Life, Rising Up
12-Supreme effort is the strongest force of evolutionary life. As Imam Ali has said,
قدر الرجل علی قدر همته
"A man's value and merit lies in his effort and endeavor."
Extreme effort has some conditions:
a)Supreme aim and dissatisfaction about what the society imposes upon man.
b)Stepping beyond the waves of mortal desires and evaluating natural pleasures, which keep man busy and prevent him from development and elevation.
c)Logically interpreting the concepts of "possibility" and "impossible." Some people who have enough power and will to accomplish things mistake the possible with the impossible; they imagine what they aim for is beyond their abilities.
d)Will power has a crucial role in making supreme effort fruitful, for man will accomplish nothing without will power.
With supreme effort, man will achieve:
●Patience: Supreme effort gives man firmness and tranquility against the negative consequences of pleasures and sorrow.
●Revealing the secrets of the soul: Pleasures and sorrows deprive man of the secrets in his soul. With supreme effort, man can put up a resistance against them.
●Social constructivism: Only human beings of supreme effort can construct the society.
●Freedom: Supreme effort can set man free.
●The highest level of freedom increases the heart's capacity for gaining goodwill and perfection.
13-One of the signs of entering evolutionary life is clearing the soul of all hatred and frustrations. If we hate another person intensely, to the extent that hatred fills our souls and affects our other mental activities, it will be a horrendous grudge. Grudges make man lose his ability to see things righteously. Man ignores human values and will continue until he destroys the one he hates.
14-You cannot proceed on the path of evolutionary life unless you stop expecting rewards for your good deeds. If man's relationship with others becomes a form of trade, he will never make it to the path of evolutionary life. Some people never seem willing to give anything unless they gain something in return. Trade and reward and punishment are phenomena necessary to the natural ego, but man must step beyond them if he is to achieve development and evolution.
15-Feeling that your purely natural life is insufficient can make you start moving on the path of evolutionary life. If man does not feel eager to become perfect, if he does not suffer from his shortcomings, he will never make any progress on the path to evolutionary life. Alas, many people do not feel the need for reaching perfection, so they take no action toward eliminating their shortcomings.
16-In an evolutionary life, rewards and punishments are based upon intentions. Intention consists of decision and objective action, the merit of which depends on one hand upon the value of man's effort in deciding to do so, and on the other hand upon man's mental motive. If man's decision is based on a negative motive, his character will deteriorate a positive motive will, in contrast, boost his personality. This is why we can say that reward and punishment – rise or fall – depends on our intentions.
17-The basic factor in man's evolutionary life is the fact that God watches man's every single word, action and even what goes on deep inside him. If man believes that God is aware of his every move – internally or externally – he will avoid evil. Such a man will not avoid wrongdoing for fear of social punishment, but rather due to his shame toward his creator. Belief that God is at all times observing every aspect of human life can elevate man's evolutionary life, for man now knows that God wishes the best for him, and has provided him with intelligible ways to get there, and the tools he needs to do so; obeying what God wants man to do is the path to perfection.
18-Man's evolutionary life cannot be elevated without activating the human intellect, which in turn cannot serve man without spiritual purification. If intelligence enjoys the advice and directions of a pure conscience and sound nature and disposition, it can guide man toward progress and perfection, for intelligence alone is unable to provide man with evolutionary advance. It should be accompanied with self-purification in order to remove all the inhibiting factors on its path.
19-The human ego requires natural flourish and expansion in order to proceed on the path of evolutionary life.
If the perfection-seeking human soul starts its climb toward supernatural progress without any chances for relaxation or rest, and constantly cuts its ego off from all its natural characteristics, forcing them to obey its furiously accelerating development, the ego will undoubtedly suffer, losing the management of its body, which serves as its steed. Thus, moderate dealing with the ego is necessary for elevation toward evolutionary life.
20-In evolutionary life, man's progress should be forward-looking at all times. Sometimes imitating one's predecessors' beliefs and traditions prevents man from logical activity and progress. This is why we must state that on his path toward evolutionary life, man must analyze the culture that dominates his society, and remove any sedimentary elements in it. Imitations are steel dams inhibiting man's advance toward evolution.
There are two kinds of future man must have in mind on the path to evolutionary life:
a)The future of this worldly life, for which thoughts and intelligence are a crucial necessity.
b)The future of man's other life, which if man ignores or defies, interpreting his worldly life will also become impossible.
21-Those who are the most obedient of God also have the best intentions about their own selves. As Imam Ali (P.B.U.H.) has said,
عبادالله ان انصح الناس لنفسه اطوعهم لربه و ان اغشهم لنفسه اعصاهم لربه
"O servants of God, those people who are the most obedient are the kindest to themselves, and those who defy God are betraying themselves the worst of all."
Man, in contact with God, sees Him supervising and dominating his ego. Such a feeling makes man believe that he is always in the realm of God, so he will not fall astray from God's path.