The issue of what determines the life-experiences of individuals effectively led me to my second memoir ‘The Dance of Destiny.’ It is a melange of personal experiences set in the context of history, geography, sociology, and probable influences from extra-Earthly sources (such as the spirit world).
The role of a personal destiny, within a network of a ‘nested destinies,’ was posited as the principal impacts on life-chances, with spirituality as the leavening of the otherwise heavy dough of Earthly experience. Who knows wherein lies reality!
It is easier to examine, and speculate upon, the behaviour of individuals. The psychology of human behaviour has been well-articulated from diverse perspectives. This enables each of us to ‘explain’ the motivations of our ‘Significant Others’ – as well as of lesser beings, like bosses, workmates, and shopkeepers (amongst others). Sometimes we can understand even ourselves!
Analysing group behaviour is more difficult. Do the blogs on sites such as WordPress, or the exposure of thoughts – both serious and trivial (eg, a breakfast at the harbour front of, say, Singapore) – on Facebook, reflect the durable behavioural patterns and underlying motivations of established human collectives? There are religious collectives, political collectives, youth collectives, criminal collectives, and so many others. Are there rules which enable us to explain, in a uniform manner, these collections, in terms of structure, purpose, motivations, control and operations, and their relationships with other collectives (eg. the religious with the political)?
The lack of relevant data – reliable data based on proper research methods, of course – would surely stymie any attempt at painting a realistic picture displaying the necessary in-depth 3-dimensional perspective. And, just as the movement of the sun during a nature painting changes the initial impact, so can the passage of time, with its effects on evolving behavioural values (or cultures), be expected to distort, to some extent, any impression gained by a preliminary analysis. What then?
It is easy to understand the collective which seeks to prevent Japanese whalers from killing whales in seas which belong to all mankind. Arguing that killing whales reflects a cultural tradition (which, if applied for ever, will depopulate valuable non-human species) is surely not defensible. What then of the collectives which say, in the interests of freedom, that no religious collective can have a political right to prevent them – whether they be religious or secular – from enjoying rights denied to the religious collective?
Is it not fascinating to observe (study, perhaps) such collectives against the obvious background that all humans should have undeniable equal rights and freedoms, expressed responsibly? The repressive regimes of colonialism, of the Nazis, of communism, and of some religious communities come to mind.