The Golden Eagle is the Messenger, carrying with it the Yasa and its high spiritual principles from above.
"If the great, the military leaders and the leaders of the many descendants of the ruler who will be born in the future, should not adhere strictly to the Yasa, then the power of the state will be shattered and come to an end, no matter how they then seek Chingis Khan, they shall not find him."
From George Vernadsky: "The Mongols and Russia"
General Precepts, from Yasa. Further quotations from Vernadsky
Another set of fragments, from Makrizi
From Mirhond (or Mirhovend)
From various sources
Practical results of Chingis Khan's introduction of his Yasa
How growth and development is achieved: The Necessity, Nature and Purpose of Excellence
Social behavior: On the role and function of competition
More on Excellence: On Value Judgments and their rightfulness and indispensability
Excellence and Value continued: On Why Neutrality Is Never Possible
On how to promote excellence: Destroying what is inferior versus encouraging what is superior
Living in a physical world. Our physical nature: An aspect of human reality often overlooked and neglected
Science and the spiritual
On the pursuit of knowledge
On the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs
The Mongolian Message regarding the 21st Century's environmental issues
The Great Yasa of Chingis Khan was, among other things, a collection of Chingis Khan's maxims, regulations and instructions. At his acquisition of supreme power in 1206, he already had prepared his Great Yasa, which continued to be developed during his lifetime. The word "Yasa" means "order, decree." This has led to some confusion, since a "yasa" can also be a single rule. It must therefore be made clear that when we talk about the Great Yasa, we mean Chingis Khan's collected laws, rules, and words of wisdom.
The work was written in the Uighur script that Chingis himself had introduced as the written language of the Mongols. It was written on scrolls that were bound in volumes, and kept in secret archives to which only the supreme ruler and his closest associates had access.
I will regularly write here on the Great Yasa of Chingis Khan, which was not a mere book of laws. Naturally, it also was that, since it contained codification of ancient Mongol customs. The Yasa was however much more than this. It was the philosophical and spiritual content of the work that gave it its impact. This work was, in addition to being a guide in practical matters, also a magical work of great power, a talisman, and contained secret magical formulas as well as philosophical and ethical guidelines for the Mongol people. For this reason it was only a small, select group of people who was allowed to read it directly.
When the descendants and successors of the Great Mongol became spiritually depraved, they no longer wanted to follow the Great Yasa. Indeed, they lacked the ability to commit themselves to something that demanded high morals and unswerving loyalty and dedication to lofty principles. Moreover, according to age-old Shamanistic belief, magical work in the hands of unskilled, depraved people brings disaster. As none of the descendants of Chingis possessed his moral and spiritual qualities, they could not cope with his legacy, also because its intrinsically collectivist ideology with rather radical social ideals was unpalatable to people who only concerned themselves with the pursuit of the material riches and short-term goals of this world. The Yasa was too much for them. Hence it is far from improbable that the Yasa was purposefully destroyed by Chingis' own descendants.
In all fairness, it must be mentioned that the absence of the physical Yasa has led a number of scholars to doubt or outright dispute that there has been something like a Great Yasa. Others, like George Vernadsky, have maintained that the Yasa was indeed a factual existence, which is also testified to by old sources. It is understandable that some might wrongly infer that the Yasa never has been, especially when it was a genuinely mystical work which even in Chingis Khan's time was a painstakingly guarded secret.
Still, it is a fact that there are no surviving copies of the Yasa. Hence the historian has to resort to fragments handed down to us from ancient writers such as the two Persians Juwaini and Rashid al-Din. Also, because the Great Yasa was an all-encompassing code, its philosophical and ethical content is possible to discern by observing, through the scrutinizing of historical sources, the patterns of ethics and behavior that Chingis inculcated in his people. This way we can deduce its content in principle, if not in a word-by-word fashion.
What do we find, then? Even though the fragments of the Yasa that are available may not alone provide a detailed picture of the teachings of Chingis Khan, they represent a logical point of departure.
"In my opinion the Yasa as a whole can by no means be characterized as customary law. It was Mongol imperial law as formulated by Chingis-Khan; the Mongols themselves considered it in this light. For them it was the collected wisdom of the founder of their empire; and as we know they considered Chingis-Khan the divinely inspired Son of Heaven. The Armenian historian Grigor of Akanc compiled his story of the origin of the Yasa on the basis of what he heard from the Mongols. While it cannot be considered accurate in details, it renders adequately the spirit of the Mongol attitude toward Chingis-Khan and his lifework." ("The Mongols and Russia," page 100.)
"The contents of this division of the Great Yasa may be tentatively reconstructed from fragments available in various redactions. The following quotations may give a general idea of it":
"One must magnify and pay honor to the pure, and the innocent, and the righteous, and to the learned, to whatsoever people they may belong; and condemn the wicked and the men of iniquity." [Ab-ul-Faraj, sec.2.]
"The first is this: That ye love another; second, do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not betray anyone. Respect the aged and poor." [Grigor of Akanc.]
"He [Chingis Khan] forbade them (the Mongols) to eat anything in the presence of another without having him invited to partake in the food; he forbade any man to eat more than his comrades." [Makrizi, sec. 2]
"Chingis-Khan did not belong to any religion and did not follow any creed, he avoided fanaticism and did not prefer one faith to the other or put the ones above the others. On the contrary, he used to hold in esteem beloved and respected sages and hermits of every tribe, considering this a procedure to please God." [Juwaini, sec.2]
"He [Chingis-Khan] ordered that all religions were to be respected and that no preference was to be shown to any of them." [Makrizi, sec.11]
(-The quotations above are printed in George Vernadsky's "The Mongols and Russia," page 102.)
Fragments of the Great Yasa of Chingis Khan which have come down to us through Makrizi:
1. An adulterer is to be put to death without any regard as to whether he is married or not.
2. Whoever is guilty of sodomy is also to be put to death.
3. Whoever intentionally lies, or practices sorcery, or spies upon the behavior of others, or intervenes between the two parties in a quarrel to help the one against the other is also to be put to death.
4. Whoever urinates into water or ashes is also to be put to death.
5. Whoever takes goods (on credit) and becomes bankrupt, then again takes goods and again becomes bankrupt, then takes goods again and yet again becomes bankrupt is to be put to death after the third time.
6. Whoever gives food or clothing to a captive without the permission of his captor is to be put to death.
7. Whoever finds a runaway slave or captive and does not return him to the person to whom he belongs is to be put to death.
8. When an animal is to be eaten, its feet must be tied, its belly ripped open and its heart squeezed in the hand until the animal dies; then its meat may be eaten; but if anyone slaughter an animal after the Mohammedan fashion, he is to be himself slaughtered.
9. If in battle, during an attack or a retreat, anyone let fall his pack, or bow, or any luggage, the man behind him must alight and return the thing fallen to its owner; if he does not so alight and return the thing fallen, he is to be put to death.
10. Chingis Khan decided that no taxes or duties should be imposed upon fakirs, religious devotees, lawyers, physicians, scholars, people who devote themselves to prayer and asceticism, muezzins and those who wash the bodies of the dead.
11. He ordered that all religions were to be respected and that no preference was to be shown to any of them. All this he commanded in order that it might be agreeable to Heaven.
12. He forbade his people to eat food offered by another until the one offering the food tasted of it himself, even though one be a prince and the other a captive; he forbade them to eat anything in the presence of another without having invited him to partake of the food; he forbade any man to eat more than his comrades, and to step over a fire on which food was being cooked or a dish from which people were eating.
13. When a wayfarer passes by people eating, he must alight and eat with them without asking for permission, and they must not forbid him this.
14. He forbade them to dip their hands into water and ordered them to use some vessel for the drawing of water.
15. He forbade them to wash their clothes until they were completely worn out.
16. He forbade them to say of anything that it was unclean, and insisted that all things were clean and made no distinction between the clean and unclean.
17. He forbade them to show preference for any sect, to pronounce words with emphasis, to use honorary titles; when speaking to the Khan or anyone else simply his name was to be used.
18. He ordered his successors to personally examine the troops and their armament before going to battle, to supply the troops with everything they needed for the campaign and to survey everything even to needle and thread, and if any of the soldiers lacked a necessary thing that soldier was to be punished.
19. He ordered women accompanying the troops to do the work and perform the duties of the men while the latter were absent fighting.
20. He ordered the warriors, on their return from the campaign (battle) to carry out certain duties in the service of the Khan.
21. He ordered them to present all their daughters to the Khan at the beginning of each year that he might choose some of them for himself and his children.
22. He put leaders, (princes/bogatyrs/generals/noyans) at the head of the troops and appointed commanders of thousands, hundreds, and tens.
23. He ordered that the oldest of the leaders, if he had committed some offence, was to give himself up to the messenger sent by the sovereign to punish him, even if he was the lowest of his servants; and prostrate himself before him until he had carried out the punishment prescribed by the sovereign, even if it be to put him to death.
24. He forbade military leaders to address themselves to anyone except the sovereign. Whoever addressed himself to anyone but the sovereign was to be put to death, and anyone changing his post without permission was also to be put to death.
25. He ordered the Khan to establish permanent postal communications in order that he might be informed in good time of all the events of the country.
26. He ordered his son Chagatai to see that the Yasa was observed.
27. He ordered that soldiers be punished for negligence; and hunters who let an animal escape during a community hunt he ordered to be beaten with sticks and in some cases to be put to death.
28. In cases of murder (punishment for murder) one could ransom himself by paying fines which were: for a Mohammedan - 40 golden coins (Balysh); and for a Chinese - one donkey.
29. The man in whose possession a stolen horse is found must return it to its owner and add nine horses of the same kind: if he is unable to pay this fine, his children must be taken instead of the horses, and if he have no children, he himself shall be slaughtered like a sheep.
30. The Yasa of Chingis Khan forbids lies, theft and adultery and prescribes love of one's neighbor as one's self; it orders men not to hurt each other and to forget offences completely, to spare countries and cities which submit voluntarily, to free from taxes temples consecrated to God, and to respect old people and beggars. Whoever violates these commands is to be put to death.
31. (The Yasa prescribes these rules:) to love one another, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to give false witness, not to be a traitor, and to respect old people and beggars. Whoever violates these commands is put to death.
32. (The Yasa of Chingis Khan prescribes that) a man who chokes on food must be driven out of the camp and immediately killed; and whosoever puts his foot on the threshold of the tent of the commander of an army shall also be put to death.
33. If unable to abstain from drinking, a man may get drunk three times a month; if he does it more than three times he is culpable; if he gets drunk twice a month it is better; if once a month, this is still more laudable; and if one does not drink at all what can be better? But where can I find such a man? If such a man were found he would be worthy of the highest esteem. (Riasanovsky considers this fragment to belong to the Maxims of CHINGIS KHAN, maxim 20)
34. Children born of a concubine are to be considered as legitimate, and receive their share of the heritage according to the disposition of it made by the father. (Beats the law of primogeniture in Europe where only oldest inherited. Much more civilized.) The distribution of property is to be carried out on the basis of the senior son receiving more than the junior, the younger son inheriting the household of the father. The seniority of children depends upon the rank of their mother; one of the wives must always be the senior, this being determined chiefly by the time of her marriage.
35. After the death of his father, a son may dispose of the father's wives, all except his mother; he may marry them or give them in marriage to others.
36. All except the legal heirs are strictly forbidden to make use of any of the property of the deceased.
What were the political and social results, when Chingis Khan used this fundament to build his Mongol nation? This is what we need to consider, in order to discern the teachings of Chingis Khan, who, by his own people, always was regarded a statesman-philosopher of profound wisdom more than a warrior. The belligerence was dictated by the circumstances in which the Mongols were living, and must not be taken for their contribution to Mankind and Universe. The teachings of Chingis Khan are forever relevant across space and time.
Chingis Khan did not belong to, and did not believe in, any of the organized religions, though he saw that all philosophies have grasped part of the truth, and respected every one of them as an aspect of the Great All. Himself, he had formed a philosophy based upon millennia-old Asian philosophies, among them animist/shamanist pantheism, combined with his own collectivist ideology, formed in a harsh environment in which, as he clearly understood, people had to learn to help each other instead of pursuing selfish goals.
Before Chingis, internecine strife and feuds were prominent features of the North and Inner Asian nomads. More often than not, the different tribes and groups hated each other, according to old Mongolian accounts. With the advent of Chingis Khan, this stopped. He simply accomplished the superhuman task it must have been to instill into his people a feeling of solidarity, togetherness and love. This love was far from being a jellyfish one, however. The word "love" is more often than not misunderstood.
When we look at the meaning of "love" we will see that there are two forms of love which are different even though they may coalesce on a deeper level.
One is the personal love, where one loves individual objects and which is characterized by personal attachments and by satisfaction derived from the purely personal contact and input.
Another form of love is the impersonal love that is directed towards higher principles and transcending values. Here, satisfaction is derived from adherence to these principles that create real effects in the world, effects that are seen as positive, constructive and desirable. The impersonal love is then expressed through work on behalf of these principles and what they represent.
Love should not be primarily a feeling of personal satisfaction derived from the presence of another person, which is all too often merely an expression of psychological immaturity and unconscious projection. Instead, love ought to be a concept encompassing the mindfulness of our common destiny, our obligations towards the Planet, and our need to assist each other in our endeavor to develop according to our collective and individual goals, which according to the Old Mongol worldview we have all chosen before birth. This is the kind of impersonal, but indelible love Chingis Khan gave out. Such impersonal devotion is a mark of the highest degree of honesty. When that is conveyed to people, they instantly sense the genuineness, and respond to it in a way that makes them listen to what messages are coming. In the case of the Mongols, we see this most clearly. During the reign of Chingis Khan, the Mongols functioned like one single organism, united and ever willing to support each other.
The sources unanimously bespeak the fact that although the Great Yasa was a severe set of rules, and the enforcement of them could often be draconian, Chingis' success in uniting his people was not primarily due to force and violence. On the contrary, he won the heart of people by virtue of the personal qualities he radiated. A dominant trait in him was his ability to experience and to know deeply within that the lives of others were even more important to him than his own, and this was something people intuitively realized. By being a selfless person, he could teach them to develop the full human potential within themselves. He brought to his Mongols a new element of a deeply experienced collective consciousness to live by. His Yasa was developed into the codified form of this.
We now go on and take a look at what social patterns were introduced to the Mongols by Chingis Khan. Two main features are immediately obvious:
First: the principle of equality that reigned under Chingis. George Vernadsky describes on page 92 in "The Mongols and Russia": "It was the imperial [ideological] idea which was the distinctive trait in the Mongol drive of conquest, overcoming, as it did, the primitive mentality of a feudalized clan society. The Mongols waged their wars with the professed aim of achieving universal peace and international stability. The goal achieved, the price for the security of mankind would be permanent service to the state on the part of each and all, this would establish and orderly way of life and social equality. The rich would serve the state to the same extent as the poor, and the poor would be protected from injustice and exploitation by the rich." On page 105 in the same book Vernadsky again quotes Juwaini, who observed: "There is equality. Each man works as much as another, there is no difference. No attention is paid to a man's wealth or importance."
Second: the demands for high endeavor that was placed upon every member of society. Each and everyone had to commit himself to the fullest. Sloth and incompetence were made punishable, and during wartime the order was that the leader who is incompetent shall without fail be put to death. Appointments to positions of influence and power were made by ability alone. Moreover, and uniquely, Chingis Khan ruled that everybody must be given the same opportunities, regardless of birth, race or social position. This principle was forcefully symbolized by Chingis' order that every soldier in his army must carry a marshal's baton in his knapsack. (This point is described in Paul Ratchnevsky's biography.) The implication was that everyone had the possibility of promotion to the highest rank, according to his ability. Simultaneously, such a principle carried with it the message that every individual is in return obliged to develop him- or herself to the utmost. It must be remarked that a strong element in this was the responsibility of all for assisting and being helpful towards his fellows. It was a social contract that became beneficial for all, since it gave the Mongols opportunities for growth and development they had never known before.
What is the role of Mongols in today's world, how can the pantheism, the eternal spiritual principles of Chingis Khan be applied to our time, what is the relevance of the Mongolian legacy here and now?
As a number of the quotations above illustrate, the Yasa of its day was in many ways a draconian law. This was a result of the circumstances at the time when it was formulated, and we should take care not to base moral judgements on what the Mongols had to do in the 1200's. We must instead concentrate on the timeless understanding and wisdom bequeathed to the world by Chingis Khan's Yasa, and endeavor to put it to use in our time.
This continuation of the Mongolian spiritual heritage naturally requires our addressing some of the pressing societal and environmental issues of Mankind of today, and since the Yasa was a tutelary work whose purpose was to guide humans in their life, I will here attempt to trace and extract the essence of Chingis Khan's teachings and translate them into a socially and ecologically sound support of an improved life on planet Earth. I shall give them out with love.
Typically, the person who wants to do good believes that "kindness" means to adopt the rather timid approach of thinking nice thoughts and giving positive vibrations out to our world. This is fine, and all our actions should ideally be accompanied by such a mentality, because our motivation will be strong and unfailing when it is accompanied by an awareness that one is doing something good and virtuous. However, according to the Yasa of Chingis Khan, consistently contributing something positive to the Universe implies an active approach, an endeavor to stretch ourselves, and simultaneously others, towards a high development of our innate potentials, whatever these might consist of. Since everyone has his or her special field or fields in which the greatest happiness and contentment is to be found, and where she or he has the capability to function at the apex of her or his abilities, everyone has a life purpose. To find this purpose and pursue means to be in harmony with the reason why you are on Earth, and to fulfill your destiny. There is another factor that ought to be present in our mind when we move along our path. That is the never-dying intensity of feeling, by which people who go unusually far in their chosen field are invariably marked. This feeling is not mere joy created by your awareness that your path is the correct one. It is the devotion to the fullest use of our potentials in our area. This is called excellence. Genuine excellence.
Of paramount importance is to be forever conscious that excellence is a principle, and should not be viewed as a measurable quantity. Hence the talents and achievements of your neighbor, friend, lover or colleague have no other relevance for your chosen way than to demonstrate the possibility. It is useless and far beside the point to compare yourself to others. If you are truly dedicated to excellence, you already possess it, irrespective of what levels of achievements reached by another. That way, you cannot fail to be excellent. Further, as though it were necessary to point out once more, all individuals who have achieved something significant have consistently been dedicated to self-improvement. If they competed with others, the concomitant comparison with others was but secondary to their inner drive towards self-improvement, that is the realization of a continuous further development of the potentials residing in each and everyone of us.
Here it is equally imperative to be aware that we must never confuse excellence with perfection. Perfection is a condition, which, in addition to be nonexistent, implies that what has been perfected has been completed. Since nothing in Universe can ever be complete or completed, the notion of "perfection" covers a fictitious condition. Moreover, perfection as such, if it were possible, would imply that there is nothing more to do. Therefore, to seek perfection is self-destructive, both because the target itself does not exist, and because something perfected is something that no longer develops, something that has no purpose. To be without such is not why we are here. We are here to continually develop and to do, we are not meant to be without purpose.
What then is excellence? It is the state of mind that leads us to pursue continuous self-improvement, that impels us to dedicate ourselves consistently to something and be devoted to it mind and body. In this pursuit, present talent and social origin, wealth, state of health, beauty, race and education count for little. Simply because it is not the present position that matters, but rather the determining direction. The inner state of spirit and mind is what spawns excellence, and it is our practical mental and physical efforts that bring it to fruition. This means that provided we harbor a sufficiently strong desire to excel, we already possess all the prerequisites for achieving excellence. It devolves upon us as our obligation towards ourselves and the Universe to become aware of this, and trust the wisdom of our inner guide when it leads us to our chosen goal. Be forever mindful of this: You must never let the accepted and average levels of beauty and capability in the human world delude you into believing that the second best is good enough. Your present situation will be different from that of tomorrow, if you want it to be. If your devotion is sufficiently intense, sincere and faithful, you will in due course attract the very best of qualities, abilities and circumstances into your existence. If you are not content with mere cozy harmony and the resultant self-satisfied mediocrity, but desire supreme quality, then you must be prepared to sacrifice whatever it costs in time and effort to actualize your aims. If you do this, you will discover something magical: You are rewarded with great joy in your life, not only because you see the fruits of your efforts, but because you will be true towards yourself by realizing what is your essence.
Next, we are obliged towards ourselves as well as towards our sisters and brothers, we are obliged to help them to reach the highest possible degree of mental, spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical development, in order to assist all in realizing our innate potentials. No human area of activity and experience is unimportant, and development of all our faculties in accordance with our individual potentials and abilities, by means of personal motivation combined with a willingness to share its fruits with our fellowmen, meaning the successful alliance between the self-assertive and the integrative principles, is the collective ideal of the Great Yasa.
A further point to make when it comes to the concepts of quality and excellence in different areas: It is a fact of life that not everything or everyone reaches the highest standards at this moment. This has led some people to believe that we should refrain from having standards for anything, be it artistic or aesthetic values or ideals for mental and other practical abilities, on the ground that it is unkind towards the "losers" to value some qualities higher than others. This is a very unfortunate misconception. What is ultimately heartless is to fail to hold up high standards, ideals and examples that in all instances serve as incentives and models for growth and development. This applies irrespective of whether or not any given individual manages to reach or fulfill the standard at this particular point in time. Bear in mind that quality and excellence are desirable qualities, and that it is erroneous but above all irresponsible to take the stand that everything is equally good or worthy. If everything is considered equally good or worthy, then nothing can be truly excellent. It is precisely the presently less talented or gifted who are most in need of being impelled towards improvement. Even though improvement is a slow and more often than not a laborious process, failure to realize potentials brings incomparably greater pain. The acid test is this: To what ultimate extent do we accord every member of the community equal rights and opportunities to aspire towards ideals and to reach high goals?
Remember: To seek excellence is the right thing to do, and we must also stretch it out to our fellows. To deny others the same possibilities we rightfully claim for ourselves is a cardinal sin. To help them when they want to change for the better is the foremost expression of social responsibility and true love.
There is a common belief that competition is intrinsically evil and detrimental to togetherness, compassion, social empathy and solidarity. It is imperative to realize that this is an oversimplification, leading to a dangerous misconception. Of course, an excessive competitive impulse is harmful. However, this does not imply that competition is undesirable. We must understand that the class of social behavior called "competition" most realistically is viewed as a line, representing an unbroken continuum. This continuum stretches from an imaginary point zero, which is distinguished by total absence of competition, leading to passivity, even lethargy, and lack of initiative, growth and development. One could say that this condition is a semi-stuporous one in which most incentives toward change, growth, activity and a sense of common and individual Purpose are absent. This is an absolutely perilous situation, albeit not always conspicuous as such, which must be avoided.
At the other end of the continuum lies the point which is marked by an unbridled competitive drive. Here the intensity of competition has been escalated so far as to create a state of general strife, rivalry and hostility. Solidarity is largely absent in such an extreme condition, selfishness reigns, the goal is to destroy and bring about the downfall of your opponent. Under such circumstances the aggressive behavior permeates the whole social group to a degree where disruption and eventual disintegration becomes the result. This situation is likewise dangerous, more immediately noticeable as such.
Both conditions are destructive, and equally to be avoided in a virtuous social group or society. Still, since we are talking about a continuum on which all elements have their place, here balance between the undesirable extremes is quite naturally the key. The formula can be laid down as follows: Competition, that is the practical result of your enthusiastic desire to emulate your competitor, is functional and desirable if it does never escalate beyond the point where antagonism enters and your competitor's failure becomes a goal for you. We have to appreciate that competition and solidarity are not mutually exclusive, but rather equally necessary and interconnected fundamentals present in any good society. The function of our competitive force and its resultant competitive activity is to provide the most effective incentive to individual as well as collective invigoration and stimulation towards inspired use and improvement of our abilities. If the elements are in balance, competition is a healthy and cooperative enterprise in which progress is certain, the whole society benefits from it, and the well-being of each individual is assured.
The same holds true for some of the essential aspects of competition; evaluation and selection. Selection and hierarchies serve to enhance the drive towards improvement and excellence. A sober and unbiased look at the whole history of life tells us that whenever some trait or quality is being selected for, it will be advanced and encouraged. It is erroneous and detrimental to think that it is "heartless" to distinguish between unskilled and skilled, low and high, the unfit for its role and the fit, the inferior and the excellent. This because selection always results in a movement towards a higher level, that is more excellence, which again leads to a higher-quality existence. Thus the beneficial effects by far outweigh the pain engendered by not being excellent at this moment. It is of supreme importance to know that discomfort which results from present inadequacy can only be alleviated by transcending the limitations in question. Which means further improvement, which is generated and propelled by precisely the selective procedures that illustrate what the ideals should be. If we think about all possible qualities a single individual can possess, be it intelligence, willpower, beauty, humility, perseverance, the capacity to endure, creativity, strength, flexibility in the face of a challenge, curiosity, compassion; the list is virtually endless, we see that without exception all our qualities and the degree to which they have been developed and evolved is a result of conscious or subconscious selective processes and procedures that are in operation throughout Nature and Universe. The qualities and strengths that have been and are conductive to the success in existence that is best described as fit for role are precisely those which have been and are selected for and chosen; by our peers, by our partners, by the social groups to which we belong, by ourselves and in the last analysis by Universe itself.
It is one of the most dangerous errors that humans can make, when it is believed that because it sometimes feels painful and difficult to accept the variation in capability and all kinds of fitness between individuals, differences should be "democratized" and sought eliminated, and that there should be no ideals and standards for what is precious, honorable, beautiful, just, correct, skillful and desirable. Here the otherwise impressive human intelligence can play a very deceiving role. Elaborate philosophies and value systems have regularly been constructed in order to defend, in other words mentally rationalize, such a mistaken position. It is more than likely that paradoxically enough it is our past that is deceiving us in this way: When we all lived all the time in a very challenging environment, it was vital to conserve energy whenever possible, because life itself required an exceedingly high level of mental and physical activity most of the time. Thus we, like other life forms, are genetically predisposed towards a conservation of energy. The resultant treacherous inclination towards a desire for comfort and to scorn what is often falsely perceived as Nature's "cruelty" becomes destructive in a historical period where technical achievements enable humans to supplant the intense use of mind and body with passivating technologies. Typically the degenerative lifestyle which is the danger of that inclination is defended by negative ideas about the "harsh primitivity" of Nature. However, because that which is wrongly interpreted as Nature's ruthlessness is precisely what has created and will for eternity tend to create all sorts of high qualities, such thinking is seriously flawed.
Ideals and standards are the result of the realization, conscious or otherwise, that preference for the best is what spawns true excellence. Without conscious or subconscious ideals, there cannot be any growth and development. What is really evil, is to deny someone the right to seek the positive and constructive development towards a better condition that ought to be accessible to all. Nobody must be prevented from participating and improving because of present status or position. Privileges that are introduced only to protect positions and serve to stop others from reaching the same high levels are unjust. Excellence should be rewarded, nevertheless it is the eternal duty of the superior to assist the others. Moreover, even in those qualities where it is believed that immediate improvement cannot easily be made, ideals and standards are not only justified, but necessary, in order to secure high quality today and in the future. Simply because selective processes on every level then come into play and ensure that the most excellent solutions are those that are developed and furthered. This is what creates the most merciful condition, even though it requires a broad perspective to see it with full clarity.
Next, we should understand that in situations where competitors are directly measured against each other, it is not necessary to win the competition. It is our action and participation, the path of improvement, the process, that is meaningful. When we mature during this course, we understand that it is actually with ourselves we compete, because what it is all about is to rise above our limitations. Even the very best in a particular field has always started out with self-transcendence. There is no other way, and it is of immense importance to recognize that even the most "merciless" competition is intrinsically a collective and symbiotic cooperative effort whose effect is improvement. The other participants are actually helpers who are there to arouse, excite, inspire, motivate and strengthen us. Over time we experience that it is beneficial for us, because we develop a perspective wherein we appreciate the indispensableness of consistent striving and endeavor. This way we avoid to fall into a lethargic acceptance of lowliness, mediocrity and inertia, we hone our skills during the conscious effort to maintain and develop our potentials. Most important of all, we assist each other in collective endeavor, and we develop an awareness that for that reason the progress of our fellows is inextricably interwoven with our own and vice versa. The best formula for how to keep and encourage the competitive element in human societies while preventing it from having adverse side effects is to bear in mind that we have to make allowance for the fact that not only do the level of individual abilities vary, but more importantly, the areas of competence are different between all individuals. Hence we should give credit to the different aptitudes, so that every member of the community can meet recognition for what is his or her special endowments in a given area. Again; this does by no means imply that rank and classification according to distinctive characteristics are or should be considered unwanted. On the contrary these are productive and positive phenomena, they are indispensable in order to distinguish the excellent and thereby give the others a high standard towards which to grow. The crucial question is to what extent the community creates a societal order wherein such improvement in each of its members is encouraged. It is the will of Chingis Khan that humanity shall realize this.
Lastly, chance as such is nonexistent in Universe. There is causality behind everything. Which implies that our present characteristics and attributes are the results of choice. This holds true whether or not one, like the Old Mongols, believes in the immortality and transmigration of the soul, in which case the qualities we possess are the products of our own personal former choices and actions as well as those of our cooperators/partners/competitors, which have then resulted in the subsequent genetic development that determined our inner and outer appearance and all our qualities. One may also believe in an one-life scenario, in which case our qualities are still the products of the cooperation, competition and selections performed by our ancestors, developed and materialized through our genetical characteristics. As will be understood, it makes absolutely no difference which outlook is considered "true": In both cases, the consistent preference for and choice of excellence has been and is the one fundamental prerequisite to continued excellence.
issue of racism is serious, not only because of the ethically
reprehensible in discrimination against someone because of race, but on
the ground that racism and the conflicts it engenders are socially
disruptive and thus a danger to the health of the whole society. Of
course, racism has long been a very hot political theme that has
commanded considerable attention, and its historical and political
complexity is hardly in doubt. Still, easy as it may sound: this
problem should not be necessary. Let it once and for all be stated that
the various races of humans represent nothing more and nothing less
than adaptations to an environment. Obviously, it is really groundless
to the point of idiocy to disrespect people because of their adjustment
to their environment.
Chingis Khan himself was evidently opposed to racism and disrupting ethnocentrism. Paul Ratchnevsky describes in his biography on Chingis, how, "Genghis himself held a very charitable view of the concept 'Mongol': When Ila liuge, widow of a Chinese leader, begged him to release the son of the dead Chinese and accept the son of a minor wife into his service, Chingis replied: 'But Xiedu has now become a Mongol. He accompanied me on the Western campaign and has rendered great services.' Characteristically, in the words of Ratchnevsky: "later Mongol Khans were less tolerant in this respect and in the fourteenth century instructions were issued that non-Mongols who filled certain posts using adopted Mongol names were to be stripped of their appointments."
As we know, there exists a well-known notion that all value judgment, any statement to the effect that something is good, better and best, is inherently unfair and therefore unacceptable. Most often this position is being defended by reference to certain historically disfavored people, for example minority or ethnic groups and their struggle against unjust societal discrimination, typically expressed by lack of access to opportunities that are available to the privileged group(s), which may be accompanied by a general lack of societal acceptance of and contempt for the people or groups in question.
To realize that this is unjust is unproblematic. However, some people jump from this sensible realization and to the more than rash conclusion that any ranking of achievement, as well as judgments of different qualities, are prejudicial, unjust and should be considered intolerable. This outlook has often been branded "egalitarianism," although it is, to say the least, unclear how a belief in the justice in human equality with respect to social, political and economic rights and privileges can justifiably be extended to a declaration that "there are or should be no bad, good, better, best."
One can also encounter another form of rationalization of the denial of value judgment: Values and preferences allegedly hinders diversity by setting up rigid, limiting norms, ideals, rules or standards. This is a rather tortuous line of argument, since it is more than anything else the willful refusal to accept standards and values that prepares the ground for rigidity and constriction. The result of a misunderstood egalitarianism where it is forbidden to distinguish between bad, good, better and best, and where any phenomenon or manifestation is considered as "good" as any other, will be a low common denominator where true excellence is disparaged and stifled. Additionally, in a condition where value judgment is scorned and rejected, the way is made open for the ascendancy of those fads and fashions that have the upper hand, because they will be immune against criticism, since any criticism accompanied by a suggestion that something is or can be better would then programmatically be falsely labelled as prejudicial, unfair judgment, thus illegal. As we see, the notion that it is unfair and wrong to judge quality and value is nothing but a exceedingly rigid value system itself. Most importantly, it is wholly authoritarian, profoundly intolerant and very damaging in its consequences. It is akin to cutting off the legs of people so that nobody feels bad when some runs or moves faster than others.
Further; it is mistaken to believe that from an acceptance of differences and diversity and a resultant realization that inequality in opportunity is unjust, it then flows logically that "all value judgments are inherently unfair." To embrace such beliefs is fallacious thinking.
Value judgment is nothing inherently unjust. On the contrary, it is everywhere crucial for the advancement and maintenance of excellence. Excellence in all possible contexts and meanings, as well as the diversity and variation which deliver the material to create it, are ultimately the products of selective and competitive adaptive processes on many levels coupled with cooperative constellations that can only come into existence and survive if each participating entity is of sufficiently high quality. They precisely require continual choice, selection, judgment and recognition of supreme qualities, forms, solutions, standards and values. In the realm of conscious thought, the concept of value lies at the root of all recognition. Yet some people seem to feel that these things are "uncomfortable" and seriously disturbing, and on that account they declare them "unfair" and want to banish them from existence. How can appreciation of distinctive quality, beauty, superiority and magnificence ever be unfair? What is more unfair than denying the universal reality of excellence and superiority, and of its desirability? The ideologically founded belittlement of standards, values and excellence is a thoroughly unfair, outrageously disrespectful position that amounts to the rejection of everything that is valuable, beautiful, outstanding, excellent. How can that kind of outlook be of any constructive worth at all? Growth, development, achievement, excellence and greatness can only be achieved if high ideals, standards and values are present. Nature itself has determined that standard and value are universally valid, by making the survival and well-being of any organism dependent on success in the ubiquitous selective mechanisms. Whether or not any given organism is successful depends solely on its skill, that is fitness for the role it plays in its environment. Which is determined by a wide range of individual and interactive capabilities: Again quality and by implication value are encouraged and validated.
Lastly, any relation between organisms, be it competitive or symbiotic (and bear in mind that there are no clear boundaries between these, since most phenomena and processes display both tendencies) is invariably defined and refined by selective processes. There is no objective ground for disparaging, denying or rejecting value judgment on principle. Rather, it should be appreciated and recognized as indispensable to Universe and to us, on all areas of existence.
As it was stated earlier, refusal to accept the need for value judgment and standards is in principle similar to cutting off the legs of people to avoid the alleged pain for those who might feel inferior because someone is better. That it is so is shown by the last line of argument levelled by the people who would like to abolish all values and judgments about quality, namely the postulation that any criterion or set of criteria of human performance or qualities is unfair on the ground that their existence is painful for those who fail to measure up to the standard(s) at this moment.
That is an interesting point of view, because its principal, albeit most often unconscious, message is that quality and excellence must be sacrificed, that is de facto suppressed, in order to avoid the alleged aggravation of feelings of inadequacy and inferiority complexes in some individuals. It should be understood that this is a more than problematic position: It is beyond doubt that in the extended perspective, the lack of standards and the lesser quality it tends to create, prepares the ground for immeasurably more pain and misery than anything else. Only the puerile wish for a shielded, carefree life without "uncomfortable" challenges can move humans to seek a condition without standard and value.
Neutrality is impossible, because the circumstances and milieux in which we live always have their own dynamics that will influence us to a smaller or greater extent. This means that in any given situation, the rather short-sighted non-judgmental attitude that is called "neutrality," "impartiality" or "non-discriminating," is bound to invariably favor those factors that happen to be the most influential in the moment. For this reason, the assertion that a "neutral," non-judgmental approach allows diversity is false. Judged from its consequences, the notion that there is something like neutrality is therefore also erroneous.
Throughout history, there has been much misunderstanding here. Both the sociopolitically irresponsible social Darwinists and ultra-rightists as well as representatives of the equally imprudent modern political liberals and pseudoradicals have, to suit their respective political purposes, depicted the developmental processes in Nature as something very destructive and barbaric. Needless to say, this skewed picture is a gross misinterpretation of these natural processes.
Selection for the best, be it conscious or otherwise, is an overwhelmingly positive phenomenon, where we should see that the constructive and advantageous choice of what is best is the main aspect. It is therefore erroneous to say that the pervading theme in Nature is "elimination of the weak." Even if the less fit or capable are selected away, this is a result of the positive selection of what is superior and preferable. Since this always results in a general improvement, it is objectively desirable that this should happen. This is a universal principle which applies to both the wilderness and the human realm.
Speaking of the human realm which is our main interest here, it is never desirable to attempt to promote excellence by concentration on the inferior. There is a vast difference between attacking the weak and encouraging what is superior. In the former pattern, the focus is on the lower, the substandard, the bad. In addition, building something always requires an emphasis on constructivity. Hence, the effect of trying to destroy the weak in order to add force to the superior will be largely counterproductive, because of some very subtle and not so subtle mechanisms. To put a main emphasis on destroying always means that a general impulse to destruction is sent out. This is detrimental to any constructive purpose, and will make it much more difficult to accomplish the beneficial and to attain excellence.
Thus we see that if one constantly concentrates the focus on the lesser and lower, one cannot possibly be effective in promoting excellence. Consequently, we should prefer and select the best, but also strive to encourage the improvement of what is presently substandard, because this will send out the general impulse to improvement, and because it serves to direct our attention and emphasis towards upgrading, enhancement and change for the better. This is what is meant by the necessity of "strengthening the weak." Which is not to be understood as a part of exclusively human ethics, but as the corollary of a universal principle: Excellence, in all its meanings and contexts, can only be successfully promoted through concentration on the positive which we want.
Why should we humans engage in conscious development of their physical nature, that is to undertake physical training? Why do so few actually train their physical selves? Most modern people live a sedentary or at best moderately active life. Human experience and practice has proven many times over that a balanced, serious training regimen that comprises strength training, different types of cardiovascular exercise and possibly other physical disciplines like martial arts, so that the body is vigorously exercised every day, leads to a vastly increased bodily capacity for countless types of activity as compared to the less competent state. This adds to health not only because physical fitness demonstrably aids and illustrates general soundness and desire to achieve, but also, and more importantly, the capability of using one's own body at a high level is part of being healthy, because a sound concept of "health" should encompass the optimum development of all constructive human potentials. There are legitimate reasons why we should look on it that way, when the psychological, emotional and ultimately spiritual effects of having at one's disposal a capable body are included in this picture. Let us then ask whether the level of physical fitness by which the average non-athletic human is characterized is really adequate, given the criterion that to fulfill our potentials mean to develop all our faculties is an aim towards we should all steer. Why, then, should we accept the average physical level of the untrained as "normal" and sufficient? Indeed, the average adaptive limits of a "normal" untrained human being should be considered insufficient and intolerable, in view of the vast potential of the human body. Let us once more bear in mind that it was Chingis Khan's foremost principle to encourage high development of all human potentials.
Everyone agrees that we ought to train our mind and mental capabilities, and nobody would earnestly suggest that we stop reading or writing, or for that matter any cease the practice of any other science or mental discipline. On the contrary, developing our mental and intellectual faculties as far as individual potentials dictate is regarded a necessity and a birthright for all, and rightfully so.
However, when it comes to the human body, which we literally carry around 24 hours a day all our life, there is strangely enough no such societal consensus on the desirability of obtaining and maintaining a high physical capacity. This in spite of the fact that the difference between untrained and trained is immense. The countless physical activities we all can perform when properly trained are astonishing, and as a high level of physical activity and capacity can easily be kept into a very advanced age, leading to a wide spectrum of activity both in terms of scope and duration, we have every reason to include vigorous physical training into our everyday schedule. Why should not the daily and lifelong physical training, leading to a high level of physical knowledge be as natural as a lifelong activity and development of our mental side? In both cases, training increases capability, and superb capability implies the possibility of high achievements.
Why is it seemingly so difficult for many humans to include high bodily competence and accompanying daily physical activity in our essential range of experience?
Let us avoid the pitfall to perform exercise with the negative motivation to avoid health problems. Large numbers of people have lived utterly sedentarily and begun to smoke when they were twelve, and continued this habit until their death at eighty, and yet they have remained "healthy," in the sense that they were not attacked by any chronic or fatal disease. Your health is dependent on numerous factors, and certainly it significantly increases your potentials for being healthy if you train physically. However, training is by no means a prerequisite to the successful avoidance of overt disease, any more than the development of our intellect is so. Hence, the rather limited aim of good health cannot be our main motivation for developing a capable body. The only sensible reason why we want to develop ourselves is that when our strengths and capabilities increase, so does our total possibilities in life.
The question is this: Do we humans want to consciously choose to be able not only to perform the daily chores, but also to be capable of achieving with our well-trained physical selves, the same way as mental performance is equally rightfully seen as desirable and important? Those who in their heart truly determine that they want to break out of the adaptive limits of the untrained, and strive to do so through conscious effort, will achieve it, without necessarily having any special genetic talents. Their reward will be an ability to use their physical bodies at consistently high levels, and to experience daily the feelings and sensations that go with it. These cannot without great albeit perhaps unrealized loss be replaced with virtual realities and electric stimulation of the brain, simply because these artificialities do not give any high bodily capability, that is physical knowledge.
We are relatively unaccustomed to recognize that the capability to do things with our body is a form of knowledge, but that is precisely what it is. That high physical knowledge, which is available to all who desire it, should be what motivates us to train our body. To train because we want to avoid disease is way too narrow-minded, and cannot serve as a sufficient permanent motivation. Only our joyful desire to obtain and to have a capable physical nature, and to use it, can do so.
There is a widespread sentiment that the physical is subordinate to the spiritual, and that perception is of course completely true. However, that does not detract from the significance or meaningfulness of physical manifestations, since the relation between the spiritual and physical is that of cause and effect. To maintain and develop high bodily abilities is to choose and use a spiritual Principle, since the resultant corporeal capabilities exist as a result of this underlying Principle to which we choose to attach ourselves. By determining that we consciously aspire to a certain condition in the physical world, a corresponding spiritual Principle is invariably invoked and so at the same time fortified, creating the conditions for the fulfillment of our aspiration, and at the same time that of others.
One argument frequently used against regular, extensive and consistent physical training for normal people is the allegedly strict constraints imposed upon us by work considerations and above all family obligations. This is in reality a matter of social tradition. If a degree of physical competence above the daily functional level is regarded unimportant, it is of course not valued, but rather defined as something that takes time from other areas in life.
However, if we determine that physical ability is to be considered an essential component of human existence, then our having family and children actually imposes an additional obligation to maintain high bodily ability, to train regularly and thereby educate our children to realize that the possession of a high level of physical fitness is a normal and desirable condition for a healthy human being. Children who are fortunate to grow up seeing it demonstrated by their parents, will integrate this consciousness in their own mentality and find it natural to endeavor to develop and maintain lifelong physical fitness themselves. Immense vistas of joy, play and intensive, vigorous experience as well as relaxed, easy use of the body then becomes available to them. We ought to give our offspring as well as all other individuals with whom we come in contact, this opportunity to learn and to become motivated by our example of what a human can and by implication should be, by the vivid illustration of a capable body as the harmonious, natural companion to a similarly trained mind. Doing so is a social obligation indeed. Obligation? Might it not be said that it is first and foremost an expression of love?
The Old Mongols rightfully held that certain elements of civilization are detrimental to human life. They held the unrestrained lifestyle of the nomads up as a better alternative to the life in cities, which they saw dulled and diminished the Life-Force of humans in many ways. We cannot all be nomads, but that is not the point. The point is that we all can say "no" to these elements of civilization that threaten to remove us from participation in the intense pulsations of life, and instead choose to put ourselves in a condition where we are able to enjoy Nature, to be partakers in our own intense Life-Force as well as that of our environs. We have the opportunity and the choice to develop a spirituality that includes our vigorous, feral Life-Force in all its aspects.
Through artificial means and simulation it is possible to have or rather mimic many sorts of natural experience, from participation in sports to trips into nature and sexual satisfaction and reproduction, but it will not be quite the same principles and effects involved. Even though it may be argued that this must be natural since nothing unnatural can happen in a natural world, it is undeniable that human deviation from the "wild" and basic natural forces that characterize Mother Nature implies a rejection of the untamed instincts and abilities that are a prerequisite to the experience of powerful, intense and wild natural instincts and the intense activities, sensations and feelings they create.
The portions of intelligent life that reject the primal forces of Nature, typically do so with the rationalization that they are somehow "primitive and unworthy." This is the result of an embrace of values that dictate that our inner and accordingly also our physical Nature must be subdued in order to get rid of the instinctual and feral which is so deeply despised within this outlook. Some will predictably choose to line themselves after this scenario, which will be akin to the civilization that the Mongols criticized as dulling and detrimental to the senses, bodies and feelings of Man. The Old Mongols were correct in implicitly foreseeing that a portion of intelligent life was likely to reject and move away from the wild forces that permeates Nature, and instead create their own artificial world.
The Mongolian principles stand for an alliance between what we for want of better words must call "uncivilized" and the "civilized," between the "primitive" and the "cultivated." In this alliance, there is no merger where each part loses its characteristic identity, but it is a cooperation between the natural forces, or physical and animal nature, and the scientific and intellectual powers of modern man. This implies a harmonious connection of of the feral and the civilization, which must not be allowed to damage the natural, fiercely intensive Life-Force. From these principles and priorities, together with those of other traditions of a similar content and direction, will intelligent beings be given the opportunity to choose to evolve spiritually in concert with the real experience of the genuine activity and sensations of natural contact with ourselves and our surroundings, and to make our choices accordingly. It is by no means clear whether all theoretical future strains of intelligent life will have their home on Planet Earth in this Universe, or how or where the different principles are going to manifest. Also, it should be borne in mind that these matters are being decided by our choices and actions all the time. Development is thus not at all a linear process, even though it seems so with a superficial look. Further; the morphogenetic fields of a phenomenon, a lifestyle, a manifested Principle are there for eternity, and probably in all the Universes that are and will ever be. It is a potential that is available to us, it is up to all entities who live to connect. Certainly it is possible to combine the highest spiritual development with sedentariness, or with untamed vigor and natural intensity. We have the choice.
To those readers who may balk at the distinct shamanistic/pantheistic
philosophy in these lines, it must be said that it is simply the Old
Mongols' point of view, and it is of course not necessary to accept the
finer, more intricate metaphysical details of this to understand the
fundamental principles and critically important choices involved.
Some lines of thought hold the opinion that the natural and the "primitive" must be eradicated in order to remove violence, war, pain and disease in all its aspects. The answer to this way of thinking must be: To be able to walk entails all the risks and mishaps that can be avoided by staying forever in bed; at the same time staying in bed deprives us of all that can be done, felt and experienced when we move around. If all had so feeble bodies that they could not even walk, there would be no more physical war or violence. With strong bodies, there will be physical violence, but also the opportunities for physical sensations and pleasure that in the Mongol view are on balance more significant and weighty. To put it in another way: What is to be accorded the greatest weight: The pain associated with childbirth, or the joy and pleasure associated with the whole process of sexuality, conception and procreation? It is much like the difference between a physically untrained human and a human in excellent shape. The untrained individual will probably view intense physical action as a punishment which only leads to pain, whereas the physically trained and able person, be it a child, woman or man, will enjoy every healthy form of vigorous physical activity, and consciously and actively seek it.
As this example illustrates and implies, to what ultimate extent we are able to love Nature and its "primitive" components and facets is determined by what kind of conditioning we undergo in our lives, which is all the time determined by our choices and actions. Moreover, it is precisely the Old Mongol critique of civilized societies that they are in danger of not only evolving into presenting admirable scientific and intellectual levels, something that was always desired by the Khan of Khans himself, but also of rejecting and destroying the "wild," untamed Life-Force that empowers pain and pleasure, the scintillating ferocity and intense feelings, sensations, adventures and joy in the inner and outer wilderness. If these things are consciously sought and lived in all the way in our journey in the Universe(s), we make ourselves more capable and therefore much more happy and complete. Which portion of intelligent life will prefer to "lie in bed," and which portion will elect to maintain abilities to maintain the "primitive" elements of our nature, "stay out from bed," and also accept both the pains and pleasures that go with that? As for the belief in a dichotomy between mind and body, there is little ground for holding it. Even if we accept the metaphysical notion of the mind as an independent unit that can exist independent of our corporeal body, the crucial meaning of physical manifestation in the scheme of things is easily apparent in the real world. Contemporary researchers also tend to agree that the innumerable sensory stimuli generated by bodily motion and activity have played and play a very significant role in the development of the formidable human intelligence.
Contrary to popular belief the human body, like the human intellect, is amazingly strong. No other creatures on Earth can carry a weight of 20 kilos or more over 50 kilometers, then easily climb into a tree or ascend a high cliff. Humans can, during strenuous physical activity, increase their metabolism to fifteen to twenty times the level of resting metabolism. Only the wolf (and to a lesser degree its domesticated and reduced form the dog) possesses an endurance at this level. We have to be aware that the reason why we possess strong qualities is the combined influences of the challenges from the environment, the complex interactions in the form of competition and cooperation between individuals, and finally selective processes in the form of natural selection and sexual selection.
For those who may not be familiar with the difference between the concepts "natural selection" and "sexual selection": Natural selection covers as most know, the environment's favoring certain emergent genetic characters and configurations that will have a greater chance of survival as compared to others. Sexual selection, on the other hand, entails the selective processes where individual organisms which reproduce sexually choose and mate with each other. This is now believed to contribute much more to evolution than previously believed, because sexual selection implies a rather powerful preference wherein the individuals select the best and most excellent sexual partners to mate with. The net effect is a consistently high quality of the offspring, and this with respect to all possible characteristics.
Our mental and physical characteristics and abilities are formed by these abovementioned factors, without the presence and effect of which they could never have been developed. Therefore, if we want to retain and develop further our capabilities in the future, we have to let our life contain sufficient challenges and selective mechanisms to ensure the promotion and growth of them.
Since the spiritual, according to the Old Mongols, is what lies
under/behind the manifested, these underlying Principles can, if we
choose to attach ourselves to them, express themselves at will and
transform the existing circumstances and conditions. The aforementioned
point that it is the direction that matters, holds true also in the
enormity of the Universal perspective. If our Sun becomes extinguished
and life on Earth dies, the energy fields and Principles will still
continue to be able to manifest every place where conditions so permit;
and may then not the conditions, or the movement of the Universe(s)
itself, be influenced by its spiritual inhabitants, that is, by their
conscious energy fields? If so, all living beings create their destiny,
their past, present and future at the same time, for most part without
realizing it. It is in all its complexity so easy and clear, yet many
people deny it, or they ascribe the directing consciousness to a remote
God who has other things to do, namely somehow to sustain the Universes
so that all the consciousnesses in them can have a home.
One element in life does never in itself eliminate another, it is up to us how we act upon or let the present possibilities influence us. It is so hard for many people to realize that we are the sole creators of our destinies, and that God is not interfering with individual entities, it is only that all actions have an accompanying re-action. The outcomes of everything is not decided at a singular point in time, it is being decided continuously, chaotically, and can be predicted with the same precision as the probability field of an elementary particle in an atom. That atom is made out from the same pattern as we are, and that is the reason why the position of an elementary particle can be described not by a designation of definite locality, but only in terms of probability fields. Since the probability field is still capable of forming solid manifestations like planets, dogs, and humans, chance must be nonexistent, instead the phenomena must have a consciousness that directs the formation. At the same time, since its position and movement is a probability, not a certainty, the chaotic, continuous and free yet causal, determinable nature of our existence and destiny is scientifically proven, it is unfortunate that most scientists have for several hundred years failed to perceive that proof for what it is.
With respect to humans's insight in the workings of
Nature and our being part of it, there was a better time when the
spiritual and the scientific were not divorced into two separated
realms. The Mongol Empire has a brilliant representative for the
combination of these two domains. Yeh-lu Chu'tsai was a Chinese
academician and scientist of Mongol extraction, and he had received the
highest academic credentials when he joined Chingis Khan after the
Mongol conquest of Peking in 1215. He was a court advisor, astronomer
and herbalist, but also an astrologer, further he both used the I Ching
and was a shaman who invoked the spirits at all times. From the Age of
Reason, the time of Descartes and Bacon up to today, one has been
supposed to either live in the realm of knowledge and either deny the
realm of Spirit and intuition, or else believe in "superstition" and as
a result be brutally excluded from the respectability of the academic
circles. Even though science does and should concern itself with
what can be treated with the techniques and procedures of the
scientific method, this gives no licence to deny the existence of what
lies outside its domain. Far from all phenomena can be scientifically
observed or documented; hence it has to be
appreciated that it is a misinterpretation to take for granted that
absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
At the time of Yeh-lu, any scholar who did not accept that the two worlds of Spirit and Knowledge exist together was considered ignorant. Chingis Khan and his associates believed that this underlying reality should be reflected in the organization of human societies, and that the vigor and direct natural experience symbolized by the extremely intuitive nomad lifestyle should be a cornerstone of the line of development of which Temuchin, the man from the Bajkal, was the foremost political representative. Chingis Khan's lifework indicates that his ideal and aim was neither unalterable nomadism nor civilization in the urbanized sense; his emphasis on both nature and culture and his respect for knowledge show that his ideal and aim was an educated pastoral society. Modern people should be aware that this is the kind of society that can without conflict, that is with sustainability, combine human consciousness and intelligence with contact with the Nature we for our own sake and that of the whole Universe should consider us an unalienable part of. Moreover, recent technological developments could be used to facilitate this, since a highly sophisticated technology enables means of production that can be decentralized and less wasteful of natural resources. Then it is up to us to seek Nature, both our inner as well as the outer, and choose to be part of it. In other words: It is up to you.
Another component of human society is that of mental activity, or Knowledge. As it should be remembered, Chingis Khan introduced the written language for the Mongols already when he came to power in 1206, and is forever intent that people should learn. As with other abilities, the limits of the untrained mind are way too restrictive, and they need to be expanded by learning.
This is a major part of the legacy of Chingis Khan, and its importance cannot be overestimated. No social or economic efforts whatsoever should be spared in teaching people in all the subjects under the Sun and beyond. Especially important, of course, is the education of children. They should be taught about the facts and mysteries of all real, imaginable and hidden Worlds even before they are born, for unborn babies, like every living entity in Universe, sense and appreciate the intents and wills of their surroundings. Needless to say, socioeconomic circumstances must not stand in the way of learning. The community must not fail to give all its members equal opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills.
Further; whenever you see the possibility of expanding another's mind and understanding about any subject, small or large, do it. It will assist those to whom you stretch yourself out in this manner, and the positive act you perform will also be returned to you.
A considerable proportion of humanity regularly uses big doses of alcohol or/and drugs whose sole function is to give the user an intoxication that he or she finds pleasant. We know that an increase of violent behavior and all sorts of accidents results from this. Large numbers of people are injured or diseased and vast resources go wasted because of inebriety and drug dependency. Chingis Khan once said that "A little wine enlivens the mind, whereas excess of it befuddles the mind." He also stated that "If a man who does not drink [to the point of drunkenness] at all can be found, he deserves every respect."
Khan's insightful and realistic statement about the use of intoxicating
substances is rendered this way in Paul Ratchnevsky's biography:
"Chingis was aware of the consequences of alcoholism. The commoners
(qarachu) drank away their horses, their herds and became beggars. One
of Chingis' bilik (sayings) stated that alcoholic drink intoxicated the
good and the bad to the same extent, without respect for position and
character; it numbed the senses and the limbs; hands lost their ability
to grasp properly, limbs their ability to move, the mind the ability to
think sensibly. Chingis, a student of human nature, was, however,
realistic in formulating his command for moderation: 'If there is no
means to prevent drunkenness, a man may become drunk thrice a month; if
he oversteps this limit he makes himself guilty of a punishable
offence. If he is drunk only twice a month, that is better - if only
once, that is more praiseworthy. What could be better than that he
should not drink at all? But where shall we find a man who never
drinks? If, however, such a man is found, he deserves every respect.'"
Thus: The use of alcohol and doubtlessly other drugs has been around for a very long time, but so has the insight in its pitfalls.
This problem can best be solved by a question everyone who abuses intoxicating drugs of any kind has to ask him- or herself: "What is more important for me, the intoxicating effects of that substance, or the full command and use of my abilities?"
It follows that the only effective antidote against destructive alcohol and drug use is to have meaningful and stimulating activities in our lives. Sports, sexuality, artistic and intellectual endeavors are examples of worthwhile elements to include in our existence. Certainly no one who has attained proficiency and/or beauty in any area will want to destroy it by poisoning away it all? Let it also be said in this context that the habit of smoking, in view of its demonstrably numerous deleterious effects, deserves our harshest condemnation.
Lastly, the issue here is not so much intoxicants, but what we prefer to fill our lives with. In other words, the most effective antidote against drug dependency in any form, is to fill your life with meaningful and stimulating experiences, sensory as well as mental and spiritual experiences that involve the use all human faculties, so that excessive and thereby debilitating intoxication becomes unnecessary and indeed no longer applicable in our life.
In addition to the perspectives given in the above, we need to consider the main and most urgent themes of human societies of today. Throughout the world, in spite of impressive attainments of cultural and technological development, humans are faced with the very serious issues of shortage of food and energy, over-population, pollution, over-urbanization and all accompanying misfortunes and impending ecological and societal disasters. Unless answers to these challenges are found, humanity will have to learn extremely hard lessons. There is still the chance to accomplish an adjustment of the course, and it is to be hoped that the necessary spiritual, ecological and political consciousness grows forth, so it can become a reality.
The significant point here is that the Mongols are in a unique position in the world. This is because Mongolia is sparsely populated, hence the country is not suitable for industrial agriculture and large units of production. In addition the country still has a nomadic or semi-nomadic way of life. Other countries have established a system in their economic life in which it is difficult to change direction, due to unfortunate economic and political structures that are not so easily altered without a powerful political pressure from the weight of perceived necessity or/and the persuasions and priorities of the world's populations. Mongolia has not built up a Western-style modern economy, and is in a position to choose a way to combine the achievements of modern knowledge, science and technology with a sustainable lifestyle in accordance with the principles of Nature.
The Mongol sociohistorical circumstances are formed by their long history as a nomadic nation. A nomad economy may be seen as much more long-term viable since it has greater flexibility, that is ability to adopt itself to various circumstances, but primarily because it does not have exploitation of Nature as its basis. The Mongol lifestyle, with cooperation with and reverence for Nature, is sustainable, whereas the urbanized lifestyle is not. In the long run the modern urban culture, alienated from Nature, may prove to be the one losing, simply on account of its increasingly proven pernicious effects on Man and his environment. Then the Mongols can be said to be superior after all, since their lifestyle contains elements and teachings much needed by the over-urbanized and dangerously unnatural world that has dominated much of the Earth since the Industrial Revolution.
This does not imply that all the peoples of the world have to adopt a nomad way of life, but that since the Mongols have traditionally lived in Nature in a cooperative way, they can teach us important elements in their philosophy and way of life that can and should be incorporated in our planning for the future, and which can most certainly contribute to the survival and well-being of life on Earth. It was always Chingis Khan's intention to combine the Old World of the traditional lifestyle with civilization, as he recognized humanity's need for learning and science. At the same time he understood how the negative characteristics of civilized life, in the forms it had already taken in the 1200's, dulled man's feelings, senses and body, destroying the healthy union between ourselves and Nature.
If Mongolia could create an infrastructure and agriculture marked by smaller and more self-sufficient units, and develop sustainable, renewable and harmless sources of energy and show them effective, it would set an example that will have considerable political impact. It would incontestably prove the possibility and viability of a more natural lifestyle for human societies. Peculiarities of Mongolian natural conditions notwithstanding, this example will rightfully be understood as relevant for the whole world. All understanding beings of intelligence, thoughtfulness and ecospiritual compassion are advised to let the Mongolian example of how much can be achieved when one is in harmony with our internal and external nature serve as a eternal source of inspiration towards endeavors to approach a similar mode of feeling, thinking, existing, living and behaving. Over time, common people, scientists and politicians alike will then be made aware of this alternative. Mongolia and its spiritual Principles could then show the world the way to how combine Nature and Culture in a spiritually and ecologically responsible way. If this scenario can be brought to fruition, an old prophecy of Mongolian shamans will come true: That Chingis Khan himself shall one day rise again and lead his people and the world.
The Future is often misunderstood. Typical misunderstandings is to view the future as either something that is a predetermined, fixed and linear sequence of events and phenomena that cannot be altered, or as something unpredictable that is governed purely by chance.
Both views are far off the mark. The future is neither predictable nor accidental. Rather, it is contingent upon the incessant actions made by all the forces, existences and beings that have the ability to act, whether they be biotic or abiotic ones. Hence the future, or Destiny, is being formed all the time, with what are the strongest tendencies at any given moment as the most influential determinants. This holds true for the destiny of individuals as well as that of collectives. What determines the course or path of any movement? It is always a question of what tendency is the stronger one. Nothing in the future is being decided once and for all. The decisions are made along the path of time, continuously. Therefore, any prediction is nothing more than the description of one possible pattern of events and results, which may or may not come true, depending on a number of factors. This has wide-ranging implications indeed. To dwell with the sphere of life-forms, for example humans: If an individual's energy field, sense of purpose and consistency is powerful enough, the nature and number of possibilities can be influenced, thus the present and future course can be determined. This is called conscious change. Biology has discovered that selective processes within and between individuals in all probability have played and play a larger role in both morphogenesis, adaptation and creation of new species than what has previously been thought. This also implies that the stronger the awareness and determination, the greater the possibility of altering the course. Any individual, or group of individuals, that is confronted with challenges from the environment, must respond to these or fail. The exact combination of necessity, awareness, belief, expectation and determination as well as the extent to which the entity in question is capable of these then set the circumstances and direction of the resultant course. It is crucially important to understand that this is a continuous, unending process wherein it is possible to change and decide the direction at any given point.
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Last Updated February 27, 2003 by Per Inge Oestmoen