Catastrophic events both personal and impersonal may cause us to suffer a slew of unhappy and disruptive episodes the adverse consequences of which may last for many years.
As an example of personal catastrophic events in a given life may be when dramatic phenomena occur, such, as may result from a change of emotional feelings towards a spouse, for whatever reason, causing a marital chasm and consequently a divorce; and, an example of impersonal catastrophic events may be the dreaded experiencing of say, a flood that badly damages the house which is lived-in and as such, becomes uninhabitable.
There are so many examples of dramatic life incidents engendering human misery, that bring to our minds the question as to whether there is a compassionate God existing, as we are led to believe, to intervene and even to halt the destruction caused by such catastrophes by whatever means. This, both in the personal and in the impersonal within human life experience.
If life were perfect, for instance no more human travail or suffering, would that also include animals and insects, half of which are predatory, ceasing to exist because they are disallowed to feed on their quarries because pain and death threaten their victims, or something alters the predators’ behaviour so they discontinue to hunt for their sustenance – do they die from starvation or do they become vegetarian in their eating habits?
We would no doubt lose half the predatory species because of the nature of their digestive systems, as these physiological systems would not or could not adapt to vegetal absorption, and so many of the predatory species would die-out from starvation.
This would mean, following the demise of many live species, an ecological disaster ‘in the making’, because the present biological balance, and within the so called ‘food-chain’ there would be inevitable disruption such as to bring into being various plagues of insects (see below) and the unhealthy saturation of animals taking-up space and land, including food resources, because these animals have dangerously increased in numbers exponentially. This must have dire consequences for the planet on which we live, and in particular, for us humans.
Take the predatory bird species for example. If they die-out then a horrible plague of flies is bound to be the consequences of this unnatural event. This is just one example of an imbalance caused by interference with the natural order of things.
Curiously, animals and insects seem to have an automatic sixth-sense (though not all) in that they tend to leave an area of land because somehow they know that if they stay in that particular part of the land, they will be involved in some dynamic, disruptive and fatal event – so many animals and insects somehow knew beforehand about the terrible Tsunami that took place in the Far-East some years ago, and left for higher ground even days before.
We Human-beings also have this sixth-sense, but less acutely, and therefore we do not adhere always to potential warnings. Those human-beings who are spiritually developed have this higher sense of knowing, and subsequently may understand the consequences of future events – it is a feature of their spiritual development. Other beings, ordinary or not, do have random presentiments, but they may be unreliable and unpredictable in manifestation and therefore cannot be particularly useful in warning others to protect themselves, because of what some might call a fanciful event that might be the product of an out-of-balance imagination!
Returning to the natural order of things with us humans, it was Ouspensky who said (paraphrased): “If life were perfect, man would have to invent problems”?!?
What he meant was that man as he is, has immense potential in that he may choose whether to develop his interior ‘being’ or stay as he is with his existing mental/emotional/mundane behaviour? A truly mature, that is a ‘redeemed’ human-being does not blame God for all and sundry when he/she is suffering adversity.
Psychologically, if he [man] stays as he is within the confines of his inner psychological, mental and emotional life, being affected harmfully or favourably by any event that occurs from his inner or outer life, should be likened to that of a cork bobbing in all directions on the waves of the sea, and at the mercy of the conditions of the sea. Such, is an excellent metaphor explaining our weaknesses as humans – we lose our anchoring so easily!
This is the way of things for most of us, and it also describes the interior character of our way of thinking and feeling. It portrays the present condition most of us are experiencing, and the way we conduct our lives: we tend to blame everything and everyone but ourselves when things go badly and disaster happens!
If life were perfect, or near perfect (and the perception of what is perfect has to vary from person to person because it is a question of relativity), would we as human-beings be able to develop the various strengths required for the different happenings that face us day in day out?
In terms of numbers in any challenging situation and in any challenging event, there could be say, 12 different approaches or 12 different solutions to these challenges. Each person involved with a solution or an approach has his/her particular idea as to which solution and approach would work in resolving these challenges. Similar to the metaphor of the Tower of Babel, in that it would happen that not only confusion would be engendered amongst us because we all speak different languages, similarly because we all have different opinions, friction and uncomfortable feelings between everybody would be the result. Thus, this typical kind of opposition so commonplace, and mostly irreconcilable attitudes amongst us, will inevitably bring about argumentation.
If argumentation is the result of different opinions coming together and therefore vigorous clashing engendered, it is not difficult to consider how this type of conflict can develop into an assault, and, an assault giving rise to open hostility, and, open hostility sparking a War between the antagonists; a War that could become international; a War that leads to lives lost and so forth…….what has all this got do with God interceding to halt this bitter aggression becoming uncontrollable? We Human-Beings or ‘Worriers’ as some might say, have generated this everyday delinquency ourselves………………?
From the complexities of this argumentation outlined above, The Ancient Greeks (Greek Myths. Myths so called: Oh dear!), would teach us about the affects of the actions of the numerous gods conducting the lives of all human-beings from the heavens, as regards to their [humans] behaviour and their activities on earth. Metaphysical knowledge by other civilisations would demonstrate almost the same concepts.
Even the gods [planets] argue amongst themselves, and these arguments manifest within humanity, because, according to the ancients, human activity reflects heavenly occurrence. If scientific explanations are proffered then these would be about the angular relationships the planets make to one another in the heavens engendering the tensions needed to affect us humans on earth electro-magnetically, and so all of us without exception suffer and experience the content of: ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’, though the wisest amongst us might say there are more than Seven! One American scientist has observed that most earthquakes happen around new and full moons!
As regards to the vexed question or conundrum as to why there are external catastrophic events, such as earthquakes that appear to destroy innocent lives, and/or the unhappy circumstance of being a victim of a fateful event, because an unfortunate individual happens to be in a certain place at a wrong time, such as with a bombing perpetrated by terrorists in a civilian setting, begs the question as to God’s intention, or whereabouts, or whether He is sometimes asleep as Pope Benedict pronounced as he [Benedict] resigned from Office:
We have to divide the considerations to this eternal question, given above, into two parts to arrive, perhaps, at a reasonable explanation:
Commonplace amongst the peoples of the world, almost without exception, it is said that those individuals suffering the effects of a catastrophe and yet appearing in the present incarnation to be innocent of any kind of guilt; guilt inviting that catastrophe as retribution administered by The Powers That Be, may, in a different reality not appear actually to be so innocent, when past episodes of misdeeds executed in previous incarnations are taken into consideration. They may now be redeeming these historical sins of there’s by suffering the effects of these devastating events. These past-life misdeeds nowadays, may seem to us unimportant in the scheme of things as well as unscientific under examination. Even so, all these happenings are relative, because certain types of events we consider in the Western World as misdemeanours for instance, are profoundly sinful in other cultures – who is to say this way of thinking is ridiculous or bad, within these other cultures? Our own Western Culture changes from age to age – even within one lifetime: The ethos of our culture at any one time often becomes diametrically opposite to that which existed beforehand. Compare attitudes in the 1950’s with the attitudes in the 2000’s!
In Old Testament biblical terms, it is stated (paraphrased): that the dreadful payment for the sins of the father are carried through unto the third or fourth generation – this means that human misery and suffering of every blood generation up to the forth must be experienced by the sons and the daughters of each of these generations. Presumably this also means the sins of the mother as well, are to be suffered by latter generations?
For those who are truly innocent, and have been exemplary in behaviour and have done good deeds, and have behaved in this way pretty well within all their incarnations, and who still suffer purgatory of some kind, because they happen to be implicated in a fateful event, through circumstances beyond their control, and perhaps die as a consequence, the Cabalists argue that their “souls are needed elsewhere by God, in another time in another place”?!? This is an interesting statement and thought provoking, and taking in all that has just been written, goes against all the Scientific Ethos of the present Godless Age (AD 2000 plus)!
Even so, disregarding this Cabalist explanation for the moment, why will many innocents suffer, even to the point of dying as stated or at least, their lives blighted so that they cannot in this incarnation enjoy absolute fulfilment……….fulfilment in this way redeeming the present incarnation here on Earth?
Just as the solitary chick-pea jumps out of the caldron to avoid the pain of being cooked, and is clonked back into the boiling gruel by the cook’s ladle, so we as humans need to suffer a similar fate – the reason: The cooking process with the chick-pea is there to assist release of its goodness. It is the only way for a chick-pea, and thus, in truth, it is the only but similar process for us humans to experience and enjoy this sacred development. We have to suffer the ‘slings and arrows of the outrageous’ madnesses of life to attain true human attributes with humility, knowledge and wisdom. True there are times when we may be overwhelmed by the cruelty of life, as life may be so very cruel, and as such, this kind of suffering has been written about in many an illustrious tome.
In music: Mahler’s 6th Symphony; last movement we hear 3 neatly spaced-out hammer- blows within the symphonic musical structure.The first hammer-blow represents an event that knocks us to the floor. We stagger about a bit in trying to stand-up again, and as we do eventually stand erect in the process of recovering from this first hammer-blow, and, we are brushing ourselves down to clean away the detritus, and before we are fully recovered, another hammer-blow in the form of a second attack, knocks us flat-out.
It takes time now for us to recover from this second harmful episode and we manage with great effort to maintain our dignity and we do everything we can to regain our strength. This regaining of our strength is just about managed though we are weak still and the mechanics of our daily lives are still disrupted. Then unexpectedly another hammer-blow is sustained only this third one is fateful. We do not recover and a slow or if we are fortunate a speedy death ensues.
This is life, for some of us, but not for all of us: ‘There but by the grace of God go I’.
By God’s Grace, some would say, if we survive but are handicapped in some way by this undesirable experience, we learn to do our best in the circumstances within the new limiting parameters imposed on us whether deserved or not.
Further to the discussion (Cabala) of those of us who are indeed innocent throughout their lives and are devoid of guile, we could argue as do many Hindus, that we are not so innocent as we may think, as with most of humanity, we eat meat and fish and the accumulated ‘karma’ over hundreds of thousands of years by us humans in the cruel way we kill God’s creatures, determines the fate of human existence and the kismet of individuals. Of course the quantity of ‘karma’ engendered per person may in some mysterious way determine his fate, and the kind of suffering that will occur for her.
In India, there are the Fakirs, probably now, a dying bread, who gladly suffer constant pain, partly to help them remember continually God’s name and His mercy or wrath, and partly to redeem their accumulated sins (Karma); redeeming these sins repeatedly against the perpetual pain suffered via their particular method that creates this very suffering. One unusual practice, if it can be called that, is to maintain one arm above the head never lowering it, and allowing the nails of the fingers of the hand of that arm to grow, so that they curve uncut, and turn-in on themselves, and whose tips penetrate into the very flesh of those fingers/hands accordingly!?!
There are a bevy of some traditions, traditions of some peoples of the world, that consider the ritual slaughter of certain chosen animals to be justified because the killing and the eating of these animals assists these animal’s souls to evolve such as to occupy new-born human-beings in the processes of re-incarnation. The killing of these animals is prescribed, and has to be in a particular way and in a particular order to enable this kind of re-incarnation to take place. Who can argue that this is not the way to kill certain chosen animals? Even so, it is still killing and therefore probably builds-up additional ‘karma’. This slaughter method that assists the evolution of particular animals has credibility and is difficult to argue against. The idea that lies behind and drives ritual slaughter may indeed have merit.
So, we are supplicating God to intercede on our behalf to quash or to lessen the inevitable adverse episodes of life as they challenge us, even though we may actually deserve the punishment we are experiencing, possibly to the point where these penalisations may kill us. Following the reading of this Essay many of us will think twice or thrice about involving God in what to many of us seem unfair cruelties to so many human-beings including ourselves at different times and what appear to be random happenings?
This whole mysterious matter may now be seen as more spectacularly complicated than originally thought!………………………..Alexander Barrie. http://www.alexalign.com