Human beings want to be God.
There’s no simpler way to put it. Stick with me on this one folks, I know I’m going to get some opposition here and plenty of valid counterpoints, but hear me out, follow my logic, and hey, let me know what thoughts (if any) this passage inspires.
God is perceived radically differently by individuals of different cultures, religions, backgrounds, and philosophies. In general, the idea of “God” for this article will be omniscient, omnipotent being, capable of complete self determination, definition, and transposition of will upon existence.
Many believe God to be the “ideal” and by this I mean, perfection. God is complete. God needs nothing. God is what God is with no caveats, conditions, or fine print.
Humanity looks up to this ideal because humanity desperately wishes to achieve it. By our very nature humans are incomplete. We are never simply a single, cohesive thing, rather we are in a perpetual state of flux, changing physically, mentally, and emotionally while requiring various forms of sustenance to continue existing. On the most basic level we are incomplete, because we need nourishment. We are dependent on other facets of existence for our continued living, and if our needs (food, water, sleep, shelter, love) are not met, we are faced with the reality of our existence via suffering.
This suffering, in many ways, dictates how we look at the world and live our lives. From our first moments as newborns we express our rage over our condition. We are incomplete – we need sustenance. We cannot solve our woes or alleviate our pain instantly and thus we release our anguish emotionally. Children throwing fits very well encapsulates the original state of humanity – helpless to bring about what they immediately want, and incapable of dealing with the pain of it.
This constant suffering additionally shapes many of our behaviors. A desire to be loved – to be complete mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, often results in dysfunction, stress, and behaviors such as sexual addiction, infidelity, emotional insecurity, and emotional abuse. The desire to be complete, when not met properly, breeds corruption, desperate attempts to complete the self and end the constant suffering. This is not to say that love does this nor that love should be abandoned, but rather that these situations RESULT from the condition that human beings desire love. As Augustine said, sin is simply the perversion of good. The man who isn’t complete emotionally is the man who abuses his spouse. He is the man who wants the control. He wants to dictate the life of another to fulfill his own needs, and all not in line with his plan is wrong. These emotional dysfunctions are a direct result from the anguish and insecurity that comes with being emotionally incomplete.
We consistently seek to become. That is we have issues with our identities our entire lives. This exemplifies our incompleteness. We can be friends, lovers, doctors, lawyers, custodians, cashiers, fathers, mothers, and so on and so on, but we are never wholly any of those things. Rather we play those roles, fulfill them to the best of our abilities, while not having those roles fully quantify who we are. We do not act simply as one thing, and do our best to diversify our social roles to feel a sense of completion, but we are still dependent on these roles, and others reactions to us, in order for us to feel stable. The question “who am I?” and “what am I doing with my life?” exist because human beings want to self actualize; we want to be and to be fulfilled, yet no matter what we do a small sense of emptiness remains.
We seek to be God. We want to be whole. We want to know. We want the world to be what we think it should.
Our inability to dictate the direction of our lives and the world is a constant stressor. Simple arguments are evidence of our innate desire to become God. We want others to adhere to our point of view. We want our judgments and opinions to be correct. We want others to agree and change their ways. We want the things we view as ills to disappear. We believe that we, as individuals, have the right to make these judgments and overarching determinations. When others disagree or stand as examples to the contrary, we are hit with dismay, disappointment, or rage. These are the feelings behind political parties, belief systems, and religions. We want our point of view to be absolute. If this was not true, arguments would be pointless…or in the very least not nearly as common as a daily occurrence. Of course we grow, mature, develop, and hone these beliefs and feelings towards others, but at the very core there is a desire for the world and others to be as we see fit. Our political and religious views are the ones we have determined to be correct, and the world is a better, easier to understand place if others learn our ways. We would like to impose those on the world and experience stress when we realize this cannot be.
Wanting what we can never have is an interesting human trait. We conceptualize the world, the future, the meaning of events, and debate and question tirelessly. We try to put the world into a box and understand it – we try to know and quantify everything. We seem to realize the possibilities of knowledge while simultaneously becoming frustrated by the futility of our actions. By this I mean, for example, we can acknowledge that we will never be God while continuing to act as if this is still our goal.
Perhaps God, as portrayed by various religions, is truly the archetype. God, perhaps, is humanity at its apex. It is humanity without desire, without strife, without the need for completion. It is humanity that isn’t insecure or frightened by the unknown. It is humanity that actually knows what is right, wrong, moral and just. Perhaps the idea of God is the idea of perfection, and idea we can never really meet…
But if perfection doesn’t exist for us, well, that means you can become better every day, doesn’t it?
Thanks for reading. This was just some food for thought – a few random musings…I could go on for weeks about my real thoughts on this stuff, but I’m more interested in hearing yours.
Have a good one, kids.