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And if there were no potential for growth and quest for ultimate potentiality, there might have been no creation at all. No triumph at all. No stars at all. No children at all. No love at all. No laughter at all. Literally.
The aggrieved may find some comfort in the concept that his pain is, rather, part of the high price humanity pays for its freedom, and for the possibility of ultimately realizing its full potential; that the individual’s tragedy was unlikely to have been punishment, and at the same time did not occur for naught; that while the particular tragedy was not part of a specific Divine plan, the allowance of tragedy in general is a cosmic necessity, and on that level may be considered part of an ultimate schema. For man must operate at an increasingly higher level of freedom if he is to have bona fide potential for a higher good-in his quest towards ultimate potentiality.
Quest for potential is central to the Divine and central to creation. Unfortunately, the allowance for potential pain, however gratuitous and arbitrary, is apparently necessary to the cosmic order.
It is not that the cosmic order needs occasional tributes of pain and premature death. On the contrary, the cosmic imperatives would be maximized if all children could somehow live forever. The loss of the youngster to the hit-and-run tragedy is a very real cosmic loss. Cosmic quests, as well, are truncated by the loss of the youngster.
The cosmic order does not necessitate pain per se. It does necessitate, however, the possibility of pain. This was the “ransom” paid by “life” in its escape from the bottomless cosmic void. Man chose the Tree of Knowledge/Potential at Eden. He rejected zero-growth.
And as the battered, but still quite powerful, starship of mankind continues its zig-zag odyssey towards the infinite, the harsh price man pays for the possibility of reaching his destination is the potentiality for tragedy and pain. There would seem to be no alternative.
The gods, if gods there be, cannot lift us to their side; we must make the painful climb ourselves.582
â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”- NOTES â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”-
582 Kaplan, The New World of Philosophy, p. 243, expanding on Buddhist and Nietzschean doctrine.
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