Archive for June, 2017

Champions for change

June.15. 2017

I’ve been practicing a lot lately, and as usual, to distract my mind, I watch the news. And there’s been a lot of news lately.

Two news items caught my eye this morning.

First, Senator Sander’s pushback.

Apparently the crazed gunman was one of his supporters.

And he did the right thing, which was to come out immediately and condemn the despicable action in the strongest terms.

As opposed to some other people, who, when crazy people do bad things in their name, dance in the streets in celebration.

And then they wonder why people don’t like them.

Then there was this “Champions for change” self promo on one of those fake news channels.

Very heart warming indeed, to see these beautiful ladies do their community service and get some PR at the same time.

This is the right thing to do, of course, when you go out and do good deeds for your less fortunate neighbors, make sure there’re plenty of cameras following you.

The point of the promo is about hungry people in America.

And in this regard, America shows itself to be one unique country.

It’s the only place on earth where hungry people are overweight.

So an advice to the people at CNN. Next time if you want to do a story on hunger, hire some skinny extras to make the program more believable.

Fluff and essence

June.1. 2017

In a sense, almost all religions are metaphors.

How else can you describe and explain what is unexplainable except through metaphors.

The universe created in six days.

The tree of knowledge.

Eighteen levels of hell. (Why eighteen? And who came up with this number?)

There was a time when all this made sense.

When man looked at the skies and saw only little dots of light and made up elaborate cosmoses based on the earth at the center of the universe.

But now we know better.

Those little dots of lights are really huge suns and so distant their light took billions of years to reach us. And there’re more of them in the universe than all the sand on earth.

Against this new reality, eighteen levels of hell?

Where are they situated? Certainly not deep beneath us as it’s just magma and rocks down there.

And a physical afterlife where you are serenaded by angels?

Or in another religion, where you need cash in the afterlife so you don’t end up a beggar?

How are we to respond to this new reality?

Do we just discard these old beliefs and traditions as mere superstitions and fairy tales and worship science as our new religion?

No, we take these ancient beliefs to a different level.

We interpret them.

We see them as wisdom that transcends time and science.

We see them as metaphors to a deeper truth.

To borrow a metaphor from one of these ancient wise men, we put old wine into new wineskins.

The key is to strip away the layers of metaphors that surround religion and go to its essence, to its inner truth.

And at the heart of (almost) all religions lie three basic concerns. (Why this disclaimer “almost?” You’ll have to watch the evening news to get the answer.)

The first is the question of Creator—who made all this stuff?

The second is morality—to maintain the fabric of society, religion provides us with clear rules of conduct and an elaborate system of justice to make sure we don’t break them.

This system also serves another purpose, to provide us with answers to the afterlife.

The third is that existential question—why are we here?

Three basic concerns, the rest is just fluff.

The differences that lie between religions are mostly in nomenclature and in the fluff.

Unfortunately, most of mankind is more preoccupied with fluff than essence.

They would rather focus on what makes their particular religion the “one true religion” because their fluff is better than yours (because they got their fluff from the “real God” and your fluff is from the devil).

If we are to adopt a new approach based on metaphorical interpretations, we can actually cut through the fluff that divides us and see the commonality of the essence in (almost) all religions.

And understand that we (almost) all believe in the same things.

But that’s an unlikely scenario.

Because shallow (and evil) men like the fluff because it gives them an excuse to continue their mischief.

If your fluff is the “one true righteous fluff,” it gives you an excuse to persecute those whose fluff is “false.”