Goodness is the natural expression of a man fully alive. Relative goodness, and a descent into folly out of sheer ignorance, represents the staircase downwards. The lower functions of a good man are always kept in check and put into their proper place. A strong impulse, such as an intense desire or a negative emotion, doesn’t possess the power to suddenly shift his whole attitude down a different direction. There is a rooted solidarity within his moral compass that allows permanence of character to withstand the weather of human dramas. What worth is a man who does not have, or at least strives to attain, such a being? Anyone else is simply a plaything for the whims of chance.
Sensitivity is the quality by which intelligence — not solely of the mind, but also the heart, body and senses — is made possible. Intelligence of the thinking apparatus which counts, compares, and concludes is merely one form. The intelligence of the heart is quite a higher kind. In a great number of texts, denominated as holy, ancient or contemporary, praise is given to the functions of conscience and compassion, features of an emphatic individual. It is often regarded as an attribute belonging to those who have worked long and hard on developing themselves into an ever more perfect, or balanced, being.
The staircase downwards in this regard is, of course, in buffering our mind, heart and senses. That is to say, instead of sensitivity, we find a process of hardening at work. Instead of connecting ourselves with others, or of concepts coming together in our minds in order that we be made able to see a bigger picture, we come to an ever more fragmented, narrowed, and isolated way of being. Great evils are the eventual result of a whole society degenerating down the steps of such a descending staircase. Feeling less, knowing less, sensing less, and therefore diminishing down into nothing but the fate of a hapless ego.
Beautiful is the sight of witnessing nothing become everything, the disconnected become connected, and the fragmented piece itself back together. People are all too often satisfied with themselves, with what they are and how they behave, yet without a constant yearning and striving towards becoming a better individual, gravity slides them down the staircase. There is a law that keeps everything in motion, never allowing anything to stay in simply one place. The thing must move up or it will move down. And so it is with man. If he would harbour the fine intention and pure ambition to continually strive upwards, he will be assured a far better fate than those who slide by the force of sloth alone.
There are buttons, all of which can be turned on or off. Kindness is a quality of such a button. The absence of this quality leads a man down a road where every lacking instance of gratitude towards the presence of others makes him ever more callous amongst the community. This becomes his normality, the funnel through which all his thoughts and feelings are filtered. It will be his reality, like an addiction which closes off all outside perspectives. So men must be careful, less sure and satisfied of themselves, and ever watchful of what they are doing, and why. It is in this respect we may extract one of many meanings to the saying, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)