No entity in nature, whether organic or inorganic, exists solely for its own self. Due to the natural system, everything is interdependent. Just as the sun does not rise for itself, neither does a tree bear fruit for itself. The same goes for us humans. By virtue of mutual need, we must complete and better one another with love and without expecting something in return. We are obligated to give back to the source from which we receive.
According to this perspective, life has its own unique rules and spiritual laws. The principle of "mutualism and usefulness" or "win-win" principle is the foremost of these laws. On the journey from opposition to completeness, the principle of "mutualism and usefulness" must always be involved. Even so, what really lies at the invisible spiritual center of life is "unconditional love." It is oftentimes active and at work in life's invisible areas.
However, if the principle of "mutualism and usefulness," which stimulates active altruism in people were to be adequately observed in all places, under all circumstances and in all relationships, then life would be more fulfilling and meaningful. Life would be more beautiful and richer.
Because the more a human overcomes selfishness and egotistic cravings/passions, the more human he becomes. He becomes more moral and grows and develops spiritually.
The main source of the principle of "mutualism and usefulness" is the following quote by Christ: "Do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31). Here, the main thing is sincerity, which means the freedom of the spirit. It is goodwill, which is closed off to exploitation and abuse.
Because it is impossible for a conceited, vindictive, selfish, duplicitous, calculating, two-faced person to have good intentions in an internal sense. If the intention is not sincere, it becomes ineffective. The intention of the two-faced is destined to backfire with an adverse effect.
A person can be two-faced toward another person; even worse, we can be two-faced toward ourselves. It is easy to be honest with other people; it takes skill to be honest with ourselves. Though we might fool people through cunning and intelligence, we cannot fool God, who reciprocates our intentions. The Most High Creator knows the truths that we manage to hide even from ourselves. When we desire something in the depths of our hearts, he does not look at what we tell him, but at what we secretly tell ourselves.
In other words, every kind of exploitation and abuse of human dignity or cheating someone of their rights (or extorting them) passes for cruelty in divine records. It becomes difficult to digest because it means cheating people out of their rightful due. It returns as sorrow and trouble.
In situations where selfish attitudes are highly prized in order to avoid facing these harsh truths, conscience should, as the harbinger of altruism, act as a check against cunning/devious thoughts and a restraint against selfish/egotistic attitudes. It should serve this function. This is how it should be.
For this to be possible, the activity of obscene attitudes must be disrupted/weakened. In fact, it should be destroyed if possible. Though character traits like "Politeness, Kindness and Purity" evoke a bitter feeling in people, these virtues actually contain the surest/trustiest formula for paving the way for common life and civilization, and for disrupting/weakening the activity of obscene attitudes as well. Substituting their meaning for oppression will restore human dignity to its genuine value.
There is an idea that, "These virtues are the junction signboard in a garden that forks out between our moral law and human survival.
The French say, "Politeness is the nobleness of intelligence."
In the same vein, philosopher/writer Henri-Louis Bergson (1859-1941), who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927 "for his rich and exhilarating ideas and the brilliant talent he used in the presentation of these ideas," says, "Courtesy is the glory of the spirit."
With his verdict that, "Since morality means having the best interest of others at heart or at least not hurting them, a rude and impertinent person turns out to be ceaselessly injuring his own capacity to be moral," Bergson emphasizes that, in a sense, these virtues are a kind of morality.
Because the presence of these virtues which form the basis of moral purity and introduce moral consistency signifies progress/improvement: They facilitate life. They allow one to breathe. They let the soul flourish. Their absence spells regression/negative placidity: Life gets more difficult. Oxygen is poisoned. Relationships are ruined. Human dignity is injured. Sincerity is mutilated. Honesty is made to suffer.
As it has been said: "Every person is both the architect and executioner of their own inner world."
In order not to be our own executioners, we have to value these virtues which reduce the fragility of life and heal spiritual illnesses. We have to increase our activity in life.
Because even the deaf can hear the language they speak. Even the vulgar can see its beauties. And the blind feel them.
I enclose herein for the consideration of my esteemed readers the link to my article titled, "Politeness, Kindness and Purity," where I take a sociological approach in scrutinizing the Syriac meaning of these virtues as well as their benefits and effects in life. Those curious can peruse the meanings of these virtues more extensively.
Malfono Yusuf Beğtaş
President of the Syriac Association of Language, Culture and Literature
Süryani Dili-Kültürü ve Edebiyatı Derneği Başkanı / Mardin
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