The human being is the highest and the most developed of creatures on the surface of the earth. With positive power, effort, and will the human being can grow in all its various dimensions. But if a person concentrates all his energy and effort on the pursuit of base goals and devotes all his power to such matters, how can he realise his true human potential?
The selection of improper goals and their pursuit gradually depletes one's stores of energy, not leaving any sufficient power for the heavenward journey. In that case, the soul begins to stall and incline towards degeneration. Gradually its faculties of consciousness and awareness reach such a low point that it resists any obstacle in the way of its worthless goals and insists on pursuing its self-destructive course.
The developed self which has attained to a degree of humanity possess a characteristic freedom. One who possesses true freedom neither debases himself nor tarnishes his human dignity. He feels life to possess higher goals which are more worthy of being realised than anything else. Desires cannot dominate such a person's will and drive him in any direction they want. Rather, he is in control of his desires and, at the same time, his vital and vivid capacities correctly fulfil their original duties in all the spheres of life.
The worthy human being has a pure soul, a great will, and a sublime goal. The position and station of every individual should be assessed by this criterion: the greater his will, the higher would be the degree of his human personality.
Imam 'Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, may peace be upon him, said:
A person's worth is proportional to his determination. 19
The proper thing for someone who has discovered his human dignity is to keep himself at bay from life's abasements and contaminations. 20
19. Al-Amidi, Ghurar al-hikam, p. 536.
20. Ibid., p. 860.
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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