Awakening To The Value of The Soul
Being an individualist is not terribly popular these days. There’s a lot of talk about what someone can do for society, how to help the faceless “others” who are less fortunate than you or even how to help charities of this nature by making a tax deductible donation to X. Theses are all good actions worthy of some (albeit often minimal) praise on some level. But even with the best of efforts to move towards utopia, something insidious almost always creeps in, and here is no exception.
Perhaps I simply see this because I am an American living in London. But recently it seems as though there is more attention given to the ‘toiling masses’ rather than the individuals who are either in need of help or those who can help. The power and the preciousness of the single human being has been replaced by concern for a faceless mass who seems to always be in need of help and never getting any. Charity has become an impersonal act of the bank account rather than requiring eye contact.
But the ‘faceless mass’ way of thinking has done more damage than simply disguising taxes as alms. We have forgotten that each of use are created and not generated. This fact has little to do with any sort of deity and more to do with just how many fingerprints and events it takes to form a constantly evolving person. Our current popular views on biology and society, taken to the next logical step, teach not only that life is random but also that each of us are not particularly unique. If we are nothing more than cells and labels, existing for eighty years or so, then the value our impact for the history of man is small, we can do little to change the world, and there is a vast amount of feebleness in any of our actions. Often when I talk to people is seems as if they refuse to hold their own sprit, the part of them which has yet to be defined by any scientist, dearly. The willingness to compromise to things which insult the soul for the security of feeling others standing beside us is rampant within ourselves.
If we stop recognizing the value of the individual and his unique spirit, we cease to acknowledge the most powerful natural resource in existence. It is not enough to try and help in order to ‘do good’ in the world, like everything else ‘doing good’ can quickly become yet another form of legalism. But when you look the individual, be he servant or the one in need, you begin to value that person until it is impossible to generalize a person back into a faceless mob. Looking at a person means understanding them, their conditions, and valuing him for it, rather than expecting him to relate in predetermined way which ultimately casts him back into obscurity.
Less and less people want to live forever. This is not to say they don’t want to die, they just want to go on surviving as a biological entity rather than being themselves to the greatest of their ability. A group of such people no doubt make a homogeneous mass which is easy to define and then dismiss. It is the unique individual who understands that he is fearfully and wonderfully made which makes the conditions of society better; it has never been the other way around. Most people who cannot acknowledge their own value, simply as people who will never again exist are content to live simply at the status quo. If you look at every civil rights movement in history and think of where it would be without the individuals associated with leading it, it doesn’t take long to see the value of the human spirit who sees people living rather than a group surviving.
Each person has value because man is an end unto himself. He needs to be nothing but himself to the best of his ability. Even if you don’t believe a part of you lives on forever, your own individual uniqueness acts as a form of accountability simply because you will never exist again. In some way, a person by being himself has value because he is one, and with that single man, he can only reach people by seeing what each person is.