Meaning is relative; that is, there is no sense except in counter poise to an external reference. This the utility of boundary; separation creates perspective. This is (in my view) the fundamental purpose of our lives, only by separation can we witness the universe and therefore confirm it, thereafter reuniting with it. This latter occurs via reflection from the “other” resulting from schism. Integration is the counterpoint to differentiation. If a definition of God is that whence existence flows, then this is God’s calculus. We are created, born as we separate; but it is the nature of our relationship with the “other”, that is ours to build and which in turn defines us.
This applies equally to societies. They arise (the process of birth for emergent realities) by separation. They do not exist except by reference to the other, that from which they are differentiated. This might be individuals or other groups. It matters how and where boundaries arise. The means defines the end. It’s true that you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs, but it’s also not the way to hatch chicks. Whilst the start matters, so does the path then taken. Societies, like the individual, are shaped in the mirror of those outside. The other. The internal character is a reflection of the external reference. I hold that society based on “nationalism” is dangerous, corrosive. Society is all too often defined by reference to “the enemy” – which is of course only other ordinary men and women – but externalised and dehumanised. Made other. Here lies the politician’s cheapest trick; set up the reviled “other” and draw “us” together. I hold that nationalism is always based on this premise. It is corrosive and destructive. Suicidal even. Enmity begetting hatred mirrored and intensified between groups.
How then does just society arise?
If we are able to love the other -especially in all their difference from us – then compassion will be reflected, bonding and reinforcing love. Love is always an integrating force. It leads to wider deeper community, a sense of the commonwealth of mankind.
But loving one’s enemy is HARD. It takes an overwhelming outside force to come close to it. I personally struggle with it. It is possible though, but only with outside help. Another definition of God might be just that. The force of love. The love that for Teilhard de Chardin suffuses and powers existence.
And the opposite is also a truth. All and any love is God, by whatever name. Only by reference to this external and eternal force can a just lasting and joyful society hope to work.
All else is illusion. Dangerous illusion. Strip away any preconceptions about organised religion and let us focus on the following:
Love other as we love ourselves. Love Love above all. Keep responding with love not war even after 490 provocations. Judge what is right by results not words.
This is of course simply a paraphrase.