All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all.
― The Buddha
When you cut your finger, it heals up by itself.
If a mad dog is chasing you, you run away.
If a car is speeding straight for you, you jump out of the way.
“The Healing Principle” is an automatic biological imperative operating at all times
and all levels within all living beings, defined as:
healing of any kind: physical, emotional, spiritual, moral
promoting physical and mental strength, health and well being
feeling good in any way
A chemical property of the DNA molecule is that it reproduces. It makes copies of
All living things are constructed and operated using instructions carried by their
DNA, and consequently, all living things exist to reproduce.
In order to reproduce, they have to survive.
In order to survive, they have to stay as healthy as possible.
These last two, seeking well being and survival, constitute the Healing Principle.
The Healing Principle is a direct, basic consequence of evolution and natural selection.
The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, organisms
that are better adapted to their environment tend to survive longer and transmit
more of their genetic characteristics to succeeding generations than do those that
are less well adapted.
So, after life started on Earth, the Healing Principle would quickly have become
stronger and stronger within successive generations of living things because those
that most sought to preserve their health and survival would have out-bred the others.
In humans it consists of biological and psychological processes that encourage health,
well being and survival; and more conscious actions aimed at doing the same thing.
In practice, it comes down to: helping to make yourself happy; helping to make others
happy; others helping to make you happy. Doing the work of nurturing, and putting
the right conditions in place, in order for well being to flourish.
We love to see the Healing Principle at work in others; if we are not selfish and
bitter, we love to see others happy and flourishing. We love and admire people we
describe as brave, those who risk their own well-being for the sake of others, or
who expend effort for others, or who protect others. We feel good when we nurture
and produce it in others, if they are treating us well: when we share our own well-being
Nature has built us for survival rather than happiness. However, we want both. The
Healing Principle can sometimes be rather blind and troublesome in its operations,
which can lead to unhappiness, for example when it makes us selfish or when the ego
constantly has us in a state of worry and high alert. If we want to achieve happiness,
then we may need to modify the natural order slightly, so as to apply the Healing
Principle in a way that is more optimum for happiness than nature intended.
Short and long term consequences
Some things make us feel good in the short term – but are damaging in the long term.
Likewise, some things that are uncomfortable in the short term bring success in
the long term. The short term only lasts for a short time, while the long term lasts
for a significant chunk of your life.
An atheist religion?
The Healing Principle is effectively a force that pervades all of nature, so therefore
it pervades you. It is at once personal and transcendent: the universal, active
drive towards health, strength, feeling good, well-being and survival.
The Healing Principle is a big powerful idea whose evidence is everywhere in nature,
although many people have trouble seeing it. It is perhaps the most sacred thing
we have. As nature’s compassion (“God’s love”), it forms one of the “DNA” strands
of the existing organized religions, and together with the concept of truth, affords
a mystical and spiritual perspective to atheists.
I will be with you – will you be with Me?
Richard Foster – “Life with God – a life-transforming new approach to Bible reading”
Did not He find thee an orphan, and shelter thee?
Did not He find thee erring, and guide thee?
Did not He find thee needy, and suffice thee?
As for the orphan, do not oppress him,
and as for the beggar, scold him not;
and as for thy Lord’s blessing, exalt it.
The Qu’ran: Sura 93
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you
will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who
asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door
will be opened.
Jesus: Matthew 7:7,8
The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like.” He said
to them, “It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it
falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for the birds
of the sky.”
Jesus: Gospel of St Thomas
... evolution selects for adaptive actions.
Michael Tomasello – “A Natural History of Human Thinking”
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And
that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against
me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
Albert Camus – “Return to Tipasa”
In all species, nature works to renew itself as it works to nourish itself, and to
protect itself from danger, each by its kind and for its kind, in the great work
of continuation that is evolution. In humankind the work of renewal lies in the work
of affection, the bond of one to another made by desire.
A C Grayling – “The Good Book: a secular Bible”
Eventually Muhammed’s religion of al-Llah was known as islām, the act of existential
surrender that each convert was expected to make to God: a muslim is ‘one who surrenders’
his or her whole being to the Creator. At first, however, the believers called their
religion tazaqqa. This is an obscure word, which is not easy to translate. By cultivating
tazaqqa, Muhammed’s converts were to cloak themselves in the virtues of compassion
and generosity; they were to use their intelligence to cultivate a caring and responsible
spirit, which made them want to give graciously of what they had to all God’s creatures.
By pondering the mysteries of creation intelligently Muslims would learn to behave
kindly and this generous attitude would mean that they acquired a spiritual refinement.
Al-Llah was the great exemplar. Muslims were urged to contemplate His ‘signs’ in
order to appreciate His graciousness to the whole of the natural world. As a consequence
of his generous intelligence, there was order and fruitfulness instead of chaos and
selfish barbarism. If they submitted to His edicts, they would find that their own
lives could be transfigured by a similar refinement.