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A New Reality

Picture of Paul Tillich
(Picture of Paul Tillich)

“How can we be whole if the culture is split within itself, if every value is denied by another one, if every truth is questioned, if every decision is good and bad at the same time? How can we be whole if the institutions in which we live create temptations, conflicts, catastrophes too heavy for each of us? How can we be whole if we are connected, often intimately connected with people who are in discord with themselves, in hostility against us, or if we have to live with people, individuals, groups, nations who are irreconciled and sick? This is the situation of all of us, and this situation reacts on our personal life, disrupts the concord we may have reached. The reconciliation in our souls and often even our bodies breaks down in the encounter with reality. Who heals reality? Who brings us a new reality? Who reconciles the conflicting forces of our whole existence? We look at those who are most responsible for our institutions, for our historical reality, the leaders, the statesmen, the wise administrators, the educated, the good people, the revolutionary masses. There are healing powers in all of them, otherwise there would be no history. They can maintain human life on earth, but can the make us whole, can they bring us salvation?

“They cannot because they themselves need wholeness and are longing for salvation. Who heals the healer? There is no answer to this in the old reality. Everybody and every institution are infected, the healer and the healed. Only a new reality can make us whole…”
--Paul Tillich

If that’s true, creating a new reality should be a top priority in everything we do.

The old reality, which is the way we interpret truth and shape our values now, doesn’t work and needs to be replaced. Trying to make it work rather than creating something new, while human evolution is struggling to free itself from past mistakes, is contrary to any path to genuine progress.

Some of us try to fix things that our present situation almost makes impossible. Others so fear the risks that accompany change that they desperately fight to keep things as they are. Both see themselves as right based on contrary views that only bring division. Neither see that their irreconcilability proves both of them wrong for the circumstances we are in. WE NEED SOMETHING NEW. A new start. A reliably new beginning that appeals not just to one side or the other, but to the conscience of us all. Only then can we unite as a people worthy of humanity’s potential—and thus bring humanity progress back on track.

What is that new reality?

It is not a physical, molecular transformation of the universe. It is, rather, a global transformation of the human perspective based on truth, reason and compassion, a recognition of our spiritual kinship with the universe of which we are part.

Jesus saw this as his Kingdom of Heaven, a state of being that is within us and coming at the same time. Buddha and Lao Tsu spoke about it from their cultural perspectives. WE see it too, now and then, when some profound inkling of Truth unexpectedly grabs and shakes us from our longstanding delusions and complacencies.

Simply put, in our heart of hearts… WE KNOW WHAT MUST BE DONE! Our moral instincts, which are part of who we are, constantly tell us—but we listen to louder voices that appeal to instincts more selfishly inclined instead.

The seeds for this new reality are planted inside us already—part of our DNA, which makes them instigators of our destiny. Because of them, WE KNOW that we should be honest, kind, generous, courageous, fair, intelligent and just, forgiving and of strong character. WE KNOW that democracy is not a system to exploit, as many of us try to do now. It is a system that assures human and civil rights and allows society to profit from the combined wisdom of us all. Weakening or misusing it is a crime.WE KNOW that the world’s environment needs to be protected from abuse, and we need to protect it now.

The new reality is nothing more than honoring what has always been best in human nature by living it in our daily lives. The old reality, the one we live in now, struggles to do that at times, but only while poisoning progress with less deserving aspects at the same time. That just doesn’t work. It can’t. It is a moral contradiction.

It’s time that each of us understand this and do our part in bringing the new reality to life. That is our path toward fulfillment.

 

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