Mark Watson on Spirituality and Responsibility

Our purpose in life is personal and spiritual development by learning to love and accept other people 

Why are we here? 

This is a crazy and complex world that we live in. Why are we here? Are we an accident of the physical laws of nature and a long shot in evolution? I don't think so.

We live in a world where people are inherently kind but almost every country on earth is run by selfish and  aggressive people who fight their way to the top. Our world has problems that as average people it may seem (incorrectly) that we have no control over.

We do however have control over one thing: our own actions and thoughts. I believe that our purpose in life is personal and spiritual development. We can have the joy and satisfaction of being responsible for own decisions and actions.

What are our responsibilities?

 Responsibility goes beyond our own actions however. We have an obligation to share our beliefs with others while respecting the opinions of others - even if we do not agree with them. Criticizing your government is not an unpatriotic act -anyone who tells you that it is is a liar, plain and simple.

If a good friend or family member acts in a self destructive or foolish way we have an obligation to be honest with them, to not be judgmental, but suggest other options. If our country is on the wrong path that we do not agree with, it is our responsibility to speak up. Any political leader who condemns honest dissent is wrong, and is abusing the public trust. Evil and corrupt people can not tolerate honest criticism and the free sharing of ideas. 

Why does the news media seem so one sided?

The distribution of news is a business. As recently as 20 years ago many individual companies owned news media assets. It is unfortunate, but this is no longer the case. Just a few international corporations control almost all of the news that common people see and hear. The same few international corporations who control all major political parties (through massive campaign contributions and "gifts") own the news distribution channels. Yes, the game is rigged.

As individuals, what can we do to help?

 There are two huge problems in the world that we can make a solid contribution towards solving: multinational corporate interests co opting our governments and starvation in the world. For those of us who still live in countries with elected governments (even if they are overwhelmed by corporate bribes and corruption), we can all help by constantly engaging our elected officials. Big business may want you to be apathetic but you can choose to not be so. Make a point of either calling or writing your elected officials on a regular basis: praise them when you agree with their actions and politely offer constructive criticism otherwise. Fighting starvation is also something that we can all help with. About 10,000 infants and children either starve to death or die from dehydration every day. There are decent "low overhead" charities that get up to 80% of your contributions to people who need help. Avoid the large charities that have huge marketing and administrative overhead. Contributing even a few percent of your income can save lives.

Just say no to war

Since the beginning of recorded history there has been one constant truth about war: war makes the wealthiest people even wealthier. War is almost always about money and power. Another constant, something that you can almost always depend on is that war starts when political leaders both dehumanize desired adversaries and spread fear in their own populations. To be sure, there are times when self defense is required, but those  times are rare. A good goal for a country is to have a strong, well educated, well trained, and well equipped military - but to seldom have to use it.

Accept other people's religions and spiritual beliefs

People who are truly spiritual or religious have little or no  trouble accepting other people's spiritual and religious beliefs. It is a sad reflection on our world that evil people so often wrap themselves in false religious zeal. Watch out for so-called religious leaders who lack the ability to tolerate other religions or, for example, can not understand something as simple as Christ's teaching "Thou shall not kill".

Think for yourself

Do not trust other people to do your thinking for you. Evaluate everything that you hear whether it is from politicians or friends that you have lunch with. We have the gift of free will and our own thoughts: it is not disrespectful to critically evaluate what other people say. Respect people who disagree with you. Everyone has the right to their own opinions.