Developing our latent capacities requires self-knowledge about our nature and purpose – both individually and collectively. Knowledge of self and of civilization cannot be separated, as each individual exits in a social context and influences their environment, while it is within society’s conventions and codes that an individual develops. Thus, human beings have a socially-embedded nature and a two-fold purpose – personal development and contribution to civilization’s advance.
Our nature and purpose are shaped by many forces. There are two forces in particular that strengthen and direct consciousness so as to prevent it from succumbing to society’s negative forces. The first is attraction to beauty. This is an innate spiritual perception that allows us to see the interconnectedness of a multifaceted reality and search with an eye of oneness. This attraction can manifest in myriad ways – love for the majesty and diversity of nature; the impulse to create arts, music, crafts; the response to the elegance of a theory or idea; beholding the development of capacities in fellow human beings. It underlies an individual’s search for order in reality – physical, social, and spiritual. It acts as a standard for human behavior and language, and social practices and patterns.
What do you find beautiful in the world? How does it direct you?
Investigation of truth is another innate quality of the soul that is a force impelling human purpose. It motivates human beings to acquire understandings about reality and self, to weigh the opinions of others against one’s own investigation, and thus, to express justice. If reality is viewed with a spiritual perspective, three truths reveal themselves, on which all other investigation is based. 1) Human beings are created noble, with inherent capacities. What leads a human being to loftiness or to lowliness? Through what means can these latent capacities be manifest? 2) Humanity is one. What human capacities are brought out with an understanding of the oneness of humanity? 3) Human existence extends beyond daily life. What types of goals are set, and what type of vision is adopted, with this understanding?