In today’s world where the total human population is estimated to be around 7 billion, we have to refer to a very important matter concerning human beings. This is an issue which needs to be discussed in detail. It is also necessary for us to realize that ‘the critical situation’ mentioned in this article is a delicate matter and it is closely related with mankind. For this reason it is required that we embark on a quest of a real solution to this matter by investigating the reasons behind it.
What could it be that needs to have everyone’s careful attention? It is the ‘human relationships’ that are getting worse and worse each passing day towards a deadlock. However, the figure “7 billion” as an abstract numeric data that refers only to the world population wouldn’t be sufficient to study the reasons behind the worsening human relationships. Considering the fact that this figure consists of many different people with different views, religious beliefs etc. could be our starting point.
Although they share the same planet within the infinity of the universe, unfortunately, mankind is reluctant to embrace one another with kindness and love. In addition, nowadays we are living in a period with nearly zero tolerance and no sympathy towards each other. These days, international relations are too harsh where danger of battle and war is constantly waiting at the back ground. People also act fanatically and aggressively due to some dark thoughts and beliefs that are hard to understand what they really are, where they originate from and what purpose they serve. It is as if opinions and beliefs that keep on clashing have no sense at their core and that their real purpose is to provide negative energy for a non-ending chaos.
When we take a realistic look at the current state of the world, we can easily feel the increasing global discomfort and anxiety in every field and it is impossible to ignore this fact. Besides this non-ending conflict, peoples of the world struggle to maintain their living. Actually, it would be truer to say that every passing day maintaining a living is made more and more difficult for us by “some unseen force” exerting an influence from the outside.
It can be said that there have always been disagreements and conflicts among people throughout the history. Actually, if we take a closer look at human history, there have always been disagreements, conflicts and wars. However, the reasons behind a war and the course of events right from the beginning to the point of getting involved in a war were very different in the past. If we compare the style and way of battling in the past with today’s more brutal and more destructive methods, we can say that former conflicts and battles had a more naive nature until the 1st World War. Yet, after the 1st World War, there have been some radical changes in old way of battles as new scientific discoveries and technological know-how came into effect.
With the help of great advancements in technology, people have been able to make more dreadful weapons with which they have been able to show their hatred towards each other more severely. New technologies enabled people to develop different methods of attacking and battling which wouldn’t have even imagined in the past. Throughout human history there have always been negative feelings between nations and conflicts of benefit and interest, but only in today’s world we observe the strongest of negative feelings such as grudge and hatred as well as separation in beliefs and thoughts among nations, even within the smallest communities. It can be said, a cloud of intolerance, antipathy, resentment, hatred and ruthlessness enveloping the world could almost be seen if we were able to take a look the world from outer space. It can be also observed that, it is as if roles of intolerance, ruthlessness, grudge and hatred have been given out to everybody and that everyone is playing its role in accordance with a devious scheme. Actually, from a spiritual point of view, people’s way of acting with such hatred and malicious feelings towards each other shows that mankind is currently in a state of deep spiritual sleep.
If we take a closer look at the state of international affairs, we can easily say that there is tension and unrest all around the world rather than a particular place or area. Besides, conflict and disagreement is like a never ending story these days. Every time we check the news, we witness that awful things are going on. Also all nations, from the smallest communities to countries with big populations, announce that they are unjustly treated and claim the right to judge a situation or even attack others which really makes things get worse.
Crimes against humanity are not only limited with war and slaughter. Let us bear in mind that nations who are not directly involved in a war are involved in multi-billion dollar arms trade. Providing lethal weapons for other people is indeed a direct provocation of wars. Also, ‘the overpowering ambition to make more money’ that can be observed in many fields such as industries scattering radioactivity all around the world and in agriculture where poisonous chemicals are used; and invasion of GMO food all over the world is now a threat on human health. In a world like this where the very basic right of human beings, ‘the right to live’ is under threat, it is not possible to hope for global peace. If things go on like this with this pace, even people living in some peaceful regions that seem to be far away from war at the moment might unavoidably find themselves in danger in the future.
No doubt that many people are perfectly aware of this critical situation but we cannot say that everyone is affected equally or feels upset equally about this situation. Nations that contribute to their economy with technological weapon production and arm trade do not seem to be affected by the tension, conflict and suffering going on in the world and show no regret about their negative contribution they make. As a matter of fact, these nations are very well aware of the results of their actions when they hand different kinds of technological weapons to the emerging nations of the world, but ‘their ambition to make more money’ is so overpowering that, in their conscience, they chose to ignore the dreadful consequences of their acts.
Although ‘certain sources’ who contribute to the global turbulence one way or the other is indicated, it is not my intention to judge or blame any specific nation, society or person in this article. When we become aware of the fact that these issues are more complicated then they seem and that there is a powerful unseen “spiritual aspect” at their background, we cannot afford to judge anybody superficially and try to pinpoint who is right or wrong. On the contrary, I intend to make an objective and unbiased observation to be able to establish the basic problems of the humanity. If we start judging others, we might possibly find ourselves engulfed by the already existing multi-dimensional and complicated “Global Gordian Knot”.
Therefore, if we want to find a solution to the existing problems in the world, it is better not to waste our energy and time trying to define who is wrong and who is right. In fact, at this current stage of his spiritual evolution, we can’t expect any human being to be objective enough to make a perfect unbiased decision. We also witness that people who make such judgements internationally or domestically often affect the world peace in a negative way.
The famous legend has it that Alexander the Great had cut ‘the blind knot’ that he came across with his sword. Unfortunately, in today’s world people who try to cut the Gordian knot (global world problems) with their “swords” make it even worse.
While we examine the unpleasant things happening all around the world without blaming anybody, we can say that the most important thing to do is determining the “tendencies” mankind has. Also, when we look at the situation objectively, the undeniable truth seems to be that all human beings, no matter which nation, culture, religion or economic background they come from, usually tend to be selfish and malicious. As we look deeper, we can see that human beings are not likely to act implementing a humane moral code, to be generously compassionate, to be fair and forgiving or to act with “love”.
Having defined the negative tendencies of human beings from a sincere point of view, let us point out why it is very necessary to pay attention to these tendencies that rule our acts from the background rather than focusing at incidents happening randomly. After defining the source of these negative tendencies and behaviours as a fact, it becomes easier to see that actually every incident comes from the same root, but they happen in different ways and forms.
This can be explained further by way of analogy. Let us imagine that a motorway is not in good condition and everyday some vehicles are involved in accidents while driving on this road. For example, in one car, the steering wheel spindle is damaged. In another, the chassis gets damaged. Another car’s tyre is punctured and it and gets stuck in a dip, or another one goes off the motorway and falls into the abyss, etc. So, rather than constantly saying these were unfortunate incidents, the real reason has to be clearly pointed out by saying that these accidents happen because of the poor condition of the motorway. As a further step, the reasons why this motorway fell into such poor condition should be found out as well.
Likewise, various bad incidents happen all around the world every single day. We know that every day and everywhere there are people -especially innocent children- who become physically disabled or even die due to fights, bomb attacks and aggression or some people lose their houses or their sources of income. No doubt that we all feel sad about these incidents. However, if we want to understand the real reason that’s going on in the background, we should examine this seemingly incomprehensible situation of humankind objectively rather than feeling sad and being critical only.
Feeling sad or depressed about these events is probably inevitable, but only sentimentality doesn’t help much. This kind of reaction only means that things happening in the world are merely perceived from an emotional perspective. And as these events are perceived at this level, unavoidably, “an eye for an eye” (retaliation) approach is adopted by peoples and consequentially this triggers feelings of revenge and hatred between nations and eventually human relations end up in vicious circles.
However, mankind should have given up adopting this attitude and approach of “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” long ago. It was necessary in the past only for a certain period of time to help humanity develop a notion of justice in their souls as they did not have a sense of justice (to distinguish right from wrong) prior to ‘a certain time’ in the spiritual evolution of mankind. However, after a very essential and significant spiritual impulse was brought about by the divine Spiritual World approx. 2000 years ago, since that time human beings are expected to leave this old understanding behind and embrace “a new understanding” of justice with the new urge that has come from the spiritual and divine world. As a matter of fact, the passage from the Old Testament to the New Testament signifies this great change of “principles of justice and judgement”.
The effective “quality” inherent in the ‘understanding of justice’ within a society is a strong factor that determines how far people might develop in their individual spiritual evolution or how much they might fall behind it. A person can only give up adopting the principle (approach) that may cause him to regress in his spiritual evolution and seek adopting a different principle (understanding) of justice after realising how important this factor of ‘quality’ is. However, because of certain essential changes that took place in Earth’s spiritual structure, this new principle could no longer be a principle that has been shaped only in the physical world.
When certain societies go through a disagreement among themselves, they usually skip the process of dialogue and understanding each other and jump into fight and conflict. The reason behind this is the “eye for an eye” approach inherent within their sense of justice. This very same approach also affects the methods that individuals prefer to solve their problems with others. Vendetta is a typical “eye for an eye” approach which passes on from generation to generation. We also observe that attitudes like “He slapped me in the face, so I have the right to slap him back” or “She gave harm to me, so I have the right to act the same way towards her” are deeply penetrated into people’s minds.
Before inquiring whether or not mankind will be able to adopt and implement an alternative method of justice other than retaliation, let us try to find answers to the following questions:
– Could we say the fact that humanity experiences continuous suffering on Earth can really be justified? Or can we sense that there is something wrong in ‘the way’ humanity handles its way of living in the world?
– On the one hand, while we take pride in our intellectual achievements and the point our civilization has reached, is it right to accept these awful incidents that happen on Earth as normal and get used to them without feeling shame and remorse?
– When we say: “Other people are responsible for inflicting pain and suffering to fellow human beings, I haven’t done harm to anybody”, is this way of thinking sufficient to change and get rid of the negative destiny that is affecting mankind?
– How long can we ignore the fact that disagreements arising from selfishness may easily turn into malice if we continuously claim that nobody else but only we are the justified ones?
– For how long can we keep away from being seriously disturbed in our conscience when we are confronted with the fact that man is a being who is capable of harming and tormenting other human beings?
– When shall we be able to become conscious about the fact that causing malice towards each other in this physical world doesn’t only remain in this world but it also affects the divine Spiritual World and that each individual will have to endure the karmic consequences of his acts?
No doubt that there are people who are affected by all the negative things experienced in the world and accordingly feel disturbed about the present state of humanity. However, obviously people who are not much affected from this situation are in majority. Let us try to find out why this is the case before we judge these people hastily for being indifferent towards the tragedies happening in the world.
Generally speaking, scientific discoveries as from the 19th century and extraordinary developments in technology as from the 20th century had a great impact on “human identity”(how human beings defined themselves). At earlier times, human beings used to feel ‘nature’s power’ over themselves, but as man developed an intellectual capability, he assumed that humanity is now able to overcome nature. Therefore, it could be said that this new intellectual faculty gave humanity a new identity. Judging with his mind and intellectual power, man assumed that he has reached a certain point in his advancement and that he has most probably completed his evolution. According to this belief that has formed in the 20th century, a majority of people think that man is now a completely evolved being and supposedly what he only lacked was more advanced scientific and technological knowledge. Accordingly, it is also believed that man would overcome this lack in the future as science and technology advances so rapidly.
However, such thoughts are not realistic enough and do not reflect the truth about the human race. The fact that man became a smart and intellectual being was of course a very important development, for this also helped him develop his ego (sense of ‘self’). However, the reality is that, man still hasn’t completed all stages of his spiritual evolution. In fact, there is a long way ahead of him with many more significant stages. And as a matter of fact, believing he has completed his evolution by looking at the scientific and technological advancements he has made indicates that man is in a state of “spiritual sleep”.
Let us contemplate on this fact. Humans would never be able to harm their fellow beings or make each other suffer if they weren’t in a state of ‘sleep’ in terms of Thinking, Emotion and Will. Because only a being who is in a state of spiritual sleep tries to satisfy his desires, passions and beliefs in extreme and fanatical ways and harms others because of his selfishness. Thus, it must be established that being in a state of “sleep” in thinking, emotion and will is the main reason behind the inconceivable selfishness and brutality of human beings.
There is also another problem caused by the aforementioned state of mankind. If man believes that he has completed his evolution, he would be reluctant to achieve any further improvement and development and he would come to a standstill making no further advancement. However, according to ‘universal rules’ there is no such concept (state) as “stopping” or “going no further”. In the Spiritual World, ‘coming to a halt’ denotes regression and consequentially this means that beings who assume that they have completed their evolution will be in danger of retrogressing during their journey of spiritual evolution. But actually, mankind’s next stage of development, -although it is yet not realized by humanity-, is their evolution of consciousness.
Which element should man improve during his process of evolution other than being a clever being that is able to use a certain intellectual capability in the physical world? The answer to this question would also answer why human beings put themselves into bad situations and go through tribulations because of their inhumane behaviour and make it impossible to untie the “global Gordian Knot”. The element that humans should improve on their journey to spiritual evolution is consciousness. As a matter of fact, coming to a halt at the initial stage of the ‘development of consciousness’ and not to develop it according to the aims of the divine Spiritual World would cause stagnation and regression in man’s evolution.
Of course it is very valuable to have an intellectual faculty and the capability to use it is. However, this ‘intellectual faculty’ has nothing to do with ‘being conscious’. For instance, we could easily say how smart human beings are as they invented the atom bomb by putting their scientific and technological knowledge in practice. But at the same time, we should also realise that human beings were in a state of unconscious sleep as they used these bombs on two cities in Japan with no hesitation and killed thousands of people also causing permanent pain and sorrow in Japan. And another fact that clearly shows this ‘state of sleep’ is when they regarded the whole thing as a ‘technological success’ (and victory). Also, the fact that humans still have the need of producing nightmare weapons such as atom and H bombs shows us that their souls are going through a dark and eerie nightmare. When a sum of approx. 350.000 people gets killed instantly, is this not a horrible nightmare?
When we examine many other examples like this one from an objective perspective, we can easily say that humanity has fallen in this awful state because of lack of consciousness. It is because of the very same reason that man also fails to develop his conscience and consequentially he cannot free his concept of justice from the influence of the ‘principle of retaliation’. For this reason, he fails to move forward towards ‘a higher stage’ in spiritual terms.
While the current state of humans is like this, what could be the new stage that is higher (in a spiritual sense) than the principle of retaliation? The principle of “forgiveness” is the new concept that reflects a more highly developed consciousness and conscience.
At first we might find it difficult to embrace and apply this new principle. Even some might say that it is a utopia. It goes without saying that everyone has the right to freedom of thought and belief. However, rather than regarding it as a personal choice, ‘forgiveness’ (and the saying “when someone slaps you on your cheek, turn the other” which symbolises it) is in fact a cosmic principal that needs to be implemented during further stages of human evolution. Therefore, it is necessary to point out that the ones who choose to adopt and implement this new principle and the ones who choose not to do so will definitely be going in separate directions.
If we carefully and consciously observe the incidents happening in life on a daily basis, we can see that mankind is now standing at a critical point. At one end, there are people who are totally disconnected from the spiritual world. They prefer living in their materialistic world, trying to satisfy their selfish needs and worldly passions. Also, their sense of justice is founded on retaliation. At the other end, there are others who try to form a connection with the divine Spiritual World as they have realised that such materialistic way of life could only draw mankind into more tribulation, pain and suffering.
People who try to reconnect with the Spiritual-Divine World may find it much easier to forgive. According to the new principle, during the process of humans’ spiritual evolution, mankind should be able to forgive each other during their life time in the physical world (as they expect God to forgive their trespasses). This is because people can only get closer to God if they manage to learn forgiveness, which originally is a characteristic of the Divine World.
Some might ask: “Forgiveness, not to judge, offering your other cheek to the person who slaps you, loving each other, etc. can be found in the Gospel. For this reason, should the principle of forgiveness be regarded as a concept belonging only to Christianity? Could we also find it in the Quaran and do these rules apply to Muslims as well?” It must be emphasized that, every rule and principle that aims to bring ‘spiritual virtue’ to mankind originates from the Spiritual World; therefore they are beyond religions and are applicable to every human being on earth.
Now let us take a look into the Quran to be able to find the answer to the question above.
There are many verses in the Quran that verify its predecessors (previous Holy Books). For instance,
Surat Ãli Imrãn, Verse 3: He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. (Although Torah (also known as the Pentateuch) only contains the first five books of the Old Testament, in some translations of the Quran, the name Torah is used. But it is used synonymously with “Old Testament”. So let us bear in mind that Quranic verses may sometimes be referring to the Old Testament when Torah is mentioned.)
Surat Al-Mã’idah, Verse 44: Indeed, We sent down the Torah…
Surat Al-Mã’idah, Verse 46: And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light…
Surat Fãtir, Verse 31: And that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], of the Book is the truth, confirming what was before it.
As we can see in these verses and in many others, the Quran does not inform against the Torah and the Gospel. On the contrary, it confirms that these two Holy Books can be regarded as reference and guide. When we take a deeper look into these three Holy Books, we can easily observe that they have an undeniable bond with one another. Therefore, if we manage to learn the facts about the bond between the three Holy Books, it will certainly stop us from forming wrong opinions and help us not behave in an unfriendly and unpleasant way towards people who believe in other religions.
Now let us have a look at some of the verses in the Quran which correspond to some particular knowledge in the Gospel with regards to forgiveness. First of all, let us examine a specific verse that tells us how the divine Spiritual World would treat people who make an effort to get closer to God.
Surat Al-Isra, Verse 19: But whoever desires the Hereafter and exerts the effort due to it while he is a believer – it is those whose effort is ever appreciated.
Some other verses about forgiveness, goodness, anger, peace and good manners are as follows:
Surat Al-Isra, Verse 25: Your Lord is most knowing of what is within yourselves. If you should be righteous (in intention) – then indeed He is ever, to the often returning to Him, Forgiving.
Surat Hud, Verse 115: Be patient, for sure Allah does not let the reward of the righteous be wasted.
Surat Yunus, Verse 26: For them who have done good is the best reward and extra. No darkness will cover their faces, nor humiliation. Those are companions of Paradise, they will abide therein eternally.
Surat Yunus, Verse 27: But they who have earned blame for evil doings, the recompense of an evil deed is its equivalent and humiliation will cover them.
Surat Ãli Imrãn, Verse 134: Who spend (in the cause of Allah) during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – Allah loves the doers of good.
Feeling angry towards others is not something new. It was the same in the old times too. Anger has always been a negative power that triggers violence and aggression.
In the verse above, it advices people to get rid of their anger and its negative effects in order to embrace a different kind of behaviour which is in accordance with the Divine World. The verse also points out that ‘forgiveness’ is the next necessary step to be taken.
Surat Al-Mu’minun, Verse 96: Repel, by (means of) what is best, (their) evil. We are most knowing of what they describe.
Also in this verse, it is clearly pointed out that evil can be best avoided by goodness, rather than giving harm. Although they aren’t exactly the same words used in the Gospel, this verse contains the same meaning contained in the message “Offer your other cheek to the person who slaps you”.
Surat Al-Araf, Verse 199: Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e. don’t punish them)
This verse is so obvious in meaning as well.
Surat Al-Jathiyah, Verse 15: Whoever does a good deed, it is for himself; and whoever does evil, it is against the self. Then to your Lord you will be returned.
Here in this verse, it is described that ahead of a person, there are two ways to choose from. Each choice has its own results and that these choices will be judged later by God.
Surat Al-Ankabut, Verse 69: As for those who strive in Our cause, We will surely guide them to Our ways, rest assured that Allah is with the righteous.
Surat Al-Maidah, Verse 45: And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives (up his right as) charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
In this verse it is explained under which circumstances rules of retaliation should be applicable. The verse says God gave these rules in the Torah and it explains where they apply with some examples. But most importantly, this verse points out the principle of forgiveness. If one forgives, then some of his sins shall be forgiven by God as a result.
Just like the Surat Al-Mu’minun, Verse 96, there is another verse in the Quran that resembles the sentences in the Gospel “Offer your other cheek to the person who slaps you”.
It is the Surat Fussilat, Verse 34: “And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel (evil) by that (deed) which is better, and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity (will become) as though he was a devoted friend.
Also, Surat Fussilat, Verse 35 makes a further explanation about the ones who achieve repelling the evil by good deed. The verse goes as follows:
“But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except one having a great portion (of good).
We can realize that the difficulty indicated in this verse is also applicable to our age; therefore, it is also not very easy to adopt this principal (that has originated from the Divine World) and make it always applicable in the physical world in our age. To be able to succeed in adopting and implementing this new principle of justice in freedom, man has to embark on the phase of development of spiritual consciousness put much effort in it. Otherwise it would be difficult for man to be freed of the old rules of retaliation and to be always forgiving.
As Surat Al-Maidah, Verse 45 in the Quran indicates that people should leave retaliation behind and as Surat Al-Araf, Verse 199 points out that the main thing should be forgiveness, also from an Islamic point of view, the significant factors which will be determining the progress and development of the spiritual evolution of mankind (and man’s individual evolution) will become more clear.
However, let us remind once more that people are free to make any choice they wish while they are on their journey of evolution without any interference from the Spiritual World. Therefore, each individual will be able to make his final decision in accordance with the level of his consciousness.
Although man cannot perceive the other Spiritual Beings around himself, he is not a neglected being in the universe, so it would be a big mistake on our behalf if we assume that there is ‘no one around’ to hold us responsible for our mistakes and misdeeds. In fact, each person will be held responsible for his actions and pay for his misdeeds one way or the other.
[Redemption of sins by Christ (mentioned in the Gospel) has another connotation and it does not mean that our personal misdeeds (sins) will be automatically forgiven by the Christ].
As man has to make a decision at the crossroad confronting him, choosing the more permanent values which come from the divine Spiritual World (instead of choosing values related to the ephemeral physical world) will help him to find the divine Spiritual Light which will illumine his soul. As a result, this will prevent his soul and spirit from regressing while journeying through the stages of his individual evolution.
It would be much easier to wake up from the state of “sleep” we are in if we realise how desperately we are in need of a world with morals, goodness, justice, compassion, mercy and forgiveness, rather than falling into a state in which we are not affected by all the negativism generated by mankind and get used to the tragedies caused by acts of evil, egoism, anger, violence, hatred and wars. On the other hand, acquiring a deep understanding of what 7 billion people really means to the divine Spiritual-Divine World and how important we are for them would also enable mankind to form a firm bond with our creators and eventually enable us to merge with this World.
Details of the issues discussed in this article and the answers to the “mystery behind the human existence in the universe” could be found in Anthroposophy-Spiritual Science in detail.