"it is only in the striving that we attain"
--| ON THE VALUE OF STRIVING |----- APRIL 7, 1999 if one doesn't exercise discrimination in finding only the finest examples of any given thing to study - you could waste all your life studying drek, and life is too short not to know at least something of the the highest and best that can be achieved by humans inspired by the good design, and all-pervading goodness of spirit of beautiful art. i mean this not merely in the externally aesthetic sense, but in an aesthetic inspired from spiritual-moral impulses. today, this point of view is often ridiculed - one that says rather that these ideals are merely subjective opinion. believing us to be merely mechanical animals which have invented our own conceptions. but as humans possessing free will, we participate in the fate of our world, we can CHOOSE our attitude towards what fate brings us, and act out of this choosing. thus intrinsically through our combined individual behaviour, we are also responsible for our actions. with freedom comes inextricably moral responsibility. freedom is not doing what you want, but being able to do what one WILLS. there is no other law than "do what THOU wilt" -> insofar as we understand THOU to be the highest thing we can look up to in our conceptions of life - the moral-spiritual conceptions of the world that impell us to understand that we are all a united humanity, and in the other man is a divine element common in ourselves also, and when we ignore our humanity, and believe ourselves nothing more than mechanical animals, then we deny our own humanity and eternal spiritual natures. some may say that it is useless to pursue such ideals, for nobody has ever attained to it. this is a very valid point, but it ignores the fact that in the striving, we attain. nobody has attained yet to perfection, each one of us has a multitude of failures in our character. but in the very striving we can work our way towards a greater humanity. to believe that this is possible is the first step towards the improvement of the world. people today often equate "progress" with techonological advancement. if the world is considered from a purely mechanical point of view, and all processes of life arise as a by-product of the interelation of mechanical and electronic material forces, we eventually reach a blank wall where science is able to define ever so well the HOW and mechanics of operation of the universe, but it is absolutely at a loss for the WHY. then an answer is given - "we construct our own meanings". this circular logic finds no way out, meaning is derived from meaning, until nothing means anything anymore. we are told we are nothing more than mechanical animals, responding to responses in an endless cycle, and we complain about the conditioning and the context we find ourselves. but there is a difference! we have thought, and we have the ability to have noble thoughts. we may be filled with an endless and unceasing stream of ignoble thoughts, but the fact remains that we are capable of noble thoughts. if we are so appalled to deny our animal side - which we do indeed in every human contain, then i ask this question - how do we then stand justified in denying the element in us, the striving towards which has resulted in all the greatest achievements of mankind? the force which brings the entire world to a better condition of living for all involved is precisely a moral force, and to deny this force is to remain stunted and blind to our own humanity and possibility.
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this page last updated: march 13, 1999