But what if the happiness of a given individual disregards that of others? This problem too is solved by another profound philosopher, John Stuart Mill: “The only freedom that deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs or impede their efforts to obtain it.” And, of course, the “others” cited by Mill are not merely humans but all manner of flora and fauna.
It is in Mill’s statement that self-interest, respect for all others, inner peace, outer peace and universal good converge to form the ideal basis for all human thought and action. Let us serve ourselves, but only by serving others; let us serve others, but only by serving ourselves.
Ultimately the apparent dichotomy between the “self” and “others” will be cosmically resolved by the infinite melding of that “self” and every “other” into eternal unity. Let us never fail to recall the revered words of John Donne (written in 1624!): “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; . . . therefore, ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Donne was expounding the universal concept of the interdependent interlinking of everything; it is embodied in the Elizabethan expression, “The Great Chain of Being,” and it is known in Eastern spiritual philosophy as “Dependent Origination” and “The Universal Field”.
“The Universal Field” is the unending canvas of the sky as it absorbs and internalizes and reflects all earthly — and otherworldly — activity, human and otherwise. “The Universal Field” is that ultimate computer chip upon which is registered every motion of every butterfly wing and every leaning of every blade of grass ever stirred by the wind. “The Universal Field” is the ultimate, unyielding cosmic courtroom the defendants in which can neither accept nor presume to offer any excuse or extenuation.
Clearly, then, whatever one does — no matter how apparently minuscule and/or inconsequential — cosmically, comprehensively and cyclically affects and informs everything else that one is and does, as well as influencing every other iota of existence, of history — past (because of the time-space continuum, which scientifically validates the ultimate unity of everything), present and future — and of eternity. Consequently, every act, every action, every activity — even one as deceptively mundane as one beat of one heart — affects everything else to which it is ineffably linked in and by “The Great Chain of Being”
So, obviously and naturally, both inner and outer peace must begin with and revert to the self. Therefore, to quote myself: “Make sure that the steppingstones of your life are not the stumbling blocks of someone else’s.”
Vol 27 Issue 2 Page 45