Info

[3] If we have a love for power that comes from loving ourselves, we also have evils that accompany that love. They are generally the following: despising others, jealousy, viewing people as our enemies if they do not show us special favor, hostility, hatred, vengefulness, mercilessness, savagery, and cruelty. Despising God is another such evil, as is despising the divine things that are the true insights and good actions taught by the church. If we give these things any honor, we only pay them lip service to prevent the church hierarchy from attacking our reputation and to stave off verbal abuse from everyone else.

[4] Love for power is different for the clergy than it is for the laity. In the clergy this love surges upward, as long as it is given the reins, until they want to be gods. Lay people, on the other hand, want to be mon-archs. That is how far the imagination of that love takes their minds.

[5] In spiritually well-developed people, love for heaven occupies the highest place and constitutes the head of what follows it; love for the world is beneath it and is like the torso below the head; love for themselves is below this love in the role of the lower legs. It follows then that if love for ourselves constitutes the head, we are completely upside-down. In that case we look to the angels like people sleeping with their heads on the ground and their rear ends up in the air. When people like this are worshiping, they look as if they are frolicking on all fours like panther cubs. Furthermore, they look like various kinds of two-headed creatures—the head on top has the face of a wild animal, while the other below it has a human face that is continually pushed down from above and forced to kiss the ground.

All people of this type are sense-oriented. They are like the people described above in §402.

We are not born for our own sake; we are born for the sake of others. That is, we are not born to live for ourselves alone; we are born to live for others. Otherwise society would not be cohesive and there would be no good in it.

All Individual Members of Humankind Are the Neighbor We Are to Love, but [in Different Ways] Depending on the Type of Goodness They Have

There is a common saying that we are all neighbor to ourselves.629 The body of teaching on goodwill, however, shows how we should understand this. We are all supposed to provide ourselves with the necessities of life, such as food, clothing, a place to live, and many other things that are required by the civic life in which we participate. And we provide these things not only for ourselves but also for our loved ones, not only for the present but also for the future. If we do not provide ourselves with the necessities of life, we are in no state to practice goodwill, because we lack everything.

How we are to be neighbors to ourselves, however, can be shown through the following analogy: We should all provide our bodies with food. This has to come first, but the goal is to have a sound mind in a sound body. We also ought to provide our mind with its food, that is, things that build intelligence and judgment; but the goal is to be in a state in which we can serve our fellow citizens, our community, our country, the church, and therefore the Lord. People who pursue this goal are providing well for themselves to eternity.

These points make clear what is primary from the standpoint of time and what is primary from the standpoint of purpose. What is primary from the standpoint of purpose is the true overall goal.

This situation is like people building a house. They have to lay the foundation first, but the foundation is for the house, and the house is for living in. People who hold being neighbors to themselves as their first and foremost objective are like people whose main purpose is building the foundation rather than living in the house. Yet living in the house is the primary and ultimate purpose overall; the house and its foundation are only a means to an end.

Now I need to say what it is to love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor is intending and doing good not only to neighbors, friends, and good people but also to strangers, enemies, and evil people. But we exercise goodwill in our dealings with the latter in different ways than we do in our dealings with the former. We exercise goodwill in our dealings with our neighbors and friends by benefiting them directly. We exercise goodwill in our dealings with our enemies and evil people by benefiting them indirectly through our warnings, corrective action, punishments, and therefore efforts to improve them.

This could be illustrated as follows. Judges who punish wrongdoers because it is the just and legal thing to do have love for their neighbor. By

0 0

Post a comment