Bring Meaning to Work and Purpose to Spirituality
I just finished watching director Stephen Spielberg’s portrait of Lincoln in his 2012 movie. It centered on President Lincoln’s personal and public travesties of guiding the Congress to pass the 13th amendment to the Constitution that legally abolished slavery in the United States. After four long years of the bloodiest civil war in American history and more than 600,000 lives lost on the battle fields alone, the country was as divided, dreary and depressed as ever. In sharp contrast, President Lincoln was alive and full of humor and determination to seize the opportunity to change history, even at the cost of postponing peace and engaging in deceit, trickery and bribery. Not only he had to out maneuver the opposition party but also held together the extreme elements within his own, one for peace at all costs and another for full social equality beyond legal rights.
The movie reminded me of the political dynamics of our own time in and out of Washington. It is hard to argue that the economic and political conditions today were any better or easier than at Lincoln’s time. In fact, easy or hard has very little to do with the fractions, gridlocks and how to govern the country then and now. The deciding factor is the presence or absence of a higher vision and convictions to realize it. Two hundred years ago, slavery was the outrageous injustice that inspired Lincoln and other Republicans (majority) and Democrats (minority) to take actions correcting it. In our day, such a higher vision is far less clear and there is certainly no Lincoln like figure who has both the moral courage and political skills to enact it. President Obama showed some promises during the campaigns for his first term. His choice of healthcare as his signature legislative objective fell far short of inspiring the moral convictions needed to unite the nation and overcome the opposition. Time has changed. More rights and benefits are no longer the leading edge of the human spirit. Humanity has entered into an era of seeking and achieving harmony with versus bullying and conquering nature. By nature I don’t mean merely the trees, the rocks or even the ozone layer. They are important but far from enough to inspire us into actions that matter. We have entered an era in which humanity itself is the object as well as the subject of change and transformation as part of cosmic evolution on planet Earth. We must look deeply into ourselves to discover hidden dimensions of the cosmos. The promise of future lies within ourselves instead of Mars or the Milky Way. Who are we, really, and what are we here to do on planet Earth, really? These are the central questions explored by The Human Cosmos, a new interpretation, theory, technology, philosophy and spirituality of life on planet Earth.