People do not get to decide their Life's initial conditions. It is unfair. They are dropped into coping when they arrive. Whether you are assigned a good seat or a bad one--luck of the draw. You do get to decide--how will you live and what you will do. We begin every moment from where we are. I got a good start and am grateful but I am critical of the injustices that surround the experience of most people.
There are 7.6 billion of us. We reach 8 billion in 6 years. Most are poor. I am not and might not do well with markedly less. I like the idea of health and wealth and Liberty and Justice for all, but unicorn and monster are just words too. Their existence provisional and provocative.. Perhaps I have a responsibility to create them?
It would be grand to be a Truth Teller. So I try. However, we fallible humans are not privy to the Truth. Our approximations to it - hopefully- allow us to pursue it. We can't have it. We know language is imperfect but we have to start somewhere. First, the Whole Truth is not about us. If I pictured myself as a hardworking ant in a successful colony, I could ask, how important are my diligent efforts? In the bigger picture. My scope of concern is so limited. There are all the other ant colonies. And the world above and beyond ant colonies...So then consider that the difference between that ant perspective and our own human perspective is smaller than the difference between our human perspective and that of the Creator of the Universe. If there is no Creator then perhaps what we think is our knowledge is as good as it gets. The ant has nothing it could do differently, do we? Is our genetically determined purpose, modifiable? Do we look back for identity or forward? Perhaps up?
The World is the mind of God. Every consciousness passes a judgement on the divine plan and God becomes what he has created. God has been ignored by many because the ancient means of revealing him have become impossible to believe. We do not seem to have acceptable new means of revealing him. Of course God CAN do anything but to construct a litmus test of Truth with a set of specific beliefs about his capabilities is to limit his believability. These truths were discovered too long ago and History does not certify them. Belief does.
Material world appears to have no purpose. A spiritual world surrounds on every side of our supposed knowledge--what we positively don't know--what we certainly cannot know. Potential answers to Why? are similar to a 4 year old child's questions but with less capacity to understand. The need for Certainty spoils the narrative. If we cease to look and accept Everything that is currently understood as all that is possible to know, then we become artifice, not living creatures.
The great Abrahamic religions are at war with one another to claim the souls of their people. The modern rejectionists of all kinds seek newer truths divorced from tradition and more grounded in the modern idea of Progress. The myth of Progress affirms the improvability of Man, the value of rational inquiry, the deceits of faith, the fatal consequences of denying what is for the hopes of what might be.
Rationality has been proven a limited tool but is often considered the best for Truth seeking. God seekers have found Faith a more useful strategy. The religious see Man as fallen, flawed (sinful?) and needs transcendental help to rise, to succeed, and/or to "flower". Secularists are drawn to the essential need to be Good without God. History, for progressives, is a horror show of injustices and therefore focuses on our present responsibilities to act intelligently, mercifully, justly to make Right happen. Christians place the Garden in the past and the future in the hands of God. Progressives are desperate to see a little improvement on their watch and in their efforts.
Modernism killed God and now doesn't know what to do with the people who have to live with it. What are they going to do without God? Darwin said humans are not the center of creation. Marx called religion the opiate of the people. Nietzsche said Christianity is founded on resentment and not a powerful active virtue. He thought the Uber-Mensch(Superman) needed to create Values we common people can all see and agree to support. Wallace Stevens made some notes toward a supreme fiction: It must be beautiful, It must change, it must be abstract. The religious continue to suggest we aim for our one true home that is not here. We have never agreed, whether the claim was transcendental or rational, and the disagreements are daily still on display.
Religious rejectionists are seekers on their own path to truth. They could be considered "selfish" like an artist that produces what feels right to them. They don't seem to want to settle for what seems False. And it can be lonely out there. The principles we pick to build our collectives and cultures, differentiate us. It feels wrong to stop and seekers seem to stay on the move.
America is a diverse country. What can I do to help you live in it? As a senior in high school in 1969 there was a poster on my English teacher's wall that said "Think globally and act locally". She also had a poster about "Give a man a fish...". She liked the Ghandi quote about "Doing what was necessary," My father counseled that to whom much is given, much is expected. I read Joseph Campbell and he said I should "follow my bliss". So I went off to college optimistic about uncovering the best way to live. As if there was a key to life that once found, unlocked all questions. Well, you can live most of your life and discover that is not true. Good ideas for things to do keep popping up and the settled science becomes less relevant. Truths fade like a fire without fuel, they must be tended.
You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Youth, Nature, etc. Throwing off the yoke of oppression merely puts the responsibility back on you. If someone isn't doing their part then it's up to you to do it for them. Persuading people of their duty is difficult when they have so many reasons to ignore it. How do the "oughts and shoulds" keep getting manufactured to sustain any civilization? The best of what is possible can happen here but it can all fade away. History suggests it will. That is not an argument for accepting one's death instead a call to make something of your Life. Does there come a time when poulation numbers make one's own improvement a cost to others and ultimately a zero sum game?
Utopia and Nirvana are goals not destinations. They are not occurring in this Reality.