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Is There a Natural Order?

IS THERE A NATURAL ORDER in the world of man, or is all that appears organized around us the work of the mind? Is society a
natural manifestation, or is it an artifice man has created for himself for his own purposes? All the knowledge amassed and incorporated
into our present civilization, the philosophies and sciences, the institutions that promote this knowledge and expand it, the mechanizations
that harness our present understanding of the reality around us for our livelihood and comfort; are they all human creations exclusive of
some Divine Order in a universe that has accidentally become what it is? Or is our universe a natural order moved by its own knowledge
for its own purpose? Who is man, woman?

To observe the world, to become a part of it and live in its environment, to suffer the pain that drives the will to observe itself in reality,
to observe the reality that immediately affects us is to think. We are moved to ask questions and explore the world we live in. Are we
moved from within or without? Is an inquiry the mind's response to a set of circumstances it happens to find itself in, responding to how
the body's mechanism is affected by it, or is an inquiry an aperture through which the mind and the universe communicate? For us to ask
the question "Who is man?" requires that there exist a stable point of reference against which the identity of man can be defined. The
question presupposes an order out of which can be constructed the answer. To answer "Who is man?" from a void presupposes a
universe that is meaningless and one which cannot reply to the question. If we presuppose a meaningless universe, then the question is
pointless and we must answer merely from our observation of ourselves that man is such and such. But to live is to think, and when the
observations have been made, the question remains. We persist with our question of our identity: Who is Man? We live and thus we
must ask.

We have made great strides in describing the physical universe we live in. Our astronomers have successively penetrated deeper and
deeper into space with their understanding of the cosmos. Our physicists and chemists have explained with confidence the nature of
physical matter and the laws that govern its behavior. Mathematicians have created languages that describe physical reality. Engineers
have harnessed much of our understanding and have developed a technology which to an individual can appear awesome but which can
be employed to serve us. Bio-scientists have successfully combined their efforts with the medical profession to enable us to prolong our
body's life span. We have become sophisticated in our physical knowledge and can feel confident in our beliefs. Speculations are tested
and discarded if they fail to yield the expected results. A truth is unacceptable until proven. We have abandoned our ancestors' gods for
our new knowledge of the universe, which through tests and proofs has yielded an image of the universe as a great, precise machine. We
have established a great foundation of physical truths, some of which we have applied to ourselves successfully. We have mechanized
ourselves and have tried to occupy that image. To some extent, this image of a modern, mechanized, technologically sophisticated man
fits. We can live comfortably, if at times awkwardly, in an environment that somewhat resembles the inside of a space craft insulating the
soft mechanisms that is our physical body from the harmful forces of our cosmos. In this sense, we are no longer primitive; we have the
power to create our own environment. We can create order.

If this new found power has led us to conceit, we can be forgiven. We do not know that our accomplishments are not in themselves the
greatest achievements of the mind. We have no reason to believe that we have not improved on the universe and its primitive chaos. If
the universe is an accidental collection of forces that have been manifested into what we observe today, then what man has wrought
from this accident is truly a great accomplishment. If science and the mind of man can create order from disorder, then they are great
and understandably can be deified. The mind of man then is the light that relieves the darkness and is in itself its own salvation. To turn
to religion and other worldliness, to seek for a meaning greater than that of the present existence, is to become sentimental, tolerated as
one would tolerate a child's fond imaginings. We can have a fondness for a belief or an idea that can bring us comfort against our fears of
the unknown and ultimately of death. Religion can be tolerated to fill those needs, but it can have no place in the hard decisions with
which we must run our world. The mind of man is the supreme manifestation of order in our reality and its intellect is the greatest power
in the universe. It is a logical conclusion from the successes of a logical interpretation of our physical reality. To succumb to a belief in
order greater than that created by the intellect of man is weakness and should not be tolerated when hard decision must be made. To
believe otherwise is to be sentimental and weak or, worse, to be ignorant and primitive. The mind of man succeeds against the universe
because it is in and of itself autonomous and supreme in its intellectual accomplishments. But, is it?

Even if Earth were not alone as an inhabited planet and there were civilizations throughout the cosmos far superior in their
accomplishments to what we have here, the maxim would hold. The mind is supreme and in time will achieve what others have achieved
before us. If it were found that more advanced civilizations regarded a Deity, we would consider it a luxury, for which we can still have
no room on our planet plagued by so many pressing problems. In time, we too could be tolerant of such an indulgence and contemplate a
Deity, but we have no leisure for such now. The world is plagued by problems and we have no time to divert our efforts from our
responsibility to it. The world is the intellectual burden of the most intelligent, the gifted, the best educated and the most fortunate. The
system that runs the planet must be tightened and better controlled. Human activity must be better regulated to yield a greater product.
The wants and needs of the people are increasing and must be met if we are to avoid a global disaster. The problems are pressing and the
mind must suffer no diversion. It sees itself destined to succeed over chaos and avert catastrophe. But why "destined?" Why not let
catastrophe overcome and return the elements to their origin of a mechanical if disorderly, accidental universe? Why must the mind work
so hard against what appear to be overwhelming odds? Who is man?

If we are denied the salvation of the Spirit in our pursuit of the hard reality, then we must turn to an identity that is consistent with the
way we perceive our universe. If we see the universe as soulless, the breath of life but a phenomenon of probability that has materialized
itself in the life forms of our planet, then what had hitherto been ascribed as characteristics of a soul must be the creation of our
imagination. The qualities of the soul must be what the mind had created for itself to adorn what would otherwise be its naked existence.
We have created the soul in our image to appease a cold universe. What life and reality seemingly cannot bring, a feeling of oneness with
everything, a belonging to an order greater than ourselves, we have created in the image of the Spirit. We have tried to unite our life into
the matrix of a greater Self, one that is eternal and can transcend that brief moment of cosmic time that represents an individual's life.
But our modern perception of reality does not allow us to pursue this oneness seriously. We can yearn for it, but we cannot truly believe
it. Our innermost thoughts may secretly speculate on a greater existence, but our disciplined thoughts return us to the material world. Our
greatest achievements are man made, they are not miracles. Our salvation is a product of our thought and labor, not divine intervention.
We are inescapably drawn to the conclusion that the mind is supreme, not the cosmos. The identity of man is defined by the reality of
his thoughts, of "I am", the reality of his consciousness and not by a surrender to a being beyond. "I think," "I am," and thus "I am the
consciousness that is my identity." If the conscious mind is colored by altered states or by substrata of the conscious and subconscious,
then they are only shades of the oneness that composes the identity of our being. In the end, we have defined ourselves in ourselves and
have closed the door on speculations of our identity outside our being. The mind defines our identity and the soul is entirely locked
within this new, aware, sophisticated modern mind. It creates; it controls; it is progressive and thus it is confident in its position in reality.
It is itself, an autonomous, cognizant and organized entity in a disorderly, probabilistic universe. The mind is a closed system, a sealed
bubble within a chaotic and potentially hostile universe. It observes, it controls, but it is nevertheless autonomous.

When man first caught glimpses of "I am," a new phenomenon occurred. The unconscious or semi-conscious state of the animal
suddenly became aware of itself. The evolution of the mind had just passed a major threshold of its future development. Man could now
think of himself in the abstract: "I am." The animal mind became human; it began to think. If we are to speculate that it thought of itself
first, then we must allow for the same mental mechanism to think of the world around it. In its primitive way, it began to philosophize.
What its first conclusions were we can only infer from records of our history or from observing the remaining primitive people of our
planet. The world became inhabited by spirits, magical forces that have the characteristics of personalities and the power to alter events.
These spirits became man's definition of what his mind perceived as reality, and this perception persisted even into modern times.

In the civilized world, the philosophy of spiritualism is but vestigial, but it persists nevertheless, if in an altered form, in our modern
religions. But man still sees himself only as "I am." The evolution of his philosophy has progressed his thought beyond imposing his traits
of personality on all aspects of reality, but not beyond. Man has philosophized himself out of spiritual context in the universe, his mind
abstracted from the events of the cosmos, but he has not progressed beyond the risk that is the fleeting moment of his life in reality. That
we live and understand we live is still a miracle. We no longer see the world through the heathen's eyes, but nor do we see the universe
beyond its apparent chaos. Events are perceived randomly, mechanical but of no known consequence. The throw of a die or the
assumption of a venture can be calculated as to the risk involved, but no certain outcome is evident. Though we have progressed and
learned to harness many secrets of our physical universe, we have not progressed beyond "I am." We have penetrated deeper into the
outer and inner dimensions of space but have nevertheless remained autonomous in our self perception. We have evolved beyond
ascribing the traits of our personality to reality but have not evolved to the level that defines our personality in terms of the reality within
which it is evolving. We still cannot define our identity. "I am" is still a self-enclosed, incomplete realization divorced from the world
outside itself. It is a recognition of the self in a universe that in many ways appears strange and alien to us. But we came from there. In it
is our beginning and our development. Why is it alien?

The human mind is unique in that it can speculate about itself. It can speculate about itself in relation to everything around it. The
creative mind can imagine relationships that may or may not exist in reality and revert these relationships back to its origin, the self. Our
sophisticated imagination allows us the versatility to philosophize the relationships away from the self and lead us into the conclusion that
"I am" can be itself unrelated to reality and accept this new premise. We can progress to the point where we can even deny our
existence. The freedom with which we can pursue these thoughts is the beauty of the versatility with which our mind can function. But
"I am not" violates our experience in reality and can be accepted with even less credence than the spiritual world of our ancestors. We
are not disassociated from reality, though we may at times wish to be. "I am not" is not our identity, though it can conceivably be a state
of being in our universe, if not at the limit, at least approachably so. But the mind that can create itself its own non-being should have
equal freedom to theorize itself in being. Awake, aware of itself, its identity could be discovered by its wide roving imagination. We came
from there, and somehow, out there, we became the Human Being. Who is Man?

We, our minds, our civilization are at crossroads. We can choose to remain in "I am." It has served us well; it brought us from our
primitive self to our present successes. Or, we can go beyond it to seek our identity and answer our question "Who is Man?" We can
seek within ourselves deeper still for clues to who we are, or we can reach out into the cosmos for a relationship that is our identity. We
have looked into ourselves and become man; "I am" is our human element. But it is not our human identity. If there is a natural order,
then we are more. We must find what that more in ourselves is. To look into ourselves without finding ourselves out there, in reality, can
be counterproductive and lead us into a sterile identity divorced from reality. Divorced from reality, we can then quickly regress into a
negative identity which, brought to its extreme, would mean our extinction. That route threatens us as a specie, though it is unlikely that
the specie would follow it to a man. "I am not" may be entertained casually, but it cannot be pursued seriously. The survival of our
planet's human identity is too serious a task to be approached casually. Our development requires hard answers to pressing questions if
we are to avoid future social chaos and self mutilation. Our world is faced with many pressing needs which cannot be met by the
successes of our past accomplishments. Reality is quickly closing in on our mind's lack of self direction and is forcing us to find
ourselves. We must find ourselves or reality may reject us; our civilization may perish into history. Such is the risk that confronts us to
progress beyond "I am." "I am" was our first identity, our first awakening. We must now probe reality with our imagination, beyond our
present accomplishments, and find "I am Who?"


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