My mind is a computer of unimaginable complexity and wonder. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), my capabilities and capacities have increased, but only because I create my World from those assumptions and trials and errors that my reason tells me are good for me. I occupy a pocket of time during which I am God, in the sense that no one can tell me what to do (they can try to do so by force or manipulation). I am guided by the sum total of my life experiences. There is nothing unique about me other than I am the only me, much like no two fingerprints are alike, or no two snowflakes look the same. I didn’t create this phenomenon. It certainly did not come from the future.
When I say that “I am the sum of my choices and their consequences,” this is my past that informs how I act and look at my purpose in life. The choice is so important that it defines humanity from animality. We progressed intelligently (evolved is the outdated expression because it only applies to the reality you can see). “I am not you; you are not me; we are not God, and, most certainly, we are not God.”
Being human means I can give away this choice, but not the ability to continue to choose another set of ideas, not my own, can be inadequate for me. Some time back, I visited the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. They called it a high-class joint at that time because there were so many white-collar criminals. We met with a group of prisoners who had formed a Holy Name Society, a popular gathering of like-mind Catholics who were more conservative in their spiritual practices. The president of this Holy Name Society gave us a talk in the chapel. I thought I was back home in my parish because of what he said. I asked the guard who that person was who was giving the talk. She said he was a former bank president from near Chicago who was convicted of embezzlement of thousands of dollars. She also said he acted and sounded just like her grandfather. “He had only one fault,” she told me, “he thinks stealing is okay.” Where does all this aberration in the human condition arise? We are taught that human nature is not evil, just prone to bad choices. Tie this back into the human urge to resist anyone telling us what to do, and you have the basis for the Genesis narratives on why humans can be good by nature but also be so bad in how they make choices. Genesis narratives are about what they consider to be God as the Gardner of a perfect place. Humans messed it up by introducing sin (poor choices), and it continues as the context for each individual in which they seek what is good or evil. These narratives are a very sophisticated myth (in-depth explanation) of why some humans do good while at the same time can compartmentalize moral behaviors.
I have always looked to Erich Fromm’s Art of Loving as a power indicator of what it means to be human. He suggests that love is an acquired skill that is not assimilated into our consciousness and then abandoned but must be nourished with more love to sustain its integrity every day. Fromm calls this “The Art of Loving” because humans must constantly renew it to become more and more human as new situations are experienced each day that require love. Past performance is no guarantee of present or future success. Faith is also an acquired mindset received from a source of energy outside our human experience. That Faith can transform a human from being more like an animal to more like our nature intended (conversio morae) is due to the energy that comes from being in the presence of the one who can transform humanity from being just human to their next step in intelligent progression, being an adopted son or daughter of the Father.
I am on an eight-one-year-old journey to discover my purpose in life and how all reality fits together to move me forward to be as human as possible. There is also a collective movement of humanity forward, from animality through rationality to the end result of evolution, fully human. God did not provide all this communication to humans, including sending his only Son to tell us (knowledge) how to love, but show us how to sustain this love (service) until we can claim our inheritance after our human bodies die.
THE MOVEMENT OF HUMANITY VIA INTELLIGENT DESIGN
Galatians 5. I have applied The Rule of Threes to my search to become more familiar with this astounding process of how the physical universe and mental universes prepare me to reach the fulfillment of my being human. I intend to parse out three separate movements in the history of humanity as it moves forward so that I can apply these lessons to my constant obsession with moving from my false self to my true self (capacitas dei).
When I ask, “What does my humanity look like?” I offer these assumptions not to prove I am correct because this is only speculation (that is what humans do best) but some new thoughts on which you might chew. I like to use The Rule of Threes to pull apart some of the elements of intelligent design I must address.
QUESTION: Within the period of my human lifetime, I make a myriad of choices that affect who I am and who I will become. Some of those choices are good and not so good in terms of being what my human nature intended me to be. I can choose what is good or bad for me at any time on this timeline.
There are three levels of humanity, ranging from animality through rationality to spirituality. This is a sliding scale for me each day. Good choices today; don’t assume I will make them tomorrow.
INTELLIGENT PROGRESSION IN ONE REALITY
Movement (time within the space of a beginning and an ending) is from simpler to more complex as matter and its antecedents collectively interact. This table views one reality with three distinct universes, each separate from another, with their own characteristics, and how humans can measure each one with different instruments. This is the big picture of humanity from its inception to extinction.
|Contains everything that is living. They must choose based on natural conditions, not set by humans. The measure is nature.||The measure is what makes me happy. Contains everything that is living but has a reason and the ability to choose outside their animality, set by humans. Influenced by individual emotions, free choice, and DNA.||Using animality as a base, it is rationality with the knowledge to choose what is right rather than pleasurable and easy. The measure is outside of human nature. It is the opposite of rationality but depends upon it. Reason and free choice must choose the reversal of rationality and die to the false self of the World to assimilate direction from a divine nature with the power to make it happen.|
THE FLOW OF TIME
In this next table, Table B, this all takes place within the universe of the mind, rationality. This is where I have lived for 81 years and in which I made those choices that continue to define who I am. My premise in this Table B is that, within humanity as a collective, and more particularly, within my short life span, I move back and forth between animality, rationality, and for those who are Baptized, spirituality. Table B is rationality as I live it from when I am born to when I physically die. The choices that I make must fall into one of three of these categories below: animality, rationality, and spirituality. Let me elaborate on each one.
ANIMALITY: I am rational and have the ability to choose what center is real for the moment. What I choose might revert back to my animal tendencies. The problem with this thinking is that, like all center, it is not permanent and changes each moment. Dominant are sexual, power, selfishness, and the emotions of preservation at the expense of others.
RATIONALITY: I control my animal tendencies with my mind and it works some of the time. My center is one that realizes that I am not alone on this rocky ball of gases and must get along. Society (imperfect because it changes with the majority of like thinkers) becomes my center. Dominant are choices that the collective consciousness says are good for me (love, family, procreation, discovering meaning, noble behaviors that help others) but also bad for me (murder, rape, incest, stealing, lying, coveting things and others). God is not automatically in this mix unless you add God. The purpose of life is to discover meaning in those things that you discover are true and lasting values, then you die.
SPIRITUALITY: As part of my sliding scale back and forth, I can sin by choosing animal behaviors as my center. The problem with centers is keeping them focused. They are in constant interaction with my human nature and the pull of Original Sin to be God. Human mental energy is not strong enough nor enduring enough to keep me centered on the spiritual universe. This energy comes from outside my human nature and I can access it with my reason and free will but only by giving it away to a higher power. Christ showed us how to do that by dying on the cross. We are to die on our cross (living our seventy or eighty years) by struggling to keep ourselves centered. Christ alone can provide the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us as adopted sons and daughters of the Father until we depart our human bodies for the next step in our evolution.
Baptism gives us new citizenship to exist parallel with our human existence. It is the reason humans have reason and freedom to choose that which makes no sense to the animal senses. The love of Christ is the power to be aware of how much God does love me and wants me to fulfill my destiny. Multiply that times everyone who lives or who has ever lived and you get a sense of just how enormous mental and spiritual reality is.
As a follower of The Master, I have chosen to be a Lay Cistercian as my way to focus on Christ so much that I seek to “have in me the mind of Christ Jesus” each day through Cistercian practices and charisms. I fight against my citizenship of the World which constantly says “What you do doesn’t make sense!” Christ tells us to deny ourselves and take up my cross (whatever comes my way each day) and transform it as a gift of thanksgiving to the Father through, with, and in Christ, with the energy of the Holy Spirit.
I must strive to become more spiritual and perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect (living as much as I can in the spirituality segment below). By myself, I don’t have the physical stamina nor the power to reach and maintain my presence in the spiritual universe. This is why I long to be in the presence of Christ each day as I trace the cross on my forehead and remind myself that I am an adopted son (daughter) of the Father but that I must have fear of the Lord (St. Benedict, Rule, Chapter 7) to allow me to offer to God the only gift he does not have from me, my free will that God’s will be done on earth, my earth, as it is in heaven. I live with the hope of the Resurrection of the Dead is true as Christ told us. All of this makes no sense to the Gentiles and is a stumbling block. Using the Christ Principle as my key to unlock the Divine Equation, I fulfill what it means for me to be fully human as my nature intended. I want to enter the next level of my intelligent progression as close to perfect as I can get by my own efforts, knowing that God makes up in me that which I lack.
|I am conceived in original sin. |
I act more as my animal origins from which I came. Self-preservation, dominance, unrestricted procreation, selfishness with ideas and goods. I still exist in the rational universe St. Paul called the World (Galatians 5). I choose what gives me pleasure rather than what is difficult but correct.
|I am a citizen of the World in this approach. I must make good or bad choices for myself as part of who I am. Rationality helps me to choose, but my choices have been tainted by the sin (poor choice) of Adam and Eve. I can move to the fulfillment of my humanity if I know how to solve The Divine Equation. Each human has been given a key to turn in their individual locks, but most don’t even know they have it, much less hot to use. We have human reason and free will to help us ask the correct questions and answers.||I am released from the consequences of original sin and given adoption by a higher power. The consequences of sin still remain.|
|My DNA is animality. Each day I face multiple choices where I can progress or regress in my humanity.||I have reason and the ability to choose, but my choices have consequences I may not know. When I know something is wrong and do it anyway, that is called sin. Sin is aiming for a bulls-eye on the target but missing it.||One of the reasons I have reason and free will is to choose that which is difficult and does not make sense to my rationality without a key. This key comes from outside my human nature, but I don’t know about it or how to use it without someone telling me and showing me. Baptism is when I am given the keys to the next level in intelligent progression, but I need help to know how to use it. The Christ Principle shows me through the Scriptures and the trials and errors of the Old Testament and New Testament what works and what does not. I still can’t turn the key in the lock of the Christ Principle without knowing the secret combination that was given to me at Baptism but which tells me to use the power of the Holy Spirit to help me. The only way I can use the energy of the Holy Spirit is with humility and by offering my free will to God. When God’s will is done, I have the power to turn the key to unlock The Divine Equation. The price I pay for this is dying to my rational self to receive the knowledge, love, and service needed to remain in this spiritual universe and not slip back into just animality and rationality. Paradoxically, it is only when I die to my humanity that I become fully human, fulfilling my destiny as a species. Each human must move back and forth on a sliding scale while they live from animality to spirituality. This is the struggle to be human and only ceases with physical death. Each day is a new beginning, a new set of challenges. While I am alive, I have dual citizenship: my rationality lives in the World, and I make choices based on secular ideas until my physical body dies; I am also a citizen of heaven, and from Baptism to forever, I give glory to the Father, through, with and in, Jesus Christ, with the energy of the Holy Spirit. This is my destiny and what it means to be fully human.|