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Benjamin-Newton Really Mobile: Morality and Individuality
Spoken Version (5 Min, 12 Sec) - 4 MB
Our society has gone to extremes and has actually managed to promote the negative sides of individual expression and mob mentality. The average person today is both selfish and has no backbone. People want to be unique so that they can get a following.
The Bible does promote individuality, but in the opposite way. We are individually responsible for the choices we make and need to stand against the world. We are also supposed to not be proud and self-centered.
Just like every personality trait has equally good and bad possible outcomes, so self control is the key to leveraging both individuality and unity at the same time, and incorporating the best of both traits in our lives. We need not be selfish to express our individuality and need not sacrifice our conscience just to follow the group.
The key to know when to use one or the other is the same with any decision: our conscience. It is good to work together for a common cause, just as long as you continue to critically think about the moral implications of the results of your efforts. The Bible wants us to stand out not just to get attention, but wants us to stand out in that we stand up for the weak and do what we know is right, even when we face overwhelming opposition.
Individuality need not always be applied in rare or extreme situations and God definitely wants us to express how we honestly feel. There is a whole book of the Bible focused on romance, many of the commands of the Old Testament are celebrations with lots of nice food, and God shows a huge amount of creativity in entering His own creation as a person while still remaining God. God was the first to come up with the idea of the anti-hero and God used people to speak through in the writing Scripture, which is also a creative literary work of art.
Modern psychological concepts comes from the Bible. The Apostle Paul was the first existentialist. The Apostle Paul also was the first to write that women and men are completely equal. The Psalms can be very helpful for those dealing with depression and encourage people to be critical of God, while still being respectful. Apostle Paul talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as an early example of personality types, which also eludes to the difference between a public and private self.
In fact, God created the best inventions ever: animals and plants. God created the very creative and bizarre world of quantum mechanics and general relativity and made them work together, even though they work in extremely different ways. He also talks about time travel and other dimensions in Scripture. God created DNA and made such a diversity of creatures, that we have a very hard time classifying them. God predicted the catastrophes caused by global warming/climate change and correctly identified people as the cause.
So God is very creative and wants us to be so as well. Instead of using innovation to make money, we should be doing so to help people in need. Just expressing yourself in art and writing can be a moral act as well. Much of the history of art throughout the world is a celebration of religious and philosophical writings and concepts. Through symbolism, art can be as accurate as writing. Just encouraging people to take time off from work to think and encourage them can be helpful and altruistic as well.
The only real bad thing about creativity is when we use it to draw attention to ourselves alone, without any other benefit to society. One of few things that Chairman Mao talked about, that we should follow, was making art and literature accessible to the common person. Popular music and art need not be selfish and can actually bring moral ideas to the average person, in ways they can relate with. Just like being rich, being famous is not necessarily bad, as long as you don't compromise yourself to do so, and it is not your primary aim.
Nationalism and religious unity are great, as along as they don't use the persecution of others, to unify the group. People who are not part of the group technically can actually be very useful and the mixing of groups can bring out better parts of cultures. The modern world was only possible as an outgrowth of a mixing of Germanic and Roman cultures throughout the medieval period in Europe.
A similar mixing of culture is happening between American corporate culture and Mexican popular culture. The Christians in the Muslim caliphate in medieval times were useful in government because they were considered outside the political scene and so were neutral. Christians in medieval Europe were illiterate and so Jewish people became leaders and scholars, because they learned to read and write, to keep their religious traditions.
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