Archive for the 'Tower of Babel' Category

“The deepest layer of reality”

December 16, 2011

I was happy to read in Brian Greene’s op-ed piece in the NYTimes, about the search for evidence of a particle that will support the conceptualization in the Higgs Field theory, that “[t]he legions of physicists, engineers and computer scientists, whose collective efforts created the Large Hadron Collider, will have revealed the deepest layer of reality our species has ever probed,” if current findings are confirmed by future data.  From my point of view, another “blind person” will have felt a part of the elephant and reported back their understanding, and while I would call this “deepest layer of reality” by a more traditional name, there is also the tradition that this “deepest layer” is unnameable.  I wonder whether others, who have made it up the mountainside to the top of the mountain already, through other means, such as art (including music and poetry) and mysticism, might say,”Welcome!  Glad you to see you, glad you made it,” and maybe tease them with, “What took you so long?  Where’ve you been?”  Just as some people are more visual or more aural or more kinesthetic, I think our ways of grokking the universe vary.  And just as I believe different religions are describing the same “deepest layer of reality” in slightly different ways, I believe different disciplines, of which religion is one, are describing the same “deepest layer of reality” in slightly different ways.

Advertisements

For all of us to win

August 1, 2011

What would “winning” look like?  Legislation put forward by the Democratic caucus?  Legislation proposed by the Republicans?  Something floated by the White House?  The best thinking of our best pundits?  Even the ideas floating up from the electorate?

I actually think winning would look like interactions with less rancor and more sincere good will towards the other.  Every time we erupt with our own righteous indignation at “what the others have done,” we perpetuate the cycle, I think, regardless of how justified we feel according to some doctrine about the others’ content or process.  Every time we think we’ve won when our own preferred course of action carries the day, we achieve only a Pyrrhic victory if civility and caring for others are casualties of the process — we may win a battle but contribute to losing not just a war but our ability to live in peace.

Because I don’t think the it’s a game in which being right and getting our way is the object of the game — I think the “game” (if that’s another name for needing to build something together, whether it’s an economy, a social program, software, a widget, a school of thought, the Tower of Babel, or anything else we do together) is the means to the end, so to speak, the exercise we go through in order to achieve emotional fitness.   And I think that we’ve so lost our way by mistaking content, and getting it “right,” for the main event.

The main event is how we interact, what intangible products we produce through our emotions toward each other.  I’ve used the analogy of a canary in a coal mine dying for what we should be seeing in what’s been going on in Washington, and I see the gases as emanating from our negative regard for one another.

The ironic thing about this is that it’s actually something very much within our control to work on — how we treat each other.  To treat each other well, we need some inner peace ourselves, some self-awareness, too, to achieve this.

I don’t mean this as a speech against anyone, I mean it as guidance to do something other than pulling the tangle tighter by strenuously fighting back — we don’t have to agree with one another, we can believe in our perception of what’s right to do, but we need to relearn how to get along with each other, how to love each other, how to stop trying to control one another.

I suspect that part of the root of all this dysfunctional behavior is our inability to actually love ourselves — to love the part of ourselves that is our core, not our superficial skills and accomplishments.  We often love a false self, I think, and that misprision makes it difficult to love another.  But the encouraging thing is that we can always work on rediscovering who we are through stripping off all our encrustations, and when we have done that, we find ourselves freer to feel and interact in ways that are pleasant and helpful for both ourselves and the people with whom we interact.