Fine, have it your way!

“We may be perverted, but we’re not evil!” There are indeed many people who are off from the ideal in a number of ways, but who are not evil. When given help, encouragement and advice, they can live good lives without quite knowing how or why.

Long-time readers may have noticed that I have kind of latched on to the concept of “giving love”, as espoused by the new religious movement “Happy Science” and its founder and leader Ryuho Okawa. Of course, I did not just randomly decide that I would believe this since he said so. Rather, this is also the essence of Christianity, with which I evidently have had happier experiences than most of my readers. But as one goes through life and changes, an immunity can easily arise to teachings one knew when one was younger. Seeing these again in other words, from another angle, can make them new again, even more so than before. This was what happened to me in this matter.

Looking back on my life, I see that giving love rather than taking it has brought me happiness. Wishing to be loved instead has led to unhappiness, as was the case for much of my late childhood and early youth. By love I don’t just mean romance, in my case hardly at all.  But to be shown respect, to be praised, to be given things etc are also a desire for love, in a wider sense.

(Fun fact: In the computer game The Sims 2, when you click on a pet you get a menu of actions, one of which is “Give love”. Choosing this again gives you the choice between “Stroke” and “Feed treat”. It really is that way with people too: You can stroke their ego or give them something material, it has a similar effect. My former coworker used to say: “Praise the fool and he will work himself to death.”)

Anyway, I have been kind of missionary about this, I realize. I think everyone should give love to the best of their ability, because it makes them happier than waiting for others to give them love (or give them anything at all, really). I have generally held the belief that if you are of the opposite type, waiting for others to give to you, you will live an unhappy life, die an unhappy death, and face an unhappy afterlife.

This may indeed be the case when this attitude goes beyond all bounds and one becomes a black hole of self-made misery. But I just got a small correction to my zeal, by reading another reflection by Mr Okawa. In Happy Science Monthly no 205, he takes a more pragmatic approach:

People who desire to receive love make up the majority in this world, but a great many of them fail to have it satisfied. That is why Happy Science wants to increase the number of people who can bestow love on others – people who can provide love. At the same time, we wish for people to keep their health as they give love.

In other words, even though it would be better for them if they got up and did something for others, most people are not able to just up and do that. So if people are unhappy and whine about it, if we enthusiastically tell them that the solution is to do something for others, they may not be able to “get it” and just go on griping. In that case, we need to be able to think: “Fine, have it your way then!” and give them love, respect, praise and birthday gifts; but with wisdom so that we are not sucked dry by their bottomless hunger for receiving and receiving.

This is obviously the case with children. Even I knew that. No matter how much you may wish that children were actually grateful and tried to help themselves and others, they are severely restricted in that regard. They seem to be programmed to receive more than they give, which of course in a sense they are. If not, they would not be able to grow up, since they start with nothing.

But adults should know better, is how I have been thinking. After all, they already carry a burden of debt, morally speaking I mean. Whether they know it or not, they have all received a large amount of love – in the wider sense – during their childhood, otherwise they would not have been alive now.

Think about this: If a baby or small child is left in a place where there are no people, like a forest or an abandoned house, it will with certainty die within days. Now, the people who raised you may have been terrible people, they may have been evil, they may have caused you many forms of suffering and may have told you often that they hated you. But if you are alive, the fact remains that they have been better than nothing. Because it is a scientific fact that alone, you would have been dead. Therefore, even if they honestly believed that they hated you, something has compelled them to give you love anyway, no matter how grudgingly.

In short, the fact that you lived to adulthood shows beyond any doubt that you have received goodness from others, probably from many others. Therefore, no matter how much you may wish to hate the world and particularly those who raised you, the fact remains that you have received goodness and are obliged to give goodness to other people in order to maintain your karma balance, or more bluntly to not be a jerk.

But in practice, there will always be a number of people who just don’t get it. They don’t want to be bad, but they don’t really see the Light. For various reasons, they can’t even in their mind restore their karma balance to positive. In fact, I may be one of them. Besides being a very whiny kid until well into high school, I have also have long phases in my life where I wanted little to do with humans. In my job, I did as little as I could get away with, thinking: “God gave me this job to punish me, I cannot really do anything useful here, I am not being paid enough to bother, and I cannot afford to take further education so I could actually do anything useful.” Telling myself things like that, I spent a long time doing good only casually, on a whim, when I felt like it.

There are people who for various reasons are trapped in this mindset or worse for the duration of their adult life. But what I have now begun to think is that not all of these go to hell, in this life or the next. People who lack the ability for self-reflection can be said to live a 4-dimensional life, as they have no access to spirituality and the dimensions beyond. But not all of the purely 4-dimensional realm is a hell. If people live in a good environment where they receive goodness from others, many of them are able to live good lives. They may not be entirely able to pay back their karma balance, but they don’t sink into despair or get twisted into evil and hate either. They kind of stumble through life living reasonably good and pleasant lives as long as the environment is good.

What spiritual people can do, then, is to help provide such environment. By encouraging the more materialist people, wisely, they can provide them with a kind of light or happiness that these again can spread to others until it runs out and they need to be filled up again from someone who has an outside source.

If you think about it, you have probably met such people who have a strange ability to cheer people up, comfort them without encouraging self-pity, and make others feel strangely energetic for a while.  When faced with non-spiritual people, this is a much more useful approach than insisting that they come as they are and become like us. Some people simply are not ready for that, and may not be in this lifetime. But if they can refrain from bitterness and find forgiveness, they can live good and somewhat happy lives and die without holding grudges.

There are those who become so warped that even a good person will despair in their presence, and only a saint can handle them without getting infected by their darkness. These are not the ones I am talking about. Rather, there are many who just don’t see much further than their nose, spiritually speaking, and are in a sense not meant to. They just don’t have the capacity for it. Even some intelligent people may be ridiculously earth-bound. These people are in danger, but as long as they are not actually messing around with darkness, they can still channel goodness that is given to them from other people.

Yeah, that was pretty long and not as concise as I usually write. It is more of a first impression.