Attention! I’ve had an epiphany! This epiphany of mine doesn’t cover the whole universe nor have I discovered where the God particle is hiding. It does cover the purpose of life on earth but possibly not everyone’s life and possibly only my own life. I had begun to wonder if I was ever going to figure out what I was doing here.

I have come to realize that many, if not most, human activities have to do with people willfully or unconsciously polarizing themselves so that no reasonable dialog can take place and they can then justifiably choose up sides to fight. It’s the easiest thing to do. What’s the hardest thing? It could be to achieve balance, which would lead to harmony, which would make life on earth just hunky-dory. If only.

Sometimes men are blue, and sometimes women are orange, but there are more definite differences, not shown. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Polarity exists as a fact of nature, best epitomized by the differences between male and female, physical differences (viva la différence), emotional differences (damn la différence), cognitive differences (la différence est la différence). We find polarity everywhere, in liberal/conservative, in up/down, hot/cold, north/south … you get the idea.

Since polarity seems to be built in to the whole earthly experience we might as well accept it but rather than continuing to fight we could focus on the only polarity that matters: the difference between self and community. This is the essence of my epiphany.

The self is me, myself, and I, and the community is everybody else. The individual self is vastly outnumbered and consequently deserves a considerable degree of attention. The community is composed of all of us, every individual, and it is needing of a considerable degree of attention, too. If you want to be part of this parade, it’s necessary to accept the sanctity of both individual and community.

Representatives of the community: Here a blue man and an orange woman hang out with a couple of their friends of indeterminate sexuality. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

We make a sorry mistake when we expect authority, church or state or Mom or TV commercials, to provide us with the compass to guide our lives. Our job, our ultimate purpose on this planet, is to create a balance between attention paid to the needs of the self and attention paid to the needs of the community. Creating such a balance will lead to harmony, which is what we all seek and which so far has eluded us because we’re too focused on other polarities.

We as individuals must accept responsibility for ourselves and accept responsibility for the community, and we must accept responsibility for deciding how to proportion our actions between the two. This model will be enough to keep all of us productively busy for the rest of our lives.

How do we know where to direct our actions at any given moment? We use our intuition, our feelings, to sense what needs to be done right now to maintain balance. If we’ve been devoting efforts to, say, making a playground for the kids (i.e. community), and we begin to feel uneasy about not having bathed for two days, then we have received a signal that we have to pay some attention to personal hygiene (i.e. self). In this instance we may receive a supporting signal from our armpits to our nostrils as well.

This is not an easy path I’m suggesting here, but I believe it compromises a reasonable model for a universal life’s purpose. It might be a lot easier to do this than to continue with the fighting.