“Is human spirit what makes the ‘lights come on’ or is it what happens after the ‘lights come on'”? My friend Jonathan asked the question during our reunion this past weekend.
My answer was that human spirit is what happens after the ‘the lights come on’. I based my opinion on the observation that a person can be alive and conscious but mentally dull. I don’t see the answer as an either/or situation. There doesn’t seem to be a boundary between the two concepts. Maybe the human spirit is a feature of our survival instinct.
Jonathan said he believes that the ‘lights come on’ due to some sort of complex bio-chemical reaction. A simple amoeba is alive because of this, but can we definitively claim that there is such a thing as an amoeba spirit?
“That’s hard to say. Unless you have enough empathy to enable yourself to experience life from the viewpoint of the amoeba, can we say for sure that the amoeba has a viewpoint?”
Jonathan agreed with my point, then added that he believes all complex lifeforms have something we might loosely define as spirit. It’s not the woo woo stuff of Halloween stories, though. The spirit is the inborn driving force that is simply hard to rationally define. That force exists as long as ‘the lights’ remain turned on–that is the animal is alive.
“So, we’ve arrived at the ageless question, ‘If there is a spirit, does it go anywhere after the creature dies, or does it simply vanish’?
Jonathan replied that this philosophical question is what triggered his original question.
We never resolved the question, but it was great to visit with Jonathan again after his lengthy absence. I enjoyed his inquiring mind. He has a healthy, positive human spirit. I think everybody should know someone like him.
The human spirit is complicated by possessing qualities along a spectrum of goodness and badness. There are people who demean others, put other people down, and wantonly wish destruction of anyone who does not agree with them. There are others who support, sympathize with, and uplift others. We all have the potential to go to either extreme, but most of us have chosen to err on the positive end of the “spiritual spectrum”.
We remember the millions of people who have lived to dream, build empires, affect the lives of others, change societies for better or worse. These drives and results come about from the creative force of the human spirit. It’s important to remember that everyone is born with the seeds of greatness. It’s ultimately up to each of us how we choose to manifest it. Will we choose to hinder or to help humanity? Is our life all about personal glory or is there plenty of joy to share with everyone else?
“There are incalculable resources in the human spirit, once it has been set free.”–Hubert H. Humphrey
We have the visual media, dramatic presentations, literature, music, sculpture, architecture, space travel, and other arts. They flourish as a result of the human spirit. We all have at least a spark of desire to contribute in some measure to the art of living.
When left to our own device and allowed to be true to ourselves, our human spirit is enhanced. There is a profound joy in living such a free manner. It is boundless. Such a free-spirit wants everyone to experience the limitless, satisfying potential of the human spirit.
There is some radiance and drive that we have in our cores. Regardless of circumstances, there is a certain beauty and power in the existence of our human spirit. Be it in chaos and madness or calm and sanity, it is present in us all.