It is very clear to any serious student of society that all human beings share the same needs, desires, and, to a large degree, even symbolism, regardless of race, color, creed or culture. What every human being enjoys and wants can be defined as Love, Power and Harmony.
Love is part of our nature. It is the state of feeling happily connected to another, or the act of becoming connected. It is extending our self to include another. We do not have to strive for love unless we feel we do not have it. When human beings gather under circumstances where there is no fear, love simply happens. I have attended many gatherings in many different countries where dozens of complete strangers became loving friends after two or three days of just being together. What they did and why they were there didn't seem to matter. Merely close proximity and a lack of fear produced love without effort.
In times of danger love also manifests naturally. When there is a disaster or an accident, people who are not locked in fear automatically begin to assist the ones who need help. They don't have to be taught or instructed, except in how to help better. The desire to help, which is a form of love, arises spontaneously. This automatic love response is so great that some people will put their own lives at great risk to help another person. We call such people heroes when they jump into raging rivers to save someone from drowning, or run into a burning building to bring out a child, or do any one of a hundred other brave things to help another. And yet, few of these people think of themselves as heroes. Most of the time they say they did it because it was the thing to do, or they did it without thinking. It was a spontaneous act of love.
Doubt is the one thing that weakens the connection of love. When a person doubts the existence of love, then fear is born and love begins to die. Fear interferes with love because it is the opposite of love. Fear comes from feeling or being disconnected. When love diminishes, fear increases; and when fear diminishes, love increases. More than that, when love diminishes, so does the need and desire for love.
The need and desire to love and be loved influence all our actions and reactions to the degree that we feel a lack of love in any form. In addition to the powerful force of sexual love, we are also driven by a love for approval and recognition. Many of our behaviors are guided by the hope of approval, or the reaction to disapproval. And many are guided by a quest for recognition, however small or temporary, especially when affection and approval do not seem imminent. Great acts that benefit all of society and vicious acts that harm society may both come from the need and desire for recognition. When recognition is lacking some people will force it by seeking respect, perhaps through doing something worthwhile, or perhaps through achieving a false respect by causing fear.
When there is sufficient frustration in satisfying the need and desire for love of any kind, the result is mental or physical sickness. This happens when the fear that results from the lack of love has no outlet. When, according to the beliefs of the individual, there is nothing that can be done, the fear causes a withdrawal inward, producing great tension on the body and therefore illness.
Power is part of our nature. Like love, we do not have to strive for power unless we feel we do not have it. Power itself is the act of being effective. From the very moment of conception we are all in the process of expressing our power, of doing that which is effective for our survival and our pleasure. From then on, in every moment of our lives, we are engaged in expressing our power, more or less effectively. Physically, our bodies are engaged in maintenance, repair, growth, learning and pleasure-seeking. Mentally, our minds are engaged in problem-solving, creativity and extending our influence into the world around us. We are always powerful, but for many reasons we may not always realize it. When the expression of power is not effective, the natural reaction is to seek a different solution to a problem or to find another way of being effective. Inventors may experiment with thousands of different approaches before their inventions work; sports teams may try dozens of different strategies to win against their opponents; politicians may devise many different economic and social plans to achieve their ends. Individually, people try different healing techniques and approaches, different careers, different relationships, and different religions with the aim of being more effective in their lives.
Again, doubt is the one thing that weakens the natural expression of power. When a person doubts his or her personal power, or source of power, then anger is born and power begins to flee. As power decreases, anger increases; and as anger decreases, power increases. And, as with love, when power decreases, so does anger as well as the need and desire for power.
The most popular technique for trying to regain power while doubt and anger are still operating is control. Many people confuse power with control, but control is what people use when they are feeling powerless. Active control is used to force people to do what you want. It usually takes the form of intimidation or physical force. Passive control, also called passive aggression, takes the form of getting people to do what you want by refusing to act, or by making them feel guilty enough to do what you want. Besides being bad for relationships and effectiveness, the attempt to control causes a lot of tension in the controller.
When control isn't possible, another technique sometimes used is vandalism. A child who feels hurt and powerless may break things to display anger. This seldom works to control parents, but it does get a reaction, and that substitute for effectiveness brings a little satisfaction, at least. The child thinks, "I can't get what I want, but at least I can make someone unhappy." It is a very poor substitute for effectiveness, but it can progress from childhood tantrums to teenage vandalism to adult terrorism. And of course it brings tension with it. However, when there is no outlet for the anger and no return to real power the anger is directed inward and the result is mental and physical illness.
Finally, there is the natural inclination toward harmony. By harmony I mean the mutually beneficial integration and cooperation of people with their social and natural environment. We can see this most easily in isolated tribal groups, but it exists also in many small communities, neighborhoods, groups, clubs and associations. We may see attempts to create harmony by national governments and the United Nations, but the larger the group the more difficult it seems to be. This partly because the larger the group the easier it is for it to be more impersonal. That is, the easier it is to lose a sense of connection and personal influence. But harmony involves more than that; it really has to do with a sense of one's place and purpose in the world, and a recognition of interdependence with the rest of the world. When a person doubts that interdependence and doubts one's own place and purpose within it, then alienation is born. Instead of "you and I or we and they together" it becomes "me or us against them." Alienation, which often includes extreme restlessness, apathy, confusion and despair, creates great internal tension and, of course, mental and physical illness.
The solution for illness caused by fear is to be more loving, by giving more acknowledgement, appreciation, admiration, tolerance, mercy, caring and help to others and to yourself. The solution for illness caused by anger is to increase your knowledge, skill, and self confidence. The solution for illness caused by alienation is to first seek spiritual harmony with a higher or deeper being, and then look for that spirit in all things. If you want a quick fix, though, because of the ultra-fast pace of modern life, then simply cease to doubt. Keep a healthy skepticism whenever necessary, but refuse to doubt your own value, the value of others, and the value of the world.