“Vanity… Definitely my favourite sin!”, John Milton, The Devil’s Advocate.
The defining trial of the age of man is underway at a grand scale. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced mankind to put its core moral values on trial. At stake is our very humanity. The plaintiff is our moral code demanding that we put the collective good of the species ahead of the needs of the individual. The defendant is our very biology that drives us to take risks in pursuit of ephemeral emotions such as happiness and the satisfaction derived from indulging our basal instincts. The judge and jury is our collective intelligence. The only actors missing are the lawyers to represent both sides to ensure that the law is upheld. But will justice be delivered? Or rather can there be a just resolution to this eternal dispute between the body and the soul?
Maybe it is our vanity that is the real culprit here. After all, in our vanity we have strived to control every aspect of our natural world in spite of having been repeatedly shown our place in the natural order by Mother Nature. Why does the species as a whole then persevere in this endeavour? After all there has never been a dearth of the enlightened souls who have tried to make us see the glaring fallacies in our reasoning. These messiahs have even been able to resist the lure of vanity and have stayed true to their cause. Instead it has taken a global pandemic to force humanity to put itself on trial.
So let us then try to explore what has been missing from the cast of characters. The God and the Devil are present and so are angels and demons. Then we have human beings with varying moral standards spread over the entire spectrum from outright altruistic to downright evil. We have teachers, preachers, and gurus to guide us and marketeers, profiteers, and politicians to beguile us. The one unfulfilled role seems to be that of a lawyer, nay an advocate, who can help us represent our true selves and argue dispassionately on our behalf in a court that is inherently biased towards ruling in favour of our materialistic needs.
If the Devil needs an advocate to try and bend our free will then why should God rely only on his angels? Enter a Spiritual Advocate!
True to the definition of the word, a Spiritual Advocate must primarily be responsible for arguing to our flawed intelligence to strive to achieve a balance between our diverse needs. They should help us rein in our desires to feel morally justified whilst indulging our biological needs. And in turn they should help alleviate our guilt arising from bending our moral compass whilst striving to stay true to our very basic purpose as living things: to carry on living to the best of our abilities!
The situation is further complicated by the undeniable fact the homo sapiens species is the only species that consists of individuals who are prey and individuals who are predators and of individuals who are primarily producers and individuals who are primarily consumers. This results in a dichotomy in our very plane of existence producing two distinct worlds: one which consists of individuals who are driven to live by strict adherence to an agreed upon set of social laws and the other wherein each individual is truly empowered to establish their own moral code and live by it. And thus required to mediate between these two worlds are advocates who can straddle the schism that separates these two worlds and thus maintain the peace.
The spiritual advocates are themselves certainly not free of the lure of vanity as they face off against the Devil’s advocates who are entrenched in both the worlds. It is this herculean effort that they put in to stand their ground that makes them the true superheroes of our time! Let us then call out to these spiritual advocates to come out of the shadows and in to the limelight to help us restore some sense of order to this world devoured by the forces of good and evil at a scale never before witnessed in the history of our species!
This story was first published at Spiritual Advocates — The missing superheroes of the hour! | by Yatin Kulkarni | Feb, 2021 | Medium.