Monday, February 8, 2010

Continuation of spiritual thoughts

I have just finished blogging about our Yellow Labs on my blog Wags N Tales. Seeing that it is a quiet snowy day in Arkansas, the music is fine, and the thought process seems to be rather inventive I guess I'll continue my thoughts here.

The snow we are getting today has enough moisture in it to stick to branches, but it is not what I call a real wet snow. The outside world is a canvas that holds a miraculous painting in detail so great a human hand could not fashion the picture. These kind of days get me wondering about our existence and purpose.

There are many in our world who would walk through the scene on our landscape and view it as negative. My wife is grousing about snow, spring is just around the corner and here we face the difficulty in getting around due to snow. I see enjoyment. We'll get around, we will find food to eat. We will stay warm in our homes, and rest secure that our world will remain comfortable. There are many in this world who will not experience that sense of security and freedom from hunger. The Bible teaches "the poor shall always be with us."

I tend to view life as good. I tend to view life's experiences as good. Some do not. Some are overwhelmed with grief at the poverty and illness and tyranny that seems to exist. I do not like it, however, I don't feel guilty about this thought but often I'm left with "that's life." It may seem like an oversimplification, but then life is not complicated. In a very real sense, we are born, we live, we pass on. It is a pretty simple process.

Our behavior tends to complicate life. Our behavior at times seems to be beyond our control. Genetic markers make certain women susceptible to breast cancer. There are certain genetics make ups that predispose a person to mental illness like schizophrenia. People are commonly seduced by power and alter their behavior in view of the power they possess. A man I know who was a lawyer in our town ran for state political office. He started in state legislature as a man with ideals and working on behalf of the people who elected him. He ended up in jail for trying to subvert state law and line his own pockets. I don't believe he started out a crook, but he ended up that way.

I think that throughout life we are presented choices. How we choose can complicate our life and drive it into behaviors we had never contemplated. On the other hand we have the remarkable ability to learn from our behaviors and choose to change our life style. Those that do possess a remarkable insight and strength. Some fall victim to their behaviors and values and say they cannot change. It isn't that we cannot change, it is that we choose not to. So then, what makes us so unique? It is our minds ability to be influenced by our surroundings, our up bringing, our own observations of life unfolding, our own interpretation of life's events. Those are unique.

I do not think that God chose us to be unique among the creatures we reside with on this planet earth. I think it evolved. To a certain degree all creatures have the ability to learn, and we see most of them exhibiting a thought process. Much of the behavior of creatures on this earth is learned. Dogs are not programed to fend for themselves even though they descend from wolves. We know that domesticated dogs turned loose in the countryside can starve to death if some human doesn't care for them. Yet other dogs born in natural settings and left to develop hunting and survival skills will fend for themselves and live in spite of the lack of human intervention. That tells me that genetic programing of species can be altered. So whatever set of circumstances existed a million years ago when some forebear of ours stood up right and walked for the first time the behavior was learned. So it goes.

It would be a mistake to say then that all behavior normal and abnormal is learned from external events. Pain can alter our behavior, we walk with a limp. Psychological pain can alter our behavior. The chemistry in our body can alter our behavior, so it is too simple to say everything is learned. Some behavior is in response to some set of stimuli. In the broad spectrum though most of what we does is learned and influenced by some choosing mechanism.

Life is neither good nor evil. It just is. Our interpretation, our choices, and our ability to alter our surroundings make for opportunity. The more we become interactive with the whole world, the more we are exposed to, the greater the pattern of choices. We find many helping others once they realize choices. We find our selves coming to the aid of others in the world in need because we choose to. Our behavior is always the product of a decision, even if that decision is influenced by abnormalities or events beyond our control, out behavior is the product of a decision. Let us hope for the future sake of mankind that we make good decisions.

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