I can understand that a good choice is to evolve yourself. But why exactly is it the BEST choice? Why not sacrifice yourself to help others, and doing everything you can to aid the poor, save animals, and similar things? And thus giving other people the chance to evolve, instead of focusing all your efforts on your own evolution?
A good way to assess an action (or a lack of it) is to "go to the limit" and explore consequences. As in mathematics, exploring limits brings an important information. Imagine that lots of people choose to sacrifice themselves to "help" others. What could be the final outcome?
As you know, all religions preach "sacrifice" for centuries. Specifically, sacrifice is the essence of christianity. Clergy convinces followers to "sacrify" themselves, especially a part of their income. Can you establish where it all leads? Doesn't it lead to exploitation of those who sacrifice themselves by those who teach them to do so?
Now go to the limit with the self-evolution attitude. Imagine that absolutely everybody decides to take this path. What is the likely effect? Can you establish what would happen to the poor, animals, eco-systems and Nature as a result of increased understanding achieved by every individual? What happens to exploitation?
So, what is your choice?
Tom, In my opinion, I think that, as almost in everything else in life, we should look for a balance here. I agree that the ideal thing is not to give oneself entirely to charity without worrying of Self development, but I also think that occupying only of one's Self development without worrying about anyone else is a selfish choice. Imagine that you have two children. Of course that you would like them to develop themselves. But imagine that one day one of them is drowning in the middle of a river, while the other is in the shore, looking how his brother drowns, and instead of doing something to help him he chooses to be meditating in order to develop his own intellect. Would you be satisfied with his choice? I imagine that you won't. Remember that we are all God's sons and daughters, so we are all brothers. And I imagine that for God it must be the same. 'Love one another' Jesus used to say...
The WAY you choose to help people is very important. For example, if you choose to do homework for your children - they may never learn to learn, no matter how much you "love" them.
The real issue is HOW to help people without compromising their self-development.
Look at GI (I avoid the word God because it is misused). If it was at all possible, wouldn't GI HELP us to evolve? How does GI actually DO help humanity? By protecting us from dying?
I thought I have expressed my views on helping others in The Freedom of Choice book. Have you missed it?
I'm afraid that my parable was misunderstood. Maybe it's because we are living in two different realities.So this time I'll use a real example of my own life, instead of a parable. And please try to note how this real example relates to my original parable.
This very next weekend I'm traveling by train to a province called Santa Fe (Argentina) with lots of other volunteers, in order to help and to take supplies (mainly food and clothes that other people and us have collected), to the province that has been under water since a few weeks ago, due to the overflowing of a river. You should see those images… they are terrible. In some places the water has reached the 2nd floors of some buildings. In some houses people live on roofs. It's the first time in history that this happened. As a result, a lot of people have died and many more are really suffering. Yes, I know that this must surely be another result of how bad humanity is treating our planet, and I know that people must experiment its consequences and suffer in order to learn, and I'm also telling that to other people in order to open their eyes too, but…
I think that the immediate way to help all these people and children, right now, is to give them food and clothes so they can go on living. I cannot go there now and start asking intelligent questions to people who are starving. They're my brothers. I want to try to help them cover their basic needs for life, so that only after that they could even start thinking in spiritual development. Only afterwards I'll try to show them that this was a consequence of our behavior as humanity, and that they should focus on the development of their Selves.
I'm sure you know the terrible consequences of hunger, especially on children. A person who doesn't cover his/her basic nutritional needs during childhood doesn't have too many opportunities to develop his/her intellect during his/her current life.
Of course that you are not obliged to agree with me, but that's the way I see it.You say in your book that Love is the main reason for our existence, don't you?
I didn't say that we shouldn't help people. I said is that THE WAY we choose to help is important. The other important thing of course is our MOTIVE WITHIN.
Do what you think is best in your particular situation and try to imagine consequences of your actions. I try to do it too. Even Great Intellect does. It is all about The Freedom of Choice, isn't it?