Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Learning from Monkeys
A recent topic of discussion was the video seen on the news and the internet of a monkey who saved the life of another monkey, electrocuted on a railroad track in India. Seeing the unconscious monkey his fellow monkey with great effort tried to revive the monkey by biting the throat and face and ferociously shaking the monkey. There was a pool of water besides the track in which they repeatedly dumped the monkey and at the end of 20 minutes of frantic effort on the part of the two fellow monkeys the unconscious monkey was revived. Those seeing this video were heard to say monkeys are better than humans in showing concern for one another.
The columnist of the Peace Weekly on the opinion page of the paper expresses sadness in hearing that in this present society such words can be heard. Humans are in a higher state of life but we see actions in our world that do not even reach that of the monkeys in the video. Our intellects should help us act humanly. Our intellects do not only help us to live human-like but nuture a mature faith life. Reason is a great gift given to us by the Creator that not only leads us by love to God but helps to open our eyes to his presence.
In society we see many whose faculty to reason has been paralyzed. Many are the young people who have become accustomed to blurting our abusive language very naturally. We have children who abandon and kill their parents; quarrels among family over inheritance. Issues that you would not imagine happening in the animal kingdom, and we are living in an enlightened civilization.
Jared Diamond in Guns,Gems, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, a best seller, is quoted as saying: 'As civilization grows the human family bonds get weaker and with stratification of society tenderness begins to disappear.' The society that we have made with wealth has made for a class society and our descendents will see the results.
However, Diamond says there is no reason to be frustrated for with our reason we can work to make things work out differently. We can recover from the decline caused by money, the lack of virtue and the individualism in society by our efforts to purify the society. However, if we are to be successful in purifying our civilization we have to use our reason and begin with a respect for the dignity of the human person.
"Another cause of slavery is corruption on the part of people willing to do anything for financial gain. Slave labor and human trafficking often require the complicity of intermediaries, be they law enforcement personnel, state officials, or civil and military institutions. This occurs when money, and not the human person, is at the center of an economic system. Yes, the person, made in the image of God and charged with dominion over all creation, must be at the center of every social or economic system. When the person is replaced by mammon, a subversion of values occurs” (Pope Francis' Peace Message 2015).
The columnist ends his words by asking all of us to help the world that is dying be energized by the breath of God. We have to assist in this work and not give up. We have to nurture this dream in our communities.