The Way of Being
By JOSEPH KNECHT
Experience First Pages
There is sometimes a time when a prophet comes down from the mountains to share greater truths with his fellow men. Not because he wants to, but because he needs to. Because he sees the path to enlightenment. Because up high in the mountains he has seen things, unseen by the ones below.
This is not such a story.
There is sometimes a time when a God is born on earth to remove the sins of his fellow men through a perfect sacrifice. Not because he needs to, but because he must. Because he was bestowed by the Creator to share His wisdom.
This is not such a story.
There is sometimes a time when a dictator sees an opening in the failing social strata and promises utopia to his fellow men. Not because he must, but because he wants to. Because he thinks he has seen a common enemy in others unlike him.
This is not such a story.
This is a story of the adventure of the human thought. This is a manifestation of millions of human thoughts told with a single voice. The voice of the human spirit.
This is a story from humanity. This is a story for humanity. This is a story of humanity.
It felt like the beginning of the end of times. It felt like the world was yearning for a new start. A new beginning built with a new morality for the living. The human spirit was about to be challenged again, and the challenge this time was a real one. The spirit of a young boy will be challenged, his Being will embody the challenge of our times. He will endure the hard times in which he lives, but through his suffering, we will learn how to endure ourselves. A young boy, Joshua, will face the world, while the world faces him, and in a never-ending dance, they will learn to coexist.
Every new generation until now has enjoyed a better life than their predecessors. Every new generation was striving for the betterment of the world. And the process which allowed for this betterment was clearly understood. First, we are thrown into reality, into chaos, without our willful consent. We are infants, born into the world eh nihilo, with no prior understanding of it. We start from a preverbal zero, but we are carriers of our fathers’ instincts and proclivities. We inhabit the fatherly spirit, but we are lost. Then, we grow up, we learn the rules of the societal game. We learn that out there is an objective reality that operates under miraculous rules.
It took generations on geniuses to discover these rules. Plato, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Darwin were all thrown in the same chaos, but throughout their lives, they discovered parts of that chaos and set it into order. Their order became our order. Oh, we can never repay the genius of these people for it is they who set the light in our paths in life. Without people like them, we still will be wanderers on earth, forever lost into the chaos of not knowing. These are the people that ate the fruit of knowledge for they were hungry for knowledge. And while metaphorically satiating their hunger, they literally satiated ours.
They invented mathematics as a language to describe the patterns in our reality. They invented physics to describe the physical forces that move the world. They invented chemistry to describe the atomic forces that bind us all together. They invented psychology to describe our subconscious proclivities that drive our behavior. They invented all other natural and social
sciences for they didn’t want to continue living in the darkness of not knowing. They wanted to know the thoughts of God for the more we know of His thoughts to more we become like Him. The journey of discovery and learning is the journey of becoming gods.
These geniuses were the heroes of the past. These were the people we admired, we cherished and rejoiced that they have walked this earth among us. But gradually, we forgot about them. We forgot that it was the power of their minds that freed us to create heaven on earth. We forgot that it was their intellect that liberated us by uncovering the rules of objective reality and objective truth. We forgot that there is such a thing as objective truth. We became our own custodians of the truth, of our own subjective truths and forgot there is an objective one. And instead of admiring intellect we became admirers of appearances. Instead of being explorers of reality we became conmen in reality.
In the previous century, in an attempt to protect us from the axis of fascism, few great men of science had to invent weapons that could destroy the world. Their effort led to the culmination of evil in World War 2. Their work saved us from the evil enemy. But now, their solution has become our new enemy. Many world powers have obtained the nuclear powers that these great scientists had invented. They have become death, the destroyers of worlds. There was only one way on the path to salvation. And that is the establishment of a global morality. We have to advance morality to the level of our technology. In a world where technology houses the potential to destroy us, morality must house the potential to save us. We must save ourselves, from ourselves.
The present times had very few heroes. But the earth was yearning for them. The earth needed the heroes that will walk in the footsteps of the great explorers and scientists of the past. But nobody wanted to be a hero. Everyone wanted to be a celebrity. For humanity today, “To be known” was an end of itself. Nobody wanted to give parts of their Being and achieve something beyond themselves. Nobody wanted to be known for their achievement but wanted to be known for their appearances. Celebrities were just an empty shell, a brittle construction that could shatter at any time. And they shattered endlessly. Our heroes got replaced by celebrities.
We used to listen to the voice of reason. It was the most enlightened mind that was the one being heard. It was the highest intellect that was guiding our lives. But now this was no longer the case. It was the one that shouts the loudest, the one who could persuade the most people of his own subjective truth that was behind the wheel. It was the biggest con-men that was on top of our hierarchies of power. And they were behind the wheel and driving us far away from objective reality and back into the darkness. The darkness of their own subjective ignorance.
Journalistic truth was one of the most important virtues of the past. For it was the search for truth and facts that was driving the minds of the best journalists of the past. But the search for truth has been replaced by the search for clicks and eyeballs. Truth was no longer a commodity to be sold, for nobody wanted to buy it. The new ruler in town was attention, grandiosity, ostentatiousness. The economy went from knowledge-driven to attention driven. We thought we have produced enough abundance of knowledge and facts to satiate our desires and calm our fears. But humanity was not even on the verge of discovering its own ignorance.
Humanity did produce a lot of new knowledge, but this knowledge became too fragmented. No single mind was able to absolve the totality of every increasing body of knowledge. The body had become too great for the mind to carry. Nobody knew everything, and everyone knew something about one sole thing. The world had become the land of specialists. In this ever more complex world, we have agreed that each of us will only look at one star on the night sky and try to the best to our ability to discover and explore the nature of that single star. And while we gazed at our single star, we forgot that no-one is looking at the whole sky. We failed to acknowledge that the whole sky might one day collapse on our head and body.
In this complex world, even the most well-meaning of hearts, even the one who was using his talents and doing his best in fulfilling the mission of his organization or business, was contributing to the disintegration of society. Because many times, this organization or business, without his knowledge was involved in the destruction of the ecology, society, morality. While he thought he was contributing to a noble mission, with deep sincerity and spirit, the collective
organization was contributing only at the aim of profit at the cost of anything else. Nothing became more important than the value one can extract from his fellow men.
Value itself lost meaning. Our fathers of previous civilizations tied value to scarcity. Value was to be represented by the scarce earth materials such as silver and gold. They knew if value itself is not grounded in scarce reality, it will become grounded in the infinite ignorance and greed of the human spirit. And our ignorance and greed were the creators of money in our society today. We believed that we have a free market economy where the market itself determines the price of all things bought and sold. But the price of the most traded commodity, that which represented half of all transactions, the value of money, had to be determined by few “wise” men sitting in the center of our banking systems.
And the process of value creation became too peculiar. One made a living by means of doing that which others were not willing or not able to do. And in the world of billions of people, many became willing but fewer and fewer were becoming able to work. In each field of specializations, we had developed our own technical terminology, our own language, and acronyms which were intelligible only to our tribe of specialists. And thus, an economist could not tell a physicist what he knew. A doctor could not explain the nature of sickness to a sick painter. Everyone was speaking only in terms of his own tribal language. We all became islands of knowledge where only our own tribe could speak our language. We had to create knowledge asymmetry through language to convey to our fellow beings that we know something that they didn’t. That we are able to understand something, which they are not able to and thus need us.
There was an even more disturbing pattern that was emerging. In the past few decades, the feminine motherly spirit had awakened. It started seeking something new in our reality. It started seeking more power in the way our patriarchal culture is being shaped. Culture, the invisible father that was guiding us in life was under a new threat from the motherly nature. As if these were the first warning signs that our culture is becoming more corrupt. As if these were the first warnings before the great Flood of nature comes to Earth and washes out the sins of our sinful father. And in this flood, there might not be a Noah to save his brothers and sisters from his mother and father.
The world started narrowing down on itself. We saw some differences in the people of other nations and decided that the Flood is coming because of them. We erected walls to segregate ourselves from their influence and hoped the wall will protect us from the flood. The nation became our own biological cell of existence. But the cell needed other cells in its surrounding in order to survive. So, the cell started deteriorating. In an attempt to survive, we started identifying with our local community. It appeared to be the uncorrupted one. When that failed as well, we looked at our family. In the end, we looked at our own Being and find the root of all our problems. It was our own Being that was corrupted, and that led to the corruption of our family, community, nation, and the world. The world was an organism which could only survive if its smallest composite elements remained righteous to its way of Being.
We believed that each of us welcomes the future at the same time. We believed that we all live in the present and receive the future as soon as she arrives. But the architect who designs a building has already created the future in his own mind. He has already created a future building and has already lived in it. The composer who is creating a new melody has already danced to the rhythm of his composition. The soul who has peered into the realm of the infinite has already lived in the future. The soul who has glimpsed into the collective unconscious has already lived the lives of the people. And just like the architect and the composer, the infinite soul has the responsibility to shape the future and create the warmest home and the most blissful melody for the people.
There is a predictable pattern that happens when humanity loses its footing in reality. In such times humans seek for the enlightened father. And the father always appears wearing the robe of an autocratic leader, a leader that will save humanity from themselves. Underneath the robe of such a leader is always hiding a malevolent dictator. A dictator who is drowning in his own narcissism and self-importance. A dictator whose aim is solely the enlargement of the ego, and not of the spirit of humanity. The leader has an aim and gives that aim to the aimless populous. The aim is most often in the wrong direction, but at least it is an aim. He supplies to the masses what they want, but not what they really need. The strong leader fills the void in the air, but not the void in human hearts.
In the name of equality, we have ruined opportunity. In the name of law, we have ruined justice. In the name of power, we have ruined leadership. In the name of appearances, we have ruined truth. Our vices have turned into virtues. There was no man who utters the truth, and no man who wanted to know the truth. Reality was just a web of lies and deceit, woven together by all in order to drive a subjective agenda without even knowing if it is the right direction.
There comes a point when humanity takes an introspective look into its own spirit. We dig deep into our core to discover our most inner drives and motivations. And then we discover that there is something rotten in us. There is something that is driving us, but it is not humility. We no longer look at our brothers and sisters as comrades in our journey through life. We see them as our enemies, for we know that there is something rotten in their core as well. We dehumanize them in an attempt to justify our inhumane treatment of them. And then, when we can’t find anything good in the world, we just want to see the world burn. We want to set it on fire and watch it burn to ashes in hopes that from these ashes a new Phoenix will be reborn.
The heroes of my story live in these dark times. Like all human beings, they are also a product of their times. They have adapted to the postmodern culture but in their hearts, they had a glimmer of hope. In their hearts they were housing their curiosity for the world; the same curiosity that motivated the geniuses that came before them. They knew that something is wrong with the society of the present but were hopeful of better times. They knew that a savior won’t come to save them so they had to find a way to save themselves. They had to be the agents of change. Their actions were the ones that should inspire others and bring about the change needed in the world. They were dispirited of the present, but optimistic of the future. They were inherently virtuous as well as socially incorruptible. They were the embodiment of who we used to be but also of who we want to be.
These were hard times for humanity. Things were hard economically, politically but most of all morally. But it also felt like humanity has been here before. It was almost one hundred years after the Great Depression of 1929. It was almost one hundred years since starvation,
poverty, and unemployment was the reality of millions. Hunger, pain, and suffering were permeating the nature of Being again, but this time the cause was different. Thousands of years of societal and cultural progress have led astray. This is not where humanity was intended to be at the present time. This is not where the heroes of this story were supposed to live.
There was no other way than a systemic collapse. The invisible ghost of culture that we have built for millennia to save us from ourselves became too complex and too malleable. Culture contained the untold truths of our forefathers, for they, through trial and error, learned how to create society conducive to the human spirit. But our culture has shifted too much. The culture used to be our savior, but it has become our destroyer.
The causes of systemic collapses are complex but predictable. For all systems are built based on simple axiomatic presumptions. When those axioms become not rooted in actual objectivism, they create worldly systems out of subjective illusions. One day our subjective illusions encounter the objective reality and get challenged to a duel. In the duel, our collective illusions are met by the sharp and unforgiving blade of reality. Our inflated illusions blow up in our face. For too long our systems of reality had operated under the wrong axiomatic assumptions. One day humanity had to wake up with the realization of our failure, and it had to adjust its worldview. By collectively adjusting the worldview we break the current world, we throw it deep into hell where it belongs. And from the ashes of that world, we build a new world, a new reality based on more correct axioms of reality. Our heroes will live in such a world, a world built anew.
Our axiomatic illusions start from a single source, but they are spread through all aspects of our lives. And when we stop believing in objective reality, we lose our touch with Mother Nature. We forget what it means to live a meaningful life since meaning has become something fluent and irrational. We glide through our lives pursuing what is expedient and not what is necessary. We simply forget what truth is. We forget what it means to love, to be free. We forget how to live and how to die.
It was during this time that the spirits of my heroes were challenged. In this age of uncertainty, they were forced to find the right modus for living. And that is their biggest challenge, to stay true to themselves when their reality bends their soul to the point of breaking. In such desolate times, man needs to find the right direction in which to aim his life. In such times man needs the wisdom of the wise father, the guidance of the enlightened mind. For who else knows what is best for mankind than the one who has spoken to the gods and understands the nature of their creation.
As our heroes, they will face privation, challenges, and hardships on their path through life. For they hear the call for adventure and are more than willing to answer that call. They want to go into the world and discover the objective truth. For it is only the truth that will set them free. They knew that personal growth could only come from facing these challenges head-on. They can’t face these challenges for us, but they can guide us, and we can learn from them. They will be the new geniuses who will bring new learning into the world and could set us on the right path of objective values and objective truth.
The story of our heroes is told through a single voice. And the story starts in much the same ways our lives start, dull and uneventful. The story will have some sentences which will contain the wisdom of a thousand civilizations. Some sentences will contain the knowledge of a thousand years. Others will be just as shallow as this sentence. But all sentences have a direction, that of meaning. In this story, just like in life, only the ones that make it to the end will have the greatest secret on earth revealed to them.
But in the end, we ourselves have to also hear the call to adventure and venture into the world with an improved understanding. Our heroes can’t save us from ourselves. It is us who have to follow in their footsteps and bring about the change that we need to see in the world. Only then we can become gods.