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Sunday, December 18, 2005

The componants of man, part II

Continued from here.

Every individual and every group is motivated by and sees the world through three distinct and separate forces: The Holy, the National, and the Ethical/Humanist.

Rarely do people or groups acquire an equilibrium of these three forces. Quite the opposite, we see that throughout human history, religious zeal has often been used to squash any goal of personal fulfillment that would be advocated by the Humanist force. We have seen a secular fascism that trampled religious and individual rights and those who have lived in the modern western world have seen a humanism that is often hostile to all that is holy and to all that is unique and special about particular groups of people.

Why is this so? Rav Kook in his writings postulates that each of these forces has tremendous amounts of energies at its disposal and these energies at all times must be channeled. When a person is then confronted with a conflict between one force which is engrained in the fabric of his soul and the two other forces which he recognizes intellectually but are foreign to his emotional framework, then the easy solution is to declare the other forces as enemies and wage an individual and communal battle to establish that force with which he is comfortable as the protector of all truth and justice.

The results of such a reaction can be devastating. Each of these forces need the other forces to balance themselves. Ignoring forces which challenge us does not make them go away from the world or from our society, that is impossible as these forces are ingrained into the spiritual fabric of the world. Rather what occurs is the one force which is held above others, be it the force of Holiness, Nationalism, or Humanism loses its balance. Its tremendous energy levels are not checked by any counterforce and quickly turn destructive.

What, then, is a person to do? The answer is that the value of each of these forces must be valued at all times. Further, not only should they be valued but they should be integrated into the fabric of one's soul and of one's society and each be advanced in an extreme manner. Since these forces are remarkable powerful and can not be subdued, each must be pursued with fanatic vigor. The constant channeling of these forces leads them to balance each other out. This is not to say that conflict will not arise between them and that at times, one will need to be victorious over the other, but rather that such a victory will not be at the expense of the intrinsic value of the other forces. each force must constantly exert its special nature upon the others and try to win over the others while not undermining their intrinsic worth.

What comes out of this is that extremism is not bad in and of itself. Rather unbalanced extremism which advances only one of the components of man to the exclusion of all others leaved terror and destruction in its wake. May we all find this balance in our personal, communal, and national lives.