Once Albert Einstein was asked, “What is the most important question facing humankind?” Einstein responded by asking another question: “Is the universe a friendly place?”
Hmm…, I think the answer to Einstein’s question is yes. Why? Well, if you think it isn’t, then where is the unfriendliness? Generally, the universe seems to be friendly in the sense that it provides a way for us to live our lives, to be comforted, and is not antagonistic. Of course, we humans need to act like it is friendly in order for us to come to that realization. The universe is a friendly place; humankind’s actions often makes the universe unfriendly.
Another important question I think we should consider is: “How can we eliminate evil?” Some say evil is the result of God giving us free will. Of course, the existence of God must be accepted before you can blame evil on God’s gift of free will. Maybe, evil is just part of our maturing process. How would we be able to develop virtues, if we didn’t have evil? For example, the virtue of courage would be difficult to develop if we never had to face evil. But, no matter how we establish what evil is, how do we eliminate it?
Though it’s not always the most important question, I often wonder what approach we should use to obtain what we need/want in life? Do you think we should have to struggle for what we get? Are our lives, primarily, a never-ending struggle? I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel a sense of struggle on a somewhat regular basis. You see, I feel pressure to overcome life’s daily challenges by solving the problems associated with them. For example, if I wake-up and notice a toilet is constantly running, I immediately feel an anxious need to fix the toilet. This, then turns into a challenge that I need to overcome – how to stop the toilet from running before I have to run to the toilet. :-)
In the third paragraph, I posed the question: “How can we eliminate evil?” Most likely, we can’t, but then again, I can’t even explain what evil is. Perhaps, this is why Einstein, on another occasion, is quoted as saying, “The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil from the spirit of man.”
Really, all of these important questions seem to have a central theme – the struggle of humankind. Is life an unending struggle? Well, when I view life as such, I usually view my life through anxious or panic-stricken eyes. Of course, that doesn’t help with the struggle or my health. So what should I do? About all I can do is to change my point of view. What would I do if I was willing to let what I see as a struggle be easy? Well, in my case, when I purposefully look for easier ways to approach what I consider a struggle, a sense of inner-peace comes over me.
When I change my point of view and attain inner-peace, I’m usually able to turn any struggle into a “solved problem.” For example, recently I was faced with a major presentation that I thought required me to memorize a large amount of words. I struggled over this dilemma for days before I asked myself, “How could I do this differently?” After exploring possible answers to the question, I realized that I didn’t have to memorize all of the words and instead, I could use notes to help with the presentation. Immediately, there was a sense of peace that came over me and my anxiety left. As you can see, I adjusted (changed) my point of view, answered the question, and the struggle became a solved problem.
Again, what are the most important questions facing humankind? I’ve listed a few important ones, but ultimately, I think we will all have more personal questions that are more important to us than the ones facing humankind. Now, of course, these personal questions may be directly related to those facing all humans, but we will usually focus on them from a very personal point of view. When we consider our important questions, we should use them only for stimulating our thinking. We should not turn them into a struggle that results in causing us anxiety and panic.
I believe that life is here to be appreciated and enjoyed. If we are considering negativity, such as general unfriendliness, evil, or our latest struggle that’s causing us anxiety and panic, we are going to have a difficult time appreciating and enjoying life. It’s important to change from the negative frame of mind to the positive where we change our struggle (question) into an easier approach by changing our point of view.
What makes point of view such an important element of our thinking process? Point of view (mental perspective) gives us a frame of reference, or orientation, for our thinking. When we are seeking answers to questions, or solving problems, we are always doing so from a point of view. Without considering other points of view, we will remain fixed in our approach to solving a problem or answering a question. It is similar to negotiating by demanding there is only one way to accomplish a goal. We each think from a point of view and we are each capable of changing our point of view.
Have a question/problem? Your point of view will help you (with the answer/solution).
So what’s the most important (personal) question facing you? “What is my point of view?“ At least, that’s R2’s point of view. :-)
What’s your point of view?