Is there anything good in us?
Question from the Internet:
“What do you think of Gandhi’s thoughts on humanity?”
A few quotes from Gandhi I wanted to bring here to answer you:
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Man’s nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.”
I agree with all of the above; perhaps I would like to refine or “debate” the last one.
Most ancient cultures and their writings describe humanity and natural reality as a single system. Modern sciences also develop towards finding a “theory of everything” that can combine all known forces and their operations into a single system.
We already know that Nature — apart from human beings — is a completely integrated, closed and finely balanced single system where precise, strict and unchanging laws operate.
Gandhi and many other “wise sages” tried to teach people how we all belong to the same, single system and how much we are interdependent. They also try to teach us how much our purpose of existence is not amassing, or hoarding different material goods and wealth for ourselves; it is not about excessive overconsumption to fuel some mystical unending and incessant quantitative growth.
Our human purpose in life is to learn how to love and to realize ourselves in the selfless, unconditional love and service of others.
But if Gandhi and other sages all through history have been saying and writing this, why cannot we come closer to that perfect state? Why are we moving further and further away? Why can’t all of us follow Gandhi’s example of asceticism, and self-restriction? If there is something “good” in people, why can’t we find and use that good?
Another group of unique, empirical scientists claim that man by nature is “evil”. Well, not “evil” as such, since we are not in control of the nature we are born with, the nature evolution imprinted in us. But we are all born 100% selfish, egocentric, subjective and exploitative, and knowingly or unknowingly, we all try to control, manipulate and exploit others for our own agendas and benefit.
Even Gandhi did that with his hunger strikes, for example. And whether he did it for “good” or “bad” causes is still up for debate. (Not all Indians accept him, for example, as a 100% positive player in their history).
Still, there is good in us we can use to achieve a good result in the end. We have the ability to recognize our inherent nature as the root cause of all problems. After this honest recognition, we have the ability to initiate a fundamental self-change and further self-development.
After all, saying and teaching nice ideas and philosophy is one thing. Having a purposeful and practical method to actually remedy the root cause of our problems is something else.
We need such a purposeful and practical remedy that can help us change ourselves and upgrade ourselves until we find the dormant good in us and can build a better and sustainable human society all over the world.