Thursday, April 22, 2010

Does God Prefer Paternalism Or Self-Reliance?

I shall preface this by supposing a paternalistic and socialistic society of God's would not seem oppressive or evil because it would be the choice (perhaps this "choice" could only ever be conceived through God's use of force and manipulation?) of every member to partake in “spreading wealth and resources evenly”.

In any case, I want to digress into a discussion concerning believers in God and their thoughts on how society should view paternalism and self-reliance from a purportedly “Godly” perspective.

First off, is it not painfully obvious that any view of this dichotomy is completely arbitrary? Some will espouse a God that inspires complete self-reliance whereas others will espouse a God that inspires complete paternalism. But of course far more will espouse a God that is some combination of the two. The overly confident will arrogantly assume God desires whatever combination of self-reliance and paternalism they deem ideal.

But I don't think “God”, whatever one sees as God, can be placed in one of these groups (or even in a combination of them) because they are merely interpreted by the limited perspective inherent in an individual. But God's perspective can not be individual. God's perspective must be collective. And I think God's interpretation of these ideals is that they are both good and bad, both true and false simultaneously. Neither is ideal in itself nor is any combination thereof because we humans are forever engrossed in a collective struggle, especially of ideals.

Ultimately, I believe God's view on this (again, whatever God might mean to you) is for humanity to be One such that it is the desire and choice of all humanity to share wealth and resources freely. In this sense, it is socialism through desire and choice not through force and manipulation. I am NOT by any means claiming this is what we should strive for, or am I?

In any case, this is my view as to how God sees it. Whether most, including myself, are willing to deliberately embrace a socialistic society seems very far-fetched. Is this perchance what makes it ideal? Perhaps this is why most envision heaven as a place beyond here?* For they very much wish to experience a totally socialistic society, perhaps unconsciously, but have it not in them to embrace this because it would entail redistributing their (my) coveted wealth and status.

I think Jesus advocated a socialistic society predicated on choice, not through government force or manipulation nor guilt for that matter. However, it seems governments must ultimately force or manipulate. Otherwise nobody wants to pay for and/or support necessities outside their interest(s). Everybody wants to party but nobody wants to clean up! In any case, Jesus talks about giving out of the heart, not doing so out of a sense of duty or obligation. Giving out of a sense of duty or obligation will likely lead to resentment, bitterness, guilt and perhaps above all feelings of self-righteous entitlement. This seems to be our Achilles' Heel if you happen to be one that envisions a world such as this. On the other hand, if you are one who sees the current world as ideal, maybe it is not an Achilles' Heel at all. Maybe it is exactly as it should be!

Many (especially the religious among us masquerading under the auspices of "working for God") will correctly but naively claim this type of society would undermine incentive and motivation to put forth maximum effort or any at all. The problem with this is that it implies they are motivated only for the sake of reward and compensation. But then what becomes of their claimed or at least IMPLIED pretext of "working for God"?

Furthermore, if everybody imagines a “heavenly” realm where we are all of us perfectly happy and harmonious, might this be a place where we are all equally endowed with resources yet feel not the least bit cheated because we are so happy and fulfilled being ourselves and hence doing that which we love? In this way, wealth would be of little importance. I am not by any means claiming this to be my reality nor am I necessarily suggesting society should follow this model. I am simply pointing out that peoples' conception(s) of what heaven is or should be, literally or figuratively, seems to mimic this. Which suggests people want this type of society. The question is, why must we wait?

Presumably because many (including moi) can not bear the thought of parting ways with our hard-earned wealth and status. This is why many leave it to God in the "Great Beyond" to change their attitude. As in, “God, I can not embrace a socialistic attitude here. It would require me to share everything I own with all others, many of which I do not care for in the least. I would like You to change my attitude when I get to heaven so I can willingly embrace sharing with all Your miscreants.” Of course most ideas of heaven are devoid of materiality rendering the idea of sharing irrelevant anyway! Such is the absurdity inherent in these kinds of ideas when scrutinized even in the least.

*Please see further corollary to heaven in the following blog posts:
A Heavenly Realm
A New Take On Heaven
The Collective Struggle Of Existence

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