30 march 2024

The path of human development

The main goal for a person should be to resemble the Creator, unite with Him, and strive towards Him.
The path of human development

Gradually, I have formed a general understanding of the path of human development. The transformation from animal to human occurs when a person develops an awareness of higher powers, higher purposes, and the necessity to change their behavior and character accordingly.

The initial forms of religion emerge precisely when a person realizes that there are invisible forces more powerful than all that is visible, that they depend on these forces, and that they need to align their life and behavior with the desires of these higher powers. Sacrifices need to be made, instincts need to be restrained in order to survive and prosper. Every nation must have a concept of perceiving the surrounding world – typically, this concept is religious.

This concept should include fundamental notions: who God is and who man is; how the surrounding world is arranged and how to relate to it; what is «good» and what is «bad»; what virtue is and what sin is. Without these primary concepts, society would remain at a primitive level of development, so their significance cannot be overstated.

It is crucial to have guiding principles toward which a person strives, goals that they set for themselves. If the goal remains the satisfaction of their animal instincts, then the person only thinks about food, sex, shelter, and protection. And inevitably, they begin to revert to an animal state. When there is faith and a striving for something higher, the goal system is structured differently. A person begins to serve not their instincts, but rather, the instincts start serving higher purposes.

When a person comes to the understanding of monotheism, it signifies the beginning of a much higher stage of their development. The person not only understands that there are higher powers and tries to use them for their own prosperity, but also realizes that everything is one, that there is a single source of everything. And one must serve Him, strive towards Him, and transform their «self», their character, and their life according to the desires and commandments of the One who created everything.

Initially, spiritual values seem higher to a person than anything material. Then comes the next stage of development – when a person realizes that the soul is even more significant than the spirit. And ultimately, a moral person will always triumph over an intelligent, strong-willed, but immoral person.

This is mentioned in the Bible: «for the evildoer has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out» (Proverbs 24:20).

And then there must be a breakthrough, a transformation, an ascent to a new level. A person must realize that the soul consists, as it were, of two halves: one turned towards the human, and the other turned towards God and is essentially eternal. The main goal for a person becomes to resemble the Creator, unite with Him, and strive towards Him. Understanding comes that material, spiritual, and soulful values are merely means to achieve this goal.

Now, analyzing my research and the texts of sacred scriptures, I understand that the correct worldview is built in this way. But there is also a downward path. If a person does not strive towards God, then the main goal for them becomes the values of the part of the soul that is turned towards this world, the values of our higher senses.

When a person forgets about their love for God, then human love comes to the forefront – the enjoyment of the higher levels of the soul. This is what is called lust.

A part cannot live without the whole, and when we forget that there must be constant striving towards the whole, unity with it, that it is the key to our survival, we begin to worship the part. We worship others or ourselves, and then lust becomes insurmountable. The meaning of life becomes a loved one, and the feeling of love for them becomes an absolute value. And then, if a loved one hurts us, betrays us, or dies – we cannot bear it. Since soulful pain is unbearable, a person retreats to a less painful level – the level of consciousness and ideals.

The worship of the spirit begins when a person cannot contain their attachment to the values of the soul.

But the thing is, concentration on consciousness, logic, intellect cannot be long-lasting, because if the soul is not working, then consciousness also begins to degrade little by little. And then a person begins to worship the body, their desires. They forget about ideals, they rejoice, they live merrily, but not for long. And not only they, but also their descendants, and the people who adhere to such a worldview. This is a scheme of gradual degradation, degeneration to the level of Sodom and Gomorrah.

A person who moves away from God has two paths: a difficult one – to return back, because it is equivalent to ascending upward, and an easy one – to slide downward, moving away from the level on which it is already difficult to stay.

S.N. Lazarev, «Blessed are the Poor in Spirit»

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