It’s often claimed that this world is unfair, that it’s unjust. But this is wrong. Anyone reading through human history must come away with a feeling of pure horror. A professor has calculated that in four thousand years Mankind has been free of war for only about two hundred. Now combine this with the endless religious slaughters, the Inquisition, the Holocaust and any credible person must shake their head in disbelief.
what kind of world is this if a madman has to tell you to be ashamed of yourselves?
In fact, it would be almost impossible to list all of Man’s outrages across the centuries.
Even in periods of relative peace, or in lands not touched by war we are faced with the daily, petty cruelties, unbridled greed, incessant lying, hypocrisy, betrayals, rascalities and the general nastiness of so many.
Despite the incredible advances made by humans we still find staggering levels of poverty and half the world’s population barely making it from one day to the next. Indeed, suffering is the rule. Of course, we can all find someone who is worse off than ourselves, but what does this say then about the whole?
The First of Buddha’s ‘Four Noble Truths’ is ‘dukkha,’ that all life is suffering. ’Dukkha’ is a Pali word and refers to wheels whose axles are off-centre, like bones out of their sockets. The idea here is that something is out of joint, something is not right.
I am sure that if we took all the cruel acts and the brutalities committed by Man over the centuries and put it on one side of a scale, then the collected sufferings everywhere to be seen on the other side, we would find this scale in perfect balance.
As the Sage has said, ‘the world is the tribunal of the world.’
This world is its own Last Judgement.
In Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1983 film ‘Nostalgia,’ we meet the reclusive Domenico, a prophet of doom who warns of the coming end of the world. He cries out to a Russian poet, ‘what kind of world is this if a madman has to tell you to be ashamed of yourselves?’