Civilization requires that our cup be full and overflowing with the substance of our humanity. But what would hinder us?
The question is explored in a university setting in China to uplift the face of education, and with it the face of each one's humanity.
The story is the 3rd of the 7 final chapters of my gigantic 12-volume series of novels, The Lodging for the Rose, exploring the Principle of Universal Love. The 7 final chapters are designed to explore the dynamics of multifaceted reverse paradigm shifts to uplift the decaying cultures of today, away from war, terror, looting, depopulation, economic decay, and so on, towards the growing realization of the precious nature of our humanity and its creative power, goodness, and capacity for love.
Flood Tides of Love
As we left the restaurant where the city had hosted its welcoming dinner for us, a young woman approached us from behind. She thanked us for coming to her city. She told us that she was impressed by my analysis of what drives scientific development. She also told us proudly that she is the head instructor of the local college, a kind of University College, as she described it. She wondered if we would like to make a formal presentation along the same lines that we had talked about, but to the whole college.
Jacky looked at Steve and grinned. Steve looked at me. "How about it, Doctor?" he said and began to laugh.
"Tomorrow at two," I replied to the woman. "Before that, please join us on the ship for lunch. Oh yes, I also need you to supply some educational materials. I need two water glasses, empty. Four empty bottles, and for bottles filled with fruit juice or colored water."
The woman looked puzzled, but agreed.
She was precisely on time. At twelve o'clock sharp she stood at our door on the Lu Rose. Wai-ye received her. She showed her around on the ship. Lunch was already set up on the upper deck; two kinds of rice, vegetables, fried fish, pastry from the market. It wasn't a fancy lunch, but the atmosphere made up for it. To be honored by this woman as our guest, somehow made the occasion special.
"What do you need the bottles for?" she asked during lunch.
"Knowing Peter," said Tony, "he will use these bottles to teach your students a lesson they will not forget for their entire life." He began to laugh.
She looked at me with a questioning look.
"You will see," I replied, "just trust me. Also, rest assured, what I present won't be hard to understand, but it will be profoundly significant to the students." Then I grinned. Moments later she joined in until we all began to laugh.
At the school, it was I who was surprised. It seemed as if the entire school was assembled in the auditorium. There was standing room only, and even some of that was taken up.
I told the students that would speak to them in very broad terms to illustrate certain principles. I warned them that the real world isn't as clearly delineated. Then I began.
"What is a human being?" I asked. "What sets us apart from every other living species on this planet? What is it that makes us human?"
Wai-ye translated the questions.
I told them the answer myself. I told them that our humanity lies in our ability to think and to understand complex phenomena by understanding the principles that govern them. We discern patterns of reality, discover principles, create hypotheses about a certain phenomenon, we test the hypotheses, we refine them, we test them again, and so we derive at an understanding of truth, of verifiable truth. The process is called scientific discovery. Then we build on this discovered truth. We create a culture for ourselves that is supported with industries and technologies that are all built on our scientific understanding of the truths that we have discovered. With these, we support our existence. Herein lies the proof of the truth. The truth becomes manifest in the state of our civilization. What enables out civilization to grow and become more secure and more beautiful, is an element of Truth. The process that makes all of this happen, that enables us to do all this, and to carry it forward, is called humanist education.
I took a glass from the table and held it up. I told them that it is the task of humanist education to fill our individual glass to the very brim with all the aspects that we need in our life. That process set our existence apart from that of an animal.
"So, let's see what we need to put in there," I said.
I told them that we need to fill these glasses with the products of our scientific development. I told then that this development has certain spiritual aspects, certain physical and technological aspects, certain cultural aspects, and certain sociological aspects, each of which has a unique type of science associated with it.
"Now I am going to tell you what I mean with that," I said to them.
I explained that a human being is a sentient being. This means that we have the capacity to be aware of ourselves, of who we are as the tallest species of life in the universe as far as we know it. Then, as we utilize this human capacity do discover, to see with the mind's eye what the physical eye cannot behold, we gain a realization, an understating of our world, and treasure that understanding because we can enrich our world with the products of that understanding. In this way we find great treasures imbedded in our humanity. We also find that the recognition of these treasures in our humanity inspire us to treat one another with the honor and dignity that our wondrous humanity is worth, which is very precious. Thus, we recognize love as a fundamental principle that unfolds out of our self-respect as human beings, and our respect for one another and for what we are as human beings. We also recognize this discovered principle to be a universal principle, because we all share the same humanity; the same beautiful Soul, as it were; the same intelligence; the same creativity, and so on. Thus, we recognize the principle of universal love as a fundamental, universal principle of civilization. We acknowledge this principle in countless different ways as we enrich one another and enrich our world with it. We find the truth of our humanity reflected in creations of beauty, music, art, literature, poetry, technology, science, and so on. Thus, we also recognize in this principle of universal love that we are all married to one another by the single humanity that we all share.
This knowledge of our universal marriage, or universal love, creates a mutually supportive civilization, a civilization that we feel honored to enrich with the fruits of our labor and our intellect. In this manner we build this civilization; a human civilization; and stand up for it and protect it, and fight for it if need be. We are even prepared to fight for our humanity when there is little hope that we will see the rewards for it in our lifetime. Still we are committed to do what must be done to assure the survival of our civilization as a worthwhile testament to the fact that we have lived as a human being on this planet.
Having said this, I picked up the empty glass again and the bottle that I had labeled, the science of universal marriage, and filled the empty glass a quarter full.
I explained further, that as human beings we also have a variety of physical needs. We need food, clothing, shelter, water, energy, transportation, household goods, educational materials, cultural materials, health care, and so on. And we need industries to produce these goods, and infrastructures for the industries. Also, we need a financial system that furnishes an equitable interface between the individual needs of people, and their labor to fulfill these needs. We call the whole structure with every part working together, an economy.
I suggested to the students that they might find it interesting to search for the underlying principles of that economy. I suggested that they should ask themselves where society's wealth is located. Is it located in money? Is it located in property? Or is it located in its productive industries that fulfill its needs, and in the human ingenuity and labor that operates these industries? Evidently, money is the least contributing element, and therefore the least valuable element of the whole equation, being nothing more than just a regulatory tool. By the same token, the human element becomes the most essential, and therefore the most valuable element.
Please consider a gift in support of the free publication service
Free Audio Book (MP3)
for free by
Cygni Communications Ltd. Canada