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Chapter 29 - The desire to be separate is the source of destruction
In a world where mankind feels threatened by social upheavals, overpopulation, wars, terrifying violence and callousness, each human being is more than ever concerned with his own survival. Survival implies living sanely, happily, without great pressure or strain. Each one of us translates survival according to his own particular concept. The idealist projects a way of life that is not the actual; the theoreticians, whether Marxist, religious, or of any other particular persuasion, have laid down patterns for survival; the nationalists consider survival possible only in a particular group or community. These ideological differences, ideals and faiths are the roots of a division that is preventing human survival.
Human beings want to survive in particular ways, according to their narrow responses, according to their immediate pleasures, according to some faith, according to some religious saviour, prophet or saint. All these cannot bring security; in themselves they are divisive, exclusive, limited. To live in the hope of survival according to a tradition, however ancient or modern, has no meaning. Partial solutions of any kind, whether they are scientific, religious, political, or economic, can no longer assure mankind's survival. Man has been concerned with his own individual survival, with his family, with his group, his tribal nation; and because all this is divisive it threatens his actual survival.
The modern divisions of nationalities, of colour, of culture, of religion are the causes of man's uncertainty about survival. In the turmoil of today's world, uncertainty has made man turn to authorities, to the political, religious or economic experts. The specialist is inevitably a danger because his response must always be partial, limited. Man is no longer individual, separate. What affects the few affects all mankind. There is no escape or avoidance of the problem; you can no longer withdraw from the totality of the human predicament.
We have stated the problem, the cause, and now we must find the solution. This solution must not depend on any kind of pressure-sociological, religious, economic, political, or from any organization. We cannot possibly survive if we are concerned only with our own survival. All human beings the world over are interrelated today. What happens in one country affects the others. Man has considered himself an individual separate from others, but psychologically a human being is inseparable from the whole of mankind.
There is no such thing as psychological survival. When there is the desire to survive or to fulfil, you are psychologically creating a situation which not only separates, but which is totally unreal. Psychologically, you cannot be separate from another. The desire to be separate psychologically is the very source of danger and destruction. Each person by asserting himself threatens his own existence. When the truth of this is seen and understood, man's responsibility undergoes a radical change, not only towards his immediate environment, but towards all living things. This total responsibility is compassion. This compassion acts through intelligence. This intelligence is not partial, individual, separate. Compassion is never partial. Compassion is for the sacredness of all living things.