We can see the result of this ignorance everywhere. Practically everyone is living without a license, and the world is suffering as a result. Famine, war, the economic crisis; these scourges of humanity are the natural consequence of collective human endeavors undertaken under the spell of ignorance.
Everyone in this modern world is concerned with two things: themselves, and the world around them. This is natural. We have to wonder though, how much do we actually know about ourselves? This is a fundamental point. Actually, understanding ourselves is the prerequisite for interacting with the world at large. In other words, who we are, is required knowledge for relating appropriately and harmoniously with the world we find ourselves in. Without this knowledge, we cannot know what the consequences of our actions will be. This is because we do not understand who is doing the acting. It is very much like driving – or living – without a license.
We can see the result of this ignorance everywhere. Practically everyone is living without a license, and the world is suffering as a result. Famine, war, the economic crisis; these scourges of humanity are the natural consequence of collective human endeavors undertaken under the spell of ignorance. Of course, we do not think of ourselves as ignorant. Generally, each of us is quite proud of our own self awareness. Once we reach adulthood and have had a chance to “get to know” ourselves through college, drugs, a trip to Europe, a serious relationship, prison, having a child, or any of the host of other experiences that may comprise the process of growing up, we tend to feel we have a handle on ourselves. We view the major calamities of the world as unfortunate, but certainly not related to our own conception of ourselves. We are simply living our lives, trying our best to be good people. We speak out against injustice when we can, or help those less fortunate than ourselves, but beyond that, what can we really do? We never consider that our own ignorance and the collective ignorance of humanity combine to visit these miseries on mankind.
How is this possible? What ignorance could be so fundamental that it leads to such awful situations in this world? The ignorance is the spiritual kind. Who we are, means understanding that we are spiritual beings, that we are distinct from our material bodies made of blood and bone, and that we are eternal fragmental parts of the Supreme Spirit. This is the knowledge that Krishna explains in the Bhagavad Gita. It is fundamental. These are the spiritual ABC’s, and understanding them is essential if we wish to live a life that doesn’t contribute to the problems of this world. Don’t believe me? Think how differently you might act if you knew – really knew – that you were eternal? What about if you knew that your body was just a temporary vehicle, and not who you really were? How might you act then? And if we really are a fragmental part of the Supreme Spirit, what is our relationship?
See, the problem with being ignorant is that we don’t act properly because we don’t understand what is what. When we think of the problems of the world in this way, they suddenly make a lot more sense. If everyone identifies themselves with their temporary material bodies – forgetting their eternal nature as spirit souls – they will act in very predictable ways. If you believe that your material body is the all in all of your existence, you will naturally live life in ways that maximizes the happiness of that body. In other words, all of your activities will be undertaken with the best interest of your body in mind. Of course, the best interest of my body might compete with the best interests of your body. Whose interest wins out? This is the source of all conflict. Fighting for resources, racial hatred, abortion; these are extreme cases where the interests of bodies conflict. But, we can trace all human conflict to the misidentification of the self with the temporary body.
Eternal spirit souls have a totally different business in this world. The goal of life is not merely to maintain the temporary body. There is much more to it than that, as Krishna explains to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. There is a completely different way of acting and living that is consistent with this understanding of our constitutional reality. When we act according to the knowledge that we are spirit, our activities do not have the same consequences because they are not in relation to this temporary material world. Spiritual entities have spiritual activities. We are all meant to live this way; it is not a pie in the sky, kum-ba-ya, type of philosophy. It is reality, and we need to understand it. Otherwise, we are living without a license, and that can be reckless.
The Honda rider was traveling at such a high speed, his reaction time was not sufficient to avoid this accident.Swedish Police estimate a speed of 250 KM/h (155mph) before the bike hit the slow moving car side-on at an intersection.At that speed, they predicted that the rider’s reaction time (once the vehicle came into view) wasn’t sufficient enough for him to even apply the brakes.The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them.The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of the impact and landed 10 feet from where the collision took place.
All three involved ( two in the car and the bike rider) were killed instantly.This graphic demonstration was placed at the Stockholm Motorcycle Fair by the Swedish Police and Road Safety Department.The sign above the display also noted that the rider had only recently obtained his license.
At 250 KM/h (155mph) the operator is traveling at 227 feet per second.With normal reaction time to SEE-DECIDE-REACT of 1.6 seconds, the above operator would have traveled over 363 feet while making a decision on what actions to take.In this incident the Swedish Police indicate that no actions were taken.
In other words, they didn’t even have time to say, ‘Oh, ####!’