Written: October 19, 2011
- (This was the rationale for the entire thing. I wrote it early one morning in the students’ lounge during my second year of university. It’s the first thing written in the book.)
Man, unlike anything else in nature, owns the incredible privilege of having been made in the awesome image of the Creator-God Himself. This, of course, makes him intrinsically superior to the cosmic neighbours with whom he interacts daily, and this is always a good thing for Man since it essentially means he has the power to be perpetually in control. On the other hand, it makes him responsible and accountable for the welfare of all around him as well as his own choices and actions. As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
One of the most practical and readily available ways of seeing that Man has been created in God’s image is to look at Man’s makeup itself. God is a trinity. So is Man, albeit in a slightly different sense. God is a singular essence, or being, expressed and existing in 3 Persons: Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Man is a singular, composite essence, or being, made up of three parts: body, soul & spirit. But Man has often failed to put this in proper perspective. It has been said, “a man must stand on his feet”. This can also be taken to refer to the hierarchical structure inherent in and proper to Man. The spirit — which is in truth the man himself; his being, his essence, his individuality, the principle of life that defines him — should be pictured on top. The soul — a word often equated and interchanged with the word “spirit” as just defined but that by itself properly refers to the “mind”; the will, intellect and emotions — should be second in command, and the body — that supreme instrument of pleasure and sensation; the means by which we experience and interact with the world around us — should be last.
This may be pictured better using an analogy. Picture a man riding a horse. Imagine further that they are not really a man atop a horse (separate from each other) but in truth a single creature (a new species, if you will). The man in this scenario represents the spirit, the one in control and giving the orders. The bridle in his hand attached to the bit in the horse’s mouth is the soul, giving the man (spirit) the means with which to interact with and direct the horse (body) which, though in its own right is quite powerful and incredible, can cause damage both to itself and the rider (and everything else, besides) if not directed or controlled. Unfortunately, after a few thousand years, Man has lost the concept of standing on his feet and now “walks” around on his head (upside down) or on his belly (otherwise jumbled).
“Walking” upside down has become the norm for Man. Over the years he has steadily and progressively decided to let go of the reins, allowing the horse to run wild at full gallop, holding him hostage and reducing him to a state of merely hanging on for dear life — and in most cases forgetting he even has the power to bring the horse back under control. He has become a slave to his passions, to his body. Similarly, Man has failed to make effective use of his will, intellect & emotions. Women in particular, the female of the species, have generally become infamous for “thinking with their hearts” and not rationally with their brains under certain circumstances. They are more often than not led by their emotions and this affects how they are perceived generally — even if there are some who are not so much led about by their emotions. And men, the male of the species, have on the contrary generally tended to disconnect themselves from “petty feelings”, becoming students of “logic”. But this is paradoxical. By unreservedly booting out emotions and clinging solely to logic they do the most illogical thing imaginable. They abort a fraction of their humanity, thus robbing themselves of the possibility of ever becoming a real man by often denying the fact that emotions can contribute positively in any way to their thought processes or overall development. Emotions, those men think, are either intrinsically feminine or else a sign of weakness. A severe sign.
But then why would God have given them to men, or Man in general?
Everything I have been given can be used for my benefit. This is true especially of those things endemic to my humanity. My spirit is my core, my existence and my most direct link to God. My body is my means of experiencing the existence I’ve been blessed with. My soul in its fullness (will, intellect and emotions) is the means by which I make sense of my existence and the experiences it yields. Thus, I embrace my humanity and all it has to offer while I reside on this side of eternity. In particular, I refuse to run from my mental properties (for “mind” is the same as “soul”) simply because by them I interpret reality.
Can we not see how dangerous this is if not done properly or totally abandoned? Interpretation makes all the difference!
So I will explore my thoughts honestly within these pages. I will admit firstly that I feel, then what I feel, then why I feel. I believe this will help me (i) to understand myself better, (ii) to evaluate what type of person I am via my thoughts, (iii) decide what I do and do not like about my way of seeing things and (iv) to change accordingly. To become complete I must embrace all I have and am and use it for my advancement.