120 Heal people the only way
When you have seen the face of god,
you drop the misconceptions.
To this humanist, metaphorically seeing the face of God means awaking to human worth. Article 52 defined godhood as a future state of those who are now humans. I value you and me with a confidence that doubters cannot shake. We have unlimited progress in us. To belittle others is to expose lack of self-respect. Typically, the dishonest think everyone else is as big a crook as they are—ditto for thinking everyone else does not want to work.
We are not so naïve as to believe that nobody does anything wrong. On the other hand, we recover from wrong things we do and go on making progress. With that mindset, we expect the same of others. Article 61 explained that we become what we eat: if our minds feed on positive thoughts, we carry the positive outlook praised in article 32. Article 33 contained the story of the axe that comes down where you are looking. Article 115 applied the principle to white-water rafting where you look toward safety because if you look at the rocks you will wind up on the rocks.
Consistent with the above principle, we should dispense with the concepts of sin and guilt. We do not become what we want to be by dwelling on what we were or should not be. We do not stare at the rocks. Let me use toilet training as a metaphor. By the time we reach university, toilet training is so far in the past that it is out of our consciousness. Our minds are saturated with the improvements we are making at our higher state of learning. Occasionally I felt that a professor was viewing my stupid questions as he might view diaper changing, but that feeling passed. My school memories are filled with the teachers who regarded me with dignity and accepted me for the educated individual I was becoming.
Religious emphasis on sin and guilt holds its captives in the diaper changing phase. It never lets go of the negative outlook, forever crippling growth of a positive mindset. We all need the principle of forgiveness as we replace failures with successes, but it is counterproductive to ritualize forgiveness repetitively. That characterizes dependence. Once we learn, we abandon the diapers and move on to more sophisticated stages of development. That characterizes independent creation. At university nobody thought me guilty for not knowing calculus when I arrived. The school was equipped to take care of the deficiency, and I was never labelled a sinner. (I came from a small rural high school and had to take pre-calculus and calculus simultaneously. It worked out smoothly and I received my physics degree with general honors.)
The university experience of tolerance for me made it easy for me to relate to people who have not yet learned. Those who do not know calculus are not stupid (sinners). They are doing other things with their intelligence. Those who entertain foreign-to-me political views are not robot slaves of bad “isms.” They have merely developed using different tools from mine. Society accommodates all the viewpoints so long as we craft our behaviors with understanding. People who condemn others as “stupid” or “sinners” are acting out their own self-doubts based on labelling themselves “sinners” and unhappiness is passed on. Fortunately, that can be replaced as we share happy outlook instead. We do not dwell on negatives in ourselves or others.
This is the principle of seeing the Paul inside every Saul (applied to self, also). Being liberated from the guilt and sin mentality is being ready to live positively and to deal with other people constructively. We focus on the coming diploma, not the past diaper changes. To me future godhood is logical because I know intimately the love in my own heart. Having seen that, I cannot be distracted from according to all people the same value. That is the unshakable face of god. It introduces the new world I am espousing.
Negative self-evaluations lead to regarding people as muttonheads who need to be bribed and coerced. Money and power take priority and choice is minimized on the premise that people will not choose to be constructive. People are herded like cattle.
Knowing myself, I cannot characterize anyone in that manner. When depression has wiped out my measurable output, I have pursued analysis and encouraging associations that could overcome the logjam. Improvement required effort and patience. It was always worth the investment. Evaluating myself spilled over to evaluating my expectations of others. Even if they do not demonstrate it, they share my need for self-actualization, that is, for meaning. Human motivation does not lie in external rewards. Effective motivation is healthy realization of self. I cannot condemn or ignore those who have not yet achieved it. They need time and help, not coercion. In the timeline of eternal progression, there will be circumstances that lead to improvement. Let us endure long enough for that! Happiness is hopeful!
The article picture is based on Maslow’s work which is no longer the primary reference for motivation. My article 27 takes a much different approach. Nevertheless, this public domain picture is sufficient to illustrate the importance of finding meaning in what we do. I submit that people do work harder for meaning than they do for money. Society does well to recognize that fact by organizing work meaningfully. Outrageous income inequality is both harmful and unnecessary.
Years ago, I composed the slogan “We love bullies; it is the love that heals them.” The play on words shocks some people, but on second reading almost everyone understands what I am teaching. To counter hatred and destruction, we first figure out how unwanted situations occurred. Typically, someone was not loved in the right way at the right time. Instead of applying brute force (such as punishing or retaliating), we think through the elements necessary for healing.
There is no simple deed-for-deed reciprocity in returning good for evil. A perpetrator usually has harbored festering hard feelings until they are out of proportion and difficult, possibly painful, to cure. In no case does it ever mean that the “evildoer” should deliberately be harmed. Hurting people hurt people. Perpetrators have been injured. Adding to their injuries is illogical. Sensitivity demands better of us. Our effect on the bullies around us will not be their condemnation. It will be their healing.
Remedial work is by nature difficult. Fortunately, the serious work of treating people with love is a lighter burden than defending against and combating hostility. If we retaliate with punishment and cause suffering to those already suffering, we are counterproductive, the pain is increased, and the effort fails. There is never enough brute force to establish peace. Consistently loving is the easy way to make the world better.
We are always choosing by degrees whether to be constructive or destructive. Little random acts of kindness are less dramatic than heroic magnanimity in the face of a tantrum. Nevertheless, they add up to the difference between cooperation and rebellion, connubial bliss and divorce, reliability and alcoholism. In judging the derelict human being harshly, we are overlooking volumes of missed opportunities.
The Golden Rule expresses today’s message. I have so much faith in mankind because I know myself. Built on that foundation, my strength is entirely devoted to the whole ahead of myself. My readers are capable of the same understanding. The new world is already within us, seeking to be actualized. It is the meaning I attach to the metaphor of the face of god. It reassures us we can afford to be nice to each other. I hope it is persuasive.
We recover from wrong things we do and go on making progress. We should dispense with the concepts of sin and guilt. Teachers regarded me with dignity and accepted me for the educated individual I was becoming. Religious emphasis on sin and guilt holds its captives in a negative outlook. Effective motivation is healthy realization of self. Society does well to organize work meaningfully. We love bullies; it is the love that heals them. Remedial work is by nature difficult. Consistently loving is the easy way to make the world better. We can afford to be nice to each other.