Humans and Ideals
Ideals, such as those Enduring Principles that I have just posted, are all well and good, but….
In the Book of Mormon, we find Nephi’s father, Lehi, saying to his eldest son, Jacob:
[2 Ne 1:81] For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.
[2 Ne 1:82] If not so, my first born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass; neither wickedness; neither holiness nor misery; neither good nor bad.
[2 Ne 1:95] For there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them is;
[2 Ne 1:96] Both things to act, and things to be acted upon;
[2 Ne 1:97] And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition;
[2 Ne 1:98] Even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter;
[2 Ne 1:99] Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.
[2 Ne 1:100] Wherefore, man could not act for himself, save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
[2 Ne 1:101] And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven;
[2 Ne 1:102] Wherefore he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
[2 Ne 1:103] And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind.
[2 Ne 1:104] Wherefore, he said, unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies; wherefore he said, Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
[2 Ne 1:105] And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit, they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.
[2 Ne 1:106] And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth.
[2 Ne 1:111] And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen; but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.
[2 Ne 1:112] And all things which were created, must have remained in the same state which they were, after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
[2 Ne 1:113] And they would have had no children; wherefore, they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
[2 Ne 1:114] But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
[2 Ne 1:115] Adam fell, that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
[2 Ne 1:116] And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.
[2 Ne 1:117] And because that they are redeemed from the fall, they have become free for ever, knowing good from evil;
We live in a dualistic world – which we create in our minds to deal with what William James called the “blooming, buzzing confusion” into which we are born. I could go on forever talking about unity and duality, and the Aristotelian logic that permeates Western thinking (and maybe I will at some point)). For now, however, I only want to make the point that we value the “good” but often do not live up to our ideals. “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”