While it is good to “get outside of oneself to find happiness through serving others,” I wonder how it is that flawed individuals can even begin to share wisdom with their fellow citizens. What wisdom can possibly be shared that doesn’t come from a person’s life and heart?
This curious behavior comes from the fact—elucidated by Emanuel Swedenborg—that, the human intellect can operate separately and independently from the heart and its feelings. In other words, due to this split functioning in the human psyche we can have noble ideas placed in our memory without ever employing any of those same ideas into our actual lives.
We overlook this duality in people’s psyches.
So even after some personal failure in life or of one’s own character, an individual can still learn and accumulate wise words for another’s ears. This is why a politician can have a huge personal flaw (like self-centeredness or deception) and yet from noble principles learned through the intellect, still pass good laws and policies that can benefit everyone (especially in order to be re-elected or to be deemed important).
The true purpose of genuine religion is for individuals to bring their best-learned ideas and words into their own hearts to activate genuine transformation and regain psychic oneness. Otherwise, a person will be motivated to serve the greater community from a false sense of self-importance, where the heart has become separated from the useful material of the intellect. Such service does not represent an angelic or innocent action.
To really change the world for the better, individuals must change—one by one.