Tower of Truth
Man’s need for self-validation is very deep. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. The deeper the need – the more powerful the desire to invent and to fabricate.
Not that there is a true need to fabricate. The Creator who so lovingly designed us also provided for all of our needs. We have air to breath, water to drink and food to eat. Surely God also provided for our basic emotional needs as well.
There seems to be a pattern in the way God provides for our needs. The availability of the item that satisfies our need seems to be directly correlated to the level of requirement that we have for the particular item. Air is the most essential material need that we have and it is all over the place. Water follows as our second most basic need and while it is not as easy to obtain as air but it is still quite readily available. Food is not as easily obtained as water but the basic food staples are easier to acquire than are other, less pressing, needs that we have. It would then follow, that our essential emotional needs were also met by the Creator of all.
Indeed, self-validation is as readily available as air. Our very existence is a most powerful message of validation. Your existence is a deliberate act of love wrought by the Creator of the universe; He knew what He was doing when He called you into existence – that is a deep message of affirmation. When you see how your body was designed with wisdom, how your needs are met by the world He created and each of these with grace and beauty – you are validated by His care for you. When you realize how it is not only your essential needs that are met but also how He put so much more into this world simply to make life more pleasurable, you will then be affirmed by His love.
As a human being you will appreciate that God endowed you with the ability to take advantage of every aspect of nature, including various forces of nature that are completely useless to animals. Furthermore; as a human, God granted you dominion and control over the animal kingdom (Psalm 8:7). These basic truths should serve to confirm and to validate your central role in God’s plan. You have been blessed with the ability to act with a range of emotions that is not matched by any other being except for God Himself. As a human you possess a conscience that informs you what is just, what is good, holy and blessed, and conversely; what is evil, impure and wrong. A proper recognition of these blessings will provide you with all of the confirmation and validation that you need.
But we have a tendency to look away from these blessings (Ecclesiastes 7:29). Now, when we look away from these blessings, we find that the need for self-validation is not met. So we invent, we fabricate and we have manufactured a complex web of values that have no basis in reality; and we then seek validation in the tower of falsehood erected by man.
We attach importance to concepts that have no intrinsic importance and we then validate ourselves by associating ourselves with these concepts. We give value to articles and forces that are not intrinsically valuable and we then affirm our self-worth by possession and control of these articles and forces.
Money, sports achievements, the honor of men, fame and positions of power are but a few of the examples of empty ideas that have been exalted by man. We measure ourselves by the connection that we have to these concepts that stand high in the minds and hearts of men. We find self-validation when we can associate ourselves with these concepts that men look up to and this is how we measure our own self-worth and the worth of our fellow humans.
The tragic ramifications of this mistake are manifold. The first, most obvious, ramification is the mere fact that it many of these “items of value” are out of reach for most of mankind. There are a limited of number of people that can be famous, powerful, rich and honored. These qualities are always measured in the relative context of the general population. You are only rich if you have more money than the average person, you are only famous if you are more famous than the average person and your sports achievement can only be significant if you outdid your fellow man. Most people spend their life striving for these and never attaining them and this never-ending striving leads to violent conflict between men and nations.
Another painful ramification of this false path that man-kind has chosen is the disappointment that is encountered when one has exerted him or herself for one of these “achievements” only to realize that they have spent a life chasing a mirage. As we mature, the dazzle of the world and its glories tends to fade from our hearts and we realize how empty some of these “goals” have been.
Perhaps the most tragic ramification of this pervasive human mistake is when one never realizes the emptiness of these concepts. Can there be something more tragic than a man going to the grave never having learned that there is more to life than money, fame and honor?
The issue of validation is not simply a question of self-help; a proper way to meet our emotional needs. God created us with this emotional need so that we can appreciate our purpose in His world. Our search for validation and self-worth ought to lead us towards deepening a relationship with God, living in the light of His love, and radiating that love to those around us. The distractions of the man-made value system are not only damaging on a personal level; but they also pull mankind away from the true purpose of life.
The true contest of life is then the question: will we entangle ourselves in this web of lies spun by ingratitude? Or will we learn to focus on the blessings, the love that God constantly showers upon us?
It is not a coincidence that the name: “Jew” means gratitude (Genesis 29:35). It is also not a coincidence that the king of the Jews; David, wrote a book that expresses this heart of gratitude towards the Creator of all and encourages man to disentangle from the web of falsehood manufactured by man’s refusal to appreciate. It is for this purpose that we were chosen and it is for this purpose that God chose David as our king. We, the Jewish people, are called to stand as a beacon of light, as an example of focus on the goodness of God and disdain for the false value system created by man.
It is up to us. We can choose where we will find our validation, confirmation and sense of self-worth. Will it be in the tower of emptiness erected by man? Or will it be in the tower of truth whose bricks are the love and the goodness of our Creator. This choice is where it is all happening.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal