“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.”
Is a quote by Bertrand Russell, the great British thinker, philosopher and Nobel Prize winner for Literature. Russell has stressed on the two most important aspects of life, love and knowledge. If you study the ancient Indian scriptures you will find that these are the two most important values to be pursued and cherished. Bhagavad Gita is actually a treatise on knowledge and how knowledge can liberate the mankind.
What Makes Love So Important
According to Russell, love is what inspires a good life and it is the raison d’etre, the very purpose of life. Knowledge is the means which makes for a good life. Both are necessary, one provides the drive and purpose, while the other provides the means for making life good and great.
By love, he means the universal love, the emotional content that makes a man human. By knowledge what is actually meant is the wisdom that a man attains and uses it for the progress of mankind. Love without knowledge makes human no different from other species of living. Knowledge without love would make a human an emotionless logical machine like android.
Love gets priority over knowledge as it is more basic in nature; it is like a primordial instinct that is built in every living being. It exists within oneself, and does not require acquiring from any outside source.
Why Knowledge is Necessary
The unique quality and importance of love does not make knowledge inferior. Knowledge is the ultimate goal of mankind; this has been emphasized in ancient Hindu texts and Buddhists literature. Knowledge liberates human beings from bondages of every kind.
A robot needs no inspiration. It works on the command it gets. But a human needs a driving force, an inspiration that leads him to seek knowledge. Love is that inspiration which drives a man to knowledge so that it can help benefit those whom he loves.
Without the power of knowledge, man is helpless in doing anything that result in the betterment and progress of human society. Love is the check that also prevents a human’s tendency to prevent making anything that would be detrimental to the society. As the world has seen, those who hurt the mankind most were people with power derived from knowledge; but they lacked the inspiring love inside them.
People who have love inside them will use the knowledge only for the good of mankind. That is what differentiates scientists from dictators and anarchists. The latter did not have the love that could have inspired them.
How Can You Start Living the Good Life
Good life is not something unattainable. It is within the reach of everyone. Love is within the heart of everyone, it may just need to be re-kindled. Self-development is the outcome of knowledge about oneself. Together, they can lead everyone to a good life. The following might help you apply these in your own life and see the difference it makes.
Stop Judging Others All the Time:
Judgment of others is a barrier to loving them. When a person starts judging his parents on what they have done for him, his love for them diminishes immediately. He may not know what hardships they faced, the tough journey of life they may have gone through, how their experience have shaped their knowledge and thoughts. Being judgmental of others is limiting one’s appreciation and acceptance of others. This is the most potent barrier for love.
Stop Finding Motives in Other’s Action:
Often one finds hidden motives in other’s actions. Negative-minded people use all their productive time on these, which in most cases are imaginary. When people do anything, it is for themselves. The thought of conspiring against anyone else is the last thought in their mind. They are busy in grappling with their own problems and attempting walk ahead in their own journey.
Accept People as They Are:
Everyone in this world is a unique individual with his own personality and thinking. You will not find anyone who will be exactly as you have wished. A friend may have many good qualities but a few which you detest. An enlightened person is one who does not force his own impressions of liking upon others. He understands the fact that everyone has hundreds of characteristics. Learning to accept people as they are is an act and result of knowledge and wisdom. It opens the floodgates of love inside and makes life more simple and beautiful.
Love and Knowledge both are essential for living a good life. When one reaches the higher realms of spirituality, one realizes how intertwined they are with each other. For the truly emancipated both are the two sides of the same coin.