"the course of Western Civilization"

why is human nature greed and degeneration ?


This is the second subsection of section 3,” Greedy and degenerate of human nature” of Chapter 1, “Religion and life,” the first part of “The History of Western Civilization”. I renamed it “why is human nature greed and degeneration ?”. This article discusses how the suffering of human nature concretely creates the nature of greed and degeneration. We hope to cover up the pain of life with these sensual pleasures, that is, the color, smell, taste, sound, sex brought by our eyes, ears, nose, body, and mind. But the more they cover up the pain, the stronger it is; because of that, this is just avoiding the pain and can’t really solve it.


 We use all kinds of pleasure to escape pain and trouble


However, for most of us, it’s hard to accept Sakyamuni’s method. Only those who are disillusioned, all ideas are dashed, and see through the earthly world, tired of earthly life, escape into Buddhism. The monastic life as dull as ditchwater is not a life that ordinary people can endure. Few people want to practice Buddhism and stay away from the pain of the cycle of life and death. It has been more than a thousand years since Buddhism was introduced into China in the Tang Dynasty. For these years, Buddhism has not changed our society much. The bustling world is still a confused bustling mundane world, and the red dust is still rolling red dust. Our earthly world still runs in an inherent way and continues today. Of course, why is Chinese society a secular society, and why does religion have little influence in China?

Scholars have different opinions on this issue. I personally think it owes to the secular theory of Confucianism. Confucianism also worships heaven and ancestors and has hazy primitive religious worship. However, Confucianism does not touch on ghosts and gods; it belongs to the secular theory all in all. Moreover, this extremely mature secular theory of Confucianism makes China’s kingship more stable and powerful than other countries. Except for Buddhism and Taoism, which escapes from the secular world, it is difficult for other foreign religions, such as Christianity and Islam, to profoundly impact and integrate into Chinese society. Therefore, what is our real life in this secular society? Of course, as Sakyamuni said, all of us have countless unavoidable troubles and pain. Regardless of everyone’s private feelings, no one can get rid of the pain of birth, old age, illness, or death. No one dares to say that he is completely happy and blissful. However, our secular life is contrary to Sakyamuni’s instructions. It is precisely through the pleasure brought by the senses to dilute the annoyance and suffering of life, find the fun of life, and take it as the pillar of our life.

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Fame, rank, and wealth; wine, women, avarice, and pride — these cardinal vices are the whole of our secular life. Our senses bring us the pleasures of sound, color, taste, food, sex, and reputation. Sakyamuni believes that these pleasures make us far away from the real meaning of life and should be completely cut off. But, in fact, they have become the whole of our life. These pleasures make us forget the annoyance and suffering of life. We spend every day, every time, every moment in these pleasures. Although depicting Chinese in this way is mean, it seems true. Westers often go to church, pray to God and seek the filling with the Holy Spirit; by contrast, our mortal world has its own way of life. We forget the trouble and pain of life through these sensual pleasures. We greedily taste delicious food and neglect the boss’s criticism today. Intoxicating wine makes us ignore the mountain of work tomorrow. In the beautiful music, we disregard the spites of customers. In lovers’ arms, we temporarily forget the huge pressure on capital. We often don’t know why we indulge in food, wine, beauty, and music and why we can’t resist their temptation.In fact, it is actually an evasion to escape deeper, heavier annoyance and suffering.

The great writer Gu Long is known as a prodigal son. Maybe only a prodigal son can really sense life, so let’s learn about his life first. Gu Long is fond of lust, wine, and food. In the eyes of ordinary people, he has not missed any enjoyment of life. Perhaps this is the saddest and most painful to Gu Long. No one in the world understands him, and he can’t find a bosom friend. Gu Long has been one of my most admired Chinese writers in the past 100 years. His writing is spiritual and smart, like the colorful clouds in the sky. Perhaps because of his extreme genius, he “was known all over the world but had no friends.” No one understands his acute emptiness and pain. People think he took pleasure in wine, women, and song, but he knew he was in evasion, escaping the sharp pain and sorrow. He wrote in his novel, “if you think wine is just a happy liquid, you are wrong. If you ask me, what is wine? Then I tell you, wine is a kind of shell, just like the shell on the back of a snail, which can let you escape. So, even if someone tramps on it, you can’t see it. “① There are many words expressing this idea in his novels. In the last week before Gulong’s death, Lin Qingxuan went to see him. Gulong wrote him a notion, ” Flowers on the fields are now in full bloom, you can get drunk slowly, and exchange fame for singing softly and chanting gently.” He said, “in the past, I drunk heavily to hide my emptiness. Now I can be intoxicated when I see the flowers blooming on the field.”②


Gulong is a genius and a prodigal son. He is extremely sensitive, but he dares say and dares to do, truly speaking out his mind. If we retrospect ourselves, will we find that we are the same as him on the flight from reality? But we are far from Gu Long’s genius and sensitivity and lack the courage to introspect. In fact, we can’t refrain from the temptation of wine, food, beauty, and music. Aren’t we also escaping from endless troubles and pain, but we ourselves don’t realize or daren’t to say it out. We try to throw off poverty and free ourselves from the fate of being despised. We are busy on the road to success every day, eager for success, yearning for wealth, longing for a better life than others, and enjoying the pleasure of being superior to others. On this road to success, the more you go, the more pressure you have, the more pressure, and the more troubles. We always wash them down with wine, beauty, food, and song. Fortunately, we finally succeeded, indulging more in wine, beauty, food, and song and gaining more intoxicated. We can’t leave them. Without them, our life immediately lost luster and became dull and bland. We can’t live without the nightlife of the city. We can’t adapt to the tranquility and insipidity of the countryside and can’t experience loneliness and solitude. We can’t even sit alone. As long as we sit alone, emptiness, boredom, troubles, and pain immediately blot out all around us. Therefore, we can only continue to rush on the road to pursue more success and get more wins. We fill ourselves with more pleasure, enjoy more entertainment, and forget the trouble and pain of life in the pleasure until the day we can’t pursue and enjoy.This is the simplest and most direct way to release the trouble and pain. It does not need the strict discipline of Buddhism nor the brotherly love of Christian who cost all their money. It only needs to pursue success and enjoy ourselves until death. This is our real secular life and genuine worldly life.

Of course, here, I dramatize the lives of some big people in our secular society who pursue fame and wealth and whose material desires flow everywhere.In fact, their lives have nothing to do with most of us. We ordinary people just live plain small days, day by day, abide by the ancient virtues of the Chinese people, support our families, respect the old and help the young. We have not read the “Four Books and The Five Classics”, do not understand the moral philosophy, and never know the contents of the Bible. Still, we have the traditional moral virtues flowing on this yellow land that comes from the depths of our hearts, subconsciousness, and the universe. In fact, these virtues also lie in every corner of the world and every society. For example, in the following chapters, we will discuss the moral philosophy of Aristotle in ancient Greece, which is far away from China. Aristotle’s philosophy also comes from the traditional virtue in the polytheistic society of ancient Greece and is also the moral code observed by most ordinary people. Aristotle believes that life is the golden mean and nothing can be excessive. How simple, familiar, and kind is it! Because what Aristotle said is also the common view of our society and the whole of humans. Life is painful in essence, but God has also granted us wine, food, and song. Why not drink a bit, eat a few delicious foods, listen to some ditty and enjoy our little life? As long as we are not in excess and don’t indulge in it. But for most of us, the pressure of supporting our family makes us impossible to live in that.


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Hong Qigong of “A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heros “is the most successful character in Jin Yong’s novels. He is never attached to power and lust for women. His only hobby is his love of eating. Tricky Huang Rong hooks him with delicious food and asks him to teach her boyfriend GouJing one move of the 18 palm attacks of subduing dragons every day. Hong Qigong is a hero peerless, openhearted and aboveboard. His hobby for food sets off his amiability and loveliness because most of us can only crave food and wine. We can’t wallow in the luxury and have endless vanity like big people. He is one of the most ordinary people, so he is so real and kind.In fact, no matter how politicians keep shifting their ground, as changeable as clouds and rain, no matter how philosophers toss about, play fast and loose, and no matter how Confucianism teaches, these have nothing to do with us. Most of us abide by the traditional virtues from the depths of our souls and the universe, which is also the fundamental reason why the big people in our secular society are so extremely extravagant and luxurious, and live on the fat of the land, but the society is still stable. However, for the time being, we will not discuss the little lives of ordinary people but concern the lives of big people who influence human history.


We will sadly find three things if we observe and analyze the pleasure. One is once we possess the pleasure, we can’t lose them, and life without them will not keep on. We are afraid of losing power and wealth because we always use the pleasure power brings to dilute the troubles and pain of life. It is entirely unacceptable to lose them going back to the past, so we can’t lose pleasure once we own them. Some old politicians reject giving up power until they die because power can make others beg and entreat them, and they can determine others’ fate. Power brings them infinite vanity and pleasure. They will face infinite trouble, pain, and even death if they lose power. So, how can they give up power? Once we own the pleasure, we can’t lose it. This is the first thing about pleasure. The second thing is that pleasure is easy to get bored and needs to be changed constantly. We constantly change the tastes of food and enjoy fresh and exciting entertainment. We change our girlfriends. Human nature is keen on the new one and tired of an old love, the old love crying out, the new one smiling in.No matter how nice the music is, it will feel no sense in the single cycle. No matter how beautiful the scenery is, it will be boring showing up before us every day. If you say it in a serious tone, pleasure has aesthetic fatigue, and In a popular way, it is easy to be tedious and needs to be shifted constantly. This is the second thing about pleasure. The third thing is that pleasure is not only easy to get bored; in addition to constantly changeable, it also needs to raise the stimulation to make more pleasure always. As the saying goes, a wife is not as good as a concubine, a concubine is better than a prostitute, and a prostitute is less than a clandestine love. Why is this? Because simple sexual pleasure can no longer satisfy us, we can only satiate it by constantly increasing stimulation. After having tens of millions of wealth, we still want to have hundreds of millions of wealth. After owning hundreds of millions, we still hope to have billions or tens of billions. These are our human beings. We are never satisfied; we are insatiable greed and avaricious desires. We find that human nature is greedy and degenerate, and avarice is limitless based on these three things. We deny Sakyamuni’s teaching of being far away from pleasure; instead, we hope to dilute the troubles and pain of life through pleasure. However, pleasure has these three fatal things, so we can only indulge in pleasure forever. There are endless troubles and pains in our life. When you try to dilute them with pleasure, which brings more and heavier troubles and pains, you have to dilute them with more pleasure, so human desire is boundless. Many times we wonder why our desires are so difficult to fill. In fact, it is the inevitable result when we use pleasure to release our troubles and pain. It is an eternal vicious circle that will never be resolved. Therefore, we can only sink into pleasure, fall into degeneration, slide into vice, and struggle in this earthly world. According to Buddhism, the sea of suffering is boundless, and turning back is the beach, which means what we discussed above.

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We start from the Buddhist Sakyamuni’s human essence of trouble and pain. After going full circle, do we find that we have come to the most basic view of Christianity? That is, human nature is greedy and degenerate, likes leisure, and hates work. Christians believe that people come to the world with original sin, so they often have a deep sense of guilt; they often suffer from them. In the eyes of Christians, this sense of guilt is not empty but real. It is a lot of sensuality and evil behaviors and ideas. It includes not only those serious immoral behaviors and ideas but also all kinds of enjoyment, the excessive indulgence we mentioned above, even just those of ideas. Most Christians will regret their hedonistic and orgiastic behavior, and these ideas cannot even appear for some devout Christians. They are miserable for having such ideas and feel pain for having such thoughts. They think that the ideas of enjoyment and excessive indulgence come from original human sin. Therefore, it is a bad tendency to deviate from God’s teachings, and it will bring humans the feeling of guilt and pain. Therefore, Christians also believe that people come to the world to bear the pain and atone in essence, so life is an Atonement for Christian. In Augustine’s confessions, he alleviated his pain by trying to repent of his former debauchery. These feelings of guilt almost crushed Luther, he was just a monk, a clean monk who knew nothing about the secular world, but he also suffered from these ideas of enjoyment and orgy. These original sins, this nameless pain, forced him to set up Protestant doctrine. So in the confessions in every corner of Europe in the middle ages, Catholics poured out their sins or just some evil ideas to priests to release their sense of guilt and alleviate their pain. However, the original sin of humans, like trouble and pain, is inevitable and can not be removed at all. Therefore, Catholics go back to enjoy themselves and indulge in orgies or other evil thoughts and actions after confessing to the priest. They come to confess after some time, so they spend their lives in this circle again and again(I use the word “Catholics” here because these are the disadvantages of Catholicism. It is also because Protestantism appears later, while Protestantism requires believers to do good from their hearts all their life.)


Christians believe that even the behaviors or idea of enjoyment, excessive indulgence is an original sin, not to mention other sins, so they often have a deep sense of guilt and pain. For Easterners, We hope to get rid of the inherent trouble and pain through pleasure and indulgence, so it gives us more painful inevitably. But, of course, life is greedy, degenerate, and painful for both. Maybe the eastern and Western civilizations are interlinked, and it can be said that any civilization is interlinked in the extreme end. However, for Christianity, The pain caused by original mortal sin , human nature greedy and degenerate ,is not resolved through the practice of breaking the red dust, nor is it completely through repentance. Repentance is only an auxiliary means. in secular life, Christian believe that they can be selected to enter heaven,Returning to the eternal garden of Eden and reaching a state of complete happiness to dilute our troubles and pain through the belief in God, through the brotherly love, through the good deeds throughout life, and through the belief in their own resurrection and judgment.is not only a Christian method to solve our troubles and pain in life, but also a more acceptable and effective method than Buddhism.We will have a lot of discussion on Christianity in the following chapters. Let’s talk about these for the time being, mainly to make everyone know that Christianity and Buddhism have the same views on life in essence, but the solutions are different.Note:


①Gu Long “seven weapons”, written by, Zhuhai publishing house

② Reference from network

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