How to Pursue the Truth (8) Part Two

What is the nature of the ideals and desires that arise from people’s interests and hobbies? We are not exposing people’s interests and hobbies here, so what are we actually exposing and dissecting? Isn’t it the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from certain interests and hobbies people have? (Yes.) Aren’t we exposing the various behaviors people exhibit and the paths they take as a result of their pursuits, ideals, and desires? Isn’t this the essence we are exposing? (Yes.) So what are the paths that people take for the sake of their pursuits, ideals, and desires? What kind of path do the pursuits, ideals, and desires of any person lead them on? What kind of goals do they achieve? While people are realizing their pursuits, ideals, and desires, apart from investing their energy and time, as well as enduring more pain and all kinds of physical labor, fatigue, stress, and other similar hardships, most importantly, what is the path that they take? That is, while people are pursuing the realization of their own ideals and desires, what is the path they must take in order to achieve the realization of their pursuits, ideals, and desires? First and foremost, in order for people to realize their own pursuits, ideals, and desires in this world, what should they study as their first step? (All kinds of knowledge.) That’s right, they should learn and equip themselves with all kinds of knowledge. The more abundant, comprehensive, and profound their knowledge is, the closer they will be to their pursuits, ideals, and desires. The more comprehensive, abundant, and profound their knowledge is, the more likely they are to be recognized as experienced individuals, and the higher status they will enjoy in society. At the same time, the more abundant, profound, and comprehensive their knowledge is, this means they will need to invest more time and energy. This is spoken from the perspective of physical energy. Furthermore, after acquiring a foundation of knowledge, people are one step closer to the realization of their pursuits, ideals, and desires. Having sufficient knowledge is only the first step, the bottom foundation. After this, people need to immerse themselves in society, in the masses, in the vast dyeing vat or one might say meat grinder of the industry related to their ideals and desires, contending, struggling, and competing with forces on all sides, and participating in various contests, competitions, and seminars. While spending a great deal of energy, people also need to adapt to different situations and environments in order to achieve the realization of their pursuits, ideals, and desires. At the same time, in this vast dyeing vat, people must rely on their knowledge, and more so what they have learned from the masses, as well as the methods, philosophy, and rules of survival they already possess, in order to adapt to the masses and to society’s mechanisms and rules of the game. Through this process, people gradually get closer to the goals of their pursuits, ideals, and desires. After surviving so many ordeals, so many twists and turns, what is the ultimate outcome? As the winners, they take the crown, and the losers get nothing. In the end, with this result they achieve their life’s pursuits, ideals, and desires, realizing their life goals and gaining a firm footing in their industry. By that time, people have usually already arrived at middle or old age, and some may even be in their late years, with failing eyesight, balding heads, loss of hearing, and loose teeth. At that age, although they have achieved their ideals and desires, they’ve also done many harmful things. They have thrown their entire lives into this. Throughout their lives, in order to realize their ideals and desires they have said many things that went against their will, committed many acts that violated ethics and conscience and crossed certain boundaries, and even engaged in many unconscionable and immoral acts. They have deceived others and been deceived more than a few times, they have defeated others and been defeated as well. They are fortunate enough to have survived and to have gained a foothold, and their lives seem perfect, as if they have realized their self-worth and have not lived in vain. They have struggled their whole lives for their ideals and desires, and seem to have lived a valuable and meaningful life. Yet they fail to see through the path of self-comportment they should have taken, they lack any kind of motto for their life, and have struggled their entire lives solely for the sake of realizing their ideals and desires, battling against humanity, society, and even themselves. They have lost the conscience, boundaries, and principles needed for self-comportment. Although their ideals and desires have been realized, and after numerous twists and turns the life goals they set at each stage have been achieved, on the inside they do not feel at ease or fulfilled. The pursuits, ideals, and desires they have established for the sake of their own interests and hobbies, to put it plainly, ultimately lead them to a path of pursuing fame and profit. Although they may feel that, after attaining their ultimate goals, they have realized their self-worth, earned a sense of presence, and gained and possessed both fame and profit, they remain ignorant about the future, their destination, and the value of human existence that people should truly understand. As they reach old age, they increasingly feel that everything they ever pursued is terribly elusive and hollow. This hollowness and elusiveness bring with them waves of emptiness and apprehension. It is only in old age that people realize that the ideals and desires they pursued have only served to satisfy their vanity and provide temporary fame and profit, which are nothing more than a fleeting consolation. Such consolation quickly turns into a kind of unease and apprehension, because as people reach old age, they are more prone to contemplate their future, what will become of them, and what will happen to them after death, and when all these questions remain unanswered, when they lack any correct thoughts and viewpoints on these matters, people will begin to feel apprehensive and uneasy. This unease and apprehension persist with them until they close their eyes and pass away. The joy that comes from fame and profit quickly disappears from the human heart, and the more one even attempts to grasp and hold on to it, the more easily it fades away, and this sense of joy more easily transforms into unease and fear. Consequently, regardless of the ideals and desires that arise from people’s various interests and hobbies, they ultimately lead to a path of pursuing fame and profit, and the ultimate goal achieved, what people gain, is nothing more than fame and profit. This fame and profit only provide temporary consolation and the momentary satisfaction of fleshly vanity. When people do not understand the truth, they feel that their pursuits, ideals, and desires are real, make them feel grounded, that they are better able to find their place in the world, better able to control the direction of and maintain a grasp on their lives, to be in charge of their own destiny. However, when their ideals and desires are realized, people finally experience an awakening. What is the cause of this awakening? It is the realization that what they have devoted their life’s energy to is an empty thing that cannot be seized by the hand or felt by the heart. The more they try to seize and hold onto it, the more it slips away, leaving them with a heightened sense of loss and emptiness, and of course, greater feelings of fear and regret. Because people have interests and hobbies, they develop ideals and desires, and these ideals and desires create an illusion that makes people believe they have the ability to control their lives, to steer their life’s path, and to determine their mode and objectives of existence. At the root of this illusion is the fact that people do not pursue the truth, they have no love for the truth, and of course one might say that it is brought about by people not understanding the truth. When people do not understand the truth, they often instinctively pursue things that can make their flesh or their spirit feel satisfied. Regardless of how distant from them these things may be, as long as they feel they can attain and lay hold on them, they are willing to pay the price, even spending a lifetime of energy and time. Because people do not understand the truth, they easily mistake their interests and hobbies as the cornerstone or as a kind of qualification or capital for pursuing their life goals, and for this, they are willing to pay any price. You don’t realize that once you pay this price, once you embark on this path, you are destined to walk a path controlled by Satan and by the world’s trends and rules of the game. At the same time, you are destined to involuntarily immerse yourself in society’s dyeing vat, in society’s meat grinder. No matter what color it dyes you, no matter what it grinds you into, no matter how distorted your humanity becomes, you console yourself, saying, “In order to realize my ideals and desires, and for the sake of my future, I must endure!” You also constantly tell yourself, “I must adapt to this society, no matter what color I am dyed, I must accept and adapt to it.” While you are adapting to all these different environments, you are also adapting to the different colors you are being dyed, and constantly accepting different versions of yourself with different styles and different characters. In this way, people unknowingly become more and more numb, more and more without a sense of shame, and their conscience and reason are more and more unable to guide or control their thoughts, desires, and choices. In the end, to varying degrees, most people achieve their ideals and desires while pursuing them. Of course, a few individuals, no matter how they pursue, or how much effort and hardship they go through, still are unable to realize their ideals and desires. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, what do humans gain? Those who succeed gain fame and profit, while those who fail may be unable to gain this fame and profit, but what they receive is the same as the successful people—they receive the various harms and negative thoughts imbued by Satan, by this evil humanity, and by the entire social mechanism and society’s evil influence. Otherwise, why would people frequently use phrases like: “been around the block,” “a conniving old fox,” “a seasoned and wily snake,” or “weathered many storms,” and so on? It is because as you pursue your ideals and desires, you also “learn” a lot in this vast dyeing vat and this meat grinder of society. You “learn” things that don’t exist in your physical instincts—the term “learn” here should be in quotation marks. What does “learn” refer to? It means society, Satan, and evil mankind indoctrinating you with various thoughts that defy normal human conscience and reason, making you live with less and less conscience and reason, increasingly devoid of shame, and increasingly despise normal people and those who walk the right path. At the same time, what is the worst result? Not only will you increasingly look down upon people with normal humanity, conscience, and reason, but at the same time you will also envy and admire the despicable acts of those who betray their conscience and morality, and envy the rich material or economic benefits they gain from their despicable acts and bad behavior. Isn’t this the consequence? (Yes.) This is a more terrifying consequence, that is, as people pursue the realization of their ideals and desires, their countenance becomes increasingly grim and terrifying, their conscience and reason are gradually lost, and their moral outlook, life outlook, and behavior become more and more wicked, ugly, despicable, and sordid.

From the moment a person develops interests and hobbies to realizing their ideals and desires, during this process, the path they walk and the activities they engage in—that is, their whole current life situation—is a life situation, one might say, that is in the grip of society and evil trends. In fact, it is also a process during which people willingly accept the manipulation, trampling, and exploitation of Satan while pursuing the realization of their ideals and desires. It is of course also a process during which Satan corrupts people further and more specifically in everything. In every situation you encounter, Satan continuously instills in you the idea that in order to achieve your goals, you must use any means necessary, abandoning things that are positive and that normal humanity ought to uphold, such as human dignity, personal integrity, moral boundaries, one’s conscience, and the criteria for self-comportment. As it misleads you into gradually relinquishing these, it also challenges your conscience, reason, and moral boundaries, as well as the little bit of shame you have left. After it finishes challenging these, it leads you to continually make compromises in the midst of the misleading, temptation, control, and trampling of evil trends. In the process of making constant compromise, you choose to adopt the thoughts and viewpoints instilled by Satan concerning how to view people and things and how to comport oneself and act, and you actively practice the thoughts and viewpoints Satan has imparted to you as well as the ways and methods for how to comport oneself and act. You reluctantly and involuntarily engage in all of this, but at the same time, in order to achieve your ideals and desires, you willingly and actively do it all with a very accommodating attitude. In short, during this process, people remain passive, but from another perspective, they are actively conforming to Satan’s control and corruption. While pursuing the realization of their ideals and desires, they live all the time in the vast dyeing vat of society’s evil trends, in their grip. Similarly, they live in a complex and contradictory mindset of being both willing and unwilling, and in a real environment that is both complex and contradictory. Through this process, as people draw closer to the ideals, desires, and life goals they’ve been pursuing, they become less and less like a human being, their conscience grows increasingly numb, and their reason diminishes. However, deep down people believe that they have ideals and desires, some even say that their ideals and desires are their convictions, that having convictions in their hearts means that they have beliefs, and that one should have beliefs in life. They believe that they are normal human beings because they have beliefs, and that they should therefore continue their pursuits according to their former methods and laws of survival, and that as long as the results of this are good, and it brings them closer to their life ideals and goals, then any price they pay for this is worth it, even if it means losing everything. Consequently, within the contradictory mindset of being both willing and unwilling, people will continue to accept Satan’s control, its thoughts, and its manipulation and trickery. Even when people are well aware that they have been corrupted by society and evil trends, in these kinds of circumstances, they will still keep up a relentless pursuit in order to realize their ideals and achieve their life goals. They may even congratulate themselves on the fact that they are able to resort to any means necessary and have never given up, rejoicing in their ability to persist till now. Looking at the behaviors people exhibit during the pursuit of their ideals and desires, as well as the paths they take and their various transformations, what manner of path is that of pursuing the realization of people’s ideals and desires? (It is a path leading to destruction.) It is a path without return, where the further people walk down it, the further they drift away from God. One might also say that it is a path of destruction. The life goals, to which the ideals and desires that people have established lead, have Satan waiting for them there. And along the way to these life goals, that which accompanies and follows them isn’t the truth, it isn’t God’s words. Then who is it? (It is Satan, along with its evil trends and various philosophies for worldly dealings.) They are accompanied by Satan, by its control, corruption, trickery, and repeated temptations. This is a path of no return, a path of destruction, is it not? (It is.) Because while people pursue their ideals and desires, what they are actually pursuing is not the actualization of their ideals and desires as the goal, rather they use the pursuit of these things as their driving force and foundation to acquire fame and profit. That is the essence and the truth of the matter. This path only makes people yearn more and more for fame and profit, for the world’s evil trends. This path only leads people to sink deeper and deeper, making them more and more depraved, and more devoid of rationality and bereft of conscience, distancing them away from positive things. At the same time, it leads them further away from the more practical ways of living and life goals that someone with normal humanity should have. It can only make people’s corrupt dispositions become more deeply rooted, and it can only distance them further from the sovereignty and orchestration of God. Of course, it also makes it increasingly difficult for people to discern between positive and negative things. This is a fact. So, how can we resolve these problems? Once we understand the essence of human pursuits, ideals, and desires, what should we fellowship about? It should be about how to let go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires, isn’t that right? (Yes.)

We were fellowshipping just now about how pursuing the realization of one’s own ideals and desires is a path of no return, a road leading to destruction—then should people abandon such a way of life? (Yes.) They should let go of and change the way they live: It is neither a correct approach nor a right path in life. Since it is not correct, one should let go of it, change the way they live and adopt a correct approach to life and existence. Of course, they should adopt a correct approach in how they treat people’s interests and hobbies, and how they treat people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. People’s talents and gifts, along with these interests and hobbies, let them establish their pursuits, ideals, and desires, and at the same time, they also let them develop their goals to pursue. These goals are not right, and will lead people on a path of no return, taking them further away from God and eventually bringing them to destruction. Since they are not right, what is the right course of action? Let’s first take a look at whether it is right for people to have interests and hobbies, that is to say, can their interests and hobbies be listed under the category of negative things? (No, they cannot.) People’s interests and hobbies are not inherently wrong, and of course one certainly cannot say that they are negative things. They should not be condemned or criticized. It is a part of normal humanity for people to have interests, hobbies, and talents in certain areas—every person has them. Some people like dancing, some enjoy singing, drawing, performing, mechanics, economics, engineering, medicine, agriculture, sailing, or certain sports, others like studying geography, geology, or aviation, and, of course, still others might enjoy the study of even more obscure subjects. Regardless of a person’s interests and hobbies, they are all a part of humanity and of normal human life. They should not be vilified as negative things, neither should they be criticized, and banned even less. That is, any interest and hobby you may have is legitimate. Since any interest or hobby is legitimate and should be allowed to exist, how should the ideals and desires related to them be treated? For example, some people enjoy music. They say, “I want to become a musician or a conductor,” then disregard everything else to go study and further themselves in music, setting their life’s goals and direction on occupying the seat of a musician. Is this the right thing to do? (It’s not the right thing to do.) If you don’t believe in God, if you’re a part of the world and spend your life realizing the ideals and desires established by your own interests and hobbies, we have nothing to say about that. Now, as a believer in God, if you have such interests and hobbies and want to dedicate your whole life, paying the price of a lifetime to realize the ideals and desires established by your own interests and hobbies, is this path good or bad? Is it worth promoting? (It’s not worth promoting.) Let’s not talk just yet about whether or not it’s worth promoting; everything ought to be worked through solemnly, so how do you do that in order to determine whether this matter is right or wrong? You need to consider whether the pursuits, ideals, and desires you’ve established have any connection to God’s teachings and His salvation and expectations for you, to God’s will to save mankind, to your mission, and to your duty, whether they will help you complete your mission and fulfill your duty more effectively, or whether they will increase your chances of being saved and help you achieve the satisfaction of God’s will. As an ordinary person, your pursuit of ideals and desires is your right, but as you realize your own ideals and desires and pursue this path, will they lead you down the path of salvation? Will they lead you down the path of fearing God and shunning evil? Will they ultimately lead you to the result of absolute submission to and worship of God? (They will not.) That’s for sure. Since they will not, then as a believer in God, are the ideals and desires established because of your interests, your hobbies, and even your talents and gifts, positive or negative? Should you have them or not? (They are negative; we shouldn’t have them.) You shouldn’t have them. So, what does the nature of a person’s ideals and desires become? Do they become positive or negative things? Do they become a right you should have or something you shouldn’t have? (They become negative, something I shouldn’t have.) They become something you shouldn’t have. Some people say, “Then if I shouldn’t have them, it must mean You’re taking away my rights!” I’m not taking away your rights; I’m talking about what kind of path people should take and how to pursue the truth. I’m not taking away your rights; the freedom of choice is yours, you are allowed to choose. But as for what is the nature of this matter and how it should be judged, we have a basis for our arguments and are not speaking at random. If you take God’s words as your basis and speak from the perspective of the truth, then a person’s ideals and desires are not positive things. Of course, to be more precise, if as a believer in God you wish to pursue the truth and attain salvation, if you wish to pursue the truth and achieve fearing God, shunning evil, and submitting to God, then you shouldn’t have the same ideals and desires as worldly people do. In other words, if you want to pursue the truth and attain salvation, then you should let go of your own pursuits, ideals, and desires. To put it differently, if you want to pursue the truth and attain salvation, then you shouldn’t pursue your own ideals and desires, and you especially shouldn’t use the pursuit of these ideals and desires for the purpose of garnering fame and profit. Can it be put this way? (Yes.) It’s all clear now. As a believer in God, since you are willing to pursue the truth and wish to attain salvation, you should then let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires, you should abandon this path, that is the path of seeking fame and profit, and let go of these ideals and desires. You should not choose the realization of your ideals and desires as your life’s goal; instead, it should be to pursue the truth and attain salvation.

Some people ask, “Since I can’t realize my pursuits, ideals, and desires, and I’ve let them all go, what should I do about my interests and hobbies?” That is your own business. Though you may have interests and hobbies, as long as they do not disturb your normal pursuit, do not interfere with performing your duty and completing your mission, and do not affect your life goals or the path you are taking, then you can keep these interests and hobbies. Of course, it can also be understood like this: Since these interests and hobbies are a part of your humanity, then one might also say that they are given to you by God. All aspects, such as a person’s appearance, family, background, and survival habitat, have been predestined by God. Therefore, we cannot deny that the interests and hobbies you have are also given by God. This fact cannot be denied, it is certain. For instance, some people are skilled in languages, in drawing, in music, in distinguishing sounds, colors, etc. Regardless of whether these things are your special skills or interests and hobbies, one might say that they are all a part of humanity. Why does God give people certain interests and hobbies? It is to make your human life a bit more rich and colorful, so that your life may be accompanied by certain elements of entertainment and leisure without affecting you walking the right path in life, making your life less dry, less dull and monotonous. For example, when it is time to sing hymns at gatherings, someone who is able to perform a musical instrument can accompany the singing by playing the piano or guitar. If no one could perform, then everyone would be deprived of this delight. If there is someone to provide an accompaniment, then the result will be much better than singing without accompaniment, and everyone will enjoy it. At the same time, it broadens horizons, enriches experiences, life gains more substance, people feel that life is more beautiful, and their moods grow more cheerful. This is beneficial to both their normal humanity and the path they take in belief in God. For instance, if you enjoy drawing, then when life for the brothers and sisters has grown monotonous, you can make humorous drawings, and depict certain people’s negative expressions and faces, and negative remarks, as witty and humorous cartoons, then compile them into a little booklet and share it with everyone, including those Negative Nancies. When they see it and say, “Yikes, is this a drawing of me?” they’ll chuckle and feel happy, and they won’t be negative anymore. Isn’t this a good thing? It didn’t take too much effort, yet it helped them come out of their negativity rather easily. In one’s free time, drawing, playing musical instruments, discussing art, or exploring acting and performing various characters, including different kinds of negative people, different kinds of arrogant individuals, and the various manifestations of antichrists who act arbitrarily, can help people improve their discernment and broaden their horizons. Isn’t this a good thing? How are these interests and hobbies not useful? They are beneficial to people. However, if you give rise to ideals and desires because of your interests and hobbies, and they have the effect of steering you toward a path of no return, then they are not good for you. But if you apply your interests and hobbies to your life in a way that is insightful to your humanity, makes your life more abundant and colorful, and makes you more witty and cheerful, living more well-nourished, free, and liberated, then your interests and hobbies will have a positive effect, benefiting everyone and providing you with edification, while not affecting the performance of your duty and completion of your mission. Of course, to some extent they will assist you in fulfilling your duty. When you are feeling down or discouraged, singing a song, playing an instrument, or playing lively and rhythmic music can uplift your mood, enabling you to come before God in prayer. You will no longer harbor negativity, complain, or want to quit. At the same time, you will discover your weaknesses and defects, realizing that you are too fragile and unable to withstand tempering or setbacks. Playing an instrument will help you improve your mood; this is called knowing how to live. Haven’t these interests and hobbies had a positive effect? (Yes.) Interests and hobbies can be viewed as tools that, when used properly, can change your mood, allowing you to live a more normal and rational life. To some extent, they can expedite or facilitate your entry into the truth reality and provide an additional tool to help you perform your duties. Of course, some people’s humanity is bad and evil; they’re always ambitious, with the disposition of an antichrist, or they are antichrists. For them, having interests and hobbies can be troublesome, as they might use them as a capital and think no end of themselves, which undoubtedly feeds their aggression and audacity in doing evil deeds. Therefore, interests and hobbies themselves are not inherently bad or negative things. Good and normal people use them for positive things, while bad, evil, and negative individuals use them to do evil and bad deeds. So, interests and hobbies can either make you better or worse, isn’t that the case? (Yes.) Let’s return to the theme of how to let go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. After understanding the essence of interests and hobbies, people should not view someone’s interests and hobbies through colored glasses, and they should certainly not reject people with any interests or hobbies. Interests and hobbies are a part of normal humanity, and people should treat them correctly. Unless your interests and hobbies start affecting others’ lives or causing discomfort to others, or if you preserve your interests and hobbies at the expense of affecting or disturbing others, then this is inappropriate. Apart from this, your interests and hobbies are legitimate, and it is hoped that people can treat them properly and make reasonable use and employment of them. Of course, the best and most correct way to use and employ them is to let your interests and hobbies have the greatest impact on the work you do and the duties you perform, and employ them to the fullest extent without letting them go to waste. Some people say, “My interests and hobbies can play a significant role in doing my duties, but I feel that my knowledge in this area is not sufficient and comprehensive enough right now. I want to further myself and carry out a better and more systematic study of subjects related to this area, then apply it to my duties. Can I do that?” Yes, you can. God’s house repeatedly encourages you to keep learning. Knowledge is a tool, and if it doesn’t contain anything that corrodes or erodes one’s thoughts, you can study and deepen your understanding of it. You can use it as a positive and beneficial tool to perform your duties, allowing it to be effective and have an impact. Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t this an appropriate approach? (Yes.) Of course, this method of practice is also a proper way to handle your interests and hobbies, and at the same time it is also a correct way to let go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. You are using and employing your interests and hobbies correctly, not using them to achieve personal goals or to achieve the goal of pursuing the satisfaction of personal ambitions and cravings. This, then, is legitimate and an accurate way of practice, and of course it is also a correct and positive way of practice. Moreover, it also serves as a concrete path of how to let go of pursuits, ideals, and desires.

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