Photo found here.
Big questions are those that are asked and answered by every person in every generation for as long as humans have been humans.
We do not tend to invent completely novel answers to these questions. Rather we shape our personal answers as we grow. We select and weave together the answers that resonate with our experience and acquired beliefs.
I woke up this morning thinking about this. These are the answers that resonate with me:
Yes, there is Justice in Life.
This is difficult or impossible to see for millions who are denied justice by others. The tragic loss of justice must clearly remind us of how essential justice is for there to be life.
There are Laws of Nature, and if we act in accord with these our lives tend to be better than if we don’t. Ultimately it is better to do good than to do bad. It is better to help others than to only use them. It is better to forgive than to hold grudges and take reprisals. It is better to love than to hate. It is better to avoid disease and the causes of disease; and likewise, to avoid negative habits and their causes. It is better to help those who are down rather than to say “They deserve it,” and walk away. Ultimately, Justice depends on how we treat each other.
Then why do bad things happen to good people?
Nature is complex, and the laws of nature interact with each other in almost infinitely complex ways. We are not perfectly tuned into these laws and their interactions, and even if we have knowledge, the results are very hard to predict, or to influence with perfect precision. But as we learn more our results are better, and we can avoid problems and we can help each other avoid problems. And the more we continue to expand and share our knowledge, the more Justice we have. Much of the suffering that occurs in the world is in fact due to one group or another grossly ignoring the laws of nature. For example, only taking and hoarding, rather than sharing; only using rather than giving back and uplifting; only fighting back rather than looking for a new way.
Life is infinitely complex. We will not one day have all the details figured out, along with rational prescriptions for each possible complex chain of cause and effect.
And yet in the face of complexity it is possible to live simply while spontaneously increasing Justice in the world.
Living simply means to love, to forgive, to pay attention, to listen, and, in various expressions, to transcend our petty egos based on ‘me-first’ and ‘my group first’ – to build expanded egos that care for the good of all. These are ancient and true teachings from all cultures.