Man Moves toward Perfection
Every human being that is born in this world, regardless of its individual or social circumstances, aspires to its own perfection in accordance with its innate nature and its inborn intellect. It puts up with all kinds of sufferings and hardships for its hope of a brighter future. Its starting point is deficiency and its movement is directed towards perfection. It grows and develops with every step forward on the path of perfection. Man's intellect and spirit give such a profundity, power and speed to his movement towards perfection that there is no time limit to it except eternity itself.
This innate love for perfection is strong in the human being, but it is also present in the animals. They overcome every hindrance that they encounter in its way, avoid every thing that they consider as harmful, and advance towards their instinctive goals. It may be said that all the phenomena that exist in nature, from infinitesimal atomic particles to the magnificent world of the galaxies, all are part of this caravan. A scholar writes:
The wheat plant has been given a movement that enables it to give a greater yield and the red rose a motion that gives it beauty and aroma. Man, too, has a motion by mean of which he advances on the path of wisdom and love. So if we observe certain ills that affect the growth of the wheat or the beauty or aroma of the rose or the purity of the human soul, we must not ascribe them to the motion itself but rather to a contrary cause that emerged in the course of motion.
Now we can understand to what extent the word 'purpose' assists us in thinking properly. It makes us understand that the universe, of which we find ourselves to be a small member, is moral and conscious, that we do not live in a dark and disorderly cosmos, that there is certainly a mover behind all this motion and that there exists a great consciousness and intellect behind all things. That is sufficient to convince us that life is something great and glorious, and it is here that we can at least prepare ourselves to co-operate and go along with the world's conscious spirit, knowing that opposing it is harmful for our life. 2
Man's physical development lies beyond his will, whereas his spiritual development is voluntary. Hence it is not worthy of him that man should deviate from the general evolutionary trend of the universe and remain deficient in the cosmic system of progression. It is evident that inner development and perfection is something immaterial. Physical experiment and study lead him to make discoveries of a material nature, but he can never place himself on the highway of perfection and attain to the peaks of spiritual ascension with the means of physical methods.
In order that a tree may realise the full potential of its growth it must be freed of such hindrances to its growth as weeds and rocks and be provided the benefit of such agents as water, sun and air, which are essential for its growth. Man, too, in the process of developing the different dimensions of his being (body, spirit, and mind) must equip himself with the potent factors that contribute to his ascent towards eternity and infinitude. That is, he must employ them as the means that help him to achieve his ends and combat such factors that hinder his movement towards that goal.
Man must regulate the dimensions of his being in different directions in such a manner that would enable him to meet all his material and spiritual demands and needs and live worthily by basing his life on a precise and accurately worked-out plan. He must build an orderly society free from conflict, injustice, aggression, ignorance and sin, in which human beings can attain purity, light and intellectual sublimity and reach the high peaks of humanity.
Man's being is a turbulent aggregate of various urges. These urges in their natural and balanced state are not only not useless or harmful, rather each of them plays a vital role in man's spiritual makeup. However, an uncontrolled and unrestrained satisfaction of these urges is contrary to development. Should these urges be left free and uncontrolled in a person, he will become a slave of his savage and primordial urges and desires. Falling down from the high peaks of humanity, excellence and freedom he will sink into the mire of decadence and destruction. An animal is compliant and submissive to its urges, but a human being is loyal to his interests and obedient to his reason. He has the power to oppose his injurious tendencies and to affirm his beneficial and advantageous inclinations. For in the same way as physical instincts spring from man's nature, so do his positive, benign and truth-seeking impulses originate in his being, giving rise to his titanic, effulgent spiritual powers that can give birth to purity, dignity, power and righteousness.
1. Persian daily Ittila'at, no. 14812, 26 Shahrivar, 1354 H. Sh. (1975).
2. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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