Thinking about Individual Self-Determination

People PowerAs I look around me, at the intricate flowers in my garden, the vast blue skies, my children’s beautiful faces, I wonder why people need to believe there is a place beyond this world – a paradise. If we look hard enough – and sometimes we don’t have to look hard at all – we can find it here. Then I think of all the people who see only death and destruction throughout their lives, and telling them, “This is it. This is all you’ve got.” on the surface seems to be a little cruel. I can see that feeling victimized and powerless might lead me to prayer – its silent and personal. No one can take it away from me. But then I think, what if all the energy put into prayer, the world over, was put into action instead – action that moves to stop oppression, starvation, and other injustices? Where would we be? What if everyone decided that the path of their lives was in their hands and their hands only rather than in the hands of a god? Would the world be a different place? I think so. Its often when we feel most powerless that we pray the hardest. We might feel more empowered, however, if we tried something, anything to create our own destiny. Even if we fail at least we tried and we have the knowledge that we tried. And if we don’t do anything, we can only blame ourselves.

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8 thoughts on “Thinking about Individual Self-Determination

  1. Beautiful insight..

    I read this, by mere coincidence, on a day that started to be a bit too irritating to handle.. It’s a great relief to remember that there are a lot of blessings around us, that we seem to forget. Even a greater thought to dream about all the prayers in the world, in union.

    Made me feel much better, loved it..

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    1. Salma, I think perhaps my words weren’t clear enough and I revised a little. I, was not, in fact suggesting world prayer…but rather action by us as individuals to attempt to effectively make change ourselves. I thinks its a misuse of our energy and time to pray. Thank you so much for your comment.

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  2. I’ve been waiting for a post like this. I need a few days to comment as I really want to.
    In the meantime, thank you for making matters so perfectly clear.

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  3. Isobel your post is beautiful, i think people create their gods in moments of weakness, when they find they can t control destiney, they can t understand why a child born handicaped…why they lose a loved one in the very wrong time……..why they can t being parents….and so many other things that still beyond human control or understanding…i know many people are going to say it is not what happened to you it is how you react….but why me is still there ..
    so what do you think Isobel, really love to read your reply.

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    1. Ranwa, thank you for your comment. I absolutely agree with you. I think since the dawn of human existence people have turned to a “higher power” to explain things that they can’t understand, that they have no power over. I think this is one of the main reasons that religion exists, the ideas of gods, and magic, and faeries, and so on. I saw an interesting presentation on this topic actually. The presenter’s name was Neil degrasse Tyson and he talked about how even the greatest Scientists, like Newton, filled in what he couldn’t explain with references to God. If you’d like to see the presentation…you can here (Session 2). The only thing I don’t agree with him about is teaching creationism in schools. This is not filling in the unknown, this is ignoring what has already been proved. I’d be interested to read your impressions if you do see the presentation.

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  4. Thank you again isobel, that was really very interesting….well there are people there who are working hard on these questions…science will give answers for lots of our current questions but as the last person said he can t replace religious mentality when it comes to individual pain ….as i said this(why me?) i mean you can with sience explain infertility for example very well..but you still can t tell this person why he and not you should live with it….or if we can understand love why the one you loved from all your heart..didn t love you even if you tell him about some chemicals in the body or who knows what else….may be art can complete science work..in transforming pain and joy to a collective experience…and here comes the idea of your post and the great picture you put i think solidarity will be a great replacement…humanitarian one not relegious or ethinc or political ones…i mean if we believe we live in each other so your moment of joy is mine too and my moment of pain is yours if we can really feel each other deeply..no one will feel lonely again we certainly wouldn t think of heaven ..earth will be heaven…what do you think?

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    1. Well put, Ranwa. I think when people realize that earth is all we’ve got, then they might start looking at it in a different light. It may take a long time before earth is anywhere close to what we idealize as heaven – it probably never will be, but if we start fighting for our lives on an earthly plane…I think we’ll find its a much better place – so much so, that we may adjust our description of paradise. Dealing with individual pain is so difficult for the one suffering but what if we start accepting that things happen for either a scientific (chemical) or human and emotional reason and that’s it. Or we decide that once we die…we’re gone. That’s it. There’s no more. Is that so terrible? Wouldn’t that make you want to get the most out of life and make the best of your world? It does me…and looks as though it does for you too. Thanks so much for your comment and for continuing the discussion.

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