Thursday, February 15, 2007

JC, MLK, and SF: Who would have thought?

Peace and blessings,

The following image is of an Iraq man carrying his brother away after being hit with an explosion. The title of the piece is "He's not heavy, he's my brother," by
  • Holly Wong

  • I figure I don't have to remind people about how controversial of a thinker Sigmund Freud (1961) was. From thoughts on the pleasure principle, a child's relationship with their parents, and gender differences, it is safe to say that Freud did not make too many people's "liked" lists. While recently reading his book "Civilization and its Discontents (1961), I came across one of his ideas that struck me. Now I am not co-signing on his theory or its implications, but I do think that he may have been on to something when he addressed what he believed to be the most difficult goal for humans to attain. In discussing what he believes to be civilization's attempts to prevent humans from acting on their true nature, which is to wreak on fellow humans, he states,

    "Hence, therefore, the use of methods intended to incite people into identifications and aim-inhibited relaitonships of love, hence the restriction upon sexual life, and hence too the ideal's commandment to love one's neighbour as oneself--a commandment which is really justified by the fact that nothing else runs so strongly counter to the original nature of man..." (p.70)

    Although I disagree with his theory on how civilization is always in contention with humans because it prevents us from acting out our brutally violent nature towards one another (e.g. through rules, laws, and social relationships), I think that he has a point when he says that the "love your neighbour" commandment is in conflict with human nature (although I disagree with his conception of human nature). The fact of the matter is, it is extremely difficult to adhere to this commandment, not only because of our nature which revolves around self-preservation, but also because of the "go and get yours" ideology that pervades just about every aspect of our lives. We are often told to think of ourselves first, even at the expense of others. We are conditioned to build legacies based on what we've acquired instead of who we can assist. So in that respect, I think Freud was on to something.

    Why is this commandment so diffult to uphold on a consistent basis? Maybe because Jesus considered it to be one of the most important of the commandments. In Mark 12:29-31 it reads,

    Pic courtesy of
  • Microcinemascene

  • "Jesus answered, 'the first shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."

    Despite its difficulty, the fact that these are commandments means that we must continually strive to uphold these commandments. Jesus knew that it was impossible for use to uphold the commandments on our own, which is why He taught us how and why to walk with Him and His Father.

    Before I end, I couldn't talk about having concern for and loving others without highlighting this quote by Dr. King:

    "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgement. Life's most most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

    This is something that I struggle with everyday, wondering if there's something more I could be doing for those who lack the things that I take for granted. Even though there are times when I act selfishly, I am beginning to understand that sometimes God uses our struggles to strengthen us. I realize that like Talib Kweli said, some struggles are beautiful. Have a blessed weekend, and speekonit...


    trustintruss said...

    u know, i feel frued. i also he was contrasting our modern concept of civilization with our natural urges. i mean our urge is to love and treat people with respect, but in this society, we steal, cheat, hate and hurt. its out nature to love, lust, and make love, but in modern society we are supposed to be minogomous, settle down for life partnership. there are many contradictions, i believe we are not living as a society for our personal, physical and spiritual growth. we are livign and raised, for the growth of power the the ruling class currently has, and through our role in this capitalist global society, we keep the ruling, ruling. but we must return to out natural states or community, villages, cultivation, etc.

    Unknown said...

    It also seems like many of the things that take place in our society that go against our natural tendency to love and respect others are coerced. For instance, In Batman Begins one of the dudes said that if you create enough hunger, then you'll make a monster out of everyone, or something to that effect. It's alot of those "destructive" behaviors that are present in society are a direct result of another vice, which is greed.