Source of Human Rights
With the understanding that justice requires the spiritual dimensions of human existence to be taken into account in discourse in order to stay relevant to humanity’s real needs, let us turn to the issue of human rights.
What are the reasons for human rights and justice? Why do human beings deserve protection?
Human rights are founded upon the spiritual nature of a human being – that an individual is a spiritual being with the latent capacity to reflect spiritual attributes. One of the purposes of life is to manifest these capacities; and thus, human beings must be free and protected to spiritually develop, to gain knowledge of self, to investigate reality, and to contribute to the advancement of civilization.
Beyond the purpose of an individual’s existence, human rights, on a collective level, are derived from an understanding of the oneness of humankind – that the body of humanity is one. Just as every cell is under the care of the entire organism, each human being is born as a trust of the whole. This oneness intrinsically provides the foundational basis of all conceptions of justice, human rights, and freedom.
For instance, human rights include the imperative to preserve cultural diversity – at least those cultural expressions that are not contrary or harmful to others. This imperative is driven by peace and unity. If peaceful order is to emerge, then complex cultural interactions must flourish. And if unity – and not uniformity – is to characterize humanity’s condition, then diversity must be protected and fostered. Other examples include right of health care, employment, food, shelter, etc. Every individual has the right to live with a certain degree of well-being, both to protect their purpose of manifesting spiritual qualities and contributing to society, and because the well-being of one is the well-being of all. Thus, the operation of justice through societal institutions should ensure the prevention of extremes of wealth and poverty and the preservation of human honor through a dignified livelihood – this, without detracting from individual freedoms of private property and economic initiative.