Nothing is perfect, at least insofar as our common conception of "perfection" is concerned: All things pass; all things decay and transform. And it is only because we wish for things to be otherwise that we experience hardship; in Buddhist terms, it is our attachment to imagined things that is the root of our various afflictions. We want the world to be otherwise than it is; we want a world that will never pass, that will never decay or transform- but such a world does not exist, nor will it ever exist. "Perhaps one day we will find a way...," we think.
So of course, we never stop striving to create that perfect world, for we are human, after all. The desire to change the world, to mold it and to form it- to transform it- is deeply imbedded in the human condition. Human beings are a creative species: Everything that we do, we do to some end, which is a quintessentially artistic process (i.e., we envision a goal and then act towards the realization of that vision). But while every animal does this to some extent, the human animal does this philosophically as well as physically.
This ability to think symbolically is not only our greatest power but also the source of all of our pain, because when we imagine for ourselves not only a world that is not but a world that cannot be, we doom ourselves to continual frustration. We feel as though we are the victims of a great injustice, and cease to look optimistically to the future; instead, we become small, petty, entitled, and easily broken. Fortunately, there is a better method for transforming the world: We must look to transforming our internal world first, and only then look to transforming our external world. And this is, essentially, the classical tradition of human spirituality, which was for thousands of years the foundation of social progress (I use the term foundation intentionally; without mastery of the internal world, "social progress" becomes distorted; it regresses, becomes needlessly superficial, and ultimately fails).
What do we do, however, when society has already regressed to a shallower, less self-mastered condition? And what do we do when we find our social and political systems fractured beyond repair? Then the rebirth of the old way becomes even more critical, for without a general psycho-spiritual health in the individual there can be no psycho-spiritual health within society, which is essentially nothing more than an aggregate of individuals. For no amount of external freedom and prosperity will ever be sufficient to counterbalance a lack of internal freedom and prosperity.
There will always be those too greedy or too stupid to admit the truth: that every human problem is ultimately an internal problem- and therefore that every human rebirth is ultimately an internal rebirth. And there will always be those willing to turn that greed and stupidity to their advantage- but that is no reason to despair. Politics will always be strategic, and therefore divisive; that is the nature of politics. But as we know, all things pass, and political corruption and divisiveness must eventually pass as well.
History, as we all know, tends to move in cycles: birth, growth, climax, decay, death, and rebirth- that is the way of things. And that is the way of society as well: Cultures are born, grow, climax, decline, die, and become something new. "Nothing is new under the sun," says Ecclesiastes. However, although "this too shall pass," the story of man and of man's spiritual rebirth is timeless- because the human spirit is timeless.
~ Joshua van Asakinda