Thirty Days of Love – Day 19
All cultures and religions seem to have a particular creation story. Hinduism’s “Hymn of Creation” is taken from the Rig Veda, one of Hinduism’s holiest texts. It is a beautiful piece that refers to a possibly not omniscient “One.”
There was neither non-existence nor existence then.
There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond.
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottlemlessly deep?
There was neither death nor immortality then.
There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day.
That One breathed, windless, by its own impulse.
Other than that there was nothing beyond.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whence this creation has arisen
– perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not –
the One who looks down on it,
in the highest heaven, only He knows
or perhaps even He does not know.
- Rig Veda 10:129
I find the idea of God being not omniscient, not omnipotent refreshing.
Actually…it would explain a lot!
Thirty Days of Love – Day 20
A few sayings from Taoist commentators on the Tao Te Ching from over a thousand years ago:
“A mindless mind is the chief of all minds….The mind of sages has no point of view, and their thoughts have no direction….To see the real in the false and the false in the real is how the wisdom of sages differs from that of others.”
I am taking all this to mean that the sage’s mind is completely open; free from all tainted and preconceived notions about things; and that points of view are always infected in some way.
How would a sage “see”/approach many today who will apparently believe just about anything…headlines from the National Inquirer, TV news programs, politicians who are more than willing to whisper something in your ear, social media misinformation, etc.?
It seems like a tall order for any sage!
If I were to hazard to guess, I would think that a true sage wouldn’t care about any person’s particular beliefs, erroneous or otherwise, but would rather seek to understand “Why” the person is predisposed to believe such things; they’d rather understand “What” is going on in that person’s life that is causing them to believe those beliefs.
We should seek such understanding (i.e. the Why and the What) regarding our own beliefs.
Until we get to that place with ourselves and others, we might as well be speaking different languages.
Thirty Days of Love – Day 21
It wasn’t until recently that I was introduced to the idea that “progress” is a modern invention.
Professor Lawrence Cahoone, in a Great Courses lecture said,
“The 18th century Enlightenment invented the idea of progress…..Throughout history, human civilizations and tribal local societies have not generally accepted the idea that the future is going to be better than the present or the past. They would have recoiled at the idea. The future is to both repeat the present and both are supposed to repeat the past. For most human cultures, the great age, the golden age, was the age when our ancestors behind us spoke directly to the gods (The Modern Intellectual Tradition, Lecture 6).”
We have undoubtedly benefitted from Enlightenment’s idea of progress. (Keep in mind that I say this as a relatively privileged citizen within arguably the richest, most powerful nation in all of human history. Other peoples in other countries might take issue with benefitting from our idea of progress.)
But, let’s play along and assume that we have benefitted from this idea of progress (e.g. germ theory, advances in medicine, public sewage, electric guitars, ice cream). Enlightenment’s progress also brought about the age of modernity and with it a philosophical “turn to the subject”: an enlightened, modern idea of selfhood, individual liberty, personal freedom. These sound like good things…and they can be good things.
…but have these things come at a price?
More on this tomorrow.