Leading a Meaningful Life
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Human philosophy is a complex concept that requires in-depth research study about various historic and scholarly views on its composition. There is a saint attribute in some persons while the concept of heroism also features to define what kind of a person one is. There is a contrasting scenario between the images of hero and saint. A hero pursues life for their own benefit and, therefore, seek self-fulfillment. They shun selfishness, but they do live for themselves. A saint lives for others and give people themselves by accepting the love of God and fellow human being, which they reciprocate in equal measure (Haj, 2008). The paper discusses how to live a fulfilling life as human being with reference to the heroism and sainthood concepts highlighted above.
In order to understand oneself on the direction of life towards achieving self-fulfillment, it is important to scrutinize the philosophical dispute arising from the Greco-Roman culture of secularism and this pits Judeo-Christian against Islamic theists on how to reconcile religious perspective of achieving self-fulfillment against secularism through their respective chosen heroes and saints. The general idea is how one can live a good life. Should people emulate saints or heroes? This calls for critical analysis of secular humanist that forms part of the human philosophical exploration. It is important to note that in the context of philosophy, the suffix “ism” refers to a given school of thought that covers a certain widely observed human culture and, therefore, humanism is different from secular humanism. The former explores the origin of man, his purpose in life and attempts to achieve. It is some sort of religion, which professes the concept of the larger picture of the worldview. Secular humanism is a concept that was coined by Christian believers with a view to distinguish those who pursue what they refer to as worldly ideas in their quest for better life.
Some of the great scholars like Aristotle and Plato advanced the subject of humanity as the study of all concepts that surround man and the society. It is important to underline the origin of the western humanism as one of the major contributors to the idea of self-fulfillment and how this relates to nature of mankind order to derive the ideas of Greco-Roman world and the Judeo-Christian faith concerning the human understanding of the goodness in life. There was a belief by Plato, for instance, that the good existed independently of man and this could be attained by man through internal intellectualism (Wong & Fry, 2011). On the other hand, Aristotle claimed that the concept of good could be realized through mere observation and creating judgment through primary reliance on human senses. For an individual to define the direction that his/her attempts to gain self-fulfillment, it is imperative that one understands the school of thought to adopt. It is fundamental to draw the line that exists between humanism and secular humanism. The common denominator is that mankind is the center of focus; however, their association with God in terms of their conception of ideas and conscience towards their existence defines the difference. The ideal concept behind secular humanism is that it is a part of the uncreated natural eternity. It describes man’s mental creation that his actions have no reference or does not enlist the help of God. It is surprising to underline the difficult way of separating even some Christians with secularism. One of the points of undisputable ideological convergence between these two factions in the society include: commitment to reasoning, free information inquiry, acknowledgement of freedom, church and state separation and the standards of moral education. It is worth to note that the secular group derives standards of morality and matters of justice from perceived critical intelligence while the Christians’ definition of good and bad is aided by the scripture that represents God’s words.
From the understanding of the concept of humanism, secular humanism and Christianity, it is worth to understand that the basic goal of every person in the kingdom of humanity is a wish to live a fulfilling life. The point is how to attain that target, because there are various ways to embrace the independency of our thoughts. It is important for every person to underline the role of interaction in the society and the influence of this on the life of others. The primary role of man is to be there for the life of another and this explains the biblical call for multiplication and filling of the earth, which is consistent with the observance of conscience toward helping other people in their points of need. Being a hero and a saint are just two sides of the coins, but they tend to arise from prior and post human assistance (White, 2003). Service to man is the fundamental role of every person in the society. The approach may be different, but the problem with this is the front from which to fulfill this quest. Taking the scripture reading concepts of saints, people like Moses in the Bible served the people according the instructions given by God and selflessly dedicated himself fully to put the interest of the Israelite community first. Comparing this with King David in the Bible, it can be observed that he served people, but mixed this with his own personal interests. Such a comparison between David and Moses shows a clear distinction between sainthood and heroism. The difference that is experienced between secular humanism and Christianity is their take on the natural existence of the world and man. The secular humanism is more of heroes since they serve from their own perception of critical thinking and this always hangs on the side of God and partly worldly concepts.
Secular humanists are more of heroes than saints from their code of conduct and their overall perception of life. For instance, technology and science is at the disposal of both Christians and secular humanists, but the purpose for which each group attach to this is different. The secular humanist use technology as a means to satisfy the human needs without the regard of God while the Christians use the same with the aim of spreading the love of God. The origin of man is also a contentious issue that secular humanists greatly criticize, especially the creation story given in the Bible. According to this group of people, the existence of man is natural and depends on the force of self-perpetuity. It is important in respect of the belief of the secular humanists that one critically asses the underline facts that defines his existence. From philosophical point of view, it is important that any decision made must be pegged to some verifiable facts and this is the premise on which the secular humanists base their point (Highet, 2005). In-depth inquiry and the surrounding mysteries that surround humanity is not something that should be taken lightly. Life is generally not a matter of taking an extreme social course blindly, but clear path of self-exploration and sense of an existing interdependency web. The Christian like their Muslim counterparts strongly attach all their actions as guided by some supreme being and whatever the outcome is immaterial. This belief sometimes overrides common sense and has always lead to injustice towards humanity. There have been cases where those who claim to religious fundamentalists turn out to be cults with unethical and inhuman doctrines that are not consistent with serving man. In such cases, the essence of heroism is attached to the power to command people from personal autocratic decision and this is fairly unhealthy for achieving self-fulfillment (Morris & Kross, 2004).
The power of love is not free from any challenge in life. It is one of the greatest tools that constitute self-fulfillment. The idea of developing positive emotional attachment with another person for any reason dictates the amount of sacrifice that can be made towards improving or caring for the life of another. The ideals of Christian love and courtly humanism form a combination that exposes the saint and hero difference. A hero is attracted by the craving urge for self-fulfillment while a saint take it from the side of other people where the interests of others come first. There is a conflict between the ideals of heroism and sainthood. It has been established from the past research that human being is gradually shifting towards increasing urge of taking a critical analysis of nature (Grudzen & Rahman, 2008). This explains the widespread use of technology, political realignment, social revolution and the colonial expansion. The emergence of Protestantism has significantly adjusted the dimension of secular humanism in the sense that people are shifting from other spirit of sainthood to more heroism. The campaign for liberalism is a tool for further propagation of secular humanistic individual who is more of a hero than a saint. The spirit of serving personal interests is the starting point for capitalism, which is an indirect selfish move towards achieving ones dreams in life. It is, therefore, very evident that saints portray self-fulfillment as the unmerited sacrifice for love towards others while the secular humanists consider attainment of their personal interests as the primary goal.
The 19th and 20th centuries were characterized by transformation and changes in the nature of the economic performance, socio-economic and political dynamics. The progress covered the idea of progressive and romantic individualism and politically instigated reactions or actions whose outcome were disagreement such as World War I and II. These changes in the nature of life, socio-economic and political condition were explored by personalities including Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and Sigmund Freud. During this period, every person had personal interest and was focused on self-success at the expense of others. This implies that diverse nature of the world was changing and it was important for such changes to take place in order to help in fostering a better world. Karl Marx, an economist and philosopher, discussed the difference in the modern society from social and economic points of view. According to Marx, the economic forces are the factors in determining the differences in the society with respect to natural forces and socio-economic variables that have the potential of dictating the possibility of these differences (Cooney, 2000). The Marxist theory of economic forces is founded on the differences of the resource endowment. In the society, there is always a struggle for success and prosperity through control of economic resources and other essential resources.
In Marx’s view, the communism theory that emphasized on great social and economic independence through struggle and suffering was the main reason for suffering and long history of exploitation in the modern society. The higher class who are the resource owners often wanted to retain their status quo while on the other hand, the lower income class, serving as servants in the saints and hero’s yards will keep fighting to better their position in the society. This happened through increased resource control and ownership. It is at this point of control that political power and struggle for personal independence result into a long conflict between these two groups in the society: the royal and the servants. Through communism, the rich and poor history of the earth would come to an end. The same position is explained from the biblical and Christian perspective. According to this religious position, the endurance of human suffering at the hands of the masters and hero are realities of the life. However, the second coming of Christ and the end of the old world promises new hopes to the exploited persons. In the post-millennial, Christianism led by saints and prophets of God will finally come to the rescue of the humanity by establishing a new kingdom that comes with new ideas, hence giving hopes for all including the marginalized groups.
According to Marx and secular saints, the school of communism will prevail and this will see the establishment of a secularized kingdom for the communists. However, the establishment of this new earthly kingdom is only a possibility through the messianic religious movements, which are invariably established by the power of mighty apocalyptic wars between the two main groups in the society, that is, the good and the evil. It is after such a titanic conflict that a new millennium that promises new hope, harmony, peace, unity, and reign of justice would be installed on the earth. Marx emphatically rejected the utopian socialists’ thoughts that sought to attain communism through evolutionary and gradual process, and steady advancement of good. Instead, Marx on his capitalism theory stated that a community must have two groups, the lower and the upper-tiers, where the upper class have control of factors of production while the lower class owns the production skills that they exchange for salaries. The economic forces and the control of resources was the main cause of revolutionary movements and conflicts (Caswell, 2008). The differences in the ideology of sharing the sources are also expressed as the main source of difference that resulted into World Wars.
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