“Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell.” –George Orwell
Why do we need a mysterious power greater than ourselves in order to do the right thing? At the moment of our birth aren’t we all endowed with the ability to absorb goodness as well as evil? As we grow older aren’t we taught what is right and wrong? So, why is it that we so often fail to do and say the correct things?
Heavenly rewards and a torturous Hell are incentives as a ‘carrot and stick’ method but it is an external method. Something to react to, not a desire from within. Looking towards the teachings of a religious faith may well serve as an adequate guide but it isn’t until each individual takes responsibility for their words and deeds that humanity can evolve. Policies, too, are incapable of steering us towards a better society. Billions are spent on humanitarian efforts at the same time billions are spent on weapons, and the state of the world remains the same. If we claim to want the kind of world where society is given the gift of peace, justice, and love then it is up to each of us to first give that to the world.
True, discipline and sacrifice are crucial to the individual who wants to change bad behavior to good habits but it can be done. One step at a time, as they say. I have days where I am more successful at this than others but I keep trying. It’s for selfish reasons, really. I know that what I put out into the world I get back tenfold.