How You Can Stop War, Racism and Selfishness
Humans have a unique virtue, the ability to discern the difference between good and evil.
The greatest proponent of establishing peace and harmony in the last century was Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. A victim of racism and hatred, Dr. King recognized that more hatred, racism and violence would not change the destiny of humanity. While he drew upon his savior Christ Jesus for guidance and the contemporary example of the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, the principle he extolled can be practiced by anyone.
“There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Every human has a conscience. The inner voice that may guide one to the right action in all situations may be cultivated. It is only when individuals begin to follow their own conscience that this world can be permanently improved.
There are several ways to develop your conscience. Three simple suggestions follow:
First, follow your conscience when you recognize that it is asserting itself. As war threatens the stability of the world, again, leaders and common individuals lament the futility of battles and conquering ideologies. These people are liars. Unless they have learned to follow their conscience in the little activities of daily living, they are contributing to the violence that amasses into wars.
Consider an obvious example, weapons of mass destruction require dozens if not hundreds of people to fund, develop, manufacture, sell, distribute, and use. Anyone with an awakened conscience would not participate in any aspect of creating or deploying devastating weapons. Weapons of mass destruction are not a reasonable tool for defense of self, family, community or nation.
A human with an awakened conscience realizes that if the only choice is between self-sacrifice or killing hundreds and thousands of others, self-sacrifice alone will produce lasting peace and create a worldly environment in which humans can cultivate love.
The root of the desire that justifies destructive weapons begins with how one handles personal confrontations. A suppressed conscience leads one to over-react when feeling threatened or wronged. Vindictive personal behaviors contribute to wars between nations as much as building weapons. It is possible to stop wars by refusing to cooperate with violence in our personal lives as well as refusing to aid those leaders who want to consolidate power at the expense of the deaths of men, women and children and the destruction of communities.
The second method to strengthen the conscience is to practice contemplation daily. Contemplation is a powerful tool that is underutilized by those with altruistic intentions as well as by those who are selfish. Near the end of each day, one should set aside at least twenty minutes to ask, “How did I do today?”
Someone motivated by selfishness will uncover where they made mistakes in their pursuit of material goals and devise ways to avoid similar future mistakes. For one who wants to manifest a better world, to bring heaven on earth, contemplation is essential. By measuring hopes and goals against the actions of the day, self-awareness increases. Developing the practice of an honest daily assessment of personal behaviors opens a door for the conscience to speak into each moment.
The evidence of this improvement in conscience comes from the practice of contemplation. Initially, when confronted with an experience similar to one from the past, contemplation can inform educated decision making. For example, one might note that fighting with the barista at the coffee shop resulted in mistakes in the order. By not confronting the server, there’s a greater chance one’s order will be fulfilled correctly. Even greater is setting aside one’s selfishness in this transaction to show appreciation and empathy for the people who provide service. Contemplation informs and gives the data necessary to improve behaviors for success. Whatever that success looks like to you. Increased empathy for others will also decrease various forms of discrimination and racism.
The third method is to study and apply scripture in one’s life. Actually, any text that advocates for moral and empathetic behaviors can be used to foster a strong conscience. However, the quality of the Bible as a scripture has been proven by it’s usefulness for helping to awaken conscience within humans for more than two millennia.
A scripture can be used as a moral yardstick to measure behaviors and may provide objective insights to tame harmful desires. One significant moral issue confronting Western society is promiscuity. The number of intimate sexual partners that one has throughout a lifetime continues to increase. Yet, the man of an awakened conscience knows that this is personally harmful as well as destructive to community peace. There is an increase in the incidence and strength of sexually transmitted diseases. Beyond the physical exposure, a psychological degradation happens to the promiscuous person. Confusion is caused by mixing bodies and thoughts for physical gratification alone. The impact is usually subtle and takes place over time, however, occasionally one may go “crazy” after just a few promiscuous encounters. Another negative outcome is that by reducing humans to body parts designed for pleasure empathy for others decreases.
Without a holistic view of others in our communities, it’s nearly impossible to appreciate the contributions that another can make to the overall welfare of society. The addiction of promiscuity produces ignorance of the greater needs of self and others, such as affirmation of non-physical qualities like intelligence and creative talents. Promiscuity is an addiction to sex which reduces one’s ability to understand deeper issues related to meaningful relationships.
“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Decreasing racism, reducing selfishness, and even the eventual end of wars begins with the individual conscience. There are additional ways to increase the power of one’s conscience. These include: thrice daily prayer that not only appeals to the source of wisdom for guidance but also acknowledges the personal failures of the day; engaging in conversations with those who appear to be happy and asking them how they have achieved that status; and decreasing materialistic goals, especially selfish desires.
Three top methods to develop the conscience which were discussed in this article are
daily contemplation on one’s personal behaviors and their results,
measuring one’s behaviors against a proven moral text such as the Bible.
Those who don’t follow their conscience but proclaim they want a peaceful and loving world are liars. Stop lying by learning to follow the good choices suggested by the internal guide to good and evil.