While driving to the meeting place, I barely managed the wheels when one person recklessly crossed the road. I got wild. I thought that when faced with such disturbing situation it is natural for me to get wild. A friend seating next to me consoled. “These people will never change; it is their nature to be reckless”.
The words nature and natural kept ringing in my mind. What is the nature of human being and what is natural for him? I proposed that as a topic for discussion in our meeting.
“The word nature and natural have been used to ascribe certain rigid qualities to certain people. In that sense there is nothing like ‘nature’ of the human being.”
But how can it be? Confronted with the reckless pedestrian while driving is it not natural for me to get angry? As I thought about it, I realised that not every person will get wild in that situation. I myself may not get wild in the same situation all the time. It depended so much on the situation, my mental state, my expectations and so on.
“Unlike the only immediate reaction in other animals, the human being can also give deferred response. The broadening of the temporal horizon allows him to weigh the outcome.”
I needed to digest these words. Temporal horizon means what? It is the ability of the human being to look beyond what is in front of him, with influence of the past as well concern for the future.
“The intentionality of human being allows him to project a meaning.”
Intentionality is a heavy word. I need to understand it better. Could it mean that human being has a purpose, some aim, some objective?
Now things seem to be falling in place. For other animals, the world is given. What they are concerned with, is getting their food and survival. But that is not same for human being. Human being can learn from the past and act with an intention for the future. Thus, when it was too cold, humans created warm housing. If it was hard food difficult to digest, humans invented cooking. Whenever the given conditions created limitations, caused pain and suffering, then humans challenged it and tried to transform the conditions.
That learning kept going through generations and each generation added their own contribution. Thus, one generation invented electricity and another invented application of electricity. If we are using today fans and air-conditioner to manage the temperature, it was not created by us, but by human being collectively.
“Namer of a thousand names, maker of meanings, transformer of the world, your parents and the parents of your parents continue in you. You are not a fallen star but a brilliant arrow flying toward the heavens. You are the meaning of the world, and when you clarify your meaning you illuminate the earth. When you lose your meaning, the earth becomes darkened and the abyss opens.
“I will tell you the meaning of your life here: It is to humanize the earth. And what does it mean to humanize the earth? It is to surpass pain and suffering; it is to learn without limits; it is to love the reality you build.
Now it is becoming clear. There is nothing natural in human being in terms of rigid, vegetable, or animal sense. Instead what is natural in the human being is change, history and transformation in the direction of overcoming pain and suffering.
With this understanding how will I relate with others? Each one has his own temporal horizon and intentionality and it is not same as mine. One thing is to use others as a tool for my purpose and my intentions and it is altogether different to respect them as they are.
“To feel that which is human in the other is to feel the life of the other in a beautiful, multi-coloured rainbow.”
To live with other humans each having their own perspective, respecting each other and working jointly to overcome pain and suffering is a great project of life. Life now seems purposeful. That is a great step ahead in the journey of becoming better human being.