Those Who Would Be Dictators


In my quest to become a wise and enlightened being, I listen to the words of others. I seek the truths of our existences. And there is no shortage of those who claim to possess these truths. There is no shortage of those who have developed methodologies, philosophies, theologies, psychologies – rules for living. Their rules for living.

 Yet, is it not true that so many of the horrors of humankind are perpetrated by those who would be dictators, whose visions must never be questioned? So they portray themselves as merely the humble servants of God, of Allah, of the Sacred Writings, of The Public Welfare. That is all the justification they need to enforce subservience and to exterminate those who disagree.

Even in the evolving democracies of the world, in the United States, are we not surrounded by little dictators working hard to impose their vision of the truth upon us all? Consider how many books have been published in which the chosen few hand down small tablets of truth about our lives, small tablets of truth which they have received from on high. The questions of the heart and mind have all been solved, by them.

Isn’t American democracy rooted in the idea that each of us must be free to discover our own truths – spiritual and otherwise – about the lives we lead? Why, then, do we continue to revere and respect those who oppose free and unfettered thought?

To do good works is praiseworthy. To be charitable to those in need is kind. To help the ignorant discover the value of ethical, moral behavior is a worthy endeavor. But to promote the belief that any one theology and its book of rules constitutes unquestionable eternal truth is to mistake the human for the divine. Even if a word, a sentence, a paragraph, an essay, a pamphlet, a book, is divinely inspired, it had to be written down by a human being. We have no books that were penned by supernatural beings and published on other planes of existence. We are the creators of these things, regardless of whatever divine or supernatural source we credit or invent.

Yet those who would be dictators would prohibit criticism, and so they say their words – whatever their source – are infallible. How often is this simply a tactic to deny any challenge to their dictatorial will?

We are taught to respect traditional beliefs, practices and institutions, yet our evolving democracy has expanded freedom by exposing the injustice of many traditional beliefs, practices and institutions.

I believe in the evolution of the soul, an evolution that requires us to examine our beliefs, practices and institutions, and change them, improve them, and sometimes, abandon them.

I taught my children to be suspicious of those who pretend to know the truth, as if we were all on the same journey, living the same life in the same body. I taught my children to listen to the wise counsel of parents, friends and community, then find their own way in this world. The path each of us must take in life is unique to each of us and cannot be predestined by a parent, a priest, a psychologist or a politician. We should reject those who want to control our thoughts, even those who are merely self-help guru celebrities. Given the chance, they too would be dictators.

Listen to the words of those who open doors for you, who enlarge the possibilities of your thought, who encourage you to trust your own conscience and seek your own way through this life. There are many enlightened voices, even those who would be dictators possess wise words which they offer like cheese in a mousetrap. Never let anyone take over the job which is yours alone: the growth of your heart, your mind and your spirit. This is why you are alive, to do this work that only you can do, to grow a larger soul.

Please continue.