The “world” for so many is a system of self-centered gain and ruthless carnage for all who get in the way. It is a built on taking things at whatever cost for oneself. Self-interest is the really the only motivation in such a world.
Yet there is another world. It is one we share with all humans. It is the “one blood” reality. No matter our language, no matter our culture, no matter our gender, no matter our perspective, we are all one race sharing the essential quality.
In this sense the world is not necessary evil it is latent potential. It is first article “good.” It is the reminder that God is Creator of all (and therefore it’s Father). It pulls us beyond our creeds to see the humanity of individuals from so many various backgrounds.
How do we get from one world to the other? How do we know which one we are dealing with? How does it go from being basically good to being downright evil? Perhaps this is just the question to get us launched into our discussion on suffering.
What is clear is that “the world” in the bad sense is a pattern of thinking, a perspective, and way of looking at life. Generally speaking, it is to see life as non-spiritual, merely material, humans in that sense are stripped of soul (or at least it is minimized).
People become a means to an end. Sometimes this end can be methodically intellectual, an idea or belief system taken to the farthest degree (think Naziism, Communism). People must fit into this system of thinking.
Sometimes it is only loosely rational. People are simply props to my ever-unfolding dream. They are here, real, and possibly meaningful, but only in the sense they help me achieve my goals, namely survival of the fittest.
People are not, in this version of the world, spiritual beings - profoundly human, a mystery to be celebrated. They are temporary means to an end. The world tends to deal only in the most concrete currencies, namely survival.
Often the leaders of this version of the world are extremely determined, powerful men. Though their ideologies may be at times abhorrent, they have one thing right: we can do what we want. We have the power to do amazing things as humans.
If we decide to end poverty we could. Not that we can actually get in and make people change, but we can change the conditions, systems, and structures that perpetuate cyclical poverty. We could, with concerted effort, actually change this.
Are we determined enough? Do we care enough? Do we believe enough in the power of transcendent ideas to motivate people? Do we believe the innovations of technology can foster more than economic development for first world countries?
Who gets to determine what kind of “world” this will be is largely up to us. Are we willing to remain in the Way, slowly and steadily working for long-term peace? Are we committed to believing the power of good is worth it?