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What is the Essence of Western Civilization? (4 of 6)

- by Kelly Kinkade

So what does it really say about you that you are human? What are you? Who are you, really? To get the right answer, you need to answer the four questions: 4) What brought you into existence? 3) What are you made of? 2) What is your blueprint? 1) What are you here to do?

(4) What brought you into existence? What is like the workers who build a house? Your parents. This fact about humanity is important, because it gives rise to humanity's unique concept of social structures. Just as the painter of a masterpiece can be identified because the artwork matches the artist’s unique style, so too institutions and societies reflect in unique ways how their members feel about what a family is.

(3) What are you made of? What is like the marble in the house for you? Of course you are made of flesh. This is important, because it immediately unites you with every other human in certain limitations. In short, it means you are mortal. We are all united in mortality. We all grow old and die, unless a calamity avoids the growing old part. The mortality of our bodies unites you and me in what Stoics call the Economy of Mortality. The simple fact is that we all have limited time in life and limited resources. We must economize, not just our money but our time and energy as well. Whether you want to or not, whether you realize it or not, you and I both have to be smart in how we choose what to do with our time. This is common to mankind.

(2) What is like a blueprint for a house for you? Your DNA. Your DNA lays out everything about your form and proportions. You see, flesh sets the boundary for what humanity can do, but DNA is the boundary that nature sets on what you personally can do in life. You might not like to hear it, but the fact is it is not true that we can be anything we want to be. For example, whether or not a person can become an Olympic champion, say in the marathon, was determined by nature at the moment of that person’s conception. Your biology matters. Whether you were going to have to live with some diseases or deformities was written by nature on the molecules of your DNA the moment a sperm cell touched an egg. Science knows that genes matter. This is also why, when you go to a new doctor, you fill out a questionnaire about diseases members of your family have had, because you share DNA material with them, and this means you can share certain biological advantages and disadvantages with them. Doctors know that your biological blueprint matters. By your DNA, Nature decrees the form of your brain, and in so doing it judges one of us as worthy of being an Einstein and sentences the next in line to a life with certain mental handicaps. Your genes matter.

(1) What is your purpose? Why do you matter in the whole scheme of things? Why did nature make you? The West has always considered this the First Question; it is the most important question of the four. You can see why when you look at a building site. If its purpose is to build a dream home for retirement as in the ancient joke "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Tavern," or a skyscraper, or a fast food restaurant it drives the other three aspects of the building. It is what our judicial system would call, "the moving party." It is the Logos that is indomitably entering the Cosmos. The purpose of the building drives the blueprint which drives the material that will be used which drives which workers can build the intended building.

Since your purpose in life is the most important question, the next article will consider it separately, to give it the clarity it deserves. Until then, find in yourself what you feel right now is your purpose for being on this earth? What makes you matter?

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