Friday, January 24, 2020

Reactions to greater light and truth

When we encounter beliefs, actions, or desires outside our present paradigm, we can either toss it aside as worthless, or we can consider the possibility that it may represent an upgrade from our present understanding.

When we notice behavior different from our own in others, we must consider the possibility that they are more advanced than us. Paul said:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3)

When a person is exposed to greater light and truth, it categorizes everything about them into three groups:

1) Things that are compatible with the greater light.
2) Things that are incompatible with the greater light. These are things that have to be upgraded or removed in order to endure the light.
3) Things that the light shows are missing. These are things that have to be acquired in order to endure the light.

The things in category one will cause a person to be more comfortable than before. They will feel good about these things. They will feel understood and feel like they are being themselves. There is comfort and good and perhaps greater acceptance in category one, but there is no improvement, because the person was already all of these things.

The things in categories two and three will make a person less comfortable than before until and unless they change. They are uncomfortable until you change, but they are the only source of improvement. They bring feelings of guilt, anxiety, regret, and nothingness. All of these feelings are natural consequences of the situation at hand. Guilt is felt because your desires—which as a human tend towards evil—are in conflict with the offered path of improvement. Anxiety is felt because, deep down inside, you know these things are of great importance, and you seek their resolution. Regret is felt in the case that you realize this is not the first chance you’ve had to implement these changes. Nothingness is felt because what is offered decreases the worth of what you thought you already had.

There are only two actions that will make these things more comfortable: 1) Remove the stimulus by turning away, or 2) changing.

Turning away does not help. Like a toddler closing his eyes to avoid a scene he doesn’t like, reality does not change because you ignore it. The consequences of your choice are not removed through your refusal to acknowledge it. Deciding not to make a choice is itself a choice.

We are undifferentiated chaos until and unless we encounter greater light. Greater light shows us more of what we really are. Some of what we are may be confirmed by the light, but the more likely outcome is for the light to show a need for improvement. Upon first exposure, greater light will only make us feel go insomuch as it confirms how we already are—insomuch as we do not need it. The beneficial light—the part that actually improves us—will always feel uncomfortable and even painful. Therefore, internal strife as a result of new information should be interpreted as a sign indicating what is better rather than a sign to avoid that new information.

Truth is multi-faceted. However, given a narrow enough band of truth, for any two people, one will have more than the other. The only path of improvement is for the person who has less truth to adopt the truth held by the person with more. The other choices are 1) for the person with less truth to avoid the person with more truth or 2) for the person with more truth to ignore the greater truth in themselves. In the former choice, the person with less truth will lose not only the opportunity to improve, with all its attending blessings, but will suffer from two changes that will invariably occur: 1) they will be exposed to the consequences of knowing what they turned away from but are now unprepared for, and 2) they will lose some of the light they had before the invitation was given. In the case when the person with more truth settles the difference by ignoring the truth they have, they will
find themselves turning away from other good things in their life that they previously embraced. They will also subject themselves to anxiety and sadness as echoes of what might have been periodically ripple across their mind. Changing is the only way to improve.

The fact that greater light always initially causes pain is precisely why we must rely so heavily on the character of Jesus Christ. We have to have something that gives us a reason to pursue what improves given our current limited perspective. From our current perspective, all we see is a painful choice. What gives us the strength to push into improvement in spite of our limited view is our faith in Jesus Christ. Knowing that all invitations to improvement come from him and that he only does what benefits the world and that everything from him that we endure will lead to greater joy and happiness give us the strength to push into improvement in spite of our persistent struggle to quantify the benefit in the moment.

Those who make their mission acquiring and disseminating light and truth are bound to loneliness by the tendency of almost all mankind to turn away from greater light rather than embrace it.