7.  My Personal Position -- and  CONCLUSIONS



My Personal Position:


When considering the greatness of the universe and the intricacy of nature, I can only most deeply admire the ultimate formative essence that caused this existence to appear, to let Creation occur as it is. 

For a religious person, this is the veneration of God. 

At the same time, I feel my own insignificance, but also gratefulness, even joy, for being able to experience this existence for the few decades of my life on Earth – under quite favorable circumstances for me, as for many of us.  I realiza, however, that many others, if not most, live under difficult circumstances, with much suffering or loneliness, and must experience serious setbacks in the course of their lives. 


Our mental capabilities allow us to ask questions about the essence of this Creation, about meaning, purpose, and direction to pursue.  That is what this essay is all about.  I was trained in the sciences and have always enjoyed exploring and understanding existence in the clarity of scientific methods and terms.  I lived the life of a businessman in the practical world.  But my and most people’s search for meaning or purpose in existence is emotional, a human search for personal meaning and direction, for support in suffering, and resonance in joy.


I do see the ultimate essence of Creation and existence as abstract and far-away transcendental, or “spiritual”.  I see this spirituality in the original formation and ingenious structure of existence and, thereby, in providing for the subsequent evolution of nature, including the historic evolution of human civilizations.  I was blessed in my own life with an occasional fundamental sensing of, an occasional harmony with, and, sometimes, dark fear and feeling of cold remoteness of this abstract Essence or “spirituality” of existence – that we cannot describe, whatever name we may give it, “God”. 

Furthermore, by my experience, a position of accepting the existence of a transcendental, spiritual formative foundation of existence, God, and accepting the human position in evolution provides a more positive, pro-active, creative outlook on life and adds to personal strength and responsibility.  Negating God and human potential could, logically, lead to an excessively utilitarian outlook (pleasure, profit, and power) with a tendency to intellectual cynicism, inaction, resignation, and feeling of being lost when suffering.


Another observation:  The image people have of God influences their behavior.  Therefore, the question of having faith in the right God may, in many instances, be more important than having faith in any God.  Cruelty and destruction in the name of religion – whether by the Aztecs, the Inquisition, the religiously intolerant among the Northern Irish, and now so often by the Muslims, sometimes the orthodox Israelis, or any other religious fundamentalists of our time – is worse than religious apathy.  On the other side, examples of the highest ethical behavior and personal almost “saintly” accomplishment have repeatedly been stimulated by underlying religious concepts in many cultures of the world.


I may have used a rather factual or pragmatic approach in this essay in answering the questions about God, meaning, purpose, direction, and human faith.  For most people, however, faith is an expression of the “heart” or “soul”.  Our scientific age is inclined to be critical toward matters of the heart or soul, relegating them to psychology.  I do not agree.  I see mental growth, friendship, love, compassion, caring, dedication to the community, and joy about all beauty in the world as the most significant aspects of human existence.  Equally, much suffering or loneliness and deep compassion is felt in the “heart” or “soul”, the emotional essence of our lives.

  The Christian faith is, largely, the search for the foundation of emotional forces or values in existence.  As one accepts these forces or values as real in human existence, as part of Creation, one may possibly want to see their foundation in the essence of Creation, in “God”.  Thus, a vision of the ultimate transcendental essence of existence, God, and a realization of the place of humans in evolution can be the source for responsibility, for strength of “heart”, for warmth of “soul”, for consolation in trouble and for personal initiative in life.


What is my position in the midst of contradictions and uncertainty?  What do I personally decide to stand for?


*       I hold a spiritual view of existence, seeing an underlying abstract force as the Formative Essence of Existence.  There is only one such transcendental, spiritual force, whatever it is called, God, Allah, “X”.

*       The force that we call “God” is searched by the human mind in meditation and prayer.  My soul often longs for peace in God and guidance.  But I do not expect God to respond upon demand nor to interfere with the course of the world – not expecting God to bring blessings, nor blaming God for all the evil.  I see God as remaining beyond human reach and  understanding.

*       The greatest enigma of a spiritual view of existence lies in the occurrence of non-understandable cruelty, destruction, waste, and hopeless confinement, not allowing any liberating, curing, or beneficial action. 

*       I hold a dynamic view of evolving Creation in the universe – including the fact that all is temporary and the whole universe will ultimately come to its end or dissolution. 

*       In this view, there is no room for a permanent preservation of “souls”, whether in bliss or penitence.  But there is a view of great peace at the end, beyond all struggle.

*       I cannot see any ultimate meaning or purpose in this existence but to temporarily be – for nothing but the pleasure of the creating essence, the Creator. 

*       For our own lives, however, I see meaning, purpose, and a direction in fulfilling the time given to us to exist.

*       I hold that we must accept existence in humility, being the creatures, not the Creator.  There is comfort in seeing that everything is temporary in this world.  We can admire the grandiose universe and its rules of transition that are not under our control.  In this view, we may find peace for our souls and strength to act to follow our values where we can.   

*       Human existence is subject to the principles of the earlier phases of Creation, to the laws of physics and random events, and to the competitive struggle of species and individuals.

*       Human existence is different from any earlier part of Creation on Earth.  It is based on a degree of mental freedom to explore, understand, and make decisions in the course of life.  With this freedom and these capabilities goes the corresponding responsibility for what we accomplish, to pursue the development of our lives and the world in accordance with our human values.

*       The meaning and purpose of human life lies in grasping and fulfilling the unique opportunities granted to the human mind as described by the human values.

*       The human values refer to three different dimensions – growth for the fulfillment of one’s personal potential, dedicated caring service to others, society, and nature as we inherited it, and, as a mysterious gift of nature, cultural or artistic enjoyment of life. 

*       The human values are ranked – there is the necessary fulfillment of the basic needs and desires of life, there is the vast majority of pursuits to secure, improve, and enjoy a comfortable life, and there is the striving for the higher aspirations of the human mind and soul.  This results in the following matrix:



Highest Level

Mental Growth

Personality Formation


Caring Service & Charity

Building a Better Society


Aesthetics, the Arts


Median Level

Security and Dignity

Reserves, Freedom,


Positive Significance in Society

Action Potential, Power



Basic level

Survival, Procreation

Family and Clan

Basic Aesthetics


The basic level provides life’s natural and most intense rewards, but can also bring harmonious life in modesty.  The middle level is the normal destination for the average person and a base for reaching the exceptional level – when not remaining a shallow purpose in itself.  It is the top level, however, that lifts humanity to its exceptional potential.

*       Ethical values guide the dedication to others – from the care for the family, friends, and clan, to a meaningful contribution to society, to public service and charity when and where called upon, and to stewardship for the natural world we live in.  Ethical values evolved in nature by providing the benefits of social behavior, found their greatest teacher in Jesus Christ, and are the hope for humanity’s future in its global struggle.

*       The greatest problem in the pursuit of ethical standards lies in the need for compromise with the pursuit of other directions of human values:  self-fulfillment and the enjoyment of life.  I hold that any compromise should be in favor of sympathy with the one who beckons for help in calamities.  One should assume that few others do their part in helping, and one should see the brother or sister or son or daughter in the needy one.  One should also see the beneficial restraint of egoism in a discipline of charity, service, and meditation or prayer.

*       The greatest limitation in the pursuit of personal goals and values lies in the weakness of one’s own personality.  As we struggle with our own shortcomings, we must have tolerance for others.  Exceptional people have set examples of personality improvement in the course of their lives.  Role models help us in our lives.  Are we called to be role models for others when challenges arise?

*       In the conduct of life, I believe in everybody carrying his or her own weight and, beyond that, aiming to contribute. 

*       Nobody, however, can handle all the challenges of life alone.  As we are entitled to accept help, so we must lend a helping hand to others to cope with their lives.

*       One can almost always be impressed by life’s multitude of remaining positive perspectives – in a combination of intellectual, emotional/idealistic, and artistic views.  I often felt driven – by realizing the shortness of time allotted to our lives.  I was grateful for moments of quiet enjoyment – and also for times of fresh initiative and strength for action.  I was especially grateful for opportunities to be dedicated to beneficial pursuits, to attempt to provide some leadership in building or preserving some detail of our world, to advance thought, and to contribute positively to other people’s lives.

*       I was most grateful for moments of perceiving the benevolent potential of destiny in my life – in family harmony, in sufficient health, in exploring the vastness of the universe, nature, and the multitude of cultures on Earth – for perceiving the beauty of Creation, and for the harmony of human contacts, which were the greatest gifts to my life.

*       In sum, I seek the meaning and direction for my life and seek the strength and sensitivity to pursue my course through life in the contemplation of existence by the observing mind, by the spirituality of the soul, by practical experience, and by human sensitivity.  I am grateful that I can contemplate the transcendental essence of temporary existence, turning to meditation about the Formative Essence of Existence, God, and our human place in evolution in sorrows and in joy.


Our time has experienced great and often intractable geo-political events, the conflicts of ideologies, cultures, and interests, the searching for answers in a competition between science and religion, between knowledge and values.  My conclusions at the end of this essay are not Promethean – referring to the one who brought mankind the fire as a symbol of light in  confrontation with the gods the world believed in – , not Biblical – where the tree of knowledge in Paradise was savored in confrontation with God – , and not Faustian – where finding of the last essence of existence required a pact with the devil.  More than anything else, the conclusions presented in this essay seek a complementing balance between reason and the heart.  They express the longing for mental growth to deeper understanding and wider horizons, the call for renewed dedication to our fellow beings, society, and the environment, and a fundamentally positive spirit in appreciating all that is good and beautiful in this world, emphasizing opportunities more than problems.  This results in a call for personal initiative based on our values, on practical judgment, and on human responsibility.


On our path through life:

*                 We must strive with ongoing initiative and effort to prevail in the struggle for survival and a decent life – hopefully without incurring guilt.

*                 All of us must struggle for some personal success, to reach security, significance, or personal accomplishment, often by reducing our expectations – hopefully without remaining in frivolous human mediocrity of wealth, power, entertainment, or a wasted life.

*                 We should strive for fulfillment of our life through our personal mental and character evolution, through caring service for others, the community, and nature, and in enjoying the beauty of the world and the arts.





Repeat ofAbstract and Conclusions from the beginning of this essay:


A new perception of “existence” occurs when one perceives the miracle of one’s own status of “existing” – as a human – within this grandiose, beautiful, but also quite cruel, universe and nature – at this time in cosmic and human history – for the short period of one’s own life. 

Such a view can lead to fundamental questions:  How can I understand and interpret cosmic reality and the natural world I find myself in?  Is there a transcendental origin and control of existence?  Can one perceive a meaning or purpose of existence?  Mainly, what shall I do with my own life, what direction shall I pursue during the years of my existence? 

Before proceeding, we should first study the various sources of insight available to us in the sciences, theology, philosophy, and our own observation.



A meaning or purpose of existence cannot be discerned – and a transcendental essence of existence cannot be described in human, anthropomorphic terms.

It is the science-expected, ultimate total end or dissolution of all cosmic structures in giant black holes or ever-dissipating radiation that does not allow the discerning of a “meaning” or purpose of existence. 

One can also not see a guiding or helping God in a world where each organism is attacked by diseases, parasites, predators (including humans), or natural catastrophes and the innocent by often terrible calamities. 

The observation of human life does not indicate a God who judges fairly here on Earth. 

A compensating, eternal life after death cannot be expected in a cosmic or natural structure that is meant to dissolve. 

However, the end of personal life can be felt (as I once did) as a deeply peaceful, transcendental homecoming.

What remains is a limitless admiration for the most abstract and ultimate “Structure Providing Essence of Existence”, whatever name we give it, and for the unbelievably intricate functioning of the evolving world we participate in. 

Nevertheless, one should not take away a deep-felt, comforting or uplifting faith from the suffering and striving in this world. – especially not, if such faith offers an ethically constructive and benevolent direction in life – as best formulated by Jesus in parts of the “Sermon on the Mount”.  


For us humans remains to do the best we can on, or for, this Earth, our common home – to reduce suffering, to increase opportunity fairly for all, and to bring some joy and light to whatever small area over which we have any influence – while being good stewards of nature. 


What direction shall we take for our own lives?

Practicality indicates that we first should build and maintain an economic “support base”, to decently support ourselves and our family, while then, or in parallel, seeking fulfillment of life as described below – especially when striving for excellence in our occupation and somewhat succeeding.

The specific results of a fundamental inquiry may remain contradictory as to what one should do and what one wants to do.

An individual direction for us depends upon our starting conditions, or environment, and our natural capabilities, personality, or “character”.  Furthermore, destiny or opportunities have a controlling impact. 

Most importantly, prudent determination will make the difference

In any event, one must keep a practical mind and human sensitivity. 

One should accept overarching evolution, but along with faith in the individual human potential for impact or change. 


The development of our personal potential is the natural goal in life for us all. 

Any direction in life can lead upwards in struggle through three levels – supported by corresponding “values”:

On a basic level, often in misery but also in basic human harmony, is the struggle for the satisfaction of the fundamental human needs for food, clothing, shelter, and medical care – all of which, for far too many on Earth, are still inadequate.  There also is the basic desire for procreation and search for the warmth of some human company in the family and with friends, even for some joy about artistic embellishment or music. 

Beyond this level, on a lighter level of life but also in the pursuit of false values, it is natural, and serves progress, to pursue some wealth for reserves – but this too often remaining a purpose in itself.  Within social groups, there is the natural struggle for social rank and power, even empire building – for action potential, but this too often merely serving self-aggrandizement.  Complementing these two directions, there is the pursuit of basic entertainment, in sports, TV, and lesser pleasures.  All of this characterizes the wide middle level of society – more easily reached when the threshold of satisfaction is lowered, as by admirably modest people or by dropouts. 

On the highest level of cultures, however, offering the most light in the fulfillment of life, one finds a striving for accomplishment in not one but three distinct dimensions of human existence: 

(1) in personal mental growth (in exploring knowledge, in deeper understanding, in personality formation, and in the development of useful skills), combined with

(2) dedicated service to others (to reduce suffering and increase opportunities fairly for all), service to society, and care for the natural environment – and, added to these,

(3) participation in the artistic joy over the beauty in our culture and this world – a mysterious gift of existence (as is humor). 

A balanced accomplishment – on all three levels and in each of the three dimensions – can lead to the positively felt fulfillment of the precious period of our very limited existence in life.


Factual results count, but “value” is attributed by emotions.  Therefore, the definition and pursuit of our “values” is significant. 

These values are related to

the sensing of fulfillment in growth and exploring (with the values of freedom, truthfulness, openness, and striving),

the all-excelling warmth of love from close human contact and dedicated service (with the values of empathy, selfless help, responsibility, leadership, and trustworthiness),

and the light of artistic joy in culture and nature (with the values of aesthetic beauty, elegance, and positive affection). 


In a symbolic expression, the “value” of our lives results from our growth and how we bring some more clarity, light, and warmth into this world –  wherever we can – accepting the positive in our own lives with gratitude – possibly with joy.