Animal or Human?
Human beings as we know them show diverse tendencies, behaviours that we call ‘animal’ as well as those we call ‘human’. At this level of interpretation we can see that the ‘animal’ and the ‘human’ aspects of our being are in a certain way opposed to each other. The ‘animal’ in us tends to pursue pleasure and to avoid pain, while the ‘human’ in us strives to attain some degree of control over our ‘animal’ tendencies.
This question of animal or human was first outlined in the Bible. The story of the sacrifice of Abraham’s son Isaac shows a demarcation. If we equate Isaac with our human aspect, and the ram caught in the thicket with our animal tendencies, we can see at one level of interpretation human beings as a higher form of life than that of the animals. Humans by use of our innate intelligence have gained control of the world in a way that animals have failed to do. We can invade animal territories, destroy their environment, capture the animals and put them in zoos, or, if we will, can kill them. We are aware today of the problem of endangered animal species. The superior power of human beings everywhere threatens animal survival.
The name Isaac, in this interpretation, means ‘the laughter of acquired power’. We humans have power enough to destroy all the animals for which we have no profitable use. In the process of our destructive activities, we can impoverish the world, remove from it the millions of non-human lives, destroy the landscapes’ natural beauty, and reduce all vital differences to one flat plain of radioactive rubble. And we can laugh at it, and glory in our tremendous destructive power.
At this point we can see that, if we do not curb ourselves, the delight we feel in being so powerful might lead us to destroy our whole world. It is here that our intelligence, the Abraham in us, may be called upon to sacrifice Isaac, the power to which our intelligence has given birth. And this is a demand that we cannot refuse.
If we do not sacrifice our power, give it back to its source, we may find that our laughter at possessing it will end in dreadful tears. Power without a sense of responsibility is the most dangerous thing in the world. Somehow, if we are not to destroy our world, and ourselves with it, we must gain a full sense of responsibility for its use.
But if we give up the power itself, we shall reverse the whole process of human evolution. For millions of years our ancestors have striven to attain power, over their environment and over other creatures. It is now time for all of us to do what a select few have already done – that is, attain power over ourselves.
God, the Creator of the Universe and of ourselves, does not will us to regress back to our primitive state of powerlessness. But He does will us to give up our power to Him. Absolute power belongs to God, and God alone. The power we humans have is lent to us by the Infinite Source of all power, and lent to us for a specific purpose, the building of a new heaven (that is, a new idea), and a new earth (based on this idea). Without power we could not build this new heaven and new earth.
God tests us as He tested Abraham, to see if we will give up the power that He has given us. If we bring ourselves to this point then He offers us another solution. A ram in a thicket appears for us also.
For those of us who are not of the view that the universe is merely a blind, purposeless, chaotic, lawless, scientific experiment, there is another way in which we may study and acquaint ourselves with the process of Oneness and purposeful development, and to intelligently sacrifice our power for a higher purpose. It is through Study we aim to unfold & make conscious this purposeful way.