Sunrise Magazine Online

Wider Sweep of Responsibility

By E. J. Dadd, Australia

What are we to think about these problems of pain, disharmony in human affairs and in the kingdoms below the human? And even worse, in a sense: what of the instability and unreliability of the very earth upon which we must live? We cannot migrate to another planet — which indeed might be worse for all we know. No; here, according to reliable observation, we must live again and again, and have lived before and before, involved in the destiny of the earth and all its creatures, until — what?

There is a confusion within us. We feel we are superior to this sorry mess in human affairs; we feel that the imperfection shown throughout nature is not the best that might be. And when the very earth opens beneath our feet we feel indeed let down.

Shall we go on questioning eternally? It would be good to remember that other ages and other peoples have pondered this problem; and good to note also that intelligent cooperation is as much called for in the world of mind and soul as in the world of commerce. Western philosophy is outgrowing its once postulated Creator, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good; and a devil who strives to undo all that the creator fashions. But we find it necessary to be charitable to this creator in so many other ways that we still must continue to question and wonder.

We might do better to forbear to postulate and have the dissatisfaction of not being able to make the facts fit the theory. Actually we are superior to the creator whom we have created, and our immense displeasure with so much of the life on our planet arises from the plain fact of our superiority to much in our surroundings — which we did not 'create.' Why not be scientific in our religion and deal with facts as we find them?

The pesky fly, which we find it so necessary to swat for reasons of cleanliness, is an aviator so much better than anything human that we must suppose the existence of intelligences needed to produce and maintain the supply of such wonderfully complex machines. These 'creators' are superior to us in that respect — though they may not be so always. The same thing applies to nature throughout. She is superior to us in the matter of suchlike construction.

These intelligent supervisors of nature do their work in a way that calls forth our respect and wondering admiration. But are we not part of nature, and standing side by side with them in the general plan? Have we not a spiritual work to do which many of them are not fitted to perform? Their part may be to build and train the forms: ours to build and train the mental, moral, and spiritual egos within the forms.

Why postulate one god as being responsible for it all? Better to observe armies of gods, each working according to ability and probably with a sense of duty in so working. Our duty as 'human' gods is to organize and improve life wherever we contact it. And since there is an observable element in our human affairs which works in the opposite direction, we ourselves are evidently both god and devil.

Is there then nothing to which we can look with reverence, with speechless devotion? Indeed there is. Deep within our own hearts it lives; and from that divine source flows forth the urge to recognize our responsibility together with innumerable others in a mighty scheme of evolution, ever moving from imperfection to stages higher and relatively more perfect. As we help others and assist all life, so shall we realize ever more keenly that divine Presence within us, our own Inner God.

That God of us is himself, itself, fulfilling a duty in a wider sweep of evolving nature than we are aware of. It is futile to try to fix responsibility upon any one being for the general state of nature as we see it. Better to get busy and do our part to improve human life. We might find as we make some progress that the lower side of nature had been reflecting our imperfections, and that we would have to shoulder a good deal of responsibility ourselves.


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