Monday, February 28, 2011

On suicide: Some questions for Atheists

I am aware that this has been asked many times before. In fact I did google it and found several forums discussing the very same issues. However, no one I came across, addressed the issues comprehensively and with the seriousness it deserved.
Before I present the issues, which you probably would have guessed by now, I would like to disclose a few things about myself, just to put things in their proper perspective. Though I was born a Hindu, in the past few years I have slowly outgrown such defining labels. In any case, it doesn’t bother me whether I am called a Hindu or not since Hinduism, the way I have understood it, is not really a religion. Not being a Hindu, does not make me an atheist or an agnostic or whatever. I am just a person, that is all. A fifty year old person. I don’t belong anywhere, and there in essence lies my freedom.
Not belonging doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions and views. If it’s any consolation, my views on Nature and Reality are perhaps somewhat close to the Atheist viewpoint (as I have gleaned from various sources). I admire the atheist’s capacity for rational discourse, though I feel they often don’t take their own arguments far enough (I will explain that shortly). Like atheists, I don’t believe in a supreme being that feeds on prayers and defecate all sorts of punishments on us, “sinful” mortals. If at all there is such a being somewhere, I don’t believe it has any interest whatsoever in the affairs of the denizens of this insignificant speck of dust in this seemingly endless cosmos. Like you (the atheist), I believe in evolution, I greatly value Science and seek scientific explanations wherever possible, but I also understand its limitations. But unlike you, I don’t dismiss outright, ideas that do not sit well with mainstream Science. It is a sad trend that I often see in Science today. Something, I am sure will stifle its own growth.
Now that you have a sense of my mind, I will come to the serious problem that I see in Atheism. The crux of my disagreement with the Atheist idea lies in your belief that you cease to exist upon death. That life as we know it is just a brief journey from non-existence to non-existence (when your destination is certain and inevitable, wouldn’t you rather reach there as fast as possible, before the journey loses its appeal and tires you out?) That ultimately, each of us are in this hopelessly one-sided game of chess with Death. Sooner or later, the icy hands of Death will claim our King. So the most rational and sensible thing to do seems to be a “strategic exit”. To resign the game early, when you are playing well, because you know that you are not going to win.
If I had been the average atheist like many of you, I probably would have happily killed myself by now (which would of course make me not average). I am fifty, I am honestly really happy and contended. I have a wonderful family, fantastic health, a lovely wife and two great children, a great job, no debt. I am indeed “blessed” and this is the right time to die! Why? Well, who knows, I might get cancer or a stroke and suffer extreme pain and discomfort and be a burden to my family and then die. I just read that statistically, heart disease (1 in 6 chances), cancer (1 in 7) and stroke (1 in 28) are among the most likely causes of death. Death from motor vehicle accidents (1 in 85) is also not far behind. We all know that the more you age, the greater the chances of you suffering from heart disease/cancer/stroke and then dying. Worse, what if you become disabled and need help even to kill yourself? You never know what misfortune awaits us tomorrow. On the other hand, death is no misfortune, it is an inevitability. The sooner you do it, the better. Of course, you may argue that your loved ones may suffer. They will. For a week, a month, a couple of years at the most. Then they will get over it. In any case, why should you care, since anyway they too are going to die? At this point, let me affirm that I am not in the least advocating atheists who believe in post-death-nonexistence (hereafter referred to as PDN, which I think most if not all atheists do accept as true) to kill themselves. I am merely pointing out, in my opinion, the fallacy of their belief, concluding by logical reasoning that suicide is the best strategic option such people (who believe in PDN) have.
To me, this belief in PDN, is the most self defeating idea of atheists.
Let me give a structure to this argument:
The Premise: Most, if not all, atheists believe that living things do not exist before birth and after death. That is, apart from the physical body that quickly breaks down and returns to the elements, nothing survives upon death.
The argument for suicide:
1. Suffering is a reality (yes, it is a Buddhist idea. And I maybe closest to being a Buddhist, if anything. But Buddhism itself is generally considered Atheistic). There is no denying that.
2. Death and the subsequent non-existence is an inevitability. But pain/discomfort/depression are entirely avoidable if we choose to kill ourselves when we are happy and healthy.
3. Suicide can be planned and be painless and quick. Thus it is the only guaranteed cure for suffering.
4. The more you age, the more likely you will suffer loneliness, depression, pain, disease and discomfort. You become unproductive and a burden to others and to the system. The faster you die and return to nonexistence, the less you suffer (and then die into non-existence).
5. Not that it matters, but socially, too, it is a responsible decision. It is a well known fact that the older generation is a strain on the resources of a nation. Let’s face it, the medical costs alone to keep this age group alive are a waste of public money. Before you feel disgusted with the previous statement and ask me whether I feel the same way about my aged parents, please read through till the end.
In a preemptive effort, I am putting forth below, atheist’s arguments (within quotes) against suicide and examining them for their worth:
1. “Although nonexistence surely follows death, death by itself need not be inevitable. Science might one day discover means to overcome death and disease, permitting us to live healthily forever. Therefore suicide is unnecessary.”
Let us examine this argument: Although I think it highly improbable that Science will ultimately conquer death, for a moment let us assume that scientists do find this elixir of everlasting life. That means babies are being continuously born (you can’t infringe on the right of people to have children), but people don’t ever die. I think I don’t need to tell you how this would impact global population and resources. Let us assume we do find a temporary solution by colonizing the Moon and even Mars. Then what? When the population levels reach breaking point everywhere, what do we do? Where do we go? The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light years away. If we manage to build a space ship that can achieve an average velocity of at least 3 times the maximum speed of the Helios (the fastest manmade object ever), it would take this space ship more than 6,000 years to reach Proxima Centauri! And the chance of finding an Earth like planet circling the star at the right size and at the right distance with the right ingredients (Oxygen, water etc) is itself remote. Meanwhile on Earth/Moon/Mars conditions would be extremely bad. We may live forever, but we would still need food and space. It’s a strange irony that with everlasting life, Humanity is doomed!
2. “Life is too beautiful to commit suicide.”
Yes, life is “beautiful” when everything is going well. When you are healthy, you have money, you have love then life is beautiful. But when things go wrong—and they usually do—life can be a nightmare. Besides, what is beauty but a lie cobbled up by our brain. People say live to experience the wonder of life. The exhilaration of a sunset, the joyousness of seeing a baby’s smile are reason enough to live. But a scientist knows that all these experiences are merely chemical reactions in our brain. They are all transitory and ultimately have no meaning. Certainly not enough to suffer life’s unfortunate consequences.
3. “We have a responsibility to our loved ones/society/betterment of humanity. Committing suicide doesn’t sound right. It is immoral and illegal.”
When they (loved ones etc) too are going to die into nonexistence, what responsibility are we talking about? When one dies and ceases to exist, the universe, as far as he/she is concerned also ceases to exist. The atheist who believes in PDN is only fooling himself when he says he has a social/familial responsibility. He has no responsibility whatsoever. Everyone is going to die, the sun will turn into a red giant and swallow Earth one day, so what if a terrorist kills a thousand people in a neighboring city or a priest continues to sodomize his altar boys. Everything is going to be forgotten and everyone is going to die. I know I am being nihilistic, but it is true that ethics, justice and morality are only human constructs that ultimately have no meaning. Do you find any meaning in Nature? When the tsunami killed thousands, did you find any meaning in that act of nature? So the only sensible thing is to live a life that brings you the maximum pleasure (be it a hedonistic lifestyle or that of a serial killer) and end it quickly. Talking about humanist and social responsibility ultimately contradicts the belief in PDN. Thus Secular Humanism too, which tries to define itself in terms of ethics, justice and the search for truth (whatever that means) through science and reason becomes a cruel joke. Yes, suicide may be immoral or illegal, but why must you care? Once you end it all, “truth”, knowledge, morality, justice, ethics and every other excuse for cowardice ends with it.
4. “We must live to understand nature/the universe. Study science. Explore the cosmos.”
Why? When Nature that wraps around us and constantly inputs us with its visions of grandeur, is as perishable as us, why must we study it? Like I said, the universe, for all intents and purposes, ceases to exist (for us), the moment we cease to exist, why must we waste our time studying it? If PDN is true, all the so called “knowledge” we gained is extinguished the moment we cease to exist.
Moreover, our study of this universe cannot be done without our brain and our sense organs. But the truth is that our senses collude with our brain in fabricating a reality that exists only within the dark and mushy environs of our brain. For instance, something so ubiquitous as the colors we see all around us in reality do not exist, but is the fabrication of our brain. So when the brain together with our senses constantly lies to us about the reality that is around us, how reliable would our “study of the universe/nature” be? What is the use of such a study, whose reliability itself is in question?
What if the Universe itself is another big lie, created by none other than You? Yes, You, the observer. The solipsistic idea that the observer alone exists is one that is impossible to disprove. The mind of the solitary observer suspended in a dimensionless (?) universe of inky blackness forever subjecting itself to a reality of its own making. Perhaps this dimensionless mind itself is the universe, trying to understand itself. To beat off the Loneliness, it deludes itself and continuously reinvents reality. It fabricates Time and this dynamic sphere of perception within which it is cocooned in. What a small and simple mind-universe, perhaps carved in shape by the Razor of Occam (;-))! If this is true, this cocoon is the greatest of all intoxicants! Maybe even Time does not really exist, the memory of the last instant may itself be an imprinted lie. So these pixelated ideas were authored by none other than you, for you to disagree and dismiss as ridiculous nonsense. But you don’t have the proof. No, you don’t.
5. “If at all anyone must commit suicide, it is the theist, since he believes that death liberates him and takes him to God. But for an atheist, he has only one chance in life and therefore must live life to the fullest and experience it till its natural end.”
In every religion, suicide is a mortal “sin”. Life, according to most religions, is the greatest gift from “God”. It is as sacrosanct as the “God” that gifted it. Ending it artificially has dire consequences to the soul after life, according to most religious texts. So the argument that suicide takes the theist back to “God” makes no sense. But for an atheist who is not bound by any “dire consequences” after death, he can indeed live life to the fullest, until he faces the risk of pain and suffering or gets tired of it. It’s pointless to risk age, disease and suffering, when the alternative solution stares you in the face.
6. “Suicide is an act of cowardice. If I commit suicide, that means I am a coward. I am not a coward, so I will not commit suicide.”
If suicide is cowardice, then bravery is foolishness. The argument is much the same as before: why must you suffer the high risk of pain, disease, disability, discomfort, depression, old age etc and then pass into nonexistence when you can do it without going through all that hassle? When there is no chance of winning the war, wouldn’t you rather raise the white flag? Suicide, as I mentioned before, is a strategic exit. I would rather be called a coward than foolish. Although atheists, I understand, are divided on the issue, I believe they are generally more supportive of the idea of Euthanasia than religionists, since they don’t believe in the sanctity of life. If they can support suicide for the terminally ill, why not support suicide for the risk of being terminally ill? Life itself is a terminal illness. How much pain is unbearable before it qualifies for Euthanasia?
7. “Human beings have innately a survival instinct. We are programmed to survive as much as possible. Committing suicide will be going against that survival instinct.”
Well, nonexistence is not “survival”. If you believe in PDN, you know you are not going to survive. So the question of survival instinct does not arise.
8. “The truth is I am scared of death. I would rather suffer all the pains of age and disease than willingly jump into that dark and unknowable hole.”
This is probably the most honest answer and hence the one that deserves most respect. Everyone is scared of death. Everyone has experienced some form of pain and suffering in their life and overcome them. But no one has come back from the dead. But if death is just a gate to nonexistence and we have indeed been nonexistent before birth, then why must we fear death? We are just going back to where we came from.
I think I have addressed most of the arguments against suicide. I welcome you to propose any other arguments against suicide that I may have missed. I will try to address them as much as I can.
Now I will attempt to explain my reasons for believing in an unborn and therefore immortal component of our selves that would survive death. I must admit I don’t have an iota of “proof” for the existence of such a thing. But I think I can theoretically explain, standing within known scientific boundaries.
Scientists have no trouble accepting ideas of multiple universes and higher dimensions. String theory suggests there could exist parallel universes alongside our own. The Many-Worlds theory also proposes such parallel universes which are unobservable. In Mathematics we have the celebrated Incompleteness Theorem, which proves that all logical systems are essentially “incomplete,” in that there are statements (that are true) within it that are unprovable staying within the boundaries of that system. In order to prove these statements it is necessary to step outside the system (thereby creating a larger system with its own unprovables) and use rules and axioms external to the system. In other words, unprovable truths, unobservable worlds that exist simultaneously with/within our own are all scientific/mathematical possibilities generally endorsed by the bulk of mainstream scientists. But the reason I am dismayed is the duplicity among these scientists (especially of the atheist cadre) when faced with concepts such as an immortal soul (I hate to use that word). Or even the concept of a God (I hate using this word even more). How easily they dismiss such ideas without examining if they can be accommodated within science! To me, it is a classic case of cognitive dissonance on the part of the atheist scientist, which they constantly accuse the theist of suffering from. Why not just accept such concepts as unprovable and move on? The agnostic position is far more sensible than the hoarse war cries of the new (and growing) breed of antitheists.
I may not believe in a “God”. But I don’t believe, not because there is no proof, but because I don’t believe in the accepted definition and attributes of such a being. For instance, I don’t believe that “God” (if at all it exists) must be “good”. It must be neither “good” nor “bad” or both equally (which probably means the same). I believe that if such a being exists, it must span all dimensions, all multiverses and all possibilities and thereby making this being essentially unprovable and unknowable. Yes, we may have no use for such an impersonal, mute, blind and apathetic “God” who does not listen to our prayers or intervenes in our lives. But if there is a scientific concept that hypothesizes the existence of a Super Universe within which all imaginable universes exist, which is both “complete (immanent) and incomplete (transcendent)” simultaneously, that Super Universe could satisfy this definition of “God”. I don’t deny that it is identical to the concept of the Acosmic and Absolute “Brahman” found in the panentheistic Vedas and Upanishads or even the Monad in Greek philosophy. The object of study of both the mystic and the scientist is ultimately and essentially this “God”/Super Universe. However there are two critical differences between the spiritual mystic and non-spiritual scientist:
(1) the mystic attributes a Consciousness to this Super Universe and calls it “God” or Brahman. The scientist does not, since there is no “proof”. The “burden of proof” takes on a whole different meaning here. It may be a shocking statement, but I think “proof” is indeed a burden that science could have been less reliant on.
(2) the mystic tries to realize this Consciousness (of the Super Universe) within him, whereas the scientist tries to understand this Super Universe. The mystic internalizes that which is also outside him, whereas the scientist externalizes that which he is also a part of. Both goals have their inherent and impossible handicaps. The scientist’s goal is doomed to failure for he can never understand this unknowable and unprovable entity. He is burdened by his methods, his tools and his intellect. All imperfect and with a very limited reach. The mystic’s position is certainly far better than the scientist’s. Mysticism begins where science can go no further. The thinking mystic, bottled in his physical body, is initially unsure whether he has achieved this realization. This sense of Equality with the Super Consciousness … the Becoming. Like the space shuttle that jettisons the rocket boosters for it to reach greater heights, the mystic must finally jettison the tools that launched him into this quest—the body, the ego, the mind. So in a sense, even the mystic’s goal is unattainable as long as he is encased in the physical world. The monistic/Advaitic (Tat Tvam Asi) approaches to realize this Absolute only provides at best a momentary simulation of this Ultimate Reality. That is perhaps as much Man can possibly attain. But this, in a way, is quite an achievement.
The closest analogy to this all-pervading Consciousness/Super Universe that is both “complete and incomplete” is the mathematical concept of zero and infinity merged into one, giving rise to the Infinite Nothingness. Zero is within all numbers (immanence) and Infinity is beyond all numbers (transcendence). Even the countless universes are merely waves of locality (that eventually cancel each other out) embedded in the boundless ocean of this Nothingness. Emptiness—the stuff of all Matter and Thought. And when the mind returns to this Emptiness, the mystic gets a glimpse of this Absolute Reality.
I believe it was Galileo who said that Mathematics was the language with which God has written the universe. Today Mathematics is the backbone on which scientists base their various theories of the universe. I think Mathematics is not just the language of "God", but it is "God"/Super Universe. But that doesn’t mean one can understand God through Mathematics. The concept of the Infinite Nothingness is the most elemental of all Mathematical concepts. Yet it is also the most unknowable. It is not a coincidence that many of the expressions involving only Infinity and Zero are of the indeterminate form, that is, the values are unknowable. Such simple mathematical expressions such as 0/0, 0 to the power of 0, 1∞, ∞ − ∞, ∞/∞, 0 × ∞, and ∞ to the power of 0 are all indeterminate. It is where this Absolute Consciousness draws an impenetrable veil. Take the case of 0/0. If you ask Mathematicians what is 0/0, some will say it is meaningless, some will get angry and say not to ask such “foolish questions”, and the wise ones will simply say they do not know, since it is indeterminate. It is neither a foolish question, nor is it meaningless. It is just indeterminate, or to be more precise, it could take on any value (0/0 means 0 can be taken out of 0 to leave 0 any number of times). But Man, in his vanity does not like to admit being stumped by an expression so elemental in its simplicity. The Ultimate Truth, perhaps, is not too complex for the mind of Man, but of such an elemental simplicity that it is impossible to comprehend.
It is interesting to note that such indeterminacy is not just prevalent in the abstract world of Mathematics, but also at the very fundamental levels of physical reality, such as Quantum Indeterminacy. I am not going into this at length since a google search can provide you any amount of detail.
Sorry for this unnecessary digression that perhaps revealed my “unpalatable” beliefs. Call me a Hindu Atheist (no, it is not an oxymoron; Atheism is a very valid school of thought within the diverse philosophies that come under the vast umbrella of what is commonly understood as Hinduism) or whatever. The Sankhya school of thought, to which I have a particular affinity, is intrinsically atheistic. Unlike in the west, the lines between Atheism and Theism is very fuzzy among eastern philosophies. And it probably does not adhere strictly to the western connotations of these words. Thus Hindu Atheism is only an approximation of an idea that is, to me, far more liberating than its western equivalents such as Secular Humanism. I will let that comment beg questions and return to the topic…

Now, back to the main issues. The question of this undying component of our selves is also similar. In order for it to be unobservable, it could be of a higher dimension than our own spatially three dimensional plane of existence (I am excluding the dimension of time—even if it is another aspect of space — for convenience). The three dimensional “footprint” of this four (say) dimensional entity within us could be too minute to be observed. Our minds, which we are aware of, could be an aspect of this immortal consciousness. For instance, it is synonymous to flatlander people in a two dimensional universe possessing three dimensional consciousness. If the flatlander’s two dimensional universe is finite but unbounded, it would perhaps resemble the surface of a sphere. By extension, our own three dimensional universe, if finite and unbounded, would perhaps be the 3 dimensional skin of a four dimensional universe, which in turn could be wrapping around a five dimensional universe… Who knows?
Thus we ourselves are “incomplete” systems in this perceivable three dimensional world since aspects of us lie in parallel worlds of higher dimensions. Who knows, our 3d bodies could be the souls of flatlanders and our souls could be the bodies of beings in a 4d universe and their souls… Of course, this all just wild theory, I have no “proof” whatsoever, since in any case, it is unprovable.
The important thing is the belief in an immortal aspect of our selves completely changes the bleak landscape PDN had created. Though it does not necessarily proscribe suicide, it gives more meaning to life or, to be more precise, the “experience” in life. Experience no longer is “just a chemical reaction in our brain”, since it has a non-physical component. Thus barring the lone “experience of suicide” (suicide becomes counter-experience, since it ends life, the only vehicle of experiences) all experiences are priceless and equal. Every single experience in every single world (of various dimensions) becomes the currency of this immortal self, or soul (for want of a better word). The source of its richness and the cure of its Boredom. Thus, in a sense, every experience (and the associated action/inaction) is equally valuable, be it causing/ordering/witnessing a mass genocide or the slight discomfort of a blocked nose. On death, this soul takes back only these imprinted experiences to be born again, perhaps in a different universe of a different dimension, or even in the same household. It must be born again, since experiences are themselves an overwhelming addiction. The more it experiences, the more it wants to experience. Complete imprinted experiences on the skin of this immortal self as complete encoded information on the boundaries of a holographic universe. Though a matter of speculation, it makes sense to assume that the nature of these imprinted experiences determine the world of the soul’s next manifestation. Especially since that is the only thing it gains from life. Yes, call it Karma, or whatever, but it seems to have an intrinsic sense of justice to it. Although it appears as a just law, I personally don’t want to believe in an outerworld that has laws. There are no laws. Not even one. And Karma is not a law at all. It is just the product of a Desire. The soul wants to try out everything! It is like a child in a fairground. It wants to try out ALL the rides! High up in the Ferris wheel, it spies the neighboring Rollercoaster and see the people in it screaming their heads off. The moment it comes out, it heads straight to the Rollercoaster! Unlike the child, who is prone to accidents, the soul knows that it cannot be harmed by any physical body that it momentarily possesses. In one life it may occupy the body of a serial killer. It watches the intense pain of his victims and is dying (no pun intended) to experience it. Although this appears to display a fallacy of sequence, when you consider the Many-Worlds model of the universe, this problem is resolved. In a sense it is the lone Electron in the One-Electron Universe. Moving through Time and Space in order to experience Everything! Yes, in a sense, there is only a single Soul. Call it the Vedantic Atman (it is interesting to note how Atman and Atom share common syllables although the latter’s etymology is understood to be Greek) or whatever. Thus Feynman’s One-Electron Universe appears to be a striking analogy of the Atman-Brahman unity. In Atman/Brahman too we see the same complete/incomplete, immanent/transcendent, zero/infinity duality. And if we marry this One-Soul universe with the solipsistic idea explained earlier we get a reality composed of multi bubbles of perception in a sea of Infinite Nothingness. Each bubble representing the boundary of perception around every being (which in essence is a single soul), in this and every other universe. So the Moon may not be there when no one is looking at it! But whether the Moon is there or not, the most important consequence of this is One is All. Or in other words:
We. Are. All. One. And. The. Same.
Of course, it is not my idea. To those of you who are not familiar: this is a very ancient idea. The significance of the One-Soul idea is the meaning it gives to Love. In the commerce of experience, it is good to give and receive something that is pleasant. And Love fits the bill perfectly as a pleasant commodity. Also Service and Compassion and other such things. Because the Giver and Receiver are one and the same. Thus when you love someone, you are only loving yourself. It is indeed a valid idea and a “humane” interpretation. But ultimately, there is no good or evil in this world. There are only events and experiences. The person who knows this may also experience disease, pain, suffering and old age. But he is not moved by them for they are merely shades of color on a movie screen. Only experiences — silver coins in the sac of his soul. So he lives his life according to his nature that is Simplicity. He attains the ability to mutely observe all the vicissitudes that his body experiences. Suffering and pleasure becomes equal to the spectator that he has become. Thus this idea of a deathless soul does not contravene an atheist/agnostic viewpoint but only enriches it.


George Kontos said...

I'm writing you as a fellow traveler in the long and often unfruitful quest to try and figure out if there is a Divine. In the realms of (academic)philosophy, there are huge problems with figuring out who you are, let alone if there a Divine. I believe we are strictly not capable of answering these questions. Atheism, the way you describe it, is an exaggeration of man's strive the last few hundred years to explain everything through science. I think that for one to say that they are an atheist, they are as misguided as saying they are Cristian or Hindu. My view is in summary as such: We do not know, and I don't believe that there is way for us to know. If this case, I've decided I'd rather concentrate on the work at hand (famine, inequality, woman's rights, war, etc), and leave the "is there a divine / afterlife or not" issue for later. George

urbanyogi said...

Dear George,
Thankyou for taking the time to read my long essay and posting your comments. I do agree with you of the difficulties in this quest and that it is impossible to know for sure. The quest for understanding the divine, when taken to its limits converges to a quest to understand oneself. Ultimately, it is in one's nature to choose the path of service, meditation, love, prayer or inward inquiry. Whatever is one's choice, choose it without expectation of reward.

niraj said...

i dont kill my self, cos since we find ourselves here, might as well enjoy the unravelling of the revelation storyline...

Ovid Diaconescu said...

Analytical and Superbly written! ...My hat's off urbanyogi <3

[And I spotted only a "maybe" instead of a "may be", congrats!]

urbanyogi said...

Hi Ovid,

Thanks a ton :)

Phil said...

The trouble with our way of thinking of the last few centuries is, that we seem to believe that everything can be explained by the human intellect and also that everything has a beginning and an end. There is also this hopeless question of what was before creation or where did God came from? We don't and can't know this, because our mind can not comprehend what is outside our intellectual powers. They are useless questions for the intellect and it is much better to ask oneself: What is this force that sustains the universe. And here, the answer is simple:
Love. But on the other hand love as we know it, is still a very low form of it. As this word can range in its meaning from bodily attraction to deep spiritual devotion, what do we mean by this word? Love can evolve to the complete offering of oneself for the other person, for the community or even for the world.(Christ died for all humanity and for the world, resurrected on the third day and thus overcame death for all creation). Love is not a force of the intellect, it lives in our heart and is able to melt all forms of regidity and make life streaming again, flowing with the waves of Harmony. Not my will, but thy will be done, even if you still don't quite know who this Thy is. Be therefor the change in the world you wish for, (Ghandi) yourself. The rest life will give you, either in the form of happyness or valuable experiences. Karma is always brought to us as a spiritual law, but I feel that is not so, as laws can be changed. Karma is the highest form to restore balance in the universe. The only way to free onself from Karma is to unite with the being of Christ, this is a proces that takes quite a time to accomplish if one wants to stay active in this our dealistic world. I feel that agnostic people, the way you describe them, are suffering of a mental illness, and living outside reality. They need to develop conciousness of the heart. I do feel very much in agreement with your detached attitude to suffering and old age: Wisdom arises out of detached observation.
Thank you for your article.

Phil den Ouden / Netherlands

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