we expect it at every moment.
Sadly, we must remember that at our foundation, we are dealing with Animals and that their talk generally does not belie their true feelings and behaviors and that our work to achieve a "higher order" of FEELING about existance, ours and all others, is the hard work of trying to act against our natural inclinations.
This is very difficult and is why "self improvement" whether through religion, government, science or other avenues exist at all, but the interest in SOCIAL UNITY and the ability to neglect our prime directive as it were to be self-serving, often at the expense of others in direct contrast with our interests is the true norm.
In order to act wisely and achieve our personal and social goals, we must first know ourselves and comprehend the foundation of the behavior of ourselves and others.
We do seek a "higher" way and it should be or become an automatic way of perceiving the world and cease being "work" just as learning any new skill is.
Also and lastly very sadly, we have too many, and especially in leadership - "wolves in sheep's clothing" who use this all against the masses and prove their greed by their unwarranted hording of resources, self-flattery and vain indulgence, while pretending to be their brother's keeper and general aspirants to a higher law of personal and social responsibility and action.