Yes, protection. Protection from others, protection from nature. Why is it that nature, in the form of cold and heat, earthquakes and hurricanes, famine and pain, even death itself, intrudes on our pursuit of survival and development and interferes in our pursuit of our highest “good”?
This is one of the key questions.
After all, I can negotiate with other “wills” who are also motivated by self-interest. We can communicate, we can oblige, we can force, entice, cajole, love, and simply ask for their help (or their non-interference).
Mother Nature aside, the real world of nature is not so friendly. It is full of both good and evil. It is both cruel and non-cruel (in terms of its affect on me). We need what nature has to offer but it is a love-hate relationship because we have limited control over the natural events of everyday life.
Leave aside for a moment what mankind does to nature in the pursuit of resources for our survival and development. Leave aside for a moment that mankind is the true source of many “evils” that seem to come from the realm of nature.
Still, nature is unpredictable and uncontrollable in an ultimate sense (even in our scientific and technologically advanced day and age).
It is still an open question whether we are making things better or worse in the long run in our attempts to control and entice resources from this world of ours.
In addition, at the end of the day, our physical bodies are dominated by the forces of decay and death. There is no escape. Protection is, indeed, necessary, from others and from nature itself (including our own bodies).
Perhaps we will even come to the realization that we need protection also, and mostly, from ourselves (our corrupted will and our commitment to self-interest above all, as prudent as that might seem).
That awareness is likely to cause a revolution in our self-understanding and appreciation for this world we live in.
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Footnotes and references included in the original manuscript.