Sunday, January 23, 2005

Silent approval

Recently the press reported that a priest during his preaching had discussed the issue of homosexuality, and said that it is a "cancer", and was against the word of God as described in the bible. The article tells us that he had quite a large audience, and that he had quite explicitly expressed his concern about homosexuality. The priest had, then, been reported to the police for this, as it is not allowed in our country to promote illegal actions against a group of people, and was now sentenced to one month in prison for this. Extremist web pages against homesexuality now salute him as a great hero.

The article then discussed the usual questions about whether this would constitute "free speech", if priests now would have to be more careful about what they say, and so on. Other priests were interviewed on the topic, and while most of them agreed that it was a stupid thing to say it was not right to send him to prison. On the one hand they say that it is important to show respect, and that if one does so it is easy not to say stupid things like this. On the other they say that priests now will feel insecure about what is ok and what is not ok to talk about in sermons.

There seems to be a contradiction between these two ideas, however. It appears that the priests are more concerned with not showing their real thoughts than with having thoughts that are not hateful in the first place. If one reads between the lines, the priests did not really condemn the actual words of Green, but that he had been stupid enough to voice them openly, and with the media watching. This in itself is cause for concern, at least if you are one of those who believe that the priests actually try to spread a loving and caring message. This small example has shown that there is an important difference between what they think and what they say.

But in all of this there is also another concern, a more personal one. What if you had been one of the people in the audience that day? What would you have done? Apparently none of the attendees did anything at the time, but we will never know whether it was because they agreed with Green or whether they simply did not dare stand up. If noone ever stands up to people like Green, who preach hate instead of love, will that not give them the silent approval to continue? And where does it stop? Does it? Will it? Ever? Is there an end to the path of hate? I doubt it.

When we, as individuals, come across situations as this, and we are forced to consider where the path eventually leads, it is of vital importance to consider what path we are on. For some such considerations are done consciously, for some it is done unconsciously, and for some they are not done at all. They are victims of the law of randomness, following the stream as they go, obeying the loudest voice of the crowd. Is that you? Are you one who gives the silent approval, or are you one who stands up and walks in another direction?

I have but one suggestion: tread carefully, because the fate of your soul might depend on it.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The last taboo

Each age has a name that describes it. Each age has something which so permeates it that it defines what impact it has had on the ages after it.

Usually this name can only be given in hindsight, when all the facts about it and the effects it has had is known. Sometimes the name is given during the age, often because of hubris of its participants, as they may believe that they know in full about the time they live in.

Our current age is sometimes referred to as the information age. Our current society is one where knowledge and information is the foremost religion, and where the priesthood of science rule, as their theories define the boundaries of our reality, and hence, the boundaries of our thinking.

In such a world, there is but one taboo, one thing that may not be uttered: "I don't know". To every question one must have an answer - an opinion - a belief - or else one is a heretic, someone who believes that there are unknowns in this scientifically explained material world. Someone who does not know is of little value in the religion of knowledge.

But it is this last taboo that must be continuously broken, for it frees our mind of the shackles of repetitive thinking, the patterns of thought which have already been thought by others, probably processed for us by those who believe they know what is best for us. Best for us, that is, in order to continue to be good servants of the priests.

To say "I don't know" is on the one hand to realize the limits of your knowledge, and on the other it is the potential beginning of an amazing adventure, the adventure of learning. There is an infinite amount of lessons waiting for us, but if we always pretend to know, then these adventures will never be experienced. In a sense, to not say "I don't know" is what will ultimately limit your ability to know. To always have an answer to each question, to appear as though you know while in reality you do not, is a lie that will eventually lead you to not know anything, apart from what you are fed into you by the priests of science.

What if the next time you are asked a question you make an effort to first conclude whether you really know the answer. If you do not know the answer, it is up to you to judge the context of the question whether to answer truthfully or not. It is sometimes not wise to go against the General Law. But, at least you have not lied to yourself, and that is crucial.

It is crucial for it then becomes a breadcrumb on a new path, a first step leading to new adventures of learning, towards the enlightening of your soul.

And the first step is always the most important, for it sets the direction.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Selective perception

The recent tsunami has in a short amount of time created a huge amount of pain and suffering for those who happened to be in its path. For us who have not experienced it directly it is probably difficult to understand the scale of it all.

While there is much to do to help the survivors, there is also a lot we can learn about ourselves by contemplating the general reactions that are happening.

For example, there are many efforts to collect money to be able to send help to those in need. While that is certainly commendable, it is at the same time a sad example of our inability to be consistent, since there are currently other equally horrendous disasters involving as many, or more, people, and which are largely unnoticed.

Look at the people in Iraq. There are many more suffering there than in this "natural disaster", and yet they are more or less ignored. Why is it that their suffering somehow counts less than that of those who were hit by the tsunami? Remember that the Iraqi people have done nothing wrong, really, apart from living in a land of great riches, hence making them a target for the powers that be. The tsunami, on the other hand, was not a surprise to anyone who have been reading the signs - as the world burns - and much could have been done to minimize the damage.

One reason that the suffering of the Iraqi people is ignored is probably that it is man-made, and by acknowleding that we would have to acknowledge that we are allowing it to happen. The bully of the sandbox is allowed to have his way, and we are not doing anything about it.

We really do not want to see that, and therefore it is more convenient to either disregard the issue entirely, or deny it if - god help us - one would happen to catch a glimpse of the horrors being unleashed upon that unfortunate part of the globe.

This is selective perception, and it is killing your soul. One day, in the not-too-distant future, there will be so much horrors wreaked upon man by other men, that with this strategy there will be nothing but denial. Man will then entirely live in his dreams, in the safety of his own mind, and so detached from reality that it can only be called one thing: madness.

So, what do we do? Well, one thing you can do is to be aware of this and help it guide your decisions. If you, for example, intend to donate money to the victims of the tsunami, then for each donated dollar you could donate one dollar to help the people of Iraq. Instead of simply making you feel good for doing something for another it will help remind you of the evil we bring on ourselves.

It will be your breadcrumb, which when seen through the looking glass, will allow you to see the path of the past, all the way back to the first step.

And the first step is always the most important, for it sets the direction.

Step one

This is the first step down the yellow brick road. There will be many steps before the end is reached, and some will be smaller and some will be greater. As always, the most important thing is to stay on the road, and yet not forget to look at the world as it passes by.

The first step is the most important, because it sets the direction of the path, and in todays world there are many possible paths. Some lead to the light, some to the dark, and others yet pass through the dark while being illuminating for the soul.

It is my intent to follow the yellow brick road, regardless of whether it will lead me through the light or the dark, for wherever I go there I am, and illumination is always available if needed.

Equipped with only a looking glass - as nothing else could get through the eye of the needle - these reflections of a polarized world will be my breadcrumbs.