The Verity of Man's Dignity
Man's presence on earth has a higher purpose, and that purpose is for him to delve deeply into the mysteries of his own existence, and to uncover the truth about the universe that sorrounds him.
While others (based solely on their individual perception of the meaning of their own lives) might question the validity or rationality of the above statement, I believe that man, taken as a collective entity must march inexorably to his destiny.. the destiny of being able to sublimate his mere physical form (beyond the limits of time and space) into the spritiual, the mystical, the transcendental. The truest communion with the One who intitated the process with whiich he became a sentient, volitional, emotional and creative being.
Granted that man's life has not been paradigmatic of pure, total, and unadulterated triumph, he has shown, nevertheless, that he is capable of surviving the hellish inequities that has consistently and persistently visited him on earth. His life may have been short, and brutish in the beginning, but his capacity for beating the odds, through several instances of near extinction over the millenia, only increased his sense of purpose and destinty. It also reinforced the verity of his dignity, one that he has been able to hang on to... until now.
Now, although man's life for the most part has been free of the physical hardships ( except on some parts of the earth where survival is stiil a daily struggle) that once punctuated his existence, the onslaught of moral and ethical relativism that now pervades his societal and cultural millieu, may be the ones to finally unclasp his hands from the ever loosening hold of his dignity.
Over the past 5 decades, societal and cultural values have degraded drastically, so that patterns of behaviour not otherwise acceptable in other decades, have become deeply ingrained in all areas of human actions and interactions. Anti-authoritarianism and sexual promiscuity became the lasting hallmark of the 60's, that then evolved into the hedonism and aimlesness in the 70's. Rampant commercialism and materialism was the clear subterfuge for greed in the 80's, with the political disenchantment and racial polarization in the 90's becoming just an afterthought as tribalism and terrorism in this decade disrupted the communal fabric. In the ensuing upheaval, the concept of personal moral and ethical accountability was lost in some quarters and compromised in others.
Stoicism, as an ethical guidepost, posits that man should continue to find dignity and worth in his attempts to cope with the most trying of life's vicissitudes, while tempering his active avoidance of these inequities with justice, prudence and tranquility. By incorporating the values of stoicism in his daiily life, man could feel optimistic, that having survived (but barely) the moral and ethical dillemas of the past 5 decades, he could recapture his once vital sense of dignity. Man could rise above the deep ideological differences that now underpin his variagated belief systems, and keep rational ideas and ideals on the forefront of his moral and ethical revival.