Our vision is simple. We see the human being as a unique existent whose greatest quality is that we can think.
Thinking allows us to understand our world, understand its relationship to us, and understand our purpose as more than mere organic life-forms fated to just live and die, but one with the responsibility to grow as the powerful force of reason and understanding we are capable of being.
To reach this nirvana of mental superiority, we must be able to see ourselves as the mind, not a body with a mind, but a mind with a body. This is the only way we can respect, elevate, and enjoy the power that confers on us.
Let’s examine the evidence for this argument
Look at what we are.
f I were to ask anyone to describe themselves, they will not start by stating that they are a sophisticated fungus or a hairless animal that stands on two feet and has the power of speech. They will not describe their skin color, family connections, or what they own. Instead, they will describe their personality, their attitudes and what they know or can do. That is where power resides – that invisible attribute we call the mind. Plato called it the nous. We call it the soul, and there are other names – simply because we cannot physically measure or identify it.
In fact, what is seen, what the body shows, are attributes they were given at birth. No one has ever improved on them. The only real improvement is in the development of insight, understanding, and ability to think. But that is invisible. It has to be revealed, and it is only in the revelation that anyone can be seen. That invisible inner attribute, therefore, is what I want to talk about, what I want you to empower in yourself and in your charges.
How we define ourselves.
o, look deeper. Look at anyone generically, including ourselves. Everyone of us will have value systems that guide us to act in a way that reveals us as the intelligent, capable, successful being with kindness or at least, consideration for others. Those value systems influence how we act, how we display ourselves. And that is driven by how we think. With the true fungus or any other life-form, there is no value system. A fungus does what a fungus will do, just that. Higher up, we see that a monkey will do what a monkey will do. Actions are somewhat predictable within a particular range of conditions. We do not similarly expect that the human being will act according to his/her race, gender, color, or even family. (The human being really does not behave as though all men are from Mars, or all women from Venus). Each person is an individual. Each person thinks as an individual, acts as an individual. So, everyone wants to be treated as an individual.
Yet, every human is born equally empty. In fact, every baby will act like any other baby – the king’s son no different from the pauper’s, the black no different from the white, the saint’s no different from the sinner’s. But as each child grows, influenced by environmental exposure, guidance and discipline, each will develop mentally according to how he/she uses those opportunities.
We become different and unique depending on how we stimulate ourselves mentally. And that is not determined by genetic markers. No one is born to be wise, foolish, kind, cruel, happy, or sad. It may be true that genetic conditions can affect how well environmental conditions, guidance, or discipline will reach the person. Then, mental maturation may be slower (or faster), but it is never stagnant. And it is never fixed. Anyone can catch up and even surpass others who had a head start. It is never too late.
The power of Individuality
emember, a mechanic can fix your car because he can see what is wrong and has knowledge that will apply since a car is a car, is a car.
A doctor can fix your body since s/he can see inside (with instruments) and his/her knowledge of anatomy can be applied as the human body is designed similarly, one to another.
The mind, however, is unique to the person and is hidden from view or measurement. So, no one can really access what is going on with anyone’s mind. We depend on what that person will reveal. And that can be determined by a myriad of factors – from their fears to their trust or biases. And even if anyone can truly measure how a person thinks and feels, the knowledge or techniques cannot be applied to anyone else with any accuracy. No one thinks or behaves according to ethnic, national, or even religious commonality. It always boils down to their personal experience, their value systems, and their sensitivities, factors that are hidden deep within them and accessible to only them.
So the best way to help a youth is to show them how to help themselves. This is a tall order, but it can be accomplished easily and effectively only if you learn how to communicate at that level – mind too mind – behind the reactive responses no matter how unsavoury or invasive these may seem to be.
We have rejected religion. And maybe rightly so.
But religion brings a message. This is the message – that we are minds (or souls) with the mandate to grow, not sophisticated funguses with the need to survive. We may feel justified to kill the messenger. It has been corrupt and often misleading. But should we kill the message with the messenger?