I'm not sure which quality of the human mind and hence human behavior is more awesome—our acts of stupidity, self-destruction, irrationality or the examples of human creativity, brilliance, compassions and self-transcendence.
I'm actually quite serious about this issue. We all seem to recognize when we make poor choices, sabotage ourselves and our causes. We clearly recognize this when nations, groups and other people seem to exhibit irrational stupidity, wanton destruction and unexplainable brutality. We often beat ourselves up–acknowledge our own mistakes and question how we could have been so delusional, wrong or just plain stupid.
We are quite 'hard' on ourselves and others. Yet we are often more than justified in our criticisms of ourselves and the human race. We are capable of such indefensible stupidity, brutality and self-destructive thinking and behavior that it is easy to forget that human beings are quite amazing and awesome as well.
Try, sometime, to read and comprehend a technical journal in any field in which you are unfamiliar.
It's amazing how much difficulty we have. Just try to wrap your mind around some concept in science, technology or philosophy for the first time. Attempt to create something new and sublimely beautiful in any of the arts.
And let's not forget the many acts of courage and compassion that we exhibit when we come to the aid of our fellow beings.
At tunes we need to step back and contemplate the awesome nature of the human mind.
Why are we humans even capable of such 'mind-boggling' achievements ? If the forces of evolution require that we be just slightly more 'fit' than our competitors—why have we evolved to the point that we need to contemplate the nature of the universe or our own minds ? Was the ability to create operas, sonatas, great sculptures all that inevitable ? Did we need to be capable of quantum physics, relativity theory, exploring quantities of time and space or multiple dimensions in order to survive ? And why did we need the ability to contemplate our own existence, explore nature of a soul, of God ?
I know it is much easier to ask such questions than attempt to offer answers. But I also know that we tend to see and address the failings of human thought and deed much more easily than our achievements. Perhaps this is the way it should be. Our mistakes are powerful reminders of how much suffering we can and do inflict on each other and on ourselves, how much further we need to go in the process of perfecting ourselves.
But let's not forget how great we are and can be. We have placed ourselves above other living creatures on this planet and just below the angels. Perhaps we should acknowledge this more than we do. We all innately and inherently know when our achievements raise us to a higher level. In these moments we should acknowledge that we are manifesting that spark of Divinity which reflects our true nature.
Perhaps we would do better if we felt better about who we are. In terms of individual behavior, positive reinforcement is often more effective than negative in motivating personal evolution. Free will allows us to create a future which manifests light rather than darkness. Why not see ourselves in the same light ?
The way we see reality can become that reality. Our consciousness is inherently creative. Our thoughts about our lives can assist in the manifesting of that life.
The human mind is an awesome, paradoxical mystery. Let us contemplate what this tells us about our potential as evolving beings. Let us focus on what we can be and strive to follow the path that unfolds before us with a confidence that by doing so we can manifest our higher selves.